photo collage of staff

May 4, 2020 

We thought we’d share a few highlights of how our programs are adapting and finding creative ways to make sure clients and families continue to feel supported through phone, text, email or secure video!  #HereForYou


Early Years, Intensive and Wraparound Programs

Family and staff are building a Minecraft Lego kit ‘together’ that they started before COVID-19. The staff member was able to drop off half of the kit to the family’s porch, keeping a portion of the kit for herself. After some therapeutic activities, which she also dropped off, the child and staff began working on the Lego kit. The child is very engaged with this activity, talking about some of the things he’s been struggling with and how it relates to building Lego. They continue their video counselling sessions.

Who doesn’t love getting personal mail? Some children have received their own mail that included easy indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts, stickers, hand written letters, colouring pages and therapeutics. The families have shared that the children are so excited to receive the mail. One of the staff’s little co-worker (her 2 year old son) is excited to bring the mail to the mailbox!

Birthdays should be special – even during a pandemic – so a couple of staff did a porch drop of a birthday cake and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to the child from the end of the driveway! Staff are doing everything from doing porch drops of resources for families, to helping parents and children with bedtime routines by video, ensuring high-need children and youth are getting the support they need (even on weekends), and even bringing groceries to a single mom with three kids under 4 who would otherwise have had to do her grocery shopping by public transportation during a recent stretch of rainy weather.

Virtual Respite Group

The Respite Program has started up a virtual respite group that is running twice a week for eight weeks. Staff will be dropping off supplies to children and youth to use during the group sessions. The Respite Program continues to provide 1:1 respite virtually, and some minimal face-to-face support for children and youth experiencing complex challenges. The respite team has completed check-in calls to everyone on the wait list to make sure they were aware of supports that can still be accessed at this time.


Children and Teens Autism Programs

Children and youth receive a weekly package in the mail called “Mock Program at Home!” that includes learning and practicing a life skill (such as setting the table, helping to cook lunch or dinner, etc.) as well as a social skill (problem solving, building confidence, making friendships). The mailed program package also includes a guide for parents to implement within their home environment all while keeping it as similar to face-to-face programming as possible! The team is excited to soon be offering video sessions this month!

LIFE Day Program goes virtual in May!

Our LIFE day treatment program is resuming online. Staff have been developing programming that will be as close to a typical day at LIFE but just virtual! The goal of the virtual LIFE program is maintaining the skills that our participants have already learned during this time.

Some examples of what virtual programming will look like:

  • Morning Calendar- going through the date, weather, season, etc. with participants who can follow along with their worksheet(s). Staff will use visuals.
  • Mini-social activities – staff help coach participants into practicing properly initiating conversations, listening and responding appropriately to peers questions, staying on topic, commenting on a peers answer. Staff will use flashcards, visuals, model the desired behavior, and participants will follow along with their worksheet(s) if applicable.
  • Mini-Math – practice already learned/mastered math concepts such as time recognition, money recognition, addition/subtraction, number sequencing, patterns. Staff will use flashcards, visuals, and participants will follow along with their worksheet(s).
  • Mini-Life skills – practice sequencing steps to complete the activity, topics such as hygiene, household activities, etc. Talk about it as a group. Staff will use visuals, handouts, etc.
  • Staff-led Activities – crafts, playing Kahoot!, Jeopardy and Pictionary, audio listening exercises, zones of regulations, music, book club, fitness, science experiments, Yoga/meditation, Play-doh making, and more!

The Manor & Supported Independent Living Programs

The Woodview Manor and Supported Independent Living (SIL) residential supports continue to be open for residents. Face-to-face essential supports continue, with additional virtual options for onsite daily support and counselling. For offsite residents/participants, regular virtual supports are being offered to individuals and their families. Virtual and modified Community Participation programs are being offered to all participants via email and video conferencing. Staff are helping to socially reconnect residents separated at this time through additional facilitated video meetups.

Hill Park Day Treatment

Staff at the Hill Park Day Treatment Program have been working hard to adapt to virtual care and programming. We introduced video chats with the students by starting with individual sessions and then added group sessions three times a week which focus on either therapeutics or academics. Our teacher is present at all sessions in order to remain connected and stay involved with our youth. All of our sessions include a circle check-in to discuss feelings, sleep and goals. We’ve included Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) lessons into our virtual group. Staff continue to provide weekly individual sessions with each student focusing on Brief Solution Focused Therapy and DBT skill review. To help the youth become comfortable using a video platform, we have played games, completed a virtual escape room, worked on scavenger hunts, and shared stories, and laughs!


School Based Support

SBST is delivering brief service to the youth on the wait list, as well as developing resilience programs for groups of children in elementary grades, to be delivered in conjunction with Board of Education staff. Staff continue to offer individual therapy and family support to current children and youth using videoconferencing.

Youth Overcoming Depression and Anxiety

YODA is offering Parent YODA and Regular YODA via videoconferencing on a weekly basis.

Adolescent Day Treatment

DANO and Mountaineer have put together a virtual “drop-in” Parent group. Parents can attend one week or all weeks, they simply choose the topic they are interested in. Topics include Validation, Implementing Home Routines, etc. Staff also deliver group, family, and individual therapy multiple times a week. Classroom teachers also provide daily support to all children and youth.

Halton Autism Services

The Halton Autism Services team have adapted the way that they support children with autism, and their families, by providing Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) based services over the phone and/or using video conferencing sessions. During video conferencing sessions, staff are able to work directly with the child (with their parent close to help if needed) on mastered tasks and fun, engaging activities. They consult with parents on teaching skills and decreasing challenging behaviour as needed. Staff are supporting parents by phone and video by providing creative ideas on how to arrange their home to encourage their child to be successful by using independent activity schedules, providing opportunities for structured activities, using a visual schedule, and providing suggestions on parent goals that can be worked on in the home.