November 24th, 2020
Highlights of How Staff Got Creative During the Pandemic
To engage and support clients during the pandemic, my team has:
The Intensive Child and Family Services Program in Brant created social stories and visuals for families to help them prepare for the return to school and routine. We made a “back to school bin” with school supplies and some fidget toys for a family to help with the transition back. I brought one of my clients to his first day of grade 9. It gave us time to have a little check in before he went into the school. My team ran virtual summer programming finding creative ways to engage our clients socially online. We dropped off packages for the families including goodies for their siblings. Each week we had a different theme with activities, crafts, snacks & takeaways. One young client, Jensen (pictured above), enjoyed getting his own personal mail with activities for him and his siblings to do at home.
Brittany Krasevich, Outreach Worker
The Intensive Child and Family Services team have been providing morning and night time support to families over Zoom as we are not able to safely go into homes as of yet. For example, around bedtime, I will go online and support the family follow through with routines and talk about challenges. I will then talk to the parent waiting for the children to settle and go to bed providing them one to one support. I have dropped off resources, games, and activities for families to their house to keep them engaged, and keep them busy. I always make sure there are some independent fun activities for the kids to do, to give the parents a break. For a family without transportation, I dropped of basic supplies at their house so the parent did not have to take the children on the bus; this was during stage 1 of COVID-19, when travelling was not safe.
Robyn Sharpe, Outreach Worker
At Halton Autism Services we ran virtual groups for the first time ever and they were received very well! We offered a variety of virtual options for clients and families including 1:1 OTN therapy sessions that were supported by parents and family skill development sessions where we did OTN meetings with parents. We had constant communication with families via phone/email/OTN to ensure they felt supported during this difficult time.
Christina Allen, ABA Therapist
The response from clients and families:
The Respite Program in Brant’s virtual sessions were a new experience for everyone involved, but thanks to our clients’ and families’ understanding of this and willingness to learn with us, we received super positive feedback from families during and following our summer programming. Our clients loved the hands-on activities such as science experiments, art projects, minute-to-win-it games, and building challenges, and often asked us to return to activities that they had really enjoyed!
Cassandra Campbell, Relief Worker
All of our participants and families in the LIFE program in Hamilton have been so supportive, appreciative, adaptable, and positive. Our virtual LIFE program has been such a success, and both the participants and their families have expressed their gratitude and appreciation of Woodview and our support services.
Bianca Aceti, Program Manager
We’ve received an abundance of positive feedback from clients and families regarding our weekly LIFE program virtual sessions! Families were very appreciative as they said it helped with their child’s loneliness while being stuck at home. Seeing their staff and peers faces alongside hearing their voices provided some comfort and normality during some very tough months. We, as staff, feel very fortunate to have such flexible and understanding families by our side.
Dezaray Lilliman, Autism Counsellor
How our virtual (or physically distanced) activities helped clients:
In the Wraparound for Complex Needs Program in Brant, parents were very appreciative of the individual packages that were delivered and all the tactile activities and work that was put into the virtual groups. The families enjoyed the therapeutic aspects of the groups as well as the learning and teachable moments. Many families expressed that our weekly themed activities (aquarium, weather systems, animals, space) and the online talent show were engaging and creative. Children enjoyed exploring different cultures through samples of foods we provided.
Andrea Bozanovic, Outreach Worker
In the Youth Overcoming Depression and Anxiety (YODA) program in Halton, parents who participated in online YODA in the spring said they felt better equipped with strategies to help their kids with the re-entry to school in September. A young client who had tried a number of times to participate in face-to face groups and was unsuccessful due to anxiety getting in the way is now participating in online YODA. The option to be able to turn the camera off helps with regular attendance and working toward individual goals.
Vanessa Marko, Outreach Worker
The Halton Autism Services team provided families with COVID-19 materials such as social stories to help with uncertainty or anxiety their child may be experiencing. Some staff even took photos of themselves wearing PPE to help prepare the clients for what they might see when they return to therapy and school settings! Having a consistent routine with weekly sessions was also important to the clients and their families to ensure they could maintain the skills they had been working on prior to the shutdown. All of our staff had to navigate sessions with creativity and a big imagination to help make these virtual sessions work!
Christina Allen, ABA Therapist