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Children and Youth With Special Needs

Children and Youth With Special Needs

Who do you support?

We support children and youth, under the age of 19, who have been diagnosed with a developmental disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

How do I access your programs?

Your child/youth must first meet Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) eligibility criteria before a referral to our programs can be completed. After eligibility has been established, your Children and Youth with Special Needs Social Worker (CYSN) will review your family’s support requirements to determine whether individual or group services would be most beneficial. Your referral is then forwarded to the program manager and when an opening becomes available in the requested program, it is filled once a variety of factors are considered such as original date of referral, priority as determined by the CYSN Social Worker, and suitability of the program for your child/youth.

What do your programs offer families?

Our programs focus on providing services that improve your child/youth’s development, supports their participation in community life and assists in building your overall capacity as a family. Participation in any of our programs is voluntary.

Individual Services

Service is goal-oriented and focuses on skill development in areas specific to you and your child/youth.

Some of the areas that program staff support families include:

  • identifying children/youth’s developmental needs;
  • accessing community services which support children/youth’s identified needs;
  • implementing behaviour support plans as outlined by a behaviour consultant;
  • strengthening communication skills, daily living skills, social skills and increasing community access opportunities;
  • exploring potential volunteer and employment opportunities; and
  • assisting with youth’s transition from children to adult community living services.

Group Services

The program also offers a variety of opportunities for skill development within a group setting. All groups meet once a week, Monday through Friday, for periods of 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the group. Groups are operational year round and vary in duration.

As a parent/caregiver, you are responsible for arranging/providing transportation for your child/youth both to and from the group location.

Our group services cover a variety of ages from 6 – 18 years old. Groups are constantly being developed to meet the needs of the participants that have been referred to us.

Examples of groups that may be run are:

Social Buddies (ages 6-12): With a focus on building social skills using Social Thinking and play to create opportunities for supported social interactions.

Teens on the Scene (ages13-18): The primary goal of this group has been increasing community access and social skills for youth. Favorite activities have included going to an IMAX film, the Boardgame Café, attending a Royals hockey game and bowling.

Transition Workshops (ages 16-18): The workshops focus on youth who require skills to live independently or semi-independently in the future. Workshop topics may include internet safety, nutrition, budgeting, healthy relationships and communication.

Girls Group (varying ages): This group focuses on building social connections, engaging in various activities and learning about topics identified by the group participants which have included self-care, body image, technology, and bullying. Activities that the group enjoyed included “boot camp”, tie-dying t-shirts, board games and arts & crafts projects.

How long will my family receive services?

Individual services typically last for 9 months, but may be extended based on individual circumstances and available resources. The number of hours provided per week ranges between 2 and 4. Service hours and scheduling are based on your child/youth’s goals and availability to participate in the services offered.

What time of the day are services provided?

Individual service is provided Monday to Friday and schedules are determined by staff and participant availability and as defined by service goals. Primarily, service is provided in the afternoon and evening, however, there is often room to be flexible.

Where are services provided?

Program staff support children/youth in both community settings and in their home environment.

What to expect

Upon accepting the services offered, you can expect the following:

  • a thorough orientation to the program’s services;
  • a collaborative assessment involving you, your child/youth, and other community professionals (as permitted by you);
  • collaborative goal development based on the information gathered through the assessment process;
  • progress towards goals to be regularly reviewed with you and your child/youth; and
  • when service closes you will be provided with a summary of the progress made towards the identified goals.

How to Reach Us

For further information on Services for Children and Youth with Special Needs, please contact Cheryl Sanders at