TORONTO, Jan. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Community organizations are coming
together today to discuss findings from a new report that suggest
better coordination across the sector could improve social interaction
and development for youth and children with disabilities. The report
reiterates the need for children and youth with disabilities and their
families to have a sense of community and suggests that while there are
numerous programs available across the country, they are challenging to
access and navigate.
Sally Jordan, caregiver to a 22 year-old a nephew living with a
disability, echoes the findings of the project. "It's extremely
important for my nephew to participate in activities in the community
so that he doesn't feel isolated, but finding information on what is
available is a big challenge. Often I can only find programs and
service through word-of-mouth. It would be great to have a reliable and
accessible source of information where I can find everything in one
Lead author, Dr. Anne Snowdon, will present findings and recommendations
from the national Human Resources and Skills Development Canada-funded
discussion document, Strengthening Communities for Canadian Children with Disabilities, at The Sandbox Project Conference 2012, urging key stakeholders to
create community environments that strengthen social development for
children and youth who face significant challenges due to disability.
"Through this initiative, we found that children and youth with
disabilities and their families need and want to connect and engage
with their communities in a meaningful, accessible, and accommodating
way that enables social interaction and development ," said Dr.
Snowdon, the lead author behind the project. "As a result, we have been
able to identify opportunities to strengthen these community
environments, and can now develop and disseminate tools and resources
needed to foster supportive communities, so that the needs of this
population can be better met."
The project was implemented in three pilot communities across Canada
(Toronto, ON; Regina, SK; and Fredericton, NB) and examined their
respective capacities for supporting the social development and
well-being of children and youth with disabilities. Three main
recommendations have been proposed in response to the findings,
Develop coordinated web-based navigation tools for families that can
create a 'single online reference' resource for accessing community
programs, services, and professional care.
Develop integration-focused programs and services that will allow for
children and youth with disabilities and their families to feel part of
Augment the social networks of children and youth with special needs
using social networking tools to strengthen current and future
community programs to actively engage and include children and youth
with special needs as active members of their community.
"The project recommendations are a step in the right direction, and
provide an opportunity to engage and connect service providers and
families in new and different ways to work together towards meeting
common goals," says Jennifer Goosens of Special Olympics Canada. "We
can enhance the support we provide to children and youth with
disabilities, as well as their families, by working together."
The Strengthening Communities for Canadian Children with Disabilities project was produced through the collaboration of a number of key
stakeholder organizations, including: Special Olympics Canada,
Community Living and Holland Bloorview.
About The Sandbox Project
The Sandbox Project was created to improve the health of Canada's
children and youth. The goal of The Sandbox Project is to make
measurable progress against international health indicators within the
next five years, with a particular focus on improving health outcomes
for Canadian children with respect to injury prevention, obesity,
mental health, and the environment. Working directly with parents,
business, health industry leaders, governments and non-governmental
organizations, The Sandbox Project seeks to raise awareness, pursue
research, and collaborate to develop solutions and better public
Dr. Anne Snowdon will present Strengthening Communities for Canadian Children with Disabilities at The Sandbox Project Conference 2012, at TELUS House in Toronto (25
York Street, 3rd Floor) on Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 12:30p.m.
For more information on The Sandbox Project, visit: www.sandboxproject.ca
SOURCE The Sandbox Project
For further information:
For additional information, interviews, or to access a copy of the report, please contact:
The Sandbox Project
International Centre for Health Innovation
519-661-2111, ext. 82582