West Island parents get a helping hand from WIAIH and the Pfizer Health
Investment Initiative

New program helps parents advocate for children who may have developmental delays

MONTREAL, April 28 /CNW/ - For parents of children with suspected developmental delays and special needs, the road to diagnosis and support can be long, frustrating and lonely.

In fact, in average, parents can wait 18 to 36 months to get expert help and services to help their children. Child development experts say the years from birth to six years old are crucial to the development of all children, so precious time is lost during this transition period.

To help families in the community make good use of the time it takes for their children to be properly assessed and supported, the Pfizer Health Investment Initiative is funding a WIAIH program called: Parents, It Starts with You.

    Support and a helping hand

"This grant means we are able to offer a dynamic program for parents in the community, to empower them to become powerful advocates for their child," explains Marie-Helene Navarra, a parent advocate who helps lead the sessions. "Four years ago, I was lost and alone, trying to work my way through the system to get help for my child. We hope this program will help eliminate that for other families, so they can quickly learn from the experience of others and get the support they need."

Navarra says that the involvement of parent-advocates provides a crucial support system for families who are coming to grips with their children's developmental delays. "These sessions provide practical information, understanding and hope. The energy that emerges during one of these sessions is just magical. People realize they are not alone. There is help. There is hope."

According to Francine Giroux, CSSS Director of Mental Health, Intellectual Handicap and Autism Services, "the 'Parents, It Starts with You' sessions are an enormous help when it comes to informing parents and providing them with a peer support system. It allows West Island parents to know about everything that is available in their community."

    To be truly healthy, it takes a caring community

For Pfizer Canada, the program aligns with its emphasis on building healthy communities, explains Ghislain Boudreau, Vice President, Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations.

"At Pfizer Canada, we believe that to be truly healthy, it takes more than medication. It takes a caring community that supports each other. Empowering parents to take control over their children's health and equipping them with the inspiration and information they need to access important therapies and services, is a wonderful way for us to give back," he says.

    About WIAIH

WIAIH, a community organization that has been working with families since 1958, has long been an advocate for parents living with children or adults who have developmental delays or disorders. WIAIH believes that informed, engaged parents are essential to the healthy development of children.

The four sessions are provided in French and English, thanks to the support of the West-Island Health and Social Services Centre and the West Montreal Readaptation Centre, who are important partners in this project.

For more information about the program, visit wiaih.qc.ca or call WIAIH at 514-694-7090.

    About Pfizer Canada

Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's leading biopharmaceutical company. The company is one of the largest contributors to health research in Canada. Our diversified health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world's best-known consumer products.

Every day, Pfizer Canada employees work to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. We apply science and our global resources to improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life.

Our commitment is reflected in everything we do, from our disease awareness initiatives to our community partnerships, to our belief that it takes more than medication to be truly healthy. To learn more about Pfizer's More Than Medication philosophy and programs, visit morethanmedication.ca. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit pfizer.ca.

More Than Medication(TM) is a registered trademark of Pfizer Canada Inc.


For further information: For further information: To book interviews and for more information, please contact: Natalie Chapman, WIAIH, Tel.: (514) 694-7090, info@wiaih.qc.ca; Julie-Catherine Racine, Pfizer Canada, Tel: (514) 693-4602, 1-866-9Pfizer, julie-catherine.racine@pfizer.com

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