We are thrilled to announce that Vancouver Foundation has awarded Reach Child and Youth Development Society with a Community Response Fund flexible operating grant of $50,000.00. REACH sends out profound gratitude for these funds that mitigate the losses to our CHOICES and ABA programs as a result of COVID-19. The Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) program is a skill building program that teaches functional skills to children with autism spectrum disorders. REACH CHOICES program encompasses a diverse range of options. Clients have access to Speech Language Pathologists, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists as well as Behavioural Consultants specializing in addressing challenging behaviours in children.
At the onset of restrictions to in-person service delivery, our team quickly developed an integrated approach to remain connected and offer telehealth virtual services to provide direct support to our families. This approach includes three levels of intervention: 1) Parent Support Training; 2) Behaviour Reduction; and 3) Skill Building. With support from Vancouver Foundation, we were able to continue to support vulnerable families to assist with challenging behaviours and work with parents to develop strategies to continue their children’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) within their homes.
As of June 17, 2020, we have resumed in-person services in REACH ABA and CHOICES programs. ABA session start-up has been welcomed by most families and they have signed up for service. Almost all Behavioural Interventionists have been recalled and are ready to deliver in-person service with specific COVID-19 protocols in place. Each staff member at REACH received a safety bag with PPE visor, masks, gloves and sanitizer assembled by volunteers June 10-12th, 2020 (photo L:R Karen Ostrom, Donna Grant, Sue Richards, Stella MacDonald). Some aspects of remote sessions will be maintained –parent training component for teeth brushing or eating or using iPad to ask for a snack – it has proven very effective to coach the parent to do this and implement session goals at home because it empowers the parent.
CHOICES has begun to work with ABA to amalgamate BI hiring/training and scheduling, which will provide efficiencies. In-person service provision has begun and there will be a place for virtual follow up / remote observation, and virtual education allows for higher participation from parents. In addition, CHOICES is offering virtual music therapy groups this summer (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information) including:
- U CAN UKE – Learn how to play the ukulele! Uke CAN do it!
- DISNEY FAN CLUB – Practice social skills and improve articulation through the magic of Disney music!
- BUILD YOUR OWN BAND! – Make your own instruments using regular household items and then jam out with your friends all from the comfort of your home!
Sending a HUGE REACH THANK YOU to the Vancouver Foundation for supporting these initiatives and the families and children who benefit from them. We are indeed all in this together!