The concept for our Society grew as Helen Enns worked with many families of children with young children with developmental delays. Our history is written from her heart.
"Over the last 2 years, my private Physiotherapy caseload began to include more and more very young children, between 12-24 months of age, whose parents were seeking my help often because they knew something was "not right" with their child's development but were not sure what was going on. They had usually already sought the opinion of their family doctor or public health nurses but were often told:
"Let's just wait and see! Every child develops at their own pace.
Come back in 6 or 12 months and we will revisit it then!!"
Although the professional may have felt they were trying to calm the parents with these words, so as not to add more worry, for many families it did the opposite as they just had a certain feeling something was not right.
Coffee & Chat:
As this number of families increased, the parents of these children gathered together in my basement for Coffee and Chat groups on Saturday mornings. We have now done this somewhat regularly, often with one family bringing along another new family they have met along the way. Both moms and dads have shared their stories with each other, encouraged and supported each other and they also have been learning about available services and how to go about accessing what they need. It has been a joy to see the dynamics as friendships blossomed with the sharing of both happy and sad news between friends. Many of the families have mixed, vague or no diagnoses for their children's delays and so each family has a unique set of steps to follow depending on their child's need.
Step By Step:
We began calling it "Step by Step" group at that time as often we were hearing of "baby steps" of progress in the right direction which we could celebrate together. The families eventually became connected with FSCD programs and services, often starting with a developmental aide contract so that an aide could train along with the family to help with the child's development. As we went along, after one or two developmental aide contracts, it seemed time to seek a larger team approach so we could include an OT (for more specific training regarding Assisted Daily Living, play, hand use etc.) and Speech Language Pathologist for aiding communication whether through enhanced language learning, teaching signs, development of a variety of Aided language displays or working towards a communication book. Also some children expressed frustration when they could not be understood and so we are able to include psychology support for family training to link with strategies to help develop communication coming from SLP.
At this time, many of these families have been successful with acquiring Specialized Services contracts from FSCD for their child's program which I am able to coordinate so we can use the team approach to offer a holistic development approach to family training."
Helen Enns, B.P.T