It took some ingenuity, but even amidst the global pandemic, staff at Autism Services and Cognitive Disability Strategy in Prince Albert have been able to offer special programming to their clients this summer.
“Summers here really are an opportunity to provide unique services to our clients,” noted Vanessa Grier, Autism Consultant and Speech-Language Pathologist in Prince Albert. “Typically, we offer group programming, so our clients are exposed to fun summer experiences in the community. But this year, because of COVID-19 and all the restrictions in place to keep everyone safe, we couldn’t do what we typically do, and so everyone on staff really had to get creative in our planning.”
Clients have been offered specially-curated and themed activity bags that include a variety of activities related to the themes of camping or treasure hunt, as well as ideas about how to modify each activity for the child’s developmental level. Each bag has five or six different activities. One included materials for making s’mores and provided visual instructions, promoting age-appropriate kitchen skills, and outlining language development, executive functioning, motor planning, social and sensory skills targeted within the activity. Activity bags were dropped off or mailed to families’ homes.
One of the
specially-curated and themed activity bags.
“So far, the feedback we’ve received from the families involved in the programming has been very positive,” Grier said. “I’m happy we were able to add to their enjoyment of summer in a distanced way that allows them to have fun and new experiences while staying safe.”
Staff have also been providing virtual parent education sessions on a weekly basis on a variety of topics. Parents are able to join from wherever they are.
“Shifting our programming to accommodate all the safety protocols related to COVID-19 has been an adjustment,” Grier admitted. “However, it has provided opportunities for our team to be creative and innovative in providing services to families, which has benefitted our families as well as our team.”
Bags ready to be shared with families.