We hope everyone is enjoying this change in weather! Historically, the spring always brings for us a time to celebrate the upcoming graduation of many children from the Early Learning Program, plan for fall school transitions, and to begin looking at intake plans for children scheduled to start services with us in September. As you can imagine, this year looks very different.
We are writing to share some information on what we are working on right now:
- Building our online training, supports, and resources,
- Working with families to build meaningful virtual/remote services,
- Seeking clarity from Public Health around guidelines and recommendations for resuming in-person services,
- Working with our partners in Early Learning and Child Care and with the Department of Families to discuss the possibility of our staff resuming in-person work in childcare centres,
- Evaluating how we will implement Public Health recommendations (e.g., physical distancing, increased hand-washing, increased cleaning and disinfecting) to ensure safety for the children, families, and staff for when we are allowed to resume in-person services,
- Developing plans in collaboration with the Department of Families to support children who are scheduled to graduate from Early Learning services this fall,
- Looking at plans for the children whose services are scheduled to begin in September, and
- Preparing surveys to send to families currently receiving services and on the waitlist for services from St.Amant Autism Programs.
As we move through the different phases of this pandemic, it is important for us to understand what kind of services you are hoping to see for your child. Our goal is to develop a plan for moving forward based on the information you share, recommendations from Public Health, and the support of the Department of Families.
In recognition of the fact that this is a stressful time, I will begin sending weekly updates to let you know how things are proceeding and to ensure you and your family have an ongoing opportunity to offer insight and feedback. I invite families who are currently enrolled in services to reach out to their Autism Consultant with any questions they have, and families on our waitlist to reach out to Tiffany Pang, 204-256-4301 ext. 3481. Please note, because we are currently working off-site we are checking voice messages regularly but it may take a day or two to respond to your message.
Your patience, kindness, and flexibility since mid-March has meant so much to all of us. Thank you for your ongoing collaboration and support.
Dr. Kerri Walters, C.Psych., BCBA-D
Director, Autism Programs and Psychology Services