Program offers children with special needs easier access to occupational therapists
Dario Balca, CTV Toronto
Published Wednesday, February 10, 2016 10:19PM EST
A new therapy program is being praised by parents and school officials for giving children with special needs access to occupational therapists without having to leave the comfort and convenience of their classrooms.
Partnering for Change, or P4C, is an initiative that sends therapists directly into school classrooms.
Michelle Kristof’s nine-year-old twins -- Bobby and Claudia -- were born prematurely and began showing difficulties learning around Grade 2.
For Kristof’s children, P4C has meant they can get help much sooner than expected.
“Basically, (the therapist) helps you with whatever you need help with,” Bobby said.
P4C was originally developed at McMaster University to bring therapy to the children who need it. The program is a collaboration with schools, so that teachers can work alongside therapists and learn some of the therapists’ techniques to help the students on an ongoing basis.
“Being able to transfer that knowledge to the teacher, I think, is the key of Partnering for Change,” said occupational therapist Ana Talag.
Thanks to P4C, organizers say they have been able to do much more with the same amount of resources.
“We’ve touched the lives of over 17,000 children where, in the past with the same amount of money, I would’ve done well to have intervened with 600,” said Cathy Hecimovich of the Community Care Access Centre that helps facilitate the therapists’ visits to schools.
P4C is now working in more than 60 schools across Peel, Halton and Hamilton-Wentworth.
And more school districts have expressed an interest in adopting the model.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Pauline Chan