How are you holding up? We’re going into week eight since we closed our physical office locations, with the exception of our adult residential services, to comply with Public Health requirements. We know that this has been a challenging time for everyone. Many of the families that we support are working from home while caring for children and youth with mental health issues and/or autism. Many parents are also supporting their adult children with autism. There is heightened anxiety for most people and it is amplified for the people we support.
Many of our staff are also balancing caring for their own families while ensuring that their clients are well supported. We have all had to adapt to these changing circumstances and here at Woodview, we greatly appreciate the patience and flexibility that the people we support have shown to us and the generosity of the communities in which we work. There is more to learn and do as we start to prepare for the slow easing of the physical distancing restrictions set out by the province and determine how best to provide our services going forward in a safe and effective way.
In the meantime, we thought we’d share a few highlights with you of how our programs are adapting and finding creative ways to make sure clients and families continue to feel supported through phone, text, email or secure video!
And although it goes without saying, we are all in this together and we are here for you.
We’re Still Here For You!
Early Years, Intensive and Wraparound Programs
Family and staff are building a Minecraft Lego kit ‘together’ that they started before COVID-19. The staff member was able to drop off half of the kit to the family’s porch, keeping a portion of the kit for herself. After some therapeutic activities, which she also dropped off, the child and staff began working on the Lego kit. The child is very engaged with this activity, talking about some of the things he’s been struggling with and how it relates to building Lego. They continue their video counselling sessions.
Who doesn’t love getting personal mail? Some children have received their own mail that included easy indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts, stickers, hand written letters, colouring pages and therapeutics. The families have shared that the children are so excited to receive the mail. One of the staff’s little co-worker (her 2 year old son) is excited to bring the mail to the mailbox!
Birthdays should be special – even during a pandemic – so a couple of staff did a porch drop of a birthday cake and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to the child from the end of the driveway! Staff are doing everything from doing porch drops of resources for families, to helping parents and children with bedtime routines by video, ensuring high-need children and youth are getting the support they need (even on weekends), and even bringing groceries to a single mom with three kids under 4 who would otherwise have had to do her grocery shopping by public transportation during a recent stretch of rainy weather.
Virtual Respite Group
The Respite Program has started up a virtual respite group that is running twice a week for eight weeks. Staff will be dropping off supplies to children and youth to use during the group sessions. The Respite Program continues to provide 1:1 respite virtually, and some minimal face-to-face support for children and youth experiencing complex challenges. The respite team has completed check-in calls to everyone on the wait list to make sure they were aware of supports that can still be accessed at this time.
Children and Teens Autism Programs
Children and youth receive a weekly package in the mail called “Mock Program at Home!” that includes learning and practicing a life skill (such as setting the table, helping to cook lunch or dinner, etc.) as well as a social skill (problem solving, building confidence, making friendships). The mailed program package also includes a guide for parents to implement within their home environment all while keeping it as similar to face-to-face programming as possible! The team is excited to soon be offering video sessions this month!
LIFE Day Program goes virtual in May!
Our LIFE day treatment program is resuming online. Staff have been developing programming that will be as close to a typical day at LIFE but just virtual! The goal of the virtual LIFE program is maintaining the skills that our participants have already learned during this time. Examples of virtual programming:
- Morning Calendar– going through the date, weather, season, etc. with participants who can follow along with their worksheet(s). Staff will use visuals.
- Mini-social activities– staff help coach participants into practicing properly initiating conversations, listening and responding appropriately to peers questions, staying on topic, commenting on a peers answer. Staff will use flashcards, visuals, model the desired behavior, and participants will follow along with their worksheet(s) if applicable.
- Mini-Math – practice already learned/mastered math concepts such as time recognition, money recognition, addition/subtraction, number sequencing, patterns. Staff will use flashcards, visuals, and participants will follow along with their worksheet(s).
- Mini-Life skills – practice sequencing steps to complete the activity, topics such as hygiene, household activities, etc. Talk about it as a group. Staff will use visuals, handouts, etc.
- Staff-led Activities – crafts, playing Kahoot!, Jeopardy and Pictionary, audio listening exercises, zones of regulations, music, book club, fitness, science experiments, Yoga/meditation, Play-doh making, and more!
The Manor & Supported Independent Living Programs
The Woodview Manor and Supported Independent Living (SIL) residential supports continue to be open for residents. Face-to-face essential supports continue, with additional virtual options for onsite daily support and counselling. For offsite residents/participants, regular virtual supports are being offered to individuals and their families. Virtual and modified Community Participation programs are being offered to all participants via email and video conferencing. Staff are helping to socially reconnect residents separated at this time through additional facilitated video meetups.
Hill Park Day Treatment
Staff at the Hill Park Day Treatment Program have been working hard to adapt to virtual care and programming. We introduced video chats with the students by starting with individual sessions and then added group sessions three times a week which focus on either therapeutics or academics. Our teacher is present at all sessions in order to remain connected and stay involved with our youth. All of our sessions include a circle check-in to discuss feelings, sleep and goals. We’ve included Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) lessons into our virtual group. Staff continue to provide weekly individual sessions with each student focusing on Brief Solution Focused Therapy and DBT skill review. To help the youth become comfortable using a video platform, we have played games, completed a virtual escape room, worked on scavenger hunts, and shared stories, and laughs!
School Based Support
SBST is delivering brief service to the youth on the wait list, as well as developing resilience programs for groups of children in elementary grades, to be delivered in conjunction with Board of Education staff. Staff continue to offer individual therapy and family support to current children and youth using videoconferencing.
Youth Overcoming Depression and Anxiety
YODA is offering Parent YODA and Regular YODA via videoconferencing on a weekly basis.
Adolescent Day Treatment
DANO and Mountaineer have put together a virtual “drop-in” Parent group. Parents can attend one week or all weeks, they simply choose the topic they are interested in. Topics include Validation, Implementing Home Routines, etc. Staff also deliver group, family, and individual therapy multiple times a week. Classroom teachers also provide daily support to all children and youth.
Halton Autism Services
The Halton Autism Services team have adapted the way that they support children with autism, and their families, by providing Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) based services over the phone and/or using video conferencing sessions. During video conferencing sessions, staff are able to work directly with the child (with their parent close to help if needed) on mastered tasks and fun, engaging activities. They consult with parents on teaching skills and decreasing challenging behaviour as needed. Staff are supporting parents by phone and video by providing creative ideas on how to arrange their home to encourage their child to be successful by using independent activity schedules, providing opportunities for structured activities, using a visual schedule, and providing suggestions on parent goals that can be worked on in the home.
Virtual “Walk-In” Mental Health Clinics
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are temporarily offering our services virtually. Our walk-in clinics in Brant and Paris are now virtual “walk-in” counselling services. It’s easy to book an appointment.
- Call one of the clinics below
- Receive an appointment via phone or secure video
Upcoming (Virtual) Events
Mental Health Week: May 4-8
Mental Health Week is here – virtual style!
Follow Brant’s Mental Health Awareness Week for all the exciting daily activities, tips, videos, and entertainment to support mental wellness! Starting today, there are 3 events that you can do all week long:
- Mental Health Week BINGO – Complete a row of the card (below) and share it for an entry to a prize giveaway at the end of the week!
- CMHA #SignsofSupport– Download your sign of support template here.
- Chalking Challenge
💚 Remember to wear green to show your support for mental health awareness! Let’s get loud for mental health!
Wednesday, May 6th
Are you a parent or caregiver of a child/youth experiencing a mental health concern? Does anxiety, depression, ADHD, mood disorders or behaviour changes make parenting difficult?
Join our Parents for Children’s Mental Health VIRTUAL Parent Support Group next Wednesday, May 6th from 6-8 pm!
How to join:
1️⃣ Email Craig, our parent facilitator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
2️⃣ Get the link to the video meetup and next steps
3️⃣ You’ll need access to a phone, tablet or laptop, and WIFI or data
We are humbled and honoured to be identified as a ‘Community Hero’ by the Oakville Community Foundation and to be a recipient of a generous $7,000 grant.
Private Family Foundations have partnered with the Oakville Community Foundation to support front-line organizations that continue operations to support resiliency in families during difficult time.
- Oakville Community Foundation
- WB Family Foundation
- Walmley Foundation
- Bowick-Peters Family Fund
- The Alma Fund
- The MacDonald Family Foundation
- Mulvale Family Fund
- Pauline and Don Smith Family Foundation
de Vries Family Foundation