KidsAbility empowers children and youth with a wide range of special needs to realize their full potential.

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Program Information

Playtime AcademyChildren will learn appropriate social skill development, including turn taking and emotional regulation. Children living with disabilities
3-5 years
Social CrusadersDesigned for children who need additional help in self-monitoring in social situations. Children living with disabilities
8-10 years
LegoChildren learn how to build and program Lego creations. Through building these creations children also learn social skills and co-playing. Children living with disabilities
8-12 years
Friends CampA day camp where children will learn social skills through structured and unstructured physical activity and multitudes of activities. Children living with disabilities
8-12 years

Story of Resilience

For some kids, making a new friend at camp isn’t a big deal. But for one six-year-old boy with autism, developing a connection with another child while attending a KidsAbility camp was a huge step forward. As Dorothy McCabe noted, children with autism often have difficulty building relationships. The six-year-old boy talked a lot at home about this buddy he’d made. He didn’t mind that his new friend was non-verbal and used a wheelchair. In fact, he enjoyed pushing his friend around in the wheelchair – until the awful moment when he accidentally tipped the chair over. While his friend wasn’t seriously hurt, the little boy was very upset about the incident, and showed a great deal of empathy and concern for his buddy. Just being able to feel and express empathy is, Dorothy points out, was a major accomplishment.

KidsAbility was founded 60 years ago – yes, 2017 is their 60th anniversary – with the mandate to support children and youth with special needs. “We work with families and children to help them reach whatever their potential is in their world,” says Dorothy. Last year, the group served more than 7,000 children and youth in Waterloo Region and Guelph-Wellington. Being involved with The Resilience Project supports KidsAbility programs that focus on social skills and behaviour management with children as young as three or four years old. Resilience-related programs may also have a life skills focus. In addition, KidsAbility has speech therapists, autism specialists, physical therapies, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, social workers and other experts who offer one-to-one and group programs.

This fall KidsAbility plans to start a small Saturday morning program to focus on fun and friendship for the children who attend while giving the parents a break from the demands of caring for their special-needs children.

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