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Support for a family with special needs

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Karrie, the classroom Registered Early Childhood Educator at Fraser Mustard Early Learning Centre, has been working very closely with Hamid Yousofi and his family to ensure their needs are met at the Centre.

“Everything is getting better slowly, step-by-step. We got our life back,” says Hamid Yousofi, a parent to three children with special needs attending the Fraser Mustard Early Learning Centre (ELC) in Thorncliffe Park.

For Hamid and his wife, caring for three children under the age of five with autism along with sleeping and eating disorders has been a challenge for the family. Trying to manage regular visits to pediatricians, psychiatrists and other healthcare providers while providing appropriate care for twins and their younger brother began to take its toll on Hamid and his wife.

Aryan and Aliza (4 ½-year-old twins) and Armeen (3 ½ years old) began attending the childcare program at Fraser Mustard ELC last spring. A Special Needs Resource Educator from the City of Toronto worked with Fraser Mustard’s classroom teacher to put in place an Individualized Plan for each of the three children to ensure they have the appropriate support while in childcare.

“In cases where children have been identified with special needs, a Special Needs Resource Educator meets with the family to conduct a home visit and observe the children in the childcare setting. Working with the childcare teachers, well-defined strategies and goals are developed for the specific needs and resources of the children and families,” says Darlene Landry, Director of the Fraser Mustard ELC.

The Special Needs Resource Educator also coordinates with the children’s healthcare providers to ensure the plan complements what is already in place for the family.

“Since the kids started attending Fraser Mustard ELC, we have seen huge changes in their behaviour,” says Hamid. “They’re sleeping better, eating better, behaving more socially and demonstrating improved language skills.”

The team at Fraser Mustard has also noticed improvements in the children and have worked with the kindergarten special education teacher at Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy to prepare Aryan and Aliza for their transition into kindergarten, which took place in September 2016.

The twins will be attending Fraser Mustard ELC for before and after school care while in kindergarten as they continue with their specialized education plan.

The Fraser Mustard ELC serves the Thorncliffe Park community with 88 spaces for children from infancy to age 4 and the before and after school program.

To learn more about CDI’s Healthy Child Development program, click here