Today was the launch of my latest project - the YMCA Play to Learn Group for kids with special needs! What a wonderful success! I am so very pleased with the way things went today. Being our Grand Opening Day, for the Play to Learn Group for kids with Special Needs everything went so well. Mom's and children, lots of toys and lots of great conversation. It was exactly what I knew we needed. A place to ask each other questions, seek professional guidance from Jenn (Senior Infant & Child Development Consultant - Early Intervention) and let our kids just have old fashioned fun with toys and peers all around.
The best thing happened today. We were able to exchange information, learn and let our kids have fun. One mom got some really great information pertaining to Down syndrome about the Disability Tax Credit that she didn't know about. Another Mom got some super one on one attention from our Infant & Child Development pro. Another Mom got to meet mom's and her children got to explore and play. Our resident YMCA manager is specially trained in the area of Special Needs and also specifically in the area of Autism which was absolutely wonderful for one young girl. She engaged her and had her learning and playing all at the same time. Even a dad was there. Which I have to say, I wish John was able to be there also, since I know he would have loved to have been there too.
There was nothing I could say that didn't go the way I had envisioned it. The YMCA room - a room separate but inside the school with a fenced yard for outdoor play. Meant specifically and exactly for our needs, complete with kitchen, laundry and of course washrooms. Sue Morris (our Pickering Location YMCA manager) was there for us ready with snacks and juice for everyone. I couldn't complain. We even had a goody bag to take home with us, complete with a Parents Canada magazine, Hydra Sense mist (something no mom should ever live without, especially having a child who has Ds and has gone (or goes through) through the congestion stages) for the hard to blow runny nose. If this sounds crazy, I may just be - but it really was a dream come true. Very satisfying after all the hard work and nearly a years worth of putting this all together. (Exactly 11 months). While the turn out was smaller today, (being that our flyers didn't get out as fast as we had originally planned) we know that our future Tuesdays will be busier in the weeks to come. For one thing, my new acquaintance, Donna Wright (President of the Down syndrome Association of Ontario, and Representative for the Durham Down syndrome Association) has graciously asked me if I would provide to her my flyers for the Play to Learn Group so that she can post them on those two websites in order to give us the exposure that we need which in turn will get the message out to parents of children with Down syndrome, that the group exists and is open and welcome to everyone. I am so pleased to have met Donna during the Down syndrome conference just over a week ago, and I hope that in future we can collaborate on many projects to come. I would love nothing more then to be a part of the Ds association of Ontario or Durham - more then just a member as I am today. Whatever I can do to help, I hope will go a long way to advocate for and help others with Down syndrome.
The only one thing I am sad about is that I spent so much time talking and having fun that I only took a few photos despite the fact I made it a point to bring my "Mamarazzi" camera with me. My trusty sidekicks Penny & Darwin (however) saved me in the nick of time by taking photos of and for us all. I will post those as soon as I get them from her. In the mean while, I was able to get a couple of shots with Hunter and his new friend Taylor-Rose, (who coincidentally, along with Penny's son Vaun will be part of my new website and upcoming 4th book, Welcome To Our House: Our Journey With Down syndrome - The First Year).
I hope that everyone enjoyed themselves as much as Hunter and I did, I know we found it so beneficial. I also hope that for everyone who couldn't make it out this week, that we will see you on our next date (every other Tuesday) November 9th, 2010. A special "Thank you" to all the mom's who attended. Without you today, the day would not have been the same.
|Mommy brought me to this neat place called the YMCA. I could play all day!|
|I met Taylor-Rose! She wanted me to play but I wanted to show here these cool blocks!|
|Her mommy told her to give me a kiss, but being a boy, I ran away!|
|Then when I wasn't looking, she got one in! But I turned and she instead she kissed my head!|
|Of course Mommy wasn't fast enough, but here's a clear shot of her kissing of my head!|
|So instead, I nabbed Taylor-Rose's Mommy and told her all about it! She just smiled at me!|