Issue 84
April, 2017


Inside this issue:

SEAC Updates 

Being Sensory-Friendly

What's Happening at WRFN

Ask a Self-Advocate

Autism in High School

Coffee Club Update

Coach's Corner

Did You Know...

Upcoming Community Events

What's in this issue?

In honour of World Autism Acceptance Day on April 2, we thought it would be a good idea to shed some light on being sensory-friendly. Many of our children struggle to cope with the amount of information to be processed in any given setting.  Public settings such as birthday parties and movies in particular can be very difficult to manage, and children may begin to withdraw in order to cope. If you are looking for ways to be more sensory-friendly we have a great article that provides important tips. 
Don't forget to check out the Upcoming Community Events section to learn about programs, workshops and much more! 
Have a wonderful month!

SEAC Updates

Waterloo Region District School Board - Special Education Advisory Update
Submitted by Carmen Sutherland

EQAO Results: We have 4% of students who do not take EQAO, because parents choose for students not to take it, because some students do not have cognitive ability, some are ESL students (refugees etc.). The goal is for everyone to take it, because, for one thing, everyone who does not take it counts as a “zero.” Overall, it seems reading and writing scores are better than math scores, this has allowed for some good collaboration in some areas to improve the scores, in some cases it might be because some students do not understand more abstract concepts.
Budget Update: Talked mostly about how the school generates revenues, every student carries with them  money for Special Education, even if they do not need it, there is actually more money “attached” to students in younger grades than older ones, some school boards and SEACs are trying to address this. Possibly next month our SEAC will decide whether we want to endorse any of these letters or create our own. Also talked about general funds, funds for technologies (we are able to spend technology money more wisely now, because a lot of technology is so much cheaper).
SEAC Town Hall: We were going to have a “town hall meeting” to get our thoughts down about some issues, but it was determined we should do it after the presentation at our next meeting because we will have more time to think.
We talked about how almost all congregated classes are moving to regular bell times. The challenge with getting to this point was finding enough teachers to cover the main teachers’ planning time.
The next SEAC meeting is Wednesday, April 12th from 7-9pm.

Waterloo Catholic District School Board - Special Education Advisory Update
Submitted by Christine Zaza

The focus of the March SEAC meeting was transition planning for students with special needs.  Tracy Fuschino, Community Transition Support Officer, for WCDSB described the collaborative, person-centred approach to transition planning at the WCDSB. Transition planning begins in grade 9 and involves connecting with community partners throughout high school. 
Shiona Hinde from Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) – Waterloo Region outlined the process of applying for DSO funding. The DSO is the point of access for adults who need to developmental services.  Ms. Hinde noted that all three criteria on the DSO application must be met in order to be considered eligible for DSO supports.  For this reason, many individuals with a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome are not eligible for DSO supports, despite their need for assistance with adaptive functioning. There was some discussion among SEAC members around this point.  To facilitate the transition to adulthood, Ms. Fuschino helps families with their DSO applications when students are 16-17 years old so that the process is well underway before the student reaches the age of eligibility (i.e., 18 years of age). 
Shelley Murphy gave an overview of Adults in Motion (AIM), a not for profit organization that provides adults with developmental disABILITIES the opportunity to participate in activities that promote physical, social, and emotional well-being and community involvement.  Although the program is for young adults, AIM also assists with transition planning for high school students.  Eligibility is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Will Candlish described work experience programs and co-op type placements available at KW Habilitation.  In particular, Mr. Candlish described the LEG UP! Program which provides education and skill building to increase skills in employability and independent living.
SEAC members received were informed that Kidsability, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Scotiabank have partnered to offer a half day event on Saturday, April 29 entitled “Students with Special Needs: High School to Higher Learning”.  See for details.
The next SEAC meeting will be on Wednesday, April 5 starting at 6:30 pm.

WRFN Fact! 

WRFN started with 8 families in 2009 and now supports over 1100 in Waterloo Region and Guelph Wellington. We continue to grow every day!

Being Sensory-Friendly

In honour of World Autism Acceptance Day on April 2, we thought it would be a good idea to shed some light on being sensory-friendly. Many of our children struggle to cope with the amount of information to be processed in any given setting.  Public settings such as birthday parties and movies in particular can be very difficult to manage, and children may begin to withdraw in order to cope.
Sensory-friendly refers to awareness of the immediate environment, and the ability to modify behaviours and physical space to accommodate a person with sensory needs.  Autism does not allow people to filter out information the same way neurotypical people do, which may result in inhibited communication and difficulty reading body language.  They often also need a lot of structure in their lives.  Sensory-friendly events and locations will take these needs into account and provide atmospheres  that will allow those with sensory needs to remain calm and enjoy their experiences.
SPELL (Structure – Positive – Empathy – Low arousal – Links) is a useful acronym for quickly referencing the factors in creating a supportive environment.
Structure reduces anxiety by allowing a person with autism to anticipate what is going to happen and what is expected of them.  This results in greater independence and makes the world a more predictable and safer place.
Positive approaches and expectations are required to establish and reinforce self-confidence.  Each person should play to their strengths and abilities in order to develop and grow.
Empathy is imperative to developing communication and reducing anxiety. Feeling understood and valued is a core need.
Low arousal refers to an environment designed to be calming.  Odors, clutter, sounds and lighting should all be addressed when designing a sensory-friendly space. A wide range of experiences are still encouraged, however should be implemented in a safe and planned way.
Links are our network.  Lines of communication should be as open as possible, and we need to remind ourselves that we are all working together to benefit our loved ones.
The more sensory-friendly we all are, the more inclusive we will all be to everyone.  Being sensory-friendly allows our children to flourish in a way they may not have previously.
Everyone benefits from sensory-friendly accommodation.  Our children experience personal growth and are able to process the information they are receiving with less anxiety.  They are able to experience more, and push their boundaries in a way they might not have been able to in an environment with more input.


What's Happening at WRFN  



Coming Soon to WRFN...
Ask A Self-Advocate

Do you need to look at a challenge you are facing with a new perspective? Would you like to bounce ideas off someone else who can relate to what you, or your child, is going through? Perhaps Cristina can help. As an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome who has mentoring and self-advocacy experience, Cristina would be happy to discuss your concerns and questions. While her personal experience is rooted in Autism Spectrum Disorder, she is happy to meet with anyone with special needs or exceptionalities, their families, or professional supports, to offer new insight and ideas to help you move forward.”
When: Mondays (excluding statutory holidays) from 2pm to 4pm beginning May 8th, 2017
Specific Dates: May 8, 15, 29, June 5, 12, 19, 26, July 10, 17, 24, 31, Aug 14, 21, 28
Where: The Family Centre, WRFN office
Program format: drop-in office hours with the option to reserve a 30 minute time slot in advance (please contact Katie at if you wish to book a specific date and time).

Autism in High School

Autism in High School” is a new web-based guide to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families as they navigate the transitions and common challenges of high school. This website was developed as a joint initiative between Extend-A-Family, Waterloo Region Family Network, members of the former Autism Services Waterloo Region, the Waterloo Region District School Board, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, and the University of Waterloo with generous funding from the Sifton Family Foundation.

WRFN Fact! 

WRFN oversees the ASD Collaborative. The ASD Collaborative is a unique group of autism service providers, family/self advocates, and other community partners working together to make Waterloo Region a better place for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to live. Rather than working in silos, the collaborative gets together regularly to discuss matters related to people living with ASD in our community, provide updates on local services, and identify gaps. This group makes a real difference in our community by engaging in face-to-face networking and collective problem-solving.

Coffee Club Update

Hi All,
Can you believe we are talking about April already? Here are the activities we will be doing while we hopefully enjoy the first rays of sun.
Wednesday, April 5, 7 to 9 P. M., Games on Tap (321 Weber St. N):
We will be playing board games together. If you order food, you do not have to pay the $2.50 entrance fee.
Monday, April 24, 7 to 9 P. M., The Studio (109 Ottawa Street, Unit B):
Come join Kimberley Jackson, for a “tour of Italy” cooking class. We will learn about different types pasta and how to make them, as well as eat a pasta dish! There will be no cost to this event.
It would be really helpful if you would RSVP to this event, so if you need to get ahold of me, please use the contact information below.
(519) 500-7153 (Cell Phone)

Coach's Corner

Coach: Do you see what I see?
Athlete: What do you see?
Coach: I see....athletes running, jumping, balancing, and much more!
At Guelph Active Start we like to have fun while being silly and active. Some of the athletes have completed multiple sessions of the program. As a coach, it's rewarding to see the tremendous growth that these athletes have made due to their amazing efforts. These athletes are constantly pushing themselves to improve their skills and to try new things.
I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish next.
~ Coach Kerry, Guelph

Did You Know April is... 
World Autism Acceptance Day - April 2nd
World Health Day - April 7th
FND Awareness Day - April 13th
World Hemophilia Day - April 17th
Parkinson's Awareness Month
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month
Rosacea Awareness Month
Be A Donor Month

Upcoming Events in the
Community & Beyond


From time to time, the Waterloo Region Family Network (WRFN) is asked to distribute information on behalf of third parties.  WRFN provides general information to self-advocates and families of children with special needs.  The information provided in this newsletter is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider.  WRFN is not responsible for any information or services provided by third parties.  You are urged to use independent judgement when considering any resource. 


Sensory-Friendly Virtual Reality Session
Ctrl V Waterloo is hosting a Sensory-Friendly Virtual Reality Session this coming Monday April 3rd. The arcade will have modified lighting and reduced sound, creating a welcoming environment for visitors with sensory sensitivities. Please RSVP and share with your friends and help us support our community.

Sensory-Friendly Play at the OEYC!
Ontario Early Years Centres in Waterloo Region will be honouring World Autism Acceptance Day by providing a sensory-friendly play environment on April 2nd. The following centres will be open from 10-2p.m:
Our Place Family Resource and Early Years Centre 
154 Gatewood Dr. Entrance B. Kitchener
YMCA Early Years Centre
161 Rogers St. Waterloo

Discovery Day at Conestoga College

Learn more about the accessible supports available for students with disabilities at Discovery Day. Hosted by Accessibility Services, Discovery Day will feature: A student discussion panel; Guided tours; Panel discussion about college services and supports; Information about PASS (a Summer Transition Program); An opportunity to have questions answered by staff 
May 24, 2017 from 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Location: Conestoga College, Doon Campus, 299 Doon Valley Drive,
Main Building, Blue Room
To Register:  Please RSVP by contacting Accessibility Services at 519-748-5220 ext. 3232 or TTY: 1-866-463-4484 (for the Deaf or hard of hearing).

Diversity Night at Hespeler Public School
Wednesday, April 12th
6 p.m. Booths and Passport Activity, 7 p.m. Talent and Fashion Show
Event Features: Prizes, Community Booths, Cultural Displays, Face Painting, Crafts, Poetry, Art, Music and Fashion

Family Centre Open House

Ever Wondered About The Family Centre? Join us at the Family Centre Open House on Thursday, April 20th, from 3:30 to 7 pm.
This event offers an opportunity to learn about the programs, activities and services offered at the Family Centre.
Open House activities will include:
– Guided tours of the building
– Information booths / displays of all of our partners
– Information booths of FACS Foundation, FACS departments, Family Centre projects (Resilience Project, Morning Glory Café, Community Hub)
– A formal program starting from 4:15 to 5:15 which will include smudging by our partner White Owl Native Ancestry Association, greetings, a presentation on the Resilience project and musical performance.

Light supper and activities for children will be provided. This is a free event that EVERYONE is welcome to attend.
Please RSVP to or
call Amanda at 519-576-0540 ext. 3495

Forum for Students With Special Needs: From High School to Higher Learning

 This interactive discussion will explore the realities of life on campus, how to prepare and what needs to change to improve the experience. Topics will include: Academic Supports, and Campus Life, Preparing for Post-Secondary.
Saturday April 29, 2017 at Lazaridis Hall Wilfrid Laurier University. 
Registration is required. 

Save the Date: I Choose Dignity Count Me In March
5th Annual Count Me In March in on Thursday June 8, 2017!
Time: 5pm – 8pm Where: Kitchener City Hall – Carl Zehr Square
Enjoy family-friendly activities, inspirational speakers, entertainment, snacks and refreshments, and a community march down King St.

To RSVP, please join the event page at: or email Becky at

Life Skills Day Program Open House
The Sunrise Therapeutic Riding and Learning Centre Life Skills day program offers diverse farm based activities for teens and adults with special needs. 
Attend the open house to see what the program is all about. Meet the life skills program staff, current participants and their families. 
Saturday, June 17th from 1-3p.m.
For more information visit   

Autism Ontario - Upcoming Events

Kids Bowling (Kitchener) - Come out to Victoria Bowl to enjoy a few games of bowling on Saturday, April 1st. Registration is required.  
Family Swimming (Guelph) - Families are invited to come out for an enjoyable swim at the West End Community Centre on April 8th. Preregistration is required. 
Indoor Playground (Guelph) - Families are invited to come out and enjoy Funmazing Play Centre in Guelph on April 9th from 9-10a.m! Registration is required.
Indoor Playground (Cambridge) - Come out and enjoy Playfit Kids Club in Cambridge on April 23 from 5-8p.m. Registration is required. 

Community Living Dances 2017

These dances are sponsored by KW Association for Community Living & City of Kitchener.

All dances are held at the Downtown Community Centre from 7-9:45pm.

April 21 – Spring is in the air (Flowers in your hair or shirts)
May 19 – Country & Western (Plaids and checks)
June 9 – Summers Coming (Bring on beach hats)

For details and a complete list of dates for 2017 please click here.

Sensory Friendly Screenings
Cineplex Entertainment in partnership with Autism Speaks Canada is delighted to present Sensory Friendly Screenings. This program provides a sensory friendly environment for individuals with autism spectrum disorder or anyone for whom the environment is suitable and their families to view new release films in theatres across the country.
Tickets are available the Tuesday before the screening. See for more information.  Upcoming films:
May 6th at 10am - Smurfs: The Lost Village

Trigator For Kids
The TriGator is a kids’ triathlon race with age-appropriate Swim-Bike-Run distances for children between the ages of 3-14.  
No previous experience is necessary, just come out and have fun.

The event will be held on Saturday, June 17th, 2017.  Online registration will take place on Saturday, March 4th at 10am.
For more information on TriGator, please see their website at


Cambridge Youth Soccer ACES Program in partnership with Special Olympics
Special Olympics Ontario, as part of our Partners In Play initiative, has partnered with Cambridge Youth Soccer to offer a new learn to play program in Cambridge – All Abilities Celebrated Soccer (ACES)!
 ACES is an integrated program designed for participants between the ages of 6 and 14 with intellectual and/or physical disabilities who are interested in learning more about the FUNdamentals physical literacy and soccer!
The program runs for one hour a week from May to June.
For more information please contact Chris ( or
Jon (

Summer Chill
A FREE camp for youth with FASD living in Waterloo Region.
Ages 13-18
July 10-14 OR Aug 28 -Sept 1 from 10am - 1pm
at Lutherwood (285 Benjamin Rd. Waterloo)
Spaces are limited.
For more information contact Leanne at 519-884-1666 ext. 2127 or

 Summer Respite Program at Aldaview

Aldaview Services in New Hamburg is offering a summer respite program. This program is for individuals with a developmental disability in grade 9 and up.
Activities include arts and crafts, music, cooking, games, social time community outings, and more! Fees are based on participants’ needs and activity costs.
Accessible by GRT.
Weekly sessions July 3 – August 25th.
Monday to Friday from 8:30-3.
Contact Mary Hartman at or 519-552-5172

Community Kitchen Skillshare
Food and culture have long been interconnected. Join your neighbours for a free six-week course, learning to prepare and cook healthy and family-friendly recipes.
Tuesdays, starting March 28th through to May 2nd
12:30pm – 2:30pm
Kitchener Market – Market Place Kitchen
Please RSVP to ensure your spot by emailing
Melissa at or
call 519-741-0190 x 265.

Maloney’s Musical Theatre Camp
If you are ten years or older and love to sing, dance and act OR always wanted to try, this camps for you!

Dates: July 3-7 and/or July 17-21st
Time: 9:30am to 4p.m.
Location: Registry Theatre (122 Frederick St. Kitchener)
Cost: $400 for one week, $750 for two weeks
Contact Lori Maloney to register or 519-501-6747

Upcoming Programs and Events at Sunbeam Centre
Sunbeam Centre offers a variety of Passport & Fee-for-Service opportunities (including Adult Respite and Day Program). To see their latest brochure please click here.

Upcoming programs include:
Saturday Outings – Enjoy a variety of community outings between 9:30-3p.m. on Saturdays.
Spa Evening Experience – Relax, enjoy and unwind. Wednesday evenings from 4-7p.m.
Dance Nights – Dates in April, May and June. 6:30-8:30p.m. 

Explore! A Christian Horizons Summer Program

Explore! is a week-long summer program (age 18 +). Find out what’s in your own backyard by learning what your library can do for you, exploring local parks, visiting a farmer’s market, experiencing a local cultural group, and visiting a local museum or historical site.

Find the details about this program here. Explore! Registration Form

Sports at the Park
To encourage healthy living and provide opportunities to build relationships with others in the community. Activities include: skating, beach volleyball and baseball/t-ball.
Thursdays from 10-12p.m. at Cambridge Sports Park 1001 Franklin Bld.
Learn more at:

Music Therapy Program for Children with ASD
There is a new music therapy program in Cambridge running on Thursday mornings and Wednesday afternoons from April - June.
These programs are for children age 3-5 and 6-12.
Please contact for details and registration information.

"aspace" brings together high school students wanting to meet peers who also have Aspergers or High Functioning autism. Outings and activities are chosen by participants, and every night is supported by trained university volunteers. 
The teens get together year-round, every Saturday night from 7-9pm.  Weeks will alternate with hanging out at the club and going out on the town! 
To register please see the following link:

Young Carers Peer Program
If you are a Young Carer between the age of 12 to 17 join us for an evening opportunity to connect with other young carers that share similar experiences.
No RVSP is required, just drop in! Young Carers are children, youth, and young adults who experience an alteration in our family role, as a result of another family member's exceptional need or unique family situation.  Click here to see the flyer.
To join text Julie @ 519‐501‐9736 or email Julie.
To learn more about young carers visit

Sensory Thursdays at SkyZone
Every Thursday from 4-5pm SkyZone will be offering a “Sensory Thursday” jumping time for jumpers with special needs. 
The music will be turned down and they will minimize distractions. 
$15 per jumper, with one free “chaperone” for support.  

See their webpage here.   

Our Place Family Resource and Early Years Centre 
Our Place has shared their April calendar.  Check out all the great programs they have running throughout the Region. 

Light House
PEEPS Cooking Crew (14+) - This is an opportunity to work toward cooking independence while building skills and engaging with peers.  Each participant will be responsible for completing a specific portion of our meal. Every week will be an opportunity to try something new. This program begins September 20, 2016.  Registration is ongoing.  
Check out the Program Menu.
PEEPS Friday Night Social Program! (14+) - Enjoy meeting new people, kicking back and having some fun! The program runs on the third Friday of every month from January to June, 6:30-8:30pm. See the flyer here.
To find out more about Light House visit their website or contact them at: or 226-338-2681

Open Space presented by Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region
Open Space is a weekly gathering that promotes inclusion within the community by getting people together at a cafe for food, fun and conversation. In addition to weekly coffee and conversation, with the support of facilitators, attendees plan special events such as Halloween parties, and Open Mic Nights. All are welcome regardless of ability, and you do not need to be supported by Extend-A-Family to attend.

For more information click here
Open Space in Waterloo is held at 
Games on Tap at 321 Weber Street N, Waterloo.
For more information, contact Matt Riehl by e-mail at EAF or call 519-741-0190 ext 300

Firefly Therapy Services - Spring Session

Eat, Cook and Mingle Tween.: This fun group is targeted for children in grades 7 and 8 who want to learn cooking skills and make some new friends while they do it.

Eat, Cook and Mingle! Teen: Come join us for an evening of Cooking, Eating and Mingling! This fun group is targeted for teens who want to learn cooking skills and make some new friends while they do it!

Swimming Lessons: Firefly Therapy Services swimming program provides an opportunity for children to learn important basic swimming skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Music Therapy: Each sessions is customized to each clients strength’s, challenges and treatment goals.

Playtime Academy Jr: Playtime Academy Jr. is a fun and engaging group for children aged 3-7 who require additional support learning how to interact and play appropriately with peers, and toys.

Playtime Academy: Playtime Academy is a fun and engaging group for children 4-7 who require additional support learning how to interact and play appropriate with their peers.
Social Crusaders: Social Crusaders introduces Superflex® and the Team of Unthinkables® to teach self-monitoring and social skills to learners. Ages 8-12.

Jr. Robotics: Jr. Robotics uses the WeDo Lego system to teach your child how to build and program their own creations! Ages 6-10.
For all programs, to register or for more information call 519-886-8886 or 1-888-372-2259, email, or visit


KidsAbility Resource Guide
The KidsAbility Program and Activity Guides for Spring-Summer is a great resource for local programming.
Birth to 6 Years Program & Activity Guide
6 Years & Up Program & Activity Guide 
Guides can also be found on the KidsAbility website at

The Resource Centre at KidsAbility

Here's a message from Matt at the Resource Centre, "The Resource Centre at KidsAbility exists for you. Anyone in our community is welcome to use our services. Our mission is to connect the community with resources, knowledge and support to help empower families, educators, children and youth with special needs, to realize their full potential. 

There is a Resource Centre at our Cambridge, Guelph, Kitchener and waterloo sites. We have many therapy-related games, toys, books, and equipment available for loan. Additionally, we have a therapy store on-site that individuals may purchase therapy aids to help with fine and gross motor skills, and sensory oral motor difficulties. To become a member of Resource Centre, visit any of our sites and asks reception! There is a $5 annual membership fee.

If you have any questions about KidsAbility’s services and resources, other community resources, require information on a topic or are interested in BoardMaker training, you can schedule an appointment to meet with Matt Seeley, Resource Centre Coordinator at any of our sites by email ( or phone (519-886-8886 x1415)."

Do you have Passport funding?
For free help and advice on:

-What is available to you
-Where to find supports to purchase
-How to spend your funding
Contact Becky Verdun, the Passport Community Developer for Waterloo Region,
at Developmental Services Resource Centre – 519-741-1121 ext. 2226,
or by email at

 FASD Caregiver Consultations
Families and service providers can have a chance to sit 1:1 with our FASD Project Coordinators to ask questions and learn more about:

- Diagnosis
- Financial Supports
- Parenting Strategies
- Recreational Opportunities
- Ideas for School
- Community Resources 

When: Second and Fourth Tuesday of the month. No appointment necessary. Just drop in.
Where:  99 Regina Waterloo Rm 208 (Waterloo Region Public Health) 
Find the flyer here.


Waterloo Region FASD Caregiver Support Group
The Waterloo Region FASD Caregiver Support Group gathers at Lutherwood (285 Benjamin Rd.) the second Wednesday of every month from 7-9 pm.
For more information please contact Karen Huber at

Preemie POWWR Chat and Play Groups
Join other moms and dads of children born prematurely, talk openly about your questions and concerns amongst a group who understands. Bring your children along for interaction with other preemies at different stages.

Upcoming Play Groups: April 8th
9:45-11:45 at Our Place Family Resource and Early Years Centre, Kitchener
Contact Carolyn at to learn about special events going on in the community and across Canada.

Community Mental Health Support Groups for Family & Friends
General Mental Health Support Group - 2nd Tuesday of the month from 6:30 - 8pm at Grand River Hospital (KW Site)
Addiction and Mental Health Support Group - 4th Tuesday of the month from 6:30-8pm at Grand River Hospital (Freeport Site)
Both groups are continuous and members can join anytime!
Please click here for more details. 

Woolwich Counselling Groups & Workshops
Understanding Depression & How to Support - An adult workshop to help people identify depression and how to provide support. Offered May 1st.
Click here for more information or call 519-669-8651

Protecting the Girl in Me— This group develops leadership skills and confidence to enable girls to protect themselves, develop healthy coping mechanisms and positive social connections. April 12-May17 See the Protecting the Girl in Me flyer.

Glad to Be Me – A fun-filled children’s program that promotes self-esteem & self-worth for children age 4-7.
See the Glad to Be Me flyer for a list of dates the class is being offered in 2016/2017.
No Need to Fret – This program provides successful strategies to help anxious children age 7-10 cope with fears and worries.
See the No Need to Fret flyer for a list of dates the program is being offered in 2016/2017.

There are also a variety of topics being covered in the Talk Series.  Please see the Talk Series flyer for details.

Tick Talk Tourette Group
 Anyone that is impacted by Tourette Syndrome (and associated disorders – OCD, ADHD, anxiety, sensory processing, etc.) is welcome.
The next meeting will be held on Thursday, April 27th, at Extend-A-Family
For details email  

Support Groups for Adults with ASD (19+) and Parents/Caregivers of Adults with ASD (19+)
Groups run separately, but are held at the same time.
Upcoming Date: April 13th
Time6:00pm to 8:00pm
Location: Extend-A-Family, 91 Moore Avenue, Kitchener
               Parking and Entrance at back of building
Cost: Free

The A-Team Waterloo Region

The A-Team is primarily run by individuals with Aspergers Syndrome, for individuals with Asperger's Syndrome, with some assistance from Waterloo Region Family Network. The goal is to create a safe and welcoming environment to meet fellow adults with Aspergers Syndrome, discuss topics of interest, share experiences, and embrace our neurological diversity.  This program is open for adults 19+ who are either diagnosed or self-identify with Asperger's Syndrome and who are seeking support.  The program welcomes individuals who are able to function at a vocational level.
Meeting Dates: April 20, May 18, June 15
Time: 7:30pm
Location: KW Habilitation  
RSVP is required to 
A-Team also has a new website! It has information about the group including a group description, FAQ page, and participant code of conduct.  Check it out here.

Home Caregiver Support Program
Supporting the Caregiver in your Time of Need

This program is designed to train, educate and peer mentor you, the non-professional caregiver, as you provide care for your loved one on their end-of-life journey.

Physical Needs

Emotional/Psychological Needs

Social Informational Needs

Spiritual Needs

For more information click on the flyer.

STROKE RECOVERY CANADA® a program of March of Dimes Canada

Linking Survivors with Survivors is a peer support initiative providing free hospital visits to stroke patients and their families and friends wishing to connect with fellow survivors.
For further information please contact:
Barbara Moore, Community Co-ordinator
1-866-380-0758 ext 263 or 519-579-5530 ext 263

APSGO - Association of Parent Support Groups in Ontario
Kitchener/Waterloo Chapter
APSGO is a non-profit, non-denominational group that meets once a week.  The group meets on Wednesday evenings from 7:15-8:45pm
at The Rock Spa, 396-B Victoria St. N. Kitchener.
APSGO works with parents of acting-out youth to offer support, strength and coping strategies on a wide range of issues.
Chapter Leader: Steve Keczem
519-888-1053 or 1-800-488-5666
For more information click here.


Conscious Care & Support Workshop with Peter Marks
Developing supporters and leaders to mindfully support individuals to “be all they can be”. This workshop is targeted to direct support people, caregivers and families members who support people with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Date/Time: Saturday May 6th from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: KidsAbility Pavillion at 500 Hallmark Dr. Waterloo
Please register at:

Presented by: KidsAbility, Extend-A-Family, Kerry’s Place, Canadian Mental Health Association

AROHA: What is it? How can it help?
Special guest Elizabeth Bloomfield from OAARSN (Ontario Adult Autism Research and Support Network) helps families understand what an AROHA
(also referred to as a microboard) is and how it can help build a good life for people with disabilities.
Find out if an AROHA is a good fit for your friend, family member,
or an individual you support.
Tuesday, April 25th from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
at The Family Centre, Room 2015
65 Hanson Avenue, Kitchener
Registration Required

FASD and Language
Melanie Gravel, Chief Speech and Language Pathologist, WRDSB and Carrie Osborne, Speech and Language Pathologist, WRDSB and a member of the Waterloo Region FASD Diagnostic Team will discuss how FASD translates into language concerns for individuals.
Friday, May 12th 1:30-3pm
at the Waterloo Region District School Board Office at 51 Ardelt Ave. Kitchener.
RSVP to Karen Huber at

Free Education Session: Planning for Your Health Care Future
Guest speaker Judith Wahl, Barrister and Solicitor, Wahl Elder Law
Topics Include: Advance Care Planning, Health Care Consent, DNR
Sessions will be held in Cambridge, Guelph and Waterloo.
Registration is required.

Demystifying FASD and other Neurobehavioral Conditions
Presented by Community Living Cambridge/SEEDS
Trying differently rather than harder. Developing strategies and accommodations that really work. Training for direct support professionals, caregivers and educators.
April 20th from 8:30-4p.m.
For details and registration information:

CADDAC Educational Events

Adolescent and Adult ADHD - A full day of presentations geared to adolescents, their parents, adults, their families and medical professionals. The workshop will take place on April 09, 2017, 9 am to 3:45 pm at the Japanese Canadian Cultural, Toronto.
Please see the Adolescent and Adult ADHD flyer for details.

ADHD Family Day World Congress: April 23, 2017 8:30am to 4:30 pm – This day of presentations is geared to parents, adults with ADHD and their families, educators, and allied medical professionals. Read More

Kids in Balance – A self-regulation group with OT Tara Embrey
Kids in Balance is a self-regulation group with OT Tara Embrey. Children will discover which tools help them feel calm and better cope with life’s ups and downs. Each child will leave with a personalized ‘tool box’ of strategies and a mindfulness CD.
Find out more about Kids in Balance here.

Building Community Capacity for Positive Youth Development
The Building Community Capacity for Positive Youth Development Training of Trainers will equip you with tools and strategies to effectively deliver workshops and development activities in your community.

April 5th and 6th, 2017. Cost: $350

Location: The Family Centre (65 Hanson Ave. Kitchener)

Details and registration information can be found here.

Special Education Parent Engagement Night

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board SEAC is inviting you to come learn about the different supports available to all (K-12) students with special needs.
When: April 20th, 6-8:30
Where: St. Mary's High School (1500 Block Line Road, Kitchener)
Click here for registration information and details.

FASD: Facts and Strategies
This presentation is designed to provide foundational knowledge essential when working with individuals who have been prenatally exposed to alcohol. Participants will gain insight and better understanding how FASD impacts every day life. Participants will also be equipped with practical strategies to support people with FASD.
Date: May 8th, 2017
Details here.

Exploring the Wonder of Learning Community of Practice
Join likeminded individuals in facilitated dialogue around the Reggio approach to early learning and experiences with the Wonder of Learning exhibit. This CoP provides continuous opportunities for collaborative learning that is strengthened by relationships and supported by a culture of reflection.
When: April 10, 6-8p.m.
Where: Our Place Family Resource and Early Years Centre

Exploring the Wonder of Learning Community of Practice flyer

Oh! The Place You'll Go!!
Exploring the transition from school life to adulthood you will learn what a transition plan is, how to create one, and what services and programs are available after high school. There are two dates to choose from, both cover the same material.

Tuesday, April 11th at St. Benedict's Catholic Secondary School or
Wednesday, April 12th at Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute
Details can be found here.

Sleep and Your New Baby
Get to know more about your baby's sleep cycle and how to respond.  A free session for parents of newborns from birth to 12 weeks of age.  You may bring a family member or friend for support.
Offered at your Ontario Early Years Centre in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.
Reserve your spot today at


Early Years Centres are changing. Share your ideas!
This survey is an opportunity to share with us what experiences you look for, for you and your child. Finding out what you need is part of the planning process for the Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres (what you may know now as Ontario Early Years Centres). Your input will be used to help plan for no-cost early years programs and services that best meets the needs of all families in Waterloo Region. 
The survey is available until April 4th

If Inclusion Means Everyone, Why Not Me?
ARCH Disability Law Centre, in partnership with Community Living Ontario, Inclusive Education Canada, the University of Western Ontario, and Brock University, is announcing the launch of new research titled “If Inclusion Means Everyone, Why Not Me?”. They are currently conducting a survey on the experiences of students with intellectual disabilities in Ontario’s public school system. The focus of this survey is on many of the current practices and barriers related to inclusive education.

The greater the participation in this survey, the more we will be able to illuminate the barriers to inclusion. 
The survey can be completed here:


University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science
The University of Waterloo School of Optomertry is looking for individuals with ASD between the ages of 18- 40 to participate in their computer-based tests to measure vision sensitivity toward moving objects. 
Your participation involves a one-time visit of approximately 2 hours.  
In appreciation for your time, you will receive $ 40.
 For more information about this study, or to volunteer for this study, please contact:
Asmaa Bakroon, Optometry Department and Vision Science,
Waterloo University at:
226 978 0424 or Email:

Research Opportunity
The Social Development Lab at the University of Waterloo is currently looking for children that are 7 years old to contribute to a study in which they are examining how children’s personalities influence the way they manage their attention and emotion in a variety of situations.  The purpose of this study is to examine temperament (i.e., shyness vs. sociability) as a key factor in understanding which types of strategies best support children’s abilities to self-regulate behaviour and emotion over time.  

You can read the Parent Information Letter here.

If you would like to participate, or are interested in learning more you can contact them by email or fill out the online form.

Sleep and neurodevelopmental disorders: Treatment barriers and facilitators

Did you know that between 50-­95% of children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) have behavioural sleep problems? Common NDDs include Attention­‐Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and Cerebral Palsy (CP). 
A study is being conducted through Dalhousie University to help researchers learn how to increase families' access to effective treatments for sleep problems in kids with neurodevelopmental disorders.  The study is looking to hear from parents that have children between the age of 4-12 and health care professionals.
To learn more about these opportunities please see the summary for parents or the summary for health care professionals.

Respite Workers and Parents Needed to Participate in Research Study
Who? Respite workers and parents/guardians of children with intellectual disabilities who are proficient in the English language and are over the age of 18. Note: Children must have received respite care within the past 12 months.

What? Participation in a 1-1.5 hour study involving questionnaires and a focus group. Focus groups may take place at the University of Guelph, in a location in the community, or within a respite organization’s facility.
Why? We would like to learn more about your thoughts and feedback regarding a Caregiver Pain Resource for children with intellectual disabilities. We want to develop a resource that facilitates communication between parents and respite
workers so that pain assessment and management of children in their care can be improved.

See the Recruitment Poster for more information or contact Lara Genik via phone: 519-824-4120 Ext 52342 or Email with any questions or to register.

Waterloo Region Family Network

Mailing address is:
65 Hanson Avenue
Kitchener, ON
N2C 2H6

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Waterloo Region Family Network · 65 Hanson Avenue · Kitchener, On N2C 2H6 · Canada

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