With an increase in young families moving to the Sea to Sky region, and an increase in the rate of children being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, SSCS has received more referrals from families waitlisted with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Community therapists who work with children with autism make requests on behalf of their clients, and families continue to apply directly with SSCS for respite funding. The demand for these funds is the highest it has ever been.
Children with additional needs put increased demands on a family and often require one of the parents to stay home and not work. The stress of the child’s needs coupled with financial stressors play a significant role in the challenges a family faces. Over the last 14 years, Sea to Sky Community Services provides funding to 277 families in the region.
This past year, when many respite services were paused during the pandemic, the generous grant of $23,000 from the John Gordon Foundation, provided 49 parents of children with additional needs were able to:
- hire child care
- send a child to a child care setting where they may not have been able to afford so before
- practice favourite self-care activities
- use therapeutic activities such as horseback riding or swimming
- attend training to learn more about their child’s needs
The response from families has been overwhelmingly appreciative and grateful for the funds and support, further validating that not only do our communities need the support but that when the funding is available and used, the community is stronger because of it.
“Heck, respite means the world to all of us! The pandemic is hard….really hard….but when you have special needs kiddos, it can feel even harder. We struggle to find time to ourselves on a normal day but adding in a pandemic just makes us (that’s a huge generalization, I know) feel even more excluded. I’m grateful. Thank you.”
-Recipient family of respite support