BY LOUISE KINROSS
Finding the right spot
Internet searches, accessibility guides and word-of-mouth
networking are all useful tools
Photo by Mark O’Neill/Toronto Sun.
Finding activities for children with disabilities — especially complex ones — can be challenging.
That’s where Barb Anthony’s expertise at Bloorview Kids Rehab comes in. Barb helps about 500 families a year pinpoint recreation programs that meet their children’s interests and needs. Whether it’s municipal Parks and Recreation, camp, school or private programs, Barb is on top of where children with disabilities are experiencing success and works with a network of community contacts to promote inclusion.
“There are hundreds of places in Ontario that are accessible — cottages, playgrounds, camps, parks, trails, theatres, amusement parks, restaurants, community recreation centres — yet each may have different levels or types of accessibility,” Barb says.
If you’re looking for accessible cottages, playgrounds or fishing, an internet search is a good place to start, Barb says (e.g., accessible + cottages + Ontario).
Check with your city or town to see if it has its own accessibility guide, listing what's offered. “When working with a family, I also contact municipal recreationists or a recreation therapist in their area to find out what’s available locally,” Barb says.
“There are programs that are unlisted, seasonal or new — so I rely on contacts to get ideas and current information,” Barb says.
“Some programs say they’re accessible, when in fact, they’re not — or they may have attitudinal barriers, such as not allowing sledges on the ice,” Barb says. “This is when we provide advocacy to help support families and to work together with recreation service providers to promote accessibility and inclusion.”
Call Barb at 416 425 6220, ext. 3542 to set up a consultation with you and your child in Bloorview’s Active Living Centre.