The Chestermere Regional Community Association (CRCA) will be piloting some ne recreation programs for children with special needs in the new year.
Recreation Program Coordinator Vicki Klinger said she was inspired to try the pilot programs after speaking with families of kids with special needs at previous Friday Night Friends Activity Nights held at the recreation centre.
The activity nights gave parents of special needs kids the opportunity to meet other parents in similar situations to their own, learn more about the programing offered in the community, and give their kids a chance to play in a safe and understanding environment.
From conversations at those nights, Klinger said she learned of the challenges facing parents and kids with special needs and the difficulty they can sometimes have in participating in standard programing.
She also realized that with no local programs, families were forced to travel into Calgary for programs tailored to kids with special needs.
“Starting to have those conversations and realizing we needed to address that need in the community,” she said.
After speaking with the instructors of the current CRCA programs, Klinger discovered she had instructors who were comfortable and experienced in working with kids with special needs ranging from Downs syndrome, to the Autism Spectrum, to developmental disabilities.
Starting in January there will be Skating, Gymnastics, Sportball, and swim programs for kids aged 3-6 years with special needs.
All registered kids will need to have an adult aide or caregiver with them for the class.
As a mom of a son with autism, Sarah Passfield, who also works at the CRCA, said she thinks these new pilot programs are a fantastic addition to the community.
“I wish it had been available when he was that age,” she said.
She said that most of the programs that her son participates in have been in Calgary, often in the northwest.
“Which is quite something when you have to travel from here,” she said.
For more information on either the January Friday Night Friends activity night or the pilot recreation programs at the CRCA e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.