A SAFE Solution
The South Asian Family Empowerment (SAFE) project, a collaborative effort funded by United Way York Region and in partnership with East Metro Youth Services, is now well underway with a number of speakers from an array of backgrounds and professions coming in to share their expertise in all things ASD. Our first SAFE session hosted Brita Vetyvelu, a Developmental Service Worker and mother of a child with ASD, who presented on Diet and Nutrition. Ms. Vetyvelu was able to provide families with a culturally sensitive approach to incoroporating certain diets and nutritional practices into South Asian cuisine while sharing the struggles she faced in employing these practices for her child. Professionals working in the field of ASD within community agencies have been brought in to inform families of all the resources available to them. Suhanya Ketheeswaran, Mental Health & Diversity Coordinator at Griffin Centre presented a workshop on both services available to adolescents transitioning to adulthood as well as providing vital tips on preparing for this transition to parents. Other memorable workshops included a Social Skills Training, which was facilitated by two accredited ABA therapists who have worked directly with program participants and accordingly brought to the workshop a wealth of personal experience coupled with professional expertise.
Yet, nowhere has parents’ engagement been so prominent than the Communicative Device Workshop put on by Lain, a representative from Bridges Canada, a company specializing in assistive technology products for both schools and parents. Lain was able to not only explain how the devices worked—he took the time to explain how they would specifically benefit each of the children whose parents were present for this workshop. In order to complement SAFE workshops, bi-weekly discussions have been taking place to both gauge the topics/ areas of interest for parents and also to further discuss what parents took away from each presentation. So from Yoga workshops that taught parents de-stressing techniques to presentations on how assisted technology and nutrition can positively impact children with ASD, the SAFE workshops are becoming increasingly popular with parents and siblings alike.
With another five workshops left in the series, more parents are welcome to attend, space permitting; for further information or to RSVP for the next SAFE session please contact [email protected]