Autism centre impressive

It was a pleasure and fun to be a part of the opening of the new Autism wing at the Child Development Centre on May 20.

Editor:

It was a pleasure and fun to be a part of the opening of the new Autism wing at the Child Development Centre on May 20.

In 1972 there were 11 to 13 children with autism waiting to visit a “house,” an old house, in downtown Vancouver for their schooling.

Meanwhile, at Merry Andrew Day Care Centre in Courtenay, B.C., the caregivers cared for a little boy with autism two days a week. We worked one-on-one for an hour and a half at a time.

We were in a semi-darkened quiet room. None of the teachers at the school in 1972 had training in autism so we created our own programs. We used music and reading. The music soothed and the oral reading intrigued. The program worked!

The new centre in Williams Lake is beautifully designed with not too many lines on the floor of the big room, as too many can be distracting.

The small child-sized toilet makes potty training easy. The bathtub is ideal for bathing of little children. Water and water play is soothing and relaxing to some children.

The self-help skills of learning how to wash, dry, sort and fold clothes is present with the new washer and dryer.

The classroom is in the shade when the sun is at its highest at noon. The large picture windows bring the outdoors inside and there are still many natural trees on the property. The kitchen is impressive with its recycling bins for learning how to separate tins, cardboard, plastics and compost.

The pots, pans, cutlery, all have their proper height and place for the children to learn cooking and foods. There are two stoves and ovens for teaching. The kitchen is white and bright! There is a quiet one-on-one room. The flat screen TV in the big room is connected to systems out of town and used to help with teaching staff and programs.

The Cariboo-Chilcotin is now blessed with a state-of-the-art Autism Centre for children and families. A far cry from the “old house” in downtown Vancouver (1972) which housed/schooled the only 11 to 13 children in all of B.C. diagnosed with autism.

One of the first Child Development Centres in Williams Lake was located on B.C. Rail property near the tracks in a long wooden building in 1976.

Eileen Hewitt was on the board then. Eileen is 97 years old now.

Laurie Wannop was the supervisor, Irene Mathers, assistant, Barb Chapman, director. Barb’s husband Bud worked for B.C. Rail. Irene is retired in Armstrong with her husband, John (Wayne) who also worked for B.C. Rail.

A special thank-you-to chant: for leading the music and movement song. We Are Family!

Chris Hornby

Williams Lake

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Avalanche Canada has issued a special avalanche warning for the Cariboo Mountains effective through the weekend. (Wes Gregg photo)
The city of Williams Lake has received provincial funding for a proposed boardwalk connecting the RC Cotton Trail to the River Valley Recreational Trail. (City of Williams Lake rough visualization of the proposal)
$550,000 provincial funding announced for Williams Lake boardwalk trail

The boardwalk will connect the new RC Cotton Trail to the river valley

100 Mile RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen. (Patrick Davies photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
100 Mile RCMP investigate theft at airport hangar, 88 other incidents

Incident is one of 89 calls attended by police from Feb. 17 to 23.

Williams Lake city council is interested in acquiring the former Poplar Glade School property on Eleventh Avenue. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake city council sets sights on two former school properties

School District said there is a five-step process for property disposal

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Bryan Adams with his mom, Jane Adams Clark, at Lions Gate Hospital. (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams gives shout out to North Shore hospital

The singer’s mom was in Lions Gate Hospital for care

Shoppers will be able to get their hands on signed bottles of Ryan Reynolds’ new gin at B.C. liquor stores this summer. (Twitter/Ryan Reynolds)
Ryan Reynold’s new Aviation Gin autographed and coming to B.C. stores

This summer 100 bottles will be available to the public for purchase across five B.C. liquor stores

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

(Delta Police Department photo)
B.C. youth calls 911 after accruing $7K in online gaming charges

‘Police spoke with the student about appropriate times to call 911’

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

Most Read