It’s been six months since Ontario declared a state of emergency to prevent the spread of COVID-19. During that time, we heard first-hand from people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their caregivers that it’s been challenging to get the support they need. Many individuals with IDD rely on in-person, therapeutic supports, which were temporarily lost during the pandemic.
We were quick to recognize this concern, and in May 2020, we started offering our high-quality Wellness Services online to current or past clients, families, caregivers and the broader community. Our Wellness Events include parenting in behavioural techniques, teacher strategies, communication strategies, stress management, mental and physical health, and service navigation. Our goal is to address pandemic-related developmental and mental health needs, providing a better quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, caregivers and teachers.
Wellness Events are designed to build awareness and enhance knowledge, skills and resiliency in our target population.
Thanks to the United Way Greater Toronto and the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, we will expand our array of online services. Over the next eight months, we will provide 120 online Wellness Events; 120 learning activities on topics of nutrition, community, and learning at home; 48 online social activities including caregiver coffee chats, mindfulness sessions, and Zumba classes; and 109 learning aids in forms of videos and a new resource library on our website.
Participants have regularly shared feedback about how our events have helped:
“What I enjoyed most about the webinars was that they were lucid, easy to understand, and presented by knowledgeable specialists who gave us practical and easy-to-use advice. I would absolutely recommend online Wellness Events to others; more of us should take advantage of these informative webinars!”Rose, Wellness Event participant
“The Resource Clinic that I joined was a one-to-one clinic. It was an amazing time as the entire hour was used for focusing on questions and answers of my child’s case. It was very informative and time well spent!”Judy, Wellness Event Participant
About United Way Greater Toronto
As the largest non-government funder of community services in the GTA, United Way Greater Toronto reinforces a crucial community safety net. United Way’s network of agencies and initiatives in neighbourhoods across Peel, Toronto and York Region works to ensure that everyone has access to the programs and services they need to thrive today. Mobilizing the network and other community support, United Way tackles #UNIGNORABLE issues linked to poverty. United Way’s work is rooted in ground-breaking research, strategic leadership, local advocacy and cross-sectoral partnerships committed to building lasting solutions to the GTA’s greatest challenges.