Recognizing Black History Month & Black Futures Month

In February, we invite you to join us in celebrating Black History Month and Black Futures Month! This is an opportunity to reflect on the contributions, experiences and stories of self-identified Black clients, staff and caregivers within the developmental services sector. Although this month generates increased attention, every day is an opportunity to acknowledge our history, educate yourself on the impacts of racism, celebrate Black communities and work towards building a more positive future.

Throughout February, Surrey Place will recognize the unique challenges Black people in our community continue to face, specifically racism and discrimination. The developmental disabilities sector must be proactive in its efforts to not only acknowledge Black History Month and Black Futures Month, but also work towards removing systemic barriers and taking meaningful action towards creating equitable services and opportunities for everyone.

Our commitment to fostering an inclusive environment for self-identified Black people must be ongoing and woven into the fabric of our daily practice. Since embarking on our Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility journey two years ago, we have continued making consistent strides to better support the Black staff, clients, caregivers, and community we serve. It is imperative to drive positive change, and that starts within Surrey Place.

Our Anti-Racism: Black Cultural Awareness Consulting and Training Group has continued to be instrumental in providing direction and feedback to Surrey Place on best practices for developing anti-racism work at all levels. Their ongoing efforts have been invaluable in providing education, resources and support to ensure that everyone at Surrey Place can access and benefit from an equitable, diverse, inclusive and accessible environment. In addition, the group has been critical in helping to foster a culture of understanding, respect, and appreciation as we continue to strive towards creating an anti-racist organizational culture.

In order to ensure that Black voices are represented at Surrey Place, members of the Anti-Racism: Black Cultural Awareness and Training Group joined the EDIA working group. Over the past year, this group has worked diligently to apply for various grants, arrange conference presentations and create partnerships to support the community engagement and education objectives.

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Anti-Racism: Black Cultural Awareness Consulting and Training Group for their significant efforts in this important work. The members are more than just Surrey Place staff – they are advocates for Black clients, caregivers, families and the community as a whole. Without their guidance, the progress we have made toward anti-racism work would not have been possible. The group members include Alicia Gonen, Angela Gonzales, Ashley Bruce-Rose, Jessica Regis, Joanne Marcano (Group Chair), Kim Daniel, Sharon Shelton, Tricia Deroche and YG.

Throughout the month, we will be sharing resources, events and engaging social media content related to Black History Month and Black Futures Month. Each of us has an important role to play in driving change. I encourage everyone to review the resources below or attend an event to learn more.


Terri Hewitt, Ph.D., C.Psych.

By 2 months

Has your baby had their hearing screened? YES NO

By 6 months

Does the child?

Startle in response to loud noises? YES NO
Turn to where a sound is coming from? YES NO
Make different cries for different needs (hungry, tired)? YES NO
Watch your face as you talk? YES NO
Smile/laugh in response to your smiles and laughs? YES NO
Imitate coughs or other sounds such as ah, eh, buh YES NO

By 9 months

Does the child?

Respond to their name? YES NO
Respond to the telephone ringing or a knock at the door? YES NO
Understand being told no? YES NO
Get what they want through using gestures (reaching to be picked up)? YES NO
Play social games with you (Peek-a-Boo)? YES NO
Enjoy being around people? YES NO
Babble and repeat sounds such as babababa or duhduhduh? YES NO

By 12 months

Does the child?

Follow simple one-step directions (sit down)? YES NO
Look across the room to a toy when adult points at it? YES NO
Consistently use three to five words? YES NO
Use gestures to communicate (waves hi/bye, shakes head for no)? YES NO
Get your attention using sounds, gestures and pointing while looking at your eyes? YES NO
Bring you toys to show you? YES NO
Perform for social attention and praise? YES NO
Combine lots of sounds together as though talking (abada baduh abee)? YES NO
Show an interest in simple picture books? YES NO

By 18 months

Does the child?

Understand the meaning of in and out, off and on? YES NO
Point to more than 2 body parts when asked? YES NO
Use at least 20 words consistently? YES NO
Respond with words or gestures to simple questions (Where's teddy? What's that?)? YES NO
Demonstrate some pretend play with toys (gives teddy bear a drink, pretends a bowl is a hat)? YES NO
Make at least four different consonant sounds (p ,b, m, n, d, g, w, h)? YES NO
Enjoy being read to and sharing simple books with you? YES NO
Point to pictures using one finger? YES NO

By 2 years

Does the child?

Follow two-step directions (Go find your teddy bear and show it to Grandma.)? YES NO
Use 100 to 150 words? YES NO
Use at least two pronouns (you, me, mine)? YES NO
Consistently combine two to four words in short phrases (Daddy hat. Truck go down.)? YES NO
Enjoy being around other children? YES NO
Begin to offer toys to other children and imitate other children's actions and words? YES NO
Use words that are understood by others 50 to 60 per cent of the time? YES NO
Form words or sounds easily and without effort? YES NO
Hold books the right way up and turn the pages? YES NO
Read to stuffed animals or toys? YES NO
Scribble with crayons? YES NO

By 30 months

Does the child?

Understand the concepts of size (big/little) and quantity (a little/a lot, more)? YES NO
Use some adult grammar (two cookies, bird flying, I jumped)? YES NO
Use over 350 words? YES NO
Use action words such as run, spill, fall? YES NO
Participate in some turn-taking activities with peers, using both words and toys? YES NO
Demonstrate concern when another child is hurt or sad? YES NO
Combine several actions in play (puts blocks in the train and drives the train, drops the blocks off.)? YES NO
Put sounds at the beginning of most words? YES NO
Use words with two or more syllables or beats (ba-na-na, com-pu-ter, a-pple)? YES NO
Recognize familiar logos and signs involving print (Stop sign)? YES NO
Remember and understand familiar stories? YES NO

By 3 years

Does the child?

Understand who, what, where and why questions? YES NO
Create long sentences using five to eight words? YES NO
Talk about past events (trip to grandparents house, day at child care)? YES NO
Tell simple stories? YES NO
Show affection for favourite playmates? YES NO
Engage in multi-step pretend play (pretending to cook a meal, repair a car)? YES NO
Talk in a way that most people outside of the family understand what she/he is saying most of the time? YES NO
Have an understanding of the function of print (menus, lists, signs)? YES NO
Show interest in, and awareness of, rhyming words? YES NO
Read to stuffed animals or toys? YES NO
Scribble with crayons? YES NO

By 4 years

Does the child?

Follow directions involving three or more steps (First get some paper, then draw a picture and give it to Mommy)? YES NO
Use adult type grammar? YES NO
Tell stories with a beginning, middle and end? YES NO
Talk to try and solve problems with adults and with other children? YES NO
Show increasingly complex imaginary play? YES NO
Talk in a way that is understood by strangers almost all the time? YES NO
Generate simple rhymes (cat-bat)? YES NO
Match some letters with their sounds (letter b says buh, letter t says tuh)? YES NO