YEAR: 2009 CONTRIBUTED: $50,000
In the summer of 2010, VOCPRI contributed $50,000 towards creating new spaces for children and youth at two residential units – Thameswood and Unit 6. These units care for children and youth who have a developmental disability and are also experiencing emotional and/or behavioural challenges (“dual diagnosis”) that have not responded to intervention within the home or community environment.
The project created spaces with the goal of managing client behaviours least intrusively. Diversion areas (which look like a lot like playgrounds and playrooms) have lots of space and safe equipment to help children feel comfortable and safe, and help calm and prevent escalating behaviours when needed.
Construction began in late 2010, and was completed in 2011. The outdoor spaces were upgraded to include bike paths that could accommodate three-wheeled bikes, a covered picnic area, rock pile, swing-sets (with bucket seating and straps), tire swing, basketball court, sandbox, and specialized equipment such as an S-crawl tunnel, solo spinner, and multi-bouncer. Most of the equipment was recommended by therapists and clinicians as safe and therapeutic for the children and youth in these units. An indoor space was also created with an acoustic ceiling, dimmer switch for soft light, sound system for relaxing music, sensory items and fidget toys, a bean bag chair, floor mats, and a therapy ball.
Reports from staff who work on the unit are positive, as the spaces get used often, in all seasons.