Welcoming a new baby is significant for any family, but when a child is also diagnosed with special health needs, navigating new parenthood can seem overwhelming. It’s what makes the Comox Valley Child Development Association’s annual Children’s Telethon all the more meaningful for local families – and vital.
“The support that we’ve received from the CVCDA has been a tremendous resource for us,” says Natasha, mom to five-year-old Sophia.
Five-year-old Sophia has Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and autism, and has been receiving support from the Comox Valley Child Development Association since birth, first through their Infant Development Program, and currently through the association’s Autism Program (TAP).
“It was very overwhelming looking at all of the extra needs that came with Sophia’s diagnosis of Trisomy 21, and having all of our therapists in one location was one less thing to worry about,” Natasha says. “Our Infant Development Consultant was so helpful for us in the early years. Jennifer would do home-visits providing infant massage, guiding us through Sophia’s developmental stages and setting us up with a variety of community and Island-wide resources.”
Sophia and her family are this year’s Ambassador Family for the annual Children’s Telethon – not only the face on the poster but showcasing the association’s work and its importance to local families.
Since 1974, CVCDA has served children, youth and adults with diverse abilities and their families, with 17 programs operating under the CVCDA umbrella along with a number of community partnerships and support groups.
“Our programming for Sophia is related to communication, daily living skills and regulation and safety skills, because those were her family’s priorities,” says Kaitlin Brunt, Behaviour Consultant with the autism program. “Working on regulation and daily living skills also falls into the realm of Occupational Therapy, and TAP and the Occupational Therapists here share information and ideas for the development of the skills needed to work toward these goals.”
CVCDA programs rely on various forms of funding, and while they have generous support through contracts and grants, the need is still greater than they are able to provide. Funds raised through the annual telethon provide a crucial bridge to close the gap – whether creating greater accessibility, building new therapy spaces or adding additional services – they’re important to the sustainability of the CVCDA.
The 47th Annual Children’s Telethon is a FREE event for the whole family to experience a live Shaw Spotlight TV broadcast, enjoy live performances, raffles, special guests, kids activities and be part of the fundraising spirit of the Comox Valley.
It takes place on Sunday, Nov. 6, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay.