If you suspect that your child may have special needs or be slow in his or her development; a good place to start is with your doctor or a public health nurse.
Another important source of support is Inclusion Powell River. Inclusion Powell River offers a number of important programs and supports for families including:
- Infant Development program which specializes in infant and early childhood development,
- Family Support Services for children with a life long developmental disability, or who have an autism spectrum disorder or who are on the At Home program,
- Early Intervention and School Aged Therapy
- Physiotherpy for ages 0-5
- Occupational therapy for ages 0-16
- Supported Child Development Program designed to assist families to access inclusive child development opportunities in community preschools or childcare settings.
For more information call (604-485-6077 x 231 or visit http://inclusionpr.ca/
Strong Start programmes are also a good place to find out how your child is progressing as they have trained Early Childhood Educators on staff. A programme that will give you access to child specialists is the Ages and Stages event, that takes place annually.
Once your child is in school , if there are concerns he/she can be assessed by a Special Education Teacher and if further assessment is required referred to a School Psychologist. Children with special needs will receive an Individual Education plan (IEP) that will guide teachers and parents in providing curriculum that meets the needs of your child.
The Family Friendly website can direct you to sources of information around child development that can be of assistance to you as your child moves through each stage of development. Some of these include BOND, Family Place in the Mall, and Powell River Child, Youth and Family Services.
Another source of support is the Powell River/Sunshine Coast Nursing Support Services and Powell River Community Health Centre which provides community-based pediatric medical services for children 0 to 19 years who have complex medical conditions such as diabetes, seizures, g-tubes etc at home, in schools and in the community. Services include nursing support services, care coordination and planning, health assessment to determine if delegated or direct care is required, development of Individualized Care Plans, and teaching/training and delegation for alternate care givers. The program also facilitates access to funding through the BC Government's At Home Program, referrals and health status monitoring and evaluation through ongoing contact with the family and school-based team. For additional information visit the website or visit the centre at the back of the Powell River hospital.