Inclusion in Practice: Encouraging Young Professionals
By: Keenan O'Donoghue
Ever since I was a kid, I have been
obsessed with words; I love how they categorize, characterize, and provide
context to how people interpret the world around them. This lifelong passion is
likely why I am pursuing a communications degree with minors in political
science and history at Wilfrid Laurier University. I come from a journalism
background with a passion for pursuing jobs that care deeply about turning
words into actions. I want my words to provide clarity and benefit and start
meaningful conversations on issues and advocacy for minority populations. This
passion, combined with having the disability of cerebral palsy, has fueled my
desire to work with a service organization.
KidsAbility was always a massive part
of my childhood; as an organization, it helped develop my understanding of
disability and what I was capable of in my life. I often spent multiple days a
week in physio, occupational and speech therapy sessions. These appointments
were critical, but what truly stayed with me in the years that followed was the
people and the organizational values they embodied in our daily interactions. A
culture of acceptance and inclusion; a culture that remains integral to the
framework of building relationships, regardless of time.
Inclusivity is a part of every modern
business or non-profit organization, but inclusion may not always be embraced
beyond a policy statement. At KidsAbility, inclusion is in every interaction I
have with my co-workers. Here, actions speak louder than words. Whether it is meeting new co-workers and
immediately striking up a friendly conversation with ease or with my
supervisors who instill open two-way conversation, it has been inclusive in all
From my interview to my current work
in Client Support, I have experienced acceptance and encouragement to continue
establishing myself as a young professional. The constant communication
afforded to me by my colleagues has been vital to my productivity and comfort
as I continue to gain experience.
My supervisor, Nancy Hughey-Becker,
encouraged me to explore my passion for advocacy and communication. From my
initial interview, she understood my commitment to administrative duties and my
ambition to diversify and hone professional communication skills. Recently my
role expanded into contributing to the KidsAbility Communication department.
The Communication team welcomes my assistance with enthusiasm, taking the time
to understand my goals and how to engage my skillsets for mutual benefit to
advance my communications career. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity.
KidsAbility makes the extra effort to
engage with students personally to adapt the job to meet their passions and
interests. By taking time to nurture student employees, the staff personifies a
tangible commitment to inclusion. Even my service dog Betty has become quite
the daily star, with everyone checking in with me before engaging with her and
making sure she is well-hydrated and loved. We have both genuinely benefited
from this summer experience!
I’ve created many professional
relationships with personable coworkers and established a growing and
significant set of job skills during my work-term at KidsAbility. The acceptance
and connections I have received from this placement will undoubtedly surpass
the end of my contract this summer.
Moving from Awareness to Acceptance
By: Emily Shaw
Autism Acceptance Month kicked off this year with World Autism Day, celebrated April 2, to help spread awareness and teach acceptance about autism. In true KidsAbility fashion, staff wore every colour under the rainbow to celebrate and honour the uniqueness and beauty of autistic people. However, autism acceptance and awareness is not something relegated to a single day, it’s part of a larger conversation that happens throughout the entire month of April and beyond.
Read more....April 2021 Blog Post
Rockin' The Socks: Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day
By: Emily Shaw
World Down Syndrome Day occurs every year on March 21, 3/21, to celebrate the third multiplication of the 21st chromosome. KidsAbility talks with Arisa Alexanian, a volunteer for Waterloo Wellington Down Syndrome Society (WWDSS), about her work with the society and how everyone can show their support for the event.
Read more....March 2021 Blog Post
Finding Accessible Sports, Activities and Recreation in Your Community
By: Emily Shaw
February is National Therapeutic Recreation Awareness Month first beginning in 1996, by the Canadian Recreation Association (CTRA).
KidsAbility’s Recreation Therapists work with children to focus on helping children develop skills to participate in community recreation.
Read more...February Blog Post 2021
Reading To Your Child Can Have Positive Impacts On Their Speech Development
By Emily Shaw
Family Literacy Day is an annual event that’s celebrated every January 27th. It was started in 1999 to raise awareness about the importance of reading together as a family, encouraging speech-language skills in children from a young age. This year’s theme is Travel the World Together.
KidsAbility talks with Norma Williams, a Speech-Language Pathologist, on how she found herself working in her field, helping children say their first words, and tips on how to encourage reading in your home.
Read more....January 2021 Blog Post
A Thank-You to Our Community in A Most Uncommon Year
By Linda Kenny
If you Google “big events in 2020” your search will return a very long and rather surprising list of everything that transpired around the globe this past year. It was such an uncommon year, that Oxford Dictionary had to amend their “Word of the Year” release to an entire report because there was no single word that could define this past year. For a year that left us speechless at times, it is ironic that it takes an entire report to define 2020.
Read more....December 2020 Blog Post
#KidsTakeover: My Journey
By Megan Sherwin
I don’t think I would be where I am or who I am today without all the opportunities I received from the sport and recreational services available in my community. Through these experiences I’ve realized that one of my drives and passion is to show everyone that people like me can do anything that we want to do, all we need is an opportunity to show you.
Read more....November 2020 Blog Post