More than 15% of our total yearly information requests are inquiries about support services and social connections. For that reason, we aim to connect our members to services that bring the autism community together. AutismBC Highlights promotes services and programs that are available in British Columbia. Our Program Ambassador, Jake Anthony, sat down with Groups Coordinator Jessica Decoeur (later updated with Rhonda Bowman) to learn more about the online social groups offered by our friends at Recreational Respite.
What is Recreational Respite?
Recreation Respite is an organization that supports individuals across Canada with disabilities and mental health challenges. We support all age groups, in different capacities, through varying supports and services.
What services do you provide in BC? Do they all take place online, or are some offered in person?
Our virtual programming is the most accessible service we provide in BC. We offer virtual group programs on a monthly basis for both the children and youth demographic, as well as young adults. Using Zoom, individuals can participate in various activities, which change from month to month on our calendars. Those are definitely our most accessible programs. With that being said, we also offer one-to-one support, both in-home and in-community in BC. We have active team members out in BC in many areas such as Mission, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Surrey, Langley, Squamish, and Prince George. So, if any individuals in your area are looking for one-to-one support in those regions, then we would absolutely be able to have a conversation and look at getting them set up. In terms of one-to-one support, if there are individuals who are really just looking for someone to talk to, we do offer that support in a virtual space as well. So, not just at home or in community, although some people are seeking that in-person connection. Sometimes it might just be a matter of jumping onto a Zoom call and that’s absolutely something that our recreational therapists offer here.
Recreational Respite’s: first VIRTUAL small group
What age groups do you serve?
All age groups. There’s really no age limit to how old an individual is that we can provide support to.
When do new monthly schedules come out?
When our calendar is released to the public, the main way the public can gain access to them on a monthly basis is through our newsletter. We send out an e-blast to everyone who is registered with our newsletter. These have links to our virtual calendars, as well as registration forms, program descriptions, and any information you may need. Typically, people interested in participating in our programs will have anywhere between two weeks, give or take, to be able to input their registration and then they’ll get a confirmation email.
We are a direct service provider for children on the spectrum in BC. So, using personal autism funding is one way to cover the cost of our support and services. Also, in BC we work with Jordan’s Principle, CYSN, At Home, and, lastly, CKNW Foundation. Anybody can go onto our website under the “Find Us” tab and look at any province that they’re located in to be able to find more information about the specific supports and funding they can receive within their province. Because it does vary from province to province, as well as on a case-by-case basis. We always recommend people take a look at that part of our website and consult their individual caseworker to see if our supports are something that can be funded for you and your family.
Do you have young adult programs or autistic adult programs?
In terms of young adults, we have our monthly calendar, which is catered to the young adult demographic. Individuals can join that at their leisure. There’s no real requirement because you joined one month, that you have to join for the next. You can join one program or you can join all of the programs, so it’s very adaptable to meet your needs and schedules, as well as your interests. We also have a series of programs on our calendar which are related to movement and creativity – which could be anything from music to visual arts and creative writing. We have lots of different games programs which are very popular, as well as our skill-building workshops, which vary on a month-to-month basis. They are a series of programs that allow individuals to learn different skill sets (professional boundaries, soft skills, etc.). All of these programs are catered to our young adult community, and there really is no specific age at which these individuals can get involved. We’re always looking for new and exciting members to join us. We have team members with such varying skill sets all across Canada and we’re always open to setting up new niche programs.
A workshop on creating inclusive camp experiences for Free Spirit Tours in Collingwood!
Where can we learn more about Recreational Respite, the groups you run, and other information?
Government Agencies MCFD: Ministry of Children & Family Development CYSN: Children & Youth with Support Needs (branch of MCFD) AIS: Autism Information Services CLBC: Community Living BC MoH: Ministry […]