Discovering that a baby has a developmental delay or disability can be difficult for parents, but the Infant Development Program (IDP) at Sunshine Coast Community Services Society (SCCSS) is there to help.
“The challenges of parenting in general are huge, so the challenges of parenting a child with a developmental delay or diagnosed disability are multiplied,” said Patrice Pollack, program director of child development services at SCCSS.
She said, through the IDP program, parents of children from birth to age three are able to connect with others who are going through the same challenges, learn ways to encourage their child’s development and connect to a variety of support services available.
The free program, sponsored by Ministry of Children and Family Development, is family centred so parents have the opportunity to decide what kind of support they want to access. Referrals to the program can come from a public health nurse, doctor or community professional.
IDP services may include home visits to support parents, developmental assessments, play groups, parent workshops or support groups, therapy consultation, a toy and book-lending library and assistance in transitioning children into a preschool or day care program.
SCCSS sees about 32 families accessing IDP at any given time. Recently dozens of people came out to celebrate the difference the program has made on the Coast during the past 25 years.
On July 4 under sunny skies, parents, children and IDP supporters gathered to acknowledge the importance of the program and honour the woman who has run it for 23 of the 25 years its been on the Coast.
Merrily Corder has helped countless families over the years as the IDP co-ordinator, and her retirement was recognized along with the 25th anniversary.
“Twenty three years is a long time of having supported families. The respect that the community has for her was demonstrated in the huge number of people who came out to the event,” Pollack said.
Liz Hennessey, who has been working alongside Corder, will now take on the IDP co-ordinator role.
To find out more about IDP or one of the many other programs offered by SCCSS, go to www.sccss.ca or call 604-885-5881.