Promoting inclusion and mental well-being | Promouvoir l’inclusion et le mieux-être mental
Inspirations Articles

Creating calm at the Y

Montreal - Saturday, November 18, 2023

by Sue Montgomery

A new eight-week program in the arts, physical activity or swimming is being planned for January at the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA for neurodiverse children or those with physical challenges.

For children with diverse cognitive abilities, Inclusion Art uses a wide range of materials, like paper, rice, pasta, paint and glue to help children express themselves creatively. Elena Arranz, an art therapist from Spain who will be leading the classes, said that while creating, children can often be encouraged to express themselves about different aspects of their lives, like their families.“It also helps them learn to control their emotions,” she said.

The art program, for children aged 6-12, will run every Sunday afternoons, from 3:30 to 5 pm.

Arranz plans to have six children in the program, so participants have to be independent. But for those who need a bit of extra help, a parent can accompany their child.

The Thrive and Swim program is scheduled to take place on Sundays for children 5 to 12 years old, with a ratio of three children to one instructor. The course will include cooperative games and activities in a gym, followed by pool fun, all while promoting friendship and skill development under the guidance of experienced facilitators.

The cost for the programs is $354, and financial aid is possible.

“We want to provide a welcoming, engaging and inclusive environ- ment,” said Rajneet Dhesi, Program and Inclusion coordinator.

Another excellent activity for young adults 14 years and older with developmental disabilities is United Explorers, a social and recreational program already underway this fall. Participants have the opportunity to engage in sports, swim- ming, sensory integration activities and organized outings, all within a supportive environment. The Saturday program is led by experienced organizers who specialize in working with the neurodiverse community.

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