CLAUDIA SYTSMA The Standard
Mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 8th. Your attendance and purchase of items, at any of Durham Region's McDonalds restaurants, will see proceeds shared with GrandviewKids, located in Oshawa.
McDonalds-Durham has pledged $500,000 in funding, to assist with the construction of a new building for GrandviewKids, allowing them to increase their ability to provide programs and services for more children and youth with physical, communication and developmental needs.
The Standard Newspaper recently spoke with David McCallum and his wife Melanie Calhoun, whose son Everett, aged 7, currently receives therapeutic support at GrandviewKids. Everett was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, he is non-verbal, and has severe to profound hearing loss.
David said, “We moved to Port Perry in November 2016, and we were pleasantly surprised at how quickly Everett received services from GrandviewKids. We weren't sure what to expect, but, from the first visit there, they gave us hope that our child has a future, which meant so much to us as a family.”
Melanie agreed, and said, “The remarkable piece was that at his first visit, the therapists there recognized, in Everett, his brightness and cognitive ability, and his potential to shine, if given the means to communicate. The therapists then set him up for the first time with a head switch. (a device that responds to head movement as a means to communicate in response to images presented) Right now, Everett is in the beginning stages of using the device, and he can now answer yes and no questions, and is beginning to understand that he can make a choice. The therapist then had him playing (with the head switch on) in front of the computer, and he rocked it. He got 80% accuracy in the selections that he was making. It was just amazing... We haven't been able to communicate and understand what Everett was trying to tell us before, and to be able to unlock that (barrier) is exactly what we want and what we need.”
Along with this, Everett also receives: physiotherapy, including gentle stretching exercises which Everett thoroughly enjoys; occupational therapy; and he attends the Campbell Children's School full time, which is a Kindergarten curriculum provided in three classrooms, located within GrandviewKids.
David continued, “This organization has taken us leaps and bounds towards helping Everett meet his potential. Everett has had therapy in their indoor pool, they bring in therapy dogs, therapy ponies, and they have even assisting us with getting a new wheelchair, and a standing frame. All the staff know Everett, and every time we come in, everyone asks about him. We are not just a number there, we feel like we are their priority.”
Supports for families do not end with direct therapy for the children, but also include extensive resource information and advice for the whole family. GrandviewKids provides consultation with a social worker for parents, and facilitates support groups for parents and siblings. David and Melanie also shared, the staff at GrandviewKids have been a wealth of knowledge on how to attain equipment and products, and how to access funding sources, to assist them with the sometimes high costs of attaining the appropriate equipment and supplies for Everett, through organizations such as Easter Seals and March of Dimes.
Melanie said, “The staff are always on the lookout for us, on what we can get to help our child do better. They always seem to find a way to get things done; it seems like nothing is out of their reach.”
GrandviewKids has also created an online Facebook page, called Grandview OPS (Online Parent Support) which David and Melanie say they look at every day. This online group, made up of parents and guardians, whose children attend GrandviewKids, provides peer support, tips and advice, and connection to others to build supportive relationships and empower families.
David closed our interview by saying with a smile, “We are so grateful that we made this move to Durham Region, and that we are now part of GrandviewKids. It was the best decision that we've made, and we can't see ourselves living anywhere else, for at least the next 20 years.”
Ginger Jackson, owner of the Uxbridge and Port Perry McDonald's restaurants said, “McDonalds is so pleased to be able to support GrandviewKids. This is a wonderful organization that changes the lives of so many!”
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