Class of West K looks to make a difference through play

The new centre for learning and academic support services to children who have been diagnosed with autism or ADHD

Class of West K looks to make a difference through play

After traveling to West Kelowna from across the pond, Donna Toy has assembled her “dream team” and opened a centre for learning and academic support services for children who have been diagnosed with autism and ADHD.

Toy, who has been involved in education and childcare for 18 years, opened the doors of Class of West K in September at the Westside Alliance Church.

“If I am supporting a child, I want to support the whole family. I don’t want the child to be just dropped at the door… I want to know the whole family,” said Toy. “Parents feel very isolated (when their child has autism or ADHD) and I have had parents break down and say, ‘I don’t know how to cope,’ and we sit together and say, ‘Let’s do this together.’”

Collaborating with the parents is what Toy says sets Class of West K a part from centres providing similar services.

“I cannot isolate the child and only give them the strategies. I have brought the parents into it and that has made such a difference to us.”

RELATED: B.C. advocacy groups aim for new federal autism funding

After working in facilities where she sat across a table with the children she worked with, it was important for her to create a more natural environment where the kids could have fun while they learn.

“We are very much play-based – our therapy is provided through play and very social. We are set up as a classroom, but there is an awful lot of social interaction, very often a cross over, often (they) don’t have social skills a lot of time helping them with counselling and socializing and helping them with social skills. We follow applied behaviour analysis (ABA) – there’s a whole science behind it. The traditional settings that are table based and sitting across the table from a child, it’s not natural (for them),” Toy said.

RELATED: Hero campaign raises $24,000 for Okanagan non-profits

Applied behaviour analysis is a discipline that focuses on improving social skills, communication, reading and academics, as well as fine motor dexterity, hygiene, grooming, domestic capabilities, punctuality and job commerce. ABA has been shown to significantly improve behaviours and skills while decreasing the need for special services according to Psychology Today.

Toy has gone into several homes to work with the parents to create routines and boundaries for their child to be successful.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts brain development and affects communication, creates difficulty in social interactions, restricts activities and interests and increases the tendency to repeat specific patterns of behaviour according to Autism Canada.

Toy and her team tailor their time with the children to ensure that they are receiving the attention they need.

“I had this one little boy who was having a really rough time. The only way to talk to him was to talk about science. We changed his program so we had more science involved and he did so much better.”

Toy and her team bring in other professionals such as language therapists and occupational therapists to give the extra help to children in need. She has also begun working with students at Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary School that have shown a special interest in mental health and complete their volunteer hours at Class of West K.

For more information about Class of West K visit their website www.classofwestk.org

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@sydneyrmorton
sydney.morton@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Class of West K looks to make a difference through play

Just Posted

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
One of two Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreaks declared over

One outbreak declared over after two deaths, seven cases; another outbreak remains ongoing in the hospital

The current B.C. Men’s curling champions, Rick Sawatsky (Vernon and now living and working in Kelowna, from left), Andrew Nerpin (Kelowna), Jim Cotter (Vernon) and Steve Laycock (Saskatoon), have yet to find the win column at the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary. (Black Press - file photo)
B.C. looking for Brier victory

Team B.C. falls to 0-2 Sunday, March 7, with 10-7 loss to Wild Card 1 entry from Manitoba

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna care home after 12 cases noted

Two staff members and 10 residents at Cottonwoods Care Centre have tested positive for COVID-19

Kelowna’s Trinity Church will serve as one of the Central Okanagan’s three COVID-19 vaccination clinics. (Trinity Church Kelowna/Instagram)
Three COVID-19 vaccination clinics to open in the Central Okanagan

The first will open at Kelowna’s Trinity Church on March 15

Five Kelowna writers are featured in an anthology that launched in time for International Women's Day. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
International Women’s Day: Book exploring fears features Kelowna writers

The book has launched in time for International Women’s Day

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Vernon’s Zach Anderson, who now resides in Perth, Australia, has raised awareness and more than $6,400 for the #SickNotWeak charity in regards to depression in honour of friend Justin Mitchell’s late father, Glenn, the former managing editor of the Morning Star. Anderson finished an event in Perth called 4 x 4 x 48, which meant running four miles every four hours for 48 hours. (Zach Anderson photo)
Okanagan runner completes grueling Aussie event in honour of friend’s father

Zach Anderson of Vernon raised funds and depression awareness in memory of former newspaper editor

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a personal support worker at the Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Ottawa. Doctors in Alberta have signed an open letter asking for prioritized vaccination of health-care staff who work directly with patients on dedicated COVID-19 units. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID vaccines for seniors in B.C.: Here’s how to sign up

Seniors 90+, Indigenous seniors 65+ and Indigenous Elders can book starting March 8

There is no true picture of how many youth in Penticton are experiencing housing instability or true homelessness. The Foundry and the city of Penticton are trying to find that out.
How many youth are experiencing homelessness in Penticton?

Foundry Penticton and the City have partnered on a youth survey open until March 13

Chelsea Ishizuka was borned and raised in Penticton but has now moved to Japan. When she found out there was a popular restaurant there named after Penticton, she had to go check it out. Here she is with the owner (right). (Facebook)
Popular restaurant in Japan named after city of Penticton

A Pentictonite now living in Tokyo discovered the eatery and the history behind its name

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read