How We Can Help
Ensemble is a parent directed resource for families that have children with disabilities and for related professionals. We offer a continuum of support from the beginning of diagnosis through to adulthood.
Hospital to Home
When a child is diagnosed with a disability or extraordinary health care concern, it is an overwhelming and confusing time for parents. Families need assurance that the design of health care delivery systems is flexible, accessible and responsive to families. It is important that hospital staff and physicians make referrals to parent to parent support. A partnership with the local Pediatric Health Team will enhance the support provided to families.
Early Diagnosis & Home to Pre-School
After the diagnosis of their child parents experience an array of emotions. Early intervention treatment is often a part of plan of care and the family is introduced to an assortment of professionals.
Pre-School or Home to Elementary School
When it is time for a child to go to elementary school, both the parent and the child go through a transition process. This can be an anxious time and it is important for families to have a good understanding of their role on the education team.
This is a time when families will request information and/or support as it arises. Families may need assistance with school team meetings, ideas for communicating issues of concern, ideas for helping their child adjust to changes, helping others to recognize their child's strengths and so on. This is a very important time to encourage positive relationships and effective conflict resolution.
High School to Adulthood
The transition from high school to adulthood is a very important time to offer support and information to students and families. It is important that planning for adult life begin early and information should be provided in a simple and easy to understand manner.
Our Success Stories
Ensemble has been a leader for raising awareness about the lives of people who have disabilities and their families. Through innovative and original projects and public presentations, Ensemble has worked to strengthen the lives of individuals, families, professionals and the general public.
Here are some of their success stories:
Special Kids, Special Parents
A team of 7 moms, each having a similar story to tell and a shared experience to relate, wrote a book called "Special Kids, Special Parents". The book is a resource for families that have a child who has a disability. The intention of our book is to share what we have learned with others and for them to be comforted in knowing that they are not alone and that there is always someone to turn to for support.
Crossing Cultural Barriers
Crossing Cultural Barriers was designed to reach out to families of various cultures that have children who have disabilities in order to provide information, parent to parent support and decrease the feeling of isolation. A resource booklet for families, translated into 5 languages was distributed throughout the community. Mentor parents from a variety of cultures are role models to other families. Another objective of the project was to raise cultural competence and support staff and organizations by developing and implementing a training workshop designed to offer practical information and strategies for respectful and positive relationships.
This project has given Ensemble a multicultural focus and approach.
Create a File
This is one of the newer projects produced in partnership with Children First, a local Children's Mental Health organization that supports children up to age 6.
When a child is diagnosed with a disability or extraordinary health care need, a considerable amount of paperwork is provided to families. Create a File is a two-part workshop that offers a tool for families to organize all of the reports and documents given to them. More importantly, it is a way to initiate informal networking among families.
The Ensemble team was awarded a funding grant from Community Living Ontario to conduct information sessions to strengthen families' ability to navigate the education system. So far, the team has travelled to Parry Sound, Ontario and Peterborough, Ontario.
Engaging People in Building Inclusive Communities
Lead by Ensemble, Windsor/Essex County is one in 5 communities in Ontario chosen to participate in Ontario's Community Inclusion Project for "Engaging People in Building Inclusive Communities". This is part of a national inclusion initiative funded by Human Resources and Social Development Canada and we are extremely honoured to have been chosen to take part in this very exciting activity.
The purpose of the initiative is to build a more inclusive community that embraces people of all ages with regard to all ethnic cultures, all levels of income, urban centers, rural areas, life experiences, sexual diversity, abilities, religious beliefs and multiple faiths. The vision for the project is to have a community that understands the importance of inclusion for all people and is respectful, welcoming, supportive and responsive to everyone.
Ring of Friendship
The Ring of Friendship project was conducted in partnership by Community Living Essex County, Ensemble, local school boards and was funded by United Way Centraide Windsor Essex County. The project was created to demonstrate the value of inclusion and friendship for all students through a series of stories and artworks created by elementary students in local schools in Essex County.
A sample of the project was displayed in the community at Devonshire Mall and on the bulletin board of one of the local grocery stores. This kind of project is remarkable for the creative way it highlights and celebrates the strengths of all children.
Created in partnership with Community Living Essex County, Include Me is a video that told the stories of four individuals: a child included in elementary school, a teenager who enjoyed membership in a community club, a young woman who worked in a busy coffee shop and an Italian woman who volunteered at a local long-term care facility.
The premier showing of the video was at a local theatre, with over 150 guests. The video went on to gain international recognition as an effective way to raise awareness and inspire the possibilities and opportunities f or people who have disabilities.