Are you looking for specific resources for your child? We hope that our Resource Directory will help you find what you are looking for. You will want to use the “Select Category” drop down menu below to narrow down your search, or you can use the Search box. Our resources are categorized by region as well (North Okanagan, Central Okanagan, and South Okanagan) so that you can find resources close to where you live.
Please note: If you encounter any listing that is out of date, we would love to know about it. Please contact us. Also if you know about a resource not yet listed in our database, you can add a listing to our directory here.
The City of Penticton will provide Access Pass status to persons with a permanent cognitive or
physical disability. To be eligible, the individual must meet the eligibility requirements below
and submit the Application Form. The program is not designed for persons who are in a short
term rehabilitation program.
Submit a referral letter from an established agency, association or group home whose mandate
is to support persons with a permanent disability. The referral letter must state the person’s
name, phone number, mailing address, date of birth, and disability status. The referral letter
must be on agency letterhead and provide a contact name and phone number. Referral letters
from physicians and other medical professionals will not be accepted.
The approval of the Recreation Manager or designate
325 Power St Penticton BC
Sibshops acknowledge that being the brother or sister of a person with special needs is for some a good thing, others a not-so-good thing, and for many, somewhere in-between. They reflect a belief that brothers and sisters have much to offer one another — if they are given a chance. Sibshops are a spirited mix of new games (designed to be unique, off-beat, and appealing to a wide ability range), new friends, and discussion activities.
The Sibshop curriculum is used throughout the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Guatemala, Turkey, and Argentina.
Creative Therapy Support Work
Mental Health Support Work
We present our range of Special Needs Toys, from mobile Multi-Sensory, to Swings, Trampolines and other Sensory Integration kit, Switches, Rewards and small Sensory toys..
Our Mission is to provide individuals with intellectual disabilities opportunities to enrich their lives and celebrate personal achievement through positive sport experiences.
FUNdamentals – students aged 7-11 years old
Sport Start Basketball-students aged 12-19 years old
Sport Start Club Fit-students aged 12-19 years old
Sport Start Curling-students aged 12-19 years old
The following sport programs are offered by Special Olympics Kelowna.
10 Pin Bowling
5 Pin Bowling
Cross Country Skiing
Track and Field
PO Box 22078 Capri Centre Kelowna BC V1Y 9N9
To provide individuals with an intellectual disability opportunities to enhance their lives and celebrate personal achievement through positive sport experiences.
About Special Olympics British Columbia
Special Olympics BC is a non-profit organization providing individuals with an intellectual disability the opportunity to enhance their life and celebrate personal achievement through positive sport experiences. We do more than just provide an opportunity to develop fitness, sport and motor skills. We provide a venue where athletes compete against their personal best, and that of others, while facilitating an environment where every participant gains self-esteem that will carry into their daily lives.
Special Olympics BC is the only provincial society in BC focused solely on providing sport programs for individuals with an intellectual disability. Special Olympics BC is a registered charitable organization, incorporated in 1980. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, Special Olympics BC employs eleven full-time and one part-time staff to administer and co-ordinate the activities of over 3,500 athletes and 2,400 volunteers in 51 communities from every region of the province.
The Infant Development Program is a home based, community orientated program for children who are either at risk for developmental delay or who have identified delays.
Betty Teigen is a Registered Nurse and has been an Infant Development Consultant since 1980. Betty has accessed professional development in Prematurity, Down Syndrome, Facilitating Speech and Language Development, Family Support, Typical and Atypical Growth and Development, Attachment as well as many other areas. Betty has been a certified Infant Massage Instructor since 2007.
Anke Purnell has worked at the Child Development Centre since 2007 as an Infant Development Consultant. Anke has training in Early childhood Education and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Applied Linguistics. She worked as a preschool teacher for over 13 years and managed a preschool program for 5 years. Anke had the opportunity to work for a preschool in Australia that served the needs of children with hearing loss. Anke enjoys working with children and families and finds the work very rewarding.
Nikki graduated from Okanagan University College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1998. She has been working with children in a variety of settings since 1995. Programs included After-school Programs; School Districts in Kelowna and Calgary; Preschool Program for Children with Autism and Intensive Behaviour Intervention Programs. Nikki has been working at the COCDA since 2005 and has stated that “It has been a wonderful learning experience working so closely with such knowledgeable professionals.”
Karen Hartley has worked with children and families for the past thirty two years. Her post secondary education is in Early Childhood Education and Psychology. Karen’s work experience includes ten years as a Child Development Program Supervisor, 2 years as a College Instructor for the Early Childhood Development Program and the last 20 years as an Early Intervention/Infant Development Consultant. She has also worked with deaf children and adults and continue to be part of the Early Hearing Program team at the COCDA. Karen’s passion continues to be, working with families who have children birth to three years old.
Karin Hesketh has her Masters degree in Child and Family Studies from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. Karin lived and worked in several different countries, including the Netherlands, United States, Luxembourg and Indonesia. She has worked as an Infant Development Consultant at the COCDA since July 2009.
The Autism Program provides behaviour intervention for children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental delays.
Guifre has been working with children with autism in Intensive Behaviour Intervention programs since 1998. He has extensive experience implementing and developing programs through his work with Autism Partnership, Renfrew Educational Services and the COCDA. In addition to skills with traditional ABA programming, Guifre also has experience with the DIR model (Floortime). Guifre is currently working on his Masters of Education.
Henrietta has been offering behaviour services for over 30 years. Her expertise has been accumulated from education, supervision and hands-on experience. Her detailed profile can be viewed at Autism qualified Service Provider ACTBC. Henrietta has trained over 800 Behaviour therapist and provides Quality Assurance for several agencies. She strongly believes that if a child is not learning then we have to change the way we are teaching.
Stacey Jmaeff graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Stacey returned to school and in 2010 graduated with Distinction from Grant MacEwan College, Edmonton, Alberta with a Diploma in Speech Language Pathology Assistant. Stacey education in Speech is a definite asset to the Autism Program.
Heather Maschek’s experience and education as an Early Childhood Educator as well as her training in the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis gives Heather a strong background to work with the children in the Autism Department. She seizes every opportunity to implement these skills when working directly with the children.
Erin Campbell recently joined the Autism team in a consultative position. The COCDA received funding from BC Gaming to fund this position and is excited to have Erin’s expertise as a Speech Pathologist as part of the Autism Team. Erin is also part of our Speech Early Intervention Team and you will find her profile under that department.
The Supported Child Development Program (SCD) is intended for children who require extra support to be included in a community early child care centre.
Margaret Blair-Cook has been employed with the Central Okanagan Child Development Association since 1993. Prior to that, Margaret had volunteered in the Integrated Preschool at the Centre. Her volunteer position put her on a new life path. Margaret returned to school and received her diploma in Early Childhood Education. She has worked in a young parents program with infants and toddlers, and in 1993 started at the Children’s Centre Preschool at the COCDA where she discovered that exceptional children were her first love. After the opportunity of acting as supervisor in the preschool for three years, Margaret entered the Supported Child Development Program and has been a Supported Child Development Consultant since 1996.
Cheryl Fralick has dedicated her career to working with children and their families for the past 30 years – 7 of which have been with the COCDA. A diploma graduate of the Early Childhood Education with Special Needs and Infant Toddler, she has supervised in various integrated settings such as; daycare, preschool, and toddler programs. She also worked as a Behaviour Interventionist in the COCDA Autism Program. Cheryl has worked as a Supported Child Development Consultant since 2005. She considers her work a privilege and enjoys the continuous learning growth, laughter and challenges that come with working with children and their families.
Terri Russell has been employed with the Central Okanagan Child Development Association since 200. Prior to the Supported Child Development Consultant position, Terri was a Supported Child Development Program Assistant for three years. Terri graduated with her Early Childhood Certificate in 1996 from the University College of the Fraser Valley and has experience working in and operating family daycare, preschool, group daycare and out of school care. Terri graduated in 2009 from the Okanagan University of British Columbia with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work with a Child Welfare Specialization.
Jackie holds a Diploma in Early Childhood Education with Special Needs and Infant Toddler and a Degree in Psychology with minor in Sociology. She has worked with children and family in this community for over 20 years in various positions: daycare/preschool teacher, respite provider, supported child development assistant, Thompson Okanagan Autism program, behavioural intervention, School District #23 – teach assistant, and consultant for Special Needs Adoption. Jackie currently hold two positions at the COCDA – Case Manager Consultant and Supported Child Care Development Consultant
Occupational Therapy addresses function and promotes independence through skill development, and adaptation of activities, equipment or the environment.
Suzanne Lauzon’s career as an Occupational Therapist (OT) began in Ontario after graduating from the University of Western Ontario. Suzanne has worked in the field of paediatrics with children from birth to nineteen years of age. Prior to joining the COCDA in 2001, Suzanne worked at a variety of children’s hospitals and school districts in five provinces.
Diana Kriel graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University Stellenbosch (South Africa) in 1982 and obtained Canadian Occupational Therapy Certification in 1994, American Board certification in May 2002. She has 26 years paediatric experience in evaluating and treating children with a variety of neurological and developmental disabilities such as: down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, asperger syndrome, sensory processing disorders, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. International experience provided flexibility as a therapist, with client centred practice and providing therapy in a variety of settings, (schools, preschools, playground, home, daycare, and sensory integration clinic) She has worked as a member of a transdisciplinary team, consulting to the child and family and providing community education on sensory integration and autism. Diana is certified in Sensory Integration testing, interpretation and treatment. Diana is a certified infant massage instructor. Infant development, promoting parent/infant bonding, and preventive therapy has been her primary focus while working with medically fragile infants in the United States.
Lourine graduated as an Occupational therapist in 2003 in South Africa. She has focused most of her working career on children with developmental and learning difficulties. Lourine has gained experience abroad and locally working with children in hospitals, special needs school environments and private practice. She aims to meet the needs of the children and the families that she works with through intervention with the child and those involved in his/her life. She has worked with a diverse group of children with diagnoses ranging from Autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, visually impaired, quadriplegia, hemiplegia, paraplegia, Down Syndrome and Premature babies.
Speech Language Therapy
Speech Language Pathologists strive to help each child become the best communicative partner he or she can be.
Deni Skutshek is a Speech Language Pathologist with over 25 years of experience. She has an undergraduate degree from University of Northern Colorado in Deaf Education and a masters in Speech Language Pathology from San Diego State University. Her areas of interest are hearing loss, sign language, cued speech and incorporating music into intervention.
Karen graduated with a Master’s of speech-Language Pathology at the University of Alberta in 2011. Wanting to work with preschool aged children, Karen worked at a Child Development Centre in Northwest British Columbia for a year before joining the COCDA team in 2012. Karen is interested in a wide variety of communication areas and is pleased to have the opportunity to work with her colleagues, families and children she serves at the COCDA.
Erin obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Victoria and went on to complete the Therapist Assistant Diploma (studies in physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech-language therapy) at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton, AB. After working as a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant for the Capital Health Region, she completed her Masters of Speech-Language Pathology degree at the University of Alberta. Erin joined the COCDA team in 2005 to provide early intervention services and is a Registered Autism Service Provider, as well as a current member of BCASLPA, CASLPA and CSHHPBC.
Diane Gretzinger has been working with the COCDA as a Speech language Pathologist since 1996. During the past few years, Diane’s specific areas of expertise and interest have included Apraxia, Hearing Impairment and Augmentative Communication for children at risk for developing intelligible verbal language. Diane is also a designated service provider for the Early Hearing Intervention Program at the COCDA.
Lucy Ruthven is a Registered Speech Language Pathology (M.Sc) with sixteen years of clinical experience providing assessment and intervention services to young children with a wide spectrum of communication needs, including children with complex medical, physical and developmental disabilities. She is a member of CASLPA, BCCASLPA and RASP. She is the Speech Pathologist on the Interdisciplinary CDBC Assessment Team (ASD stream).
Sarah joined the COCDA Speech Department in June 2013. Sarah is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist. For the past 15 years Sarah has been dedicated to working with children, specifically young children with Autism spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the fields of education, recreation, research and Speech-Language Pathology services.
Physical Therapists use their knowledge of anatomy, neurology and physiology to promote physical development, mobility, and functional independence.
Carol Peter received her Bachelor of Physiotherapy degree from the University of Manitoba. Moved to Kelowna in 1990 and has had the pleasure of working with the children and families at the COCDA since 1991.
Kim MacLeod graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy from Queen’s University in 1994. Earlier in her career she greatly enjoyed working with adults with strokes and brain injuries. Prior to her current position at the COCDA she worked at BC’s Children’s Hospital from 1995 until 1999. She is particularly interested in helping children with neurological impairment.
Tracey graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Physiotherapy (B.H.Sc. P.T.) Tracey has been with the COCDA since 1998. Tracey is the head physiotherapist for the Hippo-therapy Program.
Since convocating from the University of Saskatchewan in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy, Lanna has worked in a variety of settings including all hospital units, home care, and private clinics in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Germany. Paediatric experience includes NICU, hospital and outpatient paediatrics and has now worked at the COCDA since 2007. Lanna has Advanced Level 2 Hippo-therapy and Therapeutic Riding Certification and works with the HATRC Program
The COCDA provides family counselling for clients and families.
Heather Pattison graduated with a Masters Degree in Psychology (Antioch University, Seattle WA) and a Bachelors Degree in Sociology (Simon Fraser University). Heather has a vast experience in children and family counselling. Heather uses various approaches and interventions to tailor a treatment plan to meet each child’s academic, social, emotional and behavioural goals.
Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding is a unique type of program where a horse is used to deliver physio and occupational therapy.
1546 Bernard Ave Kelowna BC V1Y 6R9
The Stepping Stones Counselling Group is a team of specialized therapists, social workers and practitioners. We are dedicated to providing nurturing , creative and flexible healing environments and experiences. We provide services to children of all ages, teens, adults, couples and families throughout the Okanagan region.
1893 Ethel St. Kelowna BC V1Y 2Z3
#203/204 – 2411 Hwy 6 Park Plaza Vernon BC
101 – 3590 Airport Road Penticton BC
Does your child struggle to be organized, complete assignments, begin tasks without procrastination, remember information, follow directions, remain focused, be flexible, or finish tasks without giving up? If so, StudySpot Okanagan can be of help! StudySpot Okanagan is now offering an 8 week Executive Skills program for students in Grades 4 – 7. They also offer executive and academic skills coaching for students in middle, high and post-secondary school.
For more information about the services StudySpot offers, as well as an introduction to Susan Noble, please refer to the attached documents, visit their website at http://www.studyspotokanagan.ca, their Instagram or Facebook pages, or contact Susan Noble at 250 470-8275.
StudySpot is an approved service provider and can accept BC autism funding.
The Teen Transition Planning System was established to provide a comprehensive training and support mechanism for families and professionals throughout BC. It began as a transition committee in Langley, BC with our first workshop in person centred planning, and has quickly grown into a network of coordinated and interconnected systems and services spanning throughout BC. Below are the building blocks that we have discovered (so far) that are essential in building Transition Ready communities:
PARENTS: We hope you will find this system safe, informative, and encouraging in your journey with your teen.
PROFESSIONALS: We hope you will find that this system builds and extends the great work you already do in supporting families in your community.
The Canucks Autism Network (CAN)
Provides year-round, innovative, high quality sports, recreational, social and employment related programs for individuals and families living with autism, while building awareness and capacity through community networks across British Columbia.
101-2020 Yukon Street Vancouver BC V5Y 3N8
The Penticton Centre for Exceptional Learning (Penticton EXCEL) was created by a group of parents who wanted more for their children. More than what public schools could offer. More than what they could offer by home-schooling. A learning centre designed and staffed specifically for students with high functioning autism. A sensory-sensitive centre where students could augment their Ministry of Education curriculum with life skills, social skills, and executive function skills. A centre without bullies. A centre where being “unique” is “normal”.
This type of alternative education for students with autism is not new, but it is new to the South Okanagan. There are excellent private learning centres in which students on the Autism Spectrum are thriving: our children deserve the chance to thrive too.
Penticton EXCEL is operated by The Penticton Centre for Exceptional Learning Society (an incorporated non-profit society).
The goal of the centre is not to profit by way of families dealing with autism; the goal is to support and encourage our students so that they can excel.
Unit 120-3547 Skaha Lake Road Penticton BC V2A 7K2 Canada
THINKING AUTISM GUIDE
The goal of TPGA is to help you fast-forward past society’s rampant autism fabrications and negativity, by providing clear, thoughtfully presented, balanced, and referenced information. We also want you to understand that autism awareness and acceptance are not merely noble but necessary attitudes — and are separate matters from the autistic and other autism communities’ never-ending fights for medical, legal, social, and educational accommodation.
Community Based Programs For People with Developmental Disabilities
TIER Support Services provides Person Centered Programs for both Community and Employment Support. One-on one assistance/support with realistic goals and outcomes developed with you and your family, friend, or caregiver. All programs are designed to assist you with planning for your independence in the community.
165 Rutland Road North Kelowna BC V1X 3B1
Welcome to ToothZone Kids, a husband and wife team that specialize in the care of infants, children, adolescents, and those with special needs. Dr. Mathew and Dr. Natalie realized they have a passion and love for working with children which led them to specialize in Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Mathew and Dr. Natalie are excited about their opportunity to make a difference and impact in the lives of many, many patients!
Dr. Shylon Mathew, DMD, MSc, FRCD(C)
Dr. Mathew graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) with a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree and then went on to receive his certificate in Pediatric Dentistry in 2006, where he also earned a Masters of Science in Dentistry. In fall 2007, he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. Prior to opening ToothZone Kids in Kelowna, Dr. Mathew worked in Rochester, NY and Winnipeg, MB following his graduation.
Dr. Natalie Mathew-Sanche, DMD, MSc, FRCD(C)
Dr. Natalie graduated from the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Dentistry with of Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. After working in private practice as a general dentist for two years, her love of working with children led to her decision to specialize in Pediatric Dentistry. In June 2006, she received her certificate in Pediatric Dentistry from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where she also earned a Masters of Science in Dentistry. In September 2006, she became a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentistry of Canada and started working in Manitoba prior to her move to Kelowna.
On a personal note, both Dr. Mathew and Dr. Natalie have enjoyed their move to the Okanagan and spend their free time with their sons and extended family! They are active in their church and are excited to make a difference in the lives of many families.
1634 Harvey Ave Kelowna BC
We are a non-profit society that provides information and mentoring to individuals with disabilities and their trusted others to take greater control of his/her life by exploring ideas and options that can lead to customized, inclusive and creative supports and services. This can be done by:
forming a Microboard™; and/or
accessing individualized funding.
We are available to assist you to learn about and explore your options. If you decide to move forward, we are also available to assist throughout the process with information and guidance. Our Microboards & Individualized Funding Brochure, is a good place to start.
A Microboard™ is a small group of committed family and friends (a minimum of 5 people) who join together with the individual to create a non-profit society. It is a formal support group that may also access funding the individual may be eligible to receive.
100 – 17564 – 56A Avenue Surrey BC V3S 1G3
Social ThinkingSocial Thinking
Social thinking is what we do when we interact with people: we think about them. And how we think about people affects how we behave, which in turn affects how others respond to us, which in turn affects our own emotions.
Whether we are with friends, sending an email, in a classroom or at the grocery store, we take in the thoughts, emotions and intentions of the people we are interacting with.
Most of us have developed our communications sense from birth onwards, steadily observing and acquiring social information and learning how to respond to people. Because social thinking is an intuitive process, we usually take it for granted.
But for many individuals, this process is anything but natural. And this often has nothing to do with conventional measures of intelligence.
In fact, many people score high on IQ and standardized tests, yet do not intuitively learn the nuances of social communication and interaction.
While these challenges are commonly experienced by individuals with autism spectrum disorders (high-functioning), social communication disorder, Asperger’s, ADHD, nonverbal learning disability (NLD) and similar diagnoses, children and adults experiencing social learning difficulties often have received no diagnosis.
A treatment framework and curriculum developed by Michelle Garcia Winner targets improving individual social thinking abilities, regardless of diagnostic label. Professionals and parents alike are using these methods to build social thinking and related skills in students and adults. Social Thinking books, workshops and trainings, created by Winner or based on Winner’s work, now offer a range of strategies that address individual strengths and weaknesses in processing social information.