I know- here we go again with Covid, Omicron-style, just when we thought we were on top of it… All I can say is that I hear you & I feel it all as I sadly try to get my kids excited about online learning again (not happening yet even after week 1!)
All we can do right now is try to focus on the positives & oh boy, there were some VERY good news that I received late last month that I’m so excited to share!
First, a bit of background…
In mid-September, Ontario’s government announced a request for grant proposals for innovative projects that aimed to build capacity’ in the system by equipping core workforce health care professionals (behaviour analysts, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists & mental health clinicians) with skills to deliver effective services to children & youth on the autism spectrum & their families.
The deadline for this application was daunting & I, like many in the autism services sector, thought that there was not enough time to come up with an idea, a plan & a budget.
But, then I thought, what if I just went for it & DARED TO DREAM BIG? What could be the worst thing that could happen? (Well…, I would simply get a ‘No, thank you’ & that would be that &, in the midsts of a pandemic, getting a potential ‘no’ is certainly the least of my worries, LOL.)
I then got on the phone with some very experienced occupational therapists & the wonderful leadership at the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT)– a plan was hatched, a grant proposal written & submitted just ahead of the midnight deadline.
The government had said that successful applicants would hear by November of 2021 &, since we heard nothing, I simply assumed that our grant application was not one of the chosen ones & proceeded to swiftly forget all about it.
What is this dream project you ask?
I will share more details in future blog posts but this project includes 4 deliverables:
- An amazing Knowledge Translation Event, Holland Bloorview’s Autism Summit 2022- OT Edition, for occupational therapists & occupational therapy students that will be taking place in December of 2022!
- The development of an Autism Toolkit for occupational therapists
- The development of a Virtual Community of Practice while the knowledge translation event is taking place &
- An opportunity to receive Group coaching & Mentorship from seasoned occupational therapists by a cohort of Ontario occupational therapists working with children & youth on the autism spectrum
THEY SAID YES & ARE FUNDING ALL OF IT!
I will be representing Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in this project & will be working closely with OSOT on all of 4 deliverables & while we will be focusing on the specific needs & wants of Ontario’s occupational therapists & occupational therapy students,
I want this project to be inclusive of all occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants and occupational therapy students nationally & internationally (& of course OT allies!) who wish to participate.
It goes without saying that I WILL BE SEEKING YOUR FEEDBACK! I will be asking you questions, wanting to hear your thoughts & recommendations, sending surveys & whatever else that needs to happen (this will be one heck of a learning journey for me too!) to make this project a success &, more importantly, super valuable for occupational therapists & occupational therapy students working with (or wishing to work with) children & youth on the autism spectrum & their families.
If you are an OSOT member, you will be hearing about this project from the OSOT leadership as well but, from my end, I will be sharing the ups & downs of this journey with my email list.
If you’d like to join my email list, you can do so here.
I really hope that you will engage with me & support me as we embark together into this exciting (but also scary) ‘uncharted waters’ of a project.
OK great, but Moira… Why is this so important?
Ontario’s government has spoken- by fully funding this project, they are sending a LOUD & CLEAR message that they value occupational therapists & the important work that we do to support children & youth on the autism spectrum & their families.
This is a wonderful recognition of our profession & the beginning of many exciting opportunities for occupational therapists in the future!
Wishing you the very best from my family to you & all of yours,
So looking forward to getting this 2022 OT Party started!