The Joy Of Learning

When your child achieves a new milestone, it’s a true wonder. You think, “How are they doing this all by themselves?? Where’s my camera?!” Whether you share these pivotal moments; blog them, Instagram them, Facebook them, scrapbook them or simply hold them in your heart, they’re worth celebrating.

My daughter started Grade One this year. Though cognitively she is approximately age four, she is holding her own with her peers. She relies less and less on her Educational Assistant (who we are so thankful for by the way) and she is making decisions, following routines and learning with increasing independence.

From being warned that our child may never fully integrate into a class of her peers, to…this? I can’t begin to express how thrilled we are.

So how did she come this far?

An initial diagnosis isn’t always the eventual reality. Sheer moxy also factors in. If you’ve ever met this kid, you know how fiercely determined she is.

Family and friends have also been instrumental by providing us with the support and confidence we’ve needed to see us through challenging times. My father-in-law refers to us as, “Team Thornbury” and he’s right, we are a team.

And finally, our community. If Avery had been born elsewhere and hadn’t had access to the medical and critical early intervention services we’ve received, I don’t know where we’d be.

ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development is Ontario’s largest Children’s Treatment Centre – serving more than 13,000 children with disabilities and their families each year. Their participation in Avery’s development has made a world of difference.

ErinoakKids works from a family-centred philosophy; their focus is on the strengths and resilience of their clients and their families. They have close connections throughout the community, and partner with school boards, other service providers, and hospitals in the delivery of care, including SickKids and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto.

Learning through play is a key component in everything they do. Avery loves participating in speech, physio and occupational therapy because of this. Hello, a room full of toys and a playful therapist’s undivided attention? Awesome. My child doesn’t view these sessions as “therapy,” but rather as much anticipated play dates with (major) benefits.

I’m not surprised to report that the majority of the toys used at the centre are made by Fisher-Price. They’re colourful, sturdy, and interactive and therefore perfectly suited for this type of program.

Avery’s team of therapists are experts at knowing which toys will develop fine motor skills, or which to use for specific balance and coordination exercises. I observe and take photos and try to replicate these activities at home.

The Joy of Learning Playtime Guide,
which lives on the newly-redesigned website, identifies
all the ways a child will develop their skills through playing with any
particular Fisher-Price toy. This guide includes 12 Elements of
Enrichment, each under one of the major pillars – Physical, Cognitive or
Social – that are critical in each child’s development.

In 2013 and beyond, these icons will be displayed on each product’s
packaging, so that parents can fully-understand how that product can aid
the individual areas of growth and development.

Play with your child. Pretend with them. Guide them, but also allow them to explore and use toys in ways limited only by their imaginations. And when they learn something new, celebrate…hard. 🙂

Disclosure:  I am a Fisher-Price Mom
and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this
group. The opinions on this blog are my own.


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