Architects and Military Police Fund for Blind Children support the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre Assistive Technology Program

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The Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC) has recognized the generosity of the Military Police Fund for Blind Children and the Cerebral Palsy Sponge House design team led by Sonia Zouari for their generous donation towards the purchase of an interactive floor for the Assistive Technology Program at OCTC and an X-Sensor Pressure Mapping System for the Assistive Technology Program.

The interactive floor will assist children and youth with special needs and will enable children to engage in therapy through play.

Zouari, a mother of an OCTC client and an architect by trade, said she saw the value in obtaining this equipment and campaigned to raise the money “to integrate this state of the art technology to stimulate vision and assist therapists in creating a rich fun environment for children to practice and improve various skills.”

“The interactive floor will also create opportunities for children with or without challenges to play together and socialize and help remove the stigma around disability.” she said.

The X-Sensor Pressure Mapping System will give OCTC therapists a simplified and more accurate tool to asses seating surface pressures and reduce the risk of pressure ulcers in wheelchair users.

The Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC) supports families who have a child or youth with multiple physical, developmental, and associated behavioural needs. More than 4,200 families in Eastern Ontario receive services from the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre annually.

“It is hard to keep faith when life hits you very deep,” Zouari said. “Our daughter is diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic disease affecting her brain, vision, hearing, and serious developmental delays.

“We are struck by incredible fear, confusion, vulnerability, and heavy sadness … But we often took the time to stop and think along this difficult journey. We have a lot to be grateful for. We have an outstanding medical support coupled with very early multidisciplinary therapy intervention.

“Marwa has never stopped blooming and we kept busy learning how to support her and enjoy her. The OCTC team helped us translate the uncertainties and the unknowns into opportunities to tap into brain plasticity. Access to an interactive floor is an example of the tools offered to us to tap into these opportunities. With the interactive floor, the vision of a child with cerebral vision impairment like Marwa is stimulated with contracting colours, lights, movements and reflections.

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“Games are programmed to suit the visual challenges of each child and stimulate movement accordingly. Visual stimulation is vital to assist with movement. For Marwa, the interactive floor encouraged her to learn to crawl and practicing with a motivation helped her progress. These floors are fun, interactive, therapeutic and provides a lot of opportunities for a child with development challenges. “Today, I am so happy to be part of this and thankful for the MPFBC for their support. Being able to advocate by actually doing and making a difference is a real privilege for me.”

The Military Police Fund for Blind Children was established in 1957 by Col. James Riley Stone, the Army Provost Marshal, to aid blind and visually impaired children and to support charitable organizations and individuals involved in the education and recreation of blind children and young adults. The charity is maintained by military police and other support volunteers and strives to assist as many visually impaired children as possible.

“I am so pleased today to see how this Military Police Fund for Blind Children donation will benefit our local community, said Col. Rob Delaney, Provost Marshal of the Canadian Forces Military Police. It truly is about giving back to visually impaired children in hopes of making their lives a little better. I am so pleased that the Military Police Fund for Blind Children was able to work with the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre to help achieve this aim.”

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