It really is not something that can be blamed on anyone. That is not the purpose of my aim to fix this lack. Without a strong push to create aspects of city run programs that allow for the inclusion of special needs children, it is often overlooked, not through being nasty but because people forget it that the need is there.
There are plenty of programs all over the city during summer months, and even some off season programs, for those who do not have special needs. What happens is special needs children and their parents are often left scrambling to find suitable programs for their children, they are often out of province and at a substantial cost. The question is why is there no provisions for special needs children within the confines of existing programs. In all honesty I believe it is mainly because of two factors. There has not been a seriously vocal demand for these programs, and they are not cheap.
If municipal officials are going to put these programs in place, they need to expect there to be a demand for them. Why they do not see the demand is because parent’s looking for summer programs for their children do not bother fighting the issue. They look online find there are no provisions and simply go look elsewhere and this leaves the city with the impression that they are meeting this need. The unfortunate truth is they are not. The parents are simply looking elsewhere for the programs.
I found out for instance today about a program called the SMILE program, something that I may have been interested in sending my son to and the one existing program for special needs children that is at least partly run by the city. The issue is that the program started in January and I do not remember it being mentioned at any time in the past. That is not to say that it was not mentioned but simply that I did not see it.
To me this means that we have to find some way to integrate and include special needs children into the present existing city run camps and programs, but as well we have to look at ways of making sure that the parents that would be interested in these programs are aware that they exist.
Somehow this is something that will have to be addressed in the during the next term for council, how to get these programs set up and how to make sure that the people who want to use them are aware that they are there and have the means to access them.