Every year, on May 15, International Day of Families is celebrated throughout the world. This day highlights the significance of family and its value in society. Here is the story of one of our Grandview Kids’ Families, Debbie and Elliot:
“It has always been our mantra to give back to the community that helped Elliot so much when he was younger. Between his diagnosis, Speech-Language and Occupational Therapy, as well as Physiotherapy, he learned to talk and walk again. Grandview Kids had become part of our family and village, and we would not have Elliot where he is today without them. Grandview Kids opened so many doors and opportunities for Elliot later in life, including supporting him in writing his first journal article for the Canadian Journal of Autism Equity, as well as attending many public speaking and fundraising initiatives.
It was through his involvement in the Rec Therapy Program that he learned to love sports, and it ignited the passion in him! He is now on a team that has garnered international attention. Elliot is the Co-Captain for the Oshawa Vikings Mixed Ability team where his team came in second out of 24 other countries in the International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament in Cork, Ireland, in June 2022.
Recently, he was selected by the MARI’s (Mixed Ability Rugby International) elite team to go join athletes from around the world to play in a competitive game in Belfast, Ireland, this May. From a young child who had many coordination issues to a full-fledged international and world athlete, Grandview Kids taught him that the sky is the limit and nothing is impossible. Elliot has turned his passion into a job and has two job titles at the Abilities Centre as a Physical Fitness and Literacy Associate, as well as a Mixed Ability Sports Facilitator.
I am a proud member of the Family Advisor Council (FAC), as well as a standing member of the Adolescent Transition Committee, using our lived experience moving through the various stages of Elliot’s life to help pave a smoother path for others. Though many times, we were in unchartered territory and faced many barriers; my hope is that by sharing these experiences, we can make the transition process much easier for other families.
Elliot also volunteers for the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) and often is asked to give his insight into issues facing youth with disabilities in employment, so he too uses his lived experience to help break down barriers for others.
Elliot and I recently wrote a children’s book called Mateo’s Mixed Ability Match, which details our experience at the IMART tournament. Elliot and I often work in tandem as we hope that retelling our stories and providing insight into our experiences with respect to sports, employment and disability advocacy will help others realize that their child has potential and that we should all dream big. Every child and family deserves that chance to spread their Grandview Kids’ sparkle!”
Check out more Grandview Kids articles
- International Epilepsy Day – February 12
- Introducing AlayaCare, our new Electronic Health Record
- Rare Disease Day – February 28
- Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week – February 7 to 14
- Feeding Tube Awareness Week – February 5 to 9