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Your Experience with the Centre

We’re sure you have a lot of questions about what your experience will be like while your child receives service with us.

When you begin your journey with Niagara Children’s Centre, you may feel nervous, excited or any combination of feelings. Rest assured, our staff and clinicians are here to support your whole family every step of the way!

What You Can Expect at Niagara Children’s Centre?

First, parents and caregivers are key members of their child’s support team! It is important for parents and caregivers to participate in all appointments by providing information about your child’s needs, progress, and medical updates, asking questions, and learning the strategies modelled by the clinician(s) so you can ensure that you can follow through on recommendations in your home.

Depending on your child’s needs, one or many professionals may be involved in providing services for your child. At times, one professional may take on the role of service coordinator for your child or may take the lead in carrying out activities designed to achieve goals that were set by another professional on the team. Children involved with multiple services may receive a “team-based” approach to service delivery based on their individual needs.

Descriptions of the various professionals who may be involved with your child, based on their needs, can be found on our Programs and Services page.

What Happens at Your Child’s First Appointment?

We look forward to working with you! Your child’s first appointment at the Centre is an important first step in your child’s care, and this section provides information to help you prepare.

Your first appointment is an opportunity for you and your child to meet your assessment team, and for the team to do a preliminary assessment of your child’s strengths and needs. You will remain in the room with your child during the appointment, and you are encouraged to ask questions and provide information about your child. You are welcome to invite other professionals involved with your child’s care to attend the assessment. At the end, the team will summarize their observations, provide you with their recommendations, and discuss next steps.

Preparing for Your Child’s First Appointment

To get the most out of your child’s first appointment, we recommend you:

  • Write down any questions or concerns you have and bring them to the assessment
  • Call a few days before the appointment to confirm the date and time
  • Bring a pad and pen, or use a note-taking application on your phone, to record information you receive during the meeting, which may include recommendations from staff or details about your child’s assessment
  • Bring along a family member, if you like, who can provide support and help take notes
  • Ask questions, especially if there is something you do not understand or if there are medical terms or words you are not familiar with
  • Make sure you are clear about the next steps with Niagara Children’s Centre staff – for example, individual therapy sessions, a re-check appointment, a group session, etc.
  • Ask Niagara Children’s Centre staff any questions or concerns you have about the assessment process

What Could Services Look Like for Your Child?

We use a variety of different therapies and approaches to service. All therapies and approaches to services are based on:

  • The best available evidence as to what is the most effective approach to your child’s particular needs
  • The goals you have for your child
  • The results of your child’s assessment
  • You and your child’s readiness skills or ability to participate
  • The progress your child is making towards their goals based on the model of service they are receiving

The Centre uses a Response to Intervention or Tiered Approach to therapy. This involves starting with more generalized strategies and regularly monitoring your child’s progress. We only move on to more individual models if the less-intensive models are not working.

Service Delivery Models may include:

  • Home programming
  • Parent/caregiver education, coaching, and training (group or individual sessions)
  • Consultations to provide strategies to be implemented at childcare centres and schools or community agencies; and/or
  • One-to-one work with your child in group or individual sessions

We will discuss with you the approach/model most suitable for your child and develop a service plan at one of your initial appointments. Your clinician(s) will regularly monitor your child’s progress to determine if your child is meeting their goals and/or to determine if another service delivery model is more suitable and/or referrals to other agencies may be appropriate for your child.

Goal Setting

The Centre embraces the “F-words” as the goals and objectives that we work toward helping children achieve:

  • Functioning: refers to what people do - how things are done is not what is important
  • Family: represents the essential ‘environment’ of all children and youth
  • Fitness: refers to physical and mental wellbeing
  • Fun: includes activities that people enjoy
  • Friends: refers to the friendships established with others
  • Future: is what life is all about

For more information regarding goal setting, please visit CanChild’s goal setting resources

Discharge from Centre Services

Your child will be discharged from particular services, the Centre as a whole or your child may be transitioned to services provided in their school or other agencies for any of the following reasons:

  • Your child/family moves out of the Niagara Region
    • Where applicable and possible, our clinicians can facilitate a transfer to similar services within Ontario.
  • Your child’s skills are within normal limits, your child has achieved the goals you and your clinician(s) have established, or your child no longer meets the eligibility requirements of the specific service.
  • Your child reaches the age limit of particular services.
  • Your child would be best serviced by another agency or by a service model that is only provided by another agency (e.g. children’s mental health services).
  • You decline assessment or treatment at any time during the course of intervention.
  • Your child is involved with private services that do not meet our concurrent therapy policies (private clinician(s) do not keep in contact with Centre clinician(s) when contraindicated by their regulated health college; private therapy approach is not compatible or conflicts with the Centre therapy approach).
  • You do not respond to phone calls, emails, or letters from Centre staff. It is your responsibility to keep your contact information up to date with your clinician(s) or by calling Reception.
  • Any situation as described in our attendance and cancellation policy.

In all cases, you will be kept informed of any plans to discharge or transition your child’s services.

In many cases, children may be re-referred for particular services as their needs or circumstances change.

If your child had been discharged from a particular service due to attendance or cancellation policies, they will be placed on the regular waitlist for that service if a re-referral is made and they meet eligibility criteria.

Telepractice Services

Telepractice (Virtual Care) refers to the use of information and technologies to deliver health care services when the client and clinician are in different physical locations. The following information refers to video-conferencing on the Zoom Healthcare platform that is “live” and interactive.

What Sessions Are Offered by Telepractice and Why?

  • We offer a full range of assessment and therapy sessions as well as parent and child groups
  • Your child’s services may be completely in-person, completely through telepractice, or a combination of in-person and telepractice services
  • Clinicians will determine if telepractice is appropriate given your child’s needs and the goals and objectives of each session
  • Parent preference is taken into account when determining if sessions will be held in-person or by telepractice but due to COVID-19 restrictions, there may be times when telepractice is the only option available
  • If you do not provide consent to telepractice or if your clinician feels telepractice is not appropriate, your clinician will recommend other options as available

How is Telepractice Different from In-Person Visits?

  • Clinicians will follow the same standards, policies, and procedures put in place by their Regulatory College and the Centre
  • Similar lengths of time and activities
  • You may be required to play a more active role in sessions versus an in-person session. Your clinician will provide you with direction

Are There Any Risks?

  • Clinicians must demonstrate to Niagara Children’s Centre management that they are competent to provide services through telepractice
  • Clinicians will explain any specific risks to you based on your child’s needs and the goals/objectives of the sessions
  • If a session becomes too challenging for you or your child, ask your clinician to stop at any time. The session may be rescheduled, or your clinician will problem-solve different methods.

How Will My Privacy Be Protected?

  • Centre technology meets privacy and security standards for healthcare
  •  Clinicians working from their homes follow privacy requirements including using a Centre-provided device, working from a dedicated private space and using headsets

Will Sessions Be Recorded/Can I Record Sessions?

  • Clinicians may ask to record part of your session to help to teach you specific strategies or so he/she can review the video later to assist with assessment. The recording will be stored in a secure location and after the video has been used for its stated purpose, it will be deleted immediately
  • Families may not record or take photos of sessions

What Is Required of Families to Receive Telepractice Services?

  • A physical space that is as free of distractions as possible
  •  Device with a webcam
    • Depending on the goals/objectives of the session, some devices may be more suitable than others (for example, use of a tablet rather than a cell phone). If you need an appropriate device, talk to your clinician about the Centre’s Telepractice Equipment Loan Program
  • Reliable internet access
    • If you do not have access to internet and prefer telepractice, talk to your clinician about using a private room at the Centre with one of our devices or ask your clinician about government or community funding for internet access
  • Commitment of parent/caregiver to participate throughout the entire session
    • Ensure someone can look after other children in the home
    • Do not leave your child unattended while participating in a session
  • Dress as if you were attending an in-person session
  • Follow etiquette and privacy requirements discussed at the start of group sessions
  • Be on time and cancel a session in advance as required
  • Tell us if other people are attending the session in your home or from their own homes. For security reasons, your clinician will forward meeting invites to other participants
  • Access to a Zoom account

Is Technical Support Available?

  • Clinicians (or a member of our Telepractice Support Staff if needed) can assist you if you need support getting set-up for your first session and can help troubleshoot any ongoing technical issues. Assistance and support may include:
    • Showing you how to install and join a meeting from the “Zoom” app OR how to join a Zoom meeting from a web browser
    • Sending you a Zoom meeting link by email to confirm you can receive our email and that your audio and video function well on the device you will use
    • Providing a copy of the Family Telepractice Technical Guide that you can reference in the case of technical difficulties

Will Telepractice Cost Me Anything?

  • Just like our regular services, telepractice is free of charge
  • Depending on your internet and data capacity, you may incur some additional costs but likely no more than travelling to and from appointments

How Can I Prepare for My Telepractice Session?

  • In advance:
    • Locate the meeting invitation in your email
    • Charge and re-start your device and perform necessary updates
    • Gather any materials your clinician has suggested including our “Family Telepractice Technical Guide” (if requested) and a phone in case you get disconnected and need to finish the session by phone or if you need to contact your clinician
  • Limit other internet usage in your home
  • Be ready 5-10 minutes before the session. If you do not join or contact your clinician within 15 minutes, your session will be cancelled

Niagara Children’s Centre Locations

Niagara Children's Centre (headquarters)

Niagara Centre YMCA

Niagara West YMCA

Boys and Girls Club of Niagara - Fort Erie

Your child’s appointment(s) may be at Niagara Children’s Centre, a designated Centre satellite site, a community-based location, a publicly funded school, or may be conducted through telepractice. It is important to confirm the location with the person booking your appointment and to ensure you have adequate information to park, navigate the location and find your clinician for your appointment.

Parking at Niagara Children’s Centre

When You Arrive: After entering the driveway, please turn right and park in front of the building. There are designated parking spaces for parents, as well as accessible parking spaces. Parents may also park in spaces designated for visitors.

Cost for Parking: Parking is free.

Inside the Building: Upon entering the reception area, visitors to the Centre need to sign in with the receptionist. To assist us with parking control, you will also be required to provide your license plate or vehicle description. You can then wait with your child in the reception area for your therapist.

Hours of Service

The Centre hours of service are from 8am-9pm Monday to Thursday and 8am-5pm on Fridays.

The types of appointments available during these hours may vary based on:

  • Individual programs
  • The age range of children served by the program
  • Location of the service