Connection Kick Start© is the overarching name for three signature programs:
(1) Digital Storytelling Program
(2) Accompaniment Program
(3) The Resource Compass©
All of these Buds in Bloom programs connect families to community!
These activities are also all charitable in nature as follows.
(1) Digital Storytelling Program
Thanks to funding received from the City of Calgary’s Change Can’t Wait! initiative, Buds in Bloom launched The Buds in Bloom Digital Storytelling Program in July 2021.
The Buds in Bloom Digital Storytelling Program engages a small group of caregivers or parents of children with varying abilities in an opportunity to co-create a Digital Story of an important moment in their family life. Caregivers and parents participate in a facilitated Digital Storytelling process with other families. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, this process is currently held entirely online (i.e., by Zoom).
Families with similar lived experience participate in a two-stage facilitated Digital Storytelling process of, first, co-creating a Digital Story with our trained Buds in Bloom Digital Storytelling Facilitator, and, then, sharing their two- to four-minute digital story with other caregivers and parents. Our goal with this process is for family members to have the opportunity to reflect on their experience, both on their own, and in relation to other families, to gain new insights, and ultimately to feel heard, honoured and validated.
To view the digital stories that we co-created with parents click the YouTube links below:
If you are interested in learning more about or participating in the Buds in Bloom Digital Storytelling Program, please contact us at info@BudsinBloom.org
(2) Accompaniment Program
The Buds in Bloom Accompaniment Program provides children and their family rapid access to a community support or service based on family needs and resources. The location of the support or service depends on the child and family needs, and the family resources, as well as resources available in that geographic region.
Our promise is to connect the child and family to at least one community resource based on child and family needs and resources. The first connection is a result of the Initial Accompaniment Meeting between the parents and the Buds in Bloom Companion. Other connections may follow, one at a time, as appropriate. In some cases a fee may be assessed for additional connections. Please inquire during your Initial Accompaniment Meeting.
Designing the Accompaniment Program
Once the preliminary steps are complete, the child and parents are connected to one or more community resources. Thus, before the family is connected, the personalized Accompaniment program is designed, block by block, in collaboration with the family.
First, a Companion of Buds in Bloom, trained volunteer skilled in child and family matters, analyzes the two application forms to highlight needs and resources of the child and family.
Then the Companion designs a personalized Accompaniment Program that contains one or more of the following components: treatment or therapy, financial programming, social-emotional support, educational workshop, community program, or other community support or service. The components are selected based on the needs and resources of the family, and the availability of resources within the geographic region of the family.
Next, parents meet with the Companion no later than two weeks after the opening of the file. During this initial Accompaniment Meeting, the Companion presents to the parents the designed Accompaniment Program, to obtain their agreement, and determine, when necessary, the order in which the family will be connected to each of the suggested resources. The Companion also considers the importance of the family balancing time, finances and beliefs about community resources for their child and family.
Families meet with the Companion for up to three months at a frequency chosen together (i.e., weekly, bi-monthly, monthly or periodically). For family convenience, all meetings with the Companion are typically held by telephone or online conferencing (e.g., Zoom). Once COVID-19 restrictions are completely lifted, meetings may be held at a location that is most convenient for the family, such as a coffee shop, the family’s home or a public library for example.
If treatment or therapy support is chosen as part of the connections, and financial resources are available, a first service that the family may be connected to could include evaluation and treatment by healthcare or education professionals in the private sector. This connection will depend on needs, resources and availability. Possible treatment or therapy service may be one of the following:
- medicine (MD)
- occupational therapy (OT)
- speech-language pathology (SLP)
- special education
- another service such as a workshop or course for family members.
The fee for community support or service follows market standards when in the private sector.
In summary, the Buds in Bloom Accompaniment Program offers connection services to community resources that can meet child and family needs. Connection Kick Start© is individually designed, and can consist of a range of specialized services for children, their parents and their family.
End of an Accompaniment Program
The end of the Accompaniment Program is determined by the parents with the Companion, and lasts a maximum of three months. If an extension is requested by the parents, an additional fee may be assessed.
The family, may at any time, withdraw from any part of the program. If this is the case, we would appreciate you contacting us in order to complete a short questionnaire explaining the reason for your decision. We strive to partner with families to give each family the chance to bloom today.
A follow-up by Buds in Bloom may be made some time after the beginning of the Accompaniment Program, to evaluate your appreciation of the care your child and family is receiving from our Team, and from providers we connect families to. Your opinion is important to the continued improvement of our commitment to high quality services.
Looking for help to pay for treatment or therapy? Financing options or programs may be possible, based on the analysis of your child and family needs and resources.
Treatment or therapy service fees in the private sector follow market standards, ranging from about $60 to $200 per hour, not including travel costs, if any. Fees depend for instance on the number of years of professional experience, educational level, expertise, as well as other factors such as the type of service offered. Treatment or therapy is not always the first part of the child and family plan through Connection Kick Start©. Sometimes, the first line of contact is, for example, with a parent educational resource or a financial program offered by Federal or Provincial/Territorial governments. The choice is made by each family, in collaboration with the Buds in Bloom Companion, according to needs and resources of each child and family.
By opening a file at Buds in Bloom, the team of Companions is able to connect you to appropriate help resources, while your child and/or family waits for support or specialized services in the public sector.
The children and their family who benefit from our programs are waiting for a specialized service in rehabilitation, health, special education, sport, leisure or recreation, or financial support. Our children are infants or young children with varying abilities such as a(n):
- Risk for developmental or academic challenges
- Developmental delay
- Autism spectrum (ASD, PDD, Asperger Syndrome, PDD-NOS)
- Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADD or ADH-D)
- Learning disability
- Intellectual disability
- Premature birth
- A mild, moderate or severe physical disability
- Down syndrome or other syndrome
- Dyspraxia or developmental coordination disorder (DCD)
- Dysphasia, or language or speech impairment
- Dysphagia or difficulty eating or swallowing
- Cerebral palsy
- Spina bifida
- Brain injury
- Neurological disorder
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
- Rare disorder
- Another childhood development challenge or neurodisability.
Community resources for children may be to help with needs and weaknesses in one or more of the following development milestones:
- making friends, socializing, communicating, interacting with others, playing or being understood
- caring for self, feeding, swallowing, eating, dressing, undressing, washing, toileting, or doing daily tasks at home, at daycare or school
- focusing during meals, for homework, in class or with friends
- walking, jumping, running, climbing, throwing, catching or pumping a swing
- pointing with fingers, playing with toys, manipulating objects with hands, or holding a pencil
- drawing, writing, or composing
- constructing block buildings, or doing puzzles
- reading, mathematics, etc.
Community resources for families may be to help with social-emotional support, learning about childhood development, being connected to financial resources to name a few examples. Each family has different help needs.
Following receipt of the two completed application forms, to open a file, we can determine your eligibility for Accompaniment and, when eligible, design and provide rapid access and connection to at least one community resource that matches your child and family needs and resources.
For a great start in getting rapid access to a community resource, register your family today.
(3) The Resource Compass©
The Resource Compass© is a novel online solution that Buds in Bloom is designing and developing to match children and families to community support and services that they need. We like to describe the Resource Compass© as a new Families-in-Bloom Resource Hub, which is being designed and developed by our IT Committee members with tips, tools and solutions on the way from healthy living to financial health resources.
This new online solution aims to match children and families to support and service resources that they need in their community. Stayed tuned!