The various programs of Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre in Red Deer will reach 2500 people this year.
Be it through referrals or the centre’s vast array of programming, Aspire is helping central Albertan families for their 32nd year.
Executive Director Michelle Sluchinski helped welcome the public into Aspire this week for an annual open house they hold to thank donors and community supporters. She said the centre continues to be utilized at a rate which indicates Aspire is doing great work and is needed.
“We continue to serve children to capacity in our pre-school program and our assessment and consultation program is also full to capacity at 60,” Sluchinski said. “Where we’ve seen real growth is in our individualized services area."
When Aspire opened in 1985, children attended its TAC (Trans-disciplinary Assessment and Consultation) program. The program is full and continues to be one of the most important services offered by Aspire.
“It’s really a unique program in Alberta. A family member will come in with the child for six weeks every morning during the week,” Sluchinski explained. “It is really a very hands-on rich program that not only identifies issues and gives strategies for the child, but also supports that family in their progress with lots of training for the mom and dad.”
When the program is over, the family is given a report and a diagnosis for the child such as autism, ADHD, a chromosomal condition, or speech delay.
Sluchinski says the ability to give a diagnosis helps tremendously when the child is back in his/her regular classroom.
Aspire’s annual fundraising goal is $400,000, about 13 per cent of its budget. Another 79 per cent comes from the government and the rest from subsidized family fees.
Aspire’s current fundraiser is selling frozen food products. The annual Evening of Decadent Dessert is scheduled for May 12.
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