Help is here – Fall Symposium

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If you are new to working with children and youth from low-incidence populations, specifically:

  • Blindness and Visual Impairment
  • Deafness and Hard of Hearing
  • Complex Communication Needs 

you are invited to attend our Fall Symposium on September 25, 2019.

The sessions are designed for teachers and their educational teams who will be new to supporting a student from a low-incidence population. Participants will be exposed to positive teaching strategies and effective, formative assessment techniques to promote both academic and social success.  Additionally, strategies for adapting curricula, materials, resources and the physical environment to address the unique learning needs of these children and youth will be shared.

These half-day sessions, presented by SWRCSD Low Incidence team members, will provide attendees with an array of hands-on activities, practical knowledge and skills development, as well as a highlight of local initiatives and information on accessing local supports.

Location:  Palliser Education Centre, 3305 – 18 Avenue North, Lethbridge

Schedule:  Join us for the whole day or attend for a half day, customize your time to focus on the topics that are most meaningful for you!

  • Choose a morning session (8:30 am to 11:30 am)
    • Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    • Vision – Cortical Vision Impairments (CVI)
  • 11:30 to 12:15 Lunch (provided for those staying the whole day)
  • Choose an afternoon session (12:15 to 3:15 pm)
    • Blind or Vision Loss
    • Complex Communication / Emerging Literacy
    • Deaf and Hard of Hearing


  • Click here to register
  • There is no registration fee
  • Participants are responsible for their own travel and/or accommodations.
  • A light lunch will be provided for those attending both morning and afternoon sessions.
  • Teachers and Educational Assistants are encouraged to attend as a team.
  • Space is limited, so please register early.

Suicide Intervention Training

TrainingSWRCSD is hosting both a 2-day Suicide Intervention Training (SIT), and a 1-day recertification course through Lethbridge Family Services.  Both workshops are being offered to SWRCSD school division staff members.  Target audience includes Counsellors and FSLCs working with at-risk children/youth. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the workshop.


Recert / Refresher Course

For those who have completed the 2-day SIT course within the past 3 years:

Suicide Intervention Training

For those new to the training or whose last training was more than 3 years ago:

Dates: October 2 and 3, 2019 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Holy Spirit – 3rd Floor PD Centre (620 – 12B Street North)
Maximum: 25 participants
Cost: fee based on cost-recovery, invoiced to school divisions following event
Click here to register for the 2-day SIT Course!

Universal OT Strategies

NEW RESOURCE!  Wondering what else you might be able to do to grow skills in your students or when to make a referral?  The AHS Children’s Allied Health OT Team has put together a catalog of universal strategies you can implement.  Be sure and check the links for additional handouts and information!

Introducing our new Systems Navigators

SWRCSD is pleased to announce we have contracted Impact Parenting, Tracey Erickson- Driscoll and Natalie McLean, to provide Systems Navigation support to families within the Southwest region.   

As a team, Natalie and Tracey have over 50 years of combined experience providing family support, utilizing a practical, compassionate, and judgement-free approach.  They have worked in a variety of settings including: schools, mental health, home visitation, disabilities, and family centered community organizations. Prior to launching Impact Parenting, both worked with Lethbridge School District in the Making Connections Program.  

The Systems Navigation service is a pilot project for SWRCSD commencing in September 2018.  Access to Systems Navigation support will be through Complex Case. If you have a family you believe would benefit from System Navigation support, consult with your SWRCSD Leadership Team member to refer the family.


iPad Boot Camp

April 30, 2018

  • Check-In: 8:15 am to 8:45 am
  • Session: 8:45 am to 3:45 pm (lunch provided)
  • Hosted at Holy Spirit (3rd Floor PD Centre) 620 – 12B Street North, Lethbridge
  • Cost: $35
  • Registration: click here

Session Description:  The iPad Bootcamp will provide participants with:

  • an overview of the various accessibility features built into the iPad using the new iOS 11 operating system;
  • an overview of over 50 ways to adapt the iPad to accommodate for physical, vision, hearing, communication and intellectual disabilities;
  • hands-on activities  in creating iPad access solutions;
  • demonstrations of how to create a switch access recipe and innovative ways to use these recipes for individuals who experience physical disabilities;
  • demonstrations of iPad accessories; exploration of apps for functional limitations (text to speech and speech to text apps for learning disabilities;
  • apps for blind and low vision; apps for deaf and hard of hearing; alternative and augmentative communication
  • apps for executive function impairments;
  • reminding and prompting apps;
  • apps for self-regulation and relaxation; for aging; for employment/transition, and job coaching;
  • 101 uses for the iPad camera;
  • resources for finding and selecting appropriate apps  and hands-on experience in conducting an app analysis to identify specific features when matching an app with specific functional limitations.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Therese Willkomm

Therese Willkomm, Ph.D., ATP, directs the NH Statewide Assistive Technology (ATinNH) program with the Institute on Disability and is a clinical associate professor in the University of New Hampshire’s Department of Occupational Therapy. Known internationally as “The MacGyver of Assistive Technology” and more recently as an expert in iPad modifications and apps for individuals with disabilities, Dr. Willkomm has provided AT services for over 30 years. During that time, she has designed and fabricated over 1,200 solutions for individuals with disabilities including her patented A.T. Pad Stand, a multi-use assistive technology mounting device to provide hands-free holding solutions for individuals who experience paralysis. She has appeared on RFD TV, CNN, NPR Science Friday and has received numerous honors and awards including being invited to speak at the 2016 White House Summit on Technology and Disability.


Beyond kale and pedicures: Strategies to reduce compassion fatigue and burnout

Date: April 19, 2018
Check-in: 7:45 am to 8:15 am
Session: 8:15 am to 4:00 pm

University of Lethbridge Student Union Ballrooms
Parking directions will be emailed prior to event

Cost: $75 includes lunch and workbook*
(*workbooks provided for those that register by March 29 @ 3:30 pm)
To register: 
 click this link

Session Description

There are now over two decades of research proving that working in high stress, trauma-exposed professions such as education, community mental health, law enforcement and health care carries elements of risk to the care provider: compassion fatigue, secondary trauma and burnout can take a cumulative tolls on us as individuals and as teams. What can professionals do to protect themselves from the difficult stories that they work with on a regular basis, limited resources and high volume of work, while still remaining effective and compassionate?

This interactive, evidence-informed and trauma-informed presentation is suitable for novice and experienced participants alike. Using the most recent research in the field, it will explore assumptions about compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma, the organizational and personal barriers that professionals face in their daily lives, and offers new and creative approaches to transforming these occupational hazards.

Participants will learn:

  • Key Factors that increase risks of compassion fatigue, burnout and secondary trauma
  • Early intervention strategies
  • Practical strategies
  • Workplace strategies: what works?

Speaker Bio: Francoise Mathieu

Compassion Fatigue Specialist and Co-Executive Director, TEND

Françoise is a Registered Psychotherapist and a compassion fatigue specialist. Her experience stems from over 20+ years as a mental health professional, working as a crisis counsellor and trauma specialist in university counselling, military, law enforcement and other community mental health environments. Françoise is co-executive director of TEND, whose aim is to offer consulting and training to helpers on topics related to secondary trauma, compassion fatigue, burnout, self-care, wellness and organizational health. Since 2001, Françoise has given hundreds of seminars on compassion fatigue and secondary trauma across North America to thousands of helping professionals in the fields of health care, child welfare, the criminal justice system and other similar high stress, trauma exposed professions. Françoise is the author of “The Compassion Fatigue Workbook” which was published by Routledge in 2012 as well as several articles and publications.


Family Assessment Workshop

  • January 23-24, 2018
  • Italian Canadian Cultural Centre,
  • 1511 St. Edward Blvd. North, Lethbridge
  • Cost: $55 for SWRCSD partners, $160 for non-SWRCSD
  • Registration is now open, click here to sign up!

Level 1 Family Assessment

This two-day training is for professionals who regularly work with children, adolescents, and their families and are looking for specialized knowledge in assessing and understanding family dynamics that may be influencing their clients behaviour and overall functioning.

Based on family systems theory, the foundation of the training is identification of family structure and family functioning within the system and it’s influence on key aspects of the clients’ life.

Areas of Focus:

  • Family Emotional System
  • Multi-generational transmission of Symptoms
  • Under-functioning/Over-functioning
  • Emotional-off vs. Distancing
  • Closeness-Distance Cycle
  • Sibling Position
  • Gender Patterns
  • Use of Genograms
  • Stepfamilies
  • Grief and Trauma as a Family Process
  • Therapeutic Relationship vs. Alliances

About the Presenter: Kevin Cameron

Eight days after the Columbine school shooting, Mr. Cameron led the crisis response during the 1999 school shooting incident in Taber, Alberta. Shortly thereafter he was seconded by the Alberta Government to a 13-month initiative where he studied traumatic aftermath from a “human systems approach.” Through consultation with several American sites that had experienced school shootings, and other trauma sites throughout North America, Mr. Cameron developed the Traumatic Event Systems (TES) Model.

In concert with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Behavioural Sciences Unit, he developed Canada’s first comprehensive, multidisciplinary Violence Threat Risk Assessment training program.

In March 2001, Mr. Cameron was invited to Washington, D.C. by the United States Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education, where he presented parts of the TES Model and opened international collaborative relations for the development of threat assessment protocols and related training.

He is a “Subject-Matter Expert” for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response for British Columbia Government’s ERASE initiative as well as the Lead Clinician for the Surrey Wrap Youth Gang Prevention Program.

SIVA Trainers

All education partners have identified SIVA Trainers to provide SIVA training to front-line staff members.  SWRCSD is coordinating the Train-the-Trainer and Re-certification courses on behalf of the Southwest region.

First-Time Trainers: If you have been selected by your school division to become a trainer, and you haven’t taken the Train-the-Trainer course before, you course is scheduled for January 15, 16, 17, 2018

Existing Trainers:you will need to re-certify and your course is scheduled for January 18, 2018

The Link between Movement and Communication

Children with complex bodies and complex communication develop communication skills in a different manner.

At this session learn:

  • How does movement impact communication?
  • What makes development of communication different in a child with complex communication needs?
  • Why initiating communication is so important?
  • What is verbal referencing and how can it help my child?
  • What can I do as a communication partner to help my child?

Presented by: Shobha George, OT

Of interest to: parents, teachers, education assistants and therapists

Choose the session that best fits your schedule:

  • October 3rd: 9 am-10:30 am
  • October 12th 1pm- 2:30 pm

Register by calling Children’s Allied Health Services at 403-388-6575

Hosted at: AHS West Wing, Room 1101A, Lethbridge Centre
(door on westside AHS entrance, beside the main Bay door entrance)

SWRCSD Family Night

Special Guests include Lowell and Julie Taylor from Amazing Race Canada and Music Therapist, Andrew Ichikawa.  This night is an opportunity to build connections with the SWRCSD Low Incidence Team and families in the Southwest Zone that receive services from either the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Support Team or Vision Support.

When: Thursday, October 5, 2017 from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Where: Lethbridge Public Library Theatre Gallery, 810 – 5 Avenue South

Who: Family’s and Team member’s of students experiencing visual impairment or hearing loss

Why: Build connections, meet Lowell and Julie, hear their incredible message; Obstacles Create Opportunity, sing along with Andrew and engage in a story the whole family will love while building story boxes.

Reserve your spot, click here to register!