Providence Children’s School (Project Ended 2018)

Providence provides therapeutic and educational services to Calgary children with special and extra needs. As Providence celebrated their 75th anniversary, YYC3 volunteered ghostwriting services to help share stories from staff, alumni, and families past and present.

“Gabe was an amazing baby. He never really cried, or fussed. Come to think of it, he wasn’t making many facial expressions either. When a family member noticed that Gabe was perhaps, unusually quiet, we decided to take him to the doctor and have some genetic testing. We met with specialists, speech pathologists, and occupational therapists, and through Alberta Health Care were referred to Providence Children’s School.

Heartbroken, scared, and worried, we felt lost for our little boy. But from the moment we walked in the Providence doors, there was a sense of ease. We were welcomed and reassured by an incredibly genuine, and warm community. We were given instant hope, which grew alongside the fast progress Gabe was making.

Attending Providence between 2 to 5 years old, when Gabe came home and showed us how he could drink out of a straw, we were overwhelmed with joy! Unable to breastfeed, difficult to bottle feed, and on solids at an early age – learning to suck was a major milestone for Gabe. Extremely proud parents, we never imagined that Gabe would be where he is today and are forever grateful to Providence for fostering his growth.

Providence allowed us to be parents. Providence allowed us to love and play with our son and leave the hard work to the experts. The community at Providence is understanding, gentle, and makes you feel safe, both as a parent and a child. Gabe was excited to go, and we were excited to take him! The genuine compassion and love felt within the walls of Providence is indescribable. We truly don’t know where they find the teachers they do, calming, caring, and compassionate, but we wish there were more.

Providence not only changed Gabe’s life, but our entire families. An environment of endless support, Providence equipped us with the physical and emotional tools needed to support our son in every way he needed. Once, we alternated leaving the home to run errands, but after Providence we were able to go as a family. In the beginning Gabe was uncomfortable and unsure how to be around others, but Providence drastically improved his social skills including the use of gestures to express himself and understanding human touch. Gabe’s sensory processing deficits still exist, but at a minimal state. While he may be nervous or awkward at times, we are so excited that he has a group of incredible friends he surrounds himself with, who accept him for all that he is. This year, Gabe is graduating high school and excelling in mathematics. He drives, and as parents, we can happily say that we have expectations for him.

Honored to share our story with others, our advice to parents of children with extra or special needs is early intervention, like Providence. If a family member comes to you, never be offended. We learned that sometimes when you are so close to your child, you might not always see what is there. It is very important to talk through emotion, with your child, and also with your partner and community. Our message to the world is to never judge. Show compassion, respect, and understanding to all without making assumptions.

For who you are, what you are, and for the love you have left in our hearts, we thank-you Providence.”