Children's Services

Children's Services at SMD provide support and education services for children with disabilities from the time they’re born to the time they are twenty-one years old.

Children’s services enable children with disabilities to live their lives to the fullest at home, at school and in the community. The different types of programming also gives families the information and support they need to provide their children with every possible advantage growing up.

The Navigation Services for Youth Project was a demonstration project developed after a number of concerns were raised regarding the difficult experience for so many Manitoba youth with disabilities who move from children’s services to adult services.  There was general consensus from many families and in the service community that a gap in services was leaving a number of youth in limbo as they turn 18. In Manitoba, this group has been referred to by the colloquial term gappers - those youth who did not meet eligibility for any provincial services and, as the term implies, fell through the gap of programs between the adult and children’s service systems.  This report is a comprehensive summary of a two-year pilot project established and conducted by the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD).

A number of recommendations were made in the report, including; having the youth active in identifying goals and participating in the transition planning, maximizing self-management and self-determination opportunities and providing assertive and coordinated team planning. The project also found overwhelming support for starting the process earlier, much closer to age 15, and in conjunction with school individual education planning it was recommended that youth have more exposure to vocational opportunities in the school system with resources to support vocational and basic living skills.

The “Good Planning for Success” Handbook, with the 9 key areas of concern, has been developed as a central source of information for youth moving to adult services.  It contains general information on what to expect, different program eligibility, relevant policies and lists the kind of questions to ask when seeking information.

This is a handbook for youth with disabilities who:

Your transition process will be an individualized journey that will be unique to you. It is hoped that this handbook will answer many of the questions you have about the future, that you will become familiar with possible roadblocks and barriers that may appear along the way and that it will make the transition process easier. When you turn 18, changes will likely happen in several areas of your life and changes may happen quickly, with or without a plan in place.

The nine Key Areas of Concern each includes timelines that you should be aware of. Familiarizing yourself with these will enable you gather enough information so that the services and supports are in place and you and your family are prepared for the actual transition.