Learn about the Integra Mindfulness Martial Arts program, the latest updates to the SNAP Expansion and changes to some of our Early Learning Centres. 
View this email in your browser

Featured Program: Mindfulness Martial Arts

Integra Mindfulness Martial Arts helps youth with mental health issues complicated by learning disabilities become healthier both physically and mentally through a practice focused on yoga, meditation and martial arts.
“Be with your breath. Open and soften. Notice your experience.” In the hustle and bustle of modern life, mantras like these have found their way into boardrooms, parent groups and schools as the practice of mindfulness has been widely adopted across the Western world.

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present focused on living in the moment and awakening to experience. According to Psychology Today, “When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad.”

Within CDI’s Integra Program, the practice of mindfulness has become an essential tool for children and youth dealing with mental health issues complicated by learning disabilities (LDMH). Since 2002, the Integra Mindfulness Martial Arts (MMA) program has helped youth incorporate yoga, meditation and martial arts into their arsenal of coping strategies.

“We help program participants notice the urge to ‘Fight, Flight or Freeze,’ and then to acknowledge their thoughts, feelings and impulses. This practice allows them to respond to situations in a less reactive way,” says Trish McKeough, CDI’s MMA Coordinator.
This MMA program was the first of its kind in Toronto, and it has been successful in promoting mental health and physical wellness while also addressing key challenges in emotion regulation among participants.
According to Dr. Marjory Phillips, Director of the Integra Program, “Mindfulness Martial Arts gives children and youth with mental health issues and learning disabilities the opportunity to learn new skills and take calculated risks in a safe, supportive environment; something they may avoid trying in other social settings.”
"It’s not about getting rid of the feelings. It’s more accepting that they are there. You notice them but you don’t really act on them.” – Thomas, program participant 
While the 20-week group MMA program works with youth who are between 12 to 18 years old with learning disabilities and self-regulation disorders (i.e., anxiety, depression, disruptive behaviour), a similar program called Young Warriors is available for children aged 9 to 11.

To learn more, visit our website.
January CDI Donor Profile
Since 1968, Camp Towhee has hosted more than 4,800 campers  with learning disabilities and related psychosocial difficulties in a safe and supportive residential setting.
We are honoured to feature “Andy’s parents*,” who have been giving to Camp Towhee for 29 years, since their son (who has learning disabilities and ADHD) attended camp in 1986.

“Andy loved Towhee, especially the swimming and canoeing to the island across from camp,” Andy’s father remembers. “We all still talk about Towhee.” Now retired, Andy’s parents continue to give through CDI’s monthly donation program. Andy’s mother explains: “If you don’t have a child with such complex difficulties, you can’t possibly understand how important Towhee is. These children grow up," she says. “Andy is now 38, but other children come along, and the need is still there.” Andy’s father adds, “We can’t give very much, but we will always be grateful for that summer. It was a respite for Andy, and for us.” 

We are grateful too.

*Andy’s parents asked to remain anonymous for this story.
Fraser Mustard Early Learning Centre Opens its Doors
CDI’s newest childcare location was named in honour of Fraser Mustard, a Toronto-born world-renowned early childhood expert.
The Fraser Mustard Early Learning Centre opened to the public this month.Our newest childcare centre is located in the Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy, one of Canada’s largest all-kindergarten schools. In addition to the Before and After Kindergarten program that opened last fall, the Centre will now also provide full-time care for 88 children from infancy to age 4. 
Bringing together full-day kindergarten, before and after school care and full-time childcare in one location provides a unique opportunity for early childhood educators, teachers, and school staff to work together in a collaborative early learning environment.We’re excited to be part of this innovative approach to early child development, and pleased to be working in partnership with the school. To register your child, contact Darlene Landry, Director, by phone at 416-421-7676 or email at

Stay tuned for our grand opening event later this year!
Saying Goodbye to the Cabbagetown Early Learning Centre
CDI currently operates five Early Learning Centres offering subsidized childcare to Toronto families.
The Cabbagetown Early Learning Centre (ELC) closed its doors at the end of December 2014. The CDI teams located on the second floor of the ELC are moving to a new location in the area in mid-February. Our plans are underway for a smooth transition, and we will keep you updated on our progress.

SNAP Expansion Update

For every $1 spent on SNAP, $32 is saved in costs to society.
The SNAP Expansion continues to build momentum as we work toward reaching 20,000 high-risk children across Canada over the next five years. Recently, an independent peer-reviewed article by world-renowned criminologist Dr. David Farrington and Dr. Christopher Koegl was published in The Journal of Quantitative Criminology that measured the monetary costs and benefits of the SNAP program to society. The researchers found that for every $1 spent on SNAP, $32 are saved in convictions and undetected offences. Though already a great savings, the authors concede that this amount is an underestimate, and conclude that the monetary benefits of the SNAP program greatly exceed its monetary costs. Overall, using a sample size of 376 boys who completed the SNAP program at CDI, Drs. Farrington and Koegl found that SNAP reduced crime by 33%, prevented 168 crimes per 100 boys, and saved $147,423 per boy.
Along with previously published research on SNAP’s outcomes and endorsements from various agencies including the National Crime Prevention Centre, the U.S. White House and the National Gang Centre, this new article has highlighted the monetary benefit of SNAP’s effectiveness, giving even greater depth to the impact SNAP can have upon communities across Canada. 
Upcoming Workshops
CDI's workshops are developed and delivered by professional staff members (psychologists, social workers and educators) who are experts in the field of learning disabilities and children’s mental health.
We will be running public workshops for parents/caregivers of children with learning disabilities through our Integra Program beginning on January 22, 2015. Family and community members, educators, counsellors and any other interested adults are welcome. The $15 sessions will all take place from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Northern District Library in the Yonge and Eglinton area.

Sessions available:
  • Walk a Mile in My Shoes: January 22
  • Intro to Executive Functioning and Learning Disabilities: January 29
  • All About Moods: Intro to Anxiety, Depression and Learning Disabilities: February 5
  • Fostering Self-Esteem in Children with Learning Disabilities: February 19
  • Understanding Social Competence in Children with Learning Disabilities/ADHD: February 26
  • Navigating Social Media in teens with Learning Disabilities/ADHD: March 26
Register online to reserve a spot in the session(s) of your choice. 
Copyright © 2015 Child Development Institute, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Child Development Institute
197 Euclid Ave
Toronto, On M6K 2J8

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences