Learn about our children's mental health programming in Toronto schools and our supports for children and youth with learning disabilities and mental health challenges. 
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Children's mental health programming available in Toronto schools

We deliver free early intervention programs in schools across the city. 
The back-to-school season can be a challenging time, and the team at CDI is here to help families ensure they have the necessary supports for their children. We offer several school-based programs across Toronto including:

This 20-week program is designed for students in grades 5-8 who are experiencing challenges managing their mood. Children meet weekly in small groups during class time to discuss topics such as solving problems, making time for fun and identifying negative thoughts.

FRIENDS for Life
This 10-week program for children ages 6-11 is conducted in either small groups or with the entire class. Covering topics such as self-esteem, problem-solving and self-expression, the program focuses on helping students learn skills to help cope with stress and build emotional resilience.

School Treatment Program
Students are referred to this program when they are exhibiting emotional, social and behavioural challenges and are unable to manage in the mainstream educational system. The program utilizes a multi-disciplinary team made up of a special education teacher, a child and youth worker, an education assistant, a family counsellor and consultants as needed, including a speech and language pathologist, a psychologist and a psychiatrist.

SNAP® for Schools
Based on SNAP, CDI’s award-winning early intervention model, this program is delivered to students ages 6-11. The 13-week in-class program covers topics such as managing anger, handling group/peer pressure and dealing with bullying.

Start Right Social Skills
A 12-week early intervention program for children in kindergarten who are having difficulty adjusting to the everyday demands of their regular classroom. The program is offered in partnership with the Toronto District School Board and is available in 20 schools across Toronto.

To learn more about our school-based programs, visit our website.

Understanding the connection
between learning disabilities and
mental health in youth

Child Development Institute is the only accredited children’s mental health agency in Canada to provide mental health services exclusively to children and youth with learning disabilities and mental health challenges.
Children and youth with learning disabilities are at least twice as likely to experience mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and disruptive behaviour disorders, which can affect their ability to learn, build interpersonal relationships and cope with setbacks.

Parents, caregivers, educators and other professionals can best support children and youth with learning disabilities and mental health issues (LDMH) by enhancing their knowledge of the challenges facing those in their care.

As the only accredited children’s mental health agency in Canada to provide mental health services exclusively to children and youth with LDMH, Child Development Institute’s Integra Program is the industry leader in delivering training in this emerging field.

Through our Community Education and Engagement program, we deliver both community workshops and tailored professional development training on LDMH that helps participants learn tips and strategies to support children and youth. 

"These experiential workshops help participants empathize with their children or students by simulating their experiences of living with a learning disability and struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression or other mental health challenges,” says Kate Cressman, facilitator of the Community Education and Engagement program. “By coming together to share knowledge, we are fostering an environment where parents, educators and mental health professionals can work together to advocate for those in need.”

“These workshops are exciting, visionary, helpful and even life-changing,” says Cindy, a parent of a child receiving services from the Integra Program. “They have helped me understand how my son feels and gave me hints on ways to help him, which has dramatically reduced our family’s stress level," she says.

CDI’s Integra Program recently launched its fall workshop series for parents and caregivers of children with learning disabilities; evening sessions will be running on Thursday evenings until mid-November. To learn more, visit our website

Donor Profile:
 Caroline Crabtree and 
Paul Birket

Long-time donors Caroline Crabtree and Paul Birket are pictured alongside their two sons.
“We donate to Camp Towhee because we want every child to have the same opportunities our children experienced,” says Caroline Crabtree, a mother of two boys with learning disabilities. Caroline first heard about Towhee through an Integra workshop on LDMH delivered by Marjory Phillips, Director of Integra, at the school where she teaches. “I immediately put our eldest son on the list!”
Caroline and Paul have been Towhee donors since Sean, now 14, enjoyed his first summer at the camp in 2011. “When Sean was 10, he went to Towhee as a shy and frightened little boy, and he came back a confident, self-assured young man,” she says. “He took part in everything at Towhee, from the ropes course to out-tripping and just being part of the group.”
Caroline’s younger son Liam now attends Towhee and Young Warriors. “Liam, who has a learning disability and ADHD, really benefits from the mindfulness practice,” she says. “He now knows to stop and breathe when he feels frustrated. He can take that moment and know that he’ll be okay.“
Caroline credits the Integra Program with helping her and her husband enhance their understanding of their children’s experiences with LDMH: “Integra really saved our whole family. It gave our children these incredible tools and has been an outlet for us as parents to deal with all our questions and worries. We couldn’t find this support anywhere else”.

“Now my children each have a backpack full of tools. When things come up, they can reach behind them, unzip their backpack and pull out the tool they need. Maybe it’s using mindfulness to push through a tough situation, knowing how to ask for what they need in the classroom, or remembering a meditation like, ‘I know I’m smart and I can do this’. They’ll have this backpack their whole lives, and we are so grateful for this.”
To learn more about Integra’s programs and services or to make a contribution, visit our website.

The Integra Program launches fall evening workshop series for parents and caregivers 

The Integra Program will be running five evening workshops on the connection between learning disabilities and mental health between October 1 and November 19, 2015.
Our next workhsop will focus on helping parents and caregivers access school supports:

Date: Thursday, October 1, 2015
Time: 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Location: Northern District Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd, Toronto
Cost: $15
Registration: Sign up online or call 416-603-1827 ext. 5221

To learn more about our upcoming workshops, visit CDI’s website
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Child Development Institute
197 Euclid Ave
Toronto, On M6K 2J8

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