People at the Centre of What We Do: CTN Celebrates National AccessAbility Week

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National AccessAbility Week is May 28 to June 3. Across the country we are encouraged to learn more about accessibility and inclusion and to celebrate people with disabilities. This week and throughout the year, CTN joins the collective commitment to creating an accessible Canada.

CTN’s strategic plan reflects the spirit of National AccessAbility Week and Red Shirt Day, and recognizing these days demonstrates our commitment to our mission that together with our partners, we work with kids, youth and their families to support development and well-being. CTN’s dedicated to practices that include equitable access and inclusive models of service delivery for kids and youth with disabilities and developmental needs. Our equity, diversity, inclusion, Indigeneity and accessibility journey has positioned us with knowledge and tools to drive us to our own pledge to remove systemic barriers that impede full participation, access and opportunities in the communities we serve.

Here are some of the ways we are doing this work.

In alignment with CTN’s strategic directions to put people at the centre of what we do and strive for excellence, CTN held its Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy (OT/PT) Day event in March to shine a spotlight on accessibility advocacy. Guest presentations included 'My Ability is Stronger than My Disability' by co-op student Thalia Avgousti as well as a joint presentation by accessibility advocates, Luke Anderson and Maayan Ziv, who work toward making local, national and global communities more accessible through their respective companies, the StopGap Foundation and AccessNow. The day concluded with an opportunity for therapists to collaborate across agencies, share their ideas to increase accessibility and brainstorm operational and system improvements, putting CTN's value of innovation into practice.

Last fall, CTN launched its first ever storybook titled ‘The Magic Key’. This book supports the goals of National AccessAbility Week. It was inspired by the new strategic plan and the kids, youth and families we serve. The book celebrates disability and different abilities and delivers a magical story that shows kids participating in activities that represent childhood fun in accessible spaces. The story was written by a CTN staff member and illustrated by the extremely talented Abigail Roscoe, a disabled artist who aims to challenge ableism in her work. Families can enjoy a special reading of “The Magic Key” by Jack, who receives services from CTN, and his mom Erin. To make this book accessible to more families in our communities, we have translated it into six different languages.

An important day during National AccessAbility Week is Red Shirt Day of Action for AccessAbility and Inclusion on May 31. Red Shirt Day is an Easter Seals initiative and was first celebrated in 2019. It takes place annually on the Wednesday of National AccessAbility Week. On this day, people across Canada come together and wear red to create a visible display of solidarity. It is a chance to show support for disabled people and their families, celebrate the achievements of disabled Canadians and to pledge their commitment to help create a fully accessible and inclusive society.

The CTN team will be wearing red on May 31 and we encourage you, your family and co-workers to participate in activities during National Accessibility Week to help create a vibrant community where all kids, youth and families belong.

Here are a few ways to get involved:

Follow the #RedShirtDay and #NAAW2023 hashtags and on CTN’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn social media channels.