Having a toolkit of resources to support my child while we are out in the community has been a lifesaver for both me and my son.
Sensory Backpack Program:
Children and Youth who live with Sensory Processing Disabilities often do not have the ability to filter our external stimuli (such as loud sounds; bright lights) making outings difficult for both them and their families. Because of this, children who live with these types of disabilities (i.e. autism) often have “smaller worlds” and do not get to do or experience the same things as many of their peers.
In order to support children who may experience sensory overload, Variety – the Children’s Charity has created Sensory Backpacks filled with resources for self regulation, tactile input, attention focusing tools, and body awareness support items.
Our goal with these are to:
- Help manage the sensory bombardment children experience when going on outings.
- Help reduce the stress of parents knowing they will have support where they are going.
- Help the child focus on parental cues with having excessive stimuli reduced.
- Help reduce the frequency and intensity of behaviours that are often triggered by sensory overload (i.e. arm flapping; yelling; laying on the ground kicking; throwing things etc.).
- Help make outings more enjoyable and positive for both the child and their family.
- Increase the likelihood of the child and family participating in more outings from daily routines to fun activities.
Variety launched our sensory backpack program in stores and child friendly facilities. These backpacks are available free of charge for sign out in specific locations around our province. Thank you to the Calgary Wildrose Lions Club, the Calgary Heritage Lions Club, the Red Deer Fire Fighters Children’s Charity, the Edmonton Rotary Club of Strathcona and SaskMasks as our collaborative partners who, with a joint funding application, were able to secure funds to help us roll this program out to more places across the province and into Saskatchewan.
We are slowly launching a school based program and are working with collaborative partners and sponsors to place sensory backpacks in schools across Alberta.
Our backpacks are also available for purchase for school programs. Please have your parent council reach out to us to learn more and reserve one for your school today!
Please email Variety at email@example.com if you are interested in purchasing a Sensory Backpack for your program or for personal use.
Southern AB Locations:
- Blush Lane (Marda Loop) – Calgary
- Buy-Low Foods – Blackfalds
- Buy-Low Foods – Langdon (July 2022 Release Date)
- Calgary Library Locations:
- Fish Creek
- Giuffre Family
- Louise Riley
- Nose Hill
- Chinook Centre (August 2022 Release Date)
- Genesis Centre – Calgary
- Mount Royal University (MRU) Summer Camp Programs
- Southcentre Mall – Calgary
- Telus Spark Science Centre – Calgary
- Vecova Centre for All Abilities – Calgary
Central AB Locations:
- We have partnered with the Red Deer Fire Fighters Children’s Charity to put 35 sensory backpacks in locations throughout Red Deer and surrounding areas in July/August 2022. Locations will be updated as they are confirmed.
Northern AB Locations:
- Telus World of Science – Edmonton
- Edmonton Zoo
- Coop Locations throughout Edmonton
- Autism Edmonton
- Kingsway Mall
- RCMP Heritage Centre – Regina
- Royal Saskatchewan Museum – Regina
- Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame – Regina
- Saskatchewan Government House – Regina
- Western Development Museum – Saskatoon; Yorkton; Moose Jaw; North Battleford
- Nutrien Wonderhub – Saskatoon
- Hopes Homes – 5 locations in Saskatchewan