Sarah Chaudhery (seen right) is an Occupational Therapist with VHA Home HealthCare who works with number of schools, including St. Bernard Catholic School, a special school in the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) that has 20 pupils on the autism spectrum and no specialized programming. Last year, the school decided to try to secure funding to build a Sensory Room—a first within the TCDSB—and the principal at St. Bernard reached out to Sarah for her help.
“I was contacted by the principal to assist with the application for funding,” explains Sarah. “I reached out to my team at VHA and received good ideas and examples to develop the submission.” With Sarah’s help, St. Bernard became the first school to receive this type of funding.
“I assessed a group of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and provided reports to the school board indicating why the equipment was justified and how the sensory room would benefit them. Then I worked with each student for a block of treatment visits,” explains Sarah.
In recognition of this exciting initiative, St. Bernard was awarded the Innovative Exemplary Practice Award by the TCDSB for its Sensory Space, along with additional funding to add to the space. Sarah was recognized as part of the winning team for her contributions. “It was so thoughtful of St. Bernard to recognize me and VHA as part of their team,” says Sarah. “Thank you to my co-workers at VHA for talking me through this process and thank you and congratulations to St. Bernard!”