We at the Red Deer Kinsmen Club are proud to say that we’ve been a longtime supporter of Aspire Special Needs Resource. They provide exceptional hope, evidence-based training, and much-needed support to children with special needs, the families who love them, and the communities that care for them. They are constantly asking themselves, “are we providing the services the community needs?” and “how does the community feel about us?”

In the past, we’ve committed a substantial gift to Aspire’s new (at the time) building in order to create and furnish their indoor gym. More recently, we contributed $5000 and attended Aspire’s event Decadent Dessert. Those who attended had the exciting opportunity of bidding in their Live Cake Auction.

Their Decadent Dessert evening is Aspire’s annual event which brings together the Red Deer and Central Alberta community. Their goal is to raise awareness about children with special needs, raise funds which go towards supporting those children and enjoy a spectacular night. You can read more about it here in a past blog: Interview from Melissa Vine.

In total, our funds go towards:

  • Families who access our Fee Assistance Fund, meaning there will not be a financial barrier to accessing programs and services at Aspire. This year, Aspire has approved over $50,000 in requests for Fee Assistance.

  • Purchases of specialized equipment, such as; iPads to be used for communication with students; FM equipment for assessment rooms allowing the parent to listen to the therapist's conversations with the child from the observation room; or car seats to be used in transporting children to and from Aspire.

  • Family-centered programs such as Park It – a facilitated, drop-in, summer playgroup that enables parents who have children with special needs to stay connected through the summer months, and provides a great play opportunity for both Aspire and community children!

They believe in having a strong dialogue with those they serve. Because they were started by a committed group of parents and professionals, the responsibility of working together with the community is at the core of their values. Their Board of Directors has a strong understanding of the families that they serve, and are directly responsive to what the community tells them. They also empathize with families and provide an opportunity for families to talk directly with a team of professionals to address their challenges. With this knowledge, they have been able to provide services that are delivered with compassion and care.

Their programs are innovative, ensuring that children receive quality specialized services to meet their individual needs. They believe that every child, with the proper support system, can reach their full potential.

To get a true feeling of what Aspire offers our community, here’s a real story of their work.

My name is Jax:

This is my story:

At two years old, my baby still wasn't talking.  I didn't worry too much because his older sister was a late talker, but there was a nagging feeling I had that I didn't want to ignore; his older brother Braydon wasn't talking at two either, and Braydon was later diagnosed with Autism.  I followed my Mama's intuition and went through the proper channels to get him into a diagnostic clinic through Aspire.  On August 12, 2014, Jax was diagnosed with Autism as well.  I had just gotten used to our family's journey having one child with special needs, but life threw us a curve ball again.

Having already had my older son attend EASE a year prior, I was excited for Jax to start just a few weeks after his diagnosis. I knew how amazing the team there is, and I couldn't wait for him to start.

The first few weeks were a bit bumpy, but it wasn't long before the walls started to come down with him, and the progress was not only incredible, it came at warp speed!  In September the only verbal noise he made was gibberish.  By October he was reciting letters of the alphabet, November came numbers, and not long after were actual words!  Today he can count up to 40, he is able to identify members of his family by name, and he continues to be a little sponge soaking up every bit of knowledge given to him.

Our journey of living with two little boys on the Autism Spectrum has been challenging on the best of days.  Aspire has been a constant through this journey.  They have consistently provided us with tools, support and truly made us feel like we are family, and that we will get through this.

Jax is a living and breathing story of what success looks like when given a challenge like living with Autism, and how through proper early diagnosis, intervention, and love, he can accomplish so much.  I am grateful every day for Aspire; without them, we wouldn't be where we are today.