Routine is key at Learning Centre

Routine is key at Learning Centre

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in Whats-new | 0 comments

When clients and visitors alike enter the Ranch’s Learning Centre, the first thing they see is a visual representation of who is in the building that day.

This isn’t a security measure – at least not in the traditional sense. Rather, it’s a way to make those who attend the Learning Centre combat anxiety that may arise from being uncertain about what their day will hold. Most of the young adults at the Centre, a vocational program which serves young people with complex needs, have been diagnosed with autism, FASD, and other complex neurological disorders. These issues mean that routine, and general knowledge of what to expect in a day, is extremely important.

zones of regulation chartIn addition, staff provide visual supports to help clients learn routine with visual schedules, and to provide step-by-step instructions for certain tasks.

“Some use the visual supports to learn the routine and then go about their day; others highly rely on visual schedules and going over it every day to lessen anxieties,” explained Learning Centre manager Michelle Schwabe.

exercise roomIf clients are having a difficult day, they have two sensory rooms available  at their disposal. There is also an exercise room with basic equipment such as a treadmill available for clients to use.

But the success of the Learning Centre is much more than facilities, visual supports, and routines. The program is person-centered – meaning that each client’s individual needs and interests are taken into account when deciding the goals they will work toward and the ways they will accomplish them.

Michelle explained, “It’s all about what’s in the best interest of the person we’re supporting. What does a good or bad day look like for them? Then deciding how to facilitate a day that they would enjoy.”

All of this would be hollow without the staff, who are the heart and soul of the program.

“Our staff have a lot of heart. Watching them work with these guys, it’s an amazing thing.” Michelle said.

What a day looks like in the program
7 teachingsThe day-to-day routine at the Learning Centre is a standard one: in the morning, clients attend to various work responsibilities, from pick up and drop off recycling, to table-top tasks depending on their skill level. At lunch, some of the clients participate in the veggie plus program, cutting up fresh vegetables to add to everyone’s mid-day meal; learning both the life skill of preparing meals and the importance of healthy eating.

“These kinds of things are important because everyone needs a sense of purpose,” said Michelle. “Our guys like to help people so utilizing and developing daily functional living skills, is important. Learning household duties like laundry, and dishes, and healthy living, all those pieces that are so important to you and I, are also important to them.”

In the afternoon, clients attend various community outings – from gymnastics to music therapy, community inclusion activities are key.

“Being welcomed into the community is a huge component, because although they have developmental disabilities, they’re just as much contributing members of the community as you and me are. So teaching skills regarding socialization and being an appropriate, contributing member of society is very important,” Michelle said.

Learn more about the Learning Centre’s summer programming in Michelle’s upcoming blog.




Read More

You are invited: annual powwow

You are invited: annual powwow

Posted by on Jul 28, 2018 in Whats-new | 0 comments


PowwowA powwow is a celebration of life! Join us as we celebrate the lives changed by Ranch Ehrlo Society at our third annual powwow on August 3oth.

Once again, our powwow will be competitive style – cash prizes will be given out to the top dancers in each age group/dance category. We will also be hosting a family style carnival, and will be providing a hamburger supper free of charge. (A canteen will be available throughout the day, and popcorn and snow cone stations will be available to round out the selection.)

Timeline (all events will take place on the Pilot Butte campus):

  • Feast 9:30 a.m. (Schaller school)
  • Grand entry is at 1 p.m.
  • Family Carnival 2 p.m. (we also have bingo, snow cones, popcorn, candy floss)
  • Supper break at 5 p.m.- this is a free hamburger supper
  • Closing ceremonies 7 p.m.


Thank you to our sponsors

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, check out our sponsor package or contact Trudy Bosch.

Event sponsors

 SGI  Welldone    Beyond wealth management

Drummer/dancer sponsors


Canteen sponsors


Family carnival sponsors

   SEPW      BBK


Print sponsor

 Signature Printit Centres
Read More

Sensory rooms aid in success at Learning Centre

Sensory rooms aid in success at Learning Centre

Posted by on Jul 16, 2018 in Whats-new | 2 comments

Whether it’s a computer for a secretary or a hammer for a carpenter, we all have tools that we require in order to do our jobs effectively.

ball pit

Bright sensor room

It’s no different for the clients at Ranch Ehrlo’s Learning Centre in Regina, a program that offers individuals aged 16+ with complex needs ongoing vocational, social, and life skills development. Most of the young adults at the Centre have been diagnosed with autism, FASD, and other complex neurological disorders which lead to issues with sensory processing.

“A lot of times when we’re asking them to do job tasks or different activities, those sensory systems interrupt, making it hard for them to focus or move forward in their plans,” explained Learning Center manager Michelle Schwabe.

Their needs may look different, but it’s no less important that we ensure they have the tools they need to effectively get through their day. One of the ways we do so is the newly developed sensory rooms at the Learning Centre. Specifically, a sensory room helps aid sensory development by guiding individuals through various challenges to target their sensory ability to correctly respond to sensory information.

sensory room

Relaxing sensory room

If someone becomes agitated, they have a relaxing environment with low lights, soft seating, and calming displays at their disposal. A fibre optic curtain adds a tactile component as the tubes can be held while clients observe the changing colours, and a Bluetooth speaker is available to fill the room with calming music.

“Just like you and I – the sensory space allows them to relax, and before you know it, they’re back into the zone,” Michelle said.

If they need to be brought up from a low state, a bright room with an image of a summer sky on the roof has a ball pit, a swing, and a trampoline, amongst other activities, available to assist. The walls in this room are sand-coloured and textured, again providing tactile stimulation.

In both cases, staff monitor clients’ responses to the sensory equipment and are aware of the individual effects caused. Once they return to their baseline – the optimal level of sensory functioning – they are able to resume their daily tasks.

Read More

CARE in the night

CARE in the night

Posted by on Jul 9, 2018 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Patrick Parker is a night float manager at Ranch Ehrlo. He manages a team of eight employees who only work at night and move from home to home in Regina and the Pilot Butte campus. Even though the team has these hurdles in front of them when trying to form meaningful relationships with youth and adults, the CARE that they show is second to none.

CARE, Children And Residential Experience, is a residential model developed by Cornell University. We began adding the model to our existing framework late last year. One of the goals of CARE is to develop congruency across our agency, so that all staff are applying the same principles to their work in our organization and working together for a common goal of helping our clients.

Our night floats provide backup to direct care workers within the various homes they float between. Each night there are two workers on the campus, and two providing support in the city. What that support looks like is always different.

“We build relationships with several programs – from waking clients up in the morning and getting them ready for school. On weekends and holidays its spending time playing cards, or doing activities outside. Sometimes its helping them with their chores,” Pat explained.

Nighttime is a challenging time for many of our youth. It also brings different challenges to night staff. It’s quiet and young people are alone with their thoughts.

“That’s when we see a lot of those pain based behaviours, like running away and self harm behaviours. In those situations, the response is always the same. A lot of caring gestures. If someone is coming back from being on the run, you welcome them back. ‘Hey welcome back. Are you hungry? Are you safe? Are you hurt?’ It’s not punitive. We want them to know that they are cared for and we are glad they are home,” Pat stated.

Helping the staff in the group home with the wake-up process is also a challenge.

Pat elaborated, “You are trying to achieve two things that youth hate to do – getting out of bed and, sometimes, going to school. But we stick to the caring gestures. Humour also works really well to meet with some resistance.”

Sometimes night floats have a different role, especially when it comes to the emergency receiving program at the agency. The program provides temporary short-term emergency care to youth, awaiting placement. Often the youth that need this service need it in the middle of the night.

In one such scenario, all the beds in emergency receiving were full and mobile crisis called with a youth who desperately needed a place. Night floats made it work and found a bed for her on campus at 3 a.m. after many phone calls.

But their job is more than finding a bed.

Pat explained, “Most of the youth in emergency receiving are coming from unsafe situations or they themselves are intoxicated. It’s our job to welcome them and eliminate a lot of their anxiety and fears and letting them know what to expect.”

“It’s just part of that therapeutic milieu to make people feel comfortable in an otherwise scary time.”

Through CARE principles, children, youth, adults, families, and employees work together to achieve their full potential.

Read More

Family workshop brings out CARE principles

Family workshop brings out CARE principles

Posted by on Jun 25, 2018 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Ensuring treatment remains family centered was top of mind for caseworker Angela Montano when she planned a workshop for the families of MacKay House youth.

“In terms of CARE principles, one of them is ensuring treatment is family centered, so we’ve been really trying to bring in the families and involve them in treatment as much as possible,” Angela explained.

“It reminds them that they are an important part of their child’s treatment,” she continued.

The agency has recently begun implementing the CARE (Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change), residential program model developed by Cornell University to our existing framework to improve our services for clients.

The workshop, held June 12th, was an opportunity for parents to come together to learn more about their child’s treatment, including learning about the CARE model and how it impacts the way staff work with youth.

“Bringing parents together like this also provides them an opportunity to realize that they aren’t alone – there are other parents who are struggling with these issues as well,” Angela added. “But it’s also a very practical way of providing information to all the parents at one time.”

“It’s important to build a sense of community with the parents, as well as providing them with important information in regard to their children’s treatment. I think it also reminds them they are an important member of their child’s treatment.”

The day also included a presentation on attachment which provided an opportunity for parents to learn more about improving their relationships with their children both now and in the future.

In keeping with CARE principles, employees from the Ministry of Social Services were also included in the afternoon, ensuring that everyone involved in each client’s treatment remains on the same page and working toward the common good of each youth.

Families who attended the day had positive feedback for Angela, with one parent stating, “The information was great and so helpful.”

MacKay House’s last family workshop was held in December 2016, but Angela hopes to make them an annual or semi-annual event.

Read More

Family Treatment Program in the news

Family Treatment Program in the news

Posted by on Jun 12, 2018 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Ranch Ehrlo Society’s Family Treatment Program (FTP) has been a staple of our community programming for many years, but recently CBC radio has highlighted the great work done by director Patti Petrucka and her staff of dedicated therapists, social workers, and support staff to help families from across the country.

The article and radio excerpts explained the program from Patti’s point of view – from the number of families served to the unique one-on-one pairing with a dedicated therapist and the staff’s 24-hour-a-day availability, to the group sessions offered to all families – and also allowed former and current families to describe their experiences in the program.

The stories

Read More