The Ranch has built most of our programs and services on the need to help children, youth, and families that had fallen through cracks made by gaps in service. One of the programs created out of that philosophy is the Ehrlo Counselling Services which provides preventative and early intervention services to the community as well as counseling, training and consultation services to the community at large.

Saskatchewan Cognitive Disability Strategy Consultants, Denise Swallow and Ryan Labatt who work out of Ehrlo Counselling, engage in partnerships between federal government departments, provincial government ministries, health region programs, school divisions and numerous community agencies.  Their consultation mirrors the Ranch’s and works to reduce the gaps that many people with cognitive disabilities face. 

The strategy aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of families, service providers and the community in order to support people with cognitive disabilities experiencing significant behavioural and developmental challenges. It also provides a framework for supporting individuals with cognitive disabilities whose need is not being met through existing services or supports.

How does we define cognitive disability?

  • Significant limitations in learning and processing information. Individuals are limited in retaining knowledge, learning skills, making decisions, and communicating with others

  • Behaviour challenges, which result in limited interpersonal, social and emotional functioning

  • Developmental challenges which limit capacity to adapt to daily living in areas such as self-care, independence at home, in the community, at work or leisure

  • Limitations and impairments that are persistent and long-term

What does this strategy mean for people and their loved ones living with cognitive disabilities?

  • They may be eligible for funding to access services that you do not currently receive

  • For families, it may mean respite care or additional therapy services for your child

  • For adults, it may mean having someone to help with activities of daily living, such as keeping appointments, taking medications or grocery shopping

But what does this support actually look like?

  • A single parent now has access to a mentor who develops healthy family routines that minimize the risk of child welfare involvement

  • A client now has the support of an advocate to resolve their substandard housing situation

  • A client who does not read beyond a grade one level is no longer disadvantaged by this in not being able to access services

  • A family is able to address complex behaviors through comprehensive assessment & planning

These are just a few stories that illustrate what it means to reduce a gap.

Blog was written partially by Trudy Bosch with lots of help from Denise Swallow and Ryan Labatt.