Easter Seals collaborates with TYDE to develop online education
Collaborations are the new norm for this legacy charity in British Columbia as it looks to reimagine a future where it will help more families in need and persons with disabilities. Easter Seals BC & Yukon, a well-established charity for persons with disabilities, is seeking new collaborations in all areas of its operation and has partnered with the Transiting Youth with Disabilities and Employment (TYDE) project to prepare youth living with intellectual disabilities (ID) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to find meaningful employment later in life.
“We are excited to announce that the Transitioning Youth with Disabilities and Employment (TYDE), a project we are proud to partner with, has received over $1.3 million in federal funding to develop curriculum for an online interactive learning environment to help those with ID and ASD,” says Charlene Krepiakevich, President & CEO, Easter Seals BC/Yukon. “There is a gap for people with developmental disabilities as they transition from school to adult life and we are one of many partners of this project committed to bridging this gap by improving employment outcomes and giving them opportunities to have meaningful work in their lives.”
The project, which was recently awarded $742,089.00 from the Canadian Institute for Health Research and $589,561 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, will spend the next year developing curriculum for an online interactive learning environment to help those with ID and ASD—also called self-advocates for their efforts in speaking up for themselves and others—improve their knowledge and future employment outcomes.
Only 22.3% of Canadians with ID or ASD have some form of paid employment and those that do often work few hours and receive lower pay than people who do not have disabilities. “The research is very clear,” says Rachelle Hole, principal investigator on the Transiting Youth with Disabilities and Employment (TYDE) project. “Supporting self-advocates as they transition from school to adult life and giving them opportunities to contribute through meaningful work has enormous benefits for both the individual and the businesses they work for.”
Hole also points out that self-advocates have above average attendance, a low turnover rate and evidence shows that businesses that offer employment opportunities have higher staff morale and are seen more favourably than their competitors. The TYDE Project is unique in that its curriculum will be focused not just on self-advocates but also on their caregivers, who have often been overlooked, but who play an important role in early interventions.
Both Krepiakevich and Hole hope this project will position a new generation of engaged and hard-working self-advocates to find their place in the job market.