Aptus hosts Sensory First Nations Workshop - "Feeling Inspired"!

Close to 60 attended the art and play workshop for parents, children, youth and professionals in Rama First Nation last week. Participants came from as far as Timmins, Ontario. Stephanie Sandy, a First Nations Elder and local social worker, opened the day by remembering that in prior years there was not an awareness of how to support First Nations children and youth with behaviour challenges and that they were instead labelled and set aside. She thanked everyone for joining today in the important work of supporting children and youth. Aptus’ Expressive Arts Therapy team then shared art and play activities, tools and resources, including a checklist to ensure each child is considered holistically. A participant from Nipissing First Nation shared that the therapists had given her many new ideas and great information to take back to her community.


Everyone then enjoyed a delicious meal and coloured a paper shape they had been given.  After lunch, the shapes were fit together to form a circle (called a mandala). Everyone then sat in a circle to admire what they had made and share how it made them feel. A youth shared that she didn’t feel that her piece was very special but that when she put it with everyone else’s that it made her feel proud to be a part of something bigger. Participants suggested names for the mandala they had all helped make – “Inspiration,” “Inclusion,” and “A colourful life". The afternoon continued in the circle, with sharing and games, including the rainmaking activity, where one person makes a sound with their hands or their feet, and then the sound moves around the circle, until someone else changes it. This resulted in laughter, smiles and more sharing of people feeling connected. The day closed with everyone providing their feedback. A participant from Serpent River First Nation shared, “This whole workshop inspired me both personally and professionally.”


Anishinabek Nation has now invited Aptus and Aquilla Occupational Therapy Services to host a workshop in Nipissing First Nation (by North Bay). Aptus, with its partners, is now in the process of seeking continued funding from Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration for this valuable project. Aptus holiday donors were also key supporters. Miigwetch (thank you) for all of the many generous contributors to this project!

Click to see more photos from this amazing day at Rama First Nation.