• News
  • June 17, 2011

Spirit of Life Releases Study on Service Coordination for Chinese Canadians with Developmental Disabilities

Richmond Hill – The findings from a new and comprehensive study conducted by Spirit of Life over the past year to see how best to coordinate services in the Greater Toronto Area for Chinese Canadians with developmental disabilities were released on Friday. Local MPP Reza Moridi and Savi Singh, a volunteer with the Ontario Trillium Foundation which provided a $56,100 grant in 2010 to conduct the Needs Assessment were also in attendance.

"The Needs Assessment and Feasibility Study results will help address the needs of Chinese Canadians with
developmental disabilities, which will help to improve and deliver services more effectively."

— Dr. Helena Jaczek, MPP Oak Ridges-Markham

For the first time ever, the Community Needs Assessment Study was conducted to determine the feasibility of creating a Chinese Developmental Services Council to ensure that people with developmental disabilities and their families receive the services they need in a timely manner. The study found that Chinese families in the GTA affected by developmental disabilities are confronted with social, economic and linguistic barriers that prevent them from receiving proper, prompt or adequate medical treatments and social services that would otherwise be available to them.

Following a qualitative methodology that includes literature reviews, consultation with community developmental disability stakeholders in various formats such as 100 telephone interviews, 6 regional focus group discussions, and other personal interviews as well as participant observations, the study concluded that information on resources was scarce and service coordination was fragmented; and critically not available in Chinese, the first language of the service recipients. The Needs Assessment also suggested two models to construct the Chinese Developmental
Disabilities Services Council: Council as an advisory committee; or Council as a social innovator.

“While the latter has more intervention power for helping people with developmental disabilities by building community capacity, both models require collaboration of all of the developmental disabilities services stakeholders of the Chinese community,” said Edward Lau, president of Spirit of Life. “It is clear that the Council can serve as a policy framework to address ethnic specific developmental disability needs that is crucial to cope with the quick changes in demographics and situations of the different ethnic groups in the GTA.”

Spirit of Life is a charitable group designed to enhance the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and other special needs through education and support. Since June 2004, it has kept pace with activities that promoted public awareness and identified service gaps in York Region. Spirit of Life has produced brochures and DVDs on topics regarding developmental disabilities, including Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. The organization also provides access to a telephone hotline and a website with information in both English and Chinese. Individual consultations are also available by appointment.

A leading grant-maker in Canada, the Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Foundation builds healthy and vibrant


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