Creating Opportunities Today; Maximizing Independence Tomorrow

Press Releases

2011-10-27

Rick Hansen Endorses Unprecedented Innovation at Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre

OTTAWA — Twenty-five years after his inspirational visit to the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre, Rick Hansen returned today to a whole new world of possibility for children and youth living with physical and developmental disabilities.

 

To the delight of everyone sharing in Rick's visit – clients, parents, therapists, teachers, and volunteers — it was clear that the vision of this Canadian hero to make the world a more accessible place was realized at the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre, now celebrating its 60th anniversary of service to the Eastern Ontario region.

"Rick Hansen made a point to come to this unique facility 25 years ago on his Man in Motion World Tour," said Jack Hunt, Chair of the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre Board.  "He said these very words to the staff and to their clients — anything is possible. We took Rick at his word because he was inspiring, motivating and determined.  We believed in him then, and we still believe in him today because Rick was right."

The last 25 years since Rick’s initial visit has spawned major advances in technology, research and accessibility for children, youth and adults living with disabilities. 

At the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC), wheelchairs that at one time were heavy, cumbersome and with a limited range of adjustability, are now engineered and customized to fit the specific physical needs of  the child,  including  his or her size and ideal posture, to achieve maximum mobility and independence.

In fact, OCTC's professional staff can assess each client individually for functional mobility, and prescribe everything from specialized strollers and car seats to ‘kid walkers’ or ‘standers’, for those with difficulty maintaining an upright position, as well as manual and power wheelchairs with custom-made cushions to adapt to body build and reduce pressure points. 

Clients and their families are also given support to access and use adapted computer technologies and other resources that allow for increased mobility, communication, and education, particularly in the primary school and associated programs and services offered by the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre.

"Each client is assessed based on what his or her 'life needs' are," said Kathleen Stokely, CEO of OCTC.  "Our physicians, therapists and teachers ask together — what can we do to foster maximum independence, and how do we define success for this particular child?"

"For a child with cerebral palsy who has difficulty speaking and writing but who wants to be integrated into his or her community school, we help provide technology including adapted and augmentative communication devices to enable their dream to come true," she said.  "And for so many of our clients, we see them achieve personal triumphs small and large every day."

For Corey Smith, a member of the Men's National Basketball Wheelchair Team and a former OCTC client, his dreams did come true, thanks in part to the inspiration provided by Rick Hansen.  

Before two illnesses – encephalitis and Epstein-Barr – put him in a wheelchair at the age of 15, Corey was an aspiring and talented athlete.  He learned about Rick Hansen and his epic journey around the world in a wheelchair, and Corey was inspired not just to go on, but to achieve his dream of playing basketball for Canada.

"The first time on the basketball court, I was using a regular wheelchair – the kind without anti-tips on the wheels – and I kept falling backwards onto the court," said Corey.  "But I loved it and I went all the time to play with the other fellows on the City recreational league.  With today’s technology, I forget I am in a wheelchair.  I just want to win, like everyone else."

Corey Smith, and two clients from the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre who were selected as medal-bearers for  the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay on Oct 26, presented Rick with a ceremonial bicycle wheel inscribed with the following words: To Rick Hansen – You are the Man in Motion and you must keep going.  We are right beside you all the way — proof that anything is possible. 

The Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre (OCTC) is a leader in providing specialized care for those with multiple physical, developmental, and associated behavioural needs, focusing on our region's children and youth.  We exemplify community partnership, maximizing integration and independence for clients and their families. 

Please see the Backgrounder for more information, including details on the programs and services of the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre, OCTC's innovative Seating & Mobility team, and a bio of Corey Smith.

The Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC) is a leader in providing specialized care for those with multiple physical, developmental, and associated behavioural needs, focusing on our region's children and youth.  We exemplify community partnership, maximizing integration and independence for clients and their families <www.octc.ca>. 

Please see the attached Backgrounder for more information, including details on the programs and services of the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre, OCTC’s innovative Seating & Mobility team, and a bio of Corey Smith.

For more information, please contact:

Anne Huot
Director of Client Programs & Information
Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre
2211 Thurston Drive
(613) 688-2126 x 4344

Additional Information

OCTC-Backgrounder-Hansen-Event-FINAL
121 KB (PDF)