This year, get organized!


Wondering if getting organized is worth your time? Here are a few fun statistics to help you decide:

  • Getting rid of clutter eliminates 40 per cent of housework in an average home.
  • 23% of adults say they pay bills late (and thus incur fees) because they lose them.
  • Eighty per cent of the clutter in homes is a result of disorganization, not lack of space.

(Survey results from Ikea and the National Association of Professional Organizers)


PLUS, as the parent of a child with a disability, you will feel very powerful when you can put your hands on critical information and documents when you need them!  If you have a child with a disability the paperless society is still a long way off, you will accumulate paper, paper and more paper.    Attending a meeting? You might be asked to bring a document that you last saw on your kitchen table 3 months ago.  Where is it now?

First, pick an organization system you are comfortable with.  If you don’t like punching holes in paper don’t use a binder system just because your friend does it that way. 

Try experimenting with ideas you find on-line or that other parents have used and see what works for you.  At home I use a simple system of a few active files which I keep handy in an open file holder. Once or twice a year I file older items but I always keep current documents like IEP’s or assessments on hand.  Get a filing cabinet or a storage box and use it for old documents that you may need again but be ruthless and  THROW OUT outdated information. 

Some people have been successful with accordian-style paper holders.   You can buy these with many or only a few sections, it depends on your family’s needs.

Try Googling "Organization systems", "Get organized now" or "personal organization".  There must be a million ways to get organized and I think they are all on the internet! Look for good hints and tips, you don’t need to spend money for a fancy system.

A  few places to start:

Binder system (make your own):

Find lots of examples and links to sites for templates:

Vermont Family Network Care Notebook:  "Parents can purchase the
necessary components of a Care Notebook themselves at any office supply store",  and this site includes downloadable templates. 

Start the school year out right and get organized early.

Burnaby Village Museum Free in 2012


(Updated June 2012)  For 2012, the Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel is celebrating both
the carousel’s and the interurban tram’s 100th year.To celebrate, the
City of Burnaby invites all to enjoy free gate admission. Carousel rides
are only $2.30 per ride for all ages.

Visit the website for hours:


Top Ten Farmer’s Markets


Ambleside Farmers’ Market
Bellevue St &13th St
West Vancouver, British Columbia, V7T 2H2
Phone:(604) 628-8226
Sundays from May 01, 2011 – Sunday October 30, 2011
Accepted payment methods: Cash
How to Get Here: The parking lot behind the police station on Bellevue St, between 13th & 14th St in Ambleside,
West Vancouver.

Baker’s Market

7646 Prince Albert St
Vancouver, British Columbia, V5X 3Z4
Phone:(604) 899-7993
Saturdays frin October 01, 2011 – Saturday December 10, 2011
Accepted payment methods: Cash
How to Get Here: Take Fraser St bus south, get off at E 60th, cross the road, walk 2 blocks east to Moberly Arts


Burnaby Farmers’ Market
4949 Canada Way
Burnaby, British Columbia
V5G 1M2
Phone: (604) 628-8226
Tuesday June 07, 2011 – Saturday October 29, 2011
Accepted payment methods: Cash

This season we are very excited to be moving to the Carousel Meadow at Burnaby Village Museum at 6501 Deer Lake Avenue.
The Village has free entrance this year and there is so much to see,
and enjoy, at the village once you have finished your shopping at the
market. There is Free Parking opposite Entrance 6 and it is just a
short walk to the market from that Gate.


Dundarave Farmers’ Market
Dundarave Village
North Vancouver, British Columbia,V6C 3A8
Phone: (604) 987-4488
Saturday April 30, 2011 – Saturday September 24, 2011
Accepted payment methods: Cash


East Vancouver Farmers’ Market
Trout Lake Community Centre Parking Lot
Vancouver, British Columbia
Phone: 604-879-FARM
Website:  www.bcfarmersmarket.orgV6K 1H9
Sunday May 08, 2011 – Sunday October 23, 2011
Accepted payment methods: Cash
How to Get Here: East 15th and Victoria Dr in the parking lot of the Trout Lake Community Centre.


Kitsilano Farmers’ Market
Kitsilano Community Centre Parking Lot
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6K 4K9
Phone:  604-879-FARM
Saturday May 22, 2010 – Sunday October 23, 2011
Accepted payment methods: Cash


Lonsdale Quay Farmers’ Market
123 Carrie Cates Crt
North Vancouver, British Columbia
V7G 1P8
Phone:  (604) 628-8226
Saturday May 07, 2011 – Saturday October 29, 2011
Accepted payment methods: Cash
How to Get Here: On the East Plaza at Lonsdale Quay & Shops, 123 Carrie Cates Crt, at the foot of Lonsdale, North Vancouver.


Main Street Station Farmers’ Market
Thornton Park (Main & Terminal)
Vancouver, British Columbia, V5T 3J5
Wednesday June 01, 2011 – Wednesday October 05, 2011
Accepted payment methods: Cash
How to Get Here: Located at Main & Terminal Ave in front of Pacific Central Terminal Station.


Trout Lake Farmers Market
Parking Lot Of Trout Lake Community Centre
Vancouver, British Columbia,V5N 4M4
Phone:(604) 879-3276
Saturday May 14, 2011 – Saturday October 22, 2011
Accepted payment methods: Cash

Local Parks & Rec Links


Your local parks and recreation department will have many opportunities for children with special needs to experience inclusive recreational activities as well as some specialized programs. You might be surprised! Make sure to check out YOUR local parks and rec web-site.

Burnaby:   Please visit  the BURNABY LEISURE GUIDE, Fall Winter 2011/12 pages 8 & 9 for a listing of all the adapted programs.

Vancouver:  Please see THE VANCOUVER PARKS WEBSITE adapted programs for all ages.

New Westminster:  New West does not have segregated programs.  Please contact the program or site directly if you have a special access request.  Please see the GENERAL SITE.

Summer Internet Safety for parents


(updated June 2012)

You just know the kids will spend way too much time on-line over the summer, but do you know some of the things you should be aware of to help keep them safe?

I have found a few places to help you think about what you and your family’s needs really are and perhaps help you to start a conversation with your child about how they use the internet.

Internet Safety Advice from another parent:

Geek Dad on The Geek Dad blog is "raising the geek generation 2.0".  You will find reviews of filtering software and security products as well as the common-sense advice parents can really use.  The guys also really like cool toys and new apps so there is lots to have fun with here too.  See the post:  5 Steps to a Family-Safe Internet

Internet safety advice from an organization specializing in the family and parenting:

Common Sense International: you will find basic information about all the various types of communication on the internet from on-line gaming to email to social networking sites.  What are they, and how do they work, as well as some safety tips for families. 

What parents need to know about Cyberbullying:

Define the Line:   Clarifying the Blurred Lines between Cyber-bullying and Socially Responsible Digital Citizenship. This thought-provoking Canadian site explains the issue in plain language and includes some video vignettes for both adults and youth.  This is not a “how to deal with cyber-bullying” website because there are no
quick fixes but this website can help you make informed choices.

CO-OP Housing


Co-operative Housing is a great alternative to a traditonal rental situation, whereby, you have a landlord.  Co-op’s create a "close knit" and family-oriented living environment where everyone knows one another and participates in maintaining and operating the building.  The participation time which is required is minimal.  Applicants & families must go through an interview and other screening including a credit check.  A one-time lump sum of money called shares is also required and is refundable when you move out.

For my handicapped brother and I it has been a wonderful quality of life and alternative to a traditional rental.  Everybody knows you ,holds the door open for you and is there if you have an emergency.  We have resided in one for over five years now and I would highly recommend it.

Check out the website for further information. 


How to Complain about CLBC Services

How do you request an investigation into the abuse of an adult who is supported by a CLBC contract?
If you suspect abuse you should contact the RCMP or local police. Once there is the involvement of police all other processes should stop pending the outcome. If you feel that the CLBC investigation has not been sufficient and you have concerns about harm done and/or safety of a person then involving the police is appropriate. The involvement of the police is not a matter of choice for CLBC or any other body, agency or service provider.

Below are some links to the mechanisms that
currently exist, which may provide relief.

Where to find Apps!


Need to find a few good sites to help you find the appropriate applications to use with your child with special needs? 

Here are a few highly recommended sites that review and comment on both the best apps and the new apps:

I Education Apps Review: A community effort to grade educational apps.

SpeechTechie: Simple and interactive technologies you can use in language lessons and intervention.

Speech/Language Pathology Sharing:  How to use modern technologies to facilitate learning of speech-language skills and prepare students with the skills and technologies for their futures.

Moms with Apps:   A group of individual, independent, family-friendly developers who share best practices on making and marketing mobile apps.

iPodsibilities:  One teacher’s thoughts on using iPods and iPads in the classroom.  

See in particular special ed apps:

Geek SLP:  A good source for apps and speech therapy technology.


General Education Links and Resources:

CAYA:  Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults. Provincial
government agency that provides augmentative communication assistance in
BC.  Also check out the SetBC resource list:

FreeTech4Teachers:  Free Resources and Lesson Plans for
Teaching with Technology.  This is a generic education site with great
FREE ideas and downloads to help you use technology better.

What can I claim as a medical expense on my taxes?


What can I claim as a medical expense?

You can claim the total eligible medical expenses you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for:

  • Yourself
  • Your spouse or common-law partner; or
  • Your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s children born in 1992 or later and who depended on you for support
  • Your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child who was born in 1991 or earlier, or grandchild; or
  • Your
    or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s parent, grandparent, brother,
    sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew who was a resident of Canada at
    any time in the year

Along with prescribed medications, medical expenses you can claim
include travel expenses for medical services, respite care expenses,
homeopathic services, tutoring services, ambulance transport, and costs
associated with seizure response dogs. Below is a list of medical
expenses you can and cannot claim in your tax return.

Expenses you can claim:

Expenses you cannot claim:

An authorized medical practitioner must prescribe expenses and
original receipts must support claims. Eligible expenses must have been
paid in the claim period and any reimbursements from insurance
companies, work medical plans, etc. must be deducted from the amount

For more information about medical expenses, read this Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) webpage.

Save even MORE money with your child’s RESP


Canada Education Savings Programs (CESP)

If you are saving for a child’s education, the Government of Canada will help you with special saving incentives that are only available if you have an RESP.   See more at: