The Social Integration Services (SIS) program of Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board’s CDC, Adult Vocational Centers, is a program designed for adults with a physical and/or intellectual disabilities.

The SIS class offers a hands-on experience for real life learning to adults aged 21 and over. This program runs Monday thru Thursday from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at our Pont Viau Center in Laval. The students who enter our program constantly demonstrate that the word “able” is alive and well in “disabled”. The students may have challenges and disabilities, but make no mistake; they are feisty, determined, passionate and full of life. Their willingness to help others and their compassion to help one another is extremely endearing to witness. SIS offers much more than an educational experience.

The SIS program focuses on the development of functional skills related to solving everyday problems, improving communication and enhancing social skills. Students study math, as it relates to money; work skills and basic domestic and daily management skills; personal care; and leisure activities. Communication activities focus on appropriate conversation for social situations and work. Organizational and social skills for work, community integration and independent daily living are an integral part of the program.

Our students operate a small business within the CDC Pont Viau Centre as a means to develop work and social skills. Other elements in the curriculum include safety at home and at work, healthy living habits, basic cooking skills, art, yoga, exercise, and some domestic household tasks. Community integration activities involve shopping, going to the bank, understanding our community, rules and responsibilities, transportation safety, going out for lunch, and field trip activities.

The SIS program provides guidance and support for adults with special needs in their social integration learning process. Students work on vocational, communication, academic and social skills to enable them to function as autonomously as possible withing a nurturing, caring safe and supportive environment.

Although not all of our students will enter the workforce, parents have commented positively on how their child has taken initiative in helping with chores and tasks around the home. This provides a sense of accomplishment and pride for both parent and child.

Since the program’s launch, SIS has taken an interest with the local food bank which is conveniently located just around the corner from our center. We have developed an amicable relationship and this has led us to better understand their needs and challenges. The SIS program immediately knew there was something that we could do to help. What started out as a simple food drive has transformed into organizing several fundraisers over the past four years. Bake sales, hotdog lunches, a magic show and auction, and a sports themed raffle (with items donated by the Montreal Canadian, The Alouettes, and the Montreal Impact) are just a few of these special activities.

Our latest project is a “Friendship Quilt”. Our students were asked to bring in old clothes from home that can be recycled into a quilt. Each square is a different pattern and color, symbolizing that we are all different on the outside but the same on the inside.

Our students literally want to do it all. They do not see themselves as challenged in any shape, form or size. They recognize what they can do, instead of what they cannot. The beauty of this program is that learning and hard work are shared through laughter, joy and celebration

Our SIS motto is: Nothing is impossible- the word itself says I’m Possible – Audrey Hepburn