Shaping the future: Strategy Blog #2
Shaping the future: Strategy Blog #2

“If we could change one thing about the experience children and their families have outside the walls of Holland Bloorview, what should that be and why?”

The first “big question” we asked as part of the Holland Bloorview strategy planning process generated many thoughtful responses. There are different themes that have started to emerge, including ideas about transitions, technology, access and new services. Perhaps more than anything we have heard your call for inclusion.

The ideas posted on the “hive” board near the ground floor elevators sketched a moving portrait of what inclusion looks like:

  • Integrate us – don’t just include us!
  • For people to treat adults and kids with disabilities the same way they treat others
  • That my kids will be seen as capable and able to contribute to the community…. open up more opportunities for kids with autism
  • Kindness
  • Less stigma and fear related to disabilities, including mental illness
  • We are seen for our abilities, not disabilities
  • Explore and invent with others
  • Love! Adventure! Kindness!

These ideas were echoed by people who responded to the question online. One person said simply “People need to be accepted and supported as part of the broader community, accepted for who they are, with no expectation to change or fit in.”

Others gave practical suggestions about how inclusiveness can be created:

“[Help people learn] how to put people who do not have any experience with children with disabilities more at ease to interact with them and learn about them. Many people are worried that they will not know what to do or say in these interactions and therefore avoid them. By doing so, they are missing out on many new experiences.”

“We need to significantly enhance our support for kids and their families in gaining resiliency and strength, and helping kids create meaning for their whole life - way beyond their 20s and 30s.”

“Home accessibility is of critical importance for all of the kids I work with on the inpatient units. If I could change one thing, I would want to ensure that every child who is discharged from Holland Bloorview is going home to an environment that they are able to access and therefore participate in their family and home life to the fullest.”

All of the pollination groups also talked about how to create inclusion. One of those conversations happened with a group of volunteers, many of them young people themselves. They talked eloquently and emotionally about the value of doing activities that helped them understand kids with disabilities “from the inside,” such having an opportunity to play wheelchair basketball or use other equipment that kids with disabilities use for communication or mobility, and talked about how for them, disability is just another part of diversity. One young woman said “We are a society in Toronto that values diversity – just look around this room! We need people to change their mental models to recognize that disability is just another kind of diversity, that everyone belongs and has a lot to contribute.”

As we continue to gather insights about setting bold goals for the next strategy for Holland Bloorview, it’s clear that one of the most significant is to expand the possibilities for belonging, confidence and fully thriving within larger communities.

The second big question is now underway: Imagine that you could shake up the entire way care and services are currently organized for children with disabilities, medical complexity and rehabilitation needs. What would you want to see at Holland Bloorview if things could be completely redesigned from scratch? If there were no limits on resources and support, what one significant thing should we do differently for children and families?

You are invited to share your thoughts by visiting the feedback area located on the elevator wall on the first floor. You can also send thoughts and questions to our dedicated strategic planning voicemail at ext. 3068 or email at