About WFS Developmental Support Services Programs

The Developmental Support Services program functions from a strengths-based approach that upholds the inherent sacredness of children.

We provide guidance, support and look for opportunities to enhance existing strengths and capacities.

The Developmental Support Services program is designed to engage children, families and communities to become involved in the natural and healthy growth of all children. When you have concerns about your child's learning, growth or development we will assist you in acquiring the skills to support your child or help you to access other services.

Our mission is "to provide culturally appropriate, trauma informed, high quality care in the areas of physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual development through collaborative child/family focused and community based interventions"

We offer home based services and will work with your child and family in an environment where you are most comfortable.

We are here to help by providing screening, consultation, informal and formal assessments, direct intervention and developmental therapy under the supervision of our Occupational Therapist. Our services are available to members of the 10 First Nation communities, on or off reserve and between the ages 0-16.

Call for applications for land-based coming of age cultural camps

Please see Request for Proposal Document below for comprehensive explanation of application process. This funding has been made available through Indigenous Services Canada (prevention funding) as part of WFS's cultural development program; part of which is set aside for community based cultural development programming.

For more information please contact:
Michelle Strachan
Phone: 807-274-3201 ext 2213

Overview of Developmental Support Services

Weechi-it-te-win's Developmental Support Services (DSS) program offers a continuum of developmental, rehabilitative and navigation services that are designed to support families, and through them our First Nation communities. All programs and services offered through DSS are culturally safe, meaning these are delivered in a manner that is respectful of culture and cognizant of the diversity within family and community systems. Additionally, DSS has designed its services to ensure a safety zone for all clients, as such, services are respectful, non-intrusive, transparent, collaborative, and empowering. DSS services take into consideration the trauma that families may have experienced within the helping system; as such, DSS not only seeks to create an atmosphere of trust but also aims to eliminate any factors that may cause re-traumatization.

DSS offers a Visiting Grandparents program to all of its clients. The program is an alternative to mainstream Parenting classes and connects a family with elders and provides opportunities for them to visit and share knowledge on traditional child rearing practices. To be eligible for the Visiting Grandparents program, the family must already be an active client of the Developmental Therapists, Communication Assistants or Behavioral Intervention Workers.

Respite Services are also offered to current clients to be able to provide families involved with DSS interval relief and support from the responsibilities and challenges of caring for children with developmental needs and/or challenges. The program is a family driven services, it is flexible, readily accessible and offered in a manner which respects the dignity and individuality of families/caregivers and individuals.

Both the Grandparents program and the Respite program help preserve the family unit, encourage and promote physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being while working cooperatively with elders, professionals and other service providers in the community in the best interest of the family/caregiver or individual receiving services from DSS.

The Vision: "Our vision is for all children to achieve their greatest potential for learning and growth within a bi-cultural and trauma informed practice model."

The Mission: "Our mission is to provide cultural appropriate, trauma informed, high quality care and service in the areas of physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual development through collaborative child-focused and community based interventions."

Developmental/Occupational Therapy

The Developmental/Occupational therapy program offers comprehensive services to families with children in need of Occupational Therapy, Behavior Therapy, Sensory Integration and Cultural Therapy.

Developmental Therapists provide sessions based on the Occupational Therapists' assessment/recommendations. The OT provides regular supervision to support the DT's skill development, provide ongoing training and ensure developmental therapy and Occupational Therapy recommendations are modified according to the child's and family's needs.

Cultural Developmental Therapy

DSS offers Cultural Developmental Therapy as an Anishinaabe Alternative to mainstream developmental services. Most provincial services do not consider cultural and spiritual development, however, Weechi-it-te-win Family Services views this as an instrumental part of child development. The program is the first of its' kind and brings Anishinaabe worldview to the forefront of Developmental Support Services practices. Cultural Developmental Therapy is based on child development as seen from an Anishinaabe worldview and perspective. It is based on traditional child rearing teachings from our elders which can be translated to Ombigiosowin "raising children up". In Anishinaabe life ways, there are certain things that are done to help children develop physically, mentally, emotionally/socially and spiritually. All of the teachings provided by elders are linked to spiritual development and any client currently receiving services from DSS can access this program.


The Speech and Language program offers comprehensive services to families with children who have Speech and Language challenges.

Communication Assistants provide sessions based on the Speech and Language Pathologists' assessment/recommendations. The SLP provides regular supervision to support the CA's skills development, provide ongoing training and ensure speech and language recommendations are modified according to the child's and family's needs.

Education Liaison

The Education Liaison program provides navigation and liaison between various systems as it relates to education such as, but not limited to, families and school systems, First Nations and school systems, multiple agencies/service providers and school systems. The program is available to and access solely by Children in Care.

The vision of the program is to improve educational outcomes for First Nations children and youth.

The mission of the program is to link systems together and promote healthy and successful education for children and youth with specialized needs.

Early Intervention Program

DSS is designed to engage children, families, and communities to become involved in the natural and healthy growth of children. DSS believes that the sooner developmental concerns are identified, and proper supports are put in place, the child will have a better chance to succeed in all areas of development and wellness.

The program offers non-invasive opportunities for families to gain valuable knowledge and skills that promote the healthy development of children. Early Intervention programs also provide supports to families so that they can take a proactive and/or corrective approach for any concerns they may have about their child's development. Programs include but are not limited to the following: developmental screening (conducted by the parent-guardian), consultation, educational program for parents and children.

Behavioral Intervention Services

Behavioral Intervention Services utilizes Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) which is the practice of applying psychological principles of learning theory in a systemic way to modify behavior. ABA is an intervention used to increase skills across learning areas such as communication, academics, self-help skills, and social skills. Additionally, it is effective in treating the most challenging behaviours, as well as providing education and strategies for caregivers, parents, families and communities. A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCAB) provides clinical supervision, training and oversees the implementation of Behavioral Plans to meet the needs of children. Behavioral Intervention Services doesn't require that a child be diagnosed with autism. Clients may struggle with academics, have behavioral concerns at school, in home or in the community. Regardless of diagnosis, Behavioral Intervention Services supports children when and where they need assistance.

B1455 Idylwild Drive Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada, P9A 3M3     AP.O. Box 812, Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada, P9A 3N1

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