Since 1982, the APPHBM has built its way from the beginning on the volunteer work of parents of handicapped children, and their effort to work together towards a cause that they care about. It all started in 1981 with the “International Year of Disabled Persons”. In order to fulfill the requests of parents and contribute to the event, the Centre de bénévolat de Cowansville decided to sponsor a project to create an association for parents of handicapped children. Thus, the Centre bénévolat, in cooperation with the Commission scolaire and Éducation des adultes, presented the project to the Ministre de l’éducation whom accepted. On November 5 1981, 15 parents attended the Association’s first meeting. In December, an Interim Governing Council was created and later, in May 1982, the Association received a charter from the Gouvernement du Québec for a non-profit organization.
Afterwards, the Association began creating activities such as “Vivre Pleinement” and “Jeux et sports collectifs”. Following training for caretakers of disabled children, the relief-care service was established and firmly upheld until 1994.
Between 1987 and 1990, information by telephone service was then created to respond to parents’ questions. In 1984, there was a struggle to obtain speech therapy services in the area. The Association urged the Commission scolaire D’Avignon to become more involved and raise awareness to parents and teachers about the situation. At the annual general meeting on May 17 1989, Mr. Claude Beauregard, the coordinator of GAPHRY, announced that a new project, presented by the Director of the CLSC in Granby, was formed. In 1991, the project gave rise to the opening of the Centre montérégien de réadaptation that offered services such as speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy for children.
In 2000, the APPHBM sponsored the “Club les copains”, a social club that offers its members, 16 years old and over, to partake in recreational activities on a regular basis and to integrate themselves in a social setting, while offering parents a break from time to time. With the same goal in mind, the APPHBM brought to surface the “Club des génies” in 2000, offering activities for children 6 to 15 years old.
After a period of hesitation and a year to reorganize, the APPHBM resurfaced in 2000. New members joined the Board, which brought the Association closer to its members. A grant donated by the Butters Foundation, over a span of three years, allowed the Association to provide respite care services for parents with a handicapped child. From 2009 to 2012, these years were crucial for the Association because it was at this time the Association maintained it’s goals, as well as it’s partnerships with the community and stakeholders of the regional healthcare network. A conference program was implemented during this time for parents of children with an ID/PDD to discuss interesting topics.
In 2012, the APPHBM gained new momentum and celebrated its 30 years of existence with new dynamics such as hiring an ID/PDD activities coordinator, who specializes in therapeutic recreational activities, and by gradually initiating projects in collaboration with schools and communities. These projects include youth Saturdays, weekend respite care, awareness-raising/volunteer programs recognized by the Ministère for high school level students, workshops for adults in the community, and a new day care after school service for ages 12-21!