First Nations workshops offer sensory, art, & play!

This week Aptus hosted 2 workshops in First Nations north-east of Toronto, in partnership with Anishinabek Nation. We are proud to share these results with you on our Sensory First Nations project, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration, and our Aptus holiday season donors.


Curve Lake First Nation (east of Peterborough)

Over 20 participants learned “How to support a child or youth through art and play.” Aptus Expressive Arts Therapists gave an overview and demonstrated individual and group art and play exercises that could help build trust, reduce stress and support trauma recovery. 81% of participants were First Nations peoples from Curve Lake, Fort William or Nogoiiwanong, including educators, social workers and family members. Here are some of their thoughts from the day:

• Curve Lake First Nation: The best thing was having reaffirming knowledge that art and play can reach any one person and their style of learning.

• Fort William First Nation: I now know who I could call to discuss specifics. Helpful strategies and activity ideas.

• Nogojiwanong First Nation: Best thing I learned was how to create a predictable space for children.


Rama First Nation (north of Orillia)

Over 50 participants learned “How to be a Sensory Detective” with Aptus’ Occupational Therapists. Parents and professionals learned how to spot the signs of sensory overstimulation or understimulation. Then everyone shared strategies on how to help solve the sensory mystery, for example, through environment changes, task modification or using sensory tools.


63% of participants were First Nations peoples from 12 different First Nations, including Rama, Nipissing, Fort William, Wasauksing and Saugeen. Here’s some of their feedback:

  • North Bay First Nation: It was great to get some clarity on the differences between hyper and hypo (sensory sensitivity) and the examples that went with it. Also the idea that if that sensory sensitivity is uncertain – keep investigating!

  • Rama First Nation: It helped me get a greater awareness into this topic. Before I didn’t have any educational background in it.

  • Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation: The speakers did a wonderful job. (We will) access them as a future resource.

We will be visitiing Rama and Curve Lake in April for our second round of workshops. Miigwetch (thank you) to our Ministry partners and Aptus supporters for your warm support for this project.

Click to see more photos from these fantastic days at Curve Lake First Nation and Rama First Nation.