Stories by Bobo | Robyn Persaud, Life Skills Coach, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

My experience at Holland Bloorview Rehabilitation Hospital was an amazing journey that I will never forget!  I had the opportunity to meet professionals who worked inside the building, helping patients with disabilities.  Many of these people were inspiring and passionate about their jobs – especially Robyn Persaud!

It was my pleasure to interview Robyn and learn about what she does as a life skills coach. It was very interesting to learn more about the programs that the hospital offers and that Robyn helps to facilitate for youth with disabilities.

Robyn spoke about demystifying some of the misconceptions about people with disabilities in the workplace focusing on some of the programs that are in place at the hospital to help youth patients with transitions, skills training and job placements. The statistics suggest that having a diverse workforce is very beneficial to companies and should be part of their diversity strategy.

One thing Robyn did mention was the fact that people with disabilities have a higher attendance rate than most of their co-workers. Robyn continued by stating that often “…people ask if accommodations are going to be costly but typically any necessary accommodations cost less than $500 if anything at all.”  Finally, Robyn directed viewers to the hospital’s anti-stigma website 
Dear Everybody which is a fantastic resource that shares so much great information!  Thank you Robyn!

I also found Robyn’s information about Project Search to be very interesting as it is a joint effort between Holland Bloorview and UHN’s Toronto Rehab!  This project began at the University of Cincinnati and will launch at the hospital in September with an initial cohort of 10 high school students in their final year with a goal of having the students gain marketable skills in order to gain meaningful employment upon graduation!  We wish all the students great success!

At the end of our interview Robyn also shared that the most rewarding part of her job was when youth with disabilities become more confident in themselves! And how much she values her colleagues at the hospital who are so committed and who go above and beyond all in support of the of the youth in their programs! Thank you so much Robyn for sharing your story and your time with us!

Finally, Holland Bloorview has a very welcoming environment that feels more like a community centre than a hospital.  The staff that we met were very positive and eager to help every patient.  I noticed that many of the children in the hospital had smiles on their faces, that for me, reflected the love and positive energy that this hospital has!

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