Okanagan Similkameen Neurological Society

The Okanagan Similkameen Neurological Society - Child and Youth Development Centre believes that early intervention for children with developmental challenges is a proven investment in the future of our community. Based on solid research, we provide evidenced based early therapies, family support, psychology, autism treatment and developmental preschool programming that maximizes school readiness and allows children to have successful relationships with parents, siblings, and peers.

osns child and youth development centreOur Impact Why We Exist


A community in which all children and youth reach their full potential


Maximize the developmental growth, emotional health and creative capacity of children and youth in the South Okanagan Similkameen through early intervention and family centred care

The clinical and administrative support team at OSNS strive to provide data evidenced care to the pediatric population of our community. We believe in innovative integrated service delivery that continually strives to help children progress and strives to support families in understanding the process and in advocating for their children. 

We are a pediatric rehabilitation facility. This year, our rallying cry is "Relentless Pursuit of Excellence in Care". 

Our Story What We Do

We are a place where children get clinical help in learning to walk, talk, swallow, eat, make eye contact, develop muscle control, regulate their emotions and behaviour - all the things they need to make friends, learn, and experience good relationships.  We have been doing this in the South Okanagan since 1979. These family focused services include; physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech language therapy, family support services, autism treatment and psychology services. Last year, we provided supported over 800 children and their families with therapies alone and a total of over 1000 children when we include our developmental preschool and parent education.  

We talk often about what we do and how we do it. We give details about the services we offer and the manner in which services are structured. What we like to focus on is WHY.  What are the long term outcomes of doing our jobs well?

What we know:

  • Children who receive intervention services earlier in their lives reap life long benefits
  • Early, quality services improve not only school success, but success in relationships and wellness
  • Children who feel confident are less like to be marginalized and/or become involved in the justice system
  • Helping parents understand their child's learning styles and potential, and helping parents become strong advocates for their children, has lifelong benefits to our communities.

Although OSNS is well known in our community, we often feel as though the specifics of what we do and how we are funded are misunderstood. When children have significant medical and developmental issues they will often be at Children's Hospital in the Lower Mainland for the acute care portion of their needs. But then, they come home to us. The government contracts to provide pediatric services of this kind are alarmingly short in terms of meeting our operating costs. And we do not receive funds to update our facilties and materials - these facilities and materials are categorically less effective when we don't keep up with technological changes and new practices as evidenced by literature in the field. 

Our story is really a compilation of the poignant stories of all the familes who walk in our doors with grief over the diagnosis that their children receive. Our story is made of the day to day elements of helping children learn things that so many other children take for granted - understanding words, looking for their parents, bringing a spoon to their mouth and much more. And, our story is more and more made up of making sure that families receive the gentle training and critical knowledge that will make them life long advocates for not only their children but for all children who - by necessity - walk an alternate road.

Our Programs How We Do It

We work to help all children participate with their peers and their families in all the activities available to them in the community and home life. We work closely with families to identify the goals for their child that are important to them.

In addition to family support and a progressive integrated developmental preschool, our therapy programs provide the following services:

  • Communication Prior to Talking – Eye contact, pointing and using gestures, early babbling
  • Understanding – Following directions, responding to questions
  • Talking – Using words, combining words, saying sounds clearly
  • Eating – Dealing with gagging or choking, difficulty starting solids, picky eating
  • Movement – Sitting, crawling, walking, running, balancing, coordination, riding a tricycle, etc.
  • Socialization – How your child plays with others and makes friends, how they interact with others
  • Cognition – How your child uses toys and materials, how they understand concepts
  • Daily Living Skills – Toileting, dressing, safety skills, eating/feeding skills, settling to sleep
  • Fine and Gross Motor Skills – Coordination, strength, movement
  • Challenging Behaviour Management – Aggression, destructive behaviours, screaming, etc.
  • Parent Training and Support - How to deal with challenging behaviours, picky eaters, potty training, children's sleep challenges
  • Table Activities – Picking up small items, holding a crayon, using scissors, drawing pictures, building with blocks, doing puzzles
  • Activity Level/Sensory Concerns – Fearful of movement or overly active, sensitivity to sounds/tastes/touch
  • Dealing with anxiety and mood disorders

What You Can Do

OSNS relies heavily on support from our community volunteers and business partners to continue to improve the level of services offered by; decreasing waitlists, updating facilities and the ensuring we have access to the latest equipment. 

Volunteers can choose to participate in any of the events we host or participate in such as:

  • The Easter Egg Hunt hosted by LocoLanding
  • Family picnic - held in June
  • Information booths at the Penticton Downtown Market
  • Open house hosts.

Additionally, we have opportunities for volunteers to help with functional tasks around the Centre including:

  • Painting
  • Material preparation
  • Toy Washing
  • Small repairs
  • Yard maintenance and gardening
  • Animal husbandry.

Please contact info@osns.org if you are interested in volunteering. Donations and in-kind donations are gratefully accepted. Tax receipts are issued for donations over $20.00.

We also have a wonderful and dedicated volunteer Board of Directors. Those interested in bringing their expertise to the Board or Board Committees (Fundraising, Governance and Quality) should express their interest to the Executive Director, Manisha Willms or Board Chair, Tyler Chick. 


Manisha Willms
Executive Director
Charitable Number: 119066181RR0001

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Finance & Governance