A P.E.I. literacy program for people with mental disabilities is getting national attention for its ability to help patients become more independent.

The Hillsborough Hospital in Charlottetown offers the program to a small group of patients. They complete literacy workbooks, go on field trips and put on concerts.

'They just glow.'  —Anne Atkinson, program director

Now other centres across Canada want to start similar programs.

"It is just wonderful because we're trying to bring the most out of them, give them the best quality life you can. They're in a secure unit, [but that] doesn't mean they don't enjoy being able to do the best they can do, that they don't enjoy outings, because they do. They ask for more work," said Anne Atkinson, program director.

"They love it, they thrive on it and their social skills, their self-confidence, I think their self-worth about them is evident when you see them. They just glow."

Atkinson said the hospital has already presented the program to other health professionals in the Maritimes.

In May, the group will head to a national conference in Victoria, B.C. to talk about the program.