Midsummer Message to ASPIRE families, 3 July 2004

Guelph Services for the Autistic is very happy to tell you that a new ASPIRE Advocate has been appointed. Nancy Miles of Waterloo is well qualified on several counts—as parent in a large family that includes a son aged 13 who has autism. She has much experience in autism support and advocacy. Please see Nancy’s letter of self-introduction to you, at the foot of this message.

Jan Cooper who helped launch ASPIRE in fall 2002 had to change her priorities after the illness and death of her father in early 2003. With other family responsibilities as well, she found she could not continue the Advocate role after February 2004. We thank Jan and wish her well.

ASPIRE was originally launched for a period of 20 months. GSA took stock of ASPIRE’s achievements to early 2004 and decided it should continue. Continued financial help from Waterloo-Wellington Autism Services is greatly appreciated. Please click for a note of ASPIRE’s achievements to June 2004, in relation to the project’s goals. ASPIRE update

For Nancy Miles, our new ASPIRE Advocate, the main tasks are expected to be:

a)    Following up key focus persons and families, and noting and reporting good models, issues, concerns, supports and services that require further investigation and advocacy.

b)    Compiling a list of really helpful resources and services that already exist in this region for adults—both publicly funded and user-pay--and identifying gaps,

c)    Planning small group discussions, focused on aspects of person-centred planning for a good life in the community, such as: MAPS and PATH planning; supported decision-making; personal support circles and networks; incorporated aroha entities; finding and keeping support workers; finding and appreciating volunteers; homeownership and homesharing; future planning beyond parents.

d)    Assisting with planning and organization of Creative Living Supports conference in fall 2004 or spring 2005.

e)    Assisting with interpretation of Adult Needs Survey

f)     Possibly assisting with updating of OAARSN website


Please would you let us know:

Do you wish to continue associated with ASPIRE in some way?


1.     Have we your permission to share with Nancy the information that you submitted in the needs survey and/or gave Jan in an interview?

2.     What are your priorities now, and how might ASPIRE help you?

Please reply to Elizabeth Bloomfield first.


1 July 2004

Dear ASPIRE Families,

I look forward to working with you through the ASPIRE program in your efforts to optimize the life experiences of your person with ASD.

I am the parent of a 13 year old boy with autism and thus understand the general experience of people with ASD and their families. I know that this experience involves a huge range of concerns, frustrations and confusions – and successes.  Of course, the details are all different, but there certainly are commonalities in our experiences. I understand what you are going through, and where some of the problems come from. And I also understand where potential is too. Therefore, I not only have an interest in, I have a  passion for involvement in ASD issues, and for helping your person with ASD and your family to achieve all that you possibly can for him or her.

I am presently involved in the Autism Society OntarioWellington County Chapter and have recently joined the Waterloo Chapter. I also sit on the Parent Advisory Group for the Autism Spectrum Disorders Canadian American Research Consortium. By facilitating your awareness of options and supporting your choices, I hope to aid the ASPIRE project to optimize the potential of each person with autism, help give expression of who they are, and aid in establishing a good life for them.

Best to you all, 

Nancy Miles