18 September 2005
An electronic bulletin for adults who are vulnerable because of disability
and for their families, friends and supporters who care about them

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This new bulletin is one outcome of the Guelph Spring Conference on Creative Supports held 29 April 2005, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. It is for everyone who is vulnerable because of any kind of disability, and for their families, friends and supporters. We can share dilemmas and difficulties as well as bright ideas and successes. There are announcements of events and special projects, discussions of issues and concerns, and links to useful books, websites and other resources. Our focus is mainly on Ontario, but we have wider contacts as well.

In organizing the Guelph Spring conference, we were moved by a desire to be positive and resourceful amid challenges--by the idea expressed in a Chinese proverb:  It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

The bulletin is being sent first to email addresses on our Aroha Listserv. Why Aroha? Practically, it's good for a Listserv or website to have a short, distinctive codeword unlikely to be confused with any other. More importantly, Aroha, a Polynesian Maori word from Aotearoa/New Zealand, means the various qualities and values that are needed in a caring circle of friends. It can mean affection, respect, love, charity, compassion, empathy, concern, trust, pity, understanding and true friendship—all in active ways, not just ideas or feelings. 

You are receiving this bulletin because you attended the Guelph conference in April 2005 or expressed interest in resources coming out of that conference. Or you may have been a member of our PLN Listserv, for people concerned with Personal Support Networks. Or someone on the List has suggested that you could be interested. We hope you will continue on the Aroha Listserv, recommend it to others, and contribute news and ideas that we may share. Please click for a technical note on how to maintain your membership of the Aroha Listserv and how to unsubscribe if you wish.

Please send news, announcements and comments to We welcome news items, announcements of events, new information, discussion questions and comments, and accounts of experience.

The Aroha Listserv and Creative Supports Bulletin are linked to the OAARSN website (Ontario Adult Autism Research & Support Network) which is hosted at the University of Guelph. Click to reach OAARSN's main page 

Please note that we (or OAARSN or the University of Guelph) do not necessarily endorse announcements or opinions that may be posted in this bulletin.. We will make reasonable efforts to check sources.

Gerald & Elizabeth Bloomfield
Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Previous Creative Supports bulletins may be found by clicking on the following links:
August 15, 2005
August 1, 2005
July 6, 2005



A conference on this theme was organized by Guelph Services for the Autistic on April 29, 2005.
More than 180 people joined in a full and rich program that opened with a keynote address by John Lord on “Creative Supports that Work: Values, Principles and Processes.”  Then there were four parallel workshops:

Judith Snow on “Building Supports with Individuals”
Barbara Leavitt on “From Housing to Creating My Home”
Peggy Hutchison on “Building Meaningful Supports for Work and Recreation Experiences”
Marlyn Shervill, Alice Quinlan and Michelle Friesen on “How Families and Communities Can Make Creative Options Work: The Windsor-Essex Experience”
Throughout the day there were many displays by organizations from all over southern Ontario.
Several creative initiatives were featured in the early afternoon session.
John Lord gathered up the day’s ideas and strategies in a final plenary session, so that we could all “go home with awareness.”

We believe it is vital to build on what was learned at the Guelph conference. Many people noted that the scope of the conference was exactly what they needed. There was a heavy demand for places at the conference:  if there had been space, we could have registered twice as many participants. Many were interested in more than one workshop topic, and wished there could have been time to take part in two or more instead of just one. We've heard from people all over Ontario who were unable to attend on April 29, but want to be kept informed of resources coming out of the conference.

we have edited the audio and video recordings that were made of the conference sessions, and now announce:

Conference sessions were recorded and resources are now available in two forms--a summary videotape (48 minutes) and a printed book (80 pages) of all the presentations. Thanks to Kerry's Place Autism Services and the Community Mental Health Clinic in Guelph for grants to help us make these resources available at modest cost.
Please click for more information and an order form

We also continue the dynamics and interaction of the conference in launching this electronic bulletin on Creative Supports, which is being sent to the AROHA Listserv. We will publicize creative initiatives of other groups, pose questions for discussion, and announce new books, reports, websites and events. Over the summer and fall, we have organized a series of smaller workshops on helpful strategies, so that people and families will feel encouraged to explore the best ways of supporting good lives for their vulnerable persons. The fourth of these is about capacity assessment on November 2.



Call for Nominations to the Board of Directors of the Aspergers Society of Ontario

The mission of the Aspergers Society of Ontario is to provide education, resources and support to individuals with Asperger Syndrome, their families, educators, medical and mental health professionals, employers, government and the community, to enable individuals with Asperger Syndrome to realize their potential as fully contributing members of their community.

We are currently seeking two new Directors for the Board of Directors for election in October 2005.
Candidates should:
·        Have a working knowledge of Asperger Syndrome
·        Be able to dedicate three hours a week to the work of the Society
·        Commit to attending monthly meetings of the Board
·        Have an interest or experience in fundraising and/or public relations
Interested individuals may submit a short biographical description outlining their qualifications by September 30th for consideration by the members at our upcoming Annual General Meeting. Submissions or questions can be addressed to  Margot Nelles, Founding Executive Director

Kitchen Table Talks about Special Services at Home (SSAHPC)

The SSAH Provincial Coalition is hosting seminars for families in three locations in Ontario this fall.
An evening of dinner and discussion about Special Services at Home and how best to use it
will be explored by listening to family stories, learning new strategies for inclusion
in your neighbourhood and sharing ideals, connections and networking with other families.

  • Date: Tuesday, November 8, 2005
  • Time: 5:00 - 9:00 pm
  • Location: Real CDN Loblaws Superstore Community Room
    Richmond Road (at Kirkwood), Ottawa
  • Date: Thursday, November 24, 2005
  • Time: 5:00 - 9:00 pm
  • Location: North Toronto Memorial Community Centre
    200 Eglinton Avenue West (west of Yonge), Toronto
  • Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2005
  • Time: 5:00 - 9:00 pm
  • Location: Siskinds Office, 680 Waterloo Street, London

To register or for additional information
Visit the SSAHPC website


One purpose in posting these announcments is to publicize events being offered by organizations who have similar values to ours. As many of us are limited in our ability to travel, another purpose is to share creative ideas that might be taken up by others.

Please send submissions for this news bulletin in plain text format by email to with "announcement" at the beginning of the subject line.
Please provide details of the following as BRIEFLY as possible: 
 Name of Event
 Main Speakers and Topics of Event 
 Date of Event 
 City and Location of Event
 Contact information to learn more about event 
 Please Do Not Send Files Or Brochure Attachments, but URL links to more detailed information on other websites are welcome.

Thursday September 22, 2005, in North York
Official launch of Revel in the Light”
The story of Rebecca Beayni, produced by Masterworks Productions
Click for more information about premiere
Click for order form (either video or DVD)

September 27, 2005 at 7 00pm, in Ottawa
First general meeting of Families Matters Co-op in Board Room of Total Communication Environment (TCE), Unit #5, 203 Colonnade Road S.
Click for more details

October 15, in Pickering, all day
Families for a Secure Future and Durham Family Network offer
Creating a Home of One's Own
Morning of story telling, afternoon of small group discussions.
Click for more information and to register

October 16, in Erin, all day
Families for a Secure Future offers
Creating a Home of One's Own
Morning of story telling, afternoon of small group discussions.
Link for more information and how to register

October 18 and 19, 2005, at Orillia
Passports to Community Living
Foundations Conference hosted by Community Living Campbellford/Brighton
Click for full information
Donna Winters
Foundations Outcomes Support Facilitator
Community Living Campbellford/Brighton
99 Centre Street, P.O. Box 414
Campbellford, Ontario
P - (705) 653-5161
Voicemail: (705) 653-1821 ext. 45
F - (705) 632-0756

October 20-22, 2005, with Preconference Workshops: October 18-19, 2005
Register on or before October 6th and save $50!
In Minneapolis, Minnesota
Closing The Gap's annual conference has earned a reputation internationally as a leading source for information on innovative applications of computer technology for persons with disabilities. The 23rd Annual Conference builds on a tradition of providing a comprehensive examination of the most current uses of technology by persons with disabilities and the professionals who work with them.
Click on title for full details, including 25 Preconference Workshops, pver 175 Presentations, extensive commercial exhibits.

October 20-23, 2005, in Toronto
Come to Your Senses....
From Theory & Research To Practice: Sensory Therapy & Disabilities
An International Conference for professionals, parents, caregivers & consumers
Presented by Muki Baum Association.
Program includes 37 presenters from 8 countries and a special presentation by Dr Oliver Sacks.

November 2, in Guelph, from 7pm
Capacity Assessments under Ontario's Substitute Decisions Act
presentation by Elaine Atchison, Senior Program Co-ordinator for the Capacity Assessment Office (CAO), Ontario Ministry of Attorney General.
How families and friends need to plan for how decisions will be made by/for vulnerable persons regarding their property and personal care.
"Capacity Assessments are legal assessments of a person’s capacity to understand information that is relevant to making a decision or to appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of a decision or a lack of decision regarding their property (finances) and/or any of the six domains of personal care (health care, nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene or safety)....
"A basic tenet of Ontario's SDA is that guardianship should be a last resort when nothing short of guardianship will meet the decisional needs of an incapable person."
Likely to interest people in Guelph-Wellington, Waterloo Region and surrounding places.
Guelph Services for the Autistic sponsors this workshop, free to anyone who is interested, but space is limited. Please pre-register now, requesting an invitation and more information. Please send a message to Nancy Cherry

November 6-11, 2005, in Havana, Cuba
Healing and Recovery Through the Arts
International Conference sponsored by Spark of Brilliance,
Homewood Health Centre in Guelph and Artevida, Cuba.
It's too late to register for this year, but we include it again as an inspiring example of creative supports.

November 8, 2005, 5-9pm, in Ottawa

Kitchen Table Talks about Special Services at Home (SSAHPC)
SSAHPC hosts an evening of dinner and discussion about Special Services at Home
Real CDN Loblaws Superstore Community Room,
190 Richmond Road (at Kirkwood), Ottawa
To register or for additional information
Visit the SSAHPC website

November 24, 2005, 5-9pm, in Toronto
Kitchen Table Talks about Special Services at Home (SSAHPC)
SSAHPC hosts an evening of dinner and discussion about Special Services at Home
Location: North Toronto Memorial Community Centre: 200 Eglinton Avenue West (west of Yonge), Toronto
To register or for additional information
Visit the SSAHPC website

December 7, 2005, 5-9pm, in London
Kitchen Table Talks about Special Services at Home (SSAHPC)
SSAHPC hosts an evening of dinner and discussion about Special Services at Home
Location: Siskinds Office, 680 Waterloo Street, London
To register or for additional information
Visit the SSAHPC website


Landmark study released regarding employment of Canadians with disabilities
Employers, community organizations, and people with disabilities have found common ground on how to address an unemployment rate for Canadians with disabilities that is 70% higher than the national average. This finding is presented in a landmark study, Neglected or Hidden. The study is based on a survey of 1,245 people with disabilities and interviews with over 100 employers and disability service organizations from across Canada.

Now school is back, please check out the website of the
Ontario Coalition for Inclusive Education
Inclusive Education is:
Support to learn better together...
As a member of a regular class...
Going to our own “natural” neighbourhood school...
With support to participate in and contribute to the life of the school...
This is better education for ALL students!



Individualized Funding Coalition For Ontario
IFCO's website, maintained by Joyce Balaz, contains much up-to-date and relevant material too encourage persons and families who want to direct their own lives.
Note a new document Building a New Story: Transforming Disability Supports and Policies
Revisiting In Unison: A Canadian Approach to Disability Issues 1997. A commentary by John Lord, Judith Snow and Charlotte Dingwall, for the Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario (September 2005).

Aging with a Developmental Disability: Transition Guide for Caregivers

A valuable resource from the Ontario Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities. Visit the website

From Rollercoaster to Recovery: A guide for families navigating the mental health system in Wellington-Dufferin Counties is published by the Family Mental Health Network (based in Guelph), with support from a variety of organizations and companies in our community. Thanks to Jessie Baynham fopr this description:
"The 160-page guidebook covers everything from crisis, diagnosis, hospitalization, medications, alternative treatments, empployment & education, housing, legal and financial issues, recovery etc.  Both factual and practical information and tips from families and individuals who have experienced the mental health system are presented in an easy-to-read format.  Artwork in the book was done by individuals involved with Spark of Brilliance."
The cost for the guidebook is $12 including shipping. Click for order form and contact details


Number 84, September 1, 2005
The Housing Again Bulletin, sponsored by Raising the Roof as a partner in Housing Again. A monthly electronic bulletin highlighting what people are doing to put housing back on the public agenda in Ontario, across Canada and around the world. Our web sites are:
Housing Again
Shared Learnings on Homelessness

Raising the Roof

If you have any tips for the Bulletin please e-mail: or

The Philia Dialogue on Caring Citizenship invites you to visit
its newly designed website at The Philia Dialogue is an initiative of PLAN Institute, which brings the
wisdom of the disability community to Philia's quest for a more inclusive society. You can requet a free subscription to the monthly e-zine @Philia. Share your ideas and stories at the website by clicking "Have Your Say" or send longer stories to

Read PLANFacts

The summer 2005 newsletter of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network
an organization created to help families answer the question:
"What happens to our family members with disabilities when we die?"
Visit the new PLAN website

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing
aims to provide Canadians with a clear, valid, and regular accounting of the things that matter to them and the genuine progress of
Canada. Read more

The latest issue (64, Fall 2005) features Abilities Festival: Spotlight on the Arts.

Disability WebLinks
Disability WebLinks is a resource providing access to over 1,500 federal, provincial and territorial government programs, information and services for people with disabilities in Canada.

A Yahoo! Group that allows members to chat about ODSP issues:

A Google Group that has more detailed discussions about ODSP




We know that some vulnerable adults and their families and caregivers are heroically using what resources they have to achieve some successes with their challenges. Some can report remarkable progress. We invite you to share your challenges, dreams and success stories, if you think others might help or benefit.

If you wish, we will not publish your name or email address. You may send a message to

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