10 October 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:
September 18, 2005
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. We edited the audio and video recordings that were made of the conference sessions, and now announce resources 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

More than 180 people joined in the full 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 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. We have also 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.



Planned Lifetime Networks Fall Workshops in Kitchener

November 5, 9:30am-12 noon, in Kitchener
Expanding Citizenship with Vulnerable People: The Role of Independent Planning and Individualized Funding with John Lord.
This workshop will explore how citizenship is becoming central for vulnerable people. Come and learn more about the New Story that is emerging from research and innovation across Canada and around the world. The workshop will also illustrate how independent planning twinned with individualized funding can provide a powerful approach to citizenship development.
Resources will be provided for families who are interested in being ready for the expanded role that individualized funding will play in Ontario in the future.
John Lord is a researcher and family member from Kitchener-Waterloo. He was a founder of the Centre for Research and Education in Human Services. More recently was chair of the Ontario Round Table on Individualized Funding. He is very active with his daughter's support circle.
November 12, 9:30am-12 noon, in Kitchener
Creating appropriate Wills, Henson Trusts, Comfort Trusts and the impact of ODSP for our children’s future with Peter Brennan.  
This workshop will help parents and other relatives gather the information necessary to go to a lawyer to draw up wills. So often parents put off writing or reviewing their wills because they don’t know what should be included to help provide good futures for their children with disabilities.
Peter Brennan of Amy, Appleby and Brennan Law firm is a lawyer with considerable expertise in wills and estates as they relate to disability planning.
November 19, 9:30am-12 noon, in Kitchener
Healthy relationships: Safety, Relationship Circles program, Friendships and Intimacy in our children’s lives with Karen Klee.
Do you have concerns and questions about the relationships in the life of your child with a disability? Come and find out about ways to help your child make and keep friends, understand safety issues in relation to the people in their community and be as safe as possible in their relationship choices.
Karen Klee is a public health nurse with years of experience in teaching people with disabilities about their bodies, their friends and their community relationships in ways that enhance self esteem, safety and knowledge.

All workshops are Saturday mornings 9:30am to noon at The Church of the Good Shepherd, corner of Margaret and Queen (across from The Centre In the Square) in the Fireside Room. Parking lot is entered off Margaret Avenue.
For information call 746-1188 or email
Workshops are financially supported by the Ontario Law Foundation


The Edmonton Learning Community has launched an exciting new project and we think you will want to get involved.  And it’s easy too – all you have to do is “drop a name.”

The Learning Community is a group of stakeholders – parents, service providers, government employees, educators – interested in promoting positive images of people with developmental disabilities in our community.  The project they have envisioned is a quality publication and companion film of the “good stories” that exist right here in the Edmonton region of people with disabilities living lives of connection and contribution.  Normal lives, in other words. 

“We want to hear about people with jobs, people who volunteer, people who have friends, people who are married, people who go to school, people who are pursuing their dreams or passions.  Chances are you know someone like this, someone with an inspiring story to tell, and we’d like you to “drop their name” in our mailbox.  Tell us a little bit about the person, whether they need assistance to tell their story or whether they can speak for themselves, what it is that you find interesting or inspiring about them.  We will match the person with an Edmonton writer who will meet with them (or with them and their allies if that would make the experience more comfortable) to capture their story.

“If the story is included in the book, there will be a small honorarium paid to the subject – so they won’t just get famous, they’ll get rich too!  Well, not exactly rich, but they will get $50 to spend as they choose.  When the book is published next fall (2006) there will be a great launch party and everyone who took part will be invited.  And then there’s the film!  A few people profiled in the book will be featured in a short documentary film by Yvonne DuBourdieu of ArtHOUSE Productions.  The book and film will be launched together. 

“We know the stories are out there, and we think they deserve to be told.  Let’s create some local heroes and role models and celebrate what is happening right here in our own region.  If you know someone or are someone who has a good story, please contact Wendy Hollo by emailing or call 915-9037.  Do some name dropping to-day!”


One purpose in posting these announcements 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.

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
23rd Annual Closing The Gap Conference
Register on or before October 6th and save $50!
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  <>

November 3-5, 2005 at 8 pm, in Toronto
Imagiscape Theatre presents
World Première of Heal Thyself,
a radical dance-drama about family caregiving
The Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester Street, Toronto, three blocks south of Bloor, one block east of Parliament.
The creative spirit meets its ultimate test, as author/performers Carlynn Reed and Jonathon Neville struggle to survive - and transform - their families.  Their stories weave into a strange and stunning tapestry of hope, as care-giving/receiving becomes care-partnering.  The evening includes excerpts from the documentary by filmmaker Danny Wilson.
Heal Thyself uniquely captures the drama of a national concern: caring for caregivers.  Organizations are already planning to use the project for workshops and conferences.  Heal Thyself is a wide-reaching opportunity for consciousness-raising in the general public, and above all, for equipping and affirming family caregivers.
The stage show is directed by alternative-theatre veteran Dennis Hassell (founder of Brookstone Theatre, 14 Dora Award nominations), with music by Subtonic Monks co-founder Peter Jarvis. Heal Thyself is produced by Imagiscape Theatre (Artistic Director, Carlynn Reed), and is a project of the charitable arts society, IMAGO (Director John Franklin).
For Complimentary Tickets, click:
(or contact 647-836-1147)
(The public can buy regular-price tickets at
The evening includes the drama/dance show, and a sneak preview of excerpts from the film documentary.
For an 8-minute DVD of excerpts, contact
Media-quality photos are at

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


For deep-end families, lack of hope can kill
Parents of children with autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe retardation,
or a witches' brew of other syndromes and disorders can barely tread water.
They struggle to keep their heads up, running out of breath and patience
as they watch their families slowly drown. A story from Ohio,
where only the FAST Team (Families and System Team)
has the funding flexibility to keep families together, so children stay at home,
not in more costly state custody and foster care.



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 for 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 request 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
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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