18 January 2006
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 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:
November 12, 2005
October 10, 2005
September 18, 2005
August 15, 2005
August 1, 2005
July 6, 2005


Issues in the Canadian Federal Election

Disability issues are not looming too large in the campaign discourse. But here are reports of the efforts of some people and groups to get them on the national agenda.

Tax proposal would benefit severely disabled adults
Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) is promoting an RRSP-style program to provide for the severely disabled who are financially dependent. In other words, they want the taxman to encourage savings for the care of disabled children after the parents die. Read research on the disability savings plan  Sign a petition to create a Disability Savings Plan

“First Disability-Related Announcement in the 2006 Election Campaign”

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) are joined by the Canadian Abilities Foundation (CAF) and many other national disability organizations in welcoming and supporting the first disability-specific announcement in the 2006 election campaign.
In a joint release last week, CCD and CACL announced that Prime Minister Paul Martin had unveiled the Liberal Party's commitment to an inclusive and accessible Canada, including the development of a 10-year agenda with a focus on disability supports. Canadians with disabilities, their families and the disability community applaud the strength of this commitment to overcome core issues faced by persons with disabilities, including poverty and exclusion from Canadian society.
Included in the announcements were specific commitments pertaining to support for Canadians with disabilities, families and caregivers. Significantly, a commitment to the Disability Savings Plan proposed by the Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN), widely supported by the disability community, has been included in the overall strategy.
CAF encourages Canadians with disabilities and their families to consider these long-fought-for advances when dialoguing with the political contenders in the upcoming election. Canadians with disabilities constitute a considerable portion of eligible voters – and the disability community CAN make a difference on Election Day.
Additional information on this first disability-specific strategy can be obtained by visiting:
Also in election news, for the first time in a federal election, All-Candidates Meetings accessible to people with disabilities, including hearing disabilities, are being held in five Ontario ridings. The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) has invited candidates in the ridings of St. Paul's (Toronto), Ottawa South, Newmarket-Aurora, Hamilton Centre and Sault Ste Marie to address their constituents with the provision of sign language interpreting, real-time captioning/computerized notetaking, assistive listening devices, deaf-blind intervening services and attendant services.
CAF strongly urges people with disabilities and their networks to make sure that their voices are heard on Election Day!

John Toft of the Families Matter Co-operative Inc "for and about persons with developmental disabilities in the Ottawa region" emailed “Candidate Questions” to Candidates in the Federal Election in local Ottawa Ridings. The responses received to date are posted on the Families Matter Co-op website, available to any interested person to review.  

The questions focused on issues affecting persons with developmental disabilities such as housing, employment and in-home supports. Responses from Conservative, Liberal and NDP Candidates/Parties are posted as well as responses from some Independent Candidates and the Progressive Canadian Party.

While the answers are from local Ottawa Candidates, their responses may reflect their Parties in general and so might be of value to a wider audience in being one more influence in affecting voter decisions. People are welcome to visit the Families Matter Co-operative at to compare and contrast the Candidate responses. Johnb Toft's letter, published in the Ottawa Citizen this week, reads:

Disabled Forgotten.
Do Ottawa area candidates care about issues affecting people with developmental disabilities?
In Ottawa alone, more than 300 adults with developmental disabilities are in desperate need of housing. The vast majority of such people are without any meaningful work. Inadequate supports leave most in intolerable living situations.
In response to questions from the Families Matter Co-op, the Liberal party told us what they had done in the past. The NDP response refers to proposed legislation for a Canadian Disability Act. The Conservatives see such issues as primarily a provincial concern, while the Green Party offers support on all fronts.
There have been no news stories about these political stances. Why is this? In Ottawa 3,000 people are classed as having developmental disabilities. The votes of the adult component of this group, combined with the votes of their families, friends and care workers, could make a difference in ridings with swing votes. Now is the time to publish the political platforms and open these issues to public discussion

Click to read Autism Society Canada's letter to the leaders of the five political parties, asking their position on important issues facing our community.
Read Responses Received to Date:
Response from the New Democratic Party
Response from the Bloc Québécois
Response from the Liberal Party
Response from the Conservative Party

The Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society (IMPACS) has prepared "Election 2006 Tools for Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations," a kit for organizations that wish to raise the issue of charities and advocacy with candidates. The kit is full of practical ideas that can be adapted to discuss a wide variety of issues with candidates. It includes an excellent summary of the rules affecting registered charities during an election. 


Transforming Developmental Services in Ontario

Since mid-2004, the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS), with some agencies and organizations representing vulnerable people community partners have been  engaged in a "transformation process".  Click for the brief statement on the Ministry website
You may use Google to find many reports about the policy forums held over the winter of 2004-5, by typing "transforming developmental services Ontario" in the Search window. OAARSN carries reports of most of them.

Common Vision for Real Transformation
Four provincial organizations that represent individuals with disabilites and their families collaborated to produce a document on what is required for meaningful transformation: Family Alliance Ontario, People First Ontario, Special Services at Home Provincial Coalition, and Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario.
Common Vision for Real Transformation’ is a two-part newsletter produced by these four organizations. It identifies the principles and directions necessary to transform developmental services.  Distributed in print since the late summer of 2005, Common Vision may now be read on the IFCO and FAO websites. This newsletter was recently presented to the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. This newsletter can also be used to help Ontarians respond to the public consultations on the MCSS Transformation policy blueprint which is expected to be made available for public input sometime in the coming months.  “Common Vision for Real Transformation” is now available on the IFCO and FAO websites. Read this important document online or download it from here.
You are encouraged to share this vision and to make your position known to government representatives.

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).
We urge you to join the IFCO as a individual or organizational member, and help along the transformation of supports for vulnerable citizens in more sensitive, person-centred ways.


Study the Ontario Federation of Cerebral Palsy's
Proposed Resolution to the Ontario Government on Individualized Funding,
as a result of the October 2005 Annual Conference

Guide to Individualized Funding
A 95-page guide from the North Shore Disability Resource Centre, North Vancouver, BC.

Creative Supports for Vulnerable Citizens

Audio and video recordings of the Guelph Spring Conference in April 2005 have been edited into:
-summary videotape of the essence and highlights of the conference

-a print publication of edited text transcripts of the presentations and of the displays

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.”

The videotape and book have been produced by Guelph Services for the Autistic, which thanks 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.
Click for more details and order form



Guelph Services for the Autistic: 2005 Annual Report
GSA was incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in 1980. In 1997, GSA redefined its mission to be a housing trust, which is our central and continuing role. Our mission and main focus is to help adults with autism to have their own homes and to live with dignity and safety in our communities, supported by family and friends, and with self-directed planning and individualized funding of necessary services.
Our 25th year has been distinctive for partnerships with other organizations that support vulnerable people. Our ASPIRE project is reaching its end, and converging with plans for a regional autism community and centre of autism expertise and services—known by the acronym ACES. Click on the title to read the annual report.
GSA’s most ambitious effort so far, the Guelph Spring Conference on Creative Supports for Vulnerable Adults in April 2005, also involved productive partnerships. A contribution to the whole Ontario community that is concerned with vulnerable people, this event was so popular that we decided to record and edit the presentations. We have now produced a videotape and printed book on Creative Supports for Vulnerable Citizens.
Plans for 2006 include a spring colloquium of representatives of supports groups and service agencies on developing more person-centred supports for adults with autism in our Waterloo-Wellington region. GSA’s role as housing trust has been attracting attention and requests for models and templates. So we are producing a manual of template procedures and documents that may be shared with families and organizations. Click to read the whole report


Telecommunications in AAC
Bloorview MacMillan Children's Centre, in partnership with Bell Canada, is currently exploring the role of telecommunications in AAC. We are seeking AAC consumers to participate in a half-day focus group to be
held in the afternoon on
February 3, 2006 at a Bell facility in downtown Toronto.

1. We are seeking AAC consumers who meet these criteria:
- They are "active" communicators.
- They are capable of communicating (with a facilitator, if needed) in a group situation of 6 to 12 people.
- They use high and/or low tech communication strategies on a daily basis.
- They have at least 1 year of experience using their current communication strategy.
- They are adults, or youth/teens (14-21 yrs), who are interested in access to telephony, or other forms of telecommunication.
- Ideally, the adults are in an independent living situation.

2. We are also seeking parents of children who are AAC consumers.
Interested candidates may contact me directly to express their interest in the upcoming focus group. Please feel free to call or send email messages. Thank you so much for your help. (Expenses for transportation and attendant care will be covered for those who are selected to participate.)

Rose Nishiyama
Bloorview MacMillan Children's Centre
Tel: 416-425-6220, x3534
Fax: 416-425-1634

DOOR 2 Adulthood
During the past two years, we have kept you posted with the planning of this valuable resource. You are invited to check it out now, for your own use and enjoyment, or to recommend to to others. Please also ensure that your favourite transition services, programs and resources are included. Click here for an alphabetical list of
about 240 services and resources about the transition to adulthood in Ontario that have been entered so far. If you notice anything that should be included, please email
Yani Hamdani
Project Coordinator
DOOR 2 Adulthood Project
416-425-6220, x 3212

Ontario Association for Education Advocates
Norm Forman is a parent advocate in the schools for special needs children, a psychologist and Director of the newly founded Ontario Association for Education Advocates. He writes: "We have started a major new initiative which is a complete training program for parents, caregivers, and professional personnel of related agencies. To systematically bring about changes in the schools re parents getting the needs of their exceptional children, it is necessary to train them.”
Look up the OAEA website  Norm has also recently written a book on parent advocacy called: Exceptional Children--Ordinary Schools: Getting the Education You Want for Your Special Needs Children.


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.

January 6, 16 and 30, 2006
, 6:30-9:30pm, in Whitby
Gentle Teaching: a three-part introductory workshop series
led by Felicia Jervis
Gentle teaching creates a non-violent culture that focuses on four primary goals: teaching the person to feel loved, loving, safe and engaged.
Sponsored by Durham Association for Family Respite. $5 donation appreciated
Contact and RSVP: Joanne Partridge at phone 905-427-3541 X 304

Wednesday, 25 January, 5-8pm, in Toronto
Judith Snow and the artists of Laser Eagles present
Everybody’s Excellent Art: opening reception
Our exhibit of paintings and poems represents the full expression of our joy, creativity and intimate dance of participation
The three-week show is being presented in partnership with the Assembly Hall, City of Toronto Culture Division.
Click for more details Please phone or e-mail to let us know if you are coming and who you are bringing with you.

February 3-5, 2006, in London
Messengers of Hope: a youth conference with Jean Vanier
  • Gather to share & celebrate initiatives of hope
  • Workshops in the spirit of mutuality, peace & action
  • Designed for diverse youth ages 16 – 30
  • Seminars by leading Canadian humanitarians
  • Creative expression through music and art
  • Offered by L'Arche London at King's University College, London, Ontario.
  • Fee: $75 per person. Click on title for more and to register

February 3-4, 2006, in London
New Approaches in Supporting People
An evening with John Lord and a full-day workshop with Barb Leavitt, Alison Ouellette and Jim Henry.
Click on the title for more details.

March 4, 2006, 10am or 2pm (choice of two times)
Disability and Estate Planning: a seminar with Ottawa lawyer Kenneth Pope
At Ignatius Jesuit Centre of Guelph
Sponsored by Family Counselling and Support Services and FASD Parent Support Group of Guelph
See more at
Register by calling 1-866-KEN-POPE or contact sharon at



The Philia Dialogue on Caring Citizenship invites you to visit
its newly designed website.

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 the January 2006 issue of @philia e-zine
Nourishing Ideas: Compassion and Taking Time
Good Conversation: The Building That Fought Back (how a community circle helped members of a Toronto housing project deal with issues in the building) and Making Space for Dialogue
Inspiring Action: Disability Savings Plan--One Step Closer
UN Convention on Disability – Update; Petition to include disabilities in UN's Millennium Development Goals

Read the December 2005 issue of @philia e-zine
Including reports  of
"Nourishing Ideas, Good Conversation and Inspiring Action."
Read "Sentimental Journey" by Al Etmanski which begins "We've had 25 years of friendship talk, and people are still lonely" and offers some preliminary thoughts on a more "widespread and trasnformative approach to ending the loneliness and isolation of persons who have been labeled or marginalized."

Ashoka: social entrepreneurs, innovation, impact
Ashoka's mission is to shape a citizen sector that is entrepreneurial, productive and globally integrated, and to develop the profession of social entrepreneurship around the world. Ashoka identifies and invests in leading social entrepreneurs— extraordinary individuals with unprecedented ideas for change in their communities—supporting them, their ideas and institutions through all phases of their careers. Ashoka Fellows benefit from being part of the global Fellowship for life.
Ashoka was founded in 1980 upon the belief that social entrepreneurs deliver the highest leverage and impact society-wide for addressing social problems. Thus he established Ashoka to empower social entrepreneurs-and their new ideas-with financial backing and a professional framework that help them spread their ideas and innovative solutions, individually and collectively.

Ashoka's Changemakers--journal for Oct/Nov 2005

How to Change the World:First Steps toward Becoming a Social Entrepreneur
Highly recommended article from the journal in February 2004.

How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas
Highly recommended book by David Bornstein (2004).
"What business entrepreneurs are to the economy, social entrepreneurs are to social change. They are, writes David Bornstein, the driven, creative individuals who question the status quo, exploit new opportunities, refuse to give up--and remake the world for the better.
"How to Change the World tells the fascinating stories of these remarkable individuals--many in the United States, others in countries from Brazil to Hungary--providing an In Search of Excellence for the social sector. In America, one man, J.B. Schramm, has helped thousands of low-income high school students get into college. In South Africa, one woman, Veronica Khosa, developed a home-based care model for AIDS patients that changed government health policy. In Brazil, Fabio Rosa helped bring electricity to hundreds of thousands of remote rural residents. Another American, James Grant, is credited with saving 25 million lives by leading and "marketing" a global campaign for immunization. Yet another, Bill Drayton, created a pioneering foundation, Ashoka, that has funded and supported these social entrepreneurs and over a thousand like them, leveraging the power of their ideas across the globe.
"These extraordinary stories highlight a massive transformation that is going largely unreported by the media: Around the world, the fastest-growing segment of society is the nonprofit sector, as millions of ordinary people--social entrepreneurs--are increasingly stepping in to solve the problems where governments and bureaucracies have failed. How to Change the World shows, as its title suggests, that with determination and innovation, even a single person can make a surprising difference. For anyone seeking to make a positive mark on the world, this will be both an inspiring read and an invaluable handbook. It will change the way you see the world."

Games, Songs,Communication Cards, Print Resource and Information for Special Needs
The website offers many resources to help with nonverbal  communication it offers printable picture symbols, in three sizes,.. feelings & emotions games,.. & templates for calenders & things to help keep u organized, it also has a section where u can purchase items to create picture boards & communication boards. It also offers a street & fire safety program.
Recommended by Lisa Benoit who writes: "I have found it helpful in dealing with non-verbal or semi-verbal clients in that the ideas are quite accessible. One idea that we came up with was printing different picture symbols to create a bingo game that we played with the clients at work. Also I used the picture symbols about street safety to create a safety program for one of the guys that I work with."




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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