20 March 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:

February 16, 2006
February 10, 2006
February 4, 2006
January 18, 2006
November 12, 2005
October 10, 2005
September 18, 2005
August 15, 2005
August 1, 2005
July 6, 2005



From the BBC's Ouch website
In the US, almost 50 per cent of cigarettes purchased,are smoked by people with mental health problems. Now that the smoking ban has been introduced in England, Liz Main discusses why smoking is so prevalent within this group. Read Liz's column at:

Unique supported living scheme opens in Newport (Wales)

A unique development, specifically designed to provide supported living services for tenants with autism and learning difficulties, was officially opened last week by the Mayor of Newport, Councillor Ken Critchley. Tŷ Nant will accommodate six people.


Ontario Government Launches Mentoring Partnership For Young Adults With A Developmental Disability
The Passport Mentoring Initiative helps students between the ages of 14 and 21 who have a developmental disability prepare for life after high school by introducing them to a variety of career, education, recreation, training or volunteer opportunities.  Students will be paired with experienced, adult mentors who also have a developmental disability and will work with them to decide what steps they need to follow in order to develop the skills required to achieve their goals.  Mentors will also link students with supports that can help them grow and develop along the way.

Report on Consultations Regarding the Transformation of Developmental Services
A document of considerable importance to everyone who cares about the quality of life of vulnerable citizens with developmental disabilities in Ontario.
Prepared by Ernie Parsons, MPP Parliamentary Assistant (Disabilities) to the Minister of Community and Social Services, February 2006

A progress report on the process of transforming developmental services in Ontario, including the following sections:
Historical Perspective
Ontario’s Developmental Services System Today
Community Consultations
Issues and Recommendations
A. Fair and Equitable Access to Adequate Community Supports
B. Families’ Life-stage Needs
C. Parental Responsibility
D. Ontario Disability Support Program
E. Closure of the Institutions
F. Future Directions
Click to read the full report in PDF format



Colloquium 2006:
Person-Centred Supports for and with Adults with Autism in Waterloo-Wellington
To mark the culmination of GSA's ASPIRE project, a full-day discussion is being organized for April 21 for representatives of autism support groups, agencies and service-providers. If you have concerns to share, please email

Spark of Brilliance in Guelph and Satellites
Create a clay tile from scratch! Carve, paint, add glass and found objects, stamp
And express your own creative spirit for the mosaic sculpture piece at the Guelph Enabling Garden!
Thursday March 16 - Evergreen Centre - Room #3 - 7 to 8:30 pm - Goldie Sherman
Thursday March 23 - Evergreen Centre - Room #3 - 7 to 8:30 pm - Goldie Sherman
Friday March 24 - Homewood Health Centre - Art Therapy Room - 10 am to noon - Rebecca Thompson
Thursday March 30 - Evergreen Centre - Room #3 - 7 to 8:30 pm - Goldie Sherman
for carpooling call: (517) 766-4450 X 237 - Are you able to take folks in your car? - Do you need a ride?
5 Faulkner Street
Saturday March 18 - 1 to 3:00 pm - Learn new tools to build success in your life - Lynda Noppe
Saturday March 25 - 1 to 3:00 pm - Learn to laugh for no reason - Teresa Kerr
SPARK OF BRILLIANCE Center and North Wellington Outreach
Thursday April 27th, 2006
Recreation Centre on Belsyde Avenue, Fergus.
Fashions by: Brodericks and Special Events
Silent Auction & Art Exhibition and Sale
For more information call: Pat (519) 848-3392 or Alice (519) 843-6944

You are invited to show your art in the Spark of Brilliance virtual art gallery, and to
Share your poetry, creative writings, photographs of your creations and crafts!
We will come to you to take photographs of your work and to interview you
For your artist's statement and take a picture of you for the website.

Tuesday April 4 - 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Wednesday April 5 - 1 to 4 pm
Thursday April 6 - 1 to 4pm
CALL: (519) 766-4450 X 237

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

Frontline Immersion Experience in Supporting Vulnerable Adults: An Ontario Opportunity
An Ontario man—let’s call him Alex--who lives with quite severe challenges of autism, has come up with a creative idea, with his family and friends. He lives in his own home with support and chooses the people with whom he shares his home and his time. Alex knows he is a pioneer and sees himself as a teacher and leader.

"Over the past eight years, with the help of my support group I have developed a very good quality of life. I would like to share what we have learned with others. My large home has plenty of space to host people interested in learning more about support strategies .... "  Click for more details of this opportunity


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.

March 29, 2006, evening, in Owen Sound
Shirley Sutton OT offers a workshop on sensory integration strategies for parents and educators.
For more details, contact
Laura Walton-Clouston by email at or phone at 705-445-0695.
For general information about Shirley's OT practice, visit

April 1, 2006, 6:30-10pm, in Guelph
Women of the World * WOW Development Organization present
in aid of
Sport Equipment & Arts /Crafts for WOW Nigeria & Panama
Click for more information

April 4, 2006, 5-8pm, in Kitchener
Community Connections 2006:
Information for People with Disabilities in the Region of Waterloo
St Mary's High School, 1500 Block Line Road, Kitchener
Click for flyer

April 5, 12, and 19, 2006, 7-9pm, in Hamilton
How To Be Your Child's Best Advocate
A workshop will be presented by the Hamilton Family Network in partnership with Chedoke Child & Family Centre
This 3 evening workshop is presented for parents of children with disabilities to learn how to effectively communicate with professionals in education, health and social services. Techniques of advocacy will be shared, there will be opportunities for networking among families and strategies for coping with stress will be presented. 
To register please call:  905-526-7190 or email:   Address:  22 Leeming St., Hamilton, ON

April 8, 2006, in Arthur (North Wellington County)
Agency Information Fair for families and individuals with disabilities
in partnership with Public and Catholic School Boards and Family Counselling & Support Services Guelph-Wellington.
Click for more details

April 8, 2006, in Elmira
Exploring the Possibilities with Charlotte Dingwall
Workshop offered by Elmira and District Association for Community Living
Contact Laurie Thomson, Human Resources Administrator
(519) 669-3205 ex. 29
Click on title for more

April 18, 2006, evening: in Collingwood
Shirley Sutton OT offers a workshop on sensory integration strategies for parents and educators.
For more details, contact Laura Walton-Clouston by email at or phone at 705-445-0695. For general information about Shirley's OT practice, visit

April 22, 2006, morning, in Kitchener
Planned Lifetime Networks Spring Workshop:
Wills and Estate Planning, including Henson Trusts, with Peter Brennan
Click for full details

April 27, 2006, 2-8pm, in Milton
Halton Showcase 2006: A Resource Fair for People with Disabilities
Find answers to these questions and others:
I want a job!  What options are  available  in my community?
Where do I find recreation programs ?
Living options:  supportive/Independent ?
How do I access services and supports ?
Click for more details

April 29, 2006, morning, in Kitchener
Planned Lifetime Networks Spring Workshop:
Relationships and Network Building, led by Marnie Matthews
Click for full details

April 29, 2006, in London
Sexuality and Social Strategies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Susan Johnston, Behaviour Resource Facilitator.
Susan is a behaviour specialist and member of the Peel District School Board's multi-disciplinary ASD team. She is also a certified Crisis Prevention Intervention Instructor responsible for training and certifying Peel District School Board staff in the area of positive physical intervention when working the individuals with Autism. Click for flyer  For Registration Information Contact: Marianne Knox 519 352 7945

May 5-7, 2006, in Windsor
Achieving True Inclusion: Living Outside the Box

Family Alliance Ontario/Integration Action for Inclusion annual conference
Friday May 5 (evening), Saturday May 6 (all day) and Sunday May 7 (morning).
We welcome siblings, parents, whole families and friends.

For more information and to register online, check the Family Alliance Ontario website.   

May 6, 2006, morning, in Kitchener
Planned Lifetime Networks Spring Workshop:
The Joy of Stress with Ted Kuntz, psychotherapist and author of Peace Begins with Me
Click for full details

May 12-14, 2006 (weekend) in Lanark County
Another Way of Being
Susan Barker offers a weekend retreat for parents of children with learning disabilities.
For more information, please click on title for more, and visit the
ontrackoptions website at this link.



If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On: David's Story
The moving story of David Cohen of Vancouver, and his personal support network on the PLAN model. David's network provided the support first that his mother needed to die at home, and then supported David for several years till he was dinagosed with brain cancer last October. The film shows David's passion for music and the many good friends he made through music, and how his friends supported him to the end. David's story was shown on CBC's The National on Tuesday, March 14, and is summarized at this link.

Special Issue of DisabilityWorld
The online periodical DisabilityWorld, has produced a special issue on Disability and Development. It provides a global snapshot of initiatives, events, organizations and resources that contributed to the growth of Disability and Development in 2005. The term "Disability and Development" refers to the approach of incorporating disability-inclusive policies and practices within social and economic development programs. The goal is to include people with disabilities as a target group in all programs aimed at poverty reduction and increased equity.




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


I am an autistic adult living in a large Ontario city and use a wheelchair.

Being autistic means that I have many sensory differences, as well as social skill difficulties. Thus, when I am out in public I wear headphones all the time, in order to deal with the busy world.  Otherwise would not be able to leave the house at all.

Friday March 17th, 2006 after a long workout at the YMCA, decided to go to a store where have gone for YEARS to get magazines. In fact it has been the only place I ever buy magazines (autistics are creatures of habit). I buy Adbusters,  ShambalaSun, and some Yoga magazines once a month and when can afford them.

This time was actually also looking to see what kind of running/triathlon/marathon magazines they had, since am training for a marathon and during my training period, I have entered many local races to raise funds for several non-profit organizations locally. I will be pushing my wheelchair through four separate 5KM courses between May 2006 and July 2006 here in
Sudbury to raise funds for our local charities..

I did NOT touch any magazines, I had NO TIME to, before the 'problem' started.

When went in there, turned to the left (where the Buddhist and yoga magazines are) and sat in my wheelchair listening to my walkman (which is what I ALWAYS do, in EVERY store that have gone in alone... am terrified of having the workers at stores talk to me, so the walkman drowns them out, and they eventually notice the walkman and realize am listening to music and leave me alone).

Well, very soon after entering (within one minute) the man behind the counter was yelling the following words at me:
"I said HELLO to you and I EXPECT my customers to SHOW PROPER SOCIAL POLITENESS and say HELLO back".

I started to cry.
I said I have my walkman on because i want to drown out the voices of people, because I am autistic. Talking to strangers sends me into a panic and then I need to leave the store.

The man continued and said - well HERE in OUR STORE we EXPECT people to BE SOCIALLY POLITE and you have to say hello back.

I said I am autistic and I have difficulty talking to strangers and that I fear this means I cannot shop here if I have to talk to strangers, all the while my anxiety increasing as I needed to try to explain this to the man behind the counter, with the hopes that if I was able to help him understand my disability, he would let me shop there.

To which he replied:

Now, I fear that I cannot get the magazines that i want, because to go to Chapters, I would need a separate HandiTransit ride booked just for that, and it would add $4 to the cost of my magazines. The magazine store was easily accessible from the YMCA where I am already three days a week.

Furthermore, have always believed in supporting local independent shops, rather the big 'box stores' like Chapters.
This leaves me feeling very much like I could be making a complaint to the Human Rights Commission about the fact that the store will not serve autistics and tells us to "go be autistic somewhere else", (which IS a violation of the Human Rights Code under discrimination due to a disability).

Now I realize that my magazine purchasing days are over, and am going to have to settle for reading things online only. Am very sad about this incident, considering I have been a loyal customer of XXXX for a decade (since 1996) and this has never happened to me there before.  I do not understand why they changed their policy and expect those of us with communication and sensory disabilities such as autism to “go be autistic somewhere else” merely because we do not know how to be socially polite enough to talk to strangers.

{return to the OAARSN Bulletin Board}