14 May 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:

April 2, 2006
March 20, 2006
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



Tell the World:
“Every kid is really smart. We're the ones who are retarded.” Meet Chris Mueller-Medlicott, an outspoken--if non-speaking--young man of 20. A powerful story in Mouth magazine by Polly Medlicott and Chris Mueller-Medlicott.

"NOT RETARDED" : One Part of the Community Expresses Language Hurts!
An essay by Steve Hoad of Ability Maine that begins:

"We have all felt the sting of hurtful words. They stick in our throats if we have to say them and stick in our hearts when we hear them. One particular segment of our communities has been speaking up about the hurt inflicted by one word, "retarded," and their challenges are finding people and organizations who will hear their stories and reasons.

"It is a word now used to mean much more than a medical diagnosis — a word that now expresses disdain or stupidity, funny or simpleness. Witness the first ten results from a Google search for the word "retarded"....
Click on title to read the full essay.

Time Magazine's cover story and two other articles are about Autism
Click this link to read them  Look at the various links for ways to read the whole articles.



We urge you to read the following report and respond to MCSS via the feedback page very soon. The report is the culmination of the recent process of transforming developmental services in Ontario, and may become the "blueprint" for services and funding in the next 25 years.

Opportunities and Action: Transforming Supports in Ontario for People Who Have a Developmental Disability
is the Ontario government's response to the challenges facing our developmental services system.  The paper outlines key directions to achieve the Province's vision of an inclusive Ontario for people with a developmental disability, and is the product of 18 months of consultation with people who have a developmental disability, their families, community agencies, academics and clinical experts.  The paper also includes a series of questions to generate thought on how best to implement changes to the system of supports in Ontario.

Opportunities and Action is now available for public comment so that all Ontarians can contribute to shaping the future of a fair, accessible and sustainable developmental services system for Ontario.  Comments may be submitted via a feedback page, e-mail, fax or mail until June 30, 2006.  The government will also be holding focus groups with families to encourage further discussion and obtain their input about how to implement changes to the system. 

The input received from the consultation will guide a blueprint for the future of developmental services in Ontario:  one that is focused on long-term solutions to help individuals with a developmental disability realize their potential and fully participate in our communities.

Read the Full Report
Read the Plain Language Version
Read Executive Summary
Feedback Page

New Study Demonstrates Impact of Making Disability Supports Personalized

The Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario has released a new study on the role of individualized funding in Ontario. Moving Toward Citizenship: A Study of Individualized Funding in Ontario is a comprehensive study of how four projects across Ontario are providing supports to people with disabilities in a unique and personalized fashion. Researchers studied 130 individuals and their families who receive individualized funding for their support needs. Individualized funding is based on a support plan developed by the person and their network. It allows individuals and their families to then personalize who they hire to assist them and what they want workers to do.

“We are very excited about this new study,” said Michelle Friesen, co-chair of the Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario, the group that commissioned the study. “The study deepens our understanding of the benefits and potential of individualized funding,” said Friesen. In addition to the personalized approach, Friesen stressed that one key finding is the research showing the important role of independent facilitators in assisting people to build a life in community. This study also showed that the vast majority of people had very positive quality of life outcomes over four years.

Principal Investigator John Lord said that the study showed that families who use this innovative approach tend to be highly involved. “At all sites, we also found a deep commitment to citizenship and choice among staff and families,” said Lord.  In addition to strong values and organizational support, the researchers found that there were three things that were vital to the success of individualized funding; the facilitator that worked closely with individuals and their families, networks and relationships that assisted the person to live in the community, and effective workers that enabled people to build creative supports.
This study is part of a series of policy analysis papers that the Individualized Funding Coalition has been presenting over the last four years. Increasingly, this work is showing the importance of what some are calling “new paradigm approaches” to providing disability supports. More traditional approaches tend to focus on the placement of the person in a program or service. Peggy Hutchison, Professor at
Brock University and advisor on this new study, has researched new paradigm approaches across Canada. “This new study confirms that individualized funding must address the dreams and goals of people for all aspects of their lives in a holistic way,” said Hutchison. The study confirms that people want to build a good life in community.

Please click on title to read more about the research

Click on this link to reach the full report: Moving Toward Citizenship

Click to reach more articles on John Lord's website

Check out all the resources of the IFCO website



Visit the new Spark of Brilliance website
We believe that within each person resides an untapped potential and creative spirit that when given the opportunity will manifest itself and help create a path to healing and recovery.


We seek to reveal and spark that creative spirit and help make it manifest. We seek to provide the opportunity and environment where persons who are dealing with mental health issues, and their supportive allies, can discover the potential that is common to us all, but unique to each person.

  • To provide a safe and nurturing community where people with mental health issues and their supportive allies are empowered through self-expression and the arts.
  • To create healthy communities by building bridges to the mental health, business and arts sectors by developing strong community partnerships, by heightening awareness and by eliminating stigma.
  • To enable people with mental health issues to learn, develop and apply new skills so that they can contribute to their communities.
  • To create a community where all citizens are recognized and applauded for their gifts and talents. To promote quality of life, dignity and respect.

Women's Health Institute Project:
Spring 2006 Bulletin
Read the second bulletin of the WHI Project team. Disability issues are part of the project.

Coming soon....
The One Community Project
According to its founder, Brad Littleproud
, this is a new social initiative, not government-funded, to create more opportunities for support for persons with special needs within Canada. It uses "venture philanthropy" (i.e revenue generating services) to fund its desired social support programs. "Our intent is to draw upon the talents within the community to create and sustain the support services we intend to build."
"One of the services that the One Community Project has created is FIND A WORKER--a comprehensive database that brings experienced individuals who have a desire to work with persons with special needs, with those agencies and clients that are seeking those talented individuals. This is not an employment service, but a place where those who wish to do direct service work with special needs clientele on a part-time basis, can create a confidential profile (no name or contact information shown) FOR FREE, and allow prospective clients to search the profiles for the right match.
"The One Community Project receives nominal user fees from agencies and private clients to access, with consent of the worker candidate, information that would allow them to contact one another to further the contracting process. We are now populating our database through recruiting the cooperation from various educational, vocational settings and related associations who connect with members who skill sets are appropriate for our service."
At present it is hard for those wishing to find good support workers and intervenors. Some agencies carry informal lists of persons available for direct service work, but mostly this information is very fragmented and a "word of mouth" process. As a parent myself of a child with special needs, finding someone skilled to work with my child in his preschool setting was a frustrating experience. And I have numerous contacts in the field. Imagine smaller, less connected settings or families for whom this is a new experience.
"The One Community Project is attempting to be innovative, not only in creating a simple, searchable, on-stop location to find great talent, but as well, turn the proceeds generated into further socially relevant programs. On our website you will see that our inaugural project is the Durham Preschool Autism project, that will provide state of the art early intervention to preschooler diagnosed with autism."

Please plan to visit the website, still under construction, at
  or email Brad at

Colloquium 2006:
Person-Centred Supports for and with Adults with Autism in Waterloo-Wellington
To mark the culmination of Guelph Services for the Autistic's ASPIRE project, a full-day discussion was organized on April 21 for representatives of autism support groups, agencies and service-providers. We will shortly post a report on the main ideas and action steps cominbg out of the colloquium. If you have concerns to share, please email


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.

Friday, May 26, 2006 in Guelph
The Ontario Self-Help Network is sponsoring a free one day conference
Building Connections: Making Peer Support Work
For self-help members and leaders, community volunteers and professionals who are interested in or active with self-help and peer support initiatives. Six different workshops are offered: Facilitation: Building a Foundation; Building Partnerships: For the Sake of Self-Help; Self-Help 101; Building Facilitator Skills; Building Recovery and Promoting Your Group
Plus Keynote Speaker: Geoff Nelson, PhD., Community Psychologist
This conference is free but you must register. You can download the registration information from OR email Questions: 416-487-4355 Toll Free: 1-888-283-8806

May 27-28, 2006, at York University
Canadian Disabilities Studies Association--3rd Annual Conference
Click for full details

Thurs.  June 1, 2006
Thurs.  June 22, 2006
Day workshop series aimed to assist service providers in supporting Adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities. See also June 22.
Groves Hospital in Fergus
Time:  9am  to 4:00 pm
Cost:  No cost
Click for brochure and map in PDF

June 9th, 2006
Kerry’s Place Autism Services is pleased to host
Dr. B. Duncan McKinlay
Service for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders
“For When It’s Hard to Stop”

9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
St. Peter Catholic School
150 Westwood Rd., Guelph
There is a $10.00 fee
Click on title for more

Thursday June 22, 2006
Day workshop series aimed to assist service providers in supporting Adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities. See also June 1.
Groves Hospital in Fergus
Time:  9am  to 4:00 pm
Cost:  No cost
Click for brochure and map in PDF

June 26-30, 2005
Autism Network International presents AUTREAT 2006
Autreat is a retreat-style conference run by autistic people, for autistic people and our friends and families. It is an opportunity for autistic people and those with related developmental differences, our friends and supporters to come together, discover and explore autistic connections, and develop advocacy skills, all in an autistic-friendly environment.
Autreat focuses on positive living with autism, NOT on causes, cures, or ways to make us more normal. We have an exciting lineup of presentations on a variety of subjects of interest to the Autistic community, including communication, relationships, daily living aids, travel, effects of prejudice, and more. Autreat has been approved to offer Continuing Education Units through the Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University.
Autreat 2006 will take place on June 26-30 at a small university campus in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area. The campus has plenty of open space for walking, recreation, and enjoying the outdoors. Lodging is in a residence hall with two to four people per room. Registration includes a supervised activity program for children and teens under 18. For fee information, registration form, a list of workshops, and further autreat information, check out ANI's website at:

July 8-13, 2006
, in Toronto
Inclusion Network presents
The Toronto Summer Institute
FOR: People working actively on the complex issues of inclusion and diversity in communities, workplaces and schools will want to attend this event. This Institute is for Thinkers and Doers. - for people who know there are no easy answers and who are seeking new ways of thinking and acting. This will be a unique adventure in building a learning community together. The faculty see themselves as a jazz combo who have a definite theme and a flair for improvisation - harmonizing with the participants.
Click for flyer

July 17-21, 2006, in Syracuse
The Facilitated Communication Institute at Syracuse University
is hosting a week long summer institute.

There will be conference sessions and hands-on workshops
aimed at both new and veteran FC users and facilitators.
Please check out the flyer by clicking on this link.

August 19-20, 2006, in Guelph
The Walk for Suicide Awareness 2006
"To create awareness and to raise funds that will provide educational opportunities about suicide prevention within Wellington County and Waterloo Region through an all-night walk and accompanying supporting events. Walk through the night to shed light on suicide." Link to full details



A DVD available through
Personal Stories, struggles and successes with Person Directed Living (82 min.)
Produced by Inclusion Press, the Marsha Forest Centre and Parashoot Productions with Windsor-Essex Brokerage for Personal Supports, Windsor-Essex Family network, People First of Windsor and Families and Friends. My Life, My Choice profiles seven adults with disabilities living Person Directed lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Rather than relying on a limited number of programs and services to direct their lives, their futures are in their own hands. With flexible funding and with the support of independent planning, they are free to follow their hearts and live their lives as they choose. Their inspirational stories are a powerful testament to what is possible when given a chance to dream.
$150 plus handling. Link to more details and order form

D.O.O.R. 2 Adulthood Project

“D.O.O.R. 2 Adulthood” (Disability Ontario Online Resource) is a website that was developed for youth with disabilities who live in Ontario.  It is about making the transition to adult life as a person with a disability.


People with disabilities, parents and service providers joined together to plan, develop and evaluate this online resource.  The goal is to make the transition to adult life for youth with disabilities easier. 


The website includes:

·        A database of resources and services related to transition in Ontario

·        Stories and blogs about transition to adulthood

·        An E-chat where people can talk and share information, experiences and ideas about making a smooth transition

·        An “Ask a Mentor” link to youth who have experienced transition


We are always looking for new information about transition services and resources for our database. Please click on the following link to add an entry:

You will see the word Add your service or resource to the D2A database on the left side of the page in the blue sidebar. Click this link for the database template

TASH Teleconferences
TASH is pleased to announce an exciting new series of Telephone Conferences on issues related to Facilitated Communication.  Co-Sponsored by The Autism National Committee
Check out the list of topics and speakers below!  To view complete session descriptions, speakers and registration information for this series please go to <>
This series includes a range of sessions on Facilitated Communication to increase knowledge and understanding of the research supporting the practice and the experiences of individuals who use FC in their lives. 
Session 1:
What is Competence? Disability, Communication and the Struggle for Performance
Presenters: Doug Biklen
Date: Wednesday May 17, 2006
Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern
Session 2:
"I can read...I can read": What We Are Learning From the Literate Lives of FC Users
Presenters: Paula Kluth and Chris Kliewer
Date: Friday May 19, 2006
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Eastern   *Note: Different Start Time*
Session 3:
Breaking the Barriers: Facilitated Communication Users Speak Out
Presenters: Sue Rubin, Jamie Burke, Tyler Fihe, Jim W, Larry Bissonnette and Christi Kasa-Hendrickson as the facilitator of the discussion. 
Date: Thursday, May 25, 2006
Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern
Session 4:
Best Practices With Facilitated Communication
Presenters:  Darlene Hanson
Date:  Wednesday May 31, 2006
Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern
Session 5:
What We are Learning about Sensory & Movement Differences and Support
Presenters: Martha Leary and Anne Donnellan
Date: Friday, June 2, 2006
Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern
Session 6:
Popularizing FC:  A Matter of Research and Overcoming Misconceptions of Intellect
Presenter: Don Cardinal 
Date: Monday, June 5, 2006
Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern
To view complete session descriptions, speakers and registration information,
for this series please click on the title of this announcement.

PLAN offers a time-limited deal on two of its resources:
A Good Life bundled with Peace of Mind
Purchase A Good Life for You and Your Relative with a Disability for $39.95 (+Shipping & Handling) and receive the interactive CD-Rom, Peace of Mind for FREE. Offer expires May 31st 2006.
A Good Life is an instructional guide for families, friends, and caregivers of people with disabilities. It leads the reader to look beyond professional services and programs for people with disabilities in planning for their safe and secure future.
Peace of Mind is a practical and caring interactive tool to help you plan for the future of your relative with a disability. It combines personal stories, testimonials, tips, and worksheets to get you started on your path to peace of mind.
(plus $12 shipping & handling within Canada)  
To order outside Canada, or for special prices on bulk quantity orders, please email:
Link to more information

June 5-30 (self-paced)
PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship presents
“Weaving the Ties that Bind,”

An Online Training Course For Facilitating Social Support Networks
Cost $250. Space is limited. To register: email or phone 604-439-9566

Facilitated social support networks are an effective way to address the isolation and loneliness of many people living on the margins of our society. These networks (also known as “circles of friends”) are proven to contribute to the health, safety and well being of individuals who are vulnerable as a result of age, disability or social circumstance.

This work is too important to be left to chance. Assisting individuals to move from isolation into community is meaningful and challenging work that requires vision, skills, and strategy.

Comprehensive and accessible training is now available.

Building on our 18 year of experience in facilitating hundreds of social support networks for people living in isolation, PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship has created “Weaving the Ties that Bind,” an online course for facilitators. Using our proven approach, this course provides participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a social network facilitator. Designed to be both practical and inspirational “Weaving the Ties that Bind” consists of three easy to follow modules:

1. Understanding social support network facilitation
2. Preparing to develop a social support network
3. Addressing challenges and building confidence as a facilitator

Who should take this course?
• Individuals working with people who are socially isolated including seniors, people with disabilities and/or chronic health challenges, youth and new immigrants.
• Community organizers, social workers, and health workers
• Case managers and resource brokers
• Classroom assistants and youth workers
• Residential and life skills workers
• Families and caregivers

Experience the convenience and benefits of online learning. The course includes:
• instructional video clips
• web links to essential resources
• chat rooms for scheduled and informal cyber-meetings
• discussion boards to post messages or comments
• online support from the course moderator*
• course materials including a book, CD-ROM and DVD
• self check exercises and certificate of completion

The course is designed by Vickie Cammack, creator of PLAN’s social network process and Nancy Ford, master facilitator. *Nancy Ford is the course moderator.




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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