28 June 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:

June 28, 2006
May 20, 2006
May 14, 2006
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



Your responses are needed—this week, by June 30, 2006

Calling everyone who lives with a developmental disability or who cares for or about someone who has a disability in Ontario……
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.

We know some of you will have acted on this already--thanks!

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 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 Ministry says that 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.

Please think about these issues and respond as you see would best suit the needs and dreams of the person you know best. In our view, real transformation of Ontario’s supports and services, to enable persons who live with disabilities such as autism to have real quality of life and be fully included in their communities, can only be achieved by a combination of the following:

1. A person-centred approach of respecting and listening to each vulnerable person with a disability, so that people are not squeezed into programs.

2. Strengthening of circles of friends and personal support networks, including people who are not paid to be in the social service system, but know and care about their friend who is vulnerable. These entities may be strengthened by being incorporated and are the best safeguard of continuous quality improvement.

3. Independent planning and facilitation (on the model of the Windsor-Essex brokerage, and separate from current service provider systems) so that each person with a disability can make informed choices about how, where and with whom to live, who will provide the supports they need, and how they will spend their time.

4. Priorities defined through the previous three factors can best be implemented with Direct Funding for each person with a disability. Persons can choose to use their disability support dollars on what they most need, choosing among existing agencies if appropriate or niche social enterprises that may be started to meet specific needs. Funding for housing should be separate from funding for other supports. Direct funding must be complemented with infrastructure supports (such as ways to find support workers and ways to manage and be accountable for the funding).

5. No one blueprint serves every person. Adults with autism, for example, have particularly complex combinations of needs and abilities. Flexibility and portability must be built into the system.

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

To respond:
a) you may complete and send the online feedback form (last link above)
b) or you may attach your responses to an email message sent to
c) or you can fax your answers to (416) 325-5554 or toll-free to 1-866-340-9112
d) or you can mail your responses to:
Developmental Services Transformation Feedback
Developmental Services Branch
Ministry of Community and Social Services
4th floor, 80 Grosvenor Street
Check out the very helpful resources of the IFCO website
representing a decade of effort by an umbrella group of Ontario organizations, support groups and facilitators.

We welcome news, announcements, ideas and comments related to creative supports. Please send material to

For a note about technical aspects of the Aroha Listserv, please click on

Gerald & Elizabeth Bloomfield