7 October 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:

July 2, 2006
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


Thought for Our Times: The Empathy Symbol

Because what the world really needs now is Empathy.

The Empathy Symbol stands for 2 sides reaching out, and reaching into each other to really understand what the other is feeling and experiencing.

Whether it’s Men and Women,

Blacks and Whites,

Jews and Muslims,

Gays and Straights,

Red States and Blue States,

Christians and Atheists,

Asians and Latinos,

Handicapped and Able-bodied,

White collar and Blue collar…

Whatever the 2 sides are.

Because it’s a lot harder to hate someone you understand.

Because in order to get to Peace and Love and Harmony in our World,
 we first have to have Empathy for one another.

Thanks to Brian Henson for recommending this link--please click on the title to reach more.




Building an Inclusive & Accessible Canada

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities and Canadian Association for Community Living has created an initiative to create an inclusive and accessible Canada. This initiative seeks to build the momentum for action to increase the investment in disability supports, expand collaboration within the disability community and raise the profile of Canadians with disabilities. For more information about this initiative see the attached information sheet, visit their website, or email their virtual office at  

The year 2006 marks two very significant anniversaries for the disability community:
·        25th anniversary for both the International Year of the Disabled and the first Parliamentary report on disability, Obstacles

·        10th anniversary of the Scott Task Force Report, Equal Citizenship for Canadians with Disabilities: The Will to Act.

A National initiative is being designed to celebrate these past events and build toward a Forum in Ottawa on November 2, 2006. Building an Inclusive and Accessible Canada will bring together people from across Canada, national, provincial and local disability groups and civil society organizations to participate in this unique and historic campaign.

Starting Inclusion Young: Planning Entry to School
Read an analysis by Marilyn Dolmage, for the Ontario Coalition for Inclusive Education, of the Ministry of Education's Planning Entry to School Resource Guide.  She writes: "More than ever, opportunities exist for good support to be made available in regular classrooms - to students and their teachers - where there is proper planning and teamwork. But parents and resource people must be informed and vigilant."



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.
See several events offered by Spark of Brilliance in the Announcements below, including:
Andrew Long Charity Golf Tournament 
which is in aid of the new initiative "Give Voice" (click for a brochure about this)
The Walk for Suicide Awareness 2006


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 people in other cities and regions.

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 5-November 5, 2006, in Toronto
The Joy of Autism: Redefining Ability and Quality of Life
By TAAP: The Autism Acceptance Project

Presentations by authors, parents, researchers and autistic people, with a variety of views
A gallery exhibition will be held from October 5 through November 5, 2006 at the Lonsdale Gallery.
Lectures by researchers will discuss recent studies of autistic cognitive abilities.
Clinicians and autistic people will present views based on their lives with autism.
Parent authors and advocates will talk about their journey.
Lectures on October 10, 11 and 12 at the Al Green Theatre, Miles Nadal, Toronto JCC and on October 14 at the Lonsdale Gallery.
Panel discussion on October 16 at the Al Green Theatre including several autistic people, parents and researchers.
Full information & tickets at

October 14, 2006, in London
One-Day Workshop on High School Inclusion with Marilyn Dolmage
Click for flyer

October 15, 2006, all day, in Erin
Families for a Secure Future invites you to

The Art of Listening
led by Judith McGill
Click for full details and to register

October 17-21, 2006, in Minneapolis
24th Annual Closing The Gap Conference
Assistive Technology in Special Education and Rehabilitation
Visit our Web site for complete conference details including:
28 Preconference Workshops, Over 175 Presentations, Extensive Commercial Exhibits

October 17, 2006, in Detroit
Behavior Solutions for Adolescents with Severely Limiting Autism
Maria Wheeler: Adolescence combined with severely limiting autism presents a unique challenge for the effected individual, families, educators and therapists. In this session, we will explore age appropriate interventions for addressing behavioral concerns including aggression, refusal to work, stripping, self-stimulation, ineffective communication, offensive communication, echolalia, sexual behavior, seizure-related behaviors, wandering, non-compliance and other behaviors that commonly interfere with social success and learning. Please click for more details

October 18,
2006, in Detroit
Transitioning to Adulthood
Peter Gerhardt: Increasing attention is being paid to needs of learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as they enter adolescence and grow into adulthood. Where job placement was once considered desirable, now the goal is career development. Instead of residential placement, now there is talk of residential choices in support of quality of life. This workshop will provide an overview of this movement toward transition planning for competent adulthood. Social skills and sexuality will also be addressed in young adults with ASD. Please click for more details

October 22, 2006, all day, in Pickering
Families for a Secure Future invites you to
The Art of Listening
led by Judith McGill
Click for full details and to register

October 25, 26, 27, 2006, in Metro
Toronto Convention Centre

Autism 2006 - Geneva Centre for Autism International Symposium

Complete program now available on our website.

Go to now to view this year's exciting conference program
including speakers from around the world.

The comprehensive agenda includes presentations on the latest intervention and research in autism and neurology, biomedical interventions, positive behavioural intervention, communication, social skills, sensory processing disorders, anger management, adolescents, adults/employment, first hand accounts, Aspergerís disorder, cognitive behaviour therapy, intensive behavioural intervention, OCD and much more. 

Don't miss this international exhibit hall, art gallery and remarkable opening ceremony featuring the talents of gifted individuals with ASD.

November 19, 2006, all day, in Newmarket
Families for a Secure Future AGM
Making Dreams Possible
with Rebecca Beayni

Click for full details and to register



** PLAN Institute Launches Cross-Canada Tour **
For the first time in history, children with disabilities are outliving their parents. This fall, The Ties That Bind National Tour visits communities from British Columbia to Newfoundland to give families the tools they need to secure the well-being of children with disabilities. The public is invited to a screening of the National Film Board documentary "The Ties That Bind," about one Ottawa family and their struggle to create a secure future for their son. Families can also attend a workshop to learn practical steps that they can take. For dates and locations, visit .

**Welfare Income Rates in Canada Decreased Over Past Decades**
According to a report from the National Council of Welfare, many
welfare incomes across Canada were lower in 2005 than they were
in 1986, after adjusting for inflation. For single people with
disabilities, Ontario's welfare rates were the most generous of
the provinces and territories, but the rates still only provided
58 percent of the income designed as the poverty line. See
"Welfare Incomes 2005 Report" at .

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

Revel in the Light: The Story of Rebecca Beayni

A Quiet Life Will Shine,
these words open this inspiring biographical portrait of Rebecca Beayni, a young woman whose incredible spirit bursts in and through the seams of a physical disability she was born into. Masterworks Productions  is pleased to present this story of Rebecca, a woman whose openness to life touches and stirs those in the world around her. Please note a change in address for ordering this video/DVD. Click to order Revel in the Light

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.

"The EnableLinker," Copyright (c) 2006
Canadian Abilities Foundation,

Ouch is a website from the BBC. "Its aim is to reflect the lives of disabled people right here and now in the third millennium.
It's not a help and support site. If we were to give it a label, it would probably be closest to lifestyle. We pride ourselves on not being a resource for useful information, though I'm sure you'll find most things you're looking for here. There are many help and support sites out there that do a fantastic job, far better than we could, so we in the BBC's Learning & Interacitve department felt it would be good to do something completely different. We're about personal stuff, minutiae of everyday life and that fantastic dark sense of humour and inevitable cynicism that we disabled people tend to have. Oh, and we don't shy away from subjects that other people might be a bit wary of."
Sign up for the BBC Ouch! newsletter

Canadian Assistive Devices & Technology Industry Directory
5th Edition (March 2006)

The latest edition of this popular directory is “HOT OFF THE PRESS” and is completely revised, updated and includes profile data on 615 Canadian companies who are directly involved in this growing sector of our industry and contains a cross reference for 191 various product listings.
This bound Directory is an ideal reference for anyone looking for information on manufacturers, distributors, dealers and exporters in the Assistive Devices & Technology industry.
This new directory has been designed to provide the changing demographics and lifestyle of today’s society, reflecting the increased demand and awareness of products and services for rehabilitation, therapy, home care services and assistive devices. An excellent resource directory for hospitals, rehabilitation, occupational therapy and physiotherapy centers, home health care providers, industry, governments and individuals. 
The 20 main Assistive Devices & Technology categories are:
Aids to Daily Living - Ambulatory Aids - Assistive Technology - Bathroom Safety Products - Diabetic Products - Diagnostics - Driving Aids - Electrotherapy Devices - Hearing Aids - Home Health Equipment - Incontinence/Ostomy Supplies - Lift/Transfer Systems - Mobility Aids - Orthotic Devices - Prosthetic Devices - Rehabilitation Products - Respiratory Products (home use) - Seating & Positioning Products - Visual Aids - Wound Care Products

Detailed information on the Directory contents:
- Company Listing (An alphabetical list of companies, along with full address, phone/toll-free, fax, e-mail, website, contact, type of business, and product listing)
- Company Index
- Product Index
- Product Listing Information (20 main Assistive Devices categories which includes 191 different products)
- Products (191 products are listed in alphabetical order by company)
- Business Activities (Manufacturer - Distributor - Dealer - Exporter)
- Geographic (by province)
- Website (A comprehensive list of websites)

The Directory is available on CD (in Adobe Acrobat format - .pdf file) or hardcopy (bound).
For more information or request sample listing, please email




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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