3 March 2007
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 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.

You are receiving this bulletin because you attended the Guelph Spring Conference on Creative Supports 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 

It is usually possible to learn more about each item by clicking on the live link (underlined).

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:
March 3, 2007
February 20, 2007
January 30, 2007
January 18, 2007
December 26, 2006
November 20, 2006
November 7, 2006
November 1, 2006
October 7, 2006
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



University of Guelph Marks Accessibility Awareness Week
"Erasing the Stigma” surrounding people with disabilities is the theme of the University of Guelph’s annual Accessibility Awareness Week. Events are being held daily various locations across campus and are designed to draw attention to the issue of access on campus for people with visual, hearing, mobility, learning, psychological and medical disabilities.  The week’s events are designed to draw attention to the issue of access on campus for people with visual, hearing, mobility, learning, psychological and medical disabilities. Please click on title for full details

The week's events include:
March 5: an evening of art, music and speakers called “Recovery Through the Arts” in collaboration with Spark of Brilliance

March 6: Centre for Students With Disabilities and Teaching Support Services gives two free information sessions; there is a $2 “Wellness Lunch” organized by Forward Minds, a student-run mental health awareness group, with music by
Brantford songwriter Mark Wilson. At 7 p.m., a free screening of The Tie That Binds about a man with multiple disabilities striving for independence as part of U of G’s Docurama series.
March 7, everyone is invited to an accessible walk around campus--“Run, Walk and Roll to Erase Stigma”--to help open eyes to disability issues, and Teaching Support Services offers free session for faculty on universal instructional design.
March 8: 10-3 in the University Centre courtyard Resource Fair; and free aerobic dance class adaptable for those with physical disabilities will be held at noon in Room 200 of the Athletics Centre.
March 9: by U of G graduate Jason Dunkerley, a “world-class competitive runner who doesn’t let his blindness stop him from going the distance,” followed by special awards.

Challenge old ideas, boost training for intellectually disabled, study suggests
A new study, titled "Public views on employment of people with intellectual disabilities", will be published in the March issue of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. Researcher Rosemary Lysaght, a professor in the department of rehabilitation therapy at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., polled 680 people and found that 65 per cent of respondents believe that workers with ID should work alongside other workers without ID. Researchers found that 71 per cent of respondents say that a scarcity of training and support services is stopping people with ID, which in the past was also sometimes referred to as a developmental disability or mental retardation, from finding meaningful employment.

"These findings lend support to efforts to expand availability of job training programs — perceived by most of our sample to be inadequate — which could include a focus on training for supervisors and co-workers to include them as part of the natural support system for workers with ID," the study says. The authors also found that 87 per cent of people polled said that hiring staff with ID would not detract from the workplace's image. (Source: CBCnews)

Challenging Stereotypes of Competence:
Review of
Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone (Qualitative Studies in Psychology)

by Douglas Biklen et al. NYU Press, 2005. Review by Sue Bond on Jan 23rd 2007.
"The co-authors of Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone are not academics nor clinicians, but seven people labeled as autistic who provide the core of this book. Together with Douglas Biklen, they have produced an immensely readable, well-written, enlightening and humane text...."
"Biklen starts with ... the premise that autistic people are 'thinking people with ideas about their lives and their relationship to the world', which he calls a 'presumption of competence'. This valuable book shows the importance of this presumption, and its application."

Click on title to read the full review.

UW receives $4 million from foundation to launch innovative social initiative
The University of Waterloo, thanks to a $4-million donation from a national foundation, will set up a special centre to apply innovative research to solve pressing social problems in Canada. UW has signed a five-year agreement with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation to become a partner in the Montreal-based foundation's social innovation strategy. As part of the agreement, UW will establish a Centre for Social Innovation, along with a chair for Social Innovation Generation at Waterloo (SiG at Waterloo). Work will be carried out in the areas of education, inclusion in a diverse society and the environment.
For example, researchers will explore the isolation of people with disabilities, as well as how to involve citizens in efforts to address climate change.



February 15-March 30, 2007, in Etobicoke
Laser Eagles Gallery Show
Inclusiveness, artistic expression, and unique community partnerships come together in the Laser Eagles Exhibition, on display at the Arts Etobicoke Gallery February 15 to March 30, 2007. The show features over 40 paintings by 11 artists who are members of The Laser Eagles Art Guild, an organization which provides creative opportunities to individuals whose bodies are limited in mobility and who do not communicate in typical ways. Please click on title.

March 5-9, at University of Guelph
Five Days of Special Events to Mark Accessibility Awareness Week
Click for more, and see previous section.

Thursday, March 8, 2007, in Guelph
Wellington Agency Information Fair
For Families & Individuals with Disabilities to get information about all kinds of supports…
Click for full details


Thursday, March 8, 1-4 pm, at Ryerson University
The Working Together for Change Project is holding another free seminar on issues of relevance to people with disabilities (the portrayal of people with disabilities in public photographs and exploring disabled youth’s experiences securing and managing home supports) and have a participatory component to them.

"One of our project goals is to increase the involvement of people with disabilities and their families in the research process....We believe that we can assist the movement in this direction by helping people in the community, students, people who work in organizations that support people with disabilities, academics and researchers see that working together on research projects is possible and incredibly enriching for the process and players. We do this by offering seminars where people get to hear about actual research projects from the people involved."

For more information, please contact:
Barbara Ostroff
Co-Principal Investigator
Working Together For Change
Visit the Community Faculty website

Saturday, March 17, 3-5pm, in Guelph
An Afternoon with the Happy Neurotic!
featuring David Graniner, author, counsellor and comedien
and founder of "Stand Up for Mental Health".
Special event at The Bookshelf of Guelph,
41 Quebec Street
Please click on title for details.

March 21, in
Concurrent Disorders Family Forum
Afternoon for clinical staff, evening for families of clients with concurrent disorders.
Free bur registration required
Contact: Cheryl Vrkljan
Project Consultant,  Policy, Education & Health Promotion
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
20 Hughson Street South, Suite 804
Hamilton, ON  L8N 2A1
Tel: (905) 525-1250 ext. 8156
Toll Free: 1-888-857-2876
Fax: 905-527-6957

March 27, 7-9pm, in Waterloo
Amy Baskin on Keeping Strong, Sane and Connected
Amy is co-author of More than a Mom: Living a full and balanced life when your child has special needs (2006).
KidsAbility-Waterloo site
Attendance free but pre-registration required because of limited seating.
Click on title for full details

March 29, 2007, in London UK
Mental Health and People with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Over recent years there has been a growing interest in autistic spectrum disorders. This conference will concentrate on the mental health issues, an area that is often neglected in other conferences. The day will offer an opportunity to hear from a number of experts in the field and will provide plenty of time for discussion.
People with autistic spectrum disorders are vulnerable to developing mental health problems and the conference will explore issues of assessment, intervention and service delivery. People with autistic spectrum disorders span the range of intellectual functioning and some groups may fall between services, the issue will also be discussed.
Click on title for details

Thursday March 29, 2007, 1-3 pm, in Toronto
Seminar Series on Community Based Research
Audrey King, Hazel Self and Karen Yoshida on
Consumer Participation: The Value of Relationship in Teaching and Research
Location: School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University, 99 Gerrard St. E,5th floor, SHE 560
Click on series title for more.  To Register:  e-mail
This FREE seminar series is for you if you believe in the value of collaborative research and want to learn more from people doing it.  You will find this seminar of value if you are interested in:

  • learning from others who have worked to develop a genuine partnership between academia and community
  • are interested in learning more about ways that consumers/people with disabilities can collaborate with educators and researchers

Tuesday, April 3, 2007, 5-8 pm, at St Mary's High School, Kitchener
Community Connections in Waterloo Region
Information for persons with disabilities, families, professionals and caregivers.
Announcement also includes links for online guide to resources.

April 10, 7-9pm, in Guelph
Amy Baskin on Keeping Strong, Sane and Connected
Amy is co-author of More than a Mom: Living a full and balanced life when your child has special needs (2006).

KidsAbility sponsored--at Ignatius-Orchard Park
Attendance free but pre-registration required because of limited seating.
Click on title for full details

April 25, at 7pm, in Kitchener
Magnificent Moms: Amy Baskin on Keeping Strong, Sane and Connected

Kitchener Public Library
Please click on title for more

May 23 – 27, 2007, Sheraton Centre Toronto

2nd International Come To Your Senses Conference
Opening the Sensory World to Children & Adults with Complex Disabilities
Register now at



"Spotlight on Transformation" (February 2007)
Click for the Ministry of Community and Social Services’ first developmental services bulletin, "Spotlight on Transformation" (in both English and French).

Important New Releases from the Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario
IFCO is pressing purposefully to persuade the Ontario Government to move ahead in implementing the new directions announced in Opportunities and Action – Transforming Supports In Ontario for People who have a Developmental Disability
IFCO issues are vital for Ontario. Look up the many current resources on the IFCO website.


Disability advocates are very upset to learn that the Ontario Government (through the Ministries of Community and Social Services and Health and Long-Term Care) has made plans for adults with a developmental disability and relatively high needs to be admitted to long-term care facilities instead of opening community living opportunities for them. Advocates of inclusion and community living see a discrepancy between this new "access protocol" and the values and strategies discussed in the MCSS "transformation process" for developmental services since mid-2004.
See links to articles and letters on Family Alliance Ontario website






Planned Lifetime Networks (Waterloo-Wellington-Oxford)

PLN builds lifetime network of support around individuals who are isolated due to disability, supports families and provides public education. While incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization, PLN is also affiliated with Planned Lifetime Advocacy Networks. For more about PLAN, please see:

Families for a Secure Future

An organization committed to reaching out to and supporting individuals with developmental disabilities and their families by establishing a network of local family groups across Ontario. One of these is in Wellington-Dufferin. These mutual support groups come together to learn and to support one another to take the next step toward imagining and creating a better future for their sons/daughters. Families for a Secure Future is based on the fundamental principle that individuals and their families can define and prioritize their own needs. It is believed that individuals can make choices and direct their lives with support. To this end, Families for a Secure Future is governed by families and individuals themselves.


Bridges Over Barriers

Something new is being pioneered in Ontario by six men who live with quite severe challenges of autism. As they do not speak with their voices, other people might assume that they have nothing to say—even that they do not think or feel. But they are very expressive, on many topics, supported by AAC technology (alternative and augmentative communication) and the presence of family and friends who believe in them. The idea of meeting regularly began with one of the men, who also proposes agenda topics and acts as host. Family members and friends just facilitate the dream in practical ways--and listen!


The men gather in Guelph from all over southern Ontario, and even Michigan. The gatherings are so moving and powerful, it seems good to share the idea with others.

Please click on the title to read more about the dreams and the gatherings, and to find links to the first two Bridges newsletters and information about a publication of one man’s poetry.



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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