20 August 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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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.

More about this series of bulletins may be found at the end, including links to past bulletins.


Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

"Spotlight on Transformation" bulletin for August 2007 is now available online.

Please note the focus of this bulletin on:
“More residential options for community living”
“A goal of Ontario’s developmental services transformation is to provide adults with a developmental disability with more residential options so they can live more independently within their communities. During last year’s public consultation, we heard examples of creative living arrangements that are working well and we listened to suggestions about innovative residential models and partnerships that could be explored.
“Eligible individuals or their families, together with a service provider, can develop a proposal for an innovative residential model for their community. The proposal must be submitted to their local regional office of the ministry for consideration for funding.”
Click here to reach both Word and PDF formats together with links to earlier bulletins.

Creative Community Outreach Event
Monday, September 15, 2007
at Victoria Park in London
Walk A Mile in My Shoes
See more in Calendar below


NEW BOOK this month

Pathways to Inclusion: Building a New Story with People and Communities
by John Lord and Peggy Hutchison

Captus Press, ISBN 978-1-55322-165-4 (2007 Forthcoming)
Approx. 270 pages, 500 g, 6 X 9, $29.50 (US$26.75)
Read more from the publisher

An examination of various perspectives on disability that provide insightful discussion on the current need for social innovation to move vulnerable citizens from areas of exclusion to social inclusion.

Pathways to Inclusion offers a straightforward approach to addressing the organizational strategies that have been used in the past and highlighting areas for change. Human-services organizations are examined, pinpointing common characteristics that have led to improved quality of life for the disabled.

Highlights of the book include:
• a discussion of discriminatory social policy,
• characteristics of pathways to inclusion, and
• an explanation on the need for social innovation.

Well-researched, with clear dialogue, and interspersed with insightful anecdotes, Pathways to Inclusion is designed to inspire change within both human-services personnel and the greater community.

This text should be an invaluable resource to educators, advocates and practitioners in the fields of Disability studies and human services.

Spark of Brilliance website
has been greatly enhanced over this summer, thanks to Marcey Gray.
Check out many creative events and activities in the Guelph-centred area.
There are also many opportunities for people and groups to have a profile on this website:
  • As a link
  • Post your artwork
  • Send photos for our photo gallery
  • Write a story/article/poem for our newsletter
  • Write about your mental health experience
  • Have you participated at  Spark of Brilliance - and what was that like for you
  • Do you have ideas for workshops
  • Would you like to volunteer at Spark of Brilliance as a creative mentor/working on a project?



Please send submissions for this news bulletin or for the OAARSN Calendar and Bulletin Board 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
 URL Link for more information/registration 

 Please Do Not Send Files Or Brochure Attachments


Register now for October 2007
Weaving the Ties That Bind: online course on facilitating social support networks
PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship offers online course in October 2007
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.
Self-paced--approx 20-25 hours.

Click for more information
Click here to register

Wednesday, August 22, 20071:30pm–4pm
A Community for All…Share Your Vision!
A forum for people with disability experience

Training Room, 2nd Floor
Kitchener City Hall
Everyone is included.  Human rights are honoured.  All are valued, have access and are treated with dignity.  Each can participate and contribute.
RSVP by Wednesday, August 15, to Susan Mainland at 519 579-1096 ext. 3005 or email
Sign language interpreters are available upon request.  Let us know what accommodations can be made to make it easier for you to participate. 
Presented by the Disabilities and Human Rights Planning Group with assistance from the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo/ Community Information Centre of Waterloo Region.
Appreciation goes out to the City of Kitchener for providing space for the community forum.

August 25, 8pm, in Mississauga
"Broken Speech" a play based on the true story of Tony Diamanti
—a 47-year-old man living with cerebral palsy—who also stars in the play. Tony travels in a wheelchair, and speaks by using a head pointer to spell what he wants to say on a letter board. He valiantly and courageously takes each day's dose of life along with a large serving of humour!  Tony's story moves and teaches each and every individual who experiences it. This is a powerful play, which has demonstrated its ability to change attitudes about people with complex disabilities.  The DVD will be used to encourage more performances--and therefore to reach broader audiences.
MultImedia Studio Theatre (MiST) at the
University of Toronto Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Road North. Please see for the map, and note that the building on the map is labelled "CCT Building and MiST."
Please click here to learn more about you can help to professionally produce a DVD of Broken Speech which can be used as a tool to encourage schools, community groups and other venues to host a live production of Broken Speech in order to continue the important process of altering attitudes and perceptions about people with disabilities.

CBC Passionate Eye Documentary on Using Comedy to Fight Mental Illness and Stigma
Airs nationally on August 30 at
9 p.m. On CBC’s Doc Zone

Cracking Up is a life-affirming documentary about people with mental illness who embark on a quirky quest to become stand up comics. The film follows 11 courageous people who suffer from mental illness as they pursue a year of stand up comedy. Part fun and part therapy, the course, entitled Stand Up For Mental Health is the brainchild of Vancouver counselor, stand-up comic, and author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and Success David Granirer. “It’s like ‘The Full Monty’ except people want us to keep our clothes on”, he says.
Doing stand-up comedy has had an amazing effect on the people in the course. For the first time in their lives, they have embraced the word crazy, and learned to laugh at their mental illness – and their audiences are laughing right along with them.  They have discovered a talent they never dreamt they had.
For more information

September 7, 2007, 9:30am-5pm, in Vaughan
Join John O'Brien as he shares with members of IFCO what is working well; what is not and what to watch for as we continue our work to make Individualized Funding in Ontario a reality!  We hope this meeting will recharge your energy as we head into a Provincial Election in October, and help move Individualized Funding forward in Ontario! We have asked John to help us determine what to advocate for during the election. Costs $20.00 per person (lunch will be included) and subsidies are available. If you are not yet a member of IFCO, please add $15 for membership to your cheque for registration.
Click for more information and how to register

September 8, 2007, 9:30am-5pm
, in Vaughan
Thinking about the future with COURAGE
Location: City of Vaughan Police Community Room, 2700 Rutherford Rd.  
This exciting one-day event is intended for family members and people with developmental disabilities and their friends to explore their ideas about the future.  John has a gift for provoking thought and action in families about what really matters. Families from all over the world say that hearing him speak was very helpful in shaping their vision of the future.
The morning will be dedicated to having John share the stories he has about facing the future with courage. The afternoon will be focused on dialogue in small and large groups around some of the themes that arise in the morning. There will also be stories from individuals and families who have done courageous things. These stories will stimulate your own thoughts and dreams about what is possible and what are some of your next steps.
Click for more information and registration form

September 14, 2007
, 9:30am–3:30pm, in London
Offered by Regional Support Associates
Individuals with intellectual disabilities may experience sensory sensitivities or processing problems, which can impact on behaviour. This workshop will provide information about identifying and investigating sensory experiences and strategies to handle sensory challenges.
Cost: $50.00  Click for details and registration form
See info on all RSA workshops

September 15, 2007 at Victoria Park in London
Walk A Mile in My Shoes
A Community Outreach Event specifically intended to help people understand difficulties faced by those with differing abilities and to celebrate the diversity of our community.   The walk will be led by Bill Hiltz assisted by his support team, and participants will be asked to truly walk in his shoes by walking behind him all the way.  Bill faces many challenges and strongly advocates for a life full of community and true inclusion for everyone.  Bill would like other people to be able to experience what life is like when a person faces differing challenges.
Participants will be asked to pair up with someone and each couple will randomly choose the challenge that they will live with for the walk. Funds will be directed to Reach for the Rainbow; an organization that  is committed to promoting an environment where children with disabilities can mature with their peers; one which encourages awareness and compassion and allows people with disabilities to discover their full potential. Their commitment is to belonging; to ability, not disability; to inclusion, not segregation.
Registration fee is a minimum pledge of $10.00 begins at 10:15, festivities at 11:00 and the walk begins at 12:00 noon.  Refreshments will provided for participants. Come one, come all. Tell your friends.  This promises to be a day of sharing new experiences; laughter; music; good food and great company!
More details and contact information are being posted on the website:

September 27 & 28, 2007, 9:30am–3:30pm, in London
Offered by Regional Support Associates
People with higher developmental needs (severe disabilities) make up a smaller portion of those who receive support in our field, yet are often those who demand the lion’s share of resources. This session will seek to help caregivers Aim Higher with respect to the famed “Three ‘S’s” of support for the person with higher needs. Discussion will centre on understanding what constitutes higher needs, tips for helping people move toward independence, providing an enhanced environment, and avoiding potential difficulties.
Cost: $100.00  Click for more and how to register
See info on all RSA workshops

September 29-October 2, 2007, in Kitchener
A Comprehensive Biomedical Treatment Approach
Conference for Autism, PDD, AD(H)D, & Behavior Disorders
Offered by the Great Plains Laboratory
For parents, care givers, educators, and practitioners. The goal is to improve the health and well being of individuals using integrative medicine and, in particular, biomedical treatment options.
An excellent opportunity for those seeking evidence to support the use of various biomedical treatment options.  We will be discussing the role of nutritional deficiencies and supplements, special dietary interventions, food allergies, heavy metal toxins, enzyme deficiencies, inborn errors of metabolism, immune deficiencies, the role of micro-organisms in the gastrointestinal tract and more.  In addition, several parents will be presenting their very different journeys of the treatments that helped their children recover. 
Physician training is offered on Monday, October 1--for licensed physicians and practitioners only. The prerequisite for this training is day 1 and 2 of this conference or other biomedical training. All practitioners are encouraged to participate in the entire conference.
Please click for full information and how to register

October 12, 2007, 9:30am–3:30pm, in Woodstock
PROMOTING COMMUNICATION: A Speech-Language Pathologist Speaks Up on Every Day Encounters
PRESENTER: Aren Hutton, BA (Hons.), M. Health Sc., S-LP (C), Speech Pathologist
Offered by Regional Support Associates
Communication is the base of human interactions. Often, people with intellectual disabilities feel isolated due to their communication deficits. During this workshop you will learn how to identify your client’s level of communication in addition to some tips to encourage positive interactions during every day tasks.
Cost: $50.00  Click for flyer and to register
See info on all RSA workshops

Tuesday, October 16, in Brantford
Caring for Others, Healing Ourselves
with Heather Summerhayes-Cariou
Offered by the CMHA-Brant County Branch
Please click on title for more

Friday, October 26, 2007,  in Waterloo
3rd Annual “Learning Outside the Box” conference
Our topic this year is ASD with Marg Spoelstra and Leslie Broun.
Watch for more details to be posted during August.

November 15-16, 2007, in Trenton
Advocates for Community Education (A.C.E.)
4th Annual Self-Advocates Conference
Keynote Speaker: Dave Hingsburger
Click for full details
Contact: Angela Clarke, Outcome Support Facilitator
phone 613.475.5557
fax   613.475.9854


Looking 2008

May 27-29, 2008
, in Detroit

“Everyday Freedoms”
International Conference of Center for Self-Determination
”Cutting Edge in a City with an Edge”
Detroit Marriott, Renaissance Center, Detroit, USA

Conference Highlights:
§                            Discussions about meaningful lives, real freedom,
§                            Community membership, income asset & development
§                            Aging with dignity & freedom
§                            Recovery in the context of self-determination
§                            Families truly supported to best assist in developing self-determined lives
§                            International perspectives on these issues as well as discussions of what system change requirements are needed: what works and what interferes
For more information, please visit
Catch up on the latest Center news with the May 2007 e-newletter.



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

Isaac’s Story

Isaac is a middle-aged man who is quite severely handicapped by the symptoms of autism. He does not speak with his voice and finds it hard to express himself in ways that others can easily understand. He tries, but cannot always control his movement disorders and sensory integration dysfunction. His life has been hard for him in various ways. But insights into how Isaac experiences autism and the efforts of his parents and friends to help him get his life together have been succeeding.

Isaac allows his true story to be shared so it may inspire others. He hopes others will feel encouraged by knowing that he has taken several steps towards a better life. Isaac’s story has messages for others who live with severe challenges--though the same combination of strategies that have worked for him would not work in exactly the same way for another person who lives with the symptoms of autism or similar neurological or communication differences.

Isaac's Story was first published on OAARSN in instalments in 2001. Click on the title to read the full story so far.


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

Previous Creative Supports bulletins may be found by clicking on the following links:
August 9, 2007
July 14, 2007
June 26, 2007

May 10, 2007
April 18, 2007
April 12, 2007
March 22, 2007
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 

Gerald & Elizabeth Bloomfield
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
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