18 August 2008
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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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.


Summer 2008 has been enlivened in Ontario by debate over the Ontario Government's proposed legislation to replace the act originally passed in 1974 to govern funded services for developmental disabilities. Advocates for persons and families who live with disabilities had been hoping that the four-year process of discussing "transformation" would lead to more transparency and choice. But Bill 77, introduced in May 2008, with little advance notice and apparently intended to be swiftly enacted, has disappointed most stakeholders. Bowing to popular demand, the Standing Committee on Social Policy has held hearings in four centres and received written submissions.

The process is not over yet! As the new legislation will shape the provision of funded services in Ontario for the next generation, everyone is asked to review material at these links and take any opporutnity to speak up for the values and principles that will enable all persons with developmental disabilities to have more choice and control over their own lives.

Disability groups say Liberal bill is seriously flawed
Judith McGill and Janis Jaffe-White were interviewed by Helen Henderson of the Star about Bill 77 and the Provincial Ad Hoc committee's concerns. The article, in the Star of 16 August, section L 12, begins: 
"They will not go away. They will not play dead. A coalition of community groups is among a growing faction determined to keep Queen's Park honest in its bid to change laws affecting some 300,000 Ontarians diagnosed with developmental disabilities....
Click on title to read the full article online.

Scores of people, often as representatives of organizations but also on their own, presented their comments on Bill 77 to the Standing Committee during the first week of August. Their oral presentations are all recorded--a powerful summary of views of social policy--and may be read at the following links:
Committee Transcripts: Standing Committee on Social Policy - August 05 2008

Link to Text of Ontario Legislature Bill 77 (2008) in English and French, as submitted for first and second readings:

Click for a
“plain-language compendium” version of Bill 77:

A Provincial Ad Hoc Working Group, convened by Judith McGill, and representing 14 organizations in seven regions of Ontario, produced a working paper which also formed the basis of spoken presentations to the Standing Committee on Social Policy in the first week of August.
Read this paper and its summary of recommendations

Link to written brief by the Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario
which contains references to various research papers supporting the approach advocated by IFCO.

Click for a one-page Framework for Individualized/Direct Funding, summarizing the need to keep these key functions separate: planning and facilitation; allocation; direct service; peer support/advocacy.


Bridges-Over-Barriers: towards supported decision-making

Something new is being pioneered in Ontario by several 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.

The gatherings are so moving and powerful, it seems good to share the idea with others. The pioneers in 2004 began with a  dream of “Bridges-Over-Barriers” as “a centre for friends and family who live with the challenges of autism to come together to share support, ideas and community..... We have been developing our skills as communicators and sharing technology ideas and friendship. We want to extend this community of pioneers to include more people. We would like there to be more opportunities for others to benefit from our experience, and to encourage and train more people to support those of us with communication and movement disorders.”

Members of Bridges-Over-Barriers share the philosophy of "People First": "Nothing about me without me" and "Though I may not speak with my voice, I have plenty to say." They share a vision of helping more adults who use supported typing and other forms of AAC to express their thoughts and dreams. Three years ago, the idea began of asking family and friends to give to a fund that would enable Bridges to start helping others.

Friends and families of the men like the potential of Bridges to help with supported decision-making, and are supporting their efforts to realize the vision.

Link to the Bridges-Over-Barriers webpage
Newsletter 5  contains more information on specific projects.



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



1. Announcing an exciting partnership between Spark of Brilliance and the newly formed Social Innovation Generation (SiG) initiative of the University of Waterloo.

Judith Rosenberg describes an opportunity to submit artwork to be juried and ultimately installed in the new location/art gallery in Kitchener. Click for poster with all details

The invitation is extended to all Spark of Brilliance communities and to Kitchener, the future site of a new Spark of Brilliance Chapter, in the near future, to Creative Mentors and associates and friends.  Submissions can include: paintings, sculpture, photography, textile art, pottery, glass, paper sculpture, mixed media, etc.

You are asked to send photographs of your work to Spark of Brilliance via email to: or drop off photographs to the Spark of Brilliance office at 5420 Highway 6 North, on the Ignatius Jesuit Grounds (Orchard Park) in the Canadian Mental Health Association building to the attention of Marcey Gray or Judith Rosenberg. You may leave your photographs with CMHA reception and ask to have them placed in the Spark of Brilliance mailslot.

Please submit your photographs no later than AUGUST 22, 2008 BY CLOSE OF BUSINESS (5:00 PM).  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Judith at 519-766-4450 X 237.

  Haadd initiative for artists on the autism spectrum
In order to promote the work of artists in the autism community and to raise additional funds for our Joseph Umbrico Bursary and Grant Programme, Haadd seeks submissions to be considered for a collection of note-cards to be launched prior to the 2008 holiday season. The entries will be reviewed by a panel of artists and Board members. An honorarium of $500 will be awarded to the artist whose submission is chosen. The successful artist will be asked to sign a waiver indicating that he/she has been paid for the piece and granting permission for Haadd to use it solely for the purpose described above.  Click for the full announcement

Haadd: Helping Adults with Autism And Developmental Disabilities is a family based organization that helps adults with autism to establish meaningful lives and homes in their community


Announcing Series of Events

Fall 2008, between October 18 and November 29, in Oshawa
Compassion in Action: Open Mind, Open Heart, Skilful Means
an 8-part introductory seminar series in compassionate practices with Felicia Jervis.
THE HEART OF THE MATTER: Some children and adults express themselves through actions that are at times difficult to understand and support safely. These actions may include: occasional withdrawal or aggressive acts towards self, others and property. These actions must be understood not as challenging behaviors that need to be controlled or eliminated, but rather as communicative acts that often speak of the pain of humiliation and rejection, and a yearning to belong....
Click for full brochure and how to register in the workshop series

Click to read "When children hurt themselves"
by Felicia Jervis in BLOOM magazine on the Bloorview website

Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) Workshops & Seminars

Within BC or online.
To help you in planning a safe and secure future for your relative with a disability, PLAN offers a variety of seminars and workshops on topics of interest to families. For a list of upcoming events, go to PLAN's website:


Announcing Individual Events

September 4-7, 2008
US Autism & Asperger Association presents
2008 International Conference in San Antonio, Texas
featuring Paul Shattock and Doris Rapp
Conference Theme: Treating Autism as a Medical Disorder:
Bringing Biomedical Treatments and Behavioral & Developmental Therapies Together

Click for overview and early registration

October 3-5, 2008, in Ottawa
Family Alliance Ontario Annual Conference
Engaging Families and Building Bridges
Visit the Family Alliance Ontario website at this link for full information, including an important note about booking hotel rooms.

Message from the organizers:
Each year the Family Alliance Ontario, in partnership with our local family networks, holds a conference for families and friends. We move the conference around the province and this year it will be held in Ottawa. We have again chosen a setting that is appropriate for a family oriented conference and hope you will consider coming with your family.
We are a group rich in knowledge, empathy and inspiration and have much to offer each other in the way of support. This year, as an added bonus for those attending, there will be a Sunday morning workshop with Michael Kendrick. Many of you know Michael through his workshops and articles as a person who practices his belief that "people with disabilities can guide us as to how we must change but we must first be willing to be led." Michael will facilitate this opportunity for us to collaborate with friends and allies on how to impact and influence policies for people with developmental disabilities and their families. You are aware of the troubling direction many of the new policies and legislation is taking. We are inviting our friends, allies and colleagues to work with us to build innovative, impactful approaches to government. It is not enough to open a pathway to direct funding and then not fund it at all as happened with the Passport program this year; we also share with you some grave concerns about directions in Bill 77, the new Developmental Services Act.

As you know, the Family Alliance Ontario continues as a member of the Partnership Table to advice on the "Transformation of Developmental Services." As the only provincial organization at the Table representing families along with only one member representing People First Ontario, it has been a difficult, uphill journey. The support and advice of our many friends, partners and colleagues has been invaluable throughout this process.
Since the beginning of FAO's attendance at these meetings, we have pressed continuously for more family and advocate membership to give a more balanced reference to the Ministry.  Hopefully, in the fall, this will happen and other provincial family organizations will take their place at the Table. As both a friend and ally who supports and works towards mutual values and goals, we sincerely extend this invitation to attend our conference and this most important and timely workshop. 

Going on in Ottawa at the same time is the “Encampment” project which may be of interest to some participants: On October 2 to 4, 2008, 70 tents will be assembled in Major’s Hill Park for 2 days and evenings. Sokoloski & McCowan are working with the (CACL), through a 50th anniversary cultural initiative curated by Clara Hargittay, and in partnership with the (NCC). The artists will shape an unprecedented national version of The Encampment. A group of Creative Collaborators, representative of Canada’s regional diversity, will be invited to research the history and stories of intellectual disability. They will then take part in a collaborative process to create individual tent installations inspired by these stories.  For more information go to:

October 7, 2008: 9am-4pm, at Wellington County Museum
Aging and Developmental Disabilities
Click for flyer

October 22, 23, 24, 2008, in Toronto

Autism 2008 – Geneva Centre for Autism International Symposium
The Symposium will provide a cross-section of perspectives on the most recent research and information on evidenced based best  practice.  All topics of importance to autism intervention will be addressed including bio-medical and neurobiological research, ABA, intervention, social skills, behaviour, communication, first-hand accounts, Asperger’s Disorder, and more.  Featuring speakers from Canada, U.S., Great Britain, and Australia.  For registration information, visit or contact Eva Finna at or 416-504-4500 ext. 208.

November 10, 2008, in Toronto

Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services,
Employer Outreach Secretariat:
Symposium on Disability and Employment

Contact: Tim Hilliard


3rd Floor, Hepburn Block

80 Grosvenor Street

Toronto, Ontario M7A 1E9

Tel: (416) 325-5352

FAX: (416) 212-4704


Employer Outreach Secretariat contacts:



Consider a Henson Trust: What you can do to enhance the quality of life for a family member with a disability
Written by Harry Beatty, Mary Louise Dickson and John Stapleton and sponsored by the Reena Foundation and the Law Foundation of Ontario.

Special Services At Home Provincial Coalition

Check out all this website's resources, including the March 2008 First Choice Newsletter.

Visit the new MukiBaum Treatment Centres website

"MukiBaum Treatment Centres is a treatment organization devoted to providing compassionate services for children, adolescents and adults, who have dual diagnosis, to allow them to lead a life filled with dignity and integrity.
We use in-depth individualized humanistic treatment modalities, which focus on the person as a whole and his/her strengths, abilities and needs." Note the many features of this organization.
Please also note the feature "Match Muki: if Muki can do it, so can you! Mukii  is the epitome of ability beyond disability. Born with Cerebral Palsy and deafness, Muki has single-handily raised more than $450,000, dollar by dollar, over the last 20 years for people with complex disabilities."

We are often asked for help in finding professionals who can assess disabilities, and thus are glad to know of this professional organization, whose members are distributed around Ontario.
of Psychologists in Disability Assessment

The website description is as follows:

CAPDA is an organization of senior psychologists who practise primarily in the areas of psychological or neuropsychological assessment of disability and impairment.

There are strict requirements for membership and all members are bound by comprehensive standards which guide their practice and outline their obligations to the individual assessed and to the referral source.
The intent of the website is to promote the great resources within Waterloo Region and to make the information concerning those resources within the Community Connections booklet more accessible. This website is the first step in creating a unique resource for the Region of Waterloo for those living, working or supporting someone with a disability. It offers an easy way to search for options and make decisions about programs that may meet needs and interests.

The new website was released in May 2008. What is it?
A bilingual online directory with authoritative information about more than 56,000 community, social, health and related government services and programs in Ontario
    • Location, keyword, subject and advanced searching available

    • Sophisticated mapping interface
    • Proximity searching finds the service closest to the user
    • French language interface for Francophones in Ontario  
A regularly verified and updated database of information collected by local community agencies
Access to accurate and timely information can empower people to successfully cope with life’s challenges and be productive, active and engaged.
Contact: Kathy Kelly | Project Manager | 416-392-4658 is funded through a strategic investment of $3M from Strengthening Our Partnerships, a program of the Ministry of Finance, with support from the Ministry of Community and Social Services. The 211 Ontario newcomer services partnership is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ontario Region

Guide to Personal Care and Property for Adults with a Developmental Disability

Published by The Ontario Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities, the guide provides information about: Substitute decision-makers, power of attorney for personal care, power of attorney for property, Guardianship, and Income and Taxation issues. The Guide can be accessed and downloaded at or ordered at a cost of $5.00 from: Ontario Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities, C/O Toby and Henry Battle Developmental Centre, 927 Clark Ave, Thornhill, On L4J 8G6

A Place Called Home--second edition now available

Alison C. Ouellette is happy to announce the newly updated and revised second edition of “A Place Called Home”.  It describes the journey of the Ouellette family and their son David’s quest for an everyday life, and contains new stories of a life unfolding, photos and contributions by friends and family.
If you are interested in this new release, you can order copies through Alison’s or David’s web site. There is an order form there for you to download. or

Thinking creatively about new opportunities
for person-centred and self-directed lives..........

Strategies and formal agreements developed by
Services for the Autistic in its role as housing trust
GSA has functioned as a housing trust since 1997, its mission to help adults with "Autistic Disorder" to live in their own homes with dignity and safety, supported by family and friends--and with self-directed planning, individualized funding, and infrastructure services as needed. Other families and organizations, concerned with persons who have other special needs, are interested in following the paths pioneered by GSA, so we have compiled this 120-page guide to the various agreements and procedures, with some explanatory text.
A new resource that is valuable for anyone who is trying to direct their own person-centred life, and for their families and friends.  Please click on this link for the flyer




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


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

Gerald & Elizabeth Bloomfield
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
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