PLN LIST is an email bulletin begun in 2001 for exchanging news and views about strategies of building and maintaining personal support networks for people with disabilities, and associated issues. PLN LIST came into being at the time Planned Lifetime Networks was incorporated in the Waterloo-Wellington region of southern Ontario. Members of the List are now distributed in communities across Canada, with some in other countries too.

PLN LIST is a free service maintained by Elizabeth & Gerald Bloomfield and hosted by the University of Guelph with technical support by Peter McCaskell. We welcome items of news and comment which should be sent to They will be grouped in batches for posting from time to time. Frequency depends on the volume of material submited and the urgency of announcing meetings or recommending advocacy.

Click for our archive of past PLN bulletins

a. If you wish to join or leave PLN LIST, please send a request including your first name and last name and your email address, to with "PLN" in the subject area.

b. When you have ideas and announcements to share with others, please send a message to  with "PLN" in the subject area.

12 October 2003

Look up earlier bulletins for announcements and news that are still current.
October 7, 2003 
September 25, 2003 

Safe and Secure Futures Networks, 2003 - 2004
Monthly forums for mutual support and information sharing among family members of individuals who have a developmental disability--in three Toronto locations. Sponsored by Extend-A-Family and funded by a City of Toronto Community Services Grant.   Click for full details

Planned Lifetime Networks: Autumn Workshop series
Four Saturdays mornings, in Kitchener
Planning a Good Life Now
Oct. 25: Planning financial security
Nov. 1: Planning a home of one's own
Nov. 8: Planning for after we’re gone
Nov.15: Planning with our disabled children (capacity assessment, powers of attorney, and supported decision-making.
Click on heading for more details or phone 519-746-1188 or email

Planned Lifetime Networks (Waterloo-Wellington...) 
also holds evening meetings on the 2nd Monday each month, alternating discussion of chapters in A GOOD LIFE with business meetings. At the Good Life Meeting on Oct. 13 at 7:00 pm,  Chapter 3 in the book will be discussed. The next business meeting is on November 10. All are welcome to each meeting.  Anyone needing a ride please call Verlyn 519-624-5195. For more details, phone 519-746-1188 or email

Saturday October 25th, 2003, in Toronto 
Annual Conference of Ontario Association for Families of Children with Communication Disorders 
Thanks to the generous support of the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation, this is the largest event OAFCCD has ever organized. Speakers include: 
-Carla Johnson, Associate Professor, Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto on the long term impacts of a communication disorder.
-Kathy Schaffer, Ministry of Education Special education Project, on Individual Education Plans
-Ginny Marx, SLP and Karen Rolston, Teacher with the Kindergarten Language Program at the Toronto Catholic District School Board on phonological awareness.
-Dr. Maria Kokai-Czapar, Psychologist, Deaf and Hard of hearing Program, Toronto Catholic District School Board  on the challenges of growing up with a communication disorder
Click for flyer and registration form



Community involvement is goal of Youth En Route
Family Net has posted an article about the Youth En Route transition program. It is a partnership project of the Thames Valley Children’s Centre and Hutton House Learning Centre. The program serves young people between the ages of 16 and 30 in the areas of Grey-Bruce, Huron-Perth, Oxford-Elgin and London-Middlesex.

The story of Othello Gooden Jr (who is 18 and has Asperger's) and the "hands-on enrichment center aimed at building the technology skills needed to bring urban youth and adults with developmental disabilities into the workplace."

Sharing the Voices of FC Users: 
Update on the Idea of a Workshop in Ontario

Yes, persons with communication and movement disorders do still use Facilitated Communicating to express themselves with insight and eloquence--even in Ontario! For some it is the only reliable way they have of making their real needs and wishes understood.

Chris Pentzell of Los Angeles, whose extraordinary brother Nick has been an FC user and poet for more than a decade, has a vision of sharing the voices of other FC users, by publishing a book of poetry, short stories and artwork created strictly by FC users. She’d like all profits from the book to go to an organization that furthers FC use, and strongly believes that FC users should be involved in the entire process, not just in the creative aspect. She wants to make sure the FC users communicate what they want to say rather than it being about what others think should be communicated. Click for more background

Chris wonders if an FC workshop might be organized in Ontario, as part of a series of "low-maintenance learning tools" in other regions of North America.  She writes: "One workshop is nearly all set up here in Whittier, CA.  I've been working with WAPADH (Steve Boyer, Darlene Hanson, Janine Guncic). They're providing the space and some money to have the workshop professionally videotaped (for possible future documentary purposes). We've got a professional writer leading the workshop -- Professor Tony Barnstone of Whittier College.  As of now, 7 participants are confirmed.  The Autism Society is providing lunch for us. I don't know exactly how it's all going to look, but I'm sure it will be fun and a definite learning experience for the future. Elin Doval in Richmond, VA has taken on coordinating a workshop there, but no date has been set. My brother, Nick Pentzell, and my stepmother, Gwen Waltz, are looking into having the Lonesome Doves create a workshop in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, my brother Max is looking into resources in the San Francisco Bay area."

Whom do you know in Ontario who uses FC to communicate? Perhaps FC is the only or most reliable way s/he can express himself/herself? Are you interested in supporting such a workshop? Can you suggest any practical help, such as somewhere to meet, and some funds to pay for facilitation? Please let OAARSN know. You may email Chris Pentzell at or phone her at (310) 202-7866


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