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 submitted and the urgency of announcing meetings or recommending advocacy.

This bulletin is best read in Netscape.

Click for our archive of past PLN bulletins


 31 December 2004

Look up link to list of earlier bulletins for announcements and news that may be still current.

If you are concerned with Autism Spectrum Disorders, please note the wealth of news, announcements and other links in the weekly Autism News Bulletins that are archived on the OAARSN website. Click for the list of OAARSN bulletins that are also concerned with general issues of disability and inclusion.


Ontario Children's Info
The Children's Information Portal! brings together information about all the children and youth
programs and services provided by the Government of Ontario.

SSAH Provincial Coalition Presentation to Minister of Community and Social Services
On 24 Nov 2004 representatives of the SSAH PC met with the Minister, the Hon. Sandra Pupatello, to share  recommendations for SSAH in light of the Transformation Process that they are about to undertake for Developmental Disabilities Sector in 2005. Click on title to read the slide presentation.
Ontario Human Rights Commission's Guidelines On Accessible Education 
These Guidelines contain the Commission’s interpretation of provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code relating to discrimination against students because of disability. They are subject to decisions of
the Superior Courts interpreting the
Human Rights Code. Commission policies and guidelines set
standards for how individuals, employers, service providers and policy makers should act to ensure compliance with the

Transforming Ontario's Developmental Services
The decision of the Ontario Government to commence a process of transforming services it funds for people with developmental disabilities is an opportunity for all concerned about present inequities and, more positively, for all to plan and implement better lives in people's home communities.

A Preliminary Discussion Paper was released in late October by the "Joint Developmental
Services Sector Partnership Table."
  • What should be the roles and responsibilities of different parts of society in supporting individuals who have a developmental disability?
  • What strategies and resources would help individuals receive seamless supports throughout their lives, including points of transition?
  • What supports and services that are currently available work well should be built on for the future?
  • How should a reasonable level of government funding for an individual be determined?
  • Services are changing in Ontario for people who have a developmental disability. What would you like to see happen?
  • What do you think are the priorities the government should address?
The partnership table and the government will now review the submissions and propose policy alternatives for that will be the basis for broad public consultations to be completed by Feb/March 2005. It is said that "this very important process will profoundly affect developmental services for many years to come."

Here are some links to resources:
Read the Consultation Paper

b) Gathering Momentum: Mobilizing to Transform Community Living in BC
is a report and assessment of British Columbia's transformation of its community living services from May 2001, in circumstances similar to Ontario's in 2004, in being initiated by a new Liberal government in a period of budget and service cuts. The report identifies strengths and uncovers areas of tension, from which we in Ontario may learn.

John Lord draws out some key lessons for our Ontario transformation process
from his close reading of the report of the BC experience. Click to read John's thoughts
He makes four main points:
i. We must find the levers than can transform the system
ii. We must be sure to build individualized funding with appropriate infrastructure support (especially independent planning/facilitation)
iii. As Ontario may now be interested in phasing in individualized funding, we are challenged to figure out how to do this in an equitable and meaningful way.
iv. We must focus on citizenship and community inclusion, an approach that means capacity building and participation rather than service or placement.
In summary, we must "build principles that all stakeholder groups can understand and work together to implement" and then "be strategic and collaborative in their implementation [which] can only happen if government and community work together the whole way."

d) Keep visiting the site of The Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario
that has a collection of background papers on this subject. For example:
i. Various documents from the IF Workfest in February 2004:
"Ask Me First": Advocacy for Voice and Choice
IF Definitions & Elements
Core Values Enhance IF
Funding Inequities
Gaining Community Agency Support for IF
Families & Individuals Learn to Plan
Getting Facilitators in our Communities
ii. the primer about Individualized Funding
that distinguishes income support and disability, and explains how IF and independent planning work and can help.

iii. Take the individualized funding test (an article originally published on Community Living Leaders):
Key Elements of Individualized Approaches within an Agency Structure

Community Living Ontario: Keys to Transformation

CLO's response to the consultation paper identifies two elements of the new "core business" on which  Developmental Services should focus (click on title to read full CLO document): 
  • enabling the community to include people who have an intellectual disability; and,
  • enabling the person to participate in spite of their disability.
This new core business will shift Developmental Services increasingly away from a primary focus on the provision of programs and services that house and occupy people’s day, to a primary focus on community development, community capacity for social inclusion and providing individual support for community inclusion.

A key recommendation by CLO is that all people who have an intellectual disability should have an entitlement to planning support that should be aimed at:
  • assisting the individual to identify their unique aspirations, abilities and support needs;
  • working with the individual to identify existing family and community relationships and supports that might already exist to support them;
  • working to develop additional opportunities for relationships, participation and support within the community;
  • identifying what supports cannot be provided by family and the community and assisting the individuals to access them;
  • assisting the person to identify and access the government funding necessary to carry out their individual plan.
CLO also responded to the Ministry's indication that it intends to create centres of specialized care to address complex needs of some individuals seeking support and thus to invest in greater capacity for research to ensure that these centres and the rest of the sector benefit from the best knowledge available with respect to innovative ways of supporting people with a disability. The Ministry's suggestion may be interesting and attractive for persons with autism and their families because of the complexity of their challenges and symptoms and the lack of such expertise for adults with autism. CLO considers that such centres would be beneficial to people being supported and to families and those providing support but cautions that these supports should be delivered in community settings, be based on individualized plans, not label or congregate people, and be aimed at providing people the support they need to participate effectively in the community. They should not be conceived of or created as centre or building-based options. They should serve to embed people in their communities and families. These options must also be available widely throughout the province, designed to respond to people in their home community, not based in a few locations to which people are forced to travel.

Read the submission by ARCH A Legal Resource Centre for Persons with Disabilities

g) Read the submission by OASIS on behalf of 100 agencies

h) Plan to take part in the
on Friday, 29 April. Click for information and see more under ANNOUNCEMENTS BELOW



November 30 saw the
Ottawa premiere of the National Film Board of Canada's film
The Ties that Bind
about 28-year-old Chris Jordan, who lives
with multiple disabilities, and his transition toward a more independent life. C
lick on title to reach the related website which has many impressive features and continues to evolve.

Discussion question:
Some viewers noted the apparent difficulties of the Jordan family in getting help from facilitators of Chris's personal support network. The PLAN model was not strongly featured in the film. Did this reflect the filmmaker's choice to focus particularly on Kathleen Jordan and her son? What do other viewers think? Send your opinion and thoughts to the
The Ties that Bind

OAARSN Book Review:
Thelma Wheatley, My Sad is All Gone: A Family's Triumph over Violent Autism. Lucky Press. Fall 2004, 284p. $18 US. ISBN 0-9760576-0-3. Read Heidi Klaming's review



A Service Provider’s Dilemma with Insurance

"I would really appreciate some dialogue concerning a situation I find myself in as a therapist and director of a small day program for verbal adults on the autism spectrum in Toronto. I have a clinic type setting in a separated apartment in my home. There are three modest sensory rooms, concentrating on sensory dysfunction, developing activity/sensory type diets, using community resources to expand the interests of participants. I am having difficulty obtaining insurance because of the population I work with. I could have a day care in my home, for neurotypical children—even with no separation between my living space and working space--without its affecting my home insurance policy.  But as soon as I say 'special needs' children or 'special needs adults', my broker tells me that my home insurance policy (general liability) will be canceled. ...Has anyone else experienced issues with insurance in servicing from a residence...and if so how was it solved?"
Click on title to read the full account. OAARSN welcomes general responses. Or let us know if you are willing to speak directly to this service provider. This is a real challenge just as we hope for more flexible supports for our adults who have very special needs.



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

Saturday, January 29th, 2005, 2:00-5:00pm, in Ottawa

ASO Ottawa presents...
Finding Work for People with High Functioning Autism,
Asperger's and Non-Verbal Learning Disorders

Finding a job for someone with ASD is probably easier than finding a job for you! Discover how to find jobs for adults & youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the hidden job market. Find out how ASD can actually open employer's doors. Learn tested methods of job development and practice tricks of the trade, taught by Gail Hawkins, owner of Mission Possible, a job coaching firm specializing in ASDs and based in Toronto. The workshop is suitable for adolescents and adults with HFA, Asperger's and NVLD, their parents, educators, support workers and other professionals. Preregistration required. For more information, click here or email Anita at or Heather at, or call Anita at 829-4723. 

March 4 & 5, 2005, in Ottawa

Autism Awareness Centre Presents
Jeanette McAfee, M.D. (March 4) on
Navigating the Social World
and Suzanne Murphy (March 5) on 
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) - Practical Strategies and How to Use The
Find more and register on-line at:
Please contact Wendy Benson at Toll Free 1-866-724-2224 or (780) 474-8355
Fax: (780) 477-8350 or (780) 447-5445 E-Mail: or

Thursday, March 31 (evening) and Friday, April 1, in Waterloo

2005 Spring LD Conference
Learning Outside the Box
“Piece by Piece: putting the LD puzzle together”
Waterloo Recreation Complex, Waterloo, Ontario
KEYNOTE SPEAKER Thursday evening:Dr Maggie Mamen, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Friday Breakout Sessions include:
Learning Styles / Multiple Intelligences
Written Expressive Issues
Auditory Processing Challenges
Social /  Emotional Impact of LD
Sensory Integration and Motor Deficits
Programming for the LD student
For more conference details, or to register on-line:
visit our website at (in January)
Or contact us at

April 6-8, 2005, in Barrie

OADD 2005 Conference

The 16th annual conference on developmental disabilities will be held April 6-8, 2005 at the Kempenfelt Centre in Barrie, Ontario. Visit our conference section for information on submitting proposals for your workshop/seminar sessions and posters.

April 8-10, 2005, in Cornwall

Symposium on Raising an Adolescent/
Young Adult with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Hosted by Autism Society Ontario's Upper Canada Chapter
Click for program
Sample of presentations:
-Secondary School Transitions for Students with Asperger’s Syndrome (Richard Hales)
-Planning for Transition to Employment, Community & Post Secondary Education (Lindsay Moir)
-Panel Discussion On Educational Issues - Please come prepared to ask YOUR questions
-ASD Students in High School - Visual Supports for Meaningful Learning  (Sheila Bell)
-Sexuality and People with Developmental Disabilities (David Hingsburger)
Registration must be received ON or BEFORE MARCH 25, 2005.
Early Bird Registration before January 21.
For brochure with all the details about the seminars, accomodations, costs and directions.
contact the Upper Canada Chapter for a brochure

Friday, April 29, 2005 in Guelph

Guelph Services for the Autistic and OAARSN are taking the lead in convening a gathering of Ontario people who want and need to be creative in supporting good lives with and for adults who are vulnerable because of disability. We particularly want to encourage self-advocates, families and friends to take part.
  • Our concern is practical--how to plan and implement the elements of a good life for each person and that we can learn from each other's effective strategies and success stories.
  • Our approach is comprehensive and holistic. We hope to put our minds and imaginations around various strategies, to show the connections among them, and to help persons and families think about and choose combinations that may work for them.
  • We plan a process of collaboration in discussion and sharing resources--during the conference and also beforehand and afterwards, using the OAARSN website and other media. Highlights of keynote, workshops and poster presentations will be recorded and edited into electronic and video resources to share with people and groups who cannot attend.  Click for planning updates and conference program

May 29-31, 2005
in London
"Creating a Community that Works for Everyone"
Community Living Ontario 2005 - 52nd Conference
and AGM
Hilton London Hotel, London, Ontario.
Shirley Yuen, Conference Coordinator,
tel. 416-447-4348, ext. 226

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