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


25 February 2005

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.

Guelph Spring Conference on
29 April 2005

You are invited to a gathering of Ontario people who want to be creative in supporting good lives with and for adults who are vulnerable because of their disabilities. Guelph Services for the Autistic and the Ontario Adult Autism Research & Support Network are taking the lead in this event.

Ø     Our experience with people who live with Autism Spectrum Disorders makes us aware of very complex challenges. We think these are shared in varying combinations by adults with other exceptionalities. We particularly want to encourage self-advocates, families and friends to take part.

Ø     Our conference is timely, given the Ontario Government’s stated intention to transform its funding and services for persons with a developmental disability.

Ø     Our concern is practical—with how to plan and implement the elements of a good life for each person, by learning from each other's effective strategies and success stories.

Ø     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.

Ø     We plan a process of collaboration in discussion and sharing resources--before and after the conference, using the OAARSN website and other media.

CREATIVE SUPPORTS FOR VULNERABLE ADULTS offers a rich program, including:
  • Opening keynote address and closing call to action by John Lord
  • Four concurrent workshops led by Judith Snow, Barbara Leavitt, Peggy Hutchison, Marlyn Shervill and Michelle Friesen
  • Poster sessions and brief presentations illustrating a range of living supports from which persons and families may choose to suit their situations and needs
  • Informal connections and discussions
  • A record of the conference event to encourage a lasting process of consultation and implementation that will also reach those who cannot attend

Click for more detailed information including registration
Register by March 11 to take advantage of lower fees.

Various organizations of and for persons who are vulnerable because of disability have expressed support, including:
Autism Society Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association: Waterloo Regional Branch and Wellington-Dufferin Branch
Community Living Ontario
Families for a Secure Future
Family Alliance Ontario
Individualized Funding Coalition of Ontario
Kerry’s Place Autism Services
Planned Lifetime Networks
Waterloo-Wellington Autism Services

Story about conference in Community Living Leaders
by Michelle Strutzenberger: Includes an interview with Judith Snow who is leading the workshop "Building Supports with Individuals"

Man finds his place with support from brokerage
A good story about how the Windsor-Essex Brokerage for Personal Supports can help persons and famiilies with creative support strategies. "For Isaac, the traditional day programs for people with intellectual disabilities didn't suit his schedule, needs or wishes. ...With the information provided by the brokerage about various services offered in the community, Isaac and his family were able to map out something that fit Isaac's schedule, needs and wishes completely. This included developing a day that focused on listening to various sounds, as Isaac, who is blind, is intrigued by a wide range of noises."

Rules broken when autistic man vanished: report
The review of Randy Mogridge's disappearance and subsequent death details numerous instances in which staff at the Oakville facility failed to follow procedures for taking care of their mentally handicapped clients. Mogridge, 46, was unable to speak and had the mental capacity of a child. His body was found in a nearby creek more than two weeks after he wandered away from Oaklands last October.
Mogridge's death prompted the Ontario government to commission two reviews.
The report, obtained by CBC News, says Mogridge spent hours confined to a "time-out room" on the day of his disappearance. Mogridge's family believes he left the centre to avoid being placed in the room. The report also notes that staff violated centre rules when they failed to document any of Mogridge's first three escapes on the day of his disappearance.
Click to read these in pdf format
Recommendations From The Review Of The Oaklands Regional Centre And The Independent Manager's Review

Disabled immigrant cases reach top court
Gavin Hilewitz was the sort of immigrant Canada loves to attract -- an enthusiastic 22-year-old, possessed of a sunny temperament, a keen interest in computers and parents worth at least $5-million.
Just one detail stood in the way of the South African man's bid to become a Canadian: Gavin was mildly retarded. He was barred from immigrating lest he become an "excessive" drain on Canada's social services network, and the Hilewitz family's appeal of that decision reaches the Supreme Court of Canada tomorrow.

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. See extensive coverage and links in our Bulletin for 31 December 2004.



Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network
Based in Vancouver, BC with affiliates across Canada, PLAN offers rich resources for families who seek good lives for their relatives or friends who are vulnerable because of disability.

Explore the rich resources of the PLAN website

"Peace of Mind"
- CD-ROM is now available for purchase.
"Connecting to Citizenship" focuses on the promotion of social networks for persons with disabilities and makes seven social policy recommendations to end the disability of isolation and loneliness.
Canadian Bar Association
proposes changes to improve the RRSP/RRIF Rollover Provisions by permitting an RRSP, RRIF or annuity to be held in trust for the person with a disability. Read the Proposal and accompanying Fact Scenarios
Ties That Bind website and find out how to order the film.
Law Reform Project:
Families face the question, "What will happen to my son or daughter with a disability when I die?"  A series of federal reforms, including a Disability Savings Plan, proposed by families in Securing A Good Life would help. See two new documents.
Read Winter 2005 issue of PLANfacts newsletter

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. The film continues to be shown at public gatherings across Canada.
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

The "Special Needs" Planning Group
The "Special Needs" Planning Group is an organization that is made up primarily of people who have direct links to the disabled community through family relationships and experiences. We feel that this is important since we believe that no one can just read a book and truly understand the feelings and concerns that parents have with respect to the needs of their sons or daughters with disabilities. We are experienced, knowledgeable professionals who understand the issues since we are living them. We use a team approach to planning using Planners, Lawyers and Accountants, all of whom specialize in planning for people with disabilities. In addition, we provide solutions which include more than just a will and a trust account. Many of the strategies developed by the "Special Needs" Planning Group are shared in:
Removing the Mystery: An Estate Planning
Guide for Families of People With a Disability

As part of their Long Term Planning and Support Program, the Ontario Federation For Cerebral Palsy
has developed a guide for families interested in planning for people with disabilities. It was written by Graeme Treeby, a founder of The "Special Needs" Planning Group. It represents an in depth look at planning issues which commonly affect families who have family members with disabilities. You will find this guide to be an invaluable
resource for families, lawyers, accountants and planners. Removing the Mystery explores such topics as Selecting an Estate Planning Professional, ODSP Benefits and Entitlements, Wills and Trusts, Henson Trusts, Trustee Selection and Duties, Planning Giving, Probate Fees and much more. It is designed to benefit all families regardless of the disability of their family member. It can be previewed on the
Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy's web site by clicking here. In addition, it can be purchased in CD-ROM format from the OFCP for $9.95
or in paper format for $29.95.

How Can a Parent Help?
Mothers and fathers can do a lot to ensure a safe landing in early adulthood for their kids. Even if a job's
starting salary seems too meager to satisfy an emerging adult's need for rapid gratification, the transition from school to work can be less of a setback if the start-up adult is ready for the move. Here are a few measures, drawn from Dr Mel Levine's book Ready or Not, Here Life Comes, that parents can take to prevent what he calls "work-life unreadiness".

Check out the SSAH PC web site for the newest EDITION of
"First Choice" NEWS---Jan 2005 edition

Online Workshops for Writers with Disabilities

Always wanted to see your name in print? The Canadian Abilities Foundation is presenting a series of online workshops (first one to be held in March) for people with disabilities who are interested in the writing life.
If you love expressing yourself in writing and dream of seeing your name in print, this workshop is for you! Find out how to write effectively, promote yourself to editors and make a difference in your community using the written word.
If you would like to be contacted with the details, dates and times of this workshop series, send an e-mail to or call 1-888-700-4476, ext. 232, to register. Workshops are free.
Canadian Abilities Foundation
650-340 College St.
Toronto, ON M5T 3A9
Phone: (416) 923-1885
Fax: (416) 923-9829



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

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

March 5, 2005, 8:30am to 4:30, in Guelph
Family Initiatives Project presents

Coming Together to Create Change
2nd annual conference for family members and those providing support
to individuals with mental health issues

Sat. March 5, 2005, in Waterloo
Adaptive Technology Workshop for Parents
(sponsored by NLD Waterloo)
Hands-on introduction to voice-to-text, text-to-voice, graphic organizer software
Dragon Naturally Speaking V.8 - Kurzweil 3000 - WYNN Wizard - Inspirations
United Way Board Room, 20 Erb St. W. Waterloo, Ontario
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Cost : $20.00
Each participant will be provided with their own laptop to experience the different software packages being presented.
PDA handhelds, with appropriate software, will also be demonstrated.
Contact to register
Workshop presented by NLD Waterloo in partnership with Global eText (Toronto)

March 18, 2005, in
Novi, Michigan
Epilepsy, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Behavior
Autism Society of Michigan's Annual Spring Conference 

Information on registration coming soon.

Outcomes: Participants will--
1. understand the different seizure disorders that occur with autism and the impact on autism.
2. understand the role of seizures in challenging behavior
3. learn how seizures affect sleep disorders
4. learn practical solutions for supporting the individual with seizures and ASD.

Autism Society of Michigan has a most impressive program of other workshops and meetings in the first quarter of this year. Explore its website

March 22nd and 23rd, 2005, 9am-4:30pm
Are We Doing What We Say We’re Doing?
Evaluation Workshop

At The Elmhurst Inn, Ingersoll Ontario
Click for flyer and registration form
This interactive two day workshop will teach you:
  • Practical, hands-on experience in completing an evaluation of services
  • How to use the Are We... evaluation tool
  • The art of evaluation
  • How to conduct an internal and peer review
  • Develop the right questions
  • Interviewing skills
  • How to review your data to find common themes, consolidate and summarize your information.

Wednesday, March 30, from 7:00 in Kitchener
“My Sad is all Gone”:
Various therapeutic techniques for helping Autistic people

with Thelma Wheatley, author, teacher & parent
Kitchener Public Library, in the Schneider Room
In association with Waterloo Wellington Autism Services & Autism Society Ontario
Thelma Wheatley is described as the only Canadian parent of an autistic adult who has published a book about him. “My Sad is All Gone” was published in October 2004 and now you can meet the author and her son Julian. Thelma will speak about the specific drug protocol that helped her son control his violence and aggression, also about other helpful therapy techniques including music and art therapy.

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.

Friday, April 8, 9am to 4:30 pm, in London
Art Sheil Workshop
Suicide Recognition and Response
Howard Johnson Motel, 1170 Wellington Rd. S, London
Registration begins at 8:30am. Deadline for registrations is March 25.
Workshop is open to a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 15 participants. Cost $79.00.
Register on-line at selecting this workshop.
Phone 519-294-6814 E-mail Box 690, Parkhill Ont. N0M 2K0

April 8 to 10, 2005, in Toronto
"Living Well: Beyond Existing"
2nd ICE conference 2005 (Independence, Community, Empowerment):
At Travelodge Hotel in Toronto, Ontario at Keele and 401.
ICE Conference Committee includes members from Ontario March of Dimes, Speaking Differently, clinicians from AAC Centres around Ontario, and AAC users. The Ontario Federation of Cerebral Palsy is sponsor.
The ICE Canada 2005 theme is "Living Well: Beyond Existing" and key topics will be:
Recreation/ Leisure/ Travel
Sexuality/ Marriage/ Dating/ Relationships
Aging with a Disability
Spirituality/ Death/ Grieving
Advocacy/ Rights/ Independence
In keeping with ICE 2002 the Town Hall Meeting will again be playing an important role. During this discussion, which is chaired by an individual who uses AAC, only those who use AAC will be allowed to speak.
In addition, on Saturday night, Speaking Differently will be performing the play Broken Speech. This play is "about how one tries to survive in a world that is primarily based on spoken word. Broken Speech is a vivid, hilarious, and insightful commentary on how one person is able to regain his once lost voice."
For more information, please check out the official ICE website at: where you will soon be able to find email addresses related to such areas as Registration, Attendant Services, General Information, and website feedback. There will be a mailout of brochures; you can register and pay on-line by mid-February.

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

April 8-10, 2005, Horseshoe Valley
Family Alliance Ontario and Integration Action for Inclusion proudly present the
Annual Family Conference 2005
"Beyond Citizenship"
Citizenship that recognizes equality, inclusion, human rights and our contribution.
An event for the whole family
Click for conference information

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

April 28 – 30th 2005 in Ottawa

National Safety Symposium: Crime Prevention and Independent Living

The Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres (CAILC) is holding a National Symposium, April 28 – 30th 2005 in Ottawa.  CAILC will partner with the Ottawa Police Services, who are celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2005.  The funding for this project is through the National Crime Prevention Initiative.

This Symposium will bring persons with disabilities together with municipal and provincial/territorial leaders, crime prevention experts, and first responders to discuss the issues and programs that affect the ability of persons with disabilities to live independently and safely in their own communities. It will foster an integrated and comprehensive approach to crime prevention and Independent Living.

We will showcase crime prevention and Independent Living strategies and highlight programs from across the country.  There will be time to share ideas and expertise, create awareness and educate, and facilitate activities and partnerships from all areas of Canada.

Watch for announcements and registration information on the CAILC website in November at

May 12-14, in Kitchener
Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS)
Annual Conference

Common Threads

"Individuals with Down syndrome…are vibrant members of schools, sports teams and society.  These are people who play musical instruments, participate in worship services and inspire their co-workers to strive to do their best.  These are people who we are privileged to call friends."
"The fabric of our lives is richer, the texture more diverse, the colour palette more vibrant than those whose lives have not been touched by difference.  Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a physician, a therapist or a sibling, your life is enhanced by your belief in someone whose learning style is inherently different.  VIVE LA DIFFERENCE!"

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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