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.

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Click for our archive of past PLN bulletins


15 June 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.

Announcing a new e-bulletin and Listserv in June 2005
AROHA: Creative Supports for Vulnerable Adults
inspired by the Guelph Spring Conference in April
Watch for your invitation to be on this Listserv.


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

June 28, 29 and 30, in Guelph
Two Steps and a Glass of Water
Mental Health & Wellness Network is supporting and working with James Gordon and Spark of Brilliance
in this enriching and empowering production created by a unique community of people who are experiencing mental health issues, or are supporting others on their journey.
You have an opportunity to support the movement of healing and
recovery through the arts ...
by purchasing a ticket to the performance
and/or by sponsoring the production of this project.
performances (3 evenings and 1 matinee).
Please call River Run Centre Box Office at (519) 763-3000, 35 Woolwich Street, Guelph N1H 3V1

You can be an important part of this project by becoming:
Friend        -      under $250.  (your most humble contribution will be greatly appreciated)
Supporter   -      $250  (you can help with refreshments for the cast, props, etc.)
Donor         -     $500  (monies are needed for promotion and advertising)
Sponsor     -     $1000 (set design materials and art supplies)
Benefactor -     $2500 (costumes/ stage production/honoraria for the professional coaches)
Patron       -     $5000 (a documentary film that will be submitted to major film festivals and television programs)
Please make your donations payable to:  Spark of Brilliance - Two Steps Production,
and send to:
        c/o Orchard Park
        Attention:  Judith Rosenberg
        5420 Highway 6, North
        R.R. #5
        Guelph, On
        N1H 62J

Wednesday, July 6, 7-10pm, in Guelph
An introduction to Gentle Teaching: Understanding the ‘language of pain’.
By Felicia Jervis of Burlington
Sponsored by Guelph Services for the Autistic in its ASPIRE initiative

Some children and adults with significant communication challenges, express themselves through actions that are at times very difficult to understand and to support safely. These actions could include occasional withdrawal, and/or violent acts towards self and others. These actions must be understood not as ‘challenging behaviors’ that need to be controlled and/or eliminated, but rather as an expression of pain. As such, we need to learn to listen and to respond with loving kindness and compassion. Inspired by the teachings of a number of mentors but especially John McGee, Jean Vanier, Marsha Forest, Wolf  Wolfensberger, Barry Neil Kaufman, and Pema Chodron, Felicia Jervis will explore the possible roots of the ‘language of pain’, and will offer concrete and practical responses that are safe, empowering and life giving for everyone involved.

No charge for this workshop, but space is limited. It's important to attend for the whole time. If you are interested, please request an invitation soon from Nancy or Elizabeth
Read more about Gentle Teaching and this workshop

July 10-13, 2005
Toronto Summer Institute: Inclusion, Community and Diversity
The Assembly Hall - Humber College - Lakeshore Campus
“People working actively on the complex issues of inclusion and diversity in communities, workplaces and schools will want to attend this event.
This Institute is for Thinkers and Doers, for people who know there are no easy answers and who are seeking new ways of thinking and acting.
This will be a unique adventure in building a learning community together.
The faculty see themselves as a jazz combo who have a definite theme and a flair for improvisation - harmonizing with the participants.”

Jack Pearpoint & Cathy Hollands
Inclusion Press International & The Marsha Forest Centre: Inclusion•Family•Community
Tel: 416-658-5363 Fax: 416-658-5067

July 18-22, 2005, in Hamilton

Accessibly Yours
Enhancing Environments for Wellness and Occupation
Summer Institute
McMaster University - School of Rehabilitation Science
Click for more

July 20-21, 2005
, in Troy Michigan
Summer Institute!
Supporting resiliency and well-being throughout the lifespan
sponsored by:
Center for Self-Determination and Transition
College of Education, Wayne State University
Click for more details

October 20-23, 2005, in Toronto
Come to Your Senses....
From Theory & Research To Practice: Sensory Therapy & Disabilities
An International Conference for professionals, parents, caregivers & consumers
Presented by Muki Baum Association.

Program includes 37 presenters from 8 countries and a special presentation by Dr Oliver Sacks.

Friday October 21, 2005, 9:30am-4pm 
Regional Support Associates presentation on

"Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Mental Health & Behavioural Issues"
Best Western Lamplighter Inn, London, Ontario
Presenters: J. Dale Munro, MSW, RSW, FAAMR and Liliian Burke, PhD., C.Psych.
Click for more information about RSA
including its Video Conferencing service to the Southwest Region

Ombudsman's Report: Between a Rock and a Hard Place:
Parents forced to place their children with severe disabilities in the custody of Children's Aid Societies to obtain necessary care.  Final Report
Ontario Ombudsman André Marin has released a comprehensive 44-page review of an 18-day intensive investigation into the problem by a special ombudsman response team. Roughly 90 families
were consulted. Marin found that between 100 and 150 families are on the verge of giving up their severely disabled children to get the care they need. An additional 150 to 200 families are on waiting lists for residential services and at risk of being forced to give up their children. A significant proportion of the children and teens concerned have autism spectrum disorders.

Some advocates have responded to the publicity around this report by pointing out that a bureaucratic change to make it possible or easier for families to place their challenging children or teens in group homes and treatment centres may not be best in the long term for either the young persons or their families. More systemic improvements, in support for families to raise their children at home, better school policies, and building more caring communities are really needed. 
Read, for example

Lost in Transition
Toronto Star, Jun. 10, 2005
Once they hit the age of 21, the developmentally disabled face limbo. In the first of a three-part series, reporter Trish Crawford and photographer Tanis Toohey look at what happens when the supports these people have enjoyed all their lives disappear. 

Home supports one of many issues addressed at Trent Symposium
Creating a deeper understanding of issues surrounding disability is the focus of an inter-disciplinary symposium that began yesterday at Trent University in Peterborough. The symposium marks the halfway point of a $2.3 million dollar research project begun in January 2003 and led by University of Alberta researcher Dr. Janet Fast. The project, entitled "Hidden Costs and Invisible Contributions: Marginalization of ‘Dependent’ Adults," involves researchers from Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Australia. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a more humane and comprehensive analysis from which new solutions and policy changes can be envisioned and implemented.

Woman wins struggle with Revenue Canada
Shirley Joris of Windsor has just won her appeal against Revenue Canada, arguing successfully that self-employed support workers are not engaged in insurable and pensionable employment while supporting her daughter Shannon who has autism.

John and Anne Toft describe their success with Ottawa Resolution Service for Persons with a Developmental Disability, in getting help for their son of 35. Their difficult experiences over the past four years illustrate both the lack of capacity in the system and the absence of "portability" of entitlement to funding and services when a family moves from one part of Ontario to another.

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. Click for reports and links from 2004.

The Ministry has hosted a series of six expert policy forums on the transformation of developmental services in Ontario in conjunction with various partners.

  • Specialized Resources
  • Residential Options
  • Citizenship and Advocacy
  • Quality Assurance
  • Funding Models
  • Supporting and Strengthening Families 
Here are links to reports on most of these forums. The first three reports are by Nancy Cherry, our ASPIRE Advocate.

Policy Forum on Citizenship and Advocacy

Policy Forum on Funding Approaches for Developmental Services

Policy Forum on Supporting and Strengthening Families

Policy Forum on Residential Options

Policy Forum on Quality Assurance

No Public Inquiry by Ontario Coroner's Office into Ten Deaths at Oaklands Regional Centre
The mother of an autistic man who died after wandering away from a home for mentally disabled adults expressed bitter disappointment Friday that the facility where he lived won't come under the scrutiny of a coroner's inquest. "You fight and you fight and you fight; I've been fighting for 46 years and I'm tired," Gloria Mogridige said. "Our society is not doing right by these people, and it has to change."

A report released Friday by the Coroner's Office classified Mogridge's drowning as one of three "tragic accidents," including the death of a severe spastic quadriplegic who became trapped between his mattress and the bed rails, and an epileptic who drowned in the bathtub.   Three others died from gastrointestinal perforations. Two of them had been diagnosed with pica, a form of eating disorder common among those with developmental disabilities that leads to the chronic ingestion of non-edible items. The remaining four died from natural diseases.

Changes already made at the centre in response to the those incidents, along with the 11 recommendations made Friday, made an inquiry unnecessary, according to Dr Bonita Porter, Ontario's deputy chief coroner of inquests.



Breaking Down Barriers - Creating A Welcoming Atmosphere For Worshippers With Disabilities
The notion that religious congregations are welcoming to people with disabilities seems so obvious, so natural. Surprisingly, a warm reception is not always the case.....
Autism and Spirituality An Ontario man of 37 who does not speak has become very expressive with the help of computerized communication devices. Among other things, he has revealed a deep sense of spirituality. One of his friends, who is an engineer and a Presbyterian layman, introduced him to a local Presbyterian congregation a few years ago. Together they worked on an article about his interest in the spiritual dimension which was published recently the Presbyterian Church in Canada's newspaper, with the title "Loving people is loving God." Several of his poems are also printed.
Read the article at this link

Enabled in Words: the Real Lives, Real Victories of People with Disabilities
Seventy-five authors from around the world have sent their words of inspiration to Enabled in Words. Contributing authors include people from all walks of life: from Ms. Wheelchair America 2005 to a United States Senator; from parents of children with disabilities to a comedian; and from broadcast journalists to individuals with disabilities. Key issues include:
  • Surviving cancer
  • Using a wheelchair
  • Accessing transportation
  • Having a child with autism
  • The ADA
  • Tissue donation
  • Living with mental illness
  • Adaptive sports
  • Strength from faith
  • Being deaf with humor
  • Actors and giving
  • International issues

Housing Again
a site dedicated to putting affordable housing back on the public agenda. Use this site for up–to–date information, subscribe to the Bulletin, check out our Events and Alerts and post ones you want to share!
See also: 
Shared Learnings on Homelessness
Raising the Roof

ODSP Activism & Support Web Site
-Easy access to all legislation and directives that directly affect ODSP recipients and applicants.
-Advocacy center point for challenging ODSP legislation and policy that is unfair, restrictive, unconstitutional, demeaning, punitive, arbitrary, etc...
-Place where ODSP recipients can go to exchange ideas, seek assistance, get support, and find current information on ODSP changes and proposals
-Promoting advocacy efforts, provide information on current campaigns and advocacy groups

Philia Dialogue on Caring Citizenship 
The Philia Dialogue is an initiative of PLAN Institute that brings the wisdom of the disability community to our quest for a more inclusive society. Caring citizenship (or what some simply call neighbourliness) lies at the heart of this quest for a society in which the participation and contribution of all citizens is welcomed and valued.
Rooted in the work of PLAN, Philia believes that everyone has a contribution to make, and that those contributions benefit all of us. We want to change how our society thinks about disability and citizenship, so that belonging becomes “part of the air we breathe and the water we drink.” Our new website is an extension of our dialogues – a place where we share ideas, information and links relating to caring citizenship.
Visit Philia
You may also ask to receive the Philia e-zine.

Project Lifesaver

Project Lifesaver International has established a Canadian Division. Project Lifesaver is an established system used to track and recover those with Autism, Alzheimer's, or any type of dementia that may cause those afflicted to wander. Project Lifesaver uses state of the art radio directional receivers and transmitters to quickly locate and return home the wearers of our wristband transmitters. Since the programs inception in 1999, there have been over 1100 successful recoveries, with an average search and recovery time of less than 30 minutes.
Project Lifesaver (Canada) Inc. has received letters of intent from the Town of Caledon and the City of Windsor to become our first member agencies in Canada.
Randy Irving,Director/President 519-505-5888 519-894-0346

Reducing The Risk
Safety Strategies for People who Use AAC, including:
The Speak Up Project: Safeguarding People who use Augmentative Communication from Sexual Abuse/Victimization

Revel in the Light: The Story of Rebecca Beayni
A Quiet Life Will Shine..are the words that open this inspiring biographical portrait of Rebecca Beayni, a young woman whose incredible spirit bursts in and through the seams of a physical disability she was born into. Masterworks Productions  is pleased to present this story of Rebecca, a woman whose openness to life touches and stirs those in the world around her.
A testament to love and family, and the amazing mystery of hope, this film is the realization of a dream of Rebecca's, her family and that of The Ubuntu Initiative, whose mission statement follows:
The Ubuntu Initiative consists of individuals who have a developmental disability and their families and friends. We come together to imagine and to create, with these individuals, a different more hopeful future, rooted in gentleness, interdependence and deep friendship. Ubuntu is a South African Zulu word meaning: “My humanity is inextricably bound up in your humanity.”
Click for order form


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