ASPIRE UPDATE, August 2003

ASPIRE: the Next Phase
Guelph Services for the Autistic (GSA) launched the Autism Support Project: Information, Resources, Empowerment in August 2002. ASPIRE is supported by funds generously provided by Waterloo Wellington Autism Services. 

ASPIRE is designed to help families and friends plan for a good life in the community now as well as the foundations of a more secure future. Successful experiences and resources can be shared, to help families to develop the potential in particular situations. 

Meeting with interested families, ASPIRE consultant Jan Cooper has learned of several common concerns. One is a wish for a planning process to help to understand options and choices to help them to give heir daughter or son the best possible life now and a more secure future. Families also say they want to have more social contact with others in similar situations.

Responding to these concerns, ASPIRE offers:
Evening Workshop on PATH:
Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope, 
on Tuesday, 9 September 2003, in Guelph. 
The PATH workshop will be facilitated by Beth Hancox of Waterloo and Jan Cooper of Guelph.

How Can PATH Help? 

A PATH event can help the family and friends of a vulnerable person to think and plan about their situation, both its challenges and its potentials. It is usually led by a pair of trained facilitators--one who draws out the thoughts of everyone present while the other records these in images. 

A PATH event can help us, for a few hours, to raise our sights above the everyday minutiae, barriers and challenges. It can also give a voice (however this can be done) to our daughter or son who is the focus person. Through PATH, it is possible to think and dream beyond the constraints of systems and agencies. 

Some PATH events may chart a person's life well into the future. Some may be for more immediate purposes.

“PATH is a person-centered-planning tool--a process to define strategies for aligning and increasing the energy available to make progress on complex problems. It is a way for a person and members of their support circle to affirm the values that guide them; vividly depict their vision; feel the tension between their vision and their current reality; identify the people to enroll in making progress; specify the ways they will build the skills, knowledge and stamina necessary for the work; sketch strategies that will move them toward their vision; and define exactly who will take responsibility for which immediate next steps.” (O’Brien & O’Brien, 1998).

PATH was designed and developed by Jack Pearpoint, John O’Brien and Marsha Forest beginning in 1991. ASPIRE is fortunate to have as facilitators, Beth Hancox and Jan Cooper, who have been trained by Jack Pearpoint and associates at the Marsha Forest Centre for Inclusion-Family-Community in Toronto. 

How to take part
The GSA Board has committed funds to offer the PATH workshop for interested families and to pay for the facilitation fees of PATH events for ASPIRE families who wish to go ahead with hosting these during the next few months.

Families already linked with ASPIRE have first choice. The PATH workshop is free but you need to register. 

Please call Elizabeth Bloomfield at (519) 823-9232 or ebloomfi@uoguelph.ca immediately, to reserve places at the PATH workshop, to request a consultation with Jan, or 
to borrow our video and book about PATH in advance.