FRONTLINE IMMERSION Experience in supporting vulnerable adults:
an
Ontario Opportunity

An Ontario man—let’s call him Alex--who lives with quite severe challenges of autism, has come up with a creative idea, with his family and friends. He lives in his own home with support and chooses the people with whom he shares his home and his time. Alex knows he is a pioneer and sees himself as a teacher and leader.

Over the past eight years, with the help of my support group I have developed a very good quality of life. I would like to share what we have learned with others. My large home has plenty of space to host people interested in learning more about support strategies such as:

  • My person-centred life plan
  • My alternative and augmentative modes of communication, deep listening by my friends, and supported decision-making
  • Support by my circle of friends and incorporated aroha entity (aka a microboard)
  • Support by a housing trust devoted to helping adults with autism to have their own homes 
  • Health and dietary interventions
  • Independence technologies to that I can do as much as possible for myself and move around my neighbourhood in freedom and safety
  • Continued learning and work that contributes to my community
  • Therapies such as music, art, horticulture and my companion dog.

Expressions of interest are invited from people who would like to learn by immersion for a period of two weeks. Two guests at one time could be accommodated, in their own rooms in a private wing. People who could be interested:

  • Family members hoping to support their adult sons or daughters in a similar kind of home.
  • Practicum students planning careers in human services
  • In-service support workers wishing to widen their experience
  • In-service agency managers wishing to learn about new options in supported living

How would interning guests learn?

  • Observing my daily and weekly life and the most effective ways I need support
  • Reading plans and viewing tapes in advance
  • Sharing in household and community activities with me
  • Practising several forms of support
  • Tutorials and individualized learning about my challenges and various support strategies, in relation to those of a wider spectrum of vulnerable people.

Why offer this immersion experience?

  • My friends and I have found that few personal support workers are prepared for the kind of respectful, self-directed support I need. We think that training for work in developmental services should include immersion on the frontlines
  • Others besides me need this kind of approach, though their exact needs may differ. What guests learn in my home can be adapted to supporting people who have somewhat different needs.
People seriously interested in knowing more about this experience are asked to send an email first to OAARSN at gbloomfi@uoguelph.ca   We will put you in touch with Alex and his support group for more information.