ONTARIO ADULT AUTISM 
RESEARCH AND SUPPORT NETWORK 
NEWS BULLETIN

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NEWS BULLETIN
29 October 2004

 
SPECIAL NEWS AND AN OPPORTUNITY !

Transforming Services in Ontario
for People with a Developmental Disability

In May 2004, the Ontario Budget announced that the Government "will be transforming services for people who have a developmental disability in order to create an accessible, fair and sustainable system of community-based supports." In early August, we reported that the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services was setting up a steering committee to advise the Minister on how to proceed with the "transformation" of Developmental Services in Ontario.

With other advocates, we were concerned that the committee should be fully representative of persons and families who live with disabilities and that its deliberations and recommendations should be open and well reported.

A Preliminary Discussion Paper was released last week by the "Joint Developmental Services Sector Partnership Table." Read the Discussion Paper   Link to associated information on the MCSS website

Responses during November 2004 are invited, especially from groups of people and families concerned with disabilities. It is said that "this very important process will profoundly affect developmental services for many years to come." The paper will be "the basis for broad public consultations to be completed by Feb/March 2005." The committee and paper will "define the all-important terms of reference for the broader provincial consultations." So this is a unique opportunity....

We note that the Partnership Table includes 12 representatives of the Provincial Network on Developmental Services--Community Living Ontario, Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS), Community Living Ontario, "faith-culture" agencies (Christian Horizons, L'Arche Ontario and Reena), the Metro Agencies Representatives' Council (MARC), Great Lakes Society, and a francophone representative. Persons and families with disabilities are represented by three members of Family Alliance Ontario and two members of People First. There are also five senior officials of the Ministry of Community and Social Services and one of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

The Discussion Paper's purpose is to raise questions to help people share ideas and make suggestions, initially by November 30. "Feedback will help the Ministry to prepare a draft plan to transform services in Ontario, as the basis for a broad public consultation. It is noted that "the ideas in this document are presented for the purposes of discussion only and do not represent proposed directions or policy on the part of MCSS."

Members of OAARSN List and disability advocates generally will be pleased by the tone of the discussion paper, with its references to inclusion, removing barriers, building on community, self-determination and choices, individualized funding, and possible alternatives to traditional services.

A vision is proposed, based on In Unison (1998):

Persons with disabilities participate as full citizens in all aspects of Canada society. With commitment from all segments of society, persons who have a developmental disability will maximize their independence and enhance their well-being through access to require supports and the elimination of barriers that prevent their full participation.

A clear set of principles should be embodied in any transformed system:
  • dignity and respect
  • building on community
  • fairness and responsiveness
  • accountability
  • practicality
  • sustainability

Questions are posed, to which we are all invited to respond, initially during November:

  • 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?

What can we all do?

1. Read and think about the discussion paper, in your personal and family situation. Consider the points made in a recent presentation by John Lord who has been so active in the cause of self-determination and individualized funding in recent years. John's presentation "highlights some of the key factors that must go into transformation" and is based on "experience in several jurisdictions as well as on an emerging research literature." He notes that the MCSS consultation paper hints at key elements of transformation, such as Individualized Funding, the funding of Innovation, and the need for Independent Planning supports. But the Ministry needs many more ideas about how to implement such key factors. So we must spell them out in our reactions to their paper. Click to read Citizenship Based Policy Reform

2. Discuss the paper with others who have similar concerns, with a view to presenting a combined submission. That's the kind of response that is wanted this time.  Jan Burke-Gaffney, one of the three Family Alliance members on the Partnership Table, proposes that you send comments to her at hamiltonfamilynetwork@sympatico.ca by November 20, 2004.  If you would like to meet with other parents to discuss the paper and questions please let her know and she will try to connect you. Meetings for similar purposes may be convened in various cities.

3. OAARSN will co-ordinate responses from persons and families who live with Autism. Do the principles and questions of the Discussion Paper speak to your situation? How can the vision be implemented so that each person with Autism has a good life? If you'd like to air your thoughts, please send comments and questions to ebloomfi@uoguelph.ca

4. Think about taking part in the conference CREATIVE SUPPORT FOR VULNERABLE ADULTS which Guelph Services for the Autistic is organizing next April 29, 2005. We think this event is timely and relevant. See more below.

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Guelph conference on
CREATIVE SUPPORTS FOR VULNERABLE ADULTS
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
We welcome the following forms of collaboration with other groups:
a) Ideas of good strategies and models that should be included and represented and of needs that could be addressed by this conference. Questions and comments....

b) Display materials illustrating creative strategies and success stories developed by your group or known to you, for the poster presentations and shorter sessions in the afternoon.
These are some examples we know ourselves, but we want to include more:
-ways of "deep listening" to vulnerable persons who do not speak
-helping self-advocates to direct their own supports
-creating and maintaining circles of support to supplement and succeed living parents
-circles of support for vulnerable persons who have no family
-creative options to have a home of one's own
-independence technologies
-recruiting volunteers to be informal friends
-ways to screen, train and appreciate excellent volunteers
-bridging gaps between adults with special needs and their neighbourhoods and communities
-supporting adults who want to continue learning, formally and informally
-enabling people to develop micro-enterprises
-lifesharing communities in households or larger units
-planning good lives now, to be effective through future transitions when parents can no longer support vulnerable adults

-how brokerage works
-what aroha/microboards can do

c) Someone to be the liaison person for your organization or support group, who will pass on news and updates to your members.

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ISSUES AND ADVOCACY

See also: Funding Issues--new OAARSN Discussion Boards and Topics. Press the Communications bar on OAARSN’s main page then choose Discussion Area

 


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