Page 1


Fall 2013

Newsmagazine of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living


I can. You can. We can. page 8

Interec page 12

Inclusion page 16

Arron’s Summer Employment page 10

Hope’s Home Opens in Prince Albert page 18

Dr. Tim Stainton visits Saskatchewan page 15

Travis’ Day page 20

Dialect Winner Bronze Media Award Canadian Association for Community Living Memorial Award, The Media Club of Canada Certificates of Excellence for Outstanding Media U.S. Down Syndrome Congress Dialect is published three times a year by the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL). The Dialect is funded in part by the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association.

I CAN! individual and collective advocacy network

A Social Networking Workshop! The Saskatchewan Association for Community Living’s I CAN Movement (Individual and Collective Advocacy Network) was founded this year by Self-Advocates across the province, with the purpose of offering more social opportunities to adults of all abilities in rural areas. At the workshop, you will meet new people, explore different ways to make friends, discuss how friends should be treated and talk about effective ways to communicate. Everyone will be welcomed to a safe and positive environment where they can share ideas and life experiences. We will continue to meet throughout the year to keep in touch and to continue to have fun. Don’t miss out- this will be motivational, empowering and FUN! Must be 18 years or older to attend. Lunch will be provided.

Comments, questions and story ideas are encouraged and welcomed. The views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the SACL. Dialect is sent to members of the SACL and other stakeholders. Editing and Layout: Bonnie Cherewyk Printing and Distribution: PrintWest/ Mister Print SACL Provincial Office: 3031 Louise Street Saskatoon, SK S7J 3L1 Telephone: (306) 955-3344 E-mail: Website:

To register, or for more information, please contact: Megan Wells Self-Advocacy Program Coordinator P 306-955-3344 ext. 120 E W F Y “I didn’t know that there were other people who felt the same way as I do... being around my friends at the I CAN events who appreciate me and want me to be included has helped me to stick up for myself.”

Saturday, October 19, 2013 follow us on

Great Plains College Room 110 * 129 2nd Ave NE Swift Current

*This room was provided at no cost- we thank the College for all of the good work they do in the community!


FALL 2013




Learn about the new I CAN movement.

Read about Arron’s summer job and the Student Employment Experience Program.





Meet the SACL’s Prince Albert Branch and learn about their summer program, Interec.

Megan tells us what inclusion means to her.



ALSO INSIDE 4 5 7 13 15 18 19 20 21 22

Message from the SACL President Message from the SACL Executive Director Message from CACL SACL’s 2013 Annual Family Conference Dr. Tim Stainton visits Saskatchewan Hope’s Home Opens in Prince Albert Over 10,000 People on SAID Travis’ Day Gentle Teaching International Conference in Saskatoon Value + Able = Valuable... The case has been made

Dialect is owned and published by the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL). The publisher, authors and contributors reserve their rights in regards to copyright of their work. All articles, stories, interviews and other materials in Dialect are the copyright of Dialect, or are reproduced with permission from other copyright owners. All rights are reserved. No articles, stories, interviews and other materials may otherwise be copied, modified, published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written permission of the SACL. No person, organization or party should rely or on any way act upon any part of the contents of this publication whether that information is sourced from a website, magazine or related product without first obtaining the advice of a fully qualified person. The publisher, editors, contributors and related parties shall have no responsibility for any action or omission by any other contributor, consultant, editor or related party. The information published in the magazine is believed to be true and accurate but the SACL cannot accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may occur or make any warranty for the published materials.



I CAN. YOU CAN. WE CAN. The Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) is a non-profit organization that offers support to individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families.  Funding for Dialect is provided in part by a grant from the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association. 

SACL Vision All individuals are valued, supported and included in all aspects of life.

SACL Mission Is to ensure that citizens of Saskatchewan who have intellectual disabilities are valued, supported and included members of society and have opportunities and choices in all aspects of life.

SACL Board of Directors June Avivi Cindy Bartok Juanita Buyaki Bluesette Campbell Dianne Christianson Doug Conn Jamie Ellis Allan Hall Nytosha Kober/Sharon Bourdeau Matt Leisle Gloria Mahussier Mike Mahussier Stuart Mason Dorothea Pehl Janice Rutherford Kim Sandager Ted & Loretta Schugmann Tami Smith Wilda Wallace Margaret Woods

Message from the SACL President BY GLORIA MAHUSSIER SACL PRESIDENT The theme of this issue of Dialect, I Can. You Can. We Can., reminded me of a quote I have heard many times in the past. In 2009, a facilitator at a teambuilding meeting, which included the SACL, quoted, “If it is to be, let it begin with me.” Personally this means that change must come from within you, you show the way, and you take the first step. Sounds like a cliché, but decision, commitment, dedication, conviction and above all persistence moves you forward towards your dream. Those words have resonated with me many times since that day, and continue to move me forward.

By the time you read this issue of the Dialect, the membership, Board of Directors and staff may have already gone through the process for this year’s strategic planning. Spending the time to question: where are we going, what do we believe in, why do we exist? These discussions and questions create the energy, commitment, and deeper meaning of teamwork within our Association to make our communities inclusive. The investment in time and travel for strategic planning is always rewarded with a stronger Association, which helps us build inclusive communities in our province. If you were not able to attend this year, I hope you can join us next September.


I ask you to reflect on what you can do to build an inclusive community as we move forward. We belong to a powerful provincial and national community living movement working towards building inclusive communities.

I truly believe that achieving and maintaining a positive perspective provides many opportunities that others miss because of a negative approach. Enthusiasm and sound values are important. They can, amongst other things, affect virtually every aspect of our daily existence. Those of us that live with children who have a challenge (I think) can appreciate what I am saying.

Let us together move towards our vision and mission of the SACL.

When I think of our SACL history: one parent (I can) convinced another family (You can) and another and another family (We can) to build a welcoming community for our children, I am humbled and


honoured to be part of our movement that has existed over 50 years in our province.


I can. You can. We can.

new and innovative proposals to develop homes that either individuals living at VVC can choose to live in, or other individuals with intellectual disabilities in Saskatchewan who are looking for a new home can transition to. Group homes are one option that can be developed for the individuals living in VVC, but the TSC’s final report identified other options that I would like the community to be aware of. Recommendation 4.6 is to explore new models of housing that fill gaps in the existing continuum of housing. I recommend reading pages 46-7 in the final report to learn more about what other options can be developed.

Message from the SACL Executive Director BY KEVIN MCTAVISH SACL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR The Valley View Centre (VVC) Transition Steering Committee (TSC) is a partnership that includes representatives from the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL), the Valley View Centre Family Group (VVCFG) and the Ministry of Social Services (MSS). The VVC TSC was formed to ensure a successful transition of the residents at the Valley View Centre in Moose Jaw to community based services and supports. This joint partnership signals a positive trend and willingness for the government to utilize community knowledge and expertise, and work together to develop a process or solution that best meets the needs of the individuals we support. This process of government choosing to work with community, individuals and families is unique. I am unaware of a situation in Canada where this has been done before. In May 2013, the VVC TSC presented to the Honourable June Draude, Minister of Social Services a full report with recommendations based on best practices from research the VVC Transition team conducted. After receiving the final report, the Government of Saskatchewan made an important announcement on August 26, 2013; they announced their acceptance of all 14 of the VVC TSC’s recommendations. The Government’s acceptance of the TSC’s recommendations is a positive tool and resource for the individuals living at VVC and their families. Unfortunately, there is a lack of understanding of the positive change and innovation that

could evolve from the recommendations.


There is no definite plan for each of the individuals living at VVC, and I need to reinforce that this is in fact positive and has been the concept from the beginning of the transition planning. If there was a definite plan for the individuals that would mean the Government is ‘placing’ them into a home where ‘space’ is available. Instead each individual living at VVC will be a part of a person-centred transition plan where they can have a voice to tell or show their transition team their preference for their future home. Each individual and their family can choose where their new home will be and work with the Government to develop this. VVCFG co-chair June Avivi compared this process to a jigsaw puzzle, where individuals, families, community and government are designing the pieces to meet each individual’s unique needs and preferences; this is not a prepackaged puzzle to fit into place. The acceptance of the recommendations also means that community organizations or partnerships can come forward with

By accepting the recommendations, families and individuals can be assured that no one will transition out of VVC until support and services are put in place to meet each individual’s unique support needs. When ancillary services are developed and respite services are expanded to meet the needs for individuals living at VVC, this will strengthen the current service delivery and therefore benefit everyone in the community. Service delivery will further be strengthened with Self-Directed Funding (SDF) as an option, increased awareness of community inclusion and a commitment to adhere to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The recommendations will lead the Government to make SDF an option available for individuals and their families. Under the SDF model, a person-centred plan is developed for the individual, reflecting the individual’s needs and goals. A budget is built based on the plan, and the funding is attached to the individual. Funding can also be sent to a parent/support person, or team acting on the person’s behalf. The person with a disability can, if they wish, receive money directly from the government to purchase the supports and services that they choose. This is an option families have asked the Government for. Increased awareness of community inclusion stemming from the recommendations will strengthen community capacity and develop natural support networks for persons with intellectual disabilities. The recommendations will further




set an important precedent in Saskatchewan’s commitment to the CRPD.

As a community we need to embrace this as an opportunity to strengthen services and supports available for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. The SACL’s job will be to hold the government accountable to the recommendations. I can. You can. We can. The final report can be accessed on our website at

SACL President Gloria Mahussier (left) breaking ground for a new residence in Moose Jaw with Minister of Social Services June Draude (centre) and VVCFG co-chair June Avivi (right).

Valley View Centre Transition Steering Committee’s 14 Recommendations Recommendation #1: Transition Valley View Centre services to community‐based services Recommendation #2: Provide the residents of VVC with the opportunity to live in ordinary homes, in regular neighbourhoods, and in the community of their choice Recommendation #3: Ensure each VVC resident has a person‐centred transition plan Recommendation #4: Expand the range of residential services and funding options available creating innovation in service delivery Recommendation #5: Ensure there is continuity of services for VVC residents Recommendation #6: Facilitate the continuation and development of natural relationships Recommendation #7: Ensure VVC residents continue to have access to ancillary services. Recommendation #8: Expand and enhance crisis prevention and support service capacity Recommendation #9: Expand respite services Recommendation #10: Ensure each resident has access to individualized activities of choice Recommendation #11: Ensure funding is available to support individuals through transition Recommendation #12: Develop an action plan to implement these recommendations Recommendation #13: Develop an evaluation framework Recommendation #14: Increase public awareness regarding community inclusion




with the department (see www.

Hello Readers of Dialect! It has been a while since I have provided you an update from CACL, and am pleased to do so as things gear up for the fall. We are following closely the events in Saskatchewan with the announcements related to the Valley View Centre, and are particularly pleased to see the announcement that the Government of Saskatchewan is adopting all the recommendations of the Valley View Centre Transition Steering Committee. Congratulations to SACL, the Valley View Centre Family Group and government officials who put together such an impressive report to guide next steps.

Peter MacKay has been appointed as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Minister MacKay has been a huge champion on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and we think his appointment holds significant promise for additional steps in raising the profile of the CRPD within the Government of Canada. CACL has urged Minister MacKay to ensure Canada continues to take a strong position against legalizing assisted suicide in the Carter case now before the B.C. Court of Appeal. CACL has intervened in the case to strongly urge that Criminal Code provisions prohibiting assisted suicide be upheld, in the name of securing equality and protection for vulnerable groups. We are following closely the anticipated introduction of legislation for assisted suicide in Quebec and have urged the federal government to strongly challenge that legislation.

At the federal level, we are entering a new political season with a recent cabinet shuffle and a ‘Speech from the Throne’ anticipated for October, and thought I would focus my update on CACL’s engagement with the federal government. We are beginning meetings with offices of new Ministers appointed in July. In particular, we are following closely the shift to the new Department of ‘Employment and Social Development’ (which will replace Human Resources and Skills Development Canada). Jason Kenney is now Minister of Employment and Social Development and Candice Bergen is Minister of State for Social Development. With a priority focus on employment, we are continuing to advance our federation’s Ready, Willing and Able employment initiative

Other appointments include Shelley Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. Shelley Glover was at our national conference in Winnipeg last year, and then convened a ‘Breakfast on the Hill’ with the Speaker of the House and Minister Flaherty along with MP Phil McColeman to profile CACL and People First of Canada to Members of Parliament. Rona Ambrose has been appointed Minister of Health. In her new portfolio she also has responsibility for the Public Health Agency of Canada,

Saskatchewan Association for Community Living

which funds CACL’s initiative with Disabled Women’s Network (DAWN) of Canada on developing community-based promotion of cancer screening, which is part of our larger ‘InFocus’ initiative (see inclusive-communities-development/ focus). Alice Wong, Minister of State for Seniors, retains her portfolio. She was recently at CACL offices in Toronto to host an event where she formally announced funding for CACL’s Elder Abuse initiative, funded through the federal New Horizons initiative, and also undertaken in partnership with DAWN as part of ‘InFocus’. Kellie Leitch is Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, with responsibility for Status of Women Canada and the funding of the violence and abuse prevention component of our ‘InFocus’ initiative. We will be looking for renewed commitment to people with disabilities in the ‘Speech from the Throne’ and will keep abreast of developments in the meantime. Our continued partnership with SACL is helping to build a federation across Canada which truly is making a difference in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. We have a long way to go, but we are making headway. We look forward to our continued collaboration.


YOU’RE INVITED to The Saskatchewan Association for Community Living’s 3rd Annual Inclusion Breakfast

When: Where:

Thursday, October 10, 2013 7:30 am - 8:30 am Hilton Garden Inn - Main Ballroom 90 22nd Street East, Saskatoon

To RSVP or for more information please contact Peter Kahenya by telephone at 306-955-3344.

This is a fundraising event. There is no cost to attend and breakfast will be served. Guests are encouraged to arrive no later than 7:15 am. This event will begin promptly at 7:30 am.



I CAN. YOU CAN. WE CAN. I can. You can. We can. Members of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) Self-Advocacy Action Group (SAAG) initiated the I CAN Movement, which stands for Individual & Collective Advocacy Network, when they met at a retreat in March of this year. It is well known that people across the province are feeling isolated and do not have opportunities to meet new people. The I CAN Movement is anchored in the belief of the power of connecting people and recognizing that if a person has a strong circle of support, they tend to have a better quality of life. Members foster a safe environment for everyone to talk about their lives, to challenge barriers in their communities and to improve awareness of disability issues.

I CAN member Diane Dolan holding the painting she made for the SACL.


extent of the power of this gathering night yet, but I think this is going to catch on. I’ve been excited since.

I can. You can. We can. These words came to me the morning of our first group session in Saskatoon. I was trying to sum up the feeling behind the I CAN project- something we could chant together to celebrate the empowering principles of our Movement. It was something I blurted out to my husband on our drive to work, and I found myself reciting the words throughout the day. When it was time to wrap up the event that evening, I took the hands of selfadvocates and our allies; 25 of us stood around the room and spoke the words aloud. I was nearly knocked over by the power of that moment. I don’t know the




“My favourite part about the event tonight was getting to know a little about everyone that joined the group and people’s interests and what they’re all about. Really interesting to see what kind of walk of life people come from.

Think it’ll be a positive thing for a lot of us… I’d like to share my story with people and hopefully help others with maybe some of the problems they’re facing. I’m here to help,” said Shawn Criddle at the first event. We took turns introducing ourselves and we laughed together, ate together, listened to each other. I’ve been to many different events and meetings over the years, but they just don’t compare with the atmosphere and the acceptance I felt in that room. This movement is not just for the people who have intellectual disabilities, it is not just for the people who are in that room, but it is for everyone. It is for everyone who grew up seeking true friendship, for people who were mistreated in high school or in a community, excluded in any way, hurt because they were different. I am one of these people. I always wondered where my real community was;

where I could go to feel truly comfortable in my own skin. With all the pain and heartache out there, surely we deserve to have a place where we feel safe to be our true selves? Well, I’ve found it. And it has been created by self-advocates who volunteer for SACL’s Self-Advocacy Action Group (SAAG). By motivated, impressive individuals who want better options for themselves and for others. This is not something to be taken lightly. We are on the cusp of a breakthrough in this province- doing something that has never been done before. We are uniting in the belief that inclusion is an inherent right for all. We are going to find our allies and we will come together to share our life experiences, learn from each other and take this knowledge back to our communities to further spread our message. We will mentor each other, problem solve and continue to educate the public on the rights of people with disabilities. When any person has a strong social network and has people standing with them, their quality of life will undoubtedly be better. We have a lot of work to do. We acknowledged that after high school, there is often a gap in supports. We want to make sure that people can feel connected, either through social media, by phone, texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, letter-writing or in-person visits. The SAAG and I CAN members have signed on to be mentors- to provide support, wisdom, guidance, or just listen to someone who is having a difficult time. When anyone has news, either good or bad, they often want to share it with people in their life. I have talked with some people across the province who would like to expand their social networks, find new friends and have more people to share life events with. That way, we can ensure that even if someone lives in a rural or isolated community, they will still have access to a group of people who want them to feel included. I believe we have enough creative thinkers on board that we can figure out a way for all people to be involved, and already, there have been numerous discussions we’ve had as a team to figure out strategies to implement this network provincially. While we have been establishing a chapter in Saskatoon, we are also expanding the network hubs to the Yorkton area by August and the Swift Current area by October of this year. We already have

very strong self-advocates in these areas, as well as community connections, and we will plan to host 3-4 events in these cities per year. We will ask for feedback from everyone along the way, and will adapt changes as we go along. The goal is to ensure we can introduce the theme of self-advocacy to everyone and then find ways for the group sessions to run without the Program Coordinator (me) present, as one of the biggest

Self-Advocacy Action Group members Greg (left) and Melody (right).

challenges of this project, particularly in Saskatchewan through Winter months, is travelling to communities. And the very basis of self-advocacy is to empower someone to find a voice, learn how to make improvements in their lives and practice taking the initiative. I can’t comment on exactly how we propose to steer this proverbial ship long-term, as funding and travel will continue to be a barrier, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to chip away at the problem. And I am confident that as we go along, we can work out the kinks and find ways to keep the project’s momentum going. In each of the communities, we will help to develop self-advocacy skills for individuals, build up a plan for members to stay in touch and continue to motivate each other. Right now, in our developing stages, there is a lot of excitement being generated.

Yorkton earlier this year. She attended a SACL Family Information event and had never heard about our Association before. Her son, Vince, who I also had the pleasure of meeting, is an adult and is interested in finding different ways of exploring his community. He is so kind and insightful; “We all have our strengths and weaknesses and things to contribute to society,” says Vince. A few weeks after my initial meeting of Cathy and Vince, Cathy was inspired to create a networking group for families and individuals with a diagnosis of Autism, as there are limited support options for Vince in their community. They held their first group meeting in July. “People are excited. The meeting was small but positive and lots of good ideas were shared. There is definitely a strong interest to develop the program,” says Cathy. This is precisely the type of grassroots, hit-the-pavement, inspiring work in which the SACL has been built on over the past 57 years. It is purely awesome. Families, individuals and professionals alike are all noting this gap in Saskatchewan communities. We simply have to find ways to bridge it. I admire Cathy and Vince for their ‘can do’ attitude. We are looking forward to collaborating with them and wish them success with the initiative. We have a membership of over 45 people in Saskatoon, and many more people signed on to participate in other communities. We have surpassed every goal we have placed on ourselves and will continue to strive for optimum choices for everyone when it comes to education, employment, housing and friendships. We will continue to ensure that members have access to information on internet safety, healthy sexuality, how to meet new friends, and how to live well- including good nutrition. If you have any ideas on how to grow our movement, or if you would like to brainstorm ways to improve the landscape of inclusion in your community, please contact me. If you would like to hear the perspective of a self-advocate, I would be happy to refer you to one of our members. And please like us on facebook and follow our progress: ICAN.Movement. I can, you can, we can, indeed.

I met a woman, Cathy Michaluk, in




Arron Brogden

Arron’s Summer Employment

BY BONNIE CHEREWYK SACL COMMUNICATIONS AND RESEARCH ADVOCATE Summer employment is an experience most students will have in high school. Through funding received from the Government of Saskatchewan’s Ministry of the Economy, the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) employs four Employment, Education and Transition (EET) Facilitators to work primarily with students in the transition from high school to the work force; facilitating student work experience, and connecting students to jobs and funding opportunities. The SACL EET Facilitators administer the Students with Disabilities component of the Student Employment Experience (SEE) program through funding designated by the Ministry of the Economy. This funding provides an opportunity for students, either those returning or those who have just graduated from high school with intellectual disabilities to find summer employment. “Through this funding the SACL administers dollars for training on the job allowances, a job coach, or



sometimes a combination of the two,” explains SACL EET Facilitator Jeannine Harlton. “This puts our students on a level playing field with students without disabilities who may just be able to walk into a place, hand in a resume and start tomorrow. That is not the reality for some of our students. They may need some extra support or accommodations while on the job.”


Through the SEE program, Arron Brogden was able to spend his summer working at the Splish, Splash Auto RV & Pet Wash in North Battleford. “I met Arron 4 years ago at a transition meeting at his high school,” says Jeannine. “His teachers at the North Battleford Comprehensive

High School are excellent. They ensured that Arron had the opportunity to try out different work experiences to determine what he likes. This is the fourth summer in a row that Arron has used student employment dollars to find a job. He has worked at three different work places for paid work in the last 4 years, all of which came from his previous work experience. The school and his teachers really worked hard to make sure that these work experiences could potentially lead to paid employment, which is exactly what work experience is for.” “I’ve worked with Gloria Winterhalt, coowner of Splish Splash for a number of years,” says Jeannine. “She has always been a great community minded support person. I admire her ability to integrate charity work and use her business as a training ground for individuals to gain work experience in a real work situation. Gloria is a strong member of her community, both as a business owner and as an advocate.” Splish Splash owners Dave Materi and Gloria Winterhalt opened their business on August 2, 2012 with the determination

to build a business model where they are able to give back to their community and support a model of inclusion. Gloria and Dave see the value of hiring individuals with diverse needs, and supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities to be included in the community. “Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces, there is a lot of value in it and for the businesses themselves,” says Dave.

and the school to ensure that Arron is supported and receives work experience that will not only develop his skills, but is work experience that he enjoys doing. “It has been a real pleasure to be part of Arron’s team; seeing his success, seeing how well the school has placed value on his skills and seeing how committed the school is to finding workplaces that are a good fit for him,” says Jeannine.

“One of the benefits is watching our customers interact with the students. It helps the community really understand that everyone has value in our community and has something to offer in the community. Our customers will buy the kids coke, bring them doughnuts, or talk to them and engage in what they are doing. You couldn’t ask for a better payment for them to say yes they are part of our community,” says Gloria.

Both Dave and Gloria as employers have also been supported by Jeannine to build an inclusive workplace for individuals

During my interview with Arron a customer walked in and joked with him about working hard. I saw firsthand the relationships Arron has built with regular customers in the short time he has worked at Splish Splash. I learned from Arron what a typical day looks like working at Splish Splash. Arron squeegees the bays, cleans and polishes the dog wash, mops the floors, directs traffic for customers and helps customers get change. When I asked Arron if he enjoys working at Splish Splash he says, “Yeah,” but even before he answered me I knew instantly how much he loved working there by the smile on his face. Kayla, Arron’s job coach supports Arron in developing his skills and meeting Dave and Gloria’s work expectations. Kayla explains, “I assist Arron to make sure he is doing what he needs to do to fulfill his job requirements. I am helping him build the skills he needs to perform the job correctly and independently.” Through the SEE program Arron had the opportunity to have Kayla as his job coach. We all need to develop our skills. Job coaches are a great way for individuals to feel supported in gaining necessary employment skills. “Being a job coach is important to me because I want to see Arron succeed,” says Kayla. Jeannine has supported Arron, his family

program and the other half is donated to the charities involved with Splish Splash. “For us it has been awesome. We tell customers don’t throw your bottles in the garbage because it goes back to charity, it doesn’t go to us,” says Gloria. “Customers have now started to recycle more.” Splish Splash also has a charity program through their WashCards®. Gloria explains, “A charity comes in and buys a bundle of 50 WashCards®. Charities are able to buy it for $10, they sell it to the customers for $20, and as a business we add an extra $5 to the card. Therefore the customer is getting the greatest value. They are getting a $25 wash card for $20.” Through their inclusive hiring practices, the recycling program and WashCard® fundraiser for charities, Dave and Gloria are promoting inclusion, building community capacity and being a role model employer. Dave and Gloria’s advice to employers is to have patience and be open to trying more diverse hiring practices. “Think outside the box because sometimes we get stuck inside of a conception of how we are supposed to work. Not everyone works within that little box,” says Gloria.

Jeannine suggests that the most influential motivator for employers is to see or hear workplace success stories. “I think anytime a business owner can see that, it really gets business owners thinking that they could potentially hire an individual with an intellectual disability. I can tell people why it is a good idea to hire Kayla Wakelin (left), Arron (centre) and Gloria someone with an intellectual disability, Winterhalt (right). but business owners want to hear from other business owners. Hear how it with intellectual disabilities. “Jeannine is worked and how it was successful. If an awesome,” says Gloria. “She’s been really employer is reading this and is interested great in helping us understand the SEE in hiring someone, but they aren’t sure program and the benefits of it. When what the individual can do, we would be Dave and I talked about hiring students happy to come in and do a workplace with disabilities, we wanted it to be a analysis. Through a workplace analysis business that actually said yes these kids, we can carve out a job for an individual these young people, they get paid here. that is meaningful.” It’s not free help. Jeannine has really been able to help support that concept. The Because of SACL support, the SEE students are paid like everyone else.” program, Arron’s personal support network and employers like Splish Spash, Splish Splash has a recycling program Arron has been able to build his resume where they donate proceeds back to the and develop his skills throughout high community. The Functional Integrated school. This meaningful work experience Program at the school manages the Splish will set a trend that will enable Arron to Splash Recycle Program, therefore half be successful in the workforce after high the proceeds are distributed back to the school. I can. You can. We can.




Interec BY BONNIE CHEREWYK SACL COMMUNICATIONS AND RESEARCH ADVOCATE The Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) is made up of 11 branches in communities throughout the province. For this issue of Dialect, the SACL would like to recognize our Prince Albert (PA) Branch for their support and programs they provide for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families in the PA area. Gloria Mahussier, the current president of the PA Branch first became involved with the SACL in 1997. She then proceeded to become PA Branch’s president in 1999. In her first year as President, she along with a couple of other parents, recognized a summer program gap for children with intellectual disabilities. This gap led them to create Interec, a summer program of the PA Branch since 1999. Being a PA based program and a recreation based program, the name Interec was inspired by combining the terms intercity and recreation. Interec started with 3 families in 1999, but as of summer 2013 this number has grown to include 43 families! Interec is a summer registration based



program that provides one-on-one support, Monday through Friday. Families and individuals have the option to be a part of the summer program for up to 7 hours per day, 5 days per week. The program is individual based, therefore the individual and family can determine hours per day and days per week that work best for them. The individual is also able to choose their own activities each day. “Lots of programs have a set schedule for the day, but Interec is unique in that it allows the individual to make the plan and participate in activities that they enjoy and feel like doing for the day,” said Gloria. “Group activities scheduled during the week that individuals have the option to attend include art on Mondays, horseback riding on Wednesdays and gymnastics on Tuesdays.”

BEING INVOLVED WITH INTEREC PROVIDES THESE STUDENTS WITH A VALUABLE UNDERSTANDING OF AND EXPERIENCE WITH COMMUNITY INCLUSION. There are 14 students working for Interec this year. “I hire students who are enrolled or plan to go to university,

and who are interested in working with individuals with disabilities,” said Gloria. “Some examples of previous workers who have graduated include school teachers, nurses, doctors, dentists, police officers, speech therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.” Being involved with Interec provides these students with a valuable understanding of and experience with community inclusion. Due to program popularity and funding limitations Gloria always has a waitlist for individuals who would like to be enrolled in Interec for the summer. “Families will cancel time slots throughout the summer though, providing me with an opportunity to invite individuals to participate off the waitlist,” said Gloria. Living at home is the only criteria needed to register in the Interec program. Gloria originally started Interec with school aged children, but decided to expand the program to include young adults who are still living at home. Individual participants, student workers and families all love the program. Individuals who have been registered in Interec in the past still approach Gloria to tell her that they miss the summer program and still remember the fun times they had being involved. Student

Gloria is very appreciative of the funding the SACL provides for branches. “If it wasn’t for the branch funding received through the SACL, Interec would be half the size it currently is,” said Gloria. Additional events hosted by the Prince Albert Branch include a Melfort Wave Pool Day, a Santa Claus horse driven sleigh ride, an August Family picnic and a number of local fundraisers. workers have said that Interec, “changed their life” and parents have said, “it saved their lives.” Interec receives strong community support as well in Prince Albert. “The community is very responsive to our needs,” said Gloria. “Between our access to hotel pools, bowling, city parks, schools, the PA exhibition, and the waterpark, the community is 100%. These are all activities I would have to fundraise for, but I don’t because of the community. The Prince Albert Branch does cover the costs for Interec’s art sessions, horseback riding, gymnastics, and student support workers’ salaries.”

I asked one individual what her favourite summer program activity was and she told me, “everything.” She also said that because of the summer program her last two summers have been a lot more fun. Noelle Hudon has worked for Interec for approximately 7 or 8 years. “I keep saying this is my last year, but I get so attached I just keep coming back,” said Noelle. “I love it!” When I asked Noelle what she perceived to be the greatest benefit of Interec she said, “You look at the kids with a different light. Because people have seen them around the community for so long, people know who they are and

are therefore more accepting. Interec creates inclusion within the community.” “I think it’s cool that Interec is growing and that more people know about it,” said Noelle. “At first when we used to go out no one really knew about the program, but now it’s a known thing and more people are wanting to get their kids involved. We go to a park and the others kids at the playground want to play with us; it’s just a really good inclusion opportunity.” Shari Dueck has worked for Interec for 4 years and loves hanging out with the kids each year. Shari learned about the summer program through her brother. “He worked here a year before I started,” said Shari. “I just saw what he was doing and I was like wow, I want to do that. I am so jealous of your job.” “The community loves it,” said Shari. “They are so supportive, they love it and they think it’s a great program.” Learning about the development of Interec I am truly inspired by the community, and the leadership, dedication and commitment of Gloria, a SACL volunteer for over 14 years. I can. You can. We can.

SACL’s 2013 Annual Family Conference BY MEGAN WELLS SACL SELF-ADVOCACY PROGRAM COORDINATOR The morning kicked off with Guest Speaker, Karmen Krahn Schulties. There couldn’t have been a better start to the day, as her words touched every single person in that room. Not only did Karmen give affirmation to always find the best way to support an individual in their environment, she also gave motivating examples of creative thinking to achieve this optimum level of support. Her presentation was something everyone in Saskatchewan, Canada and the world needs to hear. It sparked a discussion among a lot of people about giving good feedback, which is a baseline for establishing trust and healthy relationships. The sessions were well-rounded,

as the perspectives of parents, selfadvocates, professionals, and siblings were heard. Many people commented on the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) Sibling Network’s contribution, as they were able to express how they have been impacted by their family dynamics. It must not have been easy to share their point of view, everyone there was captivated by what they were saying. The SACL Family Network provides a safe environment for people to share and to know that they are not alone in their fears, their family’s lifestyle, or their wishes and hopes for the future. It was so important for everyone to hear the different perspectives of people living with the realities of the disability realm, as certainly it is not only the person diagnosed who is affected. Another inspiring panel included Jeannine Harlton, Emmy Barr and her

Mom Penny Barr, and Taylor Layton with her Mom Eloise Layton. Both Emmy and Taylor represented their businesses appropriately and gave attendees motivation to dream big. Emmy, the Queen of Caramel, even brought along samples to share with everyone at the conference. Her business is aptly named, as there were a lot of people in agreement that the Caramel was delicious. Taylor shared her journey as she, with the help of her family, created her business, Taylor’s Recycling Pick Up. Her motto is ‘Working on a Green Outlook’ and she represents her business, based in Outlook, Sk, well also. The evening wrapped up when a very energetic group of people took to the dance floor to bond over great music and friendships, new and old. Everyone appeared to have a great time, as they either got on the dance floor and moved,



I CAN. YOU CAN. WE CAN. trip, like from Saskatoon to Regina because I got to talk with everyone. The dance was awesome; I thought it went really, really well. It was fun to see everyone dancing together. 3. Who did you speak with at the conference? I talked with SAAG members; Greg (Matsalla) and Neil (Mercer) the most. I asked about how everyone was doing. 4. What did you learn?

Keynote speaker Karmen Krahn Schulties.

or appreciated the music. The evening was really the heart of the conference. When families, community supports, selfadvocates, friends, or like-minded people who believe in the rights of everyone come together, we are strengthening our community. The Family Conference accomplishes just that. The Self-advocates were planning how they will contribute to next year’s conference in Saskatoon; the 2014, 58th SACL Family Conference will be another fabulous event that you won’t want to miss! Interview with Leanne Madsen 1. What did you think of the AGM and Family Conference? I thought everything was good. 2. What was your favourite part? My favourite part was seeing friends from everywhere and I liked the movie (A Certain Proof).

3. Who did you speak with? I spoke to Lori Duke and all of you (from the SACL). And another favourite part was meeting Peter (Kahenya) and going to see the sites of Regina with Greg and Alena. 4. What would you like to see happen at the AGM next year? I think if the Self-Advocates present at the AGM, that would be a good thing. Interview with Chris Boyer 1. What did you think of the AGM and Family Conference? I really enjoyed myself- I thought it was really, really good. I liked seeing the people from SACL, and I liked the conference, and I enjoyed the food, I liked the rooms- they were very nice. It looked like everything was planned.

It was exciting to learn and talk about people’s lifestyles. There was a lady who talked about her lifestyle and I thought it was great. I also really liked when Lynn Schaan talked, like when she said that her son deserved a better home. I think she did a great job. I liked when Kevin McTavish talked about what SACL does. 5. What would you like to see happen at the AGM next year? We can do a skit, tell people what we do with SAAG, and what we talk about when we go to new communities. We could talk about where we have gone and the changes we have made. Something I like about being a part of SAAG is that we get to go across Saskatchewan to travel- I had never been to Unity, Meadow Lake and Biggar before, so it was great to be able to go places and see new things. We could talk about that. I can. You can. We can.

2. What was your favourite part? It’s hard to say, because I liked the road

Autism and Sexuality Conference On June 11th and 12th, 3 staff members of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living attended an Autism Spectrum Disorders Intervention Training Program Core Workshop- a no cost, 2-day conference put on by the University of New Brunswick. The theme surrounded developing healthy sexuality, identity and social skills, with an emphasis on applying strategies to ensure people with disabilities are supported to make good choices that prevent them from being victims, and from victimizing others. If you would like to discuss the topic, would like a referral to a professional, or are looking for more supports in this area, please contact Megan Wells, Sheila Anderson or Maureen O’Hara-Jolly at 306-955-3344.



Dr. Tim Stainton visits Saskatchewan with the Woodlands Parents Group. They were so innovative and inspiring that you almost felt like you had a duty to take their ideas forward. Everything from individualized funding, brokerage, and personal networks… all of this grew from these parents. It was a great opportunity and I have been fortunate to participate not only as a worker, but also as an activist and academic.” The first individual and family Dr. Stainton worked with at Woodlands taught him the most about transition planning. Dr. Stainton explained, “They taught me the importance of both listening to the families, and finding a way to give the individual a voice; by providing opportunities and experiences for the individual to show me whenever he/she could.”


In addition to the voice of the individual and family being crucial to a successful transition, Dr. Stainton also discussed the following elements that create a positive and successful transition:

The Valley View Centre (VVC) Transition Steering Committee invited Community Living expert, Dr. Tim Stainton to speak to VVC stakeholders on the 21 and 22 of June, 2013 about community living, transition planning, family, staff and community engagement, and about his own personal reflections and experience transitioning individuals to communitybased services and supports.

• an active, ongoing and timely planning process

Dr. Stainton first became engaged with individuals with intellectual disabilities through a group of families – the Woodlands Parents Group. This parent group formed in the mid-1970s to work towards transitioning their children from the Woodlands institution to communitybased services and supports.

• integrated structures

The community living movement became important to Dr. Stainton during his time with the Woodlands families. “Part of it was being a young social worker and wanting to do something that was important. You realize that here was a population that was right off the radar, and there was no discussion around human rights and people with intellectual disabilities. It was really exciting because there was so much to do,” said Dr. Stainton. “I was lucky enough to work for the moms

• quality, continuity, training and sufficiency of support staff • sufficiency of resources • strong grounding in shared values and principles

The most common mistake made during the transition planning is “trying to plan for who people are instead of who they will become,” said Dr. Stainton. “Thinking you can decide everything the person needs in the community when they are still living in the institution, as opposed to making sure you can actually adjust and change, and listen to them. That is the most common mistake, and is why people tend to bounce back and forth. The second most common mistake is over planning.” Throughout Dr. Stainton’s presentation it is made clear that there is no generic transition process. The process will depend on the individual.

Stainton suggested, “To definitely stay involved in the highest degree they want to, and to take some control of the situation. Families should also have faith in their kids that they can thrive in the community; that their kids can grow and change, and have opportunities that you thought they wouldn’t have had before. I think that takes a lot of courage to have that faith, but ultimately that is needed. What we know is most families have exactly that experience, and the experience is much better than they ever anticipated.” During Dr. Stainton’s presentation he highlighted a study that measured the change from when the announcement is made to a year after the individual transitions. “There is strong evidence that initial opposition/concern/ambivalence is replaced by strong support for community living post move,” said Dr. Stainton. Dr. Stainton further spoke on community engagement and community inclusion. He does not support large announcements or as he phrased “do not over do community preparation.” Instead he suggests allowing individuals to be their own ambassadors. “Take flower and fruit baskets around. People can say I don’t want people with intellectual disabilities in my neighbourhood, but they have a much harder time saying I don’t want John or Jane in my neighbourhood. Create broader social change with one person at a time.” Dr. Stainton spoke highly of the process being taken for the Valley View Centre transition plan. “I thought the transition report was really excellent. Saskatchewan is doing a great job so far, and the fact that the Valley View Centre Family Group and the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living have a really meaningful role in the planning is something that you didn’t see in a lot of places,” said Dr. Stainton. Dr. Stainton is currently Director and a Professor at the School of Social Work and Director of the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship at the University of British Columbia. For more information please visit or www.cic.

For families who are currently going through the transition process Dr.




Shelley Allard (left) and Megan Allard (right).

Inclusion BY BONNIE CHEREWYK SACL COMMUNICATIONS AND RESEARCH ADVOCATE What is inclusion? A question both Shelley Allard and her daughter Megan Allard have been exploring this past year. Megan Howland, SACL’s Employment, Education and Transition Facilitator (EET) began supporting Megan and Shelley last January in creating a plan to help Megan achieve her goals. When creating Megan’s plan Howland explains that, “Megan and her family would rather shoot for the stars than lower their expectations. Megan wants to be challenged to surpass her current abilities in school and for future employment opportunities. They also want to challenge others to take the extra step to see what inclusion can be.” One of Megan’s goals is to graduate high school in three years. Megan is 15 and has already completed grade 9 modified successfully this past year. She will be



transitioning to grade 10 modified in the fall, and would therefore like to graduate in 2016. Howland praises the initiatives Megan took in grade 9 to begin preparing herself for grade 10. “She had a social studies test coming up, so she decided to study on her own a week prior to the test. This is the first test she had studied for all on her own,” explains Howland.


“Megan has a lot of positives. She is a very sweet, caring and amazing young woman,” says Howland. “The second time I met her I was at her school and she recognized me and came running up to give me a hug. I didn’t think she would remember me because I had only met her once a few months prior.” Shelley tells me how her Megan is a phenomenal organizer who will hold Shelley accountable to clean a closet when she says she is going to clean a closet. Megan also tells me she is a good cook, enjoys playing volleyball and badminton, is a fast typer and loves computers. Learning about Megan I can see she is very tech savvy and most likely knows how to use an iPad better than I do. Megan is a talented young lady who is committed to inclusion for all abilities. Shelley knows her daughters abilities and is striving to change the way Megan is included and supported. Recognizing that inclusion is not always the norm, Shelley and Megan both saw the need

to promote awareness and advocate for supports and tools that would enable not only Megan, but her peers to be fully included in school and in the community. Megan’s school is also working to strengthen inclusion and develop new initiatives. The school Megan attends is currently working with the SACL’s Youth Coordinator Andrea Young on creating a youth program that talks about inclusion, identifies barriers, increases awareness and further develops relationships between students and their classmates. Andrea says, “We are looking forward to returning to Megan’s school in the fall! Our goal is to hold a social event to help spark an interest on the significance of inclusion among students.” “Schools need to be open to what inclusion can be and open to try new approaches,” says Howland. “I think it’s great that the school is working with the SACL Youth Coordinator in creating a youth program at the school. A potential youth program may not only generate new ideas, but generate a new awareness of inclusion.” Howland believes “when working to make inclusion a reality it is important that everyone is encouraged to step out of their comfort zone.” Shelley adds, “Megan and I keep doing it until it becomes comfortable. There are lots of things she can do; she doesn’t always understand the concept until we are helping her and encouraging her to do it, but after she is like oh I really can do it.” In addition to individuals not wanting to step outside their comfort zone, a lack of understanding or a communication breakdown may be a barrier to inclusion. Not everyone is aware of what it means to be inclusive, or may make inclusion more complicated than it actually is. “Inclusion is simply the way people should treat each other,” says Howland. “A community is made up of people from different cultures, backgrounds, religions and varying abilities. Some of our differences can be seen while others are invisible, but our main similarity is what should tie us together, we are all people.” When we support each other we need to ensure that we keep communication channels open, we recognize strengths and we are creative in accommodating the unique needs of all individuals. Being strong advocates for inclusion,

Megan and Shelley took the initiative to identify what inclusion means to them, their family, their friends, and their community. In recognition of her inclusion document, Megan received a Saskatchewan certificate from her MP Rob Clarke. Megan’s interview is included below:

this student?

Shelley: What does having Down syndrome mean to you?

Shelley: Do you consider yourself a good friend?

Megan: I am different as I wear different clothes and have different looks. I am in the same grade as my friends and the same age.

Megan: Yes.

Shelley: What do you like to do with your friends?

Megan: I am kind, helpful, happy and talk with people when they are upset. I am not the jealous type.

Megan: I like to play badminton and volleyball. I like to play Trouble and do scavenger hunts. I am a good bowler. I like to go out for lunch with my friends. Shelley: What are your talents? Megan: At school I like to organize my locker, at home I am a good texter and organize my room. Shelley: What fun things do you like to do? Megan: I like to keep track of things, to play games on the iPad and DS, read a book, watch movies, make puzzles and do word searches. Shelley: Do you understand what inclusion means?

Megan: We watch movies, play WII and have started cooking. Shelley: Do you enjoy these activities? Megan: Yes, a lot.

Shelley: What would you like people to know about you?

Shelley explains that, “inclusion is Megan including individuals in her life. It’s not always about Megan, it’s also about Megan including others. It’s about accepting. We might not always do the right thing, but we need to be taught how to do the right thing. By not doing it at all is not going to make it right or better.” If we ask the question should someone be involved, the answer should always be why not? As individuals we can all do small actions that include all individuals, and as a community, we can challenge each other to be inclusive. I can. You can. We can.

Megan: To include everyone. Shelley: Do you know students that are not in classrooms in your school for the day? Megan: Yes, I know 2. Shelley: What do you think they do all day? Megan: Play on the computer, watch movies and do crafts. They need quiet time. Shelley: Have you made friends with these students: Megan: Yes I am a friend with one of the students and have lunch together one day in each 6 days.


Shelley: What activities do you do with




home. “Fostering Hope really pushed me to change my career path,” said Jacque. Hope’s Home started with Jacque taking a year off work to provide care to a little boy and his sister. “I had no idea that we were going to be the first medical daycare in Canada,” said Jacque. “Everything was always big news to us. We were like oh nobody is doing that. It was strictly set up to meet a gap in care and a need in the community. We had no idea it would become a provincial and soon to be a national organization.” Hope’s Home in Regina has two daycare centres; one centre provides care to 43 children and the other to 22 children. Hope’s Home recently opened a second location in Prince Albert in March 2013. The daycare centre in Prince Albert has 44 children, but it is increasing to 90 spaces this fall. “For a daycare we have such a strong education program that it is truly an early learning centre for infants to school aged children,” explained Jacque. “We offer nursing care for the medical needs, but we also have a speech and language therapist in Regina. We have a physical therapist consultant in both locations who helps with the children’s physiotherapy and occupational needs.”

In Regina, Hope’s Home also does extended respite, twice per month for 8-10 children; providing parents with a 24 hour break to have a date night or a night without needing a care provider in their home. “This is something our organization fundraised for and it has been really successful,” explained Jacque. “It has grown so much that in June we’ve opened up a 24 hour home for foster children waiting for placements. The 24 hour supported living home just opened June 18. We Hope’s Home Founder and Executive Director Jacque Tisher at the are looking at expanding this service so that we can combine Prince Albert Hope’s Home Grand Opening the 24 hour respite with the 24 hour supported living home.”

Hope’s Home Opens in Prince Albert BY BONNIE CHEREWYK SACL COMMUNICATIONS AND RESEARCH ADVOCATE Hope’s Home is Canada’s first medically integrated early learning centre; providing daytime and extended respite services along with fun and education programs to medically fragile children, their siblings, and typically healthy children from the community. Founder and Executive Director Jacque Tisher, is both a parent and pediatric nurse who saw there was a service gap for children with complex needs and their families. “I think being there, being a parent really opened my eyes to the need in the community. There was a gap for children with complex needs and their parents who wanted to maintain some level of employment or receive respite,” explained Jacque. “There was no respite or daycare for families.” Hope’s Home is named after Jacque’s foster daughter Hope Dawn Marie. Jacque and her family had wanted to bring Hope home to them permanently, but were prevented from doing so because of the difficult challenges and processes they faced to secure the necessary support and care in their



“I really believe in partnering,” said Jacque. “We’ve created incredible partnerships and have been fortunate to collaborate with 3 ministries to fund Hope’s Home. We also have a contract with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, and are working to expand to other regions.” The impact Hope’s Home has on children is instrumental. “You see it every day and we receive a lot of feedback from parents about how far their children have come,” said Hope’s Home Director of Education Mickey MacGillivray. “In Prince Albert we had a 2 1/2 year old child join us who wasn’t walking. Yesterday I actually took a picture of her walking in adult size high heels. You see the challenges the children have overcome every day. This little girl was not walking 4 months ago, but yesterday she was walking in high heels. The parents are always saying how great this is and that these little milestones continue to be met.” “In Regina we recognize a child of the year, where we really celebrate the accomplishments of that child,” explained Jacque. “It’s profound the number of children who have learned various skills. One young boy

who was involved in our program is now going into grade 1, he’s walking and he’s talking. He is extremely social and doesn’t require any nursing care anymore.” “There are so many success stories,” said Jacque. “I have to say it’s because of the integration we have in Hope’s Home and the staff that are so passionate. The children are given an opportunity here

to develop to their full potential.” You can help Hope’s Home by telling someone about it. “We receive a lot of phone calls from families who think we only take medically fragile children,” said Mickey. “They don’t know that we are a fully integrated centre that takes children of all abilities. We are still so new in Prince Albert that not everyone knows about us.”

Hope’s Home also has a team in Saskatoon who are spearheading the development of a location there. To learn more please visit Hope’s Home online at I can. You can. We can.

Cake cutters include: SK Abilities Council Executive Director Ian Wilkinson (left), PIAT Chair Merv Bender, Minister of Social Services June Draude, Minister of Crown Investments Donna Harpauer and SACL Grassroots Project Coordinator Judy Hannah (right).

Over 10,000 people on SAID! BY JUDY HANNAH SACL GRASSROOTS PROJECT COORDINATOR The SAID (Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability) program reached a significant milestone this spring when enrollment in the program reached the 10,000 mark. On April 23rd the Saskatchewan Government and the disability community celebrated this important step with speeches and a “10,000” cake! It is exciting to know that over 10,000 individuals with significant and enduring disabilities in our province are benefiting from the developments that have taken place over the past 4 years as SAID has been implemented. Being on a program that is separate from welfare gives people

a better quality of life – they have more dignity and the benefits they receive are substantially higher than what they received on social assistance. These changes are making a difference in people’s lives. As this milestone was reached, members of DISC thought back to the early days of the coalition. In the fall of 2006 DISC members felt that they would be lucky to get a disability income program where 3000 people would be enrolled. They believed that they would have to push very hard to have the program extended to 5,000 individuals. When then Minister of Social Services, the Honourable Donna Harpauer, accepted the recommendations of the joint government/community task team

in May 2009 she said that 8,000 to 10,000 individuals would ultimately be enrolled on the program. That was a wonderful moment for DISC! Today, knowing that this number has been exceeded and that enrollment continues to grow is definitely cause for celebration. The provincial government has been very clear that SAID remains open to new applicants – there is no cap on SAID enrollment! At the April press conference Social Services Minister June Draude said. “The SAID program supports our government’s goal to make Saskatchewan the best place in Canada to live for people with disabilities, and we are deeply committed to supporting this important program for many years to come.” DISC remains committed to continuing



to work towards further benefit rate increases and towards the implementation of all of the planned features of SAID.

I CAN. YOU CAN. WE CAN. Diane lives in an assisted living arrangement in Saskatoon Diane was enrolled on SAID in October 2009, when the program was first rolled out. She says that SAID “means more independence, more financial freedom and it gives me the ability to have a social life”.

The SACL commitment Diane found SAP to be very restricting. She says she had no money to do anything but to provide leadership pay bills (cell phone, basic necessities such as shampoo). and support to DISC was emphasized when DISC Now that she has received increased benefits on SAID she can go out for coffee with was chosen as one of the friends, she can go to social events and she goes places to do activities such as see top 3 priorities for the movies. Diane says she never really went to movies before SAID; she couldn’t even afford SACL in the 2013 strategic to go to the cheap movies. Recently she went to see the Life of Pi with her mom. Diane planning session. says her mom expected that she would have to pay for Diane’s movie ticket but “I (Diane) said ‘no, I’ll pay for myself.” Diane said her mom was shocked. Diane also said that it As of July 2013, SAID “made me proud to pay for my own ticket.” enrollment reached 11,120! That is a lot of Diane went to Regina with a friend in January 2012 after her SAID rate went up. She was individual lives impacted able to pay for her own meals while she was there and she bought her own ticket to see a through SAID and the show at the Conexus Arts Centre. achievements of DISC. Diane says that SAID “gives me more pride and self-respect. I’m more out-going and I’m I can. not afraid to spend a bit of money. I can do stuff without planning for months ahead”. You can. We can. Diane says she tells people that SAID is a good program to be on, that it will give them more independence. She feels “amazing, I don’t have to rely on anyone!” Diane also says “Mr. Premier – keep up the good work, I hope it (SAID) is here to stay.”

enthusiasm and love for the fire service. “Travis has been coming to the fire hall for a long time,” explains PA Fire Chief Les Karpluk. “When Travis was a young boy he would come on the tours. He just bubbled with energy and loved the fire service.” The only thing Travis loves more than firefighting are the PA Raiders. Les’ relationship with Travis further grew through their regular attendance at hockey games. “When I see Travis at the hockey games, I never see him grouchy or having a bad day. He is always smiling,” says Les. “When I see him he says, ‘Hey fireman!’ He yells it across the rink.”

Travis’ Day BY BONNIE CHEREWYK SACL COMMUNICATIONS AND RESEARCH ADVOCATE Travis Mahussier has a passion for firefighting. Mike Mahussier, Travis’ dad, explains, “Travis will go to the Prince Albert (PA) Fire Department daily to drive by or just watch the trucks go in and out. He also visits the PA Fire Department website multiple times per day.” Recognizing Travis as their biggest fan, the PA Fire Department invited Travis to the fire hall on April 13 to celebrate his



Les had a large collection of shoulder flashes from around the world that his wife suggested he give to Travis. Mike explains, “Les showed up at the rink with a big box of all these patches and firefighter shirts for Travis. Travis was pumped!” After receiving this gift, Mike explained that Travis would go through the patches each day. “Every day he would take the patches out of the box and put them back into the box”, says Mike. “He loved them.” When Les gave Travis the patches and firefighter shirts he told Travis to wear the shirts at the hockey games. Les notes, “Travis took me seriously. At every hockey game he shows me that he is wearing one of the shirts.” “One hockey game I noticed Travis wasn’t sitting where he

Instead of watching the fire trucks that day, Travis was able to ride in their brand new ladder truck and honk the horn. “You just know that it is one of those rare moments in your life that you get to experience,” Les explains. “You want to soak it up because it is such a great moment. It was absolutely wonderful!” “I was just blown away. Les went right out of his way to do this,” says Mike. “I can’t think of an adjective to describe Travis’ day. I’m still at a loss of words when people ask me.”

usually is,” says Les. “When I found him in a different part of the rink he waved and then pulled on his jersey to let me know he was wearing his fireman shirt underneath. It was so funny!” Seeing how much Travis appreciated the patches and shirts, Les decided to send an email to the fire chiefs across Canada telling them about Travis and asking if they had anything they would like to give to him. “Just about all of them responded, it was pretty amazing,” says Les.

Travis was fortunate to receive a Cairns 1044 traditional fire helmet. Les comments, “He has a better helmet than us.” The PA Fire Department also presented Travis with his own Challenge Coin, personalized with the number 182. The Challenge Coin symbolizes respect, pride and fellowship.

The PA Fire Department made a difference in Travis’ life. Les stated, “For me, the smile on Travis’ face taught me that life is a gift and that we are here to serve our fellow man.” Watch Travis’ Day at com/watch?v=JJ5wRCEKAAU. I can. You can. We can.

Les received fire department ball caps, t-shirts, golf shirts, coffee mugs, more shoulder flashes, a puzzle, fire truck, and more - all gifts for Travis. After receiving all the items, Les arranged a day with Travis’ parents where they could hold a surprise celebration at the fire hall for Travis. “When he came in on that day, he would look at the stuff, pick it up, and then put it down,” explains Les. “He didn’t have a clue that it was his. When we told him that all that stuff was his, he was overwhelmed and bouncing with excitement.”

Gentle Teaching International Conference in Saskatoon BY MAUREEN O’HARA JOLLY SACL ADVOCATE One of the most common fears individuals, their families and their networks express to SACL advocates is entrusting the care of their loved ones to paid support staff. Staff changes and general environment changes can cause overwhelming disruption in the lives of individuals living with a disability. The concept of gentle teaching is more than a strategy to be ‘used’ on people. It is more about a cultural change in how

we view ourselves as caregivers. It asks each of us to examine who we represent in the lives of those we serve and to understand the cumulative effects of trauma in one’s life.

3. Loving – wanting to do good things for others, to bring them joy and happiness.

1. Safe – feeling comfortable and at peace. It is the absence of fear.

4. Engaged – preferring to be with others, looking for activities to share with loved ones, being an active participant in one’s own life. Engagement is the opposite of loneliness.

2. Loved – feeling sure that there are people that only want what is best for you and who will never hurt you.

I was first introduced to the Gentle Teaching philosophy of supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities

The four pillars of gentle teaching include:




in 1997. Families who had experienced failed attempts at finding good housing for their adult children with intellectual disabilities wanted an ‘alternative’ and therefore created Saskatchewan Alternative Initiative (SAI). SAI adopted John McGee’s Gentle Teaching approach in all facets of the day to day operation of its agency. The individuals supported, the staff and the administration are all treated with respect and the 4 tenets of Safe, Loved, Loving and Engaged are incorporated in daily interactions. Vulnerable people are accepted for who they are and where they are in their journey. Over and over, I have witnessed the transformation of individuals in crisis come to a place of peace and full acceptance, due to the gentle approach their caregivers have taken. The Gentle Teaching is based on building relationships of trust and genuine engagement. Saskatoon is, once again, host to the Gentle Teaching International Conference September 17th - 19th, 2013. The theme for the 2013 Conference is “Living the journey…..moment by moment.” This conference is one not to miss as there will be a special celebration of the life of Dr. John McGee, Founder of Gentle Teaching who passed away just this year.

John‘s greatest desire was that his work would continue across continents, long after he, or any of us, were here. This year marks an opportunity to live up to the promise of continuing John’s work by committing to changing lives through gentleness.

There will be plenty of opportunities to join the Gentle Teaching community for networking, discussion and just plain fun.

Gentle Teaching International 2013 holds many opportunities:

Monday evening, prior to the conference, Dr. John McGee will be celebrated.

Come hear about the exciting development of Cultures of Gentleness around the world.

Tuesday evening you can choose to take a riverboat cruise down the South Saskatchewan River, a hike down the Meewasin trail or join table group discussions developed from questions throughout the day.

Make your mark on the future by adding a block on the Gentleness quilt, which will be stitched together by individuals with disabilities during the conference.

extreme behaviours.

• And many, many more...

Listen to speakers who mentored under John, including:

The GTI 2013 banquet will feature talented dancers from the disability community, as well as DJ and music for everyone’s dancing pleasure.

• Dr. Toni Start, whose work in psychology is founded on the principles of Gentle Teaching.

Each day will include a Q&A session where we answer questions that have arisen throughout the conference.

• Dr. Charles Woodard, who develops cultures of gentleness for children and families in crisis.

Registration and Further Information visit

• Brendan Maguire, who has developed an agency in the UK devoted to gentleness for individuals with

Value + Able = Valuable…The case has been made Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The theme of this year’s conference was Value + Able = Valuable… The case has been made. On Tuesday we started the conference with a couple of discussion forums, this was a great starting point for us to try to get accustomed with the Newfoundland accent, something we struggled with until the day we left.

BY MEGAN HOWLAND SACL EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND TRANSITION FACILITATOR An extraordinary opportunity was given to Jeannine Harlton and Megan Howland two of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living’s (SACL) Employment, Education & Transition Facilitators and Kim Hague, the Assistant Executive Director. We were able to attend the 18th Annual National Supported Employment



The keynote speaker, Spencer West sent out an inspiring speech about persevering and making positive change. Spencer talked about his story, his global missions to execute change and finding opportunity in every challenge. Spencer was a truly inspiring speaker and reminded the crowd that we make a positive change every single day. He ended his speech by giving us a standing ovation. The entire room was on their feet to thank him for his motivating

speech. Following Spencer’s presentation we all attending different breakout sessions in hopes of gaining new information from each session we could share. Once again we met incredible people from across Canada. The people that travelled the furthest were from Whitehorse and the Yukon. The chance to see what is happening across the country in the employment sector was an amazing opportunity. From attending the Social Return on Investment (SROI) workshop, Kim is planning to identify whether there is an opportunity to apply the SROI concept on the SACL’s current employment, education and transition program. I learned of a group in British Columbia who are working towards developing a curriculum guide to help people learn about self-determination. I believe this is something that could benefit many school divisions in Saskatchewan and I

look forward to seeing the guide when it is completed.

was an interesting show and it wasn’t even the scheduled entertainment.

thing to do but it makes good business sense. Mark is a truly inspiring employer.

That evening we had the Gala dinner and entertainment. This was a magnificent treat! During cocktails we were entertained by the STEP (Suzuki Talent Education Program) Fiddlers. A group of St. John’s youth ranging in age from 5-13. This was an amazing display of talent! This group gave their all as a rather large group of adults from across the country watched in awe. We were then treated to a lovely meal that included some traditional Newfoundland cuisine. During the meal they started the “CASEys”, the awards banquet with some rather strange categories like “earliest registrant” and “oddest special requests.” The CASEys resembled an Oscar but these ones were made of chocolate. It

The Kilautiup Songuninga (Strength of Drum) Inuit drum group also performed. The group exhibited traditional Inuit drumming, dance, music, throat singing and demonstrated Inuit games. Wednesday was a wonderful evening full of laughs, friendship and culture.

At the end of the conference they released the dates and location for the next CASE Conference, June 17-19, 2014 in Regina, Saskatchewan. This will be a great opportunity for Saskatchewan.

Thursday morning was broken into two sessions. Following the sessions we had lunch and the closing keynote by Mark Wafer. Mark Wafer owns 6 Tim Hortons franchises in Toronto. Mark has employed 85 people with disabilities in 18 years. Mark speaks about the benefits of employing people with disabilities. He stated that he hires people with disabilities not just because it is the right

SACL Partners

We thank the Ministry of the Economy for providing us with funding to attend this year’s CASE Conference. We look forward to sharing the concepts, tools and knowledge gained with the individuals and families we support and our community partners.

Make a difference...donate clothes today!

Community Living Supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities in Saskatchewan.

Remember we are the yellow bins! 1-877-477-2171 PM40063438 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: SACL 3031 Louise Street Saskatoon, SK S7J 3L1 Email: Telephone: (306) 955-3344


Dialect - Fall 2013  
Dialect - Fall 2013  

Newsmagazine of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living