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Spring 2013


Newsmagazine of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living

Job Carving page 17

A Weekend for Moms page 16 Meet SACL`s Yorkton Branch page 12 EveryBODY`s Playground page 14

Inclusion Champions page 11

Taking a different approach

Taylor’s Recycling Pick-Up page 18 Daniel`s Home page 8

Two moms taking the initiative

Got Stuff?

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. 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:

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Ready to start Spring Cleaning? Donate your gently used clothing and household items to Community Living. Your donations support individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families in Saskatchewan.






Lynn tells her story of how she took the initiative to create a home for her son.

Learn about the SACL’s recently re-established Yorkton Branch.





Kim tells her story of how she took the initiative to build an accessible playground.

Need your recycling picked up? Meet Taylor!



ALSO INSIDE 4 5 6 7 10 11 15 16 17 19 20 21 22

Message from the SACL President Message from the SACL Executive Director Message from CACL The SACL Welcomes Back Megan Wells 13th Annual Women with Disabilities Luncheon Meet Inclusion Champions Jeff & Jackie Polovick University of Saskatchewan Best Buddies 1st Annual Steak Night Fundraiser A Weekend for Moms Successful Job Carving Read All About It Certain Proof: A Question of Worth The Valley View Centre Transition Update SACL Inclusion Awards

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.



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 Dianne Christianson Doug Conn Jamie Ellis Allan Hall Nytosha Kober/Sharon Bourdeau Matt Leisle Gloria Mahussier Mike Mahussier Stuart Mason Dorothea Pehl Susan Quiring Janice Rutherford Kim Sandager Ted & Loretta Schugmann Steve Seiferling Tami Smith Wilda Wallace Margaret Woods



“Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.”- Victor Hugo, French writer How does a parent know if it is the “right thing” for your child? We are always questioned about the decisions we make as parents who live with a child with an intellectual challenge. In the last twentyfour years we have learned, that most of the time, parents do the right thing without being told; they know their child the best. In this issue of Dialect, you will read stories about individuals who took the initiative, who were the first ones to do something, who took the effort without being told.


When Travis was born (1988), I had no idea that I would be connecting and sharing with families to help communities welcome our children. It was not part of my world. Taking the initiative is a learned skill and I would like to share how our family developed and learned the skill to “take the initiative.” As challenging as this path was for our family, it was also gratifying to see the results. When Travis started school, our plan was to have him included with his peers as much as possible. We didn’t know what that would look like, but we had a plan. We wanted him to have friends just as our daughter


had when she was in school. When he was in the earlier grades, we took the initiative to invite his classmates over for birthdays, holidays and weekends. Sometimes, it was the whole classroom. As he grew older, friends emerged from those classmates, as over the years, they came to know Travis. That was the easy part. When we had to help the school system understand our son, our courage and strength developed. It was taking the initiative to help them understand our plan and what could be achieved for Travis when he was with his peers. We did our homework and knew that this would be the best for our son as it is for all children. We are very appreciative that the SACL assisted us along the way. We started by presenting smaller ideas to the school and kept on persisting – we were determined. It also meant recognizing and acting on opportunities that we could see and that maybe the school could not, and then taking the initiative to help them understand and making it happen. It was not an easy task. The difficult part is committing oneself to do it and then never giving up… ever. With persistence, through the early years, we moved forward even when we encountered difficulty and many setbacks. We have and will continue to work steadily through the next part of this journey to take the initiative to achieve Travis’s plans and goals. It will not be easy. We made the discovery very early that no one else will take the initiative for Travis – we, as parents have to be the ones, with our son, that creates the path that leads the way into community.

hired two Transition Plan Advocates (TPA) located at the Valley View Centre who are currently providing ongoing advocacy supports to VVC residents. We had previously hired Housing Initiatives and Research Coordinator (HIRC), Nich Fraser, to help create new and innovative residential options. Nich is acting as the SACL project lead. Families can ask for the SACL to become involved at any time during the transition.


For the Spring Edition of the Dialect I would like to take this opportunity to recognize two critical components in the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living’s (SACL) history. In 1955, John Dolan took the initiative to place an advertisement in a local Saskatoon newspaper to recruit other parents of children with intellectual disabilities who believed in the right to an education for their sons and daughters. John Dolan’s advertisement marked the beginning of the SACL. For this, none of us can thank him enough. In 1989, the SACL Board and Executive Director took the initiative to form a partnership with Value Village. This partnership created the Saskatchewan Institute on Community Living (SICL). SICL incorporated as a non-profit organization and began collecting donated clothes and household items to sell to Value Village. SICL is the SACL’s largest source of income. SICL not only contributes to the SACL’s provincial initiatives, it also provides grants for the SACL’s 11 branches. The Value Village Partnership and SICL have given the SACL the opportunity for growth and the ability to begin new initiatives. All of us need to thank SICL’s Board and Staff, Value Village and those past Board members who made this partnership possible because I cannot stress how important SICL is to future SACL growth.

I have been the SACL’s Executive Director for over 4 years now. Throughout those years I have seen the difference the SACL makes in the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. Through advocacy, employment, transition planning, the family network, self-advocacy and our youth programs I have seen the difference.


In September 2012 the SACL membership identified the association’s top priorities. The top 3 are:

1. The Valley View Centre Transition Plan 2. Self-Directed Funding 3. The Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC)

The SACL is taking the initiative to ensure that every Valley View Centre resident has their own unique, person - centred plan, and that they have the opportunity to choose where and with whom they want to live. As a community partner, the SACL has representation on the Transition Steering Committee and the working groups. The SACL has

The SACL is taking the initiative to ensure that self-directed funding becomes an option for individuals and families in Saskatchewan. Under the Self-Directed Funding 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. The SACL is taking the initiative to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to a separate, dignified and respectful income support program. The SACL’s Grassroots coordinator chairs the Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC), which represents 39 community based organizations supporting individuals with varying disabilities. This coalition has successfully worked with the government of Saskatchewan and has influenced the design and establishment of the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID). DISC is currently working on increasing benefit rates and developing a customer oriented service model. The above listed initiatives provide a glimpse on what we are currently working on. These current initiatives are made possible because of the choices made by past SACL leaders, the SACL membership, SICL, the Government of Saskatchewan and SACL donors. Thank you.

UPCOMING INCLUSION TOURS: March 26, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. April 24, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. May 29, 2013 at 12:00 p.m.




The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), as a familybased association that supports people with intellectual disabilities and their families, is focused on engaging community leaders, policy makers and interested Canadians in building inclusive communities in Canada and around the world. We work to create an inclusive Canada in which everyone, including people with intellectual disabilities and their families, participates fully in all aspects of society. As most are aware in July 2012, Human Resources Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) advised of changes to its Social Development Partnerships Program - Disability Component. The most significant of these was the reduction (during the period 2013 – 2015) in Community Inclusion Initiative (CII) funding and grant funding to CACL; with these funds to cease entirely as of April 2015. Since that time much of our efforts at both the national and Provincial/ Territorial level have been directed toward developing a strategy that will assist us in working through the next several years. We have been successful in negotiating with the Office of Disability Issues (ODI) the provision of a Transitional Supports Fund which will be made available to the CII Partnership over the next two years; this will greatly assist us in addressing issues of organization sustainability and viability. We are most grateful to ODI for the provision of this support. Also, in recent months much work has been put into the development of the Ready, Willing and Able (RW&A) initiative. The initiative is designed to increase labour force participation of people with intellectual disabilities, and thereby advance economic productivity and social inclusion in Canada. It recognizes that there are approximately 500,000 working age adults with intellectual disabilities who with targeted support, community investment and employer leadership could join the labour force at rates similar to other Canadians.



to the federal government and while there is certainly no guarantee of funding, to date discussions have been positive. We are also working on developing partnerships with other private and public sector partners and potential investors. As a parent of two young men with disabilities I know how important having a paid job is. It is about more than earning a living, it is the foundation on which they can build a good life for themselves - valued, included and involved in their communities.

Ready, Willing & Able works by scaling up proven methods that are active in communities throughout the country and are demonstrating positive impact on employment of people with intellectual disabilities. These local initiatives are linked and expanded through six key elements of a comprehensive strategy:

We are very excited to be launching the Ready, Willing and Able website this month at http://readywillingable. ca. Please check it out and read the success stories and many examples of innovative work that are currently happening across the country and share the link with others.

• Building employer capacity and confidence;

I also encourage you to visit the CACL web site ( to keep abreast of our ongoing work and to join in conversation with other families from across the country. Together we can make real change; together we can make a difference; together we are stronger!

• Facilitating youth transitions from school to employment and careers; • Securing access to inclusive postsecondary education and training; • Engaging employer-to-employer networks and private sector service clubs; • Fostering entrepreneurship, selfemployment and small business development; and • Modernizing community employment support systems. RW&A links what would otherwise be discrete, local initiatives to a broader labour market strategy to achieve impact. To achieve the goal of an inclusive labour force, local and regional projects and programs are connected to an integrated and multi-sectoral strategy that, as a whole, addresses the key ingredients known to be essential in securing and sustaining labour force participation of people with intellectual disabilities. CACL, in collaboration with our Provincial and Territorial ACLs, is currently attempting to secure investment for a proposed second phase of the initiative. Detailed proposals have been submitted


”On January 23rd I had the opportunity to attend the Inclusion Tour at SACL over the lunch hour. Prior to attending the lunch, I had met for coffee with one of their staff who gave me a very thorough and interesting overview of the organization. Even though I had received this introduction over coffee, I was even more blown away by the amazing spirit the organization has in person; from their cheerful office, the friendly staff who make you feel at home, to the speakers at the luncheon, I was impressed and taken with SACL’s message for the whole time I was there. Their staff not only seemed to excel at their jobs but they all had such passion for the individuals and families they worked for that it was inspiring to hear them talk about the work they did. I look forward to being involved with SACL in the future and would recommend everyone to take this tour to learn about how SACL is helping individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families in our community. “

The SACL Welcomes Back Megan Wells BY MEGAN WELLS SACL SELF-ADVOCACY COORDINATOR It feels great to work with the amazing team of staff, board members, family members and individuals that make up the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living! I had been on leave for 2 and a half years, first on a maternity leave following the arrival of my daughter, Boudicca, and then on disability leave, following my diagnosis and treatment of Stage IV Oral Cancer. Coming back, I have a lot of respect for how much work has been done to support individuals as they access an optimum life. Good things are happening in this province - families are connecting, people are making new friends, finding their rightful place in a community of their choosing, getting meaningful employment, enjoying school. While I celebrate the victories and success stories, I am aware of the work we still have to do. And I’m ready to jump right into it. Before my leave, I was the Coordinator for the Youth Programs at the SACL, and

I will now be the Coordinator for the SelfAdvocacy Programs. There have been several requests from people over the years who would like to be a part of the Self-Advocacy Action Group, and we are now going to provide everyone the opportunity to join the movement! After seeing the power of people connecting through social opportunities and finding common interests or concerns regarding barriers in the community, I am a believer that people who have a strong community behind them are better able to find their voice.


I will support the members of this beautiful, exciting network that reaches across the province - I will help foster a safe place where people can exist without the focus being so heavily placed on our

disabilities. We will continue to educate communities, to empower individuals and to lead by example as we strive for inclusion in all aspects of community. You can be a part of this simply by believing that all people have the right to live, work and recreate as valued, full members of our collective community. As we are revamping the Self-Advocacy initiative, we would be happy to receive your feedback, ideas and dreams, so please share any information you may have. Contact me if you or someone you know may benefit from this program it is open to all! I feel blessed to be a part of the Self-Advocacy movement in Saskatchewan. Look for us on the SACL website, self-advocacy-action-group/ and on facebook.

It is estimated that 0.5-1% of the population has an intellectual disability.



A Home for Daniel BY LYNN SCHAAN DANIEL’S MOM Daniel is 22 years old now, and our journey together has been filled with moments of joy and sadness, and of celebration and frustration. But it has always been held together by the love of a mother for her child. I always dreamed for Daniel as I have for my three other children; to have a happy and meaningful life in the community, filled with laughter, family, friends, a good education, employment, recreation, and most of all a home of his own. I have always known clearly what that dream was, but it has been a struggle and a long road to have those dreams come to life. At times I lost hope, faith, and even felt the need to compromise when I listened to others and not myself. I am saddened by that, but acknowledge that I grew tired. One thing constantly stayed the same though—through this all Daniel was resilient, patient and always trusting. The journey to Daniel’s new home began several years ago when we recognized the need for him to grow as a person with the constant support and companionship of someone other than his Dad or I. We always knew this, but had very few options to pursue. Daniel initially moved to Farm in the Dell; an option put forward by Community Living Service Delivery (CLSD). He shared this beautiful country setting outside Saskatoon with 9 others. Farm in the Dell is a good home, the support workers are caring and kind, and Daniel built relationships that have continued past his residency there. Despite all the efforts of Daniel, our family, and management and staff, we could not make this work. Daniel became very agitated and unhappy; so we all worked together as a team to understand why. Ultimately


Daniel was released to our family home and we were very unsure what would happen next. Both Daniel’s Dad and I were forced to take a leave from our jobs to provide support for Daniel in our home. It was a stressful time because there appeared no end or solution on the horizon. I could always carry on when I could see a future or a solution, but during this period it really was just stress and existence. I hated it. Daniel hated it. Our whole family hated it, but we endured. It was a coffee morning with my Mom and Dad that turned the page for our Daniel. I had been crying that morning and felt defeated as everything we were trying for Daniel ‘did not seem to fit.’ Daniel’s personality changed and he was not happy; I felt defeated by the whole process. My Mom said gently, “Daniel can be happy and you have always been able to dream this with him so go and make it happen—do what you do best –advocate for him.” Thanks Mom. That next morning, after a lengthy discussion with our whole family, I started to put into place the plan I always knew was the best. I contacted Nicholas Fraser, Housing Initiatives and Research Coordinator at the SACL. We drafted a proposal for Daniel and a roommate. A home with appropriate supports –a home that suited him and where I could see the return of the ‘Daniel smile;’ something we had so missed. We put this proposal forward to CLSD, but were turned down. I cried, took a breath and sat down with


our family one more time. We took a drastic step—we cashed in our savings, we searched the neighbourhood for a suitable residence, we phoned all the people who had built a relationship with Daniel and who knew how to support him well, and we hired them. We took out a 6 month lease on a duplex (two blocks from our home); in the neighbourhood that Daniel loved and was familiar with. We emptied our home of extra furniture and moved it to his home; we shopped at Value Village for the rest. Each step of the way Daniel made his own choices, he moved all of his belongings (generally making several walking trips each day) and we created “Danny’s House.” That’s what we called it—that’s what it is! We included in his support worker team, his older brother Adam and his sister Emily, along with three other individuals who believed in him and knew he could be successful. We ‘staffed’ this home 24 hours a day starting Sept 1st; promising to do this for 6 months. I took an unpaid leave from work to have the time to make this work. We spent a huge amount of money, but every penny was worth it. We looked at it as education money; I am sure that Daniel could have achieved a master’s degree on what was spent! I fondly remember Daniel’s first night.

He was supported by his worker Jenna (a friend, a mentor and a big believer in Danny). They had a fun night making supper together, watching a DVD, and just enjoying each other in Danny’s new home. Daniel had never managed a full night of sleep (even when medicated) during his other transitions, so we knew that it could prove challenging. I know I didn’t sleep that night wondering how he was doing. The plan was to drop him off at our home at 8:00 a.m. where I would support him during the day until he became familiar with his new home. I will never forget that morning—Jenna pulled up in her car, and Daniel and her jumped out - Jenna running across the lawn saying, “he slept all night—all night Lynn and no meds.” Daniel just smiled and smiled and smiled. I was so excited all day, so was Jenna, and we told everyone about his successful night that was willing to listen. We repeated the next day and the next day and the next day—Daniel continued to sleep well, and in a few weeks began to be picked up and dropped off at his home, and not ours. His entire support team found ways to make each day successful—thanks to Adam for taking him to the local pub for beer and wings, and including Dad in this. Thanks to Adam for never ever giving up on him and for being the best brother he could have. Thanks to Linda for believing in Daniel, and keeping his evenings and mornings filled with singing and calmness. Thanks to Emily for encouraging Daniel to do more for himself, and for bringing her friends into his world and letting them become a part of Daniel’s circle; Emily you are a great sister. A huge thanks to Jenna who always believed in Daniel and celebrated every step of the way; she has become a part of the family. During this time we continued to meet with CLSD. I sent them emails detailing what Daniel’s life looked like. I know that they could tell that he was doing well and he was happy. I was not sure where things would go, but I knew that they believed that this was a successful plan for Daniel. I invited Community Services Worker, Jennifer Boyle and Community Services Manager, Robert Clipperton to a meeting with Daniel in his home. Daniel proudly took them through his home, showing them his bedroom and his basement; smiling all the way. I hoped that if CLSD could see this success, we could work together to continue this plan.

Daniel at his neighbourhood restaurant, Haywoods Grill We continued meeting until November 2012 when we were informed that CLSD had looked carefully at our proposal, and that they could contract Autism Treatment Services (ATS) to continue Daniel’s current plan. CLSD also agreed to support Daniel’s friend Jon to live with Daniel; this is what we had always

DANIEL HAS EVERYTHING IN LIFE I EVER DREAMED. A FAMILY, FRIENDS, A HOME, A COMMUNITY, APPROPRIATE SUPPORTS, WORK, LEISURE AND FUN—A RECIPE WITH ALL THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS FOR A WONDERFUL LIFE. dreamed and hoped for. The plan would be for Daniel and Jon to move into a new home built by ATS. We had initially hoped that they could remain in their current home, but regardless I know that Daniel and Jon have the appropriate supports. We met with ATS and I was happy to see that they saw Daniel’s and Jon’s home in the same way as we did. ATS are respectful and dedicated. They interviewed and hired all the support workers that were currently with Daniel, including Daniel’s brother Adam and his

sister Emily; they realized the importance of making the transition as stress free as possible. We agreed to a takeover date of December 1, 2012. Daniel gave ATS a tour of his home—even sharing a sniff of his shampoo to the Executive Director Shannon Zook during the tour. This was a good indicator of Daniel’s acceptance. He felt that he was in control of where and how he lives, and he is happy. It is so wonderful to see how Daniel has so much pride in his home, and how he loves to share his home with others. The story continues as new support workers have been added to his team—I welcome Chris and Ryan and thank them for bringing calmness and acceptance, and sharing this with Daniel. A big thanks to Chris for bringing in his guitar and making music with Daniel—I hear Daniel singing now, and it is wonderful to hear his voice. Daniel could not have a better circle of support around him. Daniel’s roommate is now beginning his transition. Jon is eating suppers with Daniel. Daniel is joining Jon on his riding lessons. They are learning to share space. They are gaining independence each day. They are friends and roommates. They each have very different lives, and most importantly they are allowed the respect and dignity to live them – their way.



Daniel has everything in life I ever dreamed. A family, friends, a home, a community, appropriate supports, work, leisure and fun—a recipe with all the right ingredients for a wonderful life. A real life and a good life. We are learning to live a new life too. It has brought new peace to ours. When you ask Daniel where his home is — he knows it isn’t with us, his Mom and Dad, but on his own in his community. He has never smiled so much—that’s the biggest change. That’s the way it should be for everyone. He is worth it. Always has been and always will be. Welcome home Daniel. I love you son.

The SACL believes individuals must be supported to live in inclusive residential housing. Residential options must ensure that each individual and his/her family/support network have collaborative input into the decision making process over all aspects of his/her home, and be supported to have a lifestyle that allows for independent choice and decision making.

Daniel’s Smile


In celebration of International Women’s Day, the 13th Annual Women with Disabilities Luncheon was held on Friday, March 8, 2013 at the Hilton Garden Inn. This annual luncheon is made possible by the Canadian Paraplegic Association, DAWN/RAFH Saskatchewan, North Saskatchewan Independent Living Centre, Saskatchewan Abilities Council, Saskatchewan Association for Community Living, Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Saskatchewan Voice of People with Disabilities and Saskatoon Centre of Reading Excellence. This luncheon is a wonderful way to recognize the amazing women who are active community members. Terri Sleeva received this year’s Woman of Illumination Award for the difference she has made in her community. She is chair of the Regina Citizens’ Public Transit Coalition. She is involved in the Disability Income Support Coalition, SaskTel Employee Network on Disability, Provincial Interagency Network on Disabilities, Business & Professional Women’s Network, Women’s Information Network of Saskatchewan, and is the Tetra Society of North America Community Coordinator in Regina. Congratulations Terri! The featured speaker this year was Laverne Bissky; a speaker, writer, coach and mom of two kids, one of which has a disability. She spoke of A World of Poss-Abilities. I found Laverne truly inspiring. She told us of her family and their shared joy of travelling. The audience laughed and admired her stories and lessons learned. Laverne spoke of following our passions. She said, “It is all passions that point us in the right direction to the uniqueness we all have to make a difference.” The story that had the most impact on me was that in Vietnam it is still considered a shame to have a child with a disability. Laverne


Gayle Dixon (right) presenting the Woman of Illumination Award to Terri Sleeva (left) and her family travelled to Vietnam, and she said that, “By showing up we brought them a little bit of dignity.” A small presence did make a difference to the children and families in Vietnam who have a member in their family with a disability. Laverne also stressed the importance of asking for help; something we all forget to do. She finished her presentation on the importance to live in the moment. Laverne defines this as, “stopping to appreciate things before we try to change things.” She further said, “When we can let go of our ideas of what we think it should be like we open up out life to possibilities. These possibilities come from our hearts.” Thank you Terri and Laverne for being such inspirational women.

Meet Inclusion Champions Jeff and Jackie Polovick BY BONNIE CHEREWYK SACL COMMUNICATIONS AND RESEARCH ADVOCATE At the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living’s (SACL) 2nd Annual Fundraising Breakfast on November 6, 2012, Jeff and Jackie Polovick announced their support for the next 3 years, becoming SACL Inclusion Champions. Jeff and Jackie are originally from Saskatchewan; Jeff from Clavet and Jackie from Kindersley. They both moved to Alberta in the 1970s, and opened Grove Rentals and Leasing, in Spruce Grove, Alberta in 1978. In that same year Grove Rentals and Leasing became Driving Force and their offices were moved to Edmonton, Alberta. Driving Force opened their Saskatoon location in 1998. After meeting both Jeff and Jackie it is clear how proud they are of their Saskatchewan roots. Jeff proudly identifies what he terms, “the Saskatchewan way.” Jeff and Jackie first came into contact with the community living movement, through the Alberta Association for Community Living (AACL) over 8 years ago when AACL approached the Rotary Club to form a partnership to employ individuals with intellectual disabilities. Jeff and Jackie have seen the Rotary Partnership successfully grow across Alberta, and believe that this would be a great model for the SACL to explore with Rotarian members in Saskatchewan. Stemming from Jeff’s involvement with the Rotary Club, Driving Force has become a role model employer for inclusion. When I asked why this is important Jeff replied, “We believe that there are many gifted individuals who deserve a chance to be included. We also believe our employees appreciate the opportunity to learn.”

WE BELIEVE IN SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITIES THAT SUPPORT OUR BUSINESS Driving Force is one of Canada’s top 50 best managed companies. In fact Driving Force was just recognized as Canada’s top 50 best managed companies 7 years in a row! Upon learning this I was prompted to ask Jeff and Jackie if inclusion in the workforce is a key reason for their success. They replied, “We have always believed that all individuals have special gifts and talents. We try to match those talents with the results we expect.” A part from practicing inclusion in the workforce Jeff believes, “You can’t satisfy customers if you can’t satisfy employees. If you’re not having fun at work, you shouldn’t be here. More fun equals better work.” This statement and more of Driving Force’s success is brought to light in Mark Kandborg’s article The Driving Force: Behind Jeff Polovick in the September 2012

issue of Business in Edmonton. To encourage other employers to hire individuals with intellectual disabilities, Jeff would explain how these individuals “can be a great inspiration.” Scotty is Jeff and Jackie’s inspiration. “Scotty has been a great addition to our staff,” Jeff commented. “He is a hard worker who is an inspiration to everyone he works with.” He is a Vehicle Detailer for Driving Force’s Rental Department in Edmonton. At SACL’s 2nd Annual Fundraising Breakfast Jeff stated, “Scotty is a shining example of a terrific employee that likely would never have been hired if it wasn’t for the Association for Community Living.” Including individuals with intellectual disabilities in the workforce just makes sense. Jeff and Jackie see their skills and abilities, and as an employer realizes the benefit they bring to the workforce; the same as any other Driving Force employee. I asked why Jeff and Jackie chose to support the SACL and become Inclusion Champions. Their response was simply, “We believe in supporting the communities that support our business.” Thank you Jeff and Jackie for being Inclusion Champions and supporting the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living.




to. Simple things that others took for granted, were a major ordeal and our frustration was great. We realized that if we felt this way, other parents who are in similar circumstances must feel the same way.

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 Yorkton Branch for their support and the programs they provide for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families.

We live in the community of Preeceville, and the history and lives of those with special needs that came before Ian, were not all encouraging to us. Finding parents to talk to and get support from were not readily available. As I began to seek out support I was actually taken across the province to Meadow Lake to the People Advocating for Children with Exceptionalities (PACE) group. PACE then directed me to the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL).


The Yorkton Branch of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) was recently re-established in June 2011 through the committed efforts of Yorkton Branch members; in particular SACL Director at Large Kim Sandager, and Yorkton Branch President Susan Quiring. An ongoing activity of the Yorkton Branch is a Zany Included Peoples Social (ZIPS) night. This event is aimed for youth 1625 years, and was the first initiative taken by the new Yorkton Branch. The Yorkton Branch’s primary goal is to increase membership and connect with more families. They are hoping to have a Recruitment Fun Day on April 13, 2013! They are also hoping to host a summer ball game and BBQ this year. If you would like to be involved with any of these events call us at 1 (306) 955-3344 or email us at

It has been invaluable to be connected to a large group that has even greater understanding than I do, of what challenges we will face along this road. The issues that we know are coming, but are not yet ready to face - the SACL is already working on. I really believed that if I was feeling unconnected, then other parents must be feeling the same way. My first chance to connect with other parents was on our local Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECIP) Board. These parents took a special interest in their children’s life and we began our Yorkton Branch of the SACL. We initiated the Yorkton Branch in hope of reaching more parents and families, and tying them into the network. It has been a slow start, but it helps me get through my day knowing that there are parents out there that are dealing with very similar things, and that we are connected through similar experiences and services. As I type this, I am preparing for a progress meeting at the school today. I am completely aware of how much time goes into making sure all of Ian’s experiences go smoothly. I am lucky enough to have a school team that wants to keep me involved, but the difference between my typical child and Ian

Kim and Susan are active and involved women in their communities. Kim’s dedication and vision brought EveryBODY’s Playground to Preeceville. While Susan is currently the chair to the committee dedicated to building Yorkton’s first accessible playground. Both women took the initiative to rebuild SACL’s Yorkton Branch. They are taking the initiative to grow their branch. And they will continue taking the initiative to ensure that the SACL and the Yorkton Branch are there for families.

Kim’s Story BY KIM SANDAGER When my son, Ian, was born in 2006 I was completely unprepared. As I look back on it, I realize that my floundering wasn’t related to having a new baby. I just didn’t know where Ian would fit and what his future would look like. There were many unanswered questions. As my husband and I continued on this special journey, we realized that we hit many roadblocks and had daily struggles that other parents could not relate


are huge. For my older son, I get two 15 minute meetings a year. With Ian I get a two hour meeting each month. Advocating does not come naturally, and without parents around me who understand my challenges, sharing their experience (both positive and negative), I would find it hard to improve in this area. It is easy to feel unreasonable and demanding, but our children deserve it.

Susan’s Story BY SUSAN QUIRING At Christmas time, 2010, my family and I were at a party. I was visiting with some ladies in the living room and the conversation turned to my daughter, Emma at school. Emma had just finished her first semester of Kindergarten. One lady had some questions about Emma in the classroom. I proudly explained that Emma was in the classroom with the other kids and working on the same curriculum, and that she had a full time Educational Assistant to assist her in her daily routine. In response, she told me that she didn’t think it was fair that kids like Emma should be in the classroom with “other” kids, because the other kids suffer due to the extra attention Emma may require. At that moment, I didn’t know what to say... The following March, as the parent of a child with an intellectual disability, I had the pleasure of attending the Values, Vision and Action Workshop that was co-sponsored by the SACL and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL). Despite seeing the agenda in advance, I admittedly had no idea what the workshop would entail, and how much it would change my life and how I advocate for my daughter. The workshop taught us all about the community living movement. I learned about inclusion and the profound difference that it has made for people with intellectual disabilities. I learned about the hardships of segregated living and segregated schools, and how the movement has changed and continues to change so much of that. I left there feeling inspired by the people that I met and empowered by what I had learned.

show how much better kids with intellectual disabilities do when included in the classroom, but also show how much the other children benefit as well. Children learn to be more compassionate and helpful, and they are willing to accept diversity. I have the pleasure of witnessing this firsthand. Emma’s peers include Emma just like any other child, and they are always willing to help her, whether they are bringing her walker closer, holding a door or volunteering to help with her reading. Many parents of other children in Emma’s classroom have told me how proud they are to see their children treat Emma as an equal. Nobody in this scenario - not the kids, not the parents, not the educators, see this as being unfair. When I was interviewed for the SACL video that is available at, one of the questions that the producer asked me, was “What does inclusion mean to you?” I know what inclusion means to me. Inclusion to me is having my Emma be given the opportunity to play and laugh and learn, just like every child. As she grows up, I want her to be successful in school, be productive in her work and be accepted for who she is. In other words, the same things you and I want for ourselves and what you want for your own children. For me however, the road travelled to get those things for my daughter, may be a little different compared to some of you. Because of some amazing parents before me, and the work of the SACL, my Emma has been given some wonderful opportunities. But through my involvement with the SACL I have learned that the opportunities that she has been given, are not necessarily a given for the future without the work and support of the SACL. As advocates and support for people with intellectual disabilities, the SACL plays a crucial role in perpetuating inclusion. As we work to grow the new Yorkton Branch, we are also committed to keeping the movement going.

Most importantly, I learned how to respond to people like the lady at that party. I learned that every child benefits from inclusion... not just my Emma. There are studies that not only

The SACL is updating Road Map to the Future: A Financial Planning Guide for Families of People with Disabilities The SACL has contracted Dr. Rita McLeod to update Road Map to the Future, which she prepared for the SACL in 2003. The purpose of this publication is to help families with their financial planning, as well as answer questions they may have about the planning process. Rita is interested in talking to families who have done their planning, as well as families who are looking for answers, so that we make sure that the publication responds adequately to needs of families. If you are interested in talking to Rita or if you have any questions, you can contact her by email at or through the SACL.



EveryBODY’s Playground - Preeceville, Saskatchewan

EveryBODY’s Playground

BY KIM SANDAGER On October 2, 2012, EveryBODY’s playground opened in Preeceville, Saskatchewan. The initiative for EveryBODY’s playground took form when I was in Saskatoon for appointments with my son Ian. We had stopped to check out an accessible playground. Ian was in heaven! He drove his wheelchair all over the playground, and was able to go where all the other kids went. It was amazing to see the joy on his face. I quickly decided I would do whatever I had to do so that my child could play alongside his friends. When we left the playground I was excited and determined to move forward and make something happen in my community. I started looking for information and funding options. I researched prices and manufacturers, and I soon came to realize that getting a playground structure that would fit the needs of the community while allowing Ian to play alongside his peers would cost a small fortune. $135,000 to be exact!

I brought up the need to the school division to check their commitment or contribution to my vision. They quickly let me know that it was a project for the community, and that they would not be able to provide any financial assistance. I learned that most playgrounds were paid for with grant money and fundraising. We


started to research and apply for grants, but found ourselves ineligible for many due to certain restrictions. After learning this we did not know how we would raise $135,000. Fortunately, we have been blessed to have people come along who believe in this project and have supported it in a big way.


The Run for Those Who Roll was our kickoff fundraiser, taking place the last week of August 2010. We held 3 runs, raising approximately $25,000 per event from pledges, registration fees, sponsorship and hamburger sales! Other fundraising events included a spaghetti dinner with silent auction and raffle, a cook book sale, bake sales, a WestJet Raffle and a Motorcycle rally. We were also able to receive sponsorship from the Community Initiative Fund/ Community Vitality Program, One Stop Playground/Henderson Recreation, the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living, Access Communications Children’s Fund, and Cinco Development. Each of these sponsors was critical in making the vision for EveryBODY’s playground a reality. There are individuals that helped me immensely through this initiative and were amazing supports. Melissa was my hands and feet. She was who I called and who I cried with when we hit some walls. She did most of the leg work and did

almost all of the paperwork. I could not have done it without her. She acted as the treasurer; she completed applications, she wrote most of the letters, and got things in the mail. When we did events, she was the main organizer. She was amazing and it still brings tears to my eyes when I think about her dedication and commitment. She has a son that goes to school with Ian, and a daughter that will start preschool in a couple of years. She is an amazing friend. Thank you Melissa. Another friend, Michelle, was also available whenever we needed her. When we were feeling overwhelmed we would go to her; she gave us amazing guidance, and steered us back in the right direction. She arranged volunteers for all of our events so that Melissa and I did not have to worry about that part. Thank you Michelle. There were numerous volunteers that helped out that I cannot thank enough. Everyone who gave us an encouraging word throughout this initiative I am also very thankful for. My family and my husband, Craig, believed completely in our vision and was a huge encouragement. Craig was great, and when it was time to install, I was able to put that on his shoulders. Thank you Craig. Watching the playground being built was extremely exciting and gratifying. The finished playground area consists of approximately 3000 square feet of a special rubber cushion material on the ground, and the play structure in the centre of the space has wheelchair ramp access. This playground allows all children to play and interact alongside their peers while offering a fun, safe and challenging place for children to interact.

on Ian’s face the first time he went on the playground. One of Ian’s classmates said, “Now Ian can go on the playground. Before he couldn’t and was just able to sit and watch.” A friend of mine said, “every time they come to town they would stop so her preschoolers could have a chance to play.” Another friend said, “every time she drives by there are children playing. No one is feeling left out because they can’t keep up. For children that are a little more hesitant, they can challenge themselves and still be part of the action. Everyone is safe and included.” It is not just the child with the disability that benefits from inclusion, it’s all the children that play on it and what valuable lessons they learn from including everyone. Thank you again to everyone who was part of this initiative. The SACL logo on the sponsor panel for EveryBODY’s Playground

Ian’s Vice Principle told me that he would never forget the look

University of Saskatchewan Best Buddies 1st Annual Steak Night Fundraiser BY ANDREA YOUNG SACL YOUTH PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Best Buddies Mission: To establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. On November 29, with over 90 participants in this year’s University of Saskatchewan’s Best Buddies program, we decided a great way to raise money for our chapter would be to have an annual steak night fundraiser. Lauren Hampton a Buddy and member of the executive team, made the suggestion

at our first meeting in September. We are thrilled that she did, as it turned out to be a huge success! At the end of the evening we were overwhelmed with the amount of community support and participation to such a wonderful program. Our 1st annual steak night was held at the Sutherland bar, with 118 tickets sold, along with a 50/50 draw and silent auction we raised 2,075.50! Thank you to all the local businesses that donated to our silent auction, and to Lauren Hampton and the Hampton family; without their hard work promoting Best Buddies and collecting donations, the silent auction would not have been possible. Also, to all 92 Best Buddies participants thank you for your incredible energy and involvement. What a difference friendship makes!




A Weekend for Moms BY BONNIE CHEREWYK SACL COMMUNICATIONS AND RESEARCH ADVOCATE The Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) held its annual Mom’s Weekend Retreat February 8-10, 2013 in Saskatoon. There were 22 moms in attendance; from the communities of Regina, Alvena, Saskatoon, North Battleford, Creighton, Moose Jaw, Humboldt, Prince Albert, Meadow Lake and Shaunavon. Friday night the moms relaxed, introduced themselves and shared their stories. Family Network Coordinator, Lynn Schaan said, “It is always amazing how we can bring mothers who previously haven’t know each, and within a few hours have built relationships and lifelong friendships.” On Saturday the group heard presentations from Self-Advocate Will Rogers, Sibling Network Member, Adam Schaan and Stephan Bourassa from Milestones Occupational Therapy. The

group participated in a pottery class in the afternoon and sang karaoke in the evening. I joined the group for lunch on Saturday.

OTHER MOMS ARE THE BEST RESOURCE As soon as I walked in the room I felt the energy, love and compassion from these amazing women. It was a group from which I was an outsider looking in. Hearing these wonderful women talk, ask questions and share experiences brought to light the love of a parent. I asked for their thoughts on the mom’s retreat so far, and what this means to them. Statements made included: “This is my only holiday throughout the year.” “It is nice to be called by your own name


for once instead of just someone’s mom.” The mom’s retreat is a means to better equip moms to advocate for their children. One mom said, “This is great way to find out what other people are doing, and see what other avenues are out there.” Another mom said, “They know what works and what doesn’t. They know the reality because they live it.” More comments included: “Hearing other mom’s stories is so valuable. Important to hear: what did they do and how did they do it.” “Other moms are the best resource.” Lynn Schaan has been the Family Network coordinator for almost 7 years. She has seen moms grow, and she has seen how the network has guided them to become stronger and more confident advocates. Lynn commented, “I feel privileged to see the power that connecting mothers at events has on the bigger community. The impact this one event has on the broader community is amazing.”

For some moms this was their first retreat. One mom commented, “I never thought I would fit in this group.” But she does. Other feedback from moms included: “This is fantastic.” “The other moms here today give me understanding.” This weekend has given moms the chance to feel comfortable talking about their struggles. Because of the conversations this weekend at least one mom is leaving more hopeful, with a new determination to never give up. One mom stated, “Through this weekend I will find more tools to use.” Lynn connects families throughout the province who have individuals in their families with disabilities. “What a big web we are building across the province” says Lynn. “Families sometimes feel isolated or alone, but they shouldn’t have to.” Lynn introduces families to people who share the same experiences. This creates that provincial web, so no family is left alone. These women are the biggest advocate for their children. They know their children’s abilities; they take the initiative to ensure that those abilities are recognized. They take the initiative to create change. They take the initiative to make inclusion a reality. They take the initiative to take the stand, even if it is not a popular stand; to make a difference for not only their children, but future generations to come. Thank you for allowing me to see a glimpse of this.


The Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) first met Trevor in 2008. Trevor who has Autism was working on a transition plan from high school to the workforce. He was enrolled in the school’s work experience program, but he was having a hard time focusing on the job. His team was also having difficulty arranging new work placements that may lead to employment. A team, including Trevor, his parents, his teacher, and a SACL Employment, Education and Transition Facilitator met to discuss Trevor’s goals and interests, along with his parent’s dreams for him, and a plan on how to achieve these goals. Trevor was very interested in animals, music and buses. Stemming from Trevor’s interests, the team came up with the idea of Trevor trying a work experience of cleaning buses for the City of Saskatoon. His teacher and the SACL approached this idea to the employer, and with the Education Assistant’s (EA) support, Trevor became quite successful. The EA acted as a job coach to reinforce safety and to teach Trevor the tasks of the job. Trevor was successful in independently taking the city bus and arriving on time for his work experience. During Trevor’s work experience, his teacher and the SACL met with the City of Saskatoon in regards to offering Trevor summer employment. They discussed the

Student Employment Experience Program, and supports that were available for Trevor. The City of Saskatoon was receptive and carved out a position for him. Trevor was hired part-time with a job coach because the employer was initially concerned about Trevor’s safety around the buses. This was not a position the City of Saskatoon had previously employed, but they saw that Trevor was providing a much needed service. The City of Saskatoon was also able to apply for a wage subsidy to cover a portion of Trevor’s wages. Trevor’s summer employment was successful, and the City of Saskatoon decided that Trevor’s employment could continue. The City of Saskatoon also chose to pay Trevor’s complete salary once they revamped their budget to include this position. Trevor has now worked for the City of Saskatoon for over 4 years; he is working approximately 30 hours per week independently, and most importantly he is enjoying his job and making a meaningful contribution to Canada’s labour market.



Taylor’s Recycling Pick-Up BY BONNIE CHEREWYK SACL COMMUNICATIONS AND RESEARCH ADVOCATE Taylor Layton has now made recycling easy in Outlook, Saskatchewan. All that Taylor’s 33 customers have to do is put their recycled items in the black Taylor’s Recycling bins, and leave the bin outside. Taylor then picks up the bin every Monday. Customers do not even have to sort their recycling. They just place everything in the bin. I must say I wish I had this option in Saskatoon! Taylor’s mom, Eloise wanted her daughter to have choice; a job and a career she chooses and a job she enjoys doing. “She is young and the world is at her feet. I don’t want to limit her,” said Eloise. Eloise first met Jeannine Harlton, the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living’s (SACL) Employment, Education and Transition Facilitator at the school for a Transition meeting. At the transition meeting they began to talk about options and job carving. Jeannine explained, “When I first met Taylor I was invited by her mom to come to a transition meeting. It was a real honour to sit at the table with a young woman, who knew what she did and did not want in life. Through the Student Experience Program, the SACL can administer funding for students who want to work out in the community. We helped with Taylor’s supports such as providing funding for a job coach/ business manager.” When they didn’t find something in

Outlook that was a good fit for Taylor, Eloise decided to take a different approach. Eloise knew that she would pay someone to do her recycling, so she thought why not give that a try? “I talked to a few of my friends and received their support. Jeannine was very supportive, and the SACL offered to help with startup costs,” Eloise said.

Before Taylor’s Recycling Pick-Up, the only option was to sort and deliver your recycling to the recycling centre yourself. Tammy said, “I now find that I am recycling a lot more!”


Community support has been amazing. Rick Pederson, the town foreman has lent Taylor labeling tools to label all the bins, and Taylor has been offered the opportunity to display a business sign at the recycling depot.

Taylor’s Recycling Pick-up began in October 2011. Tammy Felix was Taylor’s first customer. It all started with Eloise phoning Tammy to ask what she thought of the idea. Tammy thought it was a great idea! Tammy said, “I love recycling, but I just hate doing recycling. This granted me an opportunity to recycle and feel good about that without having to do the work. That is what I liked about this. It was a job with a meaning for Taylor. It wasn’t just a job created to give her a job; it was a job with value. It has been fun watching it grow, and seeing how many people are on board and supporting the business. It is a needed business in this town.” Jeannine said, “One unique thing about Taylor’s business is that you don’t have to sort everything out.” Huge selling point! “The laziest option is throwing it all away. The second laziest option is throwing it in the bin.”


Taylor’s business is providing a huge service to the community of Outlook and the environment. And the best part is you can receive this service for only $20/month in Outlook!

Taylor is a vibrant young lady who loves life. Taylor very powerfully states, “I am the daughter of Eloise. I am the granddaughter of Elsie. I love exercising every day, I love music, I love singing, I love dancing, I love making everybody happy and I love everybody! I just want to be a normal girl. I’m 19.” Taylor especially loves her mom and appreciates Eloise’s support. Taylor said, “I love my mom very much. She is just an amazing mom. My mom is my role model, she is my hero and she is a very special person.” Taylor also loves her business. She said “I love recycling. I’m so happy to have my own business. I love my job so much. I like being my own boss.” As soon as I met Taylor I knew she had excellent customer service skills. She knows the names of all her customers. Eloise said, “When we take new customers

a bin, Taylor introduces herself and shakes their hand. She has such a good memory. She never forgets a name.” Tammy said, “Taylor’s customer service is fantastic, and she always takes time to say hello, if you are outside or around.” “She genuinely cares about every client” said Eloise. I asked Taylor who helped her start her business. Her immediate response is her mom. She also tells me about Carrie Jamison, her job coach/business manager/friend. I did not have the opportunity to meet Carrie, but from Taylor’s and Eloise’s comments I know that Carrie is a key support person for Taylor. Taylor also told me, “I love my customers. Just please please please no garbage! I don’t pick up garbage!” And like any other business, Taylor also has overdue accounts.


On Saturday, March 2nd, “Read All about It” returned for a 5th year at Chapters/ Indigo locations across Canada! The event featured special guests, and a great chance to promote friendship and reading together. The event also coincides with Best Buddies Month! Throughout the month of March, Best Buddies Canada chapters will all be holding chapter events, celebrating

When I asked Taylor what she could teach other people about owning their own business she said, “Just don’t give up. I always say, ‘look you can do it because I believe you can do this.’ No one can be yourself but you. You have to find your power.” Laurine, Taylor’s Education Assistant has seen Taylor grow and become more confident from her business. “There has been a huge change in the way you walk in the school, and the way you greet everybody in the halls” Laurine tells Taylor.

employee! “Taylor works hard and she has such a good attitude” said Eloise. While Taylor has been busy growing her business, she was anonymously nominated for Outlook’s 2012 Youth of the Year. And not only nominated… Taylor was chosen as the 2012 Youth of the Year! Congratulations Taylor!

Jeannine also tells Taylor during our interview, “It’s all you girl! You have a lot of drive!” Taylor is so busy right now she may even be ready to hire her first

Read All About It friendship and promoting inclusion. This was the first time that “Read all About it” has taken place at our Indigo store in Saskatoon. With the event being held at locations across Canada for the past 4 years, we were very pleased to be included this year. Saskatoon’s “Read all About it” event was a great success with many members from our large University of Saskatchewan Best Buddies Chapter in attendance. We were thrilled to have Mayor Don Atchison come out and speak to our chapter on volunteerism. Buddy pairs enjoyed reading related games, Starbucks coffee and snacks, and used

their indigo gift cards to buy books. There was a good feeling of community and friendship in the air that day, Best Buddies University of Saskatchewan is looking forward to having the event in Saskatoon annually. During the first two weeks of March, a Best Buddies ad will also play before movies in select Cineplex theatres across the country, raising more awareness for our program.




The Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) presented Certain Proof: A Question of Worth at the Broadway Theatre on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Certain Proof is an American Documentary about three children with disabilities who struggle in the Education System. Three important themes that arise from this film are assumptions, inclusion and innovative teaching approaches.

up, he’s not good enough to be there. The truth is they don’t really know how to include him in the class.”

INCLUSION DOES BENEFIT EVERYONE Dr. Karen Erickson, Director for the Center of Literacy and Disability Studies in North Carolina stresses the importance of inclusion in the film when she states, “We know that children learn better from other children.” She further discusses

The film emphasizes the assumptions that are made about Kay, Josh and Colin. At the beginning of the film Josh’s mom states, “The world assumes he can’t learn, that’s the danger. Why not first assume that he understands everything? That’s the least we can do.” Colin moms further talks of a lack of understanding about children with disabilities from educators and peers. Kay’s mom said, “The teachers didn’t know her, none of them did, but they always point out what hurdles and problems we would have in the classroom. Their first assumption isn’t that she is an intelligent human being. It’s something that they have to be convinced of.” All three of the moms reference the assumptions that are made of their children. The film makes the audience aware that assumptions can be dangerous and that we need to begin moving away from these negative connotations. A main theme present in the film was inclusion and the importance of being included in the regular classroom. Educators in the film were not all accepting and supportive of an inclusive education setting. Colin’s mom states, “Colin is a smart kid, but when they pull him away from his 3rd grade friends their telling him he’s not good enough to keep

and innovative teaching approaches. Josh and Colin both showed that they were bored, and were tired of doing the same thing. In the film it shows Josh being asked to spell his name. Josh doesn’t respond to this. I understood Josh’s unresponsiveness to this to show that he is bored. How many times before this have they asked him to spell his name? In another scene the educator is asking Josh if he is feeling tired or happy. Josh is feeling mad, but the educator ignores this and keeps asking “are you tired” or “are you happy.” I counted her ask “are you tired” 4 times, and “are you happy” another 4 times. How frustrating. This scene was very impacting. Dr. Erickson explained, “If somebody asks you a question and you manage to get out a response and their only reply to that is to ask you to do it again. Just imagine how frustrating that would be.” When Dr. Karen Erickson is introduced in the film, the audience sees dynamic and stimulating education tools. The importance of this is for educators to look at new and innovative ways to teach. Educators need to be creative. Children need stimulating environments.

how research shows that children are more likely to learn if they are in a classroom with peers who find learning easier than they do, when compared to being in a classroom where all children have difficulty learning. The film focuses on the importance of inclusion, and demonstrates that inclusion does benefit everyone. No two children are the same, but classroom diversity helps children learn from each other; exposing them to a broad range of scenarios that will only strengthen their character and life experience. The film also shows the audience that if children are separated from the regular classroom, the idea of differences is just reinforced. Another important theme was creative


The documentary transitions to a period 2 ½ years later; where all three children are still frustrated. Josh’s mom says that he is still doing colors, shapes and numbers; things Josh’s mom knows he knows. Colin’s mom was able to keep Colin in a regular 6 grade classroom, but the school would not modify his work. Because of the pace Colin becomes frustrated and no longer enjoys school. In the end he is forced to transition to a separate classroom. Kay’s mom is more confident than the other 2 moms, but Kay’s frustration with the pace is still made very clear to the audience. In the end no school was willing to accommodate the child’s unique learning

needs in the regular classroom. The audience can leave this film with a new sense of awareness of what inclusion means and the need to dispel myths. The audience may also be inspired to start thinking of innovative teaching methods. The Director of Certain Proof, Ray Ellis explained, “Our purpose in producing this documentary is to lift the veil of disability, showing these unique and wonderful

children in a truer light. All children, regardless of disabilities, are able to learn in some way and it’s our job to figure out what that way is. We hope to dismantle dangerous assumptions and spur debate on better ways to individualize the public education system. Given the skills and education they deserve, these children can grow to become contributing and valuable members of their communities. Through the stories of Josh, Colin and Kay we see the potential these children

hold not only for themselves, but for the benefit of society.” Thank you to Adrienne Zakreski for recommending this film to the SACL.


The Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL) continues to work with the Valley View Centre Family Group and the Ministry of Social Services on the planned transition of Valley View Centre (VVC) residents to community based services and supports. Interim Report of the Transition Steering Committee On February 8, 2013, the SACL President Gloria Mahussier and the Valley View Centre Family Group Co-Chair June Avivi released the Interim Report of the Valley View Centre Transition Steering Committee to the Minister of Social Services June Draude. The interim report identified the values and principles used to guide the Valley View Centre Transition Planning. It highlighted the research completed and identified best practices in the provision of housing supports. It also included findings from the initial meetings that were held with all Valley View residents and/or their families. Most importantly, the interim report confirmed that there will not be one overarching and imposed plan, but rather 198 unique, person-centred plans to meet the diverse needs of each Valley View Centre resident. The interim report also identified next steps and future direction for the transition. On the release of this report, the SACL President Gloria Mahussier stated, “Being able to present this report to the Minister is welcomed. Drawing

from the comprehensive research the team has gathered throughout Western Canada, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we are prepared to take the next step in developing a list of recommendations and ensuring each individual will have a transition plan that includes choice, a support network and flexibility to meet their individual needs.” The interim report is available online at A full report, which will include recommendations, is expected to be released in the next few months. Ready, Set, Go Initiative

Transition Plan Advocate, Wanda Jonas

The VVC Transition Steering Committee and the VVC Transition Team, which includes representatives from the SACL, VVC Family Group and the Ministry of Social Services have also introduced the Ready, Set, Go initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to create an opportunity for the individuals living at VVC to have a voice regarding the changes in their lives that will occur, and to develop new knowledge and skills to support their transition. The objectives are: • To give the individuals currently living at VVC additional opportunities to voice and discuss their concerns, hopes, fears and desires regarding the transition to new homes in the community. • To offer skills building and learning opportunities. Both the SACL and Valley View Centre Family Group will look at providing support for the Ready, Set, Go initiative. This initiative is planned to begin March 2013, with meetings occurring twice

per month. This will be a collaborative initiative between VVC residents, ministry representatives, VVC staff and the SACL. Alberta’s Michener Centre Announcement On March 11, 2013 the Government of Alberta announced that they will transition 125 adults with intellectual disabilities from the North and South buildings at Michener Centre in Red Deer Alberta to community homes. With this announcement it is even more apparent that Canadian jurisdictions are moving away from institutional care for persons with disabilities to community based services and supports. Transition Plan Advocates Wanda Jonas and Michele Fitzpatrick are the SACL’s two Transition Plan Advocates located at VVC. Michele recently joined the team. One of the things the SACL loves about Michele is that she believes “...of course the residents of VVC can live in community, they are no different than you or me.”



Nomination Deadline is May 3, 2013

Celebrate Inclusion in Your School

For some teachers and schools, meaningful inclusion of students with intellectual and other disabilities is the norm. Together with parents, students and community members, they figure out ways to make it happen. The Saskatchewan Association for Community Living believes that meaningful inclusion is always the best practice, and we want to offer parents, peers, students and community members the opportunity to nominate either an individual teacher or a whole school to receive the Inclusion Teacher or Inclusion School of the Year Award. How do you know if a school or teacher is achieving inclusion? Ask these questions: Is your child: • Using the same facilities, rooms, resources as typical students? • Attending a neighbourhood school, learning side by side with peers in a regular classroom? • Encouraged and supported to build friendships? • Appearing in the yearbook and class photos? • Given a locker in a typical location? • Expected to arrive at school jobs and responsibilities with typical students? INCLUSION TEACHER OR INCLUSION SCHOOL OF THE YEAR NOMINATION FORM Nominator:












Attach covering letter and any other supporting documentation, letters of support, photographs, newspaper clippings, etc. Note: When gathering your supporting documentation, please remember the following questions. • What are the specifics about the nominee’s involvement with the SACL? (If pertinent to this particular nomination) • What specific activities has the nominee been involved with that lead you to see this person as a deserving award recipient? • What particular contributions has this person made? Please be specific. • What awards has the nominee already received? • How do families, individuals, and communities benefit from the contribution made by the nominee? Send to:

The SACL Inclusive Education Award Committee 3031 Louise Street Saskatoon, SK S7J 3L1


GENTLE TEACHING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE Saskatoon, Saskatchewan CANADA September 17 - 19, 2013 We are pleased to announce that the 2013 Gentle Teaching International Conference will once again be hosted in Saskatoon Saskatchewan! This 3 day event, held at the beautiful Sheraton Cavalier Hotel, will offer a unique opportunity for local professionals in human services, education and justice, as well as families, individuals in care, and others interested in developing cultures of peace for marginalized people, to share ideas from around the globe about what it means to cultivate a spirit of gentleness in the lives of individuals in need of support. Included will be interactive sessions that will address questions such as: • How can parents and child care providers build peaceful family cultures? • How can I include Gentle Teaching in my classroom? • What are some ways to build my organization on the foundation of Gentle Teaching?



• What does the research say about how Gentle Teaching affects care? • What does the future entail for Gentle Teaching efforts in Canada and around the world? This year, we will also celebrate the life and teachings of our mentor and friend, Dr. John McGee, who founded the Gentle Teaching movement over 30 years ago. This memorial celebration will take place the evening of Monday, September 16th at the Top of the Inn, Sheraton Hotel, and is included with your registration. Registration will be open soon. Be sure to check our website www.gti2013 regularly for important updates, including registration details, speaker announcements, and ways to contribute to the Dr. John McGee Memorial evening. We hope you will join us! For more information, please contact Connie Jones, Event Manager at connie@

Karmen served as Behaviour Consultant for the Cognitive Disability Strategy from 2008 to 2012, and currently serves in a similar role for Prairie South School Division. Karmen is dedicated to new, life-giving interpretations of behaviour, capturing the fullest participation of the child and the implementation of non-aversive interventions. Come to be inspired; leave with hope, courage and practical ideas.

SACL Partners

Division of Sonepar Canada Inc.

Support individuals with intellectual disabilities in Saskatchewan

1. Fill the bag with gently used clothing. 2. Bring your bag to our Avalon Donation Drop-O Centre: #5 - 2605 Broadway Ave South, Saskatoon (Bags are also available at the address listed above)

3. Enter a draw to win a free iPad! Visit our website at or phone us at 306.477.2171 for more information.

The Wireless Age - a Community Partner of the Saskatchewan Institute on Community Living

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PM40063438 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: SACL 3031 Louise Street Saskatoon, SK S7J 3L1 Email: Telephone: (306) 955-3344


Dialect - Spring 2013  

Newsmagazine of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living

Dialect - Spring 2013  

Newsmagazine of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living