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Pat Fratangelo and Onondaga Community Living

February 1, 2011

Pat Fratangelo and friends, by Jules Andre-Brown

We’ve had the good fortune to spend more than a few days with Pat Fratangelo, of Onondaga Community Living, and she’s always great to stop and patiently answer our questions – but we always come away wanting more.    So recently we created an opportunity to sit down with her for a day, with some of the leaders we work with and respect, and talk about new ways of focusing on pers0n-centredness, network-driven supports and agency transformation: what needs to happen in order for relationships to be priorised?

Pat is a lucid, clear thinker, centred in her values and draws on her own wide range of experience and also those of other organizations and agencies that work hard to maintain a similar focus.   It’s always enlightening to spend time with her.

After about an hour of an overview of Onondaga’s work and experiences, we opened up the floor to questions and had a great conversation about accountabilities at various levels, building in safeguards so that people can be most autonomous and self-directed, how to support individuals to participate in their own hiring and other kinds of decision-making, monitoring and augmentative communication, the roles that an organization’s staff might have to think of differently and how budgets might work as people transition to models of support.

It was great to hear about Pat’s experience, and to have her share stories of similar organizations, and to have a chance to ask some questions.    Spectrum’s new strategic plan focuses on supporting networks and partnerships that will help individuals drive their own services, so this was timely information.

To read more about Pat’s organization, check out their site, or their blog in which she updates people about her experiences, or this essay, which is quite well known: “How Rules Push Away Friends.”

from Pat’s blog, about her day with us:

One of the big questions of the day was what are the hallmarks of true person centered and person directed services? The answers we learned are not all that clear as so much is subtle. We talked about decrease in behavior problems, decrease in incidents, decrease in medications, people being at more peace with themselves and happier with their life. We all agree that personalized budgets are of paramount importance. When all knew that when people have a champion in their life and a good support circle, life is susually more self fullfilled and happy. Everyone agreed that each person needs to be in the pilot seat of their service. And everyone agreed that flexibility was necessary as a person’s needs changes over time.

OCL very much sees those at Spectrum Society as a sister agency sharing the road of moving down new and different paths in the journey of supporting people in the manner that they need and want.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 1, 2011 2:40 pm

    It was great to work with the staff from Spectrum. I had met them through doing a two week course with Michael Kendrick on indivudal service design. I also had the great opportuinity to be with a group of them at the TASH Conference in Denver and very much enjoyed their presentations. They are gracious to say what they are learning from me but I can also say that I am learning from them. Spectrum is a leader in helping people to have friends and connections in the community. They have work with the Provincial government, CLBC, to put together some publications on how tomake friends. Susan is great with writing and Aaron is a great artist. The blend together is perfect.

    Ernie, Susan and Aaron plan to come for t visit in the summer of 2011. I am also asking them to do a community presentation as I feel their knowledge is so much in line to where NY state is headed.
    See our blog at

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