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Welcome to the May e-newsletter for Spectrum’s Inclusive Learning, Research and Press

April 30, 2013

Sheenagh Morrison, Doug Wollard and Moira Stillwell with the Community Action Employment Plan graphic.

It seems like everywhere you go these days, people are talking about employment and people with disabilities.  And one of the people doing some of the talking is our own Sheenagh Morrison, who so capably has been interviewing people in our “Research on Researchers” series.  We’re excited to see a new level of accountability and interest in employment for people with disabilities as it comes up often when we support groups of self advocates.   Employment addresses several related issues – poverty, isolation, safeguards, self concept.   In one of our recent facilitation sessions self advocates identified a dolphin as something magical, unexpected and transformational in their lives.  What was really interesting is that all the dolphins they talked about were around jobs that they’d had, or were working at.   For them, that was where the magic was.

At this month’s Cheryl’s Star Raft Salon we were excited to have the opportunity to talk to Sasha Stone, a former employee of Jay Nolan Services in Los Angeles, where she worked for Cindy and Jeff Strulley – these are names famous in the dialogue around person centred services and one of the questions people asked Sasha about was whether there was a focus on employment for *all* – not just people who were articulate and could present themselves well but folks with more significant challenges.   Sasha said, “There’s so many jobs out there that people can do, we just need to meet with them and find out what they love and then find the place where that happens.   There’s a job for everyone.”

We have a busy busy month ahead.   Spectrum is co-hosting the Inclusion B.C. 2013 Conference, WE Are Community: Defining Inclusion.  Susan Powell and the folks from the ABC’s of Ability book will be doing a presentation that should be great.   Dr Powell is also presenting in Chicago this autumn at a literacy and disability conference.

We’ll also have a Spectrum Press book table and different folks from Inclusive Learning and Research will be presenting on a range of topics.   On May 16th I will be telling a brief story, “Let’s Call Her Rachel,” at the InCommon TV event, Interconnected: Stories that Weave Our Social Fabric.   On May 25th and 26th we’re thrilled to be partnering with other Community Building organizations and Phoenix Perennials, which has great plants and is donating 25% of sales to us if you mention our name.  You can read more about it below.   On May 30th, Shelley Nessman, Barb Goode and I will be presenting on Person Centred Planning: The State of the Art, for TASH in an interactive webinar.  

If you’re in any of these places, do say hello and stop for a chat!  On a nearly last note, have you heard about the 2013 BC Summer Institute for Inclusive Learning?  It’s an amazing line-up of speakers and workshops and oriented towards action planning – if you haven’t checked it out, please do, and if you know someone who might be interested, please share it with them.   This is hosted by the Family Support Institute and they’re one of our favourite organizations.

And on a very last note, Susan, Ernie and I want to thank everyone responsible for organizing the Big Picture award which we received last month.   What an amazing evening!  Thanks to all those who had anything to do with it and thanks to all our friends who attended.   It meant a lot.  Aaron

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