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Hey! Is this a good idea? Cool wallet sized mini-e-zine to print :)

June 17, 2014


Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 12.10.47 AMI got this idea from my friend graphic facilitator Brandy Agerbeck who made a mini-e-zine about budgeting (it’s great and you can print out hers on this site).   Brandy’s theory was that we all have good intentions but when we’re out and about, those intentions get lost in the decision-making moment.  For example, “I wanted to save money for a holiday but then I found these great shoes…”

In the field of supports for folks with disabilities one of the things we often run into is called “the implementation gap” – the space between the plan you help the person create and the life they live.  They might say they want a job, but when you meet with them a year later what they’ve got is a Special Olympics swimming program, or they are volunteering for something no one without a disability would volunteer to do.   So, compelled by our friend the excellent photo-shop technician Haley who says we’re not cool, I thought this might kill two birds.  E-Zines are cool and people could print it out and carry it in their wallet.  As they got ready to make a choice about an activity they were going to support a person to do, they could pull out their ezine and test the idea (to download the ezine go to the bottom of the page and download the PDF version which is sized to be printed on regular sheets of paper).

BelongingZineFor example, our daughter wanted to learn how to cook independently; her supports did various things ranging from cooking with her in our home to cooking with her at their home to helping her join a community kitchen where she cooked with other people.  A difficulty is that once a thing is done, it tends to become habitual.  A somewhat successful cooking event at the staff’s home quickly became a weekly event.  Using the “Hey! Does this seem like a good idea?” e-zine they might have quickly tested their ideas on the activity by scanning the ezine.

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If the potential activity passes the first test, we move on to the second set of questions, which are about what supports are necessary to support the activity, for the worker/parent/guide and the person being supported:

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Page four is really just reminders of the “bigger picture” of life as we all want to experience it – with choices, opportunities to lead, safeguards to make sure we are okay, a job and increased interdependence – to be needed, to be with others who know they are needed.   Page five looks at what the support person needs – we can’t expect people to do these things out of the blue (even though we’ve been pretty much expecting that for 50 years).

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Pages six offers some tips to make sure the person is introduced and that the support person has a clear role.  “Assisting with communication” is different than speaking for the person.  Introducing someone by talking about their assets is something that we need to consciously remember in a system where most of the person’s supports depend on them being perceived as having deficits.  Spending a little time rehearsing what will happen, who will be there and various details of an event is a good idea for everyone!   Page seven returns to the idea of interdependence – reminding us that none of us are alone and that problems can be best solved in teams of supporters when they do arise.  Part of this idea is that we want to be remembering that connections are important considerations in our supports – recent research demonstrates they are the most important factors for us to consider.

I was concerned when I first made this zine that people might be offended by the idea that they don’t know how to make these decisions, but I’ve given it out in a few workshops now and people seem to like and appreciate it.  Sometimes I think we don’t need things like this, but then I ran into two people this week who were horrified by the the under-achievements of people who got hours of support that weren’t being well-used.   In a world where the implementation gap between people’s plans (assuming they have a good plan) and their actual lives is immense we can’t just pretend that things are okay, and must address the reality of the gap.   If you have thoughts about how it could be made better, please let me know in the comments or by email

You can download a PDF to make copies of here: BelongingZine   To learn how to fold this mini-e-zine from a one page printing, check out this post on my Pinterest site.  If you’d like to reprint this in your newsletter or other media, please feel free to use any of these images, with links or attributions back to this blog,

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