"Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements."
~ Napoleon Hill

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

I was really looking forward to doing a one-day workshop in Bedford in October - October 19th, to be
precise. I say "was" because at the moment it's not looking so good.

You see, there's this great parent advocate in Bedford who offered to host the presentation. Last year, we put on a half-day workshop, but this year she agreed to host the whole shebang:

  • Understanding the Legal Options to Support an Adult with an Intellectual Disability;
  • Protecting Your Child's Financial Future;
  • Government Money Most Families Leave on the Table

We have repeatedly asked people to pre-register with Jocelyn but .... alas, this has not been happening.

So, please, anyone who is interested in attending, do pre-register with Jocelyn

And for anyone who wasn't planning on attending but now thinks maybe they should (because you really should*, you know) .... well, you know the drill.

* Of course, it's entirely possible that I could be biased,but, speaking as one family member to another family member, this is information you really need to know.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I Get By ... With a Little Help From My Friends

I came across this on FaceBook* the other day - you will see that it purports to tell us how each of Nova Scotia's three mainstream political parties has promised to address the needs of families of children with special needs in the early years:

Perhaps it's not fair to say *purports*; after all it does qualify itself to "the early years".

Having said that, here are my thoughts:

It looks like the NDP column is missing that latest announcement about "closing institutions, a more individualized approach in terms of care and funding, and a new emphasis on changing mainstream services to better accommodate people with disabilities". Just for the record, that announcement also included rewriting the Incompetent Persons Act**, the Adult Protection Act and the Homes for Special Care Act.

Does anyone else get the impression that the PC are looking towards Charter schools? You've got to like that promise to pass a Tuition Support Program Act but I have to wonder what their "ensure all children are ready to learn" promise actually translates into ... specifics, people, specifics.

It would appear that the Liberals are the only ones to even mention the "Lifespan Needs for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder" document (good on them), but then again it's only a promise to *review the recommendations*, not actually implement them.

Who? Me?? Cynical?!

So, does anyone else have any other thoughts on these platforms?

* With thanks to Catherine in the Choice Words group.

** Rewriting the Incompetent Persons Act would be huge - currently Nova Scotia has the dubious distinction of having the most archaic guardianship system in the country. And it wouldn't take a lot of work - the Law Reform Commission offered a new draft Act back in 1995.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Remember What Mama Always Said ...

I generally try not to stray too close to the issue of politics on this blawg; after all, you know what Mama always said about polite dinner table conversation.


There is an election coming up, isn't there? Why, yes, I thought I heard something about that.  So when this showed up in m inbox today, I decided to pass it on. Just consider me the messenger.

And please remember what else Mama said ....

Don't Shoot the Messenger
Good afternoon,

I am writing to you from the Nova Scotia Association for Community Living -  a province wide association of family members and others working for the benefit of persons of all ages who have an intellectual disability. We work strategically with other disability rights organizations and, in particular, with Nova Scotia People First. 
 We are encouraged by the recent announcement from the Dexter government regarding the proposed transformation of Services for Persons with Disabilities. The Roadmap  is well worth the read - Choice, Equality and Good Lives in Inclusive Communities. You are also invited to read NSACL`s response to the announcement, which can be found on our website 

NSACL believes that we the people need to be champions of this new direction if indeed we want this to be the reality for persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia. It is a shift in the will of  the government and one of the most promising signs that we Nova Scotians have heard in a very long time. I have attached the Executive Summary which neatly summarizes the 55 page document that perhaps... you could use as a reference when politicians come a knocking at your doorJ  I hope you find this helpful.

 All the best

The Executive Summary of which the lady speaks can be found here *

But whatever your politics may be, no matter how frustrated you may feel with our current government, let me say this  .... NOW is the time to hold ALL our politicians accountable and responsible.

Election promises always often ring hollow, so all we really have to go by is past performance. And when you're considering past performance, please make sure you compare compare the past performance of EVERY party that seeks your vote.

And make sure to have a nice long chat with the next politician who rings your doorbell or attempts to shake your hand at some community event.

* Trust me, it's a lot shorter than the document at that first link.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back By Popular Demand

Okay, maybe "demand" isn't quite the word, but I can tell you it sure was popular! And since it is that time of the year again...

Oh yeah, I decided to be extra nice today -you don't even have to click on the link back to the original post.

And yes - yes,I did check all the links and there are still valid. But if anyone knows of any other relevant document that I missed, please include the link in the comments.

Happy Reading

One Stop Shopping

Back to school. Ugh.
Back to school shopping. Again. Ugh.

Although, personally, I would take the shopping any day over actually having to send my kids back and start yet another year (this will be year 15 for my oldest) of "advocacy".

But do not despair. Nice person that I am, I have put together a list of ammunition documents you really should be familiar with as we start another school year.

I've tried to bring some order to the chaos by organizing them by topic but ... well, really, you wouldn't want me to take all the fun away and make it too easy, would you? Just think of it as digging through the bins at Frenchy's ... you never know when you will find a great bargain that fits you just right!

Special Ed in General

Special Education Policy Manual aka "The Bible" (2008)  -That's right, this document should be your Bible for just about any issue you might face with your school, your Board or the Department.

Life Skills: Supporting Student Success (2009) - A little-known document that can be a life-saver when your school tells you that they're very sorry but your child MUST take all these academic courses to get the credits necessary to graduate. It's not their fault; blame the Department.

OR you could just pass over this document, which sets out exactly how "life skill" credits can be and are recognized. Look at that ... a How To Guide for your school!

Increasing Learning Success (2008) - Although written more or less as a how-to guide for reorganizing high school to keep typical students engaged, there are a fair number of ideas discussed that could be very helpful for students with special needs.

Program Planning Process: A Guide for Parents (2006) - This document basically pulls out (and slightly expands upon) the portion of the Special Education Policy Manual (see above) dealing with the program planning process.

"Just how do I go about getting my child an IPP?", you ask. Look no further...
Supporting Student Success: Resource Programming and Services (2006) - Written to provide direction to school boards on the role of resource teachers and their expected competencies and to assist in the development of related policy and procedures, it is also intended to serve as a framework for professional development for resource teachers, classroom teacher and school administrators regarding the resource role in the program planning process. 

In other words, find out just how Resource is suppose to work.

Respect for Diversity: A Planning Resource (2007) - This resource came out of the Minister's Response to Addressing Bullying in Nova Scotian Schools: A Student's Perspective in 2003. (The more things change ... no?)  It's intended to be a resource for students to use to support the advancement and promotion of diversity ... meaning it's to be used a resource to assist in the planning and delivery of a school-wide Respect for Diversity Day. Never heard of such a thing? Don't feel bad ... neither have I!

It just might just be worth checking out, however. Challenge your school and see if they're up to holding their very own (and chances are, very first) Respect for Diversity Day.