ideas in practice

Our Ideas blog is a space to share and reflect on thoughts and experiences around citizenship, belonging, and creating change.
Ideas inspire us to act, to risk, to fail, to learn, and to try again.

Starting a Family Network

I have two wonderful sons who struggle with different challenges.  Over the years, I have experienced frustration and isolation.   The one constant was my faith and my faith community.  They helped us through many storms.  The lack of guidance, services, and information that I faced as a mother lead me to think about starting a family group to support all families throughout their children’s lives.

As my boys were growing up, I never wanted to just settle for what was out ...

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“Baby, We’ll Be Fine. All We Gotta Do is Be Brave and Be Kind”

Families are all too familiar with informational overload.  In our efforts to build a meaningful life and a secure future for our family members, we watch webcasts, read articles, and wade through documents.   Heaven forbid we miss a government announcement or let a change on a ministry website slip past us.

We do not need to be overloaded in any other way, shape, or form.  But, in fact, we find that we are bombarded by inspirational Facebook posts day after day, ...

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Swimming through the Tides of ‘Disability’

‘Disability’ is a relatively new word in my family.  Now please don’t start shaking your head and wondering how that can be possible.  It was rather intentional.  I say ‘disability’ is a new word, as we consciously choose to focus on the concept of ability in our house – mobilizing strengths versus addressing deficits.

It’s not that we didn’t have a keen sense of individual shortfalls – my oldest brother will quickly tell you that his skill in designing propane dryers ...

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12 Ways to Build Relationship

I have been reflecting on the nature of independent facilitation and how to be most effective as a facilitator. This led me to further explore the idea that how we do the work matters and that our ability to positively impact someone’s life is often a reflection of our relationship with them.

In our personal lives outside of independent facilitation, I think the relationships we generally try to have are authentic, genuine, and meaningful. When we are supporting a close friend, ...

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Community - Hands Image

The Fertile Ground that is Community

Community is messy!  And so is playing in the dirt, eating candy apples and making pots with clay.  Once we dare to step into the mess, there is a certain joy and delight in letting go and seeing what will come next.  And yet many people we know do not get to experience that sense of finding out about the unknown, experiencing the kindness of strangers and making connections with places and spaces new to them.   Sometimes we hear about ...

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Curiosity: The Essence of Independent Facilitation

I have had the honour of experiencing Independent Facilitation as a parent, as a researcher, and as a trainer. Each of these experiences has given me insights into the craft of Independent Facilitation and how facilitators are playing an important new role in the way we support people with developmental disabilities. I have learned that it the curiosity of facilitators that is so compelling. Their curiosity is catching, and as family members we often become more curious and open because ...

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Personal Reflections on Independent Facilitation: What is it that makes me so passionate about the work?

On a recent trip to the Kawartha region, I took some time to ponder ‘What is it that makes me so passionate about being an independent facilitator?’ I felt this was an important question to reflect upon as decisions around how to provide Independent Facilitation and keep it alive are being explored across the province.  This question quickly lead me to consider several of the key principles of the work:

  • self-determination
  • intentional network development (e.g. support circles)
  • the notion of embracing community as ...
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Determination and Choice

Determination and choice are two things that many people take for granted.  For me, those two key players are vitally important tools in my life! Growing up with Autism, I didn’t have much “choice,” or so I thought. Even as a younger adult, I felt the same way. Then I started to figure things out, and my life began to change. I started to realize that people with disabilities could live just as much a fulfilling life as everyone else!

What ...

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OIFN – A Living Network

As I began my journey as the OIFN’s Community of Practice Animator, I started to delve into the full-bodied and deep-rooted history of the network. I was profoundly touched by the diverse members who made significant contributions to the work of independent facilitation. I was uplifted by the resounding commitment and steadfast leadership in the face of rapidly changing landscapes. I was reminded of the power that networks hold in their ability to harness the collective energy in order to ...

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