STOP THE GOVERNMENT FROM IMPOSING LIFE ALTERING RULES/VALUES ON COMMUNITY LIVING CLIENTS
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THE DISMANTLING OF THE Fergus COMMUNITY LIVING DAY PROGRAM (Guelph-Wellington Community Living and ALL OTHER DAY PROGRAMS IN ONTARIO) WAS DONE by the MINISTRY AND COMMUNITY LIVING WITHOUT CONSULTING the clients or their families.
THE WYNNE MINISTRY HAS MADE PROVINCE WIDE BLANKET DECISIONS TO CLOSE ALL SHELTERED WORKSHOPS - WE KNOW THIS, BUT WHY DO THE DAY PROGRAMS IN THE COMMUNITY LIVING BUILDINGSS ALSO HAVE TO BE SHUT DOWN AND/OR DISMANTLED?
PARENTS, CLIENTS, AND their FAMILIES WERE NEVER TOLD THAT THE DAY PROGRAMS WOULD ALSO BE DISMANTLED. NOW IT IS BEING DONE OUT OF OUR AWARENESS AND WE HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT OF THIS DECISION-MAKING PROCESS.
The move away from sheltered day programs and toward parent/client-driven community programming will now force PARENTS/CLIENTS TO NOW HAVE TO PAY UP TO $33 per hour to hire a support worker to assist them in these community activities OR pay UP TO $33 per hour to attend activities in community living buildings. THIS WILL COST FAMILIES up to $50,000 per year to keep their children in activities from Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm.
IN FERGUS, MOST OF THE BUILDING HAS NOW BEEN RENTED OUT TO ANOTHER COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION. WE HAD NO IDEA OUR ADULT CHILDREN HAD LOST THEIR COOKING, LEARNING, GATHERING, AND RECREATIONAL SPACE.
MANY PARENTS WITH ADULT CHILDREN WHO LIVE IN COMMUNITY LIVING GROUP HOMES STATE; "I HAD NO IDEA MY CHILD WAS NOT GOING TO THE DAY PROGRAM IN FERGUS ANYMORE; NO ONE TOLD US."
OUR ADULT CHILDREN (MANY OF WHOM ARE NON-VERBAL AND COGNITIVELY THE AGE OF A YOUNG CHILD) ARE HAVING CHANGES MADE TO THEIR DAILY LIVES WITHOUT PARENTAL KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT.
AS A GROUP WE ARE NOT SAYING THAT ALL THE CHANGES THAT ARE BEING MADE ARE DETRIMENTAL. WE ARE SUPPORTIVE of the idea THAT ANY COMMUNITY LIVING CLIENTS THAT ARE ABLE TO WORK AND/OR LIVE INDEPENDENTLY IN THE COMMUNITY, AND MAKE A FAIR WAGE, SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO SO. THESE RIGHTS SHOULD BE ENFORCED. THIS IS A GOOD THING.
COMMUNITY LIVING DAY PROGRAMS, AND THE COMMUNITY LIVING WORKERS and MANAGERS (CUPE LOCAL 4392 in particular) SAVED OUR FAMILIES AND ALLOWED OUR ADULT CHILDREN TO LIVE AND WORK IN OUR COMMUNITIES WITH LOVE AND SUPPORT.
SOME OF THE DECISIONS IMPOSED ON OUR ADULT CHILDREN WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES, by the MINISTRY and COMMUNITY LIVING, IN OUR MINDS, HAVE NOW...
- INFRINGED ON OUR ADULT CHILDREN'S RIGHTS TO DECIDE WHERE THEY VOLUNTEER AND WORK IN THE COMMUNITY.
- FORCED OUR CHILDREN TO BE TREATED AS "INDEPENDENT ADULTS" WHEN MANY ARE NOT CAPABLE OF THIS. MANY ARE BEING TREATED AS NEURO-TYPICAL ADULTS WHEN COGNITIVELY THEY MAY BE NON-VERBAL AND/OR HAVE THE COGNITIVE ABILITIES OF A 5 OR 6-YEAR-OLD CHILD. FORCING THESE ADULT CHILDREN TO BE "INDEPENDENT ADULTS" IS STRESSFUL ON THEM AND ALLOWS THE VALUES OF NEURO-TYPICAL ADULTS to be IMPOSED UPON THEM.
FROM A COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE
MANY clients work IN OUR COMMUNITY, but the majority of them need to have a support worker with them. THESE SUPPORT WORKERS ARE NO LONGER ALLOWED TO GO OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY TO ASSIST CLIENTS WHEN THEY WORK. THUS, SOME HAVE NOW now lost THEIR paid positions at local BUSINESSES. BUSINESS OWNERS do not have the specialized training to supervise these clients with their physical and emotional needs when on the job. We need our adult children to be out VOLUNTEERING in LOCAL BUSINESSES with their COMMUNITY LIVING SUPPORT WORKERS!!!
WE HAVE SEEN THE EFFECTS OF THE DISMANTLING OF THE FERGUS DAY PROGRAM OVER THE PAST YEAR. With THE PHASING OUT OF PROGRAMS AT THE ST. PATRICK STREET SITE, the clients are now MORE isolated out in their group homes. At one local business OWNER, where at least 6 community living clients have worked for the past number of years, states,
- "We used to see any or all of them [clients] anywhere from 1 to 5 days a week. They would walk downtown [from the community living centre] on their lunch or on their way home and stop in to tell us about what they did that day or that week. There was much excitement in their voice and body language no matter whether it was taking computers apart, baking or cooking for the cafe, yoga, etc. Now we are lucky to see one client once every few months, and she is depressed and has nothing to say.... "Luckily we still see one client once a week when she comes to work, which we know is the highlight of her day."
- IF SOME OF OUR ADULT CHILDREN ARE CAPABLE OF WORKING UNSUPERVISED AND EARNING A FAIR WAGE, WE WHOLE HEARTEDLY SUPPORT THESE NEW INITIATIVES.
- HOWEVER, WE DO NOT SUPPORT THE "INDEPENDENT ADULT" INITIATIVE BEING FORCED ON THOSE WHO ARE COGNITIVELY INCAPABLE OF DOING SO.
· WE DO NOT SUPPORT THE DISMANTLING OF THE DAY PROGRAMS AND FORCING CLIENTS TO MOVE OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY. THOSE WHO ARE INCAPABLE OF WORKING INDEPENDENTLY IN THE COMMUNITY NEED THESE DAY PROGRAMS.
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