2019 Conference Schedule

Resilience and Creativity in Challenging Times

April 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th, 2019
Marriott on the Falls
Niagara Falls, ON

For information about the Research Special Interest Group (RSIG) seminar day April 11th see the RSIG page.

A copy of the conference brochure will be available shortly. To download a draft schedule click here (this is a draft and subject to change – please check the website for updates)

If you would like more information about the presentations or the conference please contact the OADD office at oadd@oadd.org

  • registration for MEMBERS and Conference Presenters ONLY opens January 14th, 2019
  • non-members may register after February 11th, 2019
  • to book accommodations at the Marriott on the Falls at a reduced conference rate call 905-374-1077 or go to: https://www.marriottonthefalls.com/


PLEASE NOTE: This program is a draft only – changes happen and will be posted as available.


Monday, April 8th, 2019 – Pre-Conference Seminar hosted by GLS

8:00 am 9:00 am Breakfast Marriott Cafe
8:00 am 9:00 am Registration Hennepin Ballroom
9:00 am 9:10am Welcoming Remarks and Introduction to the Day (GLS Board)
9:10am 10:30am

Domestic Human Trafficking – Awakening

Presenters: Deanna Djos and Wendy Leaver

The Goal and Vision of the Relationship Group is to enhance and augment existing supports offered to people with development disabilities as it pertains to healthy, safe growth, and fostering meaningful relationships.  We believe that without ‘connections and relationships’ in one’s life, other services offered have less impact. Relationships grow when everyone has access and opportunity to learn and share from each other. The Relationship Group provides opportunities for education and social gatherings that are meaningful for everyone in the community.

The is a workshop about home grown pimps and how they have access to our local community. On a daily basis, young men and women are lured into trafficking- right in your back door. Little is recognized or done for these men and women and we as a community must wake up to the fact that Human Trafficking is not just an international problem- this is happening across all demographics regardless of their abilities. This is a tale about a lack of confidence, self esteem, and cries for help are never heard.


Deanna Djos is the Sexual Health Promoter for the Relationship Group (RG) and she has spent the last decade teaching the importance of empowering your sex-esteem because she wants everyone to feel empowered and beautiful within themselves. Deanna delivers fun, action packed workshops that will not only build your confidence about the importance of healthy sexuality but will likely improve your overall health. Deanna has been supporting the developmental service sector (DS) through such trainings as: Abuse, Prevention Recognition (QAM) Workshops, customized empowering your Sex esteem workshops and bringing individuals, families and caregivers together to share and discuss how meaningful relationships can be supported, within the GTA.

Wendy Leaver is a retired Detective of the Toronto Police Services, Sex Crimes Unit where she investigated sexual assault cases for 20 years. She was instrumental in the development of the Special Victims Unit in 2005 which investigates sexual assaults against sex workers. This was the first investigative unit in Canada solely dedicated to working with sex workers who had been sexually assaulted while involved in the sex trade.
She is an accomplished lecturer in respect of investigations involving sexual assaults, child abuse, victim issues and pedophiles. She has also provided training sessions to police, probation, parole and penitentiary personnel in London, England – Amman, Jordan – San Paolo, Brazil- Quito, Ecuador and across Canada and the United States.
Wendy is also a volunteer for the past 18 years with Circles of Support, a volunteer-run initiative, supported by Corrections Canada that has proven to be an effective method for dealing with high risk, high need sex offenders released at warrant expiry into communities across Canada.
Wendy has worked extensively with sex workers and the agencies supporting them. She is presently working with the Women’s Initiatives Committee, Rotary Club of Toronto to develop a safe house for victims of Domestic and International Human trafficking… (House opened in November 2016)
Presently teaching at Durham College in Pickering, Ontario in a Graduate Program –in Victimology

10:30am 10:45am Break
10:45am 12:00pm Session Continues
12:00pm 1:00pm Hosted Lunch
1:00pm 2:15pm

Alternative Approaches to Supporting Complex Individuals

Jacques Pelletier, BCJP Consulting

To illustrate how he works, Jacques will talk about how he and colleagues went about helping a man from Ontario who had been mechanically restrained (3-5 pts) to his hospital bed, 23 hours a day, for more than three years and where that man is at today, some 19 months after his discharge.
The presentation will cover elements of Jacques’ clinical approaches and his perspective on current trends, successes and challenges in our contemporary service systems, particularly for people with the most complex needs in our field. The presentation will be as interactive as people attending want it to be.

Bio: Jacques Pelletier

Jacques Pelletier is a Swiss-trained social psychologist who works in Canada, the USA and Europe. He has extensive experience in developmental disabilities and dual diagnosis and is a recognized program evaluator. He is known internationally as an expert in social policy development and analysis, evaluation research, clinical supports management and service systems organization for individuals with complex needs. He teaches in France to professionals who work with adults with complex needs.
Since 1990, his consulting firm has managed more than 400 audits and program evaluations and has clinically supervised or collaborated in more than 300 extremely complex cases/situations in NA (Ontario-Massachusetts) and Europe (France and Geneva). In 2008-2012 he founded Solution-s in Ottawa, an agency supporting individuals with developmental disabilities with behaviours that challenge. He was Coordinator and Co-Lead of the Eastern Ontario CNSC. He edited the CNSC Guidelines for the Care and Treatment of People with Developmental Disabilities and Challenging Behaviours. Prior to this, his most significant involvement in the field goes back to the late 70s as a deinstitutionalization advocate, and in formal roles as Director of the National Institute on Mental Retardation and the Canadian Association for the Mentally Retarded [sic] that changed their names to the Roeher Institute and the Canadian Association for Community Living during his tenure as its Executive Vice-President.
His recent clinical focus in North America has been with adults who have developmental and/or intellectual disabilities who show extreme challenging behaviours and are in complex/desperate

2:15 pm2:30 pmBreak
2:30 pm4:00 pmSession Continues
4:00 pm 4:15 pm Closing Remarks & Evaluation
7:00 pm 10:00pm Welcome Reception Hosted by MedProDirect

Drop in and connect with friends in Peninsula Room

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

8:00 am 9:00 am Breakfast Marriott Cafe
8:00 am 9:00 am Registration Oakes Hallway
8:45am 9:00am Opening Remarks – OADD Board Chair Oakes South
9:00am 10:15am Keynote Presentation
Title to be announced 

Presenter: Dr. Robyn Hanley-Dafoe

Abstract to come

Oakes South
10:15am 10:30am Break
10:30am 11:45am Concurrent Sessions “1”

Systematic Desensitization to Bloodwork with Combined Approaches – A Toolkit for Success for Individuals with Developmental Disability

Presenters: Jessica Fox, Kimberley Taylor, Shirley McMillan

Fear of blood draw procedures is quite prevalent among the general population and is perhaps even higher among individuals with DD. Many individuals with DD have a long history of exhibiting anxiety and problem behaviours when having their blood drawn, resulting in the use of both physical and chemical restraint as common practice. This presentation will focus on existing research surrounding the use of systematic desensitization for individuals with a fear of blood draw.  The presenters will describe how this body of research was used to create a unique treatment package involving the combined use of systematic desensitization, visual supports, relaxation strategies, and differential reinforcement. This least intrusive, most effective treatment package was applied successfully with an adult client with Autism, moderate DD, and sickle cell anemia. Following the success of this intervention, the presenters developed a practical toolkit, which can be implemented by a variety of clinicians, support staff and/or caregivers. Participants in this presentation will be given the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained within a small group activity involving role play and a discussion will follow.

Oakes North East

Connecting the Dots On Staff Training

Presenters: Janet Davis, Jason Sinett, Louis Busch, David Lennox, Lauren Stanton

There are many challenges in providing necessary training to staff.  Finding training solutions that minimize the costs can allow for more training opportunities.  Having all staff trained at the same time can ensure that programs are implemented more effectively.  Providing all staff with the same training allows consultants to be more effective in their work with a team and individuals in service.

Connecting the Dots is one way to meet these needs.  This training has been provided for the past 5 years to agencies in Toronto.  How has it benefited them?  What have been some of the challenges in implementing this training?

Oakes South
Aging: Initiatives and Training
Presenter: Sandy Stemp, Debra Marsh, Denise Tremblett, Cindy Dodd

This presentation will focus on some of the activities of the Ontario Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities including:

– An EMF grant that is revising a provincial resource on Aging to be utilized cross sector, this also includes piloting the frailty index by partnering with researchers and studying the best way to impact the frailty of persons with developmental disabilities through cross sector integrated care plans

– A Province wide training session with the Alzheimer Society on raising awareness and increasing knowledge on aging and developmental disabilities

– A pilot partnering with a US collaborative (National Task Group on Dementia and Developmental Disabilities) around a Canadian Dementia and Developmental Disabilities Curriculum (Dr. Nancy Jokinen – University of Northern BC and Leslie Udell from Winnipeg)

– How this group is influencing Canada’s National Dementia Strategy to include those with developmental disabilities

–  Highlighting the CLHIN specialized home and community care response for people with developmental disabilities through a Care Coordinator team, specialized nursing support, palliative care, and convalescent care

Oakes North West

Supporting Independent Travel through Creative Partnerships

Presenters: Nicole Michell, Eric Laimer, Michelle Martin

It is challenging for developmental services agencies to find resources to provide thorough, route-specific instruction when supporting the transition to public transit independence. Three Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) projects are meeting this challenge through agency partnerships, including with local transit authorities. Community Access to Transportation Hamilton (CAT) (a program of The Salvation Army Lawson Ministries) was initiated in 2011 by the Developmental Services Transportation Committee: 11 Hamilton agencies who obtained funding from the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) for a pilot project (including curriculum and instructional videos) now permanently funded by the HSR. Discover My Route is a travel training project spearheaded by Community Living Toronto with support from a four-agency steering committee (including CAT) and the Toronto Transit Commission. It is funded until March 2019 with a Government of Ontario Employment and Modernization Fund grant. Discover My Route is also developing a smartphone app to coach people through their transit trip (bus, streetcar, and subway). In 2018, CAT and Christian Horizons (CH) Central district pooled resources to create a training program for people who wish to travel on GO Transit (a division of Metrolinx), by bus or rail, across the GTHA. Metrolinx actively supports the project and its instructional videos, and CAT and CH are running a small-scale pilot of the curriculum. Agency partnerships increase access to resources and inform travel training program development through knowledge transfer. Relationships with transit authorities ensure accurate instruction and an opportunity for dialogue about the travel experience of people with developmental disabilities.

11:45pm 1:45pm 12:00pm Opening Address
12:05pm – 11:30pm OADD Awards Presentation
12:30 – 1:30pm Buffet Lunch
1:30pm OADD Annual General Meeting
Oakes South
2:15 pm 3:30pm Concurrent Sessions “2”

Making a “home of my own” a Reality for People with Complex Needs

Presenters: Monica Lauman, Tammy VanderWier, Sara Wardell

This presentation will review the process of moving 4 men with complex, high support needs from a traditional group home setting into “homes of their own” without additional funding.  Challenges to making this happen included shifts in thinking for the people supported, staff, families and the organization.  Community and natural resources needed to be utilized differently and how support was provided needed to shift drastically.  This was a slow and steady process over the course of two years, with a focus on small incremental steps with each person supported, while trying to address larger organizational concerns.  Person centred thinking and dignity of risk were significant drivers in this initiative.  Presenters will address the concerns, challenges, successes and some “happy mistakes” in the process from a variety of perspectives.  This experience resulted in significant learning for all, learning which we would like to share with other people and organizations so that all people can have a home of their own.

Oakes North East

Inclusion in the Labour Market: Six Steps for Preparing our Job Seekers for Success

Presenter: Joanna Samuels

According to the 2012 report from the Conference Board of Canada, people with disabilities do not fare well in the labour market.  Only over half (52 per cent) of working age Canadians with disabilities ages 15 to 69 are employed compared to 76 per cent of people without disabilities according to the researchers and this gap has not changed over a decade (CBC). Further, people with disabilities are three times more likely than people without disabilities to be unemployed or out of the labour force.

With these shocking and concerning facts, as well as the realities of the tough, competitive and complicated labour market, our job seekers with developmental disabilities are left out of the workplace even more so. The ongoing challenge and question as an employment counsellor, job developer and job coach in this field is how we can best prepare our individuals to meet their job/employment/career goals. This workshop is a “train the trainers” (i.e. frontline professionals in the supported employment sector) that presents best practices and proven strategies from my work of over a decade with both job seeker and employer, as a job developer/job coach that has helped countless people with disabilities be included in the labour market. The agenda of the workshop would include a warm up, a breakdown of the six steps for successful integration into the labour market, accommodations and disclosure, and an activity to apply the theory followed by questions and individual employment/job consultations as required.

Community Networks of Specialized Care: A refreshed approach for individuals with high supports and complex care needs
Presenters: Jennifer Altosaar, Marnie McDermott, Jo-Ann Trahan

The mandate of the Community Networks of Specialized Care (CNSC) has been refreshed to directly provide complex case management support to adults with developmental disabilities with high supports and complex care needs, or who require appropriate diversion from the Justice system. This presentation will provide an overview of the new provincial mandate and CNSC roles, as well as examples of how the CNSCs are consistently working with individuals who have complex needs, their families and service agencies from across sectors to achieve successful outcomes for people in their communities.

Oakes North West

A Modern Model of Understanding Anxiety and How to Control it

Presenter: Mark Larin

This Presentation will provide information from modern and emerging ways of understanding the nature of anxiety and methods to reduce its impact. This will be of help to attendees on a personal level. It will also offer insight and strategies when dealing with surfacing anxiety in others, including clients/co-workers/partners/the general community. We will look at a simplified model of how our mind and body systems experience rising anxiety. We will examine its positive purpose in life. We will then look at practical ways to control anxiety, with an understanding of how these actions are changing both our mind and our body’s reaction to such stress. We now know, through the science of neuroplasticity, that our thoughts and practices can alter the way that our brain, body and mind respond to anxiety in the future. It is very important for us to understand and appreciate what is going on in our own mind and body in order for us to control our anxiety and stress levels. When we are successful in this, we can better help others in their struggle to do the same. I have integrated these models and strategies into my practice for several years and they continue to offer people freedom from what is often a lifetime of heighten anxiety (i.e. doctors, nurses, teachers, clients, couples, etc.) Even if you have only a basic understanding of biology, this presentation will equip you too.


Oakes South
7:30pm 10:00pm Networking Event hosted by Nucleus Labs
This event is planned as a perfect way to end the day, relaxing with friends, old and new.
Oakes Foyer


Wednesday, April 10th, 2019


8:00 am 9:00 am Breakfast Marriott Cafe
9:00am 10:15am Concurrent Sessions “3”

Integrated Transitional Aged Youth Planning Process. Pathways to Their Future and the Tri-Sector Approach in the Niagara Region

Presenters: Anne Readhead, Susan Kowalski, Katie McKay, Lisa Whittingham

Youth with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) have a range of postsecondary options including training, education and employment. Transitional Aged Youth (TAY), aged 14-18, can begin planning for their future as early as 14 years of age, with personal goals in mind. This presentation will explore the pivotal role that early individualized planning, experiential learning opportunities, ongoing coordinated mentorship, advocacy and support play in this process. In addition, research that has shown navigating smoothly from children’s services into the adult sector remains challenging for both TAY and their caregivers will be reviewed. Specifically, that for TAY the ending of children’s services, when they turn 18 years old, can leave a service gap and disruption of supports that impact their ability to achieve and maintain goals. This presentation will ask the audience to imagine the impact of one plan that supports TAY’s goals as they progress through youth and into adult services using a collaborative process that promotes and fosters a successful transition phase. We will review the tri-sector approach currently operating in the Niagara Region. The tri-sector Transition Planning Protocol promotes the collaboration among educational and developmental service professionals along with youth who have developmental disabilities and their families. We will discuss how an interdisciplinary model may facilitate a smoother pathway for youth with IDD moving into adulthood.


Growing Waitlists and Static Resources – Improving Effectiveness Through Greater Efficiencies

Presenters: Bruce Edwards, Richard Holmes

At an urban centre for people with developmental disabilities, two Speech-Language Pathologists providing comprehensive speech-language assessments for adults identified a growing problem when their waitlist ballooned from an average of 30 to 75 people. After close examination of the waitlist, we determined that 1/3 of those clients were non-verbal and in the severe-profound range of developmental disability. For this group of clients we then created a rapid assessment tool in which an assessment of speech, language and symbol use along with a report could be completed and provided to the client’s accompanying caregiver within an hour. This was in sharp contrast to the 15-30 hours allotted for each comprehensive speech-language assessment at the centre. Within one month, all 25 of the clients eligible for this assessment were seen. An interactive group program called the Developmental Approach to Language Enhancement (D.A.L.E.) was then developed to provide training to caregivers where they learned to better interpret, interact, engage and communicate with these clients. Together, the rapid assessment and D.A.L.E. program have provided clients and their caregivers with immediate assessment results and comprehensive training, all while significantly reducing the waitlist for services. Future plans include the development of an on-line version of the program that will capitalize on the latest advancements in interactive on-line learning while connecting a network of caregivers through social media. This presentation will offer insights and practical implications for service modeling in all disciplines and suggest that improved efficiency can enhance the services we provide.

Oakes North East

Development and Implementation of the Group Home Living Compatibility Assessment Tool (GCAT)

Presenters: Lauren Atkinson, Leah Cohen, Emily Wykes

Given the nature of group care, persons with varying needs and preferences co-exist in one shared environment. While it has been found through self-report in the developmental disability (DD) population that one of the key environmental stressors identified is housemate incompatibility, very little research is done into methods of selecting suitable housemates (Browning & Jones, 2002). In order to rectify this, the Group Home Living Compatibility Assessment Tool (GCAT) was developed to create a compatibility measure and to predict future success in cohabitation. Compatibility was defined by the degree of impact housemates have on each other’s quality of life as determined by direct support professionals, families, the management team and the housemates themselves. Once compatibility has been assessed, this tool guides the user in identifying areas of need and determining whether areas of incompatibility can be alleviated through environmental changes, or whether these are not ideal housemates. Sample reports are included within the GCAT to guide the user through problem solving and how to present the information to the person involved with the transition and within the circle of care. This tool is currently in the process of evaluation within our agency; and we will be sharing this tool with partner agencies as we determine the reliability and validity of the tool.

 Oakes North West

Everybody Counts: Responsiveness, Resilience and Creativity in Transitional Support Services for Adults

Presenters: Danielle Broomes, Tammy McCauley

For over 20 years Griffin Community Support Network (GCSN) has offed specialized, time-limited, crisis and transitional support options for clients with complex needs. Not only do we respond to individuals/caregivers who are in a crisis situations, but we also intervene in a preventative manner by providing transitional supports to ensure clients/families come out of a crisis with a plan. This plan would respond to the immediate situation as a well as to prevent a crisis from reoccurring. The services offered through the GCSN are individualized to meet the person’s needs and are flexibly provided so that they can respond to a range of individuals who present with complex and unique situations.

Our first action is to assess who is in crisis by using a bio-psycho-social framework to ensure we are offering the right support at the right time. We work collaboratively to offer creative transitional support planning with our network of over 35 partners. The client is at the core of our plan. We will bring multiple sectors and partners to the table to creatively come up with strategies for complex situations and we will not discharge or close until the client has an effective transition plan. Since the beginning, the strength of GCSN has not only been our Network partners’ commitment to work collaboratively but also a shared belief that we have a responsibility in breaking down systems barriers.  The strength and resilience many of the individuals and families GCSN supports, help us carry out our belief as an agency that “Everybody Counts”

Oakes South
10:15am 10:30am Break
10:30am 11:45am Concurrent Sessions “4”

Can’t Read, Can’t Write, Here’s My Book

Michael Jacques, Michel Jacques

The theme ‘Resilience and Creativity in Challenging Times’ really resonates with author & self publisher Michael Jacques. Michael a young adult with autism and an intellectual disability never surrenders to the idea of ‘can’t’. In his inspiring and uplifting story Michael offers a glimpse of what it is like to be him. His book–which is written by using an iPad’s speech-to-text function–is a collection of compelling life stories and discoveries that teach us how to embrace and celebrate our differences. Michael speaks about topics such as learning, inclusion, support, independence, and the power of perseverance. His insights and views on the world are equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring. Through his witty and positive voice, Michael is constantly breaking down barriers to show everyone that anything is possible.

Michael started writing the book when he was 21 years old and recently finished at age 26. His sister Kaila, a graphic designer, discovered his story and together they embarked on a journey to make a dream become a reality. Kaila knowing her brother wanted to make the book highly visual, with large text, small images placed throughout the text and 10 illustrative chapters—all these creative decisions were made to amplify Michael’s story, as well allow him to use the visual cues to follow along and recall moments throughout his book.

Michael is an example of someone who has been resilient through his life, overcoming obstacles and persevering. His book is the creative output and is now making a strong impact on anyone who reads it.


Oakes North West

Cross Sector Convalescent Care Program for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Presenters: Cindy Dodd, Laura, Karen Olsen, Jennifer Altosaar

What is it?

Adults with developmental disabilities often have unique support needs that can become barriers to accessing appropriate convalescent care and/or rehab services.  The Cross Sector Developmental Disabilities Convalescent Care Program at Hawthorne Place provides the extra, specialized care that supports the unique needs of adults with developmental disabilities. Through this program, adults with developmental disabilities will reside at Hawthorne Place Care Centre convalescent care designed with unique resources and programming to increase rehabilitation success. This is a partnership between the Central LHIN, Hawthorne Place Care Centre, Community Network of Specialized Care, Surrey Place, DSO, Griffin Centre and Reena.

Who is eligible?

  • Those who are registered with and deemed eligible by Developmental Services Ontario
  • Those who meet the eligibility criteria for long-term care or convalescent care
  • Those who are medically and surgically stable
  • Those who are motivated to return home/back to the community and committed to participating in the convalescent care rehab program
  • Those who have access to developmental services staffing support, if necessary

We will have a panel of those engaged in this program who will talk about:

  • Success and challenges-how we have built on the successes and responded to the challenges.
  • Feedback from participants-evidence of the positive impact on the lives of those who have participated
  • How you might be able to replicate this type of program in your region

Oakes North East

Building Resilience Through Collaborative Partnerships

Presenters: Kelly Jackson, Lauren McFarlane, Mary Vieni, Ann Beatty

This presentation discusses the development of an adaptive workplace safety training program, and its impact on the resilience of an organization supporting adults with developmental disabilities. The program was developed to address the lack of accessible workplace safety training programs in Toronto for adult learners with more significant developmental needs. This partnership program will be discussed in two ways. First, we will discuss how the process of collaboration within the organization and with our partners brought forward resilience and creativity. Second, we will discuss the impact of the workplace trainings in strengthening our employment programs.

The collaboration between Addus, a not-for-profit organization, and Act First Safety, a for-profit health and safety training company, to create adapted workplace safety trainings involved staff from all Addus programs. Developing the safety program created opportunities for staff to discuss approaches to training and develop creative strategies. The partnership with Act First Safety also increased the resilience of our organization by creating a model of partnership with an organization with a different mandate and structures.

The workplace trainings also increased the resilience of Addus’ employment and volunteer programs. Work is an important goal for many people with developmental disabilities but obtaining and maintaining employment can be challenging for organizations. Many employers and volunteer organizations now require certifications such as WHMIS, Workplace Violence, and Safe Food Handling. Creating and facilitating the adaptive trainings increased our capacity to support participants in reaching their goals and to address some of the challenges faced by employers and volunteer organizations.


Resilience and Creativity in Housing and Housing Support Development

Presenters: Alexandra Shannan, Martha Beach, Tracy Moxam Love

Resilience is defined as an ability to not only bounce back after difficult times but also to be adaptable, flexible and creative.  Within this time of change, resilience is an absolute requirement for agencies, families and individuals planning their housing and housing support journeys. In 2018, Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) introduced a Housing Navigator role to support individuals, caregivers and support networks with their visions for individualized housing options. As part of a provincial Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) initiative, Housing Navigator’s across the 9 DSO’s will assist by providing tools, information and resources that can help in creating an individualized housing plan. They can offer the link to knowledge sharing provincially including not only success stories and blue prints, but also learning from the trials and tribulations of others on similar journeys.

This presentation will share information gathered through a provincial survey and highlight the ways DSO Housing Navigators will be working with MCCSS, community and all stakeholders with the focus of partnerships for the creation of innovative person-centered housing that promotes social inclusion and independence.  Further, we will examine the context from which this position was created; the resilience, innovation and creativity that can be observed across the province, country and internationally; share success stories and discuss some of the challenges experienced by those embarking on and living these incredible and courageous journeys.

Oakes South
12:00pm 12:45pm Hosted Lunch
Oakes South
1:00pm 2:15pm Concurrent Sessions “5”

Peer Support and Counselling for Women who have Experienced Violence

Presenters: Maria Huijbregts, Vania Sukola, Janet Wilson

Background: Approximately 160,500 Canadian adults live with an intellectual or developmental disability (ID/DD). It is well-documented that they are more vulnerable to violence and abuse and experience more challenges when seeking and receiving support. There are reported benefits of trauma-informed counselling and peer-support models in other populations, but little research specific to women with ID/DD.

Program: Six women labelled with ID/DD participated in counselling (12-20 sessions) and received peer support. Peer mentors, also women with ID/DD who had experienced violence, received training and supervision for peer mentoring. In-person peer visits occurred approximately 1-12 times; telephone contact varied. Assessments and interviews were conducted at the beginning, the end and three months after the program. Programming took place from September 2017- September 2018.

Findings: The program was positively received by all participants. Clients highly valued their counselling and peer mentoring experiences. The combined program created an openness and reduced clients’ sense of stigma and anxiety. The conversations made clients feel understood, valued and less lonely. Peer support workers also experienced benefits: the ability to give back, to share their experiences and be a role model. Peer mentors strengthened their own healing and found a renewed sense of purpose.

Challenges/learning: Clinical practice shaped the research. Meeting research timelines and goals was a challenge as clients’ clinical and personal needs were priority. Participants may need more support to coordinate peer visits, set boundaries and ensure meaningful visits.

Next steps: Expand the work to include participants in a wide range of communities.


PATHS to Healthy Sexuality: Clinical Overview

Presenters: Christa Outhwaite-Salmon, Tiffany Charbonneau

The Centre for Behaviour Health Sciences (CBHS), Program for the Assessment and Treatment for Healthy Sexuality (P.A.T.H.S.) has been supporting persons with Intellectual Disabilities who engage in sexually concerning or abusive behaviours throughout York and Simcoe Regions for over 30 years. This presentation will outline our unique comprehensive assessment and treatment process, which has been developed over this period of time.  We will discuss how we practically apply theoretical knowledge to help support this population.  The focus of this presentation will be to provide a framework on the structure and process of our community-based treatment program.  This presentation will also explore the clinic’s partnerships with community agencies, collaborative approaches to providing evidence-based support and risk reduction planning. Our response to overcoming and addressing barriers and challenges in our service to individuals with Intellectual Disabilities who engage in sexually concerning behaviour will also be examined.

Oakes North East

Opening Doors to Health Care with People with Disabilities: Tools For Direct Support Professionals

Presenters: Heather Hermans, Chanelle Salonia

Adults with developmental disabilities have higher rates of chronic disease and mental illness than other adults (Lunsky et al., 2014). Despite this, they experience challenges accessing appropriate health care services. Vita Community Living Services along with Centre for Addiction and Mental Health along with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals in the US identified a need to build the capacity of direct support professionals (DSPs) to better support the health care needs of the individuals they support. The goal of the project is to develop effective resources and processes for DSPs to help them in their role as health advocates. In this year’s presentation, we will share our final toolkit developed together with community staff, as well as two training videos, and some of the outcomes of our implementation effort.  We will also talk about the process of the Nuts and Bolts of Health Care team working collaboratively between interdisciplinary community partners, and how these partnerships can be used to help understand and navigate health care issues better together.

Oakes South

From Trauma to Trust: Building Resilience through Multi-Modal Therapy

Presenters: Amanda Gee, Jessica Capra, Virginia Jahyu

From Trauma to Trust is a clinic which serves people with intellectual disabilities that have experienced trauma. In our work we have come to recognize that fostering resilience is one of the treatment goals that we have for people who have experienced trauma and loss. Fostering resilience requires creative intervention and sensitivity to the needs of the individuals we serve. We take a person-centered approach by attuning and adapting therapeutic methodologies. The therapeutic modalities we offer at Trauma to Trust Clinic were specifically curated to make therapy more accessible to people with intellectual disabilities and dual diagnosis who, for the most part, have never had the opportunity to work towards healing. The population we serve range from those who are highly independent to those with significant or profound support needs. The clinic was intentionally designed to offer a wide range of therapies including: traditional talk therapy, art therapy, as well as expressive arts therapy.  Our range of services ensures that members with differing disabilities receive the treatment they need to work through and with the trauma they have experienced. This session will present a multi-modal approach to providing clinical services to a historically under-served population. We will review the therapies, the adaptations necessary, and give ideas for how to access services. The session will also present some of the data from the clinic as to both effectiveness of treatment and client satisfaction.

Oakes North West
2:15am 2:30am Break
2:30pm 3:45pm Concurrent Sessions “6”

Cannabis is Legal…Now What?

Presenters: Danielle Sutherland, Maria Papadimitriou

With the recent legalization of Cannabis (Bill C45), many organizations are wondering if they need specific policies and/or education for their staff and clients about cannabis. There is an overwhelming amount of information that can be difficult to navigate and is often contradictory. When it comes managing risk and supporting employees and clients regarding cannabis legalization it is important to have the right information and resources. This interactive presentation will give participants the opportunities to learn more about Cannabis and how legalization can impact your organization, your staff and clients. Facilitators with expertise in drug education, policy and implementation will provide information, tools and resources. The workshop will provide opportunities for participants to work through specific challenges in your organizations with facilitator support.

Oakes North West

The IF Library Project

Presenters: Barry Isaacs, Maria Huijbregts, Terri Hewitt

In many jurisdictions, governments are providing Individualized Funding (IF) to people with developmental disabilities. This money is designed to help people and their family and/or support networks purchase or develop services and supports. It is meant to be flexible and tailored to the individual.

There are many sources of Individualized Funding in Ontario.  The most common source for adults with developmental disabilities is the Passport Program.

Previous research has shown that accessing and using IF can be challenging. The newly developed IF Library (expected launch March 31, 2019) is a website designed to help people use their IF more effectively.  The website provides information and resources on:

• What IF is, how it can be accessed and used

• Planning

• Hiring and maintaining staff (being an employer)

• Managing budgets

• Developing supports

• Available community services

A 5-stage development process was used:

1. A provincial survey to gather information on resources and good practices relevant to IF (293 responses).

2. 64 follow-up interviews to gain more details.

3. Focus groups across the province with self-advocates, family/caregivers and agency staff to discuss the information gathered and explore possible functions and structure for the website.

4. Self-advocate and Agency/family advisory groups to guide final content and structure, and sustainability plans for the website.

5. User experience testing.

The presentation will provide details on the development process and a demonstration of how to use the website. Next steps and best approaches to ensure ongoing sustainability and relevance of the website will be explored with the audience.


Using a Multi-Disciplinary Approach in Supporting Complex Persons Across the Development, Healthcare and Justice Sectors

Presenter: Aamir Khan

As institutions have closed, the presence of persons with developmental disabilities and their support needs has increased in Ontario.  For example, it is projected that the number of adults with developmental disabilities between the ages of 45-84 will increase by 17%-21% in the next ten years (Ouellette-Kuntz, Martin, & McKenzie, 2016).  A multi-disciplinary team has been working within the Community Network of Specialized Care in the Toronto Region to try to help provide some of these supports.  This presentation will explore the functioning of this multi-disciplinary team and its impact.  The role of a new position; behaviour facilitator will be discussed in terms of its interaction with other roles.  Case examples involving complex persons, environments, and resource scenarios will be used to examine approaches involving creativity and resilience in the context of the developmental services sector.  Experiences involving the interaction of this team with the health and long-term care system, justice system, and other developmental services agencies will be presented.  These experiences include transitions from hospitals into residential programs, supporting individuals in the community, and providing support to long-term care homes in addressing the needs of persons with developmental disabilities.  Assessment and intervention data generated from the behaviour facilitator role will be presented in terms of its correlation with data related to social determinants of health.  Systemic challenges, as well as challenges related to the work of this team will also be discussed.

Oakes South

Investigating existing barriers in the implementation of best practices for treating problem behaviour in Canada

Presenters: Alison Cox

It is estimated that 12.5% of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) engage in severe destructive behaviour including self-injury, aggression, and property destruction (Emerson et al., 2001). Individuals who engage in severe destructive behaviour such as aggression are at an increased risk for denial of services, social isolation, institutionalization, over-use of medication, physical restraint, and physical abuse (Antonacci, Manuel, & Davis, 2008). In 2016, the Ontario’s Ombudsman report titled ‘Nowhere to Turn’ iterated Antonacci et al’s. findings by illuminating the plight of individuals with IDD who engage in destructive behaviour and the lack of appropriate supports for this population. Mr. Dubé also released an extensive list of recommendations around how service improvements could be made. One of these recommendations included developing best-practice guidelines and methods for safely responding to destructive behaviour. In response, Drs. Alison Cox and Val Saini, alongside Louis Busch, chaired the Ontario Scientific Expert Task Force for the Treatment of Challenging Behaviour (OSETT-CB). Following this, Drs. Cox and Saini surveyed behaviour analysts in Canada on the degree to which the best-practice guidelines described in the OSETT-CB report were actually carried out by clinicians developing treatments for destructive behaviour. This presentation will feature a summary of the guidelines, as well as the Nation-wide survey results and corresponding recommendations. Finally, we will describe an education event that may facilitate achieving several other items listed in the original Ombudsman report.

Oakes North East

Information on the April 11th, 2019 RSIG seminar day is posted on their web-pages.