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AFC Summit workshop on Circles of Support May 2018

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Presented at Holy Cross College to AFC provider agency employees and supporters.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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AFC Summit workshop on Circles of Support May 2018

  1. 1. My Circle of Support EXERCISE
  2. 2. Imagine your Circle disappearing. How do you think it might impact you? EXERCISE
  3. 3. Circle of Support Me 1 4 3 2 1. Circle of intimacy 2. Circle of friendship 3. Circle of participation 4. Circle of exchange See next page for descriptions of each area trainer counselor Dr BFF spouse Friend coworker Friend Friend Friend Friend coworker coworker coworker neighbor Study group Workout buddies Book club cousins Aunt & Uncle sisters Teammates cousins Faith community Circle of Support Me 1 4 3 2 1. Circle of intimacy 2. Circle of friendship 3. Circle of participation 4. Circle of exchange See next page for descriptions of each area Teachers Parents siblings Staff Social Worker Case Manager You and I People with Disabilities
  4. 4. “Loneliness is the newest health crisis in our country” News FLASH!
  5. 5. Why should we be concerned?
  6. 6. Earliest Circles: created by our caregivers; playdates, lessons, parties Earliest Decisionmakers: establish themselves within their Circles as leaders or followers Middle School: independent thinking manifests, in the context of huge social demands and expectations of belonging and conforming to the group. Social anxieties, pressures and other challenges become complex. Anyone who is different is not celebrated; they are isolated. Circles begin to grow for some, shrink for others. Adulthood: maturity (through age) brings appreciation for differences or the holding on of pre-conceived notions. We have our own children, and begin to think about how we will model those beliefs we hope our children will embrace. We have established our own Circles that represent who we choose to spend our lives with. People without disabilities
  7. 7. Earliest Circles: created by our caregivers; playdates, lessons, parties Earliest Decisionmakers: establish themselves within their Circles as leaders or followers. Children with disabilities and their peers are just beginning to see differences, but they don’t assign stigmas or reduced value. Middle School: independent thinking manifests, in the context of huge social demands and expectations of belonging and conforming to the group. Social anxieties, pressures and other challenges become complex. Anyone who is different is not celebrated; they are isolated. Circles begin to grow for some, shrink for others. Adulthood: people with disabilities have grown in isolation, are lonely, dependent on caregivers who are paid to be in their lives. Family members become decision makers, shifting those relationships. They may be known in their communities, but they are not included. People with disabilities
  8. 8. “I don’t want to bother people” “I’m embarassed to ask for help” “I should be able to do this alone” “What will they think of me?” “If I ask them to help, they might not want to” The internal struggles for families: Addressing the barriers to building Circles of Support “We want to help, but don’t know how” “We might sound politically incorrect” “We can’t afford to take this on” “We don’t have the skills or knowledge” “I don’t know who to ask” The external struggles for communities: “Since they’re disabled, they don’t really have anything of value to contribute. They just need care.” “They must have family and friends who love them.” ”Systems are doing a good job of taking care of their needs and quality of life.” Societal presumptions:
  9. 9. How do we learn about a person? What do we ask? When we first meet someone new:
  10. 10. The first things we may see or hear: • The disability and/or the diagnosis • Description of their anticipated behaviors • Their limitations – what they can’t do • No introduction at all as they stand there
  11. 11. Rethinking our Roles in AFC SHIFTING OUR PERSPECTVE
  12. 12. A STORY ABOUT DIANE
  13. 13. A STORY ABOUT DIANE What happened first: Diane had a person-centered plan with her caregivers, and the team decided that she needed to build an intentional circle to improve her quality of life and reduce isolation. What happened next: School administrators called together a group of her peers, who placed themselves into her shoes and became aware of her isolation. They brainstormed ways to provide support for her to participate in their lives. And then… Diane became an included part of her high school after her peers and teachers realized Diane’s gifts, learning how she can contribute her gifts, and found solutions to barriers Diane faced.
  14. 14. The Camp Story
  15. 15. What happened first: A counselor trained in Circles of Support framed a conversation about Norman that was positive and age- appropriate. What happened next: The campers brainstormed lots of ways they could do things together with Norman. They came up with ways to help plan his day and support his needs. And then… Norman’s circle grew authentically over time, as his peers spent more time getting to know him in their own environment and on their own terms. What were the elements of success for Norman’s peers? What are the benefits to the community? The Camp Story
  16. 16. What happened first: Andy’s support staff stepped back & allowed the natural relationships to develop in the music store he frequented. What happened next: The store manager got to know Andy & realized his skills in organizing as well as his passion for music. He gave Andy a part-time job. And then… Andy began hosting Trivia Night events at the music store for the community. What were the elements of success for Andy? What are the benefits to the community?
  17. 17. “It wasn’t my job to BE his friend…”
  18. 18. TAKING ACTION
  19. 19. What can I do right now, in my own space? •In the next 4 days •In the next 4 weeks •Who will be my accountability partner? TAKING ACTION
  20. 20. THANKYOU It is up to every one of us to steward the humanity of those who are considered less. Failure to do so is a failure of humanity in general. Circles of Support are a natural element of our existence. Without them, we cannot survive; as a race, as a community, or as individuals. Hold the space for the voices left unheard. cheryl@personcenteredplanning.com Cheryl Ryan Chan
  21. 21. * excerpts from the book Community: The Structure of Belonging, by Peter Block Berrett-Koehler, 2008 Slide designs & images by www.slidescarnival.com (Palamon and Miranda themes) These slides can be found at http://slideshare.net/cherylryanchan

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