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Spectrum Society at 25: One agency's story of transformation


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Started in 1987, Spectrum Society for Community Living provides a range of supports to adults in communities from the Sunshine Coast to the Fraser Valley. Over the past five years, we’ve been rethinking some of our assumptions about the role of services, moving away from program models and hierarchies to a more personalized, network-driven approach, and expanding the scope of our agency. We will describe a process of engagement, reflection and renewal that began with a small project in 2007 and how such projects can be a vehicle for agency transformation.

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Spectrum Society at 25: One agency's story of transformation

  1. 1. Spectrum Society at 25:One agency’s story of transformation
  2. 2. Early influences Wolfensberger◦ Valued social roles◦ Normative ways and means Lou Brown◦ “Pre-” means never◦ Functional skills in real(not simulated)environments TASH
  3. 3. “Spectrum Society’s mission is to provideservices to people with disabilities thatwill allow them to function moreproductively and independently in thecommunity.” (1988)
  4. 4. Deinstitutionalization projects
  5. 5. Integration
  6. 6. One person at a time• Build on strengths and interests• Normative options– Paid employment– Volunteer work– Recreation– Adult education• Generic resources– Local businesses– Community organizations– Recreation centres– Colleges
  7. 7. What constitutes “qualityindividualized services”?• Compliance focus– Health and safety– Risk management• Staff training– Personal care– Nutrition– Medications– Behaviour management
  8. 8. Monitoring and Reporting• Staff evaluations• Daily recording• Quarterly reports• Orientation checklists• Health and safety reports• Emergency drills
  9. 9. What constitutes “qualityindividualized services”?• Values focus– Hire staff with good values– Managers with good discernment• Training focus– Positive programming– Communication– Team-building
  10. 10. Others we’ve learned from• David Pitonyak• John Lord• Michael Kendrick• Pat Fratangelo (OCL)• Lyle and Mary Romer (TLC)• John O’Brien and Connie Lyle-O’Brien• Mary Kealy• Janet Klees
  11. 11. John Lord &PeggyHutchison,Pathways toInclusion(2007)
  12. 12. 2007 CLBC Demonstration Project onBuilding Personal Support Networks
  13. 13. Lessons from this project• Everyone wants relationships;• Everyone has something to contribute inrelationship;• Our traditional program models andhierarchies can get in the way of naturalrelationships;• Putting relationships at the top of the agendaleads to a whole different conversation
  14. 14. Strategic Planning• 10 focus groups• What’s working / not working?• 2020 vision• Different methods– PATH– Focus groups– Interviews– Team meetings
  15. 15. Strategic Plan 2010-2013:“Commitment to Partnership”1. Strengthen the capacity of individuals to developand tap relationships, networks and communitypartnerships;2. Shift to a more person-directed approach toservice;3. Become recognized as a model of excellence insupporting self governance, locally and beyond;4. Nurture a culture of learning and leadership;5. Develop a self sustaining social enterprise /business arm of Spectrum
  16. 16. “Spectrum Society’s mission is to provide servicesto people with disabilities that will allow them tofunction more productively and independently inthe community.” (1988)“Spectrum Society’s mission is to support peoplewith disabilities to experience full citizenship andgenuine belonging in community.” (2010)
  17. 17. Shifting the balance of power
  18. 18. “Better Networks for Better Lives”demonstration project
  19. 19. Lessons from the Better Networksproject• Systems can get in the way• We need to ask better questions• Everyone has a right to direct his/her life• No news isn’t necessarily good news
  20. 20. Sharing authority (A+B model)• Discovery vs. intake• Negotiation – eg. Host Agency agreement• Individualized budgets• Recruitment and interviews• Scheduling• Orientations and training• Authentic leadership roles
  21. 21. What constitutes “qualityindividualized services”?• Relationship focus– Building personal support networks– Supported decision-making– Natural supports as a first option• The changing role of support– Connector role– Direction vs. facilitation
  22. 22.
  23. 23. What we’re still wondering...• Quality individualized services vs. quality oflife?– What’s the difference?– Which should be our focus?• Person-centred planning– Independent facilitation?– Planning for services or planning for life?
  24. 24.