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Staff Access

Remarkable Roles and Relationships: the Gifts and Challenges of Supporting People With Intellectual Disabilities Within Systems

Often, when those who work in Community Support get together we remark on how grateful we are to be paid to have the roles we have, and we talk about the importance of our relationships with those we support.   We are aware and appreciative of the gifts folks bring to our lives and to our communities, and yet there are also challenges in supporting people with intellectual disabilities even within systems we’ve created, which we rarely reflect on.

In this discussion, we’ll invite about 50 companionable people who care about their work and those they support to sit with us in a circle and find ways together to be more clear about how we might share the enrichment that people bring into our lives, and how we might deal with challenges in our systems (and in our roles and in our selves).

In our organization we will be in the middle of part two of a small project.   In Part One, “the better networks project,” we looked for ways to deepen and expand the support networks of about a dozen folks with disabilities; in Part Two, “the navigators project,” we are hoping to address one of the things that we discovered – that the assumption of a hierarchical system can be deeply embedded in us all and can get in the way.   And, yet, the benefits of a system’s infrastructure can support us in exactly such questions and discussions.

Tentative flow of our day:

– introductions, mingling and welcome.

– we are inviting lots of special guests but we only have 50 spots in the room and another dozen or so folks will be skyping in.   The day’s gifts and challenges will emerge with the guest lists.

– sharing our good questions (please bring a juicy question!).

– choosing four questions.

– David Pitonyak ( will start us off.

– Graphic Facilitators Avril Orloff (Outside The Lines: and Aaron Johannes ( will help bring clarity and depth to the conversation, as well as providing a record that will be shared by all.

– Gifts of the day?

– Closure: David Pitonyak

Breakfast and break-out snacks will be available but plan to either have lunch in the food court or bring something to eat.

Please be aware that a photographer will be taking pictures throughout the day and you will be asked to sign a media release form, and the documentation of this day together may become a publication.

If you have received an invitation, you can register here to let us know you’re coming!  Once the 50 (max) spaces are gone, we’ll stop registering people.   If you did not receive an invitation and you really think you should be there, let me know!