Dreaming – the process of developing a vision for one’s life. Dreaming can be a shared process wherein members of an individual’s support circle/social network contribute to bring the vision to fruition and give it a voice, so that planning toward the vision can take place.

Friendship Circle – A friendship circle offers an invitation to children or youth to cultivate a circle of friends.  This small group setting provides an intentional opportunity for all members of the group to get to know each other better.  It provides a creative way to help develop the friendships of the student with a disability.  The Friendship Circle gives a student with a disability an opportunity to become meaningfully involved with his/her peer group in a supportive manner.  In this way, it is hoped that the Friendship Circle will help nurture the meaningful participation of a student with a disability with their peers within the school community and encourage the opportunity to extend this participation outside of school.

Gift – a natural ability that somebody appears to have been born with.  For example: the gift of presence; the gift of being a good listener; the gift of laughter; the gift of friendship; the gift of peace; the gift of (being) welcome(ing).  See Janet Klees “We Come Bearing Gifts” for further information.

Inclusion -Inclusion is about ALL of us – Inclusion is about living full lives – about learning to live together.  Inclusion makes the world our classroom for a full life.  Inclusion treasures diversity and builds community. Inclusion is about our ‘abilities’ – our gifts and how to share them. Inclusion is NOT just a ‘disability’ issue.  Visit for further information at

Integration – the process of becoming an accepted member of a group or community.

MAPs – Making Action Plans is a planning process for people and organizations that begin with a story – the history.  Maps has a series of empty container questions that ask a person/organization to tell us some of the milestones on their journey, so we can get to know them, dream with them, and begin to build a plan to move in the direction of their dreams.

Meaningful Day – is being truly connected to the events in the passage of one’s day.  One is present because one chooses to be engaged in a particular activity or event.  One is engaged meaningfully because one is intrinsically a part of a process or situation.  One is engaged as a full and participating member of society regardless of ability or aptitude.  Some common themes about what makes a life meaningful: to love & be loved, to give & to receive, to create & to learn, to cherish & to be valued, to make a difference & to participate, to dream & to have choice, to believe & to be believed in.  When it comes down to it, what gives people meaning in their lives are relationships.
(Taken from Durham Family Network, Newsletter February 2009)

Partnership – A relationship of working and communicating alongside between family and agency staff so that the goals and dreams of the individual can be realised.

PATH – is a creative planning tool which starts in the future and works backwards to an outcome of first (beginning) steps that are possible and positive.  It is excellent for team building.  It has been used to mediate conflicts.  It is loved by people who actually want to change the ways they currently work.  PATH is not for the faint of heart.  It is very results oriented.

Person Directed Plan – Person-directed plans are personalized action plans that explore who a person is and what his/her goals are. Depending upon the agency providing the service this may include how s/he participates in the community; her/his likes and dislikes; hobbies, interests, talents; strengths; fears; concerns; what s/he wants as well as what supports and connections are needed to achieve these goals.  A variety of planning tools are used to assist with the development of a written plan which includes an action plan with timelines.  Some agencies offering this service will also assist with hiring and training staff as finding the required resources. Please refer to the specific program regarding eligibility for this service.

Relationship – the connection between two or more people or groups and their involvement with one another, especially as regards to the way they behave toward and feel about one another.  Relationships are particularly important in the life of a person with a disability.  They provide a nurturing foundation for belonging, being connected to community, security, sharing, being safe, etc.

Relationship Plan – is a living document developed by Extend-A-Family that identifies and builds upon current supports and connections in the person’s life.  Coordinators and families usually complete this document twice a year and use it as a guide to partner with the family in building relationships and connections for the person with a disability.

Respite Supports – Planned services that provide short-term relief and/or support to caregivers. The respite support may be in one’s home or in community.

Support Circle/Social Network – A circle of support is a group of people who agree to meet on a regular basis to assist the focus person to accomplish personal visions or goals.  The members of a circle of support are usually friends, family members, co-workers, neighbours, congregation members or faith community members and sometimes service providers.  The majority of people in a circle of support are not paid to participate.  They are involved because they care about the person and have made a commitment to work together to make the person’s life better.

Support Person – a person who supports/assists someone physically or otherwise in accessing and participating in their home or community.

Transition Planning – Transitioning to adulthood is a challenge for many young people.  A youth with special needs and his or her family must make some important decisions about the future.  Such decisions include making choices around future living arrangements, education and employment, finances, and community and social involvement.  These are often complex issues that can be dealt with beneficially from proper planning.

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