COR is not like any other job that I have had in the past!

I heart my job at CORWhen joining the team at Creative Options Regina (COR) I had no idea what I was getting involved in.

Everything I knew about COR consisted of knowing I would be working with individuals with intellectual disabilities, that I would be there to help improve their quality of life and to help these individuals through their day as a support person. After six months at COR I have realized that this kind of work goes well beyond what I initially believed I would be getting into. As stated by COR itself, we as support workers follow two ideals: “first, giving each person a sense of feeling safe and loved with their caregivers as companions, and second, helping individuals to express love to others, both in the COR community and in the greater community.”

COR is not like any other job that I have had in the past.

Working other jobs, such as retail or customer service, I was able to distance myself as an individual after I left work; with COR this is not the case. The individuals I support in COR have taken on a role in my life, as well as I have theirs. When I am not supporting the individuals I am usually with, I often find myself wondering what they are doing that day, how their day is going and even missing spending time with them. This kind of relationship goes far beyond that of a working relationship. It becomes a friendship. As with any kind of friend you want to see them lead a good life, make good choices, and improve as an individual; these are all qualities closely related to the ideals followed by Gentle Teaching.

It is because of the friendship I have developed with the individuals I support that I believe I maintain a culture of gentleness. I treat the individuals I support the same way I would treat anyone in my life; with patience, tolerance, compassion and happiness. I am able to joke around and have fun with the individuals I support the same way I interact with my friends outside of COR. This is a special relationship that helps us create a healthy environment for these individuals to thrive and grow. Being able to view the individuals within COR in this light is what makes us different from other organizations that use physical restraints, consequences, and the use of reward and punishment for behavioural interventions.   If we used these traditional practices it would hamper the kind of friendship that develops over time with the practice of Gentle Teaching and I would not be a capable support person or friend to the individuals I spend time with. It is because of the Gentle Teaching philosophy that I have come to love my time with COR and look forward to the time I spend with the people I support.

Kelly, COR Support

Being Awesome On An iPad – COR Ventures To RDACL!

Sharing Your Awesome Online from Creative Options Regina (COR) on Vimeo.

This Summer COR has the pleasure of collaborating with the fine, friendly folks at the Regina and District Association for Community Living (RDACL). RDACL has been hosting workshops on how to use an iPad for several months now for folks with intellectual disabilities in the Regina area. So far the feedback has been very positive! They’re helping to enhance one’s quality of life by giving people the tools and knowledge of how to use state of the art technology.

“When you first turn it on or play music for the first time, you get to experience this moment of pure bliss in their eyes. When you see someone’s face light up by seeing something for the first time, it’s truly a magical experience.”

Not only does the workshop cover online privacy, what you can and can’t share, how to download apps, use the calendar, set alarms, take notes, save contacts, research information, change the time, draw a picture, play music, play a video, and even download several bowling games.Creative Options Regina goes to RDACL

When we learn, it’s never about the one teacher who’s the be all and end all, it’s about all the peers sitting beside peers. It’s the conversations in between lessons, it’s students being students. People understanding how other people tick.

A good teacher isn’t the focal point of the classroom, a good teacher facilitates the conversation where people can learn from each other, where they can teach each other, and where they can find comfort in one another. Yes there’s a lot of learning going on, but the social benefits are arguably more beneficial in the long run.

We love the Being Awesome on an iPad workshops at RDACL!

Person Centred Thinking Skills: May 29-30th, 2014

hsa

For people being supported by services it is not person-centred planning that matters as much as the pervasive presence of person-centred thinking.

If people who use services are to have positive control over their lives, if they are to have self-directed lives within their own communities then those who are around the person, especially those who do the day to day work, need to have person centred thinking skills.  Only a small percentage of people need to know how to write good person centred plans, but everyone involved needs to have good skills in person centred thinking; in the value based skills that underlie the planning.

In an effort to strengthen the person centred thinking skills of our supports and leadership team, COR has partnered with HSA Canada to further mentor our organization in deepening our person-centred culture. With this unique partnership, Julie Malette (HSA Canada) is mentoring both COR, and our partner SAI (Saskatoon), to establish provincial trainers/mentors in Person Centered Thinking Skills. Together we are striving for Person Centred change!

 

Person-Centred-Thinking-Flyer-May-2014-HSA-Canada

Working With People in a Culture of Gentleness: May 20-21, 2014

Working with people, a gentle teaching practicum-Creative Options Regina

Working With People in a Culture of Gentleness is a  two day training designed for direct care-givers and supervisors.  It teaches the basics of providing positive supports and the important role of a gentle caregiver.

COR’s partnership with the Center for Positive Living Supports (CPLS) has proven to have a tremendous impact on our organization! With only two organizations in Saskatchewan rooted in a culture of gentleness, the center has been instrumental in supporting the development of our caregiver training programs and leadership development initiatives; all of which serve to enhance the knowledge and skill set of our caregivers, subsequently improving the quality of life of individuals served.

Saskatchewan is currently in the midst of great change! With our Premier’s commitment to make Saskatchewan the best place for people to live in Canada with a disability, and with the planned closure of the provincial institution in 2016, we are collaborating with our provincial government to further expand and deepen this culture of gentleness across Saskatchewan; we are truly grateful for the support of the Center for Positive Living Supports for their commitment to collaboration and support in cultivating a culture of gentleness in a region far from the state of Michigan.

On May 20-21st, COR will be welcoming Deirdre Mercer, Senior Training Consultant, CPLS to Regina. Deirdre is a licensed social worker with a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Central Michigan University. She loves the opportunity to spread a Culture of Gentleness and uses the lessons learned at MORC to teach others.  Her motto is, “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting their battle too.”

Citizen’s Consultation Team

Government is committed to making Saskatchewan the best place in Canada for persons with disabilities to live. Together with the disability community and all Saskatchewan citizens, the Province is developing a comprehensive disability strategy to make this a reality.

The Strategy will focus on the priority areas specified in the Plan for Growth: housing; transportation; employment; education; support for community inclusion; and support for caregivers. Other priorities may be identified during the consultation process.

A fifteen member Citizen Consultation Team (CCT), appointed by the Minister of Social Services, has been tasked with leading the public forums that will start April 28th, 2014 in Swift Current and will continue across the province throughout the month of May 2014.

The public forums are an opportunity for you and/or your organization to: identify issues specific to your experience with disability; share your ideas on how to improve programs, services and opportunities for people who experience disability; and, give your perspective on other potential pieces of the Strategy, such as the common understanding of disability and the vision, values and principles.

Ensure that you and your members get involved in the discussion!

For more information and to register for the public forums visit here.

Finding Value in My Day: May 7th, 2014

Cara Milne- person centred planning

This practical workshop will begin by learning about the power of creating valued roles for children or adults with disabilities. Those attending will leave with a better understanding of how to improve the quality of someone’s day, based on building genuine relationships and roles, rather than only supporting them in activities.

This workshop will also examine ways in which people with disabilities can increase their involvement within their own homes and the surrounding neighborhoods. Cara will give some first steps in how to support people with disabilities to lead inclusive and value filled lives. 

Who is Cara Milne? Cara is the owner of M-Powered Planning Ltd, a Calgary business that promotes positive and valuable roles for people with disabilities. The variety of workshops and seminars encourage staff and families to see the strengths of their existing services, and simple strategies that create positive changes in the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Cara’s positive and energetic approach supports both common sense and sustainable change.

Out-care the Competition: how to compete in a changing world

The Gentle Teaching Symposium was held in Regina in April 2014. On the Thursday afternoon of the symposium, Jeph Maystruck from Regina’s Strategy Lab led the workshop “Out-care The Competition: how to compete in a changing world”.

Here are the slides from the workshop:

Read more

2014 CASE National Supported Employment Conference

CASE Conference 2014

The Canadian Association for Supported Employment (CASE) is hosting their annual conference this June in Regina. This years theme is “Workplace Diversity, The Big Picture – The CASE Continues”.

If you want to learn more about the 2014 National Support Employment Conference click here.

Gentle Teaching Symposium

Gentle-Teaching-Symposium

Gentle Teaching Symposium
Date: Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Time: 7-9pm
Venue: Research & Innovation Centre, Lecture Theatre 119 (University of Regina)   

This community event, hosted by Dr. Jim Daschuk & UofR students enrolled in Health Studies 301, will bring together COR Supports, families and community stakeholders to hear stories of how Gentle Teaching philosophy and practice is influencing people’s lives across Canada.