Accommodating Differences... Every Day!

Program Philosophy & Description

A Circle of Support promotes and sustains a community that embraces the participation of individuals with special needs, and to that end, A Circle of Support provides individualized, adaptable services that encourage our participants with special needs to participate and self-determine in as many areas of their lives as possible in order to help reach their potential.

A Circle of Support will respect and bring dignity to individuals regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, ethnicity, place of origin, language, gender, sexual orientation, family and economic status, physical or mental ability. The staff of A Circle of Support will perform their duties with professionalism, integrity, compassion, and competence.

While the residents attend community schools for their formal academic education, A Circle of Support supplements their education by teaching functional life skills, enhancing communication skills and helping them to best adapt to community living. We believe that the skills we teach should be age appropriate and functional. Our primary goal is to assist the resident within their own living environment with a view to maximizing the resident's independence in each domain of their lives. All programs are designed to meet the individual needs of every resident and are implemented by trained and qualified child and youth workers.

Domestic and personal care skills are taught and encouraged as they occur naturally in their environment as opposed to creating mock learning situations. We believe that our residents are more likely to adapt to and generalize their skills when taught using this methodology.

We recognize that when a person can utilize the power of language to acquire new skills and express emotional thought, they can optimize their success in a community based living environment. A Circle of Support looks upon total communication as being an important approach to teaching expressive language skills, through the use of tools such as sign language, gestures, word cards or picture symbols. Where applicable, enhancing the articulation and frequency of verbal communication as much as possible. Functional and social use of language sets the priority for communication goals for each resident at A Circle of Support.

Through many recreational activities such as hiking, skating, bowling, swimming, cycling, shopping, going to a theatre and dining out, our residents gain a better awareness of their surroundings, while the community gains a better understanding of our unique and special residents.

For some of our residents, we see the need to introduce vocational tasks to provide the individual with skills that might lead them into productive work experiences later in life. Activities such as sorting, collating and packaging are regularly incorporated into their individualized program plans.

It is our philosophy that in order to enhance the resident's development and to move forward in skill acquisition, a resident's behavioural difficulties must be managed through strategies designed to decrease and/or more eliminate the undesirable behaviours through positive reinforcement or desirable and/or more socially acceptable behaviours. Even if a behaviour is unacceptable, out fundamental belief is that the behaviour is an attempt to communicate. The resident will be responsible for the behaviour and hence, accept the consequence, but at the same time, the staff will accept the responsibility to sort through the complexity of what that person is trying to communicate and respond in kind. As a program bias, A Circle of Support does not advocate for the use of psychotropic or other mood altering medication for the purpose of changing behaviour. However, where it is the opinion of a qualified psychiatrist or trusted physician that medication may be necessary to provide for a resident's overall well-being, then such medication will be considered for use, in consultation with the resident's parents/guardians and social worker.

Communication and cooperation between A Circle of Support and the resident's family/guardians is important to the philosophy of our program. A Circle of Support encourages parental involvement in the resident's program to ensure the continuity and consistency of the individual in all living environments. Services provided to the family and their children are provided in a manner that respects cultural, religious and regional differences. There is a provision of inclusive services that are non-discriminatory and offered in an environment that takes into account ethane-cultural, racial linguistic and ancestral diversity. This also includes the provision, to the best of our ability, services under the French Language Services Act. Accommodation of gender-specific needs of children or youth, will be made, including the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered children and youth. Leisure and recreation opportunities will be offered with a view to promote physical, social and cultural benefits, and this includes opportunities for Aboriginal children and youth to preserve their unique cultural identity, as identified in their plan of care.

Teaching strategies and management techniques are shared with the parents. Reinforcing and enhancing the parenting skills guides them to understand their resident's behaviour and as well, it provides the family with effective behaviour management skills.

This focus on building the parent's skills as well as the resident's skills, together with a continuing liaison with the resident's teacher at school or other personnel at the resident's day treatment or training program promotes the achievement of the goal of having the resident's social, functional, and communication skills generalized to the continuity, home, and school.

REMINDER: A Circle of Support is a fragrance-free workplace. Thank you for not wearing any of the following during your visit: cologne, after shave lotion, perfume, perfumed hand lotion, fragranced hair products, and/or similar products. Our chemically-sensitive co-workers and clients thank you.