Russ and I are off in less than an hour on an adventure. This year the annual conference of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society is in Winnipeg, and I impulsively submitted a speaker proposal about Russell’s daily life since he left high school in October and our involvement with Facile Waterloo Region, an organization whose board I have joined and whose services have had a large impact in Russell’s successful transition.
Russell is going with me because I’m no longer comfortable doing presentations about him without him present. He has a voice and isn’t afraid to use it. He’s going to do a piece of the presentation that talks about his best moments growing up and then talk about what he’s doing now and wants for the future. He’s done it once before and took questions at the end like a pro.
I’m going to focus a bit more on the model of independent facilitation as an alternative to government-funded programs. Independent facilitation allows the individual to “steer the course,” so to speak, and the facilitator walks along with them in their journey, helping to open doors and make connections. It’s both a one-to-one model and a network of support. The widespread success of this type of model depends on the success of our lobbying for more independent funding for people with disabilities. We are also raising funds to provide bursaries to families in need of financial support.
Anyway, I will have more to report on when I get back. In the meantime, here’s Russell.