My 33 year old son Ryan, has an intellectual disability. My husband and I have worked hard to give him the same opportunities that his three sisters have had. As he’s gotten older, that goal has become much harder to achieve as we attempt to navigate the increasingly more complex government programs and the paperwork that goes with them. We were so thankful for Wendy, an independent facilitator with Families for a Secure Future. She has been an absolute blessing to my husband and I!
When Wendy began working with Ryan, I couldn’t imagine how she was going to get our quiet son to communicate with her. Within a few walks with Ryan, she was able to build a bond of trust with him. She asked Ryan questions in ways he could understand; listened to, clarified and affirmed his answers. She problem solved ways his desires could be achieved. Ultimately Wendy brought the four of us together. She helped us to understand one another’s hearts, all the time modelling active listening patiently without judgement.
The second piece to this is how she helped us to navigate and understand the government programs available to Ryan. Wendy has a very sound knowledge of the ODSP, Passport and the rent geared to income processes. As an independent facilitator, she can guide us through the systems, advise us of and explain any changes to them and ensure that Ryan knows about and receives all of the help available. Please note that with Wendy giving us all of the information, the government agencies do not receive the enquiries.
Doug Ford campaigned as the man for the people. Doug, if you take the money away for facilitators who assist this very marginalized and vulnerable group of individuals, you will be turning your back on them. They will fall through the cracks and by nature, they won’t do it quietly. If the government agencies are feeling stretched now with the independent facilitators involved with this very vulnerable and needy group of individuals, what the heck are they going to do should the funds for facilitators stop? The money that the government is spending on the facilitators is a drop in the bucket compared to the increased money that will be needed to support hospitals, mental health facilities, police/fire, psychiatrists and on and on, as they deal with these individuals and families in crisis once the facilitators are gone.
I’ve often wondered as an aging parent what it’s going to be like for those with intellectual disabilities to navigate the complicated processes without our help one day. Please, please, please, don’t target this group’s funding as part of your cuts!