My name is Pamela Power. This is our family's experience with Independent Facilitation.
When Kate was barely out of the toddler stage, people would look at Kate, then look at me and say things such as, “I know someone just like your daughter who got a job washing dishes when she grew up”
Then they would turn to Kate’s twin brother and say; “and young fella’ what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Why do people determine the future for our daughter, but not our son?
Simply because she has Down syndrome and he doesn’t.
As parents, we have always fought against the assumptions made by people who don't know her at all. They are constant. They are unrelenting. Sadly, they are effective at limiting her choices.
That's why finding an Independent Facilitator was a huge relief; someone in our corner who also wanted to know who Kate is and what she really wants to do with her life. If Kate wanted to wash dishes - great with us! But, like anyone else, let's find out first.
Kate’s facilitator invested the time required to get to know Kate and help Kate get to know herself. Over regular meetings, they talked about what Kate is passionate about, what her strengths and challenges are and where Kate sees herself in the future. The facilitator helped Kate define her goals and connect them to real life and real work opportunities.
Kate meets once a month with her facilitator and now once every three months with her Circle of Support. At both meetings, the focus is on Kate, her interests, her needs and what she has to do to achieve her goals. The Circle of Support extends her contacts in the community and brings new ideas and new resources into the picture. This comes at the perfect age for Kate as she transitions out of high school and as she seeks relationships and input from people other than her parents.
Kate landed a paid, part-time job this winter in the area in which she wants to work. But Kate sees this as just the beginning. She’s making plans for how to turn this job into a career.