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Friendship Circle – A friendship circle is a gathering of children or youth that come together intentionally to spend time with each other and get to know one another better. The Friendship Circle gives a student with a disability an opportunity to become meaningfully involved with his/her peer group in a creative and supportive manner.  In this way, it is hoped that the Friendship Circle will help nurture the meaningful participation of a student with a disability with peers both within the school community and extend this participation outside of school.

Gift – a natural ability that somebody appears to have been born with.  For example: the gift of presence; the gift of being a good listener; the gift of laughter; the gift of friendship; the gift of peace; the gift of being welcoming. See Janet Klees “We Come Bearing Gifts” for further information.

Host – A host is an individual from the neighbourhood or community who has expressed an interest in getting to know a child or youth with a disability. Over time a host develops a natural relationship with the person with a disability.

Host Family- A host family is a family ideally from the neighbourhood or community who has expressed an interest in getting to know a child or youth with a disability. Over time the host family and individual develop a natural relationship with the person with a disability.

Inclusion – Inclusion is about ALL of us – Inclusion is about living full lives. Inclusion makes the world our classroom for a full life.  Inclusion treasures diversity and builds community. Inclusion is about our ‘abilities’ – our gifts and how to share them. Inclusion is NOT just a ‘disability’ issue.  To understand inclusion visit

Independent Facilitation – A person who guides conversations within a support circle to direct members to support the person with a disability in ways that he/she can be a contributing member of community.

Integration – the process of being present and becoming a contributing and valued member of everyday, ordinary community. A valuable resource on integration and building community is the book: What’s Really Worth Doing and How to do it by Judith Snow.

Life Course Tool – is a framework that was developed by Helen Sanderson and Associates. It is a tool that helps individuals and families of all abilities and at any age or stage of life develop a vision for a good life. It helps them think about what they need to know and do, identify how to find or develop supports, and discover what it takes to live the lives they want to live.

Meaningful Day – is being truly connected to the events in the passage of one’s day. Being present because someone chooses to be engaged in a particular activity or event.  When someone is meaningfully engaged because the person is part of a process or situation. Regardless of ability to be engaged as a full and participating member of community. Relationships give meaning to our lives. Some common themes about what makes a life meaningful are: to love and be loved; to give and to receive; to create and to learn, to cherish and be valued, to make a difference and to participate, to dream & to have choice, to believe & to b  (Taken from Durham Family Network, Newsletter February 2009) - get feedback from staff and find ways to include in website. 

One Page Profile  –  is a tool that simply put, summarizes what is important to someone and how they wish to be supported. On a One Page Profile, the person indicates how they would like people to help them if and when they need care.

Partnership – A relationship of working and communicating alongside between family and agency staff so that the goals and dreams of the individual can be realized.

Relationship – the connection between two or more people or groups and their involvement with one another, especially as regards to the way they behave toward and feel about one another.  Relationships are particularly important in the life of a person with a disability.  They provide a nurturing foundation for belonging, being connected to community, security, sharing, being safe, etc.

Relationship Plan – is a living document developed by Extend-A-Family that identifies and builds upon current supports and connections in the person’s life.  Coordinators and families usually complete this document twice a year and use it as a guide to partner with the family in building relationships and connections for the person with a disability.

Respite Supports – Planned services that provide short-term relief and/or support to caregivers. The respite support may be in one’s home or in community.

Social Role Valorization – or SRV is a term coined by Wolf Wolfensberger. It explains that people are much more likely to experience the good things in life if they hold valued social roles than if they do not. The major goal of SRV is to create or support socially valued roles for people in their society. If a person holds valued social roles, that person is highly likely to receive the good things in life that are available to that society. 

Support Circle/Social Network – A circle of support is a group of people who agree to meet on a regular basis to assist the focus person to accomplish personal visions or goals.  The members of a circle of support are usually friends, family members, co-workers, neighbours, congregation members or faith community members and sometimes service providers.  The majority of people in a circle of support are not paid to participate.  They are involved because they care about the person and have made a commitment to work together to make the person’s life better.

Support Person – a person who supports/assists someone physically or otherwise in accessing and participating in their home or community. 

Trajectory – A term that is used as a tool in the life course worksheet that helps to chart a path in life based on life choices. When we choose a certain direction, we will reach a certain end-goal. Our life choices determine our path and can define our trajectory. 

Transition Planning – Transitioning to adulthood is a challenge for many young people.  A youth with special needs and his or her family must make some important decisions about the future.  Such decisions include making choices around future living arrangements, education and employment, finances, and community and social involvement.  These are often complex issues that can be dealt with beneficially from proper planning.

Vision – Vision is imagining what does not yet exist.  “It is the force of the power of imagination.”  

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