Hi there,

My name is Paul Baldwin, I live with a disability, and I believe so much in the CLBC Commitment document and its five commitments for so many reasons, but my journey of transitioning from my apartment the second time I was there when I wanted compete independence, to now when I want to live semi independently with support is a great example of its importance and how CLBC can help the client take control of their supports.  This is because I was supported by CLBC through the whole process.

In the beginning I got little supports, but they were always extremely supportive, and the personal changes I went through helped me to realize that I needed more support for my disability.  I have an endocrine disorder called Prader Willies, which is a food eating disorder that carries a large mental health component.  Most people who have the disorder are low functioning, but I have a normal IQ, and so I am higher functioning.  This however makes it so I have typically gotten less support over the years and have always been told what to do and so I chose to go into my own apartment.

Things started out well for me but eventually I struggled, I gained 500 pounds, and decided that I needed treatment, outside of Canada in the United States, and I heavily advocated for myself in order to get it, but with the help of Health and CLBC I got it.  Once in treatment I decided that what was best for me was something not yet readily available for people with Prader Willie in Canada. I fought hard for my rights and CLBC did the same, starting to work collaboratively with Health to create what I was asking for based on my requests. Also as I left treatment Health and CLBC together brought in who a specialized Health Manager in the Health Authority to start helping.  I eventually came back to Canada in Kamloops for treatment once again, awaiting a placement solution.  The end result of what came out of my situation is that CLBC in collaboration with the health system created a model of care that had never been created before, but yet needed to be done.

CLBC has been and will always be a major part of my team, and they also were instrumental in helping to get my new style of placement together.  But this was done by following the commitment document values and beliefs to the letter, and this is how.

Commitment One (Listen To Me); I was listened to because before I left for treatment, whether it was with my Case Worker or the Regional Manager, and especially when I was in Pittsburgh on teleconference calls with my entire care team, I Was always listened to and felt I could talk to either one of them. This was so important to me as it meant there was always open and honest communication.

Commitment Two (Learn From Me); CLBC learned from me by listening to my knowledge and experience regarding my disability, and recognized and respected that I was the most important person to listen to when it came to what I wanted and needed for my supports.

Commitment Three (Communicate Openly And Honestly With Me); I have already touched on this one a little bit already, but CLBC has always had open and honest communication with me, because I know I’ve always been able to speak to my case worker or regional manager about anything.  Thus is important to me because if I couldn’t then I wouldn’t be able to work well with them.

Commitment Four (Recognized My Strengths); CLBC was amazing at recognizing my strengths because they respected that I knew what my needs were and actually listened to me as I explained them to them, and in turn, creating the supports that best fit my needs and wants.

Commitment Five (Respect Me); I was most importantly respected by CLBC because they listened to me regarding what I was wanting and needing with my supports.  They never treated me differently than anyone else and were always respectful, while working hard to create my supports.  So hard that they not just worked with Health, but they thought outside the box on how they could contribute to my care, for Health to use the contribution as they wished in their efforts to support me.  That is so respectful because that’s like saying “We don’t know completely what’s the right route to take or exactly what you need but we think we need other people need to be involved.  We also can’t pay for all of it but contribute as much as we can to support it.”

With CLBC following the five commitments, I felt like a normal human being, and the commitments are extremely important because they are what embodies how any basic person should be treated as a person, regardless of their race, challenges, or disability should be treated.  This is because it is the way you would treat your friends and family, so now I ask you “why should we be any different?”.

Written by

Paul Baldwin

Self-Advocacy Rights Supporter