Front: Onkar Biring (CLBC board member); Second row: Nancy Walton (parent); Debbie Mackie (parent); Debbie Meyer (CLBC); Cheryl Blake (CLBC); Buffy Arndt (Arcus), Andrea Mellilieu (Arcus); Back row: Jai Birdi (CLBC); Bryanna (Arcus), Kelly (Arcus), Sharon Baxter (Arcus); Not pictured: Barb Carle-Thiesson (CLBC board member).

Being a parent of a loved one with a developmental disability, or with complex support needs, is rewarding but can be exhausting. And the effort to find the right home, when your loved one grows up, is no easy task. But when the right partners come together and work closely with the family, the results can be very positive for all involved.

That was the message CLBC board members Barb Carle-Thiesson and Onkar Biring heard when visiting families in Surrey on October 24, 2018. The visit was part of several annual tours that board members make to communities around the province.

Barb and Onkar began the day visiting a CLBC funded staffed home run by Arcus Community Resources for individuals with high behavioural support needs. They heard from Debbie and Nancy, whose sons both live in the well-kept, family-style home in South Surrey.

Both mothers spoke about how they worked closely with Arcus’ experienced staff to develop strategies for effective supports for good diets, activities and getting out into the community. The payoff is happy, active sons – and parents who could rest easy knowing that their loved ones are safe.

“These families worked very hard to find the right supports for their sons,” said Barb. “I was impressed with what I heard, and with the professionalism of the Arcus staff who worked creatively with the families to find the right behavioural strategies.”

Barb and Onkar also met with the family of a young woman with complex support needs, who is currently receiving CLBC funded supports through the John Howard Society (JHS).

The father shared the challenges of finding the right supports for young adults who are diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). It’s an issue that many agencies are struggling to understand and to respond to, and it requires honest, frank collaboration, he said.

After working for years with the CLBC and JHS, the parents report that their daughter is finally happy, trying to find work, and is taking cooking and exercise classes.

“When families have loved ones with complex needs, it’s important that we listen and learn from them,” said Onkar. “In this case, CLBC and the service provider have learned so much from the parents that we know will help us in our work with others.”

This On Community Living BC website go to this link

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