To help adults with disabilities embrace, create, and sustain
natural systems of supports as they participate in the My Voice,
My Choice program option. The support that we all receive from families,
friends, neighbors, employers and communities is the essence behind
our ability to direct our own lives. We all need a Circle of Support.
1. Demonstrate an understanding of what a Circle of Support
means and that support systems are based on individual
needs and wants.
2. Identify possible roles for people in the Circle of Supports.
3. Identify strategies to include people beyond family and paid
providers to be a part of a person Circle of Support.
4. Outline ways to communicate, support, and maintain a positive
focus among the Circle of Supporters.
A Circle of Support means the people in our lives who assist us in making important decisions; they take care of us when
we are struggling and cheer us on when we pursue our dreams. Everybody needs a Circle of Support.
Circles of Supports are the mortar that holds life plans together. Like all people, a person with a disability engages
in activities more readily when he or she is empowered by family, friends, and community.
One of the most important jobs of a Support Broker is to embrace, create, or nurture into existence Circle of Supports. Many people have families and friends, neighbors and community partners who are engaged in their lives.
A full and healthy Circle of Supports leads to a rich life. Dynamic Circle of Supports made up of
family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers helps to ensure that individuals have champions and contributors to pursue
their life quests.
A Support Broker may find that many Individuals with disabilities are without significant support systems, leaving them isolated and often times
segregated from the mainstream. Some people do not have the good fortune of having a concerned
and listening support system; many individuals with disabilities depend solely on paid staff to help them meet their needs.
While paid staff can be very important contributors to a person's life, paid staff may not have the ability, time, or
inclination to fully participate in a creative person-centered planning process. In such cases, Support Brokers will have to build
the Circle of Support beginning with the people who the employer selects as important. At first the circle may be quite small. As the adult expands their life circumstances (i.e. work, recreation, community living) the Support Broker will continue to identify additional people to participate in the circle. The successful Support Broker will also help sustain and continually strengthen the Circle of Support.
THE POWER OF CIRCLES OF SUPPORT
The following article demonstrates the importance of a strong Circle of Support. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true - without a responsive support system, many individuals with disabilities will continue to live on the fringes of their communities without a voice or control over what they do on a daily basis.
Click for article Power of Life or Death
Author, Helen Henderson, shares the story of how one person's life, Judith Snow, is impacted through her circle of support. Because Ms. Snow created a network of caring support and community providers, she is able to live the life of her choice. This article helps Support Brokers understand how powerful a Circle of Support can be in helping a person with a disability to be self-directed.
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