Image Credit: Andrew Stawicki
Allison Madden-Blais has worked at Community Living Iroquois Falls for sixteen years and runs the Day Program, which Natalie Belair attends. Nat, born in 1984 with Down syndrome, is one of thirteen adults who are trying to enhance their skills, to keep moving forward and become increasingly independent.
"Nat's dream is to work. She already does all sorts of things. She volunteers at the group homes, she's a chambermaid, she works at Tim Hortons, and she goes to aquafit. And if she sees one of us doing the dishes, she insists on taking over! She does all the laundry in town for the hairdressers. In the photo I'm teaching her number recognition on the computer. She's a good learner."
Allison says she's happy to see more examples of the "innovative services" championed by Community Living taking hold. For instance, she says, not everyone can live independently, or in a group home. Gilles Bellerose � the young man holding onto support worker David Audet as they go for a walk � lives with a family that has, in essence, "adopted" him. Allison says she's optimistic there will be more living arrangements of that kind for people with intellectual disabilities, offering yet another route for independent living.