Maddie has a boyfriend. He’s very handsome and very gentlemanly. They go to movies, share popcorn and have been seen holding hands. But now that she lives on her own, people ask if I’m worried about sex.

Years ago, a speaker from Planned Parenthood challenged a parent group at Maddie’s school to think about how we’d support our children to explore intimate relationships. She pointed out that we, and our more able children, had plenty of chances to try things out in basements or in the backs of cars. But Maddie and her people are highly supervised and most don’t drive! No one had any suggestions about what we would or could do.

Fast forward to living independently—and the handsome gentleman. Like any young woman, Maddie has no interest in talking to her mother about kissing or more. She’s lucky that her mentors and roommates are more than willing to chat about such things.

In addition, she joined a great program run by Dream Weavers Collective. Let’s Talk about Sex and Relationships is a 12-week course, led by Mira and Amanda, two creative Occupational Therapists. In a supportive group setting, Maddie has explored all sorts of ideas about friendship, dating, love and sex. Perhaps it’s not quite the “opportunity” the Planned Parenthood speaker recommended, but I’m deeply grateful!



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Who’d like to have 15 First Dates?

…all on one night!heart

It’s hard for young adults with developmental delays to find romance! So, Maddie’s roommates, the awesome Karen and Morgan, have organized two speed dating events to help young people meet others, find new friends and maybe even find love!

  • Monday, October 23 6:30- 9:30 pm
  • Monday, October 30 (LGBTQ event) 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Whistler’s Grille 995 Broadview Ave. Toronto, ON
$10 Registration – Only 30 spots available! These fun activities are co-sponsored by Montage Support Services. Email to register


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Continuing education options

Maddie likes to learn but it’s hard to find suitable options for continuing education. After graduating from the College Vocational programs at George Brown College and Seneca College (now cancelled), Maddie worked on Essential Skills in a full-time, Toronto Board program. But once she started working, she needed a part-time class.

One of Maddie’s passions is Art History. It was reading Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series that sparked her interest in Greek sculpture and Renaissance painting in particular. Since I’m keen on art too, we attended several classes at the School of Continuing Studies with the delightful Mary Redekop. But after taking all the courses that feature Greek gods, we’ve exhausted our options. Modern art just didn’t cut it.

19059404_10158770742340244_1963848194175970495_nThrough Maddie’s employer, Common Ground Cooperative, she was connected to Frontier College, a national literacy organization. For three years, Maddie took part in the Independent Studies program for adults who have developmental disabilities. Each year, her volunteer tutor chose a theme and presented reading material and writing assignments to help Maddie develop her reading, writing and numeracy skills. Sadly, there is such a demand for the program that Maddie “graduated” in June, and was awarded the Gérard Tardiff award for outstanding achievement in the Independent Studies Program. At graduation, they provided a list of literacy programs.

She’s now having an assessment for the Toronto Public Library’s Adult Literacy Program.  Several branches across the city offer free, one-on-one tutoring in basic reading, writing and math for English-speaking adults 16 years or older. Fingers crossed they can find a time slot and volunteer!


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Barista training!

Here’s Alex! Don’t mess with him!

Looking for training opportunities for your son or daughter? Common Ground Cooperative, where Maddie works, is a Made by Mavericks barista training workshop. Created for persons with developmental disabilities, this five-day, 2 hours a day, program introduces small groups of students to the art of coffee preparation. At the end of the class, participants should be able to pull the perfect café style beverage. Participants must be 18 and over, able to stand for 2 hours and able to work in small groups.

Click here to apply! See a Maverick in action!

Not for you? See more options at My Community Hub, an online registration space for classes and programs offered by different developmental service agencies across Ontario.



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House parent contract

The amazing Morgan has agreed to stay on for another year! We have all agreed to meet to review our house mentor contract and see if any changes are needed. The contract is an agreement between our mentor and the parents of the three residents. It sets our our overall goals for the house, the role of the mentor and outlines our responsibilities for providing compensation and support. As parents, we also have a contract with each other.

Our “Parent-partnership agreement” sets out our responsibilities and commitments to:

  • find, hire and support the house mentor
  • meet regularly to discuss how things are going in the house
  • share expenses (hydro, gas, cable, internet) and administrative duties
  • develop plans to accommodate House Mentor absences.

We have also outlined a process, as yet untested, to follow should any of the residents wish to move out.

At monthly (usually) meetings, we talk about house dynamics, house repair issues, and keep each other informed about the many activities of our daughters. Dropbox has proven to be a fairly effective “filing system” to keep a record of bills and meeting minutes. Every month we have a flurry of electronic bank transfers to pay common bills according to often complex formulas because different parents pay different bills.

Val owes Margaret 1/3 Hydro, plus 1/3 cable minus 1/3 of extra mentor hours. 

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