Ontario Adult Autism Research and Support Network - OAARSN

Ontario Adult Autism Research and Support Network

OAARSN offers information and communication tools to connect adults with Autism, family members, caregivers, friends, support workers, teachers, administrators and policymakers. We can all benefit from the opportunities for mutual support and encouragement and the sharing of knowledge and experience. Our efforts to promote positive approaches and best practices in supporting adults with Autism can help all who live and work on the front lines.

Aroha Entities for Personal Empowerment and Support

When in 2001, we first became interested in incorporated entities for personal empowerment and support of vulnerable individuals, we called these microboards. The term for this context was invented in the mid-1980s by David Wetherow in Winnipeg. We invited David and Fay Wetherow to lead a workshop about microboards in Guelph in November 2001 and about 60 people attended.

We were so impressed with this way of trying to “secure” a good life that we went ahead and incorporated what was probably the first “microboard” in Ontario. However, we have not used the term here. For one thing, microboard now suggests a computer component to the uninitiated, and seems to stress governance. For another, the term “microboard” has been very successfully appropriated by the Vela Microboard Association of British Columbia which does not want others to use the term unless they contract to follow Vela in all details. For a third reason, we wanted a distinctive word with warm, rich meanings that are appropriate to its functions. So we chose the word Aroha.

The Maori word “aroha” from Aotearoa/New Zealand is proposed as the generic term for incorporated entities for personal empowerment and support (that are similar to “microboards” in British Columbia or “self-directed support corporations” in various American states).

Aroha means the various qualities and values that are needed in a caring circle of friends. Its meanings include affection, love, charity, compassion, empathy, concern, trust, pity, understanding and true friendship—all in active ways, not just ideas or feelings.

The first Aroha entity in Ontario was incorporated with and around a man in Guelph. “Adam”. He with members of his Aroha have shared their experience with other circles of families and friends who wanted to incorporate. This introduction to Aroha entities has been updated in 2007 to reflect the experience of the several other pioneers who have followed Adam’s example. We thank them all.

On this page:

Questions and Answers

What is an Aroha entity for personal empowerment and support?

An Aroha is formed when a group of committed family members and friends join together with a person with disabilities to incorporate an organization according to the laws of the province, state or nation in which they live. This entity has the objects and legal powers to address the vulnerable person’s planning and support needs, to create solutions, and to manage resources in ways that are responsive and accountable.

The Maori word “Aroha” from Aotearoa/New Zealand is proposed as the generic term for incorporated entities for personal empowerment and support (similar to “microboards” in British Columbia or “self-directed support corporations” in various American states).

Aroha means the various qualities and values that are needed in a caring circle of friends. Its meanings include affection, love, charity, compassion, empathy, concern, trust, pity, understanding and true friendship—all in active ways, not just ideas or feelings.

The first Aroha in Ontario has been incorporated with and around a man in Guelph. This Aroha is willing to share its experience with other circles of families and friends who want to incorporate

Who should be interested in Aroha entities for personal empowerment and support?

Incorporated Aroha entities have great potential interest for:

  • Persons who have disabilities that make them vulnerable or socially isolated and limit their abilities to carry through business decisions about their lives. An incorporated Aroha entity should be an option for anyone who has a developmental, physical, mental, cognitive, or communication disability.
  • Everyone who cares about a relative or friend with a disability, as an Aroha can provide a platform for inviting community support to broaden and continue the good things being done by family and friends
  • Communities who can see the benefits of families and friends having real and responsible roles in protecting vulnerable and otherwise socially isolated persons from abuse, and generally promoting safety in communities
  • Government who are reassured that, with its legal powers and responsibilities, the incorporated Aroha entity functions enough like an agency to receive disability support dollars and provide fiscal management
  • Prospective foundation supporters who appreciate Aroha entities for their success in leveraging family and community investments.
What can an incorporated Aroha do for personal empowerment and support?

In essence, by ensuring that available resources and supports are used for the individual, in keeping with her/his wishes and needs—now, and into the future, after parents are no longer available or able to remember and take care of “the 10,000 details”

First, members and supporters of the Aroha entity ensure that the person with a disability has ways to understand options and make decisions about her/his life. We recommend a supported decision-making agreement.

Second, an incorporated Aroha entity can have legal powers to:
a) receive and administer individualized funding directly from Government
b) administer trust funds set up by families
c) be the employer of record for support workers
d) own and maintain property such as the home of the person with a disability
e) make contracts and agreements with independent service providers and consultants
f) make contracts with facilitators and agencies that may provide “second-level” supports
g) carry liability insurance

This seems a new idea: has its value been proven anywhere?

Aroha entities for personal empowerment and support may be new for Ontario. However, entities called Microboards, with similar powers and functions, have already proved themselves since the 1980s in western Canada.

  • The Microboard was invented and named by David Wetherow in Winnipeg in the 1980s, as a creative response to the movement of Manitobans out of long-stay institutions.
  • Entities called Microboards are most numerous in British Columbia where more than 1,000 have become vehicles for the practical involvement of friends and family members. The Vela Microboard Association provides exchange of information and support.
  • Microboards are also being created in various US locations including Tennessee and Utah
  • Microboards, as developed by Vela, are praised as most conducive to quality of life by Alison Pedlar, Larry Haworth, Peggy Hutchison et al. in A Textured Life: empowerment and adults with developmental disabilities (Wilfrid Laurier University Press et al. in 1999)
  • For a more theoretical discussion of Microboards in relation to concepts of leisurability, see “Funding the Individual: An Idea that Spans the Ideological Spectrum” by Troy Glover, Journal of Leisurablity 26, 4 (Fall 1999).
We already have a circle of friends and a personal support network on the PLAN model. Do we need an incorporated Aroha as well?

All these can help persons with disabilities to have better lives. All stress the critical importance of relationships with friends. All are ways that a family can invite friends and community allies to understand the needs and values of its relative with a disability and to help plan for a more secure future.

Friends in circles, networks and incorporated entities (such as Aroha, microboards, self-directed support corporations) would agree that the elements of a good life and a secure future are, as so well presented in A Good Life by Al Etmanski of PLANTM:

  • Sharing your vision
  • Building relationships in a strong circle or network of friends
  • Creating a home that offers sanctuary
  • Making a contribution
  • Ensuring choices
  • Developing your will and estate plan
  • Securing the plan

PLANTM creates personal support networks that are more formal and more enduring than circles of friends. PLAN and its affiliate organizations are committed to maintain lifelong networks around the relatives of lifetime members and to monitor their quality of life and services.

A legally incorporated entity, such as Aroha or microboard, is definitely more formal than a circle of friends or a personal support network on the PLAN model. It may be chosen by families with one or more of these characteristics:

  • few or no near relatives to take trustee roles when the parents are no longer able to support their daughter/son
  • a wish to help kind friends who may assume roles as directors by more exactly defining their responsibilities
  • complex needs including difficulties of communication
  • disabilities and circumstances that call for individualized supports and funding.

We envision an incorporated Aroha entity of personal empowerment and support as the formal core of a circle or network of more informal friends.

Whom could we ask to be directors of our incorporated Aroha?

We may think that those who become directors of boards are typically lawyers, accountants, businessmen or ex-politicians. These people may bring useful skills and connections to any incorporated entity on which they serve.

But far more important for an Aroha entity for personal empowerment and support are those who really know and respect the focus person through spending good time together and “deep listening” to what are most important in their lives. Directors who share the values of the focus person and her/his family can use their legal powers to ensure that all available resources are responsibly used to support a good life.

The focus person and some family members may certainly be directors of an incorporated Aroha entity. It is good to plan for 4-5 other directors who are of different ages, abilities and interests and can bring various skills and connections to their roles. No individual who is currently paid to support the focus person can be a director.

Parents and siblings of persons with disabilities may feel short of friends. They have usually been too preoccupied with the special needs of their child to develop a wide range of good social relationships. They have had to be disciplined and self-reliant to survive. They may not feel they have been sympathetically supported by extended family members. They may hesitate to ask their few friends to take on what they imagine will be considered an unwelcome task.

We should know that there are people who care about our family. These friends may not have known how to help and may welcome an opportunity to be of service, especially when the roles are well defined. They may respect us for planning for the future. They may see their experience on such an entity as valuable for future responsibilities in their own families. They may even find joy and fulfilment in relating to other friends in the circle/network and entity.

Families who do not feel brave enough directly to ask friends and relatives to be part of the circle of friends or entity, may hire a facilitator to help them.

How can we start a legal Aroha entity around our relative with a disability?

First, think through all the following questions. Don’t rush this phase, as it is essential to the longterm success of the aroha entity and a good life for the person with a disability.

  • Do we really need an incorporated Aroha entity, or would our family, circle of friends, or personal support network be enough for our relative’s needs, now and in the future?
  • What do we want the Aroha entity to do, now and in the longer-term future?
  • Who of our relatives and friends would be willing and able to be directors? How well they know our relative with a disability? What gifts and abilities will they bring? Do they represent various ages, abilities and interests?
  • Can we handle the work of incorporation or do we need to engage a lawyer?
What are the legal requirements for incorporating an Aroha entity in Ontario?

It is quite possible to set up a non-for-profit corporation without share capital in Ontario with the objects of obtaining and managing supports for a named individual. Or you could choose to incorporate federally.  

The founding directors may feel able to handle most of tasks of incorporation, or you may consult a lawyer.  

1. Choose a corporate name. An appropriate name might be: “Friends of [person’s name]”, for example, “Friends of Adam Bede.” You will have to pay an approved searcher of records to ensure that the name you choose is not already in use and to produce what is called a NUANS.

2. Obtain and complete the forms for the Application for Incorporation of a Corporation without Share Capital (Ontario) or the equivalent forms if incorporating federally, including: 

  • Names and addresses of all persons who are to be directors. It is advisable to have between 5 and 7 directors of an Aroha entity.
  • Objects of incorporation, with the principal object stated first, then secondary objects if any. “It is advisable to keep the objects short but broad in nature
  • Under special provisions, a non-profit non-charitable corporation must include the “No Gain for Members” clause which is pre-printed on the form. You may also state the provision that, on dissolution of the corporation and after payment so all debts and liabilities, any remaining property shall be distributed or disposed of to charities. 
  • Names, addresses and signatures of the applicants for incorporation; these must include all the persons identified as directors. 

3. When starting up an entity for personal empowerment and support, you should also draft relevant bylaws to guide the directors on membership, election and qualifications of directors, and requirements and procedures for meetings and records. 

4. Directors should all be aware also of the ongoing responsibilities of a non-profit corporation–as to filing, changing any legal information, record-keeping, auditor, and meetings. Details required for Ontario non-profit corporations may differ from those required by Canada.

How can an incorporated Aroha entity maintain our son/daughter’s good life when we no longer can?

An Aroha entity that has practised administering the necessary supports and services during the parents’ lifetime is able to keep these going smoothly through a time of emotional loss.

An Aroha entity that is committed to “listening” to the person with a disability through, for example, a supported decision-making agreement, will continue to respond to the person’s changing needs and evolving abilities.

An Aroha entity that continues to recruit new friends and community allies and to renew itself will keep expanding the person’s network of relationships

An Aroha entity may be named as a trustee for special funds that may be set up under the parents’ wills

Guelph Focus on Microboards

Guelph, Ontario, Canada
8th and 9th November 2001

Guelph Services for the Autistic sponsored and organized two opportunities for family members, friends, agency staff, support workers and community allies to think about the following questions:

  • What is a Microboard?
  • How can a Microboard help a person with a disabling condition to achieve and maintain a good life?
  • What can we do to help Microboards become an option in Ontario?

David and Faye Wetherow came from Vancouver Island to relate their experience in forming the first microboard and to facilitate discussion of the questions and necessary factors. They also wove the ideas, hopes and stories about Microboards into colourful graphics which we have posted to illustrate this report.

The Microboard: Moving Forward with the Family Model

In the first Guelph meeting, on Thursday evening, 8th November, the Wetherows introduced the Microboard in relation to other concepts and practices of “serving” people with disabilities. They described how Co-operative and Microboard models were developed in Manitoba in the 1980s in response to the particular needs and opportunities of the movement of developmentally disabled people out of institutions.

Microboards are now interesting as a way of flowing individualized funds to persons with disabilities themselves, supported by their family and friends, as allowed in British Columbia. But it is important that a Microboard be more than just a legally incorporated body that can administer funds and resources for and individual with a disability. It should act more like family and friends than a conventional Board of Directors.

The Wetherows explained the Microboard as inspired by the ideals of the family and that it is essential to have the following qualities:

  • Covenant or a promise to spend time with the person in an enduring commitment and to invite others to become friends
  • Sanctuary, meaning safety and acceptance
  • Deep knowledge and celebration of the person’s and family’s dreams and contributions
  • Sharing and connecting in trust so everyone feels supported and valued
  • Bridge-building to the larger community, “seeing places where the fabric of community can be drawn closer together”
  • Advocacy and accountability in obtaining and managing resources that are under the control of the person, family and friends.
The First Microboard

These qualities are all illustrated in the story of “Clarence” who pioneered Microboards in Manitoba. Lillian was his first friend: through her many contacts in family, church and community, she was able to ask others to be Microboard members for Clarence.

Clarence’s Microboard members were invited to:

  • Do the things for Clarence that a good family would do
  • Be good companions for Clarence
  • Discover Clarence’s gifts and develop these into community connections and contributions
  • Provide continuity, through enduring relationships with a large enough and strong enough circle of connections that members replace themselves by Clarence being able to choose new members he already trusts when some leave.

Microboard meetings were concerned with:

  • Reflections: How is Clarence’s life? Are we remaining true to his dream?
  • Accountability—to the Government for any public funds and especially to Clarence so his life could unfold as it should
  • Discernment
  • Evaluation
  • Conflict resolution

A Microboard based on the spirit of a family and circle of friends has various advantages compared with other models of support for people with disabilities. It is smaller, more intimate, more direct, more responsive, more enduring, and supports relationships and community connections.

Experience over 15 years has shown the advantages of what the Wetherows call second-level supports. These are independent sources of ideas and technical expertise that a Microboard may choose to utilize and purchase. Individual facilitators or specialized agencies may help with tasks such as negotiating and advocating with government; recruiting, screening and training staff; and administering payroll. However, any second-level facilitators or agencies have no control of the funding to an individual and no authority over the person and family at the heart of an individual Microboard.

Basic Advice in Forming a Microboard
  1. Start small
  2. Begin around one person
  3. Begin to groove the pathway for funds to flow
  4. Look for any way that government already provides and can provide funding directly to a person or family
  5. Include some dollars in an individual’s budget to be able to purchase second-level supports.
Making Microboards an Option in Ontario

A workshop on Friday, 9th November 2001 at the University of Guelph Arboretum Centre was attended by activist parents and friends, self-advocates, professional allies, allies in government, potential project funders, and allied community members. Its objective: to develop a body of people who are well informed, decisive and committed to moving forward with a Microboard / direct funding initiative.

Our facilitators led us through a review of Microboard concept and practice to consider how ideas, structures and strategies might be aligned with the dreams of individuals and families and with local political, service and institutional realities in Ontario. The workshop included an extended “organizational PATH” planning process to generate a detailed graphic that can serve as an aid to memory, a focus for future reflection and evaluation, a way of testing emerging strategies and projects against the shared vision and principles, and a vivid document for communicating the plan to others.

This report summarizes the day’s discussions and plans in terms of Dreams, Goals, and Strategies.

Dreams of How Microboards can Support A Good Life

We were encouraged to express our dreams of how Microboard might help the person with whom we are most concerned.

Dreams include:

  • Affirming the right and possibility to make choices.
  • Families encouraged and empowered to look for innovative ideas and sustainable solutions.
  • Peace of mind and confidence in the knowledge that a son/daughter’s life is good and less vulnerable because of good relationships.
  • Succession and continuity beyond the life of parents—by inviting others to join us on the raft.
  • A means of inviting young people to keep joining the circle of support.
  • Deep listening, so others besides parents know the “lore” about one’s son/daughter.
  • A creative and flexible network, able to continue strong and hopeful.
  • Real sense of community: we can all be part of something wonderful. The knowledge that we can do it, but that it takes all of us. Each of us has something to contribute.
  • Positive energy, love, life-sharing, harmony, humility, and interdependence.
  • Being able to continue living together with our son/daughter knowing that we can move into a context where we can receive the support we need as a family.
  • Safeguards against management over-riding the spirit of a good life and against structures that dissipate energies.
  • Transforming attitudes so Government wakes up and trusts families, and people in agencies and government put their shoulders to help push the rock uphill, rather than being part of the hill.
Goals – Positive and Achievable by November 2003

Families, friends and advocates stated the goals they intend and imagine they can achieve within two years.

  • My friend gained a home of his own
  • My son is celebrated for making a contribution to his community
  • My daughter started her own business
  • My son’s circle formed a Microboard at its core, in which he has supported decision-making powers to comment and make choices
  • My friend’s life has been transformed from its extreme distress in 2001, because we organized a circle of support and Microboard to obtain the supports he needed
  • Five family circles in one city organized local political action for direct, self-administered funding
  • Deohacko group wrote a book about how to do it!
  • My agency responded to individuals by contributing resources and second-level supports, especially around aging parents—and attracted families to move there by flowing portable individualized funding
  • A registry for contract staff and a worker co-op were created
  • A cadre of trained and experienced facilitators has developed, some paid and some volunteer, all independent of service agencies
  • Stories of faithfulness and achievement are shared to inspire others with hope and determination
  • Documented successes with Microboards made self-determination and individualized funding public issues
  • Realization of the potential of Microboards added momentum to all the other efforts of the Individualized Funding Coalition, so that 50 per cent of all new MCSS dollars is being committed to direct funding of individuals with disabilities by 2003
Strategies to Make Microboards an Option in Ontario
  • Strengthen links among all of us who think Microboards can help:
    • share success stories about and strategies that work for individuals
    • plan together in local groups
    • share ideas and challenges by email and on Listservs such as OAARSN and PLN
    • collect and share technical templates of technicalities of forming Microboards in Ontario (such a objects of incorporation, bylaws, etc)
    • tap into existing local groups, forums and training opportunities
  • Note and support the efforts of the Individualized Funding Coalition in providing advocacy tools and connections
  • Note that a microboard can be legally incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation (but not a charity)
  • Help government to feel comfortable so that it’s not necessary to change legislation or regulations to meet the needs of each person. Look for ways government already funds or could provide funding to individuals and families (such as SSAH)
  • A transfer payment agency might be created or adapted to flow direct government funds to various individuals’ microboards (such a TPA would be a specialized banker and have no authority over the individual microboards)
  • Make sure facilitators are trained, stay in touch with each other, and respond to the individual needs and goals.
  • Invite and enroll allies, including:
    • local MPPs
    • High school friends
    • Local parent groups
    • Church families
    • Service groups
    • Local business and community people with whom we have links
    • Self-advocates (such as People First or Bridges-Over-Barriers )
    • Allied professionals

Models: Strategies, Objects, and Bylaws

We post this information as a public service to families and individuals who are considering incorporating an Aroha entity for personal empowerment and support. Please note that this guide is based on the success of incorporating the first such aroha entity in Ontario in early 2002. Each vulnerable person and situation is different and unique. You should think through what you need and consult your lawyer.

Please refer the advice in our Questions and Answers section, and consider especially the following questions:

  • We already have a circle of friends and a personal support network on the PLAN model. Do we need a legally incorporated Aroha entity as well?
  • Whom can we ask to be directors of our incorporated Aroha entity?
  • How can we start an incorporated Aroha entity around our relative with a disability?
  • What are the legal requirements for an Aroha entity for personal empowerment and support in Ontario?
  • How can such an Aroha entity maintain our son/daughter’s good life when we no longer can?

NB: Please note that “words importing a male person can be adapted to refer to a female person.”

Model Objects for an Incorporated Aroha Entity for Personal Empowerment and Support in Ontario

The general object is to be an Aroha for the personal support and empowerment of [XX] a person with significant disabilities, who has asked trusted friends to help him to manage the supports and services he needs for a good life in his community.

The specific objects are:

  1. To support XX to understand the main factors that affect his life and well-being, to respond to the initiatives he expresses, and to ensure his needs and wishes are heeded;
  2. To promote the support and respect of XX by workers and friends in his community who understand how he copes with severe disorders and who respect the alternative and augmentative ways in which he communicates;
  3. Upon receiving the appropriate authority from XX and at his direction, to lawfully receive and manage funding for which he is eligible, including income support and disability support dollars from Government;
  4. Upon receiving the appropriate authority from XX and at his direction, to lawfully receive and manage funds from family trusts or other special grants;
  5. To monitor the quality of all supports and services provided to XX;
  6. To advocate for additional supports and resources should they become necessary;
  7. To monitor legislation and policies which affect him, and to assist in developing services and policies which affect him;
  8. To develop sources of income as may from time to time be appropriate, including carrying on such business or other activities as are incidental to the foregoing objects;
  9. To do all such other things as are incidental and ancillary to the attainment of the foregoing purposes and the exercise of the powers of the Corporation.

In furtherance of the objects, the Corporation shall have the following powers:

  1. To make contracts with and pay any employees, independent service providers and consultants;
  2. To enter into arrangements with tenants or homesharers who may live in XX’s residence to provide him with practical and social support.
  3. To hold any and all assets in any form whatsoever to further the objects of the corporation.

Upon dissolution of the Corporation, any assets remaining after the payment and satisfaction of the debts and liabilities shall be transferred to an organization or organizations, having cognate or similar objects, which carry on their work solely in Canada.

Model By-Laws for an Incorporated Aroha Entity for Personal Empowerment and Support in Ontario

Ontario’s First Aroha

“The first Aroha in Ontario has been incorporated with and around a man in Guelph” read an item of OAARSN news in October 2002. What is Aroha? Why might it interest families and friends of other adults who are vulnerable because of disability?

The Maori word “Aroha” from Aotearoa/New Zealand is being used as the generic term for an incorporated entity for personal empowerment and support that is similar in values and functions to a “microboard” in British Columbia or a “self-directed support corporation” in various American states.

The Guelph man (let’s call him Adam) and his friends wanted a distinctive word to evoke the qualities of the personal support relationships that a vulnerable person needs. Aroha means the various qualities and values in a caring circle of friends. Its meanings include affection, love, charity, compassion, empathy, concern, trust, pity, understanding and true friendship—all expressed in active ways, not just well-intentioned ideas or feelings. Adam was born in New Zealand, so that is another reason for choosing Aroha.

Like microboards and self-directed support corporations, an incorporated Aroha also has legal identity and powers to receive and manage all resources in ways the focus person chooses and which help her/him best to have a good life, now and in the future. Adam’s Aroha is a non-profit corporation in Ontario. But it does not have charitable status with the federal revenue agency, as it exists for the benefit of a single individual.

Adam is a director of his Aroha, together with his parents and several friends who are of different ages, all younger than his parents. Directors of his Aroha are core members of his wider circle of friends who are also members of the Aroha. Adam particularly needs friends who are empowered to help him, as he has no relatives in North America beyond his parents. His twin sister and best friend died in a winter road accident when they were 27. He was very anxious about the uncertainties of a future without his parents. With alternative communication, he explained his acute anxiety in these words: “I am terrified when night comes and I fear that I will be left alone. The thing I am scared about is seeing the day my parents die.” Now that his Aroha is incorporated, he says: “I feel good knowing about Aroha. I know my future is safer. Proud to feel I’m a pioneer. I feel safer knowing that my Aroha would be in charge. Not some strangers. I’m glad that I can express this.”

Friends who care about Adam and his parents would need legal powers to administer resources with and for him after his parents can no longer support him. The other directors of Adam’s Aroha bring various kinds of qualifications and life experience to their roles. They all know Adam well, show respect for him, and keep in touch by sharing parts of their lives with him.

One director is a specialist in speech, language and communication who has known Adam since 1991 and shares her family’s farm with him for work most weekends. Another director (and president of the Aroha) is a professor about Adam’s age who shares interests in physical fitness and has also served on the board of the charitable housing trust that owns and maintains Adam’s home for his lifetime occupancy. A third director is younger than Adam; she was his full-time tutor for two years and is now a teacher in Guelph and lives in his neighborhood. Adam trusts all his Aroha directors to ensure that he has real opportunities to express himself and be listened to, as he does not speak with his voice.

What can Adam’s Aroha do for him?

  • Its general purpose is to empower Adam to prepare now for a smooth transition from his parents’ large role in his life to a future in which he will eventually be without them.
  • Its directors are pledged to respect and support Adam’s powers of informed decision-making.
  • It has legal powers to receive and manage resources to help him cope with his disabilities.
  • It now receives individualized disability support funds approved for Adam from a transfer payment agency that functions simply as a banker. The funds are deposited in a corporate bank account and disbursed to the housing trust that maintains his home, to independent service providers and consultants who provide personal support and expert advice, and to agencies and businesses that provide other goods and services.
  • At present, Adam and his parents still look after the business side of his life and co-ordinate his disability supports. But his friends who are directors of his Aroha keep informed and in touch with Adam himself, and procedures are becoming more formal, so that they can continue when Adam’s parents cannot do this work.
  • Adam’s Aroha also has the powers to advise on the most effective use of family trust funds that will be left by his parents.

Adam’s Aroha could exercise additional powers and roles. It might own and maintain his home, even renting out part of it for income to offset some of his expenses. It might support him to operate a small business or micro-enterprise. It might receive disability support funds directly from the Government, as microboards do in British Columbia.

Adam and his friends have designed his Aroha for his needs and situation. The essential qualities and powers of an Aroha can be adapted for the specific needs and situations of other people who are vulnerable because of some disability. They are compatible with the values and goals of personal support networks and circles of friends, individualized funding, supported decision-making, and community building.

Adam and his friends are willing to share their Aroha experience with other circles of families and friends who want to incorporate. They prefer to respond individually to calls for advice and help. Adam’s Aroha is still new and needs to be nurtured carefully—for his sake and also for the others who want to follow in his pioneering steps.

If you are interested in discussion of your specific needs, please visit the Microboards Ontario website.

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