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Six individuals share their personal journey through the developmental system to raise awareness around how it has helped them become more active in their communities

Aurora, March 25, 2019 – Developmental Services Ontario (DSO), the access point for ministry-funded adult developmental services, has launched an awareness campaign today entitled #myDSOjourney to help raise awareness around the importance of social inclusion for adults with developmental disabilities and the positive impact that the adult developmental system is having on the lives of those who access services. The campaign focuses on the journeys of six unique individuals and highlights their struggles and accomplishments and how gaining access to services, along with personal and caregiver resilience, has helped them become more independent and active in their communities.

One of the participants, Adam, who has mild cerebral palsy, recounts the limitations doctors told his mother that he would have when he was born. “I was born with mild CP and the doctor said [to my mother] that I couldn’t walk or talk, [they] said that I would benefit from [contacting] DSO." By applying to his area DSO, where he was connected to and eventually accessed services, Adam has been able to enjoy life to the fullest. As he states, “I like jazz, and I like reading. And I live by myself. I’m very independent, and that’s me!”

For Kimberly Thorn, Director of Developmental Services Ontario for the Central East Region, one of nine regional DSO agencies, inclusive stories like Adam’s are proof that the adult developmental system is working, but she admits that it can be a confusing for individuals and their caregivers.

“Transitioning to adult services and navigating that system can be a daunting process. The DSO is there to help gather information on the person’s preferences, goals and the support(s) necessary for them to be, like Adam, meaningfully involved in their communities,” she states.

To compliment the campaign, DSO has also launched a new inclusive website. The website, led by consumer input, provides online learning tools and resources to help visitors to the site understand how to apply for services. It contains a step-by-step online learning module that explains the process to both applicants and caregivers or other professionals referring adults with developmental disabilities to the access point. The website also provides additional resources for those who are currently on the service registry.

“We recognize that there are many individuals waiting for ministry-funded services that are not aware of other community resources that may be available to them. We are hopeful that our new tools, online and in print, will provide individuals and caregivers with valuable information to help them find additional community support(s),” states Kimberly.

DSO is encouraging individuals and caregivers to share their personal stories on social media by using the hashtag #myDSOjourney, to help inspire future applicants and share local resources with those who are currently on the service registry. Beginning March 25, one heartwarming story will be available each week on the dsontario.ca website, and on DSO’s social media channels. Everyone is urged to share and follow the stories, using the hashtag #myDSOjourney to help raise awareness.

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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Val Baravi, Communications Specialist
Developmental Services Ontario
c/o York Support Services Network
905-898-6455 ext. 2470
vbaravi@yssn.ca

About Developmental Services Ontario (DSO)

Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) is the access point for adult developmental services funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) in Ontario. There are nine DSO agencies located across the province; serving individuals in different counties and regions.

When a child with a developmental disability turns 18, children’s developmental services end. Individuals must apply through their area DSO to see if they are eligible to receive adult MCCSS-funded supports that may be available in their community.