In May of 2009 the OASIS Board of Directors gave formal support and recognition to form a committee to advocate on behalf of agencies that support individuals who have sensory loss. The OASIS Board supports the belief that all individuals who are Deaf and Deafblind, regardless of additional disabilities, have the right to understand and to be understood and to reach their full potential. This occurs when people around them use the language and communication approach determined by individuals who are Deaf and Deafblind themselves. OASIS Sensory Partners have been working diligently to make the needs of the individuals that they support known not only to those of us in the developmental service sector but to the wider community.
Approved by the Partners November 7, 2013
The OASIS Sensory Partners is a partnership of OASIS members who are service providers and other relevant stakeholders, with a shared purpose of developing common ground on which to ensure a comprehensive, community based service system for the hard of hearing, Deaf, Deafblind, and nonverbal children and/or adults. The Partners have a direct reporting relationship to the OASIS Board of Directors and each other for coordinated communication.
The OASIS Sensory Partners believes that:
- All individuals must have transparent and equitable opportunity to access services and supports in anenvironment that supports their individuality,rights, unique communication requirements, and to freely associate in communities where they will understand and be understood
- All individuals who are Deafblind have a right to intervenor services.
- All Deaf individuals have the right to interpreting services for barrier free access to all services.
- Government has a responsibility to fund the delivery of intervenor/interpreter services, based on individual need.
In addition the OASIS Sensory Partners believes that:
- Any amount of intervenor service provided should be based on the individual needs of consumers.
- People who are Deaf or Deafblind require supports and environments which are sensitive not only to their physical and communication needs, but which are also sensitive to unique cultural values and issues.
- Individuals who wish to remain in their home communities must have access to valuable outreach services through the Sensory Partners agencies.
Given that there are few agencies in the province of Ontario who are able to adequately address the needs of individuals experiencing “sensory loss” it is our contention that the current application process for developmental services does not address the needs for people with sensory loss. In May of 2013, the OASIS Sensory Partners submitted a proposal to the nine DSOs for an application process which compliments the current application system and ensures that people with a sensory loss in Ontario have access to services and supports in agencies with environments that have been specially adapted to meet their needs.
The OASIS Sensory Partners recommended the creation of a “Lead” DSO which could be guided by the following proposed principles:
– quality support to adults who are Deaf or Deafblind or who have other sensory related issues through the planning and delivery of support and rehabilitation services is a priority;
– adults who are Deaf, or Deafblind or other sensory related issues will have personal choice in the planning and delivery of their services;
– all adults who are Deaf or Deafblind will be treated equally; and have access to services that meet their unique communication, environmental, cultural, and mobility needs regardless of where they live in the Province.
An advantage of our proposal for a “Lead” DSO is that there is already an existing infrastructure in place within the Developmental Services sector specifically designed to address the human resources, financial, and administrative areas. The proposed enhancement to the DSO application system would address universal (inter-regional) access to specific services and supports like those the Sensory Partners provide without creating unnecessary duplication of the existing system. The value and importance of services that have been specifically designed to address sensory loss needs to be recognized as crucial in effectively and appropriately supporting individuals with developmental disabilities and/or mental health issues to join their community and mainstream life.
The Sensory Partners recognize that sensory loss has a relatively low incidence. However, when sensory loss is concurrent with other disabilities it predictably complicates successful service delivery in the absence of adapted environments and staff training. The OASIS Sensory Partners respectfully request that the Ministry review their decision of July 2nd, 2013 in order to address these issues.