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A future in which your child lives independently is possible. Learn how eight families did it.

“How will my child live after my time?”
“Where will she live?”
“How can I help him live in a place of his own?”

We know these are some of the questions that haunt many parents when thinking about the future of their adult children with disabilities. And these are some of the very same questions that drove a group of families in Ontario, Canada, to create The Community Oak Park, a network that has helped their sons and daughters transition to person-centered housing in inclusive communities.

The Community Oak Park is a family-directed model that founders Vicki McCallum and Karen Alexander began to work on two years ago, with a mission “to create inclusive lives and sustainable future” for their children with disabilities. “All I knew at that point really was what I didn’t want…I didn’t want a group home, I wanted my son to be able to make his own decisions,” says Vicki, who was worried about her son’s future as she approached her 60s. In creating The Community Oak Park model, they focused on these priorities:

  • Find families with similar values and ready to get started
  • Provide autonomy and choice for their sons and daughters
  • Emphasize relationships and roles for their children in the community
  • Maintain support each individual needs
  • Use individualized funding

As of now, the sons and daughters of each of these families have created person-centered living arrangements in which they enjoy independence, supported decision-making, contributing roles in their communities, natural relationships and choice. The Community Oak Park is based in Canada, but it offers a useful template for families everywhere who are thinking about the future lives of their sons and daughters. 

Recently, the families came together with facilitator Eric Goll in a virtual session to share their stories in creating The Community Oak Park. During the session, parents discussed challenges, successes and lessons learned as they helped their adult children move into living arrangements of their choice. 

You can sign up here to watch the video recording.

The families’ stories are a good reminder that, with planning and commitment, it is possible to Imagine Better and create homes where adults with disabilities enjoy independent living on their own terms.

The Community Oak Park is eager to share their stories. Are you interested in learning more from this group?

How are you imagining better with your loved one? Please email us hello@massfamilies.org to let us know your thoughts.