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The association BALANCE - Living without Barriers - has been founded in 1987 by a parents group. The children of these parents, young people living with disabilities, were passing vocational trainings in a residential school in Vienna, because their families were living in the countryside near Vienna. Having passed the training no one of them wanted to go back to his or her village. They wouldn't have found a job there.

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Read the story of Gianina clicking here.

For me as the Director of the Lukashaus it was a beautiful thing. I was pleased to get the project started.
It was not exactly new grounds for me and the Lukashaus. Already in 1994 I supported and implemented the idea of self-determination. The tools that helped me realize the project were the 1996 book by Marlise Pörtner, „Ernstnehmen – Zutrauen – Verstehen“ (respect – trust – understand), the German book „Vom Betreuer zum Begleiter“, (between care-giving and support) and „Selbstbestimmung“ (self-determination) by Willem Kleine Schaars.

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I would like to tell a story, which I experienced as an underwriter in a planning. Mrs. Jung lives in an institution for people with physical disabilities. She is about to retire and would like to move to a home for the elderly, as she wants to live in a quiet place. The assistant in the institution knows the personal future planning and asks external persons in order to set up the planning. The moderator and I see Mrs. Jung several times to discuss, whether she wants to make a plan and what her strengths and requests are. Mrs. Jung tells us that she does no longer want to go to the residents‘ meetings and that her chores (e.g. distributing clean laundry etc.) are too hard for her now.

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Personal futures planning was hardly known in Switzerland in 2013 and only a few places worked with the aspects of this approach. The research and development project "The Future is Now!"- futures planning for adults with intellectual disability and their families - was carried out in Zurich at the University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education (HfH) between 2009 and 2015. The methods of personal futures planning were used in this project. About 130 families in German-speaking Switzerland took part in the informative meetings on the aspects of the new Adults Protection Act, which provides more self-determination for people with disabilities and, which came into effect in Switzerland in 2013. Afterwards about 40 families with their sons and daughters with disabilities participated in a series of 6 courses on futures planning.

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About a year ago we (several parents) took over a small farm. The couple that was running it before was too old to continue the work. As our children used to play on the farm during their spare time and wanted to continue doing this, we decided to set up an association and took over the farm. That made us into farmers over night, having to take care of goats, rabbits, ponies and chickens. After a lot of work (group barn for the rabbits; conversion of a construction trailer into a new chicken home etc.) we had some time again for new ideas. Somebody asked if a young man with disabilities could help with the work on our farm. As we were happy about any helping hand, he started with the late Saturday feeding and locking service. Now Jan comes every Saturday with his mother or father and helps on the farm. He works increasingly independent and is able to look after the animals, feed them and lock the barns.

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“What we can't accomplish ourselves / We can achieve when we're together …”. This song by Xavier Naidoo rings in me when I think of the history of our "Person-centred planning” network in South-Tyrol.” It started about eight years ago. At that time we were only few people.
We were enthusiastic about the person-centred methods and ideas. We somehow felt that a planning for the future was a good way and possibility for people to realize their personal lives, to be aware of their personal dreams and wishes and to organize their lives in this direction.

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FEAPS was the Spanish partner organization that participated initially in the New Paths to Inclusion Network project, now the organization is called Plena Inclusión España.
Plena Inclusión España is an organization providing services to more than 135.000 people with intellectual or developmental disabilities throughout Spain.
Plena Inclusión España was one of the new members of the project and received the PCP training during 2013 and 2015.
FEAPS has changed recently its name being called Plena Inclusión España from 2nd of October 2015. This change is the result of a consultation and reflection process where its members (including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities) agreed that they no longer wanted to have the word “Subnormal” in the name of the organization representing them.

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Leben mit Behinderung Hamburg (LmBH) was founded by Mr. Kurt Juster in 1956. Since then the organisation has been developed to a large service provider to assist and support people with disabilities and their families in the Hamburg region. LmBH amongst other supports about 900 adults in their living accommodation and their daily life. About 300 people go to 8 sheltered workshops and 500 families having children with disabilities are supported by various family assistance programs. The Parents’ Association (Elternverein) with its 1550 members is an important partner in Hamburg’s social politics. Leben mit Behinderung Hamburg is capable to develop forward-looking projects and offers in various areas.

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The story of Petr is begins in an institution where he was put at his age of 12. And he had spent in institutions 18 years afterwards. This fact plays a key role in his further life. When we met him, he had a civil guardian and had lived in hostel, without any support: no social work, no network of people helping him, only one good friend a former social worker of his.
He was put in a position of a "small child" although being 30 years old. He did not have any legal capacity and could not decide anything concerning his common life or his finance. He did not know anything about self-advocacy. Nobody has tought him this skill. It was not needed and wanted in institutions where he had lived.

PATH-Petr

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APEMH is a national organisation supporting people with intellectual disabilities in Luxembourg. APEMH’s services are incorporating day care and activity centres, sheltered workshops and living homes where 6-10 people may live.

Marie and John are a retired couple who both have legal guardians and therefor, according to legislation in Luxembourg, are not able to take all decisions about their lives. For many years they had talked about wanting to marry, but nobody really listened to them or considered it to be possible. However, following the Sensing Workshop as part of the NPI programme, APEMH were exploring, through their discussions in team meetings how they needed to change as an organisation to be more person centred. In one of these discussions someone remembered this couple and their long time wish. It was something which had been there all along but only now they really did hear it.

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