Exploring Circles of Support
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) and a small group of interested parents are working together to explore the idea of Circles of Support. Having met once in early December 2010, we have just started our exploration.
A Circle of Support is a group of people who are intentionally invited to come together in friendship and support of a person who has a disability, for the purposes of protecting their interests into the future. Not with the expectation that this group might necessarily have a responsibility of “caring for” the person BUT with the expectation that if asked people might be pleased to make time and agree to join the Circle to “look out” for the person. See - Community Living Project Inc Circles Information Guide.
At our meeting in December we had two guest speakers both with Circles: Libby Ellis has facilitated several circles and Adele who is a member of the circle of support of a young man with autism spectrum disorder. Having Libby and Adele at the meeting greatly assisted in bringing alive the idea of a circle of support and stimulated our thinking. At the end of the meeting, the group decided to meet again early in 2011 and to do some reading about Circles of Support over the summer.
Some links to other sites with information about Circles of Support:
- Resourcing Families provides support and information to families of children and young people with developmental disability in NSW. This site has a wealth of information for families, including several pages on building support networks, including Circle of Support.
- Community Living Project Circles Initiative in South Australia grew from the recognition that many people who have disabilities may have no-one to “look out” for them after parents have died or after a long period of institutionalisation. See Community Living Project’s brochure.
- Vela Microboards in Western Australia is yet another approach. Originally developed in Canada by the Vela Microboard Association, microboards involve small groups of people, typically committed family and friends, coming together on an ongoing basis to provide individualised and empowering support for a particular person.
Want to know more about this project or to become involved?
Further Circles of Support events, workshops and information sessions are advertised on the Aspect calendar.
If you are a parent or family member of someone with an autism spectrum disorder and want to know more about the Circles of Support project or to stay in touch with it, send an email addressed to
. Be sure to put “Circles of Support” in the subject line.