Meet Jamea and her family.
Jamea has a delightfully curious personality and an incredible gift for cutting through small talk. She is 15, in high school, is an animal advocate, a horseback rider and a music lover. She also has autism.
For any parent of a child who has a disability, safety is key. So, in an effort to protect Jamea, it was decided that specialized programming was the best option to keep her safe.
Community Living Ontario’s Family Engagement Leadership Series helped Jamea and her family think differently. It provided them with strategies to address some of the hurdles they faced. The series is a retreat-style workshop that engages the family in exploring what’s possible for their loved ones who have an intellectual disability. It provides a unique opportunity to share and learn with other families that have similar lived experiences, where the focus is on developing tactics to overcome societal barriers.
“The work done through the family engagement series is actually very radical. It challenges what our society understands to be a meaningful, happy life,” Jamea’s dad Mark Davidson said. “The other families at the retreat had similar challenges and the weekends made us look long and hard at our thoughts and frankly, how limiting our beliefs were,” Jamea’s step-mom Naila Lalani added.