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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 2, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta "V District SECOND SECTION The Lethbridge Herald Lethbridge, Alberta. Saturday, February 2, 1974 Local news Pages 17-32 I 1 I I I COM-SERV I I Lethbridge is the site of a project the first of its kind in Canada that will strive to bring retarded persons into the mainstream of society help them be taxpayers instead of tax burdens. i By GEORGE STEPHENSON Herald Staff Writer Total integration of the handicapped into society now a worldwide development will be tried for the first time in Canada with the beginning of the "Comprehensive Community Service Project" in Lethbridge. Com-serv, initiated by the Lethbridge Association for trie Mentally Retarded, will begin in April. Bob Gall, co-chairman of the com-serv committee, says the project will act as a model for other provinces and cities. The foundation theory of the project was first introduced in Canada when Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger, a visiting scholar, had the concepts of "normalization" accepted by the National Institute for the Mentally Retarded. The ultimate goal of the com-serv project is to have handicapped people living normal lives in homes in the community instead of together in large institutions. "Instead of special services instead of special buildings, which isolate the retarded, they should be given full citizenship in the community. Instead of a special bus they can be taught to use the public transit system." Dr. Gall explains. Malcolm Jeffreys, executive director of the Lethbridge Association for the Mentally Retarded, adds the goal is to help the handicapped" become taxpayers instead of tax burdens." "Our ultimate aim is not to Cure retardation that can't be done but to have the handicapped live the same type of lives as anyone else working in the community." Close to mainstream .The com-serv project will include all aspects of service that would make available patterns and conditions of everyday life which are as rlose as possible to the norms and patterns of the mainstream of society. Final details on what residence arrangements the project will have for the retarded, how many handicapped people will be coming here from other institutions, and details on employment and training now are being worked out by the various sub- committees for the com-serv project. The committee is preparing an addendum to the initial brief that was presented to the provincial cabinet. The addendum is expected to be finished before Feb. 15 and all the details on the budget and plans should be worked out, Mr. Jeffreys says. The first brief was presented to the province after the national institute for the mentally retarded developed the idea that each province should have one location where the different concepts of normalization could be implemented, Dr. Gall says. "The Alberta association was most active and pressing for new and when the tune came for implementation and full citizenship, Alberta was the first to jump on the idea." The Lethbridge association submitted a comprehensive brief of more than 150 pages and was awarded the right and funds to begin Alberta and Canada's first "experimental and area." The city was picked over Calgary and Medicine Hat. Unlike the Calgary proposal, Lethbridge will be the centre of the project that will include rural areas. As the first site in Canada it will be looked on by other centres in other provinces as a model while they prepare proposals for other E and D centres. Watch for errors Because other places will be watching these concepts in operation for the first time, Mr. Jeffreys says, the Lethbridge project must monitor itself very closely to turn aside errors in the early stages. Other provinces are at least two years away from beginning similar projects, so by closely watching the project they will be able to see the best methods of reaching com-serv objectives, he explains. Rigid evaluation will be done primarily by two methods called "precision teaching" and "program analysis of service systems.''' Dr. Gall says the two systems will permit evaluation of the success of both the handicapped individual and success of the system hi general. Precision teaching "which would be more accurately named precision management" is a standardized way of keeping data so the progress of a person in the program can be accurately logged, he explains. If a retarded child is learning how to feed himself with a fork then results can be compiled and his day-to-day progress seen. This way it can be discovered early if methods used in the teaching are working, he adds. i It is important because there will be great emphasis placed on training the handicapped in such tnings as the use of public services, grooming, job placement and behaviour. Mr. Jeffreys says this help is necessary because the retarded are not being rehabilitated but "habilitated." They have not experienced life outside an institution and are not aware of the proper ways to function. Day-to-day log If the day-to-day log shows no progress another method of teaching can be used. Data can be compared with projects in other areas also, Dr. Gall adds. PASS, unlike precision teaching, will evaluate the whole project or individual agencies serving the handicapped. It is a device that will be used to evaluate existing services and agencies or those proposed that will fall under the com-serv project. "A whole agency can be evaluated to see if it is functioning properly everything, the buildings, staff and programs all based on Dr. Gall explains. A team of qualified "raters" would familiarize itself thoroughly with all of an actual service -uslngooth written interviews and site visits. Using various guidelines and criteria, the raters then evaluate the project on certain point ratings. All components of a service are analysed and a low score would denote a need for more work in that area. The PASS, system of evaluation can be used on any agency delivering services for the handicapped so it could be one afea where 'com-serv will help all handicapped groups. Tom Chapman, vice-chairman on the corn- serve committee, says the project will "do a job that we have always been trying to do for the handicapped." Workshop will help 1 l Mr. Chapman is also chairman of the board for the rehabilitation society, which directs the operation of the rehabilitation workshop a facility that employs people of all handicaps. "It will make this (normalization of the handicapped) come about earlier than would normally have he says. Despite prime focus on the mentally retarded when the project begins it can advance to incorporate all groups and fill gaps that exist between various services. Also as the project develops community acceptance of it will become more and more necessary. Mr. Jeffreys says the community will have to be aware of the concepts to be tried aad accept the attempt at normalization for the project to succeed. Community acceptance and understanding has fostered a type of com-serv model in Omaha, Nebraska, where some of the Lethbridge com-serv ideas originated.' Mr. Jeffreys says he was amazed when visiting the project the community's acceptance of having the retarded living in the community has reached a point where the number of retarded in institutions has been by'half. ".The communty doesn't even label them retarded. They are people, delayed intellectually, but still people. This is what we want... to have them live normal lives. "We know they have the capabilities... we .know they can succeed." Big step made easier by citizen advocates The success of the Lethbridge Association for the Mentally Retarded com-serv project will largely depend on the results of the citizen advocacy component of the project. Gloria Mansfield, provincial coordinator for citizen advocacy, says people will be looking at Lethbridge as a model for other projects incorporating the advocacy concept. A citizen advocate, is someone who helps the handicapped person lead an independent life within the community outside an institution a major goal of the com-serv project. Citizen advocacy has resulted from a realization that handicapped people beginning life in a community after leaving an institution have more needs than just "a roof over their heads and three meals a "Recently it was realized they have a great need for a friend someone to represent their interests as their own. The advocate helps solve everyday problems making the change from an institution to a community less difficult." Ms. Mansfield says. Many roles The volunteer advocate works with the handicapped person on a one-to-one basis and the advocate can take on many roles. The advocate can work as a friend and help with problems such as shopping or using public facilities including bus service and telephones. He can take on a legal role by becoming a handicapped person's guardian or trustee or can become a work'advocate and help the handicapped person in employment Malcolm Jeffreys, association executive director, says the change for a mentally retarded person to competitive employment from a sheltered workshop million for national com-serv A million devlopment fund is being set up across Canada to help in the growth of com-serv regions in every province by 198C. The fund, being established by the national association for the mentally retarded, will be formed with money solicited from national, provincial and local companies in the individual areas. In Alberta a target of has been set for the 1974-75 fiscal year with most of those funds going to the com-serv project in Lethbridge. The Lethbridge and area project is the first hi Canada. The provincial government has budgeted for the beginning of the local operation. "The national association has set I960 as a goal for every province to set up a com-serv region. It will solicit funds from national industry, the provincial association from provincial industry and local organizations from local says Malcolm Jeffreys, executive director of the Lethbridge association. Dr. Bob Gall, co-chairman of the Lethbridge com-serv committee, adds the committee is hopeful interest shown by some foundations could become funds to help in the operation of the project. can be difficult and the volunteer can help the person through this. The advocate can be involved right on the job, he says. The development of the citizen advocacy program recently began in Lethbridge with the appointment cf a local co-ordinator. Dale Taylor will head the Lethbridge office, which according to Ms. Mansfield, is further advanced in the concept of citizen advocacy than any other city in the province. Mr. Taylor will be an activist and provide a solid groundwork for citizen advocacy to offset any problems when the com-serv project begins in April. Com-serv monitor "Citizen advocacy will be the monitor to the com-serv project The program will be going and ready to monitor the larger system when com-serv Ms. Mansfield says. The advocates will be the ones who will be well underway when com-serv starts. The association will provide interim funding until the provincial government provides the com- serv funds April 1. The association will begin the program with "pilot relationships" with trainees from the association's Sunrise Ranch at Coaldale and the rehabilitation society's sheltered workshop. "The project will expand from Mr. Jeffreys says. Using people from the training facilities will help ease a "pressing problem" resulting from a lack of residential space for the retarded. The com-serv committee is now examining this and other detailed problems and hopes to have solutions in their next submission to provincial cabinet Feb. 15. "This is the beauty of Sunrise Ranch Three or four can be worked with by advocates and come back into the community and this opens space at the ranch for others." Mr. Jeffreys says "When they are back in the community the advocate can provide a soft service be available to help when the person needs it." Ms. Mansfield adds. Screening applicants to be citizen advocates will be comprehensive because the association is interested in quality of volunteers and not quantity. We do.thmigh. want to reach the general public with this program, and not any special Mr. Taylor says. The advocacy program will not replace other social agencies but act as a sappoVtive service for them. BILL GROENEN photo Cold outside but Cold winds blow outside while Tommy Lau, 2711 6th Ave. A N., waters potted chrysanthemums at Dan's Greenhouse. The Kenyon Field weather office says the cold winds will continue in a modified form until late Monday or Tuesday. Frequent cloudy periods are forecast today and Sunday, with highs of five to 10 degrees today. A high of 30 near the mountains today will spread to the whole area Sunday, but Arctic conditions north of Saskatchewan keeping cold air over the whole Prairie region. Cost of security exceeds vandelism Security systems will not be installed in Lethbridge public schools because the cost of security greatly exceeds the cost of vandalism, the central school office found after studying the matter. The security situation in the schools was suddenly brought to the attention of public school officials in mid- December when vandals caused about damage at the Senator-Buchanan School. Vandals caused about damage to city public schools last year which is a sum substantially less than the cost involved in providing a security arrangement for the 15 public schools. The public school district reports only about six cases of vandalism each year. Considering that the cost of vandalism to the public schools has been relatively low and insurance companies have shared in the vandalism cost, it wouldn't now be feasible for the public system to become involved in a costly security arrangement, officials say. "We are Very fortunate in Lethbridge that we don't have a serious vandalism Dr. Bob Plaxton, superintendent of public schools, said in an interview Friday. Because of the present situation "no specific action has been taken" by the school board since the costly case of vandalism in December, he explained. The board had decided, after the December vandalism, to wait for recommendations on what could be done to improve security in the schools. The situation is much more serious in Edmonton. The Edmonton public school board reports that vandalism costs it a year. To try and reduce vandalism, the Edmonton trustees have approved the installation of security systems in some schools. Phase II Downtown second stage nearly ready for council A development plan for the phase II downtown redevelopment is said to be nearly ready to go to city City man remanded on stabbing charge A 65-year-old man charged with wounding with intent was remanded in provincial court Friday to Feb. 13 for plea. Harry Menzak. 613 5th St. S, was charged after Lome Stedman. 70. who lives in the rooming house Menzak, was stabbed several times Wednesday evening. Menzak was released on his own recognizance. Mr. Stedman is satisfactory condition at Michael's Hospital. in St. same as Shadows send groundhogs scurrying Lethbridge area groundhogs will be heading back to their burrows today for another six weeks of winter after seeing their shadows The Kenyon Field weather office reports there should be enough sunlight to cast shadows in spite of frequent cloudy periods And the old saying has it that if the groundhog, or wooddrack, sees his shadow Feb. 2, winter will continue for another six weeks. A 17-year-old Lethbridge youth was remanded in provincial court Friday to Feb. 22 for election and plea on a charge of possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. Peter Evans, released on his own recognizance, was arrested Jan. 22 in Lethbridge by the RCMP. A Lethbridge man charged with possession of a dangerous weapon has been .remanded to Feb. 13 for election and plea. Gerald Francis Findlay, 18, 7J1 4th St. S.. was arrested Jan. 2 when he was allegedly carrying a ,22 calibre rifle, a large amount of ammunition and two knives. He was sent to Alberta Hospital Ponoka for psychiatric examination for 30 days He has been pronounced fit to stand trial. He was released on his own recognizance. council. It was discussed at a closed-door meeting of the downtown development committee at city hall this week. Unlike phase I, which was the Woodward Stores and provincial government developments, phase II does not involve a total land assembly project by the city. However, the city does own property in the area and is said to be putting enough land together to sell to one major developer, whose project would set the tone for the area. Phase II roughly covers the land to the north of phase I 1st Avenue to 4th Avenue S. and 1st Street to 5th Street S. The development plan will spell out the kinds of development that will be permitted in the area. It's expected this will include hotels and high-rise apartment buildings as well as retail space. Development in the area is not likely to be all at once as in the Lethbridge Centre