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Pathfinders

Author: John O'Brien and Beth Mount

For a generation John O’Brien and Beth Mount have accompanied people with developmental disabilities, their families and the partners who support them as they find diverse paths to social inclusion and self direction. These pathfinders’ journeys change organisations and build communities that work better for everyone.

This book reflects what John and Beth have learned about assisting people and their families to make real progress toward living the promise of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

With stories, critical reflections, frameworks to guide change, and lessons from implementing person-centered planning and self-direction they explore these ideas:

  • Our common purpose as citizens is to contribute, each in our own way, to building communities that work better for everybody.
  • A community that works better for everybody is a place where citizens offer one another opportunities to create real wealth: positive relationships, diverse networks, useful assets, capacities for contribution and resourcefulness.
  • Prejudice and discrimination put people with developmental disabilities at risk of exclusion from these opportunities.
Social inclusion is the result of a hero’s journey. It involves courageous and creative pathfinding led by people with developmental disabilities who want a better life. Encouraging this leadership calls for cultivating deep listening that generates creative action.

Good services develop and support partnerships with people and their families and allies. They find better and better was to make it easier for people to take self-directed journeys to inclusion. Partnership with people most likely to be seen as 'too disabled' to contribute is a hallmark of good services.

Pathfinders and their partners are social inventors. They break out of old stories and structures and design new ways for people to contribute.