Session 3 – Monday, August 9

On this page, you’ll find the resources we used during session three. Click through to find

Building a Context for Relationship

You cannot create relationships but you can recognise, encourage and design opportunities in which the miracle of friendship is more likely to occur.

Janet Klees

Portrait of Janet Klees

Janet Klees is the Executive Director of the Durham Association for Family Respite Services, a family-centred, SRV-anchored resource and support centre for families interested in building good, ordinary lives in community for and with their family members with disability.

Janet has spoken many times at our events over the years. She is a popular presenter because of her ability to communicate the nuances of supporting people with disability to enjoy the good things of life.

The following videos were used during session three. They are recordings of an online webinar that Janet presented in 2020.

The Framework

Introduction to Building a Context for Relationship

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Key messages

  • Knowing the ‘why’ is more important than knowing the ‘how’. Once you have a clear ‘why’ the ‘how’ will come.
  • Many things are labelled ‘inclusive’ but do not provide opportunities to pursue the good things in life. So how do we get inclusion right? Janet’s framework will help with this.

The five pillars


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Key messages

  • We want to start with the interest of the person.
  • Identifying interests can be tricky. What is it that the person is really interested in? Is it the environment, is it the task, is it the company…is it something else?
  • We need to explore, try and notice to discover what a person’s interests are.
  • We can ask others who may have noticed possible interests we may not have been aware of.


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Key messages

  • Where are like-minded people coming together?
  • There is power in group brainstorming – involving others can open up unseen possibilities.


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Key messages

  • Frequent and Predictable!!!
  • We want to provide sufficient time not only for the person with a disability but also for the other members of that community to learn what to expect and how to respond/behave. We need to remember that this may be their first experience with someone with a disability and to be fair to them we need to give them time to understand what this means. Just because they don’t know how to engage just yet doesn’t necessarily mean they are unwilling.


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Key messages

  • This is a crucial element – who will this person be in this place, what role can they fill?
  • The roles people fill having implications for their identity, their purpose, and the expectations people hold for them. Positive roles lead to positive outcomes and vice versa so we want to promote the positive roles our family members hold.
  • While we have used this framework starting with place, often it makes more sense to start with brainstorming valued roles that stem from an interest and then look for places where this role exists.


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Key messages

  • Who might be a good match for this exploration? Is it a paid supporter or is there natural support that would be better suited? This can still be the parent when children are young as this would typically happen for all kids.
  • Ensure that the chosen support person is clear about their role as a bridge to relationship.
  • Think in triangles – where can we move from two to three?

Stories About Building a Context for Relationship

Tiffany’s story

In this story, you will hear how Tiffany’s interest in art has led to Tiffany becoming an artist. You will notice they started very small and then looked at other ways Tiffany could contribute to her community as an artist.

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Jonathan’s story

Jonathan’s story shows us how his interest in animals was deeply explored to find ways to build purpose and relationship through roles. Jonathan became a dog owner but it didn’t stop there…

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Rob’s story

Rob explores his interest in classical music with a local orchestra. In this story you will learn how setting up the exploration well and then taking the time to build and develop opportunities can lead to great outcomes for relationships and contribution.

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Brent’s story

Developing Brent’s interest in grocery shopping leads to his extended family members seeing value in his contribution. This interest is then used creatively to expand his contribution beyond the family.

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John’s story

In John’s story, we see the power of freely given relationships and how they build safeguards around a person.

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