Brissa's WalkBrissa and MomNickNick


Connection story

Families Creating a Vision and Building Inclusive Lives for Their Children

Brissa and Nick
Los Angeles, CA


All parents have dreams their children will grow up and determine for themselves how to live good lives and contribute to their communities. Brissa’s and Nick’s parents did not want their dreams to be dimmed by a diagnosis of a disability. Both Brissa’s and Nick’s parents emphasized their children’s strengths and assets, not deficits, in order to create visions of full futures with their own children directing their own lives with support from family, friends and community members.

The Path

These families realized that leading their children to more independent meaningful lives meant creating connections with their communities and overcoming “protective” reactions. It meant listening to Brissa and Nick, helping them make and honoring their choices and encouraging them to express ideas about what they want in their futures. And, as important, it lead to cultivating social and community relationships that opened doors to greater inclusion and support in everyday activities. Each family spent time to create a future inclusion vision for their child and applied it to everyday life at home, in their neighborhoods, at school and with community associations to build natural support networks.

Discoveries and Outcomes

Step by step, they discovered that to be self-determined, Brissa and Nick must have opportunities to make choices, and make their own mistakes from which to learn. Nick, Brissa and their families promoted independence using personal connections and resources that enabled active participation in their communities ranging from recreation groups to volunteer opportunities. These dreams and application of their visions for the future inspired transformation in their families and throughout their community network.

What We Did

BRC with its partner, The SCILS Group developed and facilitated ongoing training (Partners in Community Inclusion) and produced customized materials the families could use to identify interests, build natural community supports and determine service needs that promoted inclusion. With the use of these self-guided tools, they cultivated inclusive partnerships to increase independence and create opportunities for increased school and community membership. With contributions from Brissa, Nick and their families, Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center, BRC published for DDS the illustrated parent guide Families Creating a Vision and Building Inclusive Lives for their Children and a DVD titled Partners in Community Inclusion. Booklets and videos are available for viewing in the Library.