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Disabilities and Relationships on Facebook

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    Jenna Martinuzzi

      Let’s start connecting with young adults and youth who have disability and also their parent’s people with disabilities are thinking about dating and relationships in 2013.

      A lot of parents today don’t teach their adult children and youth about relationships and friendships let’s start connecting with these parents who has a child with a disability.

      Young Adults and Teenagers with a disability are also using their Facebook Profiles as a dating social network tool. I noticed a lot of people from Dramaway are also connected on Facebook they are also using Facebook like Lava Life and Zoosk. Let start connecting on Connected Families and Connect


      Hello everyone, first of all Jenna I applaud you for this post. I am a parent with a son 26 years old who has developmental delay disabilities. He is high functioning and seems to feel that he doesn’t fit in any society because he hasn’t found a social circle of people that just accepts him as he is. We are both very new to this forum and connection with other parents and people with the same problems.

      This is a reality we have to face, as a parent I have watched my son being taken advantage of over and over again by women who didn’t really want to date him but just wanted him around when he had money in the bank. For example he would receive calls to go for a movie, he gets so excited and goes but the woman turns up with her own boyfriend or other friends whom she talks to throughout the whole night ignoring my son, after his purpose was accomplished….payment for the movie and pop corn!!! I have other examples but the point is if we don’t connect our children who will? If we don’t give them an opportunity to fall in love with people that understand them, will not judge them, who will?

      Internet dating is on the rise and if this is the channel our children are exploring we might as well come up with a safe website for them as soon as possible before they are taken advantage of by some wierdos on the net.

      By the way what is the best way for my son to meet and socialize with other people with the same disabilities, not necessarily dating but just making friends and hanging out???


        For places to meet, try the self advocate council with Community Living. They get together on a regular basis, have social nights as well. There are many dances that go on every month – check with the Down syndrome association or with Community Living in your area. Parks and rec also have some hang out place across the city, again phone your area Parks and rec and tell them what you are looking for. also has lots of information on all kinds of things that are going on. You can register on their site or give one of the facilitators a call.
        What does your son do during the day – does he have anyone that he seems to have a connection with? We used to have a regular monthly get to gether with several individuals that my daughter knew. We would set up a schedule and each month someone would host a pizza and movie, games, kareote night.
        Hope this gives some ideas.


        Hi Bonnie – thank you so much for the info, I will certainly check out the websites and Parks & Rec. My son, Emmanuel work’s part-time at Lobblaws which could be 4 hour shifts of anything between 3 to 4 days per week, otherwise he is home most of the time. I have a full-time job so we connect when I get home in the evening. Do you guys still have the regular get together night? From your email it sounds like you no longer have them……if any of you are having these get togethers would you mind if my son joins in and I wouldn’t mind hosting something like that in my house. We missed the Saturday dinner dance because he was working a night shift. Does anyone have any feedback on The Mix Lounge, I saw that on the website and my son wanted to check it it out April 26th? Thank you all for your support, much appreciated. Thank you.


          Hi Pippa;
          We, the parents, don’t organize so much these days. Jenny lives in her own home with 2 roommates and support. Quite a few of her friends also live on their own. They actually get together more these days at one or anothers homes or go out for various activities.
          Not sure where you are in the city, we are in the east end of Scarborough. The support is through Julie, the woman who runs the service, has great staff, keeps the groups small and engages in the community. Check out her website, if your interested you can contact her through the web site.
          Sounds like Emmanuel is very capable. Have you thought of independent living for him. You can check out the group that I run – We are parents that meet once a month and brainstorm to figure out how to make independent living happen.


          Hi Bonnie – thank you so much….I am new at this whole networking but am learning very fast! It’s quite a relief to know that I am not the only one facing these challenges of raising a child with developmental disabilities. Emmanuel is 26 as I said but mentally operates 8 to 10 years younger than his physical age. He doesn’t have down syndrome but his memory functions in unique ways. This weekend he was telling me in detail an incident that happened when he was about 2yrs or so, yet he struggles to calculate 2×2 and retain knowledge of simple times tables or additions. It used to take him time like up to 3 weeks to figure out his TTC route to work or downtown but now he is now ok, he goes alone, once he gets it he gets it. On face value people won’t realize that he has disabilities until they get involved deeply into conversation with him that is when they realize that something is amiss. So I was told that he is high functional – whatever that means – .

          On the subject of staying alone, that would be very nice but I have my reservations, he cannot handle money, he has no sense of the value of money and people do take advantage of him because of this. He once wanted to stay alone so much that through some bad friends he was advised to go into a shelter, after 2 days of desperately looking for him the police eventually found him in a shelter. He told them he just wanted to make it on his own. I left him there for 3 months and slowly we got him back, first by finding him his own basement room near York University. It’s a bad area I was so worried about him but had to leave him there. After another 3 months he wanted to come back home. We worked out a good compromise, I left my condo, rented it out and I rented a house with a basement apartment. He moved into the basement, has his own private domain, he can cook his own meals and literally has his own independence for as long as he wants. I don’t interfere I live upstairs with his sister – and I am now also offering homestay room rentals to international students. Emmanuel comes up to the kitchen once in a while to eat our meals, or make himself his favorite dishes. He helps around the house cleaning, taking out the trash and even cooking sometimes!!

          Dating is a big issue for him – he wants to find someone special, he shares his dreams about how he would treat his wife and children. Anyway first thing first, it would really be nice if he could find good friends. Currently he doesn’t have any safety boundaries he befriends anyone whom he talks to, this could be street people to anyone. I once asked him why he talks and makes friends with such people and he said, “Mom those people are lonely just as I am, they also want someone to talk to them, so why not me?”
          He said,”Besides they are not judgmental, they don’t care that I can’t follow their conversation, they just accept me just as I am, other people don’t understand me and they ask me, “what’s wrong with you man?” so what am I supposed to say?”
          You can imagine how much this reality breaks my heart! It is true, we attend a very good church, there are youths and young adults in that church but because they don’t understand him, they shy away from him and he has sensed it that they don’t really want to hang out with him so he stopped going for the Friday night youths and young adults meetings.

          Sorry I didn’t mean to write a book … LOL! But thank you I am going to check the websites now. Oh by the way my full name is Phillipa (Pippa for short) and we live north around Yonge & Steeles, since we are in the center we can pretty much go to any location east or west. Where there is a will there is a way, distance doesn’t matter!!!

          Jenna Martinuzzi

            Dating is also a huge issue for everyone with disabilties it’s a very popular topic that young adults and teenagers are talking about. Pippa check out our Community Living Toronto Youth Sessions also we are orgnizing a Social Fun Group for people with disabilties. In the Social Group we talk about Relationships and budgeting. I think this program will help your son a lot and also make new friends too. We also are putting together a Fun Group-Social Group that Karla and Mark is orgnizing.
            I noticed a lot of people with disabilties come to the DSAT Dance Rock dances and get emotional to see their ex-boyfriends/boyfriends dancing with other young women they go to the side lines and cry. They are Volunteers and Staff Members to support people with disabilties at the Teen dances we have Chips and Juice. I think it is a great way to socialize and meet new friends at these dances go to…

            Jenna Martinuzzi

              DramaWay Philosophy

              All DramaWay programs are created, geared and modified to suit individuals with special needs.

              At DramaWay we are passionate about creativity. We have an inclusive philosophy, and pride ourselves on developing the strengths and abilities of each individual participant in a friendly and supportive environment.

              We are dedicated to providing unique creative programs that support participants’ growth as individuals and expand their artistic skills in a structured, inspirational atmosphere. Lasting friendships form and social and life-skills are fostered. DramaWay programs span the realm of the fine arts.

              Our programs encourage the development of:
              ■ self-confidence
              ■ communication and social skills
              ■ focus and concentration
              ■ creative expression
              ■ vocal health
              ■ listening and aural perception skills
              ■ self-discipline
              ■ self-awareness

              DramaWay places emphasis on the process of creation and the experience of the journey!

              Jenna Martinuzzi

                Danielle Strnad, Founder and Artistic Director

                Founder and Artistic Director, Head Drama Facilitator
                BFA, Concordia University
                S.S.W., Sheridan College

                Danielle founded DramaWay in 1999. She saw an opportunity in the community to provide creative arts programs, emphasizing a uniquely compassionate, process-oriented approach to educational arts programming for individuals with special needs. Danielle’s philosophy is to always put her participants first Check out the Dramaway Website .…..lle-strnad

                Danielle’s background as a social service worker and theater artist; combined with her larger-than-life personality are the backbone of DramaWay’s success. As a theatre artist, she knows how to craft a show, and provide engaging programs for individuals of all levels. As a Social Service Worker, she brings great empathy and understanding for each and every individual. Danielle views the arts as a gateway to confidence and community, and hopes to spread her inclusive philosophy, through her work at DramaWay.

                “The most rewarding aspect of my job is to see the growth in individuals, many of whom have been attending our program since DramaWay’s inception. When I see the small steps that happen, someone being afraid to go on stage one year and then the next barging onto the stage with full confidence I know we’re really impacting someone’s life.”
                -Danielle Strand

                Danielle has received media attention for her work from the Canadian Living Magazine, The Annex Gleaner, The Scarborough Mirror, CBC’s Moving On TV program, and continues to be recognized by Community Living Toronto as a valuable community partner. The Erinoakkids Players group, directed and led by Danielle, was awarded The Emerging Performance Arts Group in 2005 by the Mississauga Arts Council.

                Prior to founding DramaWay, Danielle worked as a Drama Specialist teaching, directing and supervising Theatre programs within TDSB schools and around the GTA community for Etobicoke Creative Arts, Arts Express Outreach Program, Children’s Arts Theatre School and the City of Toronto. She has created therapeutic programs in collaboration with Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Pathologists, Music Therapists and Behavioural Consultants. Amongst her many credits, Danielle has also performed in numerous productions for theatre companies such as Elysian River Theatre, Imago Theatre, Geordie Theatre Productions and Pumpkin Theatre. She also finds time to perform music with the band Vaslav.

                Danielle works hard within the community here is what else Danielle has been up to:
                Please follow the link below to important work director/founder Danielle Strnad does outside of DramaWay with ErinOakKids:

                Jenna Martinuzzi

                  JUST DANCE!
                  At St.Bonaventure Church – ONLY 3 MORE VIDEO DANCES!

                  Want to see SOMETHING NEW?
                  A VIDEO DANCE at JUST DANCE You can watch the video of song that is being played.

                  2013 Dates:
                  Apr 19,
                  May 10, – USE REAR ENTRANCE FOR MAY 10TH DANCE.
                  June 7,

                  7:30pm – 9:30pm

                  Youth Ages 15+ with developmental delays and their friends are invited to this event.
                  Parents can leave dancers who do not require one-on-one support at the dance; and
                  please sign in with your contact info. (Parents are welcomed to stay and help
                  at the dance but limited seating area)

                  1300 Leslie Street, M3C 2K9 – South of Lawrence Avenue, and South of Edwards
                  Gardens North of Eglinton.

                  HOW MUCH:
                  Admission $8 includes Video Dance, Juice, Chips.

                  Bus 54 or 51 from the Eglinton Station or bus 51 from the Leslie Station.
                  For parents who are driving/dropping off, there is Shops at Don Mills Plaza or
                  stay to help out at the dance.

                  For Info Contact: 647-847-2033 or email to


                  Dearest Jenna, thank you so much for being so informative. I feel so blessed, truly blessed to be part of this networking and I know that my son will be enriched from all these opportunities opening up before him. We will follow-through and enroll him in a lot of programs this summer.
                  You are much appreciated!

                  Jenna Martinuzzi

                    Everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in their community. Living in your own home; choosing where and with whom you live, and forming social relationships are fundamental to being part of society. For people with an intellectual disability and their families, this is no different. LIGHTS is an option for families to explore who are interested in helping their family member start a life outside the family home. Pippa you can also get extra support for your kids by clicking on this website if you are interested. Thank you

                    Jenna Martinuzzi
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