[ Following the closure of government-run facilities, the government provided funding to purchase and renovate the Domaine Larose hobby farm in the Prescott-Russell community.

Seven adults with a developmental disability reside there, acquiring necessary skills for independent living and community integration. ]

Shalan Gobeil, Program Supervisor, Ministry of Community and Social Services: We never would have seen a farm like this before.

I think it’s also having a completely different attitude regarding people with a developmental disability – a different approach. To see them as people that have interests and needs. People that live, that feel things too.

Louise Cayer-Deslauriers, Supervisor, Specialized Residential Accommodation, Prescott-Russell Services to Children and Adults: We’ve wanted a farm like this for a few years now. We thought, “What if they had the opportunity to do lots of things during the day – have a full day with tasks and such?” So it’s been many years that we’ve been talking about this.

We stopped at this farm because it has 50 acres of land and a big house. We knew we needed to lodge seven adults.

If we have people who are more difficult with challenging behaviours, with the farm, we will keep them busy. They will have things to do. It will help keep them calm.

In the morning, they get up and have breakfast, and head out to do their tasks on the farm. After that, it’s the morning routine: their bedrooms, the laundry. After lunch, they go into the community and do their errands.

Rémi Charrette, Intervener, Hobby Farm Domaine Larose: I can’t say that it happens quickly. Every person is different. Some learn quicker than others. They get up in the morning with a goal. That’s what we wanted.

[ Normand
Responsibility: Rabbit Care ]

Rémi: It went rather well with Norm and his rabbits. It’s just a question of getting him to do it every day, and then he realises “it’s my job, I do this”.

I’ve often seen Norm very agitated. We get him on the horse, do a few rounds, and it calms him down a little.

Louise: We have a lot of non-verbal people, but you see it that they’re happy doing something: going horseback ridding, mowing the lawn; all the little tasks that they do. You see it in their faces. “Yes, I want to go!”

[ Claude
Responsibility: lawn care ]

Rémi: When I started here and Claude arrived, it was no longer the same Claude. Claude was happy to be here, happy to be alive.

Rémi: “Do you like mowing the lawn Claude?”

Claude: “Yes.”

Rémi: “Yes? How long have you been doing it, do you know?”

Claude: “No.”

Rémi: “I think it’s been about two years, eh?”

Claude: “Yes.”

Rémi: “Is it something you like doing a lot?”

Claude: “No!”

Rémi: “Hey! We’ll give the job to someone else!"

Claude: "No.”

Louise: I think it’s extraordinary, because they know we’re counting on them, they know it’s their daily responsibility. It’s like us, when we have responsibilities, we feel important and we feel we’re contributing to something.

Shalan: Finally, you’re a contributing member in the society. You are part of a community. And you know you’re part of that community: you give to the community and you receive from the community.

Louise: I would tell you that we see progress every day! They have new tasks – you see that they’re happy and comfortable.

Rémi: Continue, a little bit every day, and every day we see a difference for the better.