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Creating Blue Space
Fostering Innovative Support Practices for People with Developmental Disabilities
by Hanns Meissner
Forward by John O'Brien
Includes downloadable Exercise Book
Hanns Meissner has emerged from years of 'formation' at The Arc of Rensselaer County in Eastern New York State with lessons learned from a journey of individualizing supports. His agency's story is one of relentless commitment of creating enough blue space for innovative ways to support and partner with individuals with developmental disabilities to form and flourish in spite of system constraints. Read, reflect, and learn about "bushwhacking" through the bureaucratic wilderness so you too can create blue space for innovation and citizenship for all to blossom.
There is no organization that I admire more, or have learned more from, than R-Arc…the wisdom you gain from Creating Blue Space will enable you to change the course of your organization, the lives of the people you support and your own worldview.
Fredda Rosen, Executive Director
Job Path NYC
Organizations and agencies looking to transform their existing services to more innovative, individualized supports will find a fantastically helpful guide in Creating Blue Space. Powerful exercises and reflections in the book will improve and change how people help individuals with developmental disabilities to have exceptional lives in the community.
Ann Hardiman, Executive Director
New York State Association of Residential and Community Agencies
Creating Blue Space is Meissner’s offering to transformational leaders everywhere who are concerned about blazing a trail through an era of uncertainty. This book is a powerhouse combination of advanced organization theory, personal account experience and applied learning opportunity rolled into one remarkable field guide. This is a must-have resource for anyone invested in changing the landscape with and on behalf of people who experience life through disability.
Carol Blessing, Faculty
Employment & Disability Institute ILR School Cornell University
Creating Blue Space shows us the crucial importance of following the path less traveled…
Janice Fitzgerald, Executive Director
Parent to Parent of New York State
As organizations re-imagine how they support people with developmental disabilities to live the lives they and their families imagine, we need thoughtful leaders, innovative thinkers, and people who can teach, write about and skillfully share their experiences. Meissner does all these things in Creating Blue Space, as he takes the reader on an intentional journey to individualize supports…
Steve Holmes, Administrative Director
Self Advocacy Association of New York State
Creating Blue Space tells the story of how one agency intentionally created a culture that promoted individualized services and community membership. This book is a must read for anyone interested in helping to transform the system of providing supports to people with developmental disabilities towards individualized as we move into the future.
Christopher Fortune, Executive Director
Orange County AHRC
Hanns Meissner provides an extraordinary account of organizational innovation that is integral to authentic person-centered work. This multidimensional journey illuminates the value of Theory U frameworks and practice in navigating the difficult passage of challenging old deficiency based models to create room for surprising new possibilities. Creating Blue Space awakens our collective minds, hearts, and wills to generate profound social change that enables people to be in touch with their highest potential. Finally, we have hopeful maps and new pathways for finding our way forward!
Beth Mount, PhD Founder
Creating Blue Spaces is a beautifully written, ground breaking book. It offers profound thinking about how service agencies, systems, and professionally organized efforts can authentically value and build the gifts and capacities of people on the margin. It makes the connection between the importance of an authentic internal culture and the “good form” we wish bring into our communities in our wish to reduce human suffering. It is one example of how systems can possibly deliver authentic care. While focused on the developmentally disabled world, the wisdom on leadership, conversation, practices and learning applies to all efforts to restore humanity to organizational life. The book is the calm, clear eye at the center of the storm of modernism.
Peter Block, Author and
Partner in Designed Learning
In a public policy world that increasingly seeks to commoditize people who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, Meissner stands among the few turning the discussion back to the people who seek support and their rights to true citizenship. In Blue Space Hanns Meissner translates his years of study, commitment and deep organizational change at his agency into a remarkably readable guide for organizations who seek this journey.
Max E Chmura, Human Service Consultant
former New York State Commissioner of the
Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities