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Every life is a work of art displaying an individuals unique and special identity!

Our Mission

To provide individuals with a intellectual disability living in Waterloo Region the experience to gain the skills needed to live independently as a citizen within the community in a time sensitive manner.

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What is Trying It On For Size?

Trying it on for Size is a program providing individuals with an intellectual disability an evaluation of their independent living skills, in a safe environment, while creating opportunities to grow with a direct focus on transitioning out of their current home. It is for individuals over 18 years old who live in the Waterloo Region. Referrals are received from Developmental Services Ontario. Individuals come to a fully furnished home and have one stay per month for up to 6 months. The first 3 months, stays are 2 nights with 24 hr staffing support. The last three months each stay can be up to 5 nights with a maximum of 8 hours of support each day. This is an opportunity to gain experience living independently, explore decision making, build confidence and it gives an individual a practical way to identify strengths and areas where more support may be needed to be successful. We can provide the accommodations to try a roommate experience as well.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is This For?
  • If you are over 18 years of age
  • Live in the Waterloo Region
  • Interested in exploring independent support options for your future
  • Willing to explore the formation of partnerships to develop collaborative residential supports and housing partnerships
  • Referred by Developmental Services Ontario
What Is Required?
  • A collaborative effort between you, your support network, and Elmira District Community Living
  • An awareness and desire to actively participate in the planning and implementation of this support opportunity
How Does It Occur?
  • You come for one stay per month for up to one year
  • In your first three months your stay can be one or two nights and you can have up to twenty four hour staffing.
  • After your first three months you can choose to stay up to a week based on your comfort level and ability and can access up to eight hours of staffing a day
What Can Be Supported?

You determine the areas to be supported towards independence.  These areas may include, but are not limited to:

  • Personal Safety
  • Promoting Self-Advocacy
  • Using Community Supports and Resources
  • Cleaning
  • Time Management
  • Budgeting and using Money
  • Building Social Connections
Why Does TIFS Encourage Support Networks?

The creation of partnerships and building connections can assist you in those areas where support may be needed to maintain an independent lifestyle.

A Short Video about TIFS

Trying it on for Size is a program that evaluates independent living skills. Initially when an individual comes to TIFS the goal is to work side by side in partnership with them and then eventually step back as they become more confident for transitioning from their current home to live a more independent life. Watch a short video about Roycerin’s story.

Video Transcript



“I’ve always known Justin had the ability to live on his own, he just lacked the confidence and belief in himself. TIFS gave him that. Justin in now moving into his own apartment, growing up, and moving on, and we are so thankful that TIFS gave him the knowledge to believe in himself and that he can do this.”

Sue Gautreau – Parent

“The independence TIFS gave, made me feel the urge to try more new things outside my comfort zone. I liked the experience of ‘living on my own.”

Justin Gautreau – TIFS Graduate

Dear Mr. Greg Bechard,

In my search for an independent living option to address the very significant shortage of appropriate housing for intellectually disabled citizens in our Community, I came across your TIFS program. My son, Tyler MacIntyre, has William’s Syndrome www.caws‐ and he is 22 years old. Tyler attended the TIFS program in 2009/2010 and I’m writing to share our success story with you.

The TIFS program was innovative and flexible in helping address Tyler’s specific special needs. The employees at the TIFS program, specifically Tami Schaafsma and Lisa Reitzel, made the whole experience feel like an exciting adventure! Tyler and I had never really been apart and the transition made both of us very emotional and uncomfortable. Tami and Lisa encouraged us when we had trouble separating and were respectful of our thoughts and feelings.

Lisa and Tami sat with us to set goals that were aimed at supporting Tyler in becoming independent in his own home and in the community. They provided an excellent framework and model to assess Tyler’s daily living skills and really took the time to understand our desired future state. Throughout the program, they were quick to respond to my numerous questions and kept me updated on what was working well and what needed improvement. Communication was open and honest and helped me gain a new perspective on what was possible for Tyler.

The goal setting process helped me clarify Tyler’s needs and prioritize realistic and measurable goals. Tami helped us put specific tools in place (picture schedules, cell phone reminders, door prompts, etc.) that Tyler needed to build a routine and I was thrilled when he became comfortable enough, through repetition, to complete some tasks on his own. Tami also provided weekend stay summaries and skill reviews that were extremely useful in measuring Tyler’s progress. These reports helped identify skill gaps so that we were very clear on what support would be needed for Tyler to live independently.

Tyler enjoyed going to the apartment and working with the staff at TIFS and I was pleased the environment mirrored a realistic setting to help prepare him for independent living. I felt safe leaving Tyler with your employees and knew that he was finally being given the opportunity to gain the experiences and skills he needed to live independently as a citizen within the community.

I’m happy to tell you that Tyler moved into his own creative housing option on Nov. 1, 2011! We couldn’t have reached this major milestone in his life without the help, support and guidance of your employees and the TIFS program. You have given our family the gift of hope for a bright future by making this program available and we will be forever grateful. I will be sharing our success story with other parents, business leaders and politicians at every opportunity and I wish you and your exceptional employees continued success with the TIFS Program.

With sincere thanks and gratitude, Chantal and Tyler MacIntyre

“As parents of a special needs adult, it is particularly challenging to know how to respond to our children’s desire to live independently.  Does she have the skills she’ll need?  How much support will she need to help her achieve her goals?  These are just two of the many questions that arose when our daughter expressed her desire to live in her own apartment.  We were fortunate to hear of the Trying It On for Size program run by Elmira District Community Living.  The TIFS program assessed our daughter’s independent living skills and abilities then focused an individualized program on helping her strengthen any weak areas.  Emphasis was put on meal planning, safety, budgeting and community living, to name a few of the areas that they covered.  More importantly from our perspective as parents, it helped prepare her psychologically to make the move out on her own. I’m happy to report that our daughter successfully completed the TIFS program and a few months later moved into an apartment with a roommate.  I believe that the TIFS program gave her the skills and confidence needed to help make this move a success, and we heartily recommend it without reservation.”

Arlene Mahood – Parent