1. To establish legislation specific to recognizing and remediating dyslexia to include:
- Compulsory assessment for dyslexia in Kindergarten, no later than the end of Grade 1
- Immediate and mandatory provisions of evidence-based, dyslexia-specific interventions that are explicit, systematic and cumulative to all Canadian children with dyslexia.
- Mandatory training for primary educators in dyslexia-specific interventions.
2. To partner with professional organizations, experts and advocates to drive systemic change.
3. To educate and engage the Canadian public concerning the discrimination faced by children with dyslexia in our public schools.
What you need to know
It's simple, our Canadian education systems handle children with dyslexia in a hit and miss basis, mostly miss. Students are not assessed for dyslexia in Kindergarten despite the fact that it is identifiable with 92% accuracy at the age of 5 1/2. Across Canada, it is common for formal testing to be delayed until Grade 3 at the earliest and normally in Grade 5 or 6, which is far too late.
Elaine Keenan immigrated from Ireland in 2008 with her family. The Keenan's lived in Vancouver, B.C. initially and moved to Toronto, Ontario in 2011. Elaine is the mother of four children, three of whom have been identified as having dyslexia.
Elaine joined the board of the Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association in 2012, and in May 2015 she was elected President. Elaine is also a founding member of Dyslexia Canada.
Given Elaine’s personal experience seeking services and advocating for her own family, she understands what needs to be done in Canada to better service the needs of Canadians dealing with dyslexia.
Keith is a retired executive of the TD Bank and is dyslexic. He is also retired from a number of corporate and volunteer boards. He is past chair of the Ontario Judge's Pension Board and an Honorary Life Governor of the Royal Canadian Golf Association.
Mr. Bruce is a Canadian entrepreneur founding eight companies over the past two decades. As someone with Dyslexia he understands the challenges that kids with Dyslexia face early on in their educational and throughout their lives. Stuart is currently Chief Executive Officer of FIRST Insurance Funding of Canada and an active member of the insurance industry in Canada.
In 1995 Stuart obtained an Honors Business Administration degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, and in 2001 obtained a Chartered Accountant’s designation from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
Stuart has been a member of the Canadian National Sailing Team competing at the national and international level and was a member of the Canadian Olympic Sailing Team for the 1992 games.
Christine van de Vijsel
Christine van de Vijsel, M.Ed. is certified as a Reading Clinician by the Province of Manitoba. Prior to her clinical assignment with The Winnipeg School Division, she taught elementary grades 2 - 6 for many years. She continues to enjoy working in private practice as a reading clinician, language therapist, and dyslexia specialist for and with children with reading, writing and spelling challenges. She has pursued extensive specialized training in the area of specific learning disability in reading or ‘dyslexia’. Christine a certified instructor in the Hill Learning System which specializes in teaching individual lessons within a group setting. Christine has earned her Dyslexia Specialist Certificate from Adam State University, Colorado. She has been certified by the International Dyslexia Association as a Tier 3 Dyslexia Therapist. Christine is also the co-founder of Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba, Inc., a non-profit organization that 1) advocates for the rights children and their families to fair and equitable access to effective education, and that 2) supports teachers through professional development opportunities which are evidence-based effective best practice for teaching children with learning differences.
Corey Zylstra has been in the field of education for over 25 years. She has taught in colleges, elementary schools, private clinics, community facilities and is a regular conference and workshop presenter world-wide. Since specializing in the field of learning difficulties and multisensory language remediation using the Orton-Gillingham approach, Mrs. Zylstra has served on several non-profit boards in executive, board and advisory positions. She holds a Masters of Education degree from SFU, a Provincial Instructor’s Diploma, and has been recognized and accredited as an Orton-Gillingham Master Trainer for the Canadian Orton-Gillingham Academy (MT/ CATT, OG), an Honorary Fellow of the American OG Academy (HF/ AOGPE) and a Certified Dyslexia Therapist through the International Dyslexia Association (CDT/IDA). Corey lives in North Vancouver, Canada and is the daughter to a person with dyslexia, as well as a parent to a son with dyslexia.
Christine Staley holds a law degree from the University of Ottawa and began her career practicing family law in Toronto. She went on to spend the next decade working in the not-for-profit sector, primarily focused on volunteer associations. Currently, Christine is Vice-President at a Legal Processing and Solutions Company. Christine sits on the Board of Directors of Peel Family Services and actively volunteers in her community. Christine and her husband have two amazing daughters, both identified as exceptional learners. She is passionate about advocating for children and changing the “wait to fail” education system that we currently have.
Raffaela Profiti is an Ontario physician and mother of 2 wonderful children with dyslexia. In her personal experience advocating for her own children and seeking evidence based interventions Raffaela has come to realize that more needs to be done across Canada in this regard. She is passionate that every child with dyslexia be given equal opportunity to reach his for her fullest potential.
Sheriden has studied extensively in the areas of aboriginal history and law, principled negotiation, multi-party consensus building, mediation and cross cultural peace building, both at the internationally recognized International Conflict Research Institute at the University of Ulster (INCORE), Northern Ireland, and at Osgoode Hall Law School (York University) where she earned a Master of Laws (ADR) degree in 2004.
Since 1988, Sheriden has worked across the country with federal, provincial, territorial and First Nations governments in advancing and resolving historic treaty, land claims, and human rights disputes, including as the convenor and mediator of the inaugural Treaty Discussion Forum between the Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Canada.
As the Senior Director, Aboriginal Relations and Land Use, AMEBC she was instrumental in the development of the Aboriginal Engagement Guidebook for Mineral Explorers (2014). As the Program Director for Resource Development and Land Use for the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, Sheriden led many national initiatives on federal, territorial and provincial regulatory and legal issues affecting the mineral exploration industry. Sheriden played a pivotal role in the development of Ontario’s Mining Act aboriginal consultation policy, advocating clarity on the duty to consult and accommodate during early exploration.
Annette Sang is the founding member of Decoding Dyslexia Ontario and is the mother of three outstanding children with dyslexia. She holds a Masters of Social Work degree and is a former Ontario Public Servant where she held senior policy positions at The Ministry of Community & Social Services and The Ontario Human Rights Commission. She is passionate about helping families to best support the education and success of their children with dyslexia.