2015 marked the 10th anniversary of the Accessibility For Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). To celebrate this milestone, 101 Ontarians received AODA 10th Anniversary Champion Awards to recognize their passion and commitment in promoting awareness of accessibility and inclusiveness in their community. The following are two examples of award winning initiatives.
Initiative: Coaching Program for Grades 7 and 8 students
Award Winner: Ron Lessard
The Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of Sudbury (LDAS), Ron Lessard has been recognized as an Accessibility Champion for his leadership in several areas. He was not only instrumental in the formation of LDAS but he also pioneered a community initiative that is now known as the “Coaching Program”.
An innovative partnership between LDAS, Laurentian University School of Education, Rainbow District School Board, Sudbury Catholic District School Board and Cambrian College, the Coaching Program provides mentors for local students with learning disabilities. Mentors, who live with learning disabilities themselves, are recruited annually from Laurentian’s Education Program. Each university student is invited to work one-on-one with a grade 7 or 8 student who has also been identified with a learning disability.
By offering advocacy skills, motivation and learning strategies that help each youngster address their learning challenges, the older students provide tangible support and valuable advice. Lessard’s program has been running for a number of years now from October to March in a Greater Sudbury Public Library.
For information regarding the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act visit www.ontario.ca/accessibility