VoddieBaucham – “We teach our children to read so they can read Scriptures, math so they can be good stewards, write so they can share – focus on what is important. “

 Diane Geerlinks – livestream to encourage each of us to be a support to families in need, and to encourage accessing assessments and therapies earlier than later

Jen Foy –shared from her position as a parent what is important

 The following is a compilation of recent conversations held with various members and volunteers within & without OCHEC, with additional remarks from the Symposium itself. 


  • Increased calls for help / parents are in great need
  • We don’t know what to say / afraid of saying the wrong thing
  • We don’t know the experts or who to reference
  • Public school system & health system are false hopes as they are failing to provide assistance,
  • (services may be provided more easily in pre-school years)


  • parents, other OCHEC leaders, chapter leaders, support group members, our children, community
  • Interaction with speech therapist re home education impacted on one therapist’s autistic client


  • 1st – compassion and support of others, 2nd – help to find resources
  • One can find therapy on line but can’t find a friend on line for you and your child
  • Verbiage is so important – while labelling may help to troubleshoot, labelling can bring stigma
    • Suspected learning challenges, scattered learners, etc.
    • ‘parenting incorrectly’ phrase will likely send the family away

Biblical empathy/compassion: show Christ-likeness – teach children and yourselves acceptance

Recognize it is hard to accept support from someone who has not been in your shoes

Get to know the family:

  • listen to parents, ask about their day, concentrated effort to listen
  • are they responding normally today
  • give them a chance to open up
    • hard to be honest & vulnerable – stress of parent/mom/homeschooler/learning challenges

Disconnect the idea that my child is my report card – make it worse on mothers than on child

  • watch for depression
  • Loss of hope and expectation

Consider the parent’s perspective – struggle for them

Homeschool setting is so hard because we don’t have special teachers

Homeschooling is already hard – this is harder

Likelihood of another sibling with same diagnosis is very high

Our own homeschooling is so busy

We tend not to allow ourselves to see the struggle in someone else’s life



Come for a play date –they also need social connections, and mom needs a break

Behaviors – common to that diagnosis, triggers

Outline appropriate coping/preventative measure for group

Fostering appropriate inclusive behaviour in ourselves and in our children

Offer care of her child – she was exhausted, while others took care of mom

Implement a buddy system among the children, babysitting at events/meetings

EDUCATE to anticipate needs

Familiarize yourself with different diagnosis – READ, every diagnosis has a facebook page

  • Paralysis of self
  • Lack of resources to offer or be familiar with
  • Curriculum choices
  • Fear of failure on your part
  • Desire to not cause pain
  • Don’t know when or how to empathize

See the person behind the behaviour

Inclusion versus adding to the long trail of criticism

  • Non-overwhelming atmosphere
  • Accommodation& time
  • Let it be a place to belong
  • Remember socialization is a muscle special needs children also need to practice
  • Events need to be affordable as often there are other expenses incurred for therapies etc.
  • Make use of ACCESS 2 card offered by EASTER SEALS that allows companion into events at 1/2 price

Avoid making statements beyond your experience such as ‘I don’t believe in meds’.

  • Parents have the right to inform their child of diagnosis or not
  • If you notice a challenge in someone else’s child it may/may not be the right time to share with parent
  • Autism in a girl looks very different –they don’t lack the eye contact as boys do
  • Beware of division in your home school community
 If we don’t ‘do beside’ we can’t do ‘sympathy’. We may not be able to carry their load, but we can pick up a part.

FAMILY RESPONSE to special needs identification

  • Blame game- it’s my fault, haven’t put time into this child’s needs
  • Fear of assessment – feel it is an assessment of parent, fear of label for child although this might be the key to finding the right support and teaching strategies for the child
  • Concern for cost of additional curriculum as likely can’t share what worked for other children

Find child’s strengths/interests and work that into the rest of their studies

Teach the child to love learning


How to sift through what is available – past years of homeschool help

  • Set realistic IEP goals
  • Annually meet with each therapist – pay her – what goals for this year and set your own IEP
  •  Insurance coverage? Have therapist teach you
  • Might have access to 10 blocks of therapy – you determine how to use it
  • Choose what you can work on
  • Have groups of SN parents together to see what you learned from each of your therapists
  • May consider using PPM131 Appendix A Letter of Intent to access therapies through school board but not a guarantee of services
  • Up to delay of 30% development by age in thinking
  • Accommodation of time  – 15 yr old acts like 10 year old
  • If your behaviour expectations are reasonable there is potential for joy  – to participate in this progress
  • Need a person with compassion to come along side and walk beside them at the speed they can handle
  • Over expectation on expectation creates attitude of ‘unworthy’ in  child
  • I am bad, there is something wrong with me, I can’t fix it
  • Think positively – distractibility = curiosity, impulsivity = creativity, hyperactive = energy!!
    • ABA – communication program for children with autism – very expensive $60,000/child
    • Currently province allows parents $5000 total even though this is a 5 yr program
  • Consider sleep/exercise/nutrition/sensory stimuli level
  • Pay yourself to learn therapies and then do the therapies with your child yourself
  • Search the internet, Pinterest
  • Create curriculum
    • Don’t’ teach by book, but by what he needs – money, time, laundry life skills
    • Teaching life skills is important – consider scholastics as needful
  • Behaviour – example of “Ferrari brain with bicycle brakes” – difficult for parent to keep ahead
 Planning school year

‘teachers pay teachers’ website –numerous resources

Certain bloggers to follow

Internet has info at your fingertips –but  it is time consuming – develop a plan -it will take time

Videos purchased

HSLDA Special Needs General Information

(as a member of HSLDA, with their permission, I include information from the member only page more info and many links are also available)

Exceptionalities areas:

Intellectual, Communicative, Sensory; Behavioural, Physical, Multiple


1) speak to your family physician

2) hearing or vision test can easily rule out some of the most basic learning blocks

3) refer you to other specialists – a referral for some services will be covered by OHIP

4) ongoing learning difficulties that don’t have an obvious physical root

May want to see other educational professionals

May see you without a referral, and may cost due to not covered, but are invaluable.

Benefits of individualized educational program at Home VS Public system

1) pace, level, and style that they need

2) one-on-one teaching time, and repetition

3) Controlled Environment & Consistent Structure –routine and predictability of location/ teacher

4) emotional stability

5) right kind of socialization – avoiding distractions, unsympathetic peers

6) array of possibilities

Membership with HSLDA entitles member to 1 hour free consultation with special needs consultant. This is not an assessment.

End of HSLDA item.

STRATEGIES to go forward

Within OCHEC and within our chapters

  • Start out with leadership, then make information accessible to all members
  • Put knowledge in the hands of the parents
  • come together as a community
    • more and more pulling out due to failure of school system
  • support for highschool
  • educate pastors on home education
  • re-establish LENS Conference
  • Maintain SN stream at convention
  • Share with our young homeschool families on expectations
  • Sponsor mentor group to attend support group meetings to share
  •  OCHEC check with Ministry of Education/ministry of Health re use of letter of intent to request services
  • OCHEC check in with access to therapies with CACC/LIHN
  • OCHEC website resource page – include article, audios from conventions,links to resources
Short articles for website

                Heart to heart from a leader = from one leader to another – what I have learned

                Heart –to-heart with a homeschool mom – a glimpse into the life of autism – written by a hs mom

                TIP pages on “How can you help” ie. a mom of a child with Tourette’s syndrome/autism/ teenagers

                Provide contact info to chapter leaders/area reps of mothers willing to share with others


NOTE : Once a reference is shared:

It might become no longer available due to excessive workload or perhaps health, maternity etc

 Hence families may be loathe to share their contacts !

Service level may change hence need quick method to notify others               

Homeschooling students that learn differently can be very daunting for families. They are often questioned and challenged. These families need a lot of encouragement to find good resources to support their child. It is very important for them to seek outside help because it can be overwhelming and because homeschooling a child with learning challenges can lead to investigation. Membership in HSLDA is recommended. And lastly, early intervention is so critical to get the child on the path to success!  (Consultant)

Potential service providers

(list is very limited, does not infer OCHEC endorsement, OCHEC appreciates your contribution to this list – please email to )

Dr. Russell Barcley (youtube)

Carole Barnier –

Trix Bradley – NILD –Edison Learning Centre (Waterloo)

Suzanne Day –(Barrie) –

Diane Geerlinks ––assessments, therapies, parent courses to learn therapies

Dr. Ed Hallowell – (youtube) talks about the amazing talents in autism

Dr. Victor A Kuraitis O.D. vision therapy 905-935-1440 St. Catherine’s

Ben Loveday – (London) psychiatrist 226-374-6545

Dr. Coralee Mueller – (Oshawa) Vision therapy

Matthew Turton (Kitchener)– Breakthroughs in Learning –

Barbara Arrowsmith Young (Toronto, Peterborough) – Arrowsmith School –

Karen Uschold –(Hamilton) Vianney Academy of Learning, Inc. – mom with


Every disability has a facebook page and a website – a good place to start your search

CRA- RDSP  – – savings plan that is intended to help parents and others save for the long term financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit, contributions are not tax-deductible, withdrawals not treated as income. Government contributions to the plan (grants at the rate of $1 – $3 for every $ contributed by others & unmatched bonds) are taxed as income when withdrawn.

CRA – Disability Tax Credit to reduce caregiver’s taxable income– need physician signed form

HSLDA – members only site – has many links for many diagnosis in members only

Learning Disabilities of Ontario – webinars, workshops, self-advocacy, etc.           

LHIN – Local Health Initiatives Network (previously CACC) – every town – this is the Ministry of Health

Closing the Gap program, very important for serious challenges for therapy acquisition

McMaster Medical Centre – (Hamilton) autistic program run through them, get your paper work in order first

NILD – therapist, parent training

Youtube videos on ‘how to’ for many therapies – be discerning but these can be helpful