Adelle Purdham

Adelle Purdham

Adelle Purdham is a writer, teacher, advocate and mom to three spectacular little girls - one of whom has Down syndrome.Her first book, Here We Are, Happy, is a memoir about a mother’s passage to acceptance and advocacy, with the greatest journey, by far, being the one from her head to her heart.  Ultimately, her s...

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 Alana  Gersky

Alana Gersky

Alana Gersky is from Edmonton, Alberta and has been a VATTA member since 2014.  Alana loves to spend her time dancing, playing sports and attends the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts where she gets to express herself through drawing, painting and sculpting clay.  Alana lives independently and is involved in the c...

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 Barbara  Laird

Barbara Laird

Beyond the BoxBasics

Barbara La is a “retired” teacher, who has a 41 year old son Matthew, and a 34 year old daughter, Melanie. Mel has Down Syndrome. Barbara has been supporting children, parents and professionals through personal and group consulting with parents and professionals. She is involved in advocacy and support to individua...

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 Charlotte Gray

Charlotte Gray

Down Syndrome-Autism Connection

Charlotte Gray lives in the Boston area with her husband Bill and their 15 year-old son Jacob, who was diagnosed with DS-ASD at age 5.  She is a co-founder of Morning Travelers, a playgroup for families who have a child with Down syndrome.  When her son was diagnosed with autism in 2008, she founded Morning Travele...

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 Cynthia Lockrey

Cynthia Lockrey

Lockrey Communications

Cynthia Lockrey is a writer, communications professional, corporate trainer and patient advocate. Cynthia combines her public relations experience with her passion for advocating for kids with special needs, as a presenter, volunteer and parent. She is the author of two advocacy books – Your Child’s Voice - A Careg...

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 Dave Fischl

Dave Fischl

O'Fischl Inclusion Consulting LTD

Although David Fischl is known to many as an award winning manager from Saskatchewan, he is gaining fame as a presenter on the difficult subject of integrating persons with cognitive disabilities into unionized workplaces. For over three decades, Dave worked with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructur...

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Dr. Dennis McGuire

Dr. Dennis McGuire

Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Dr. McGuire is the co-founder and former Director of Psychosocial Service for the Adult Down Syndrome Center in Chicago, a multidisciplinary clinic serving the health and psychosocial needs of over 5000 teens and adults with Down syndrome since its inception in January of 1992. He is currently involved in several impor...

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 Elaine Willcock

Elaine Willcock

VATTA

Elaine Willcock is a mother of two children with Down Syndrome.  I was thrown into volunteering for school councils, our local Down Syndrome in Ottawa, the provincial Down Syndrome Association, the Special Needs hockey team and Special Olympics..  I have learned tons.  I started the local VATTA to develop the skills...

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Dr. Elizabeth Head

Dr. Elizabeth Head

University of California

Dr. Head received a Masters in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Toronto, Canada. She received postdoctoral training at the Institute for Brain Aging & Dementia at the University of California – Irvine. Dr. Head moved to the University of Kentucky in January of 2009 where she was a Pro...

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 Greame Verhulst

Greame Verhulst

Waymark Architecture

Graeme Verhulst, Architect AIBC, MRAIC, CPHD. Graeme has always strived to a seek a deeper understanding of the interconnections that are operating all around us, and done his utmost to let those interconnections inform design. He recognizes that, laws, social conventions, governments - and especially physical infrastr...

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 Jeanne Doherty

Jeanne Doherty

Down Syndrome-Autism Connection

Jeanne Doherty lives in the Boston area with her husband and three daughters, including Jessica who was diagnosed with DS-ASD at age 7.  Jeanne has supported families with loved ones with DS-ASD for over 10 years.  She is currently the Family Support Specialist for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress.  She a...

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 Jeff Hamel

Jeff Hamel

Jeff and Sandra Hamel and their three daughters live in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Esme, their youngest daughter, has Down syndrome and has just started kindergarten this year. Jeff has worked in the financial industry for over 20 years, and holds the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Financial Planner (...

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 Jeremy  Abramson

Jeremy Abramson

VATTA

Jeremy Abramson has been with the VATTA team since 2015 and has been living on his own for almost four years. He spends his time taking care of himself through body building and playing hockey.  Jeremy has been playing hockey since 1994 and his favorite childhood memory is when his father taught him how to skate in ...

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 Jessie Huggett

Jessie Huggett

VATTA

Jessie Huggett is the Chair of the Employment Committee and has been involved with VATTA since 2013. She lives with her parents in Ottawa and is very involved in the community.  She prides herself in having her voice heard and advocating for people with Down syndrome.  Jessie has received “Difference Maker Awar...

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 Julia  Romualdi

Julia Romualdi

VATTA

Julia Romualdi has been with the VATTA team for two years and lives with her family in Timmins, Ontario. Julia is an athlete with the Special Olympics and competes in figure skating, soccer and track and field.  She is also an athlete representative on the Ontario Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Council.  Jul...

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 Kishore Vellody

Kishore Vellody

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Dr. Vellody completed his medical degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and his pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and has been on the faculty there since 2005. In Ma...

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PsyD Lina Patel

PsyD Lina Patel

Sie Center for Down Syndrome Children’s Hospital Colorado

Lina Patel, PsyD is an Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, practicing at Children’s Hospital Colorado.  Dr. Patel is the Director of Psychology for the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome, a multidisciplinary consultative clinic coordin...

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 Lisa Chileen

Lisa Chileen

The Mindful Mouthful – Clements Centre Society

 Lori Pollett

Lori Pollett

Lori Pollett is an educational consultant with over 30 years in the field of special education with a Master’s degree in both Special Education and Administration. Her experiences include teaching at the elementary and secondary settings and as a special education administrator with an emphasis in adult transition se...

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 Lucinde Metcalfe

Lucinde Metcalfe

Glenora Farm

MSW Mary Harber

MSW Mary Harber

CAMOSUN College

 Mary has been a social worker and educator for the past 30 years supporting individuals families and communities in the areas of substance use and prevention, trauma support, and creative intervention methods in practice.  She has worked in the field of disabilities with a focus on healthy sexuality, social compete...

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 Matthew MacNeil

Matthew MacNeil

VATTA

Matthew MacNeil is the VATTA Chair and has been a member since 2011.  He is from Tillsonburg, Ontario where he plays hockey and is the captain of his Special Olympics team. Matthew always tries his best to be a good leader whether it’s volunteering at camp, giving back to the community or helping others live their...

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 Nadia Hamilton

Nadia Hamilton

Magnusmode

Nadia Hamilton is a passionate entrepreneur who was inspired by her brother (who has autism) to build a company that helps people with cognitive special needs. Magnusmode creates products and services that  connect,  engage, and  enable  people with  autism,  Down syndrome and other cognitive special need...

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 Natalie Olson

Natalie Olson

VATTA

Natalie Olson is from Calgary, Alberta and joined her fellow VATTA members advocating for Down syndrome in 2016 and is also the VATTA Vice Chair.  She works twice a week at a medical company and practices karate four times per week. In 2019, she returned from Panama with a bronze medal in karate and has travelled th...

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 Nicholas Popowich

Nicholas Popowich

VATTA

Nicholas Popowich is from Regina, Saskatchewan and has been a VATTA member since 2011. He recently graduated from the University of Regina in the Campus for All Program and works at SaskTel, now in his ninth year with the corporation.  Nicholas is also a member of Best Buddies Canada where he helps to create friends...

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 Nicole  Neil

Nicole Neil

Western University

Nicole Neil, PhD, BCBA-D, is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at Western University. She is coordinator of the MPEd in Applied Behaviour Analysis and is cross-appointed in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Neil has been working with individuals with developmental disabilities including Down syndrome f...

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 Riley Rosebush

Riley Rosebush

Down Syndrome Research Foundation

Riley Rosebush, M.Sc. R.SLP has worked as a speech-language pathologist at DSRF since 2012 providing speech and feeding therapy to people of all ages. Riley loves working with clients and their families to provide individualized support for communicationand oral motor development. She has additional training in PROMPT ...

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 Sandra Hamel

Sandra Hamel

Jeff and Sandra Hamel and their three daughters live in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Esme, their youngest daughter, has Down syndrome and has just started kindergarten this year. Jeff has worked in the financial industry for over 20 years, and holds the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Financial Planner (...

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 Sarah Russell

Sarah Russell

Special Olympics

Originally from Victoria, now situated in Vancouver, Sarah has always had a passion for sport and living a healthy lifestyle turning it into a career. While earning her Bachelor Degree in Sport and Fitness Leadership Sarah worked as an Adapted Physical Literacy Specialist providing sport and fundamental movement sk...

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 Scott Howe

Scott Howe

Howe International Consulting Group (HICG)

Scott Howe is a Founder and Managing Partner of the Howe International Consulting Group (HICG), which specialises in the advancement of social outcomes through sport. The HICG has been contracted by Special Olympics to conduct cultural outreach to marginalised communities, and to develop and lead the Champions for Incl...

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 Shelley Moore

Shelley Moore

UBC

Originally from Edmonton, and now based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Shelley Moore is a highly sought after inclusive education researcher, collaborator, consultant and storyteller and has worked with school districts and community organizations throughout both Canada and the United States. Her research has been fea...

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 Tamara Taggart

Tamara Taggart

Tamara Taggart is a veteran broadcaster, advocate, and mother. Her broadcasting career spans 28 years in both radio and television. She has focused more than 20 years of volunteer effort on health care, the well-being of children, and people with disabilities. Tamara is a strong community leader who advocates for oth...

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