The P.A.L.S. Network was created in 2010 to fill a perceived gaps in supports for families of children with learning disabilities and related conditions in Hamilton, Ontario. It provided parents and professionals with the opportunity to come together to learn, educate and support one another as we navigate the complex issues related to our children's unique needs.
P.A.L.S. is supported by a small volunteer advisory group. This advisory panel is made up of passionate individuals with diverse backgrounds. They provided advice on workshops and future directions of the P.A.L.S. Network.
Tracy Sherriff is a mother of 3 whose family has been touched by disability in a variety of ways. No matter the diagnosis, no matter the cause, Tracy knows that when your child struggles that parents want to take charge and help their child find their way. After recognizing the limited supports in Hamilton, Ontario for families of children and youth diagnosed with learning disabilities and related conditions, she founded the P.A.L.S. Network in 2010.
In addition to her personal self, Tracy's professional self has seen her career path revolve significantly around supporting students both with and without special needs across the lifespan. She currently works in the field of early childhood education for an agency that provides services for young children with special needs. Tracy also represents the P.A.L.S. Network as a member at large on the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board's Special Education Advisory Committee. These roles help Tracy stay connected to the issues related to the delivery of special education programs from infancy through adulthood.
Casey Foote has a passion for helping others with a special interest in people with learning disabilities. Casey was diagnosed with a learning disability and ADHD at the age of 12. Casey believes and views her learning disability and that of those around her as that she just learns differently. School was a struggle for her because of her LD, but she found success when she started using assistive technology.
Casey is a graduate in the Social Service Worker program and completed a year of NESA computer studies. Casey completed student placements at Mohawk College's Disability Support Office and and the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic School Board in the assistive technology sector. Casey wants to advocate and give a voice to others with learning disabilities. She is currently employed by Learnstyle as an Assistive Technology Consultant.She is very passionate about the work she does and the students she works with are number one in her books. Casey has been involved with P.A.L.S. since 2010.
Sherri Crechiola is a mother of two school age daughters who commits herself to enriching the educational experiences of all children. She is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and a trained Educational Assistant. She has also completed the Resource Consultant Certificate Program. Her training, combined with her personal and professional experiences makes her a perfect fit to help lead the P.A.L.S. network.
Sherri is innovative and full of passion and spirit. She is the owner of Kinderseeds Education and Care and the owner of On Your Mark Get Set Grow, a tutoring service for school aged children. She employs a variety of skilled individuals to meet the needs of a diverse group of young people. Sherri is also recognized as the founder of National Puddle Day in honour of a student tragically killed in a car accident on his way home from her preschool. Many organizations and individuals support Sherri in her effort to raise funds for grieving families in Ontario.
Georgia Tomlinson is a mother of two children with unique learning differences. She is currently working as a Child Development Practitioner apprentice at Austin Academy and offers assistance to other early learning and care programs. She also owns her own photography business called Vintage Photography.
Georgia has actively pursued education. She has studied art and science, and recreation and leisure at Mohawk College. She has received a certificate in aesthetics and her food handling certificate. She is also a trained fitness instructor. Georgia has worked as a Support Facilitator with children with special needs and particularly likes the one on one communication with the children she has worked with in that role. Georgia has also actively participated on the parent council of her children's school for over 3 years.
Georgia believes that parents and caregivers need to be flexible, patient and supportive because every day is new and unpredictable. She is committed to making a difference in the lives of children, and wants to ensure every child feels special! Georgia's desire to support and educate parents has led her to the P.A.L.S. Network. Her goal is to empower parents and help them build confidence. She wants to empower them to influence the lives of their children in the most positive ways. She recognizes from her own personal experiences the challenges of raising children with special needs, and she wants to support parents who may need some direction or guidance on matters of their child's education. Georgia is proud to be a P.A.L.S. Advisory Committee member and describes the P.A.L.S. network as a valuable resource that is fully accessible to anyone who wants to learn more.