About Us


Dr. Norm Forman with the former Ontario Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne, (currently Ontario Premier), at a Conference organized by Dr. Forman. Ms. Wynne spoke of the importance of parent advocacy in schools.

Defining Advocacy

"Advocacy is intervention when needed services are not accessible; are not available; are not appropriate; or when the voice of a child is not being heard."

(Herbert&Mould)

 

An Example of Who We Are

 

 Dr. Norm Forman

Sunnybrook PO

Box 50238

660 Eglington Ave East

Toronto ON 

M4G 2KO

 

 

Dear Dr. Forman:

 

I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for important leadership in the fight to gain Special Education supports for French immersion and alternative schools and the historic victory that followed.

 

As one of the founders of the Grove Community School, a public elementary alternative school in Toronto, I was shocked to learn that alternative schools were ineligible for Special Education supports under an archaic TDSB policy.

 

This affected a significant portion of our students whose parents choose to send their Special Needs children to alternative schools for a variety of reasons, as is their right. The TDSB's long-time policy was both discriminatory and grossly unfair.

 

When we and another Toronto alternative school approached you because of your long-standing reputation as an advocate for Special Needs supports, we assumed you could at least point us in the right direction. Little did we know that you would immediately marshal your contacts in the media and the TDSB and quickly get us meetings with the key players needed to overturn the 25-year policy while obtaining valuable media coverage for our cause.

 

And, although we believed we were in for a battle lasting years, it only took us a few months to be summoned to the TDSB to be told the Board had agreed to our demands, reversing their policy and allowing supports for Special Needs children in our school for the first time. 

 

The parents and children of Toronto owe you and your organization a huge debt for your vision and commitment to this important cause.

 

Thanks again. Keep fighting the good fight.

 

Sincerely,

Max Wallace

Max Wallace

 

The Background of Parent's Advocacy  in the School

Parent's Advocacy in the School has been assisting parents, children and families with concerns regarding special needs for many years. Parent’s Advocacy in the School (PAS) is made up of people who have a wide range of experience in the areas of schooling, advocacy, education and related endeavors. The founder of PAS, Dr. Forman, is an educator, psychologist, author and parent advocate. He has been involved in his field for over thirty years.

The goals of PAS include actively networking with parents and others who are involved in the education of children and youth with exceptionalities and creating opportunities for parents, school personnel, and members of special needs associations to share information and resources in order to work in greater harmony on behalf of the children.
 

PAS informs parents who have issues with schools about how they can use community groups and organizations such as SEACs (Special Education Advisory Committees), the CAS (Children’s Aid Society) and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre to help them in direct and meaningful ways, on behalf of their children with special needs, so as to increase their sense of empowerment and reduce their feelings of isolation and frustration. The establishment of the Special Education Testing and Advisory Centre, which is meant to deal with longstanding problems associated with psycho-educational testing and reports, is a good example of the efforts of PAS to meet the needs of parents with children who have exceptionalities.

PAS fully supports collaborative approaches, (as explored in a Trillium Grant) and also promoted by the Ontario Ministry of Education documents, between parents and the schools, using conflict resolution and mediation. PAS was very proud to have former Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne, speak at a conference organized by Dr. Forman, lending her support to the importance of the role of parent advocacy

The Trillium grant program presentation: The Special Education Advocacy Institute, with which Dr. Forman was associated, provided convincing proof that working together in good faith, with true caring, openness, accountability and transparency can result in extraordinary outcomes on behalf of children with exceptionalities in the schools. 

Dr. Forman is a Registered Psychologist and has taught in schools at the primary, secondary and university levels. He has also worked as a school psychologist, a director of student services, a consultant to Bloorview Children's Hospital, and as an advisor to Children's Services in the Ministry of Health. For almost twenty years he has been deeply involved in supporting, promoting and furthering the cause of parents advocating for their children with special needs. A few years ago he was invited to create an Advocacy  Training  Program curriculum to be offered on the website of the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario and  more recently he developed a special curriculum for the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada as their E-Advocacy Project Consultant. Similar Programs are being explored with other groups.

He has conducted numerous presentations and workshops for organizations, agencies and groups on various aspects of effective advocacy practices. Dr. Forman consults regularly with parents and other stakeholders and attends a wide variety of meetings with parents in public and private schools including IPRCs and IEPs. He is available throughout the GTA and in surrounding communities and works primarily with kdg. to grade 12 and, at times, beyond. Dr. Forman is considered to be one of the leading parent advocates and trainers in Canada.

As a former member, and former Chair, of the Special Education Advisory Committee of the Toronto District School Board, Dr. Forman is able to share important information with parents and others involved in assisting students with exceptionalities. He has served as the Chairperson for a committee designed to increase awareness of the work and relevance of SEAC so that parents and families can benefit. It was in SEAC that Dr. Forman met Bruce Davis, former chair of the TDSB trustees, and later was invited to write an endorsement for his book on choosing a secondary school in Toronto.

Who We are
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