Supervisor – Jan Keddy
Jan Keddy is a retired teacher who has taught most grade levels over the course of her career. Jan’s career has spanned the beginning of inclusion in the early 1980s to today’s neurodiversity movement.
Jan believes that inclusion can have a positive impact for children with exceptional learning needs. Indeed, inclusion can have a positive impact for all children as they experience differences and diversity at a young age.
Jan has undergraduate degrees in Physical Education, Arts and Education. She then completed her first Interdisciplinary Masters of Arts, and then completed a diploma in Adult Education. Lastly, she got her MEd in Diverse Learners.
For the past fourteen years in her role as Autism Specialist at the Halifax Regional School Board, Jan has worked with over 600 hundred families of individuals with Autism/ASD to transition their son or daughter into the public school system. A crucial part of the job was training, modeling and coaching teachers and support staff so they would know how to successfully teach students with ASD.
During her intake meetings with families, and as part of her service evaluation every year, Jan identified key gaps in the current service delivery model in Halifax. As the numbers of children being diagnosed with ASD increased, Jan noted a widening gap in the ability of our education and school system to meet the educational needs of our students with ASD.
For Jan, it became an ethical dilemma: as a system we were failing a whole generation of children and youth with ASD. Action was needed.
Therefore, with a group of committed professionals and families, in her retirement Jan has started an After School program for individuals with ASD and others who need extra support. This After School program, called Playing and Learning Together, enables individuals with ASD to be active physically while learning fundamental movement skills. PLT enables kids to learn play and socialization skills and be part of groups and to develop friendships; PLT enables them to have fun within their community recreation settings.
The After School program is the first step of our action plan to form partnerships and train community partners to ensure that all individuals with ASD, including autistic adults, can become active members in their communities.