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Brooke Coll

Brooke Coll

Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies

Degree: Educational Support - Diploma

Year of graduation: 2005

Fostering Confidence in Children with Special Needs

I came to Sheridan as a mature student, with a B.A. from Dalhousie University in Halifax and five years experience in the financial services industry. 

I was drawn to work with students with exceptionalities for two reasons: my very positive experience as a parent volunteer for many years in my children’s school and the fact that I was raising two boys diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, ADHD and Anxiety. 

The most challenging aspect of working with children with special needs is finding ways to teach skills so students will respond effectively. It is very rewarding when you see how much the children advance over the course of a year. While I have a responsibility to engage the curriculum with my students, I really see my job as fostering confidence and independence so these children have the best chance at a successful life. 

My time at Sheridan prepared me to undertake this exceptionally challenging responsibility as an Educational Assistant (EA), giving me both a technical understanding of the types of disabilities and the ability to work with children who have special needs. 

I have been gainfully employed since graduation. Hired by the Peel District School Board, I worked full time at three different schools before moving to a part time position at my choosing. For the past three years, I have been working one-on-one with a student at a small elementary school and continue to be passionate about my job. 

Thanks to the encouragement of Program Coordinator, Diane Galambos, I remain involved with Sheridan. For the past few years I have sat on Sheridan’s Family Panel for EA students, to bring the perspective of a parent who has children with special needs. I am also a member of the EA Program Advisory Committee. 

Diane has been an amazing role model and a great influence on me. Very well respected in the educational community, she taught her students from a perspective of personal experiences which were genuine and pertinent. I find, five years later, my Sheridan education has helped me do my job better every day. 

Sheridan was the right choice, at the right time, for the right reasons. I am proud to have received both the Capture The Essence Award, Invitational Educator Award upon graduation. I have never looked back and continue to enjoy my job and respect my contribution to the students with whom I have had the privilege to work.
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