John Hendry

John brings both wisdom and life experience to his presentations, from a parent’s perspective, around inclusion, accessibility and raising a child with special needs. He passionately covers the importance of acceptance, inclusion and facing challenges. A fierce, outspoken advocate for building a world that includes everyone.

His presentations engage the audience using real-life stories of the lives of real people with physical and intellectual disabilities. His message is one of hope and always relevant to his audiences.

He has a tremendous passion for Special Education programs and services built on his thirty years as an elected public school board Trustee. Passion that earned him two Cabinet Appointments by the Province of Ontario to Committees in the areas of Special Education and writing standards for the Accessibility Standards Act.

As stated by Charmaine Crockett, the organizer of the Pacific Rim International Conference on Diversity and Disabilities “This is a man who has a fierce passion for justice, a man who elucidates both the problems and solutions of issues that create barriers for human beings, a man whose rich tapestry of personal and professional experience humbles us all on what is possible to right the wrongs in the world.”

John sprinkles each presentation with humor and the kind of empathy that only comes from someone who has been there. 

· Member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers
· Author: Held Back by Nothing Hugo House Publishing
· Award-Winning Thirty years elected Public School Board Trustee including twenty-eight years on the Special Education Advisory Committee. (Awarded the most prestigious award available to an elected public school board Trustee in the Province of Ontario)
· Two years Chair of the Board
· Featured speaker at the Pacific Rim International Conference of Diversity and Disabilities.
· Speaking engagements across Canada, U.S.A. and Japan
· Province of Ontario Cabinet Appointment–Minister’s Advisory Council on Special Education
· Province of Ontario Cabinet Appointment Accessibility Standards Council of Ontario
· Published articles in national disability magazines
· Host parent of twenty-eight International Exchange Students
· Graduate Wilfrid Laurier University (Bachelor of Arts)
· University of Washington – Communications
· Served in the Canadian Navy

Removing Barriers to Inclusion – A Paradigm Shift is Needed to Change Attitudes and Reality?

This Keynote is meant to stimulate discussion and debate regarding the myth of inclusion and accessibility, and the paradigm shift needed to make it a reality. Governments and organizations have done a great job developing and promoting policies that create an inclusive and accessible environment. On paper, and in the news it looks and sounds great…but has it actually transformed into reality or is it a myth?

Here’s What The Audience Will Take Away From this Keynote:
* Attendees will receive tips on how to interact with persons with disabilities, what to say, what not to say and how to avoid embarrassing situations.
* Why setting policies on inclusion and accessibility alone will not work without action and consequences.
* Why changing the attitudes, and subliminal biases, of individuals who are different is critical as the foundation of inclusion and accessibility.
* Why simply “accommodating” those with special needs is actually counter-productive and at times hurtful.
* How to see those who are different in a more positive way.
* How embracing inclusion and accessibility can actually improve the bottom line for businesses.

Held Back by Nothing (For parents of children with special needs, and associations)
Spoken from the heart, Held Back by Nothingis a “can’t miss for every parent of a child with special needs”.

What is the question on the mind of virtually every parent of a child with special needs? “Will my child be okay when they grow up”?

Unless you have been there, you can’t possibly understand the worry, and often the heartache of raising a child with special needs. John has been there, and now he is sharing his son’s amazing story of courage and determination. Filled with real life experiences and helpful suggestions, this inspirational presentation leaves the audience believing their child can stretch beyond the limitations placed on them by others. At the conclusion of this Keynote, they too will believe their child too can be Held Back by Nothing!

Here’s What Your Audience Will Take Away From This Keynote:
* A strong belief their child can be okay.
* Suggestions, how parents can inspire and motivate their child to stretch beyond limits placed on them by themselves and others, based on first-hand experience. 
* Helpful suggestions to resolve school issues (and you will have them).
* How to deal with friends and family members who innocently offer unnecessary attention or gifts.
* Helpful suggestions to help your child to become more independent.
* The critical importance of developing a team approach for your child’s journey to adulthood.

Never Say NEVER -NO MATTER WHAT! (For teachers, paraprofessionals and faculties of education)
Every child can succeed!

Teaching students with special needs can give teachers an unbelievable high, knowing that they made a difference, or it can cause them the greatest angst! 

How can a teacher insure a positive outcome with special needs students?

It is possible by avoiding these common mistakes:
1) Attitude. Stereotyping children with special needs as not having the ability, or understanding to be successful, or worse -assuming they are not as capable as their classmates.
2) Being overly focused on the student’s challenges rather than motivating them to stretch beyond what is expected of them. 
3) Falling into the trap of making assumptions by setting limitations on their activity, ability or potential.

Here’s What Your Audience Will Take Away From This Keynote:
* The disconnect between what teachers and other professionals interpret as the meaning of “Inclusion”, and what it means to parents.
* Helpful tips to avoid disappointment and anger from parents when planning outings and events.
* The critical importance of the “team approach” when considering placement and accommodations.
* The importance of being prepared to welcome a child with special needs into the classroom.
* What is missing from the curriculum at faculties of education.
* The importance of encouraging students to stretch beyond their limitations to be the best they can be.

For more information on John’s virtual and in-person keynotes and workshops, please contact