Continuing education

Since graduating from Heydon Park in 2008, Maddie has found lots of opportunities to continue her education. Since 2017, she has been working one-on-one with a volunteer tutor in the Toronto Public Library’s Adult Literacy Program.  Several branches across the city offer free, one-on-one tutoring in basic reading, writing and math for English-speaking adults 16 years or older. Once a week she meets with Eileen, who helps her improve numeracy skills, using grocery store flyers and word problems related to Maddie’s interests. They also work on writing.  Maddie has now developed a hobby of writing essays on her smartphone, so many that we printed her first collection in 2018–also thanks to the Toronto Public Library’s Asquith Press.

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Changes in the house

There have been many changes in Maddie’s house. The biggest one was that Karen moved out! It was always her dream to live independently, without the support of a live-in mentor. After three + years of supported independent living, she is now settled into her own apartment.

Fortunately for us, Ben, a friend of Maddie’s, heard the news and reached out to say he’d like to move in. We had several meetings and visits and welcomed him at the beginning of February.


“Thanks, Papa!”

One unintended consequence of the changes in housemates was the loss of some key household items and furniture. The coffee maker and dining room table belonged to Karen–both highly valued items! Krystal and Morgan were quick to purchase a replacement for their morning caffeine fixes and Maddie’s grandfather kindly offered to buy her a dining room table. Following a hot tip from my Aunt Pat, we headed to the Singing Lady Consignment Emporium and found a lovely, solid maple table that seats eight! We installed it just in time for an all-family pot luck with the four housemates, their parents and our Monday mentor, Laura. I would have taken a group photo but we were having too much fun!

When Ben moved in, he chose what had been the TV room as his bedroom, leaving the large main floor bedroom free for communal activities. It is now a bustling hub for hanging out, watching TV, practicing yoga, displaying art projects and hosting guests. With space for a keyboard and a “stage” the residents recently hosted a variety show/party under the direction of MC Morgan. It is a lively house!


One u

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Another chance to try barista training!

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Maddie has a boyfriend. He’s very handsome and very gentlemanly. They go to movies, share popcorn and have been seen holding hands. But now that she lives on her own, people ask if I’m worried about sex.

Years ago, a speaker from Planned Parenthood challenged a parent group at Maddie’s school to think about how we’d support our children to explore intimate relationships. She pointed out that we, and our more able children, had plenty of chances to try things out in basements or in the backs of cars. But Maddie and her people are highly supervised and most don’t drive! No one had any suggestions about what we would or could do.

Fast forward to living independently—and the handsome gentleman. Like any young woman, Maddie has no interest in talking to her mother about kissing or more. She’s lucky that her mentors and roommates are more than willing to chat about such things.

In addition, she joined a great program run by Dream Weavers Collective. Let’s Talk about Sex and Relationships is a 12-week course, led by Mira and Amanda, two creative Occupational Therapists. In a supportive group setting, Maddie has explored all sorts of ideas about friendship, dating, love and sex. Perhaps it’s not quite the “opportunity” the Planned Parenthood speaker recommended, but I’m deeply grateful!



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Who’d like to have 15 First Dates?

…all on one night!heart

It’s hard for young adults with developmental delays to find romance! So, Maddie’s roommates, the awesome Karen and Morgan, have organized two speed dating events to help young people meet others, find new friends and maybe even find love!

  • Monday, October 23 6:30- 9:30 pm
  • Monday, October 30 (LGBTQ event) 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Whistler’s Grille 995 Broadview Ave. Toronto, ON
$10 Registration – Only 30 spots available! These fun activities are co-sponsored by Montage Support Services. Email to register


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Continuing education options

Maddie likes to learn but it’s hard to find suitable options for continuing education. After graduating from the College Vocational programs at George Brown College and Seneca College (now cancelled), Maddie worked on Essential Skills in a full-time, Toronto Board program. But once she started working, she needed a part-time class.

One of Maddie’s passions is Art History. It was reading Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series that sparked her interest in Greek sculpture and Renaissance painting in particular. Since I’m keen on art too, we attended several classes at the School of Continuing Studies with the delightful Mary Redekop. But after taking all the courses that feature Greek gods, we’ve exhausted our options. Modern art just didn’t cut it.

19059404_10158770742340244_1963848194175970495_nThrough Maddie’s employer, Common Ground Cooperative, she was connected to Frontier College, a national literacy organization. For three years, Maddie took part in the Independent Studies program for adults who have developmental disabilities. Each year, her volunteer tutor chose a theme and presented reading material and writing assignments to help Maddie develop her reading, writing and numeracy skills. Sadly, there is such a demand for the program that Maddie “graduated” in June, and was awarded the Gérard Tardiff award for outstanding achievement in the Independent Studies Program. At graduation, they provided a list of literacy programs.

She’s now having an assessment for the Toronto Public Library’s Adult Literacy Program.  Several branches across the city offer free, one-on-one tutoring in basic reading, writing and math for English-speaking adults 16 years or older. Fingers crossed they can find a time slot and volunteer!


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Barista training!

Here’s Alex! Don’t mess with him!

Looking for training opportunities for your son or daughter? Common Ground Cooperative, where Maddie works, is a Made by Mavericks barista training workshop. Created for persons with developmental disabilities, this five-day, 2 hours a day, program introduces small groups of students to the art of coffee preparation. At the end of the class, participants should be able to pull the perfect café style beverage. Participants must be 18 and over, able to stand for 2 hours and able to work in small groups.

Click here to apply! See a Maverick in action!

Not for you? See more options at My Community Hub, an online registration space for classes and programs offered by different developmental service agencies across Ontario.



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