The Reading Clinic was founded in 2002 by Jan MacLean, an occupational therapist and the mother of children with reading and math learning disabilities. Her journey to find the best treatment for her own children prompted an extensive review of the available research. What she learned is that the most common form of reading disabilities are neurologically based, and believed to be responsive to specialized, intensive treatment. Unfortunately, this approach was not available in Ontario, so Jan and her children travelled to intensive intervention clinics in the US & Canada, where her children received intensive daily instruction for eight weeks. Having experienced tremendous success, Jan’s children returned to their regular classrooms in Kingston with the reading and writing skills they needed to continue their education.
Her children’s success convinced Jan that this type of service needed to be available in Eastern Ontario, and she became committed to learning the necessary skills to become a specialized reading therapist. After investigating a variety of programs, Jan teamed up with Jennifer Harrison and together they trained in a number of Multi-Sensory Structured Language programs, including the Orton-Gillingham approach. Together, they blended the best practices and principles of the various programs to create a the Yes! Reading Program. The Yes! Reading Program is structured and sequenced, but also flexible enough to meet the individual needs of each student. It is also a program that continually evolves as the science of how we read continues to educate us as to the best methods of intervention for struggling students.
Jan and Jennifer then set out to meet the requirements of an Orton-Gillingham approach, as recommended by the International Dyslexia Association. In 2007, both Jan and Jennifer completed their Orton-Gillingham training at the Associate Level. In 2008, Jan completed further extensive training to become a Certified member of the Orton-Gillingham Academy of Practitioners and Educators.
The Reading Clinic is Eastern Ontario’s only intensive reading clinic for students with reading difficulties and dyslexia. Our goal is to teach struggling readers to decode text and attain fluency skills at a grade appropriate level. Providing instruction at a young age is the key to preventing these children from falling further and further behind.
Since 2012, the Clinic has expanded to offer specialized one-to-one programming in Written Expression, and in Mathematics. We are again seeing strong results in response to evidence-based, intensive remediation by qualified instructors in these core subjects. For more information on these programs, click on the ‘Written Expression’ & ‘Math’ tabs.
Jennifer Harrison (B.A.Hon, Orton-Gillingham Associate, Dyslexia Practitioner)
Jennifer Harrison received her BA (Hons)in Art History and English at Queen’s University. She has been the co-founder and Assistant Director at The Reading Clinic since its inception in 2002. As a reading therapist, Jennifer has spent well over six thousand hours working one-on-one with clients ranging in age from 5 to 18. She instructs both parent and professional courses at the Clinic. Jennifer’s artistic talent and creativity have resulted in many reading games and decodable materials that are used to reinforce lessons and provide fun for our students. She has also written and illustrated numerous phonetically-controlled stories to add to our ever-growing library. Jennifer is an Associate member of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practioners and Educators (AOGPE), and a member of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA).
Heather Chitty (B.A.Hon, B.Ed), Orton-Gillingham Associate
Heather has worked for over 20 years in the education field. After completing an Honours degree at Queen’s University, she completed a Bachelor of Education degree at Concordia University, Montreal. Heather has taught primary-level students through to university-level students both internationally and in Canada. Her areas of expertise consist of teaching reading, writing and communication skills.
In 2006, Heather re-directed her career to work specifically with children with learning differences. She completed further studies and intensive training in the Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching reading. She has worked for the B.C. Muslim School as a resource room teacher, as well as the Learning Disabilities Association B.C., and REACH Learning Centre, Vancouver B.C.. Since 2008 she has enjoyed being part of the team at The Reading Clinic.
Heather is the coordinator of the Writing Program, and teaches both reading and writing.
Heather brings experience, dedication, creativity, compassion and a sense of fun to her work with students at the Clinic.
Jade Gunn (BA, Orton-Gillingham Associate)
Jade instructs the Math program at the Reading Clinic. Her intervention strategies draw from well-researched best teaching practises, her knowledge and experience with Singapore Math, Orton Gillingham Math, Math.U.See, and her certification in Dyscalculia Studies with The College of Teachers, UK. She received her BA(Hons) from the University of Manitoba, is an Associate member of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practioners and Educators (AOGPE) and a Certified Practioner of Triple P-Positive Parenting Program, an evidence-based parenting program used in 17 countries including Canada.
Jade has 18 years of extensive experience as an educational therapist and parent trainer working in hospitals, childcare agencies, schools, and various social agencies. Recognition for her work includes invitations to present at the Vancouver OG Conference, workshops and nomination for the Triple P Practioner Award in 2006.
Jade’s initiatives in intervention programs have focused on helping children and youth with a wide range of learning needs including dyslexia, autism, developmental delays, ADHD and other behavioural issues. She is a strong advocate for her students and believes in close working partnerships with parents, schools, and other professionals in order to achieve the best outcomes for learning success.
Jan McLean (BSc. OT, M.Sc., Orton-Gillingham Certified)
Jan worked for thirty years as an occupational therapist, treating adults with a wide variety of physical disabilities. In 1994 she received her M.Sc. in Rehabilitation from Queen’s University. She has worked internationally in Germany, Kosovo and Russia, as well as in Kingston, where she has also taught courses at the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy.
Jan’s background as an occupational therapist enables her to appreciate the neurological basis of reading disabilities and the importance of evidence-based practice. Jan’s experience as a mother of children with dyslexia has made her sensitive to the concerns and frustrations of parents who have children with reading problems. She offers a series of free public lectures for parents about the warning signs of reading disabilities, as early identification is so important. She is also a regular speaker at the Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston and a member of the International Dyslexia Association.
Jan is a past board member for the Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association www.idaontario.com , and served on the advisory board. She is also one of only a handful of Orton-Gillingham practitioners to have attained the Certified level in Ontario.