John P. Hendry is not a “technical expert” when it comes to children with special needs. His expertise has been developed over many years of hands-on experience. For more than twenty years he has been an elected school trustee on one of Canada’s largest public school boards. Throughout his entire twenty-one years as a trustee he has been a strong, outspoken advocate for all children with challenges serving on the board of the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). His commitment to special education and advocacy role was recognized in Canada by the Province of Ontario with a Cabinet Appointment to the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Special Education, a position he held for the maximum six-year term. The Advisory Committee consults the Minister on all matters related to the delivery of programs and services to children with special needs throughout the Province of Ontario. Its membership was all-inclusive and included teachers, principals of both elementary and secondary schools, directors of education (superintendents), members of virtually every special needs association, doctors, aboriginal representatives, trustees, Ministry of Education representatives, and various paraprofessionals.
As a writer, he has a broad spectrum of experience. His accomplishments include a published article in Hockey Magazine, a US based publication, The Hockey News, Hockey Journal, and a two-year term on the community editorial board of a daily newspaper in Kitchener, Ontario.
As a member of the Editorial Board he contributed regular columns and editorials. He has also written a paper comparing trends in the United States and Canadian educational systems, presented at Cal State University in Pasadena, California.
His passion for becoming an advocate for children with challenges was due in part to his youngest son being born premature with cerebral palsy.
Writing a practical, non-technical book for parents of children with disabilities has been a goal of his for many years. Who else but a parent of a child with challenges is in a better position to offer guidance and help to other parents facing the same future? As a professional speaker, he is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers and the International Federation for Public Speaking. He has addressed groups in Japan, the United States, and Canada. He continues to advocate on behalf of parents of children with disabilities and special education programs and services and most recently was a featured presenter at the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities.