Webinar: Education Series: Navigating Special Education

Are you a parent or caregiver seeking guidance on navigating the realm of special education within the school system? Autism Ontario invites you to join our panel discussion where experts will shed light on the crucial aspects of communication, relationship building, and your child’s education rights.

During this webinar, our panelists will provide you with valuable insights and practical tips to effectively navigate special education, especially if your child is just entering school or has recently been diagnosed. We aim to empower parents and caregivers who are new to this journey by equipping them with the knowledge and tools necessary to advocate for their child's educational needs.

Key Learning Outcomes:

  1. Discover how to access key information and resources relevant to your child's special education journey.
  2. Learn practical tips and tools to navigate the special education system, ensuring your child receives the support they need.
  3. Understand the significance of developing a strong relationship with your school team, fostering a collaborative approach to supporting your child's academic and personal growth.

Join us for this informative panel discussion to gain valuable insights to confidently navigate the special education landscape and build a strong foundation for your child's educational journey. Together, let's create a supportive educational environment for every child. 

This webinar is designed for parents and caregivers who are new to navigating special education. However, all individuals interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the topic are welcome to attend.



Nilijan Ray, Panelist

Nilanjan Ray is a banker by profession currently working with RBC Royal Bank. Prior to joining RBC, Ray worked in Malta, Dubai, Bahrain and India across Commercial Banking, Business Markets and Trade Finance. Ray holds an MBA and graduate degree in Economics.   Outside of work, Ray is an avid soccer fan and a movie buff. He loves to enjoy the outdoor and wildlife experiences with his family. He lives in Mississauga with wife and kids (including a 120lb German Shepherd).   He is passionate about supporting neurodiversity and volunteers his time with organizations supporting Autism related initiatives. After the family moved to Canada from Dubai, Ray successfully navigated the support ecosystem available for neuro-diverse kids in the school, diagnosis process, therapy support and funding to ensure his kids receive the support they need to put their best foot forward. He is passionate about sharing his experience with newcomer families as well as families with children who have a recent diagnosis to help them in their journey.

Lynn Ziraldo, Panelist


Lynn Ziraldo is a locally and internationally renowned advocate. Her advocacy journey began over 46 years ago, as a mother supporting her son with complex medical and learning needs. Through previous positions as the Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association York Region (LDAYR), President of the Ontario and Canadian Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and Director with the International Council for Exceptional Children, Lynn has represented learning disabilities on numerous committees/task forces and working groups throughout Ontario, Canada and the United States. Lynn has had a significant impact on Special Education in Ontario through roles including as the chair of the K to 12 Education Accessibility Standards Committee (2018-2022), and past chair and advisor of the Ministers Advisory Council for Special Education in Ontario (MACSE).

Currently an Advisor/Parliamentarian of the Ontario Council for Exceptional Children, Lynn continues to lead numerous workshops and training to educators, professional groups, community agencies and parents. She chairs the York Region District School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) and consults with school boards and organizations across Ontario to continually improve the education to meet the needs of all students.


Tanya Jewell, Panelist, Subject Matter Expert: Education, Autism Ontario

Tanya Jewell is an experienced advocate who is passionate about infusing lived experience with education and evidence-based knowledge.  Through her international, provincial and local work, Tanya has helped individuals and families navigate services, advocate for human rights and facilitate knowledge transfer in the fields of HIV/AIDS, acquired brain injury and autism. In addition to a B.A. Honours in Sociology, Tanya’s holds certificates in dispute resolution, trauma counselling for mental health professionals, acquired brain injury and neurorehabilitation, peer support core essentials, patient navigation and PEERS training. Neurodiverse herself, Tanya highly values the education she has received from individuals with lived experience, including her autistic sons. Tanya is part of Autism Ontario’s Subject Matter Expert team.

Disclaimer: Opinions reflected in this webinar are those of the speaker(s) and presenter(s), and do not necessarily reflect Autism Ontario’s views. Please note Autism Ontario does not endorse any specific therapy, product, treatment, strategy, opinions, service, or individual. We do, however, endorse your right to information. Autism Ontario strongly believes that it is important to do your own research and make your own informed decisions.