Meet the Disability Awareness Consultants Team

Lauri Sue Robertson

Lauri Sue Robertson, who holds degrees in Social Work, Criminology and Human Resources, is a former prison guard, social worker and human resources manager.Head shot of Lauri Sue Robertson

After becoming disabled by arthritis, Lauri Sue joined Handidactis in 1995 as the Vice President of Operations. After that organization closed its training
division in 2006, she became the owner and President of Disability Awareness Consultants.

Lauri is an expert resource on the accommodations needed by those who live with hearing, visual, physical, intellectual, psychiatric and learning disabilities.

Lauri’s clients include government agencies, banks, hospitals, major corporations and private industry. She has developed and delivered extensive training programs in the banking, tourism entertainment, and transportation sectors, and provided site audits in retail, hospitality, manufacturing, hospitals,
tourism, recreation and office environments.

Lauri writes articles for newspapers and magazines, and speaks frequently to public and private organizations, on the issues of sensitivity and accommodations for people with disabilities.

She is a former President of the Diversity and Employment Equity Professionals Association. She is also on the Board of Directors of The Harmony Movement in Canada, and The Friends of Simon Weisenthal, both organizations dedicated to eradicating racism and bigotry from Canadian society.

Lauri is a former Executive Director of Transportation Action Now, an advocacy group for accessible transportation in Ontario, and is a former member of
the Disability Liaison Task Force of the Metropolitan Police. irving2011

Sam Savona

Sam Savona has worked for the full equality of people with disabilities for many years. He has been active on numerous committees, advisory boards, boards of directors, and has worked for an organization which advocated for the rights of people with disabilities. He also advocated successfully to bring accessible tax service to the city of Toronto, and wheelchair-accessible bus service to Pearson Airport.Head shot of Sam Savona

Sam has been a constructive critic of the Toronto Transit Commission for many years because he believes it must be accessible to every citizen of Toronto.

One of his major achievements thus far is that he, along with his fellow activists, convinced Metro politicians to begin to retrofit the conventional public transportation system for wheelchair accessibility. As a result, Sam was one of the first people in an electric wheelchair to board the subway unassisted.

Sam is the first person to successfully be appointed three terms by the Toronto Transit Commission to its Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation. He has filled the Chair position when asked. Sam also sits on the City of Toronto’s Disability Issues committee as Co-Chair.

Sam as been elected to two Board of Supportive Services Living Units and say as Chair/President on one for many years. He recently established a Clients’ committee of three housing locations which reports directly to the Board of Directors of one of these SSLUs.

He is an accomplished and amusing speaker on disability awareness and has worked with Lauri Sue Robertson frequently since 1995, whenever a client requested additional trainers.

Philip Daniels – Trainer

Philip began training for Lauri Sue Robertson in 1995, and he worked with her promoting Deaf awareness issues and culture throughout various towns in Ontario and Quebec. He is an amusing and fascinating speaker, and creates terrific awareness in his workshops. Head shot of Phillip Daniels

He enjoys working with Disability Awareness Consultants as they continue to create an open door for Deaf or disabled persons living in Ontario.

Philip has been an A.S.L. instructor for over 25 years. He has taught over the years at the Canadian Hearing Society, Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf, Seneca College, Sheridan College and George Brown College. He has been an American Sign Language immersion camp counselor for over 12 years in Parry Sound, Ontario (Ontario Camp for the Deaf).

Phil has recently retired from the Toronto District School Board where he taught in the Deaf Education department. He graduated from Gallaudet University (the first Deaf University in the world to offer Liberal Arts degrees) with a Bachelor Degree in Liberal Arts. He enjoyed the vibrant and exciting Deaf culture that Gallaudet University had to offer.

Phil has worked as an A.S.L. advisor for various performing art shows in Toronto. Philip is currently out of retirement, working for the Yeshiva Nefesh Dovid, the only Deaf Yeshiva in the world, located in Toronto. He is the assistant to the school administrators.

Mary Daniel

Mary Daniel works as a Marketing and Outreach Specialist for D.I.C.E. Assessment and Employment Counselling Services. Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Therapeutic Recreation from Concordia University and a Diploma in Community Recreational Leadership Training from Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec.Head shot of Mary Daniel

Mary worked for over 18 years as an Employment/Training Specialist, with extensive experience in counselling and case management for people with disabilities. She recently achieved certification in Community Mental Health Case management. As a Little Person, Mary is a strong advocate in the community serving as a member of the Region of Peel Accessibility Advisory Committee, Little People of Ontario, and Trillium Toastmasters.

Mary is a highly respected and fascinating trainer, working with Lauri Sue Robertson since 1995. Participants in workshops where Mary has spoken have frequently commented on the value of the information she has shared with them. Very few people know anyone with achondroplasia, or any other form of dwarfism, well enough to ask questions about the conditions, so the insights Mary provides are always useful. She uses humour and displays a strong sense of self-awareness in her presentations. She is unafraid to discuss the ramifications of her syndrome, which include an average-sized trunk with small limbs and significant hearing loss that requires accommodation with hearing aids.

Through a lifetime of living with disability and working with many people with a variety of conditions, Mary has developed the resources to understand what accommodations are needed by those living with physical, hearing, vision, psychiatric and learning disabilities. She has a good understanding of working with people from pre-school to older adults in employment and recreation.

Carole Robertson

Carole Robertson is retired from high-profile careers as a York University lecturer and Executive Director of The Canadian Diabetes Foundation. She is currently the President of The Toronto Federation of the Blind.Head shot of Carole Robertson

She has lived with blindness in her left eye since birth, but she was not considered ‘disabled’, and very few people were aware of her limited vision.

Ten years ago she experienced a sudden loss of vision in her right eye, due to a vascular accident. Since that occurrence, Carole is blind, though she retains some limited sight.

She speaks with great authority and dynamism on the issues of blindness and societal acceptance or rejection of people who live with vision loss. Her presentations are filled with valuable information and insights that create a new level of awareness in her listeners.

Carole’s sense of humour is strong, and there is no anger in her perceptions of those of us who do not have limited vision. Rather, she is empathetic and sympathetic to the fears and misunderstandings of others, remembering her own perceptions as a person without disabilities.

Carole also lives with significant mobility impairments due to severe diabetes and a spinal injury she sustained in a fall she had in 2000. The combination of issues she lives with has given Carole great insights into the various barriers to access that are experienced by people with a variety of disabilities.

Her compassion and warmth are notable attributes of her character, and help Carole to be a favourite trainer in her workshops.