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Sharon Hope Irwin

Honorary Doctorate


Sharon Hope Irwin

For more than 25 years Irwin has dedicated her efforts to children with special needs. The founding director of SpeciaLink – the National Centre for Child Care Inclusion, Irwin has served on numerous commissions, working groups, task forces and committees with the purpose of disseminating successful inclusive child care practices and policies.

She is an advocate for young children with special needs and their families, locally, regionally and nationally, serving on numerous commissions, working groups, task forces and committees.

As Senior Researcher of SpeciaLink, the National Centre for Child Care Inclusion, her work took her across Canada, identifying, analyzing and disseminating successful inclusive practices and policies in child care.

Her work for the special needs project of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers helped to add a labour partner to the growing movement for equitable treatment of children with special needs and their families.

Among her many publications, Irwin is the primary author of the SpeciaLink Child Care Inclusion Scales, a tool for measuring inclusion and for helping centres work towards higher inclusion quality. Irwin has provided training in these Inclusion Scales to more than 2,500 child care staff and related professionals across Canada and the United States, often in collaboration with Debra Mayer of Winnipeg, the current director of SpeciaLink.