Recipients 2015

OADD Awards & Scholarship Recipients – 2015


Hull-Roeher Award of Merit

Presented in honour of John Hull and G. Alan Roeher to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution, or special achievement in the area(s) of education, humanitarianism, research or service for those with developmental disabilities.


There were no successful candidates for the Hull-Roeher Award for 2015


OADD Award of Excellence

To be presented to an individual who has contributed significantly to better understanding of, or enhanced the quality of life for, those with developmental disabilities.


Murray Hamilton

Murray Hamilton was the Executive Director of Community Living London for approximately 11 years before his retirement in 2006. Prior to joining CLL, Murray held many positions within the Ministry of Community and Social Services and brought a wealth of expertise to Community Living.

Murray believes in the value of all people, regardless of their ability. He has been praised as a visionary, fostering relationships with people and agencies who can assist in the Community Living movement. He is highly regarded for his thoughtfulness, but is also well known for his amazing sense of humour.

Murray continues, in his retirement, to be a strong advocate for people with developmental disabilities. He is an active member of Community Living London’s advocacy committee and has worked tirelessly on a number of initiatives to enhance the lives of people in the London community.

Murray’s nominator referred to him as a great leader who does everything he does because he believes, not to be recognized.


Jim Preston

Jim Preston has dedicated his professional life to developmental services since the late 1970’s. Jim operated a private program for children in the 1980’s beginning his involvement with Kerry’s Place in 1988. After a brief stay with Kerry’s Place, Jim moved onto MCSS for 2 years. Following this time with MCSS, Jim took his talents to Oaklands Regional Centre for 5 years as its Executive Director before returning to Kerry’s Place as Regional Executive Director in the Central West Region. In this role, Jim has provided exceptional oversight and leadership with Residential and Community Supports and Services across this region. Jim even found time to be an instructor at Sheridan College in the Developmental Services Program. Jim was recently promoted to the role of Chief Operating Officer at Kerry’s Place. Jim participates on a number of community planning and partnership tables providing leadership while enhancing the capacity of the system to deliver innovative and high quality. Jim brings invaluable expertise and knowledge of the importance of identifying and addressing the complex needs of the individual, implementing best practices, and leading community collaboration.

His greatest accomplishment is the genuine and profound positive relationships he has developed and nurtured over the years with the countless men and women with Autism he has supported.


Deborah Richards

Deborah Richards has dedicated over 35 years to serving the needs of persons with disabilities. She has a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University, a Bachelor of Arts in Disability Studies from Ryerson University, and a Certificate in Habilitative Mental Health from the National Association on Dual Diagnosis (NADD) and Brock University. She is an advocate, an educator, and a mentor to those who provide service to persons with disabilities.

Deborah has taught several courses on disability at Niagara College and in the Dual Diagnosis Certificate Program through NADD and Brock University, facilitating hundreds of training sessions on the mental health needs of persons with disabilities. Her expertise in sexuality and disability is unparalleled and she is a point person for individuals across the province seeking to provide service to individuals with complex challenging behaviour. Deborah’s years of working in the Developmental Sector have provided her with vast experience in understanding and supporting people who have intellectual disabilities and a mental health disorder.



Kay Sansom Scholarships

3 Graduate Students received Kay Sansom Scholarships this year from the qualifying applicants. Each will receive $1,000.00 a certificate and free OADD sustaining membership. Typically there is 1 recipient from each of the following applicant categories: College, Undergraduate and Graduate.


Cindy Koon – College Level Scholarship

Cindy is currently a first year DSW student at Algonquin College. She became interested in working with people with developmental disabilities during high school when she saw that other students with DD were often excluded from activities. Cindy is a hard worker, dedicated and very bright. She has both work and volunteer experience with several community organizations and causes.

Cindy’s references both praised her for her dedication, natural leadership ability and mentioned the impact this scholarship will have on her future. Cindy wishes to use the scholarship to finish her DSW course at Algonquin and continue working in the field.


Tara Hughes – Undergraduate Level Scholarship

Tara is an undergraduate student at Laurentian College. She is interested in a career as an Applied Behaviour Analyst. Tara has been a student, volunteer and employee in the field of

developmental disabilities for the past five years. Tara completed the DSW program at Cambrian College before applying to the psychology program at Laurentian University. She is currently working on her Honours thesis “Comparison of Sibling Relationships in Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorder”. She is interested in continuing her education at Brock University and will be using the scholarship to help with this. Her references refer to her work ethic, dedication and passion for her work.

Tara has had an article published in the Journal on Developmental Disabilities and a poster abstract accepted for presentation at the upcoming OADD conference


Kelly Coons  –  Graduate Level Scholarship

Kelly is a 2nd year PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Rural and Northern Health program at Laurentian College. Kelly has a B.A. Honours in Sport Psychology and an M.A. in

Interdisciplinary Human Development.

Kelly developed an interest in ASD and FASD working as a research assistant in Northern Ontario and now focuses her PhD research on FASD and the impact of the disability on families and children. She states that her professional goal is to work towards improving the quality of life of individuals living with FASD, and their families, by enabling them to access health care professionals who are educated about FASD.

Kelly is a member of RSIG and has presented at the RSIG conference in the past. Shelley Watson is one of her references and speaks very highly of her.