Raising a Child with Early Childhood Dis-ability Supports Shakonehya:ra's ne shakoyen'okon:'a G’chi-gshkewesiwad binoonhyag ?????? ??????? ????? ?????? ????????: Ga-Miinigoowozid Gikendaagoosowin Awaazigish, Ga-Miinigoowozid Ga-Izhichigetan


  • Nicole Ineese-Nash Ryerson University
  • Yvonne Bomberry Memorial University
  • Kathryn Underwood Ryerson University
  • Arlene Hache District of Temiskaming Elders Council


The Inclusive Early Childhood Service System Project (IECSS) is a qualitative longitudinal study seeking to explore families' experiences of accessing services for their children who have disabilities or developmental delays in early childhood. This article specifically examines the experiences of Indigenous participants navigating the multiple support services in their communities, with analytical discussion with community agencies working from an Indigenous framework, as well as the perspectives of the Elders Council of Temiskaming. The project has taken place through local partnerships in five geographic areas in Ontario: The County of Wellington, District of Timiskaming, Constance Lake First Nation, City of Hamilton, and City of Toronto. The study found that Indigenous families were often very engaged in culturally specific services for their children and families, in addition to accessing disability support services operating from a medical framework. The juxtaposition of these two ideologies often led to conflict for Indigenous families as they sought to maintain their cultural understandings of children and their development while seeking supports for their children. These findings suggest that Indigenous concepts of disability and childhood are not integrated in the current disability support system, which operates in a manner that is inconsistent with an Indigenous worldview.

Author Biographies

Yvonne Bomberry, Memorial University

Yvonne Bomberry received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Calgary in1997 and her Master of Social Work degree from McMaster University in 2000. Yvonne is a Mohawk woman from the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, with twenty-five years of social work experience with Aboriginal people in child welfare, family violence, mental health and counselling. Yvonne's area of research interest is with Aboriginal women and mental health as it relates to lateral violence.

Arlene Hache, District of Temiskaming Elders Council

Arlene Hache is well known across the North as an Advocate of social change. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2009 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. She also received the NWT Wise Women in 2006. Arlene was the Executive Director of the Centre for Northern Families for 20 years, and is now focusing on specific human rights projects. She has spearheaded or participated in several research initiatives on homelessness and mental health that have been published. Arlene is a co-researcher and the representative for the District of Temiskaming Elders Council on the IECSS project.


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