Shay is a hard of hearing, queer, genderqueer, chronically ill and disabled Child and Youth Counsellor located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Shay is currently completing their Masters in Social Work at York University. Shay also holds a B.A. CYC (Child and Youth Care) from Ryerson University. Shay is a member of the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Counsellors (OACYC)
Shay’s work has specialized in working with chronically ill, hard of hearing, deaf and disabled children, young people and their families. Shay has particular experience in navigating systems such as the education, medical and social assistance system, and focuses on coordination of care, case management and advocacy. Shay also brings several years of experience of policy and equity work to their practice as well. Shay also has consulted with several agencies within Toronto to create more Deaf and disability friendly social service provision.
Shay approaches their work from a trauma-informed, ecological, anti-oppressive lens. In practice this means that first and foremost that they recognize that interacting with these systems as a chronically ill and disabled person is often traumatic, and that all work is approached recognizing the trauma that people may have experienced in interacting with these systems, as well as trauma they may have experienced in other places in their life. Approaching this work from a ecological standpoint means that there is a recognition that people and problems cannot be separated from their environment and the political systems that they exist within. This means that sometimes, in order to make effective changes for clients, solutions must be approached on many levels, including larger advocacy efforts to change oppressive policies that negatively impact clients lives. Shay is committed to upholding the ideals of disability, queer, trans, and racial justice in their work. For Shay, approaching their work for an anti-oppressive lens means having an ongoing commitment to examining how power is at play in their practice, and seeking to have a practice that empowers clients to access needed resources and services, as well as to be the foremost person in managing their own care needs to the fullest extent possible.