The Evolution of Evoke Learning

Evolution of Evoke Learning

Evoke Learning got its start in 2008 as a grassroots response to an identified need among exceptional students. Our holistic approach to coaching was launched to help them move from underperformance to personal achievement, providing our clients with support for reaching their academic goals, overcoming social-emotional challenges, and putting evidence-based learning strategies into action in every facet of their lives.

The majority of our clients were coping with ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities and they were often gifted. They were also lost in a traditional education system. Observing and working with these amazing students inspired us to respond organically with new programs to meet their emerging needs.

Students who exhibited self-regulation challenges that often resulted in learning gaps inspired our tutoring program. Those who lacked study skills and had notetaking deficits were the focus of our Academic Foundations program. Many of our students struggled to overcome executive function impediments such as initiation, organization, time management, and focus, and so we created our mentoring program. Clients with learning disabilities often suffered from acute anxiety and stress, addressed now through our coaching practices. Students who had difficulty initiating academic work inspired us to create coaching specifically designed for individuals who procrastinate.

More recently, struggling readers benefit from our reading remediation program, designed to assist primary students who are challenged by the acquisition of reading skills or older students with continued reading difficulties. And after observing that exceptional students needed better guidance for making productive university and college decisions, we now offer postsecondary planning.

Evoke programming will continue to evolve to meet our clients’ needs, using evidence-based, peer-reviewed brain science to inform our work.

Our Philosophy

As coaches, we are partners trained to listen, observe, and customize our approach to supporting every student. We believe that each of us is naturally creative and resourceful, and we work to enhance those abilities to elicit solutions, strategies, and productive habits for our clients. We follow the principles of coaching endorsed by the International Coaching Federation.

People respond positively when provided with choices, respect, and autonomy. Our approach is holistic, and we capitalize on a student’s core strengths, replacing weaknesses and deficits with openness and positivity. Evoke uses research-informed approaches and cognitive science in our programming and instruction. We don’t believe in laziness; we believe there are barriers to learning and situations that hold individuals back, and that it is our job to understand their needs, determine those barriers, and help students address them. Our clients come to us to facilitate change and our goal is to help them move forward. We do this by providing them with the resources, tools, strategies, accommodations, and external scaffolding they need to become independent learners.

We believe in the science of learning, and that it takes time and requires effort and practice. Cognitive science tells us that procrastination and avoidance are natural responses to tasks we dislike doing and often the sign of a deficit in emotional regulation. When we procrastinate, we push away a negative feeling, which makes us feel better temporarily but does not address what is really getting in the way.

never stop learning

The Evoke Difference

We embrace neurodiversity—the view that brain differences are normal—and that variations in brain structure make us human. We specialize in working with students who have learning disabilities, ADHD, ASD, Giftedness and the comorbidities that often accompany them. We understand that the ways in which students respond to the challenges their exceptionalities create may look like active choice, but that people don’t choose to struggle. No one gets up in the morning and decides “today I’m not going to do well!” No one chooses to fail.

Although we can’t change someone’s neurobiology (just as we can’t make someone’s blue eyes brown), we can provide tools, resources, strategies, and support to help them and replace judgement with curiosity, empathy, and understanding. At Evoke, we put ourselves in other people’s shoes. We understand the perspective of someone with executive function challenges, and how deficits in these cognitive functions can feel overwhelming and frustrating. We know what it feels like to struggle with organization, setting priorities, managing alertness, sustaining effort, shifting focus, and regulating processing speed and output. There are many reasons why students procrastinate, and we approach our work together with curiosity and acceptance. We understand that procrastinators often have executive function challenges, and we are here to help our students take that first step toward make things feel less overwhelming.

Evoke coaches, tutors, and academic strategists are allies who partner with students to co-create goals and help them develop an evidence-based plan to maximize their potential. We understand and are sensitive to the challenges our students have and what is uncomfortable and difficult for them. We are dedicated to supporting our students through their mistakes and failures. We acknowledge when something is difficult for them and help them work their way through it.

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kate Lloyd

Kate LloydMSW, RSW, ACPC

Kate holds a BA (Hons.) in sociology with distinction from the University of Western Ontario where she earned the Gold Medal for a four-year social science specialization, awarded to the student with the highest average in a sociology major. In addition, she holds a master of social work degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, and is a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. She is a professional coach certified by Adler International Learning (OISE, University of Toronto) and a member of the International Coaching Federation. Kate is also an Edge Foundation-trained ADHD coach, and a Nurtured Heart Approach® certified trainer. In her work life, Kate was a staff member at Camp Kirk, a residential summer camp for children with learning disabilities and special needs. She has taught a variety of workshops for students on executive functions, study preparation, and metacognition, and was the development director at the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario for 12 years.

Kate believes that individuals respond positively when provided with choices, options, respect, and autonomy. Her approach is holistic, and capitalizes on a client’s core strengths, replacing weaknesses and deficits with openness and positivity. Kate knows that development is rarely a straight line, and she uses appropriate humour to address the periodic need to release stress and help lower anxiety. Her long-term focus is on developing academic skills and self-awareness, and on strengthening skills across all subject areas. She believes that hard work, preparation, and self-confidence are the keys to success.

Read some of the positive reviews left for Kate here.

Denise Harding

Denise HardingBA, ACPC

Denise holds a BA (Hons.) from the University of Waterloo. She is a certified professional coach (ACPC) through Adler International Learning and the University of Toronto (OISE) and an applied mindfulness meditation specialist (University of Toronto) and has completed postgraduate certification as a learning disabilities specialist (LDGC). Denise is a graduate of popular author and ADHD expert Chris Dendy’s ADHD Training Institute.

Denise has been a consultant with the Learning Disabilities Associations of Ontario (LDAO) and York Region (LDAYR). She has served as a representative for LDAYR on the York Region District School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee and was a director of the Ontario provincial board of Canadian Parents for French (CPF), working with CPF’s special education advocacy committee. She has served on advisory panels, co-produced CPF webinars for educators and parents, and has been a presenter at l’association canadienne des professionels en immersion’s (ACPI) annual conference. Denise has been a contributing writer to the Journal de l’immersion, a resource for French immersion educators, and is the author of “A Parent’s Perspective: French Immersion and the Student with Special Needs,” a chapter from l’Association canadienne des professionels en immersion’s A Reflective Guide for French Immersion Leaders: A Collection of Essays on Topics Relevant to French Immersion Educators Across Canada. She is also a contributor to ADDitude magazine. She has worked with her local school board delivering teacher training workshops as well as consulting on course curriculum development.

Denise is the proud mother of two neurodiverse young adult children, a son who is gifted and a daughter with learning disabilities who is bilingual and has completed both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Her daughter has been profiled in Chris Dendy’s new book Launching into Young Adulthood with ADHD … Ready or Not! in the “Photo Gallery of Hope,” which features young adults who have overcome the challenges of ADHD and are thriving. Supporting her two children has helped her understand the demands of navigating the education system from elementary school through postsecondary studies.

Read some of the positive reviews left for Denise here.