Dr. Kathryn Garforth
As a child, Dr. Garforth struggled with reading and spelling in her primary years. A psychoeducational assessment in grade four helped her understand her strengths and gave her hope that with the right instruction and accommodations she could succeed in school. In grade five, Dr. Garforth’s public school teacher declined to provide her with accommodations during multiple weekly quizzes. Her poor score prompted extensive bullying from her peers, and her teacher predicted that she would never finish school. In grade six, Dr. Garforth switched to a private school that specialized in helping children with dyslexia, and this removed the stigma of having a disability. She began to enjoy school and learned how to self-advocate. With informed instruction, extensive tutoring, accommodations, and perseverance, Dr. Garforth went on to acquire four degrees from two Canadian universities. Postsecondary education was achievable because she had developed self-advocacy skills and was able to design her own course load. Her life story was featured in an award-winning, Knowledge Network documentary, entitled Deciphering Dyslexia (2007).
Dr. Garforth initially completed a Bachelor of Science in Computer Sciences from the University of Lethbridge (2005). While attending the University of Lethbridge, she served on the Special Needs Advisory Committee and helped set up the university’s Disability Resource Centre. This experience led her to pursue a career in special education at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Garforth subsequently earned a Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education with a specialization in special education (2010), then a Masters of Arts in Special Education with a learning disabilities concentration (2013). Her masters’ research focused on mathematics education. Dr. Garforth went on to achieve a Ph.D. in Special Education, with a learning disabilities concentration (2018). Through her research, she investigated the English literacy acquisition of Chinese students whom had English as an additional language. In her graduate work, she became experienced in the assessment of learning disabilities and conducted research in literacy and mathematics amongst students from various language backgrounds and achievement levels. During her university years and afterwards, Dr. Garforth consulted with private clients with different learning profiles.
Dr. Garforth is familiar with and has used many programs with her clients including but limited to phonics-based programs such as Orton-Gillingham and Lindamood Bell, mathematics programs like JumpMath, formulaic writing programs, Handwriting without Tears and technology-based reading and writing programs such as ABRACADABRA.