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Academic collaborators

The MIRA Foundation stands out for its research that provide convincing data. Its main collaborators are :

Laval University, Canada Dr. Frédéric Picard, Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Dr. Claude Vincent, Rehabilitation School Dr. Frédéric Dumont, Rehabilitation School

Montreal University, Canada Dr. Sonia Lupien, Center for Studies of Human Stress Dr. Dany Gagnon, Rehabilitation School Valérie Martin Lemoyne, Physiotherapist, Gingras Lindsay Rehabilitation Institute

Quebec University in Outaouais, Canada Dr. Stéphanie Fecteau, Department of Psychology and Psychoeducation

Sherbrooke University, Canada Dr. Marcel Trudel, Psychoeducation Department Dr. Mélanie Couture, Rehabilitation School Dr. Valérie Simard, Departement of Psychology Dr. Michel Tousignant, Rehabilitation School Dr. Hélène Corriveau, Rehabilitation School

Toulouse University, France Dr. Teresa Blicharska, Department of Psychology Gaël Poli, doctorant, Department of Psychology

Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille

The Mira Foundation and Nazareth and Louis Braille Institute have been partners since the beginning. The partnership and collaboration are based upon giving guide dogs to blind and low vision persons.

Here is the story of the collaboration between MIRA and Nazareth and Louis Braille Institute.

In 1980, Mrs. Yolande Pineault, social worker at Nazareth and Louis Braille Institute asks her neighbour Mr. Eric St-Pierre, if he was able to help a blind person in the use of his guide dog. Mr. St-Pierre has been so fascinated by the experience that he went to the Nazareth and Louis Braille Institute to learn more about the visually impaired people and their moving principles.

At 1255 Beauregard street in Longueuil, he met Hélène Guérette and Carole Zabihaylo, two orientation and mobility specialists. This meeting turned out to be a success and from that moment, Mr. St-Pierre has embraced the idea of the realization of a guide dog school.

Mr. St-Pierre’s first negotiations with the General director at the time, Mr. Normand Giroux and with Mr. Mario Cicciolli, Director of professional services, resulted with the Institute’s participation in the project of holding the first guide dog class in Quebec. Before starting this first class, Mr. St-Pierre had to submit himself to the evaluation of a specialist in orientation and mobility from the University of Michigan, Mr. David Greenwall and of the Service head department, Mrs. Julie-Anne Couturier, also a specialist in orientation and mobility.

We must not forget that Mr. St-Pierre was also under the observation of all the people intrigued by the project. Results turned out positive and everything was in place for the launch of the class. The Institute’s contribution was very significant: collaboration of specialists in orientation and mobility, meal and residence free of charge and a donation of 1,000.00 $ dollars for each dog produced.

And so Mrs. Gisèle Dupont, Mr. Robert Auclair and Mr. Fernand Lemay received the first guide dogs: Belle, Carbone and Euclide. MIRA than became the first guide dog school in Canada, in French if you please!

It is important to underline that in 1980, I.N.L.B. is in full expansion. The young blind’s institutionalization is almost over and the word "integration" is on everybody lips. Several interventions are newly formed in orientation and mobility, from the Universities in the United States (Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan).

The fields of low vision, the reading and the writing, daily activities, the social integration, educational and professional for the visually handicapped people and the organization of services are in great strides. It is now the moment for novelty and innovation in knowledge and practices and mainly in the field of the guide dog, as well for orientation and mobility of the blind person.

We note that the group of services adaptation / rehabilitation is offered either in residence context or on a daily basis. Inside the Institute there’s also the Jacques Ouellet school, specialized in the education of the young blind people. The children are fascinated by the presence of dogs and ask frequently " when will the time come for guide dogs for youth"?

MIRA and I.N.L.B. innovate by bringing the principles of orientation and mobility in the practice of giving guide dogs. At that time, in the United States, the guide dog schools and rehabilitation centres are growing in parallel. The orientation and mobility specialists and the dog instructors do not communicate much.

In that sense, innovation in this partnership rests on the method of the purchase of guide dogs. The blind person will be in contact with a dog trainer and a specialist in orientation and mobility: the evaluation of the request, the selection of the dog, the participation to the class, the class follow-up, and the standard follow-up or upon request.

With time, new guide dog users emerge. At the beginning, Mr. St-Pierre finds that for a dog to become a guide dog is not exactly an easy task. Only 2 dogs out of a hundred fulfill the criteria.

And then, appears Alsatian, Collie, English and Irish setter, Labrador, Golden, as well as hybrids, and in 1985, the first Bernese.

From 1981 to 1989, the Institute lends a building section "Le Grenier" as a residence for candidates during the guide dog class. To better appreciate this evolution, we will present you the following:

Guide dogs attribution, 1981-1989

1981 3 1982 5 1983 12 1984 5 1985 17 1986 16 1987 17 1988 19 1989 17

In 1990, Mira moves to Ste-Madeleine. The place for attributing the guide dogs changed, but educators in orientation and mobility are still present during the classes.

The practice of orientation / mobility and the guide dog, (innovation of 1981), still continues today. The partnership between MIRA and the Institute is based on confidence inside the human relations with the blind person, the orientation and mobility professionals and the trainers.

Beyond the individuals, we hope that this partnership will stay in the customs of the intervention for the next 140 years.

Noël Champagne

Rehabilitation centres across the province of Quebec

The Mira Foundation partnership with rehabilitation centres across the province of Quebec is to provide additional services.

  • Louis-Hébert
  • Laurentides/Lanaudière
  • Estrie
  • Trois-Rivières
  • Abitibi/Témiscamingue
  • Bas St-Laurent/Gaspésie
  • Saguenay/Lac St-Jean
  • Côte Nord

Additional services are mainly in matters of orientation/ mobility and guide dog.

University of Montreal, Veterinary School

The University of Montreal Veterinary School has been a great partner of the Mira Foundation for a long time.

Since 1995, the collaboration has been extended to research on the dysphasia and in students’ education.


Eve Line et Iris

Une jeune fille articulée qui forme un couple bien attachant avec IRIS.
[Voir la vidéo]

Orientation et Mobilité

On pourrait dire que MIRA prépare le chien et que l’Institut prépare le bénéficiaire.
[Voir la vidéo]

Vert demain !

Utiliser les terres de la ferme de St-Césaire pour les besoins du Jardin Gaétan Girouard
[Voir la vidéo]

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