News & Events

We have now officially moved! Please visit us at our new location, suite 13 at Beaverbrook Centre, 1002 Beaverbrook Road.

We are so pleased to annouce that Lotus Centre has been granted charitable status and is now officially a registered Canadian charity! This change will allow us to do so much more for our students and families. Please consider us for your future donations, and suggest sponsoring Lotus Centre to any corporations who are looking to support a community organization. We put everything we have into providing the best possible programs for our families!

Mark your calendars! On Sunday, June 25th Lotus Centre will be celebrating and we would like you to join us! It is our 5th anniversary and along with that momentous occasion, we are moving to our fabulous new location at the Beaverbrook Centre at 2 Beaverbrook Road in Kanata! We will be hosting a ribbon-cutting and celebration starting at noon, with Mayor Jim Watson and City Councillor Marianne Wilkinson on hand to celebrate with us! The day will continue with an open house until 5pm. Everyone is invited to come and see our new space, meet our staff, and learn about all our programs (including many new programs for 2017). If you are a current student, please join us at our recitals at 1:30 and 3:15 at Kanata United Church just down the road from our new location, and come and visit us at the open house before or after your performance. We look forward to seeing you there!

We are excited to offer two new programs for 2017: an after-school program and Sunday afternoon respite camps! We have created these programs to meet the need we see in the community as expressed to us by so many of our Lotus Centre families. Our first round of offerings for respite camp filled in only two hours!!! We have opened up more availability but will limit registration to one Sunday per month. Our after-school program will feature daily outdoor play, snacks, music circle, and time for homework help or musical instrument practice as needed. All spaces in both programs will fill quickly, book yours before they're gone!


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We're excited to annouce that we will be moving to the Beaverbrook Centre at 2 Beaverbrook Rd. in Kanata! Our newly renovated space brings with it two more music classrooms so that we can serve more students in the community, a large outdoor play yard and walking trails for our camps, and still only minutes from highway 417! This allows us to more than DOUBLE our capacity for all our camps (PD day, March Break and summer) and add exciting new programs that will be rolled out soon! Please come and experience this new space with us at our Grand Opening on Sunday, June 25th from 1-5pm. Coinciding with this exciting new development will be our 5th anniversary and 5th annual student recital, so we're anxious to celebrate with the community! Check out the plans for the new Lotus Centre!17051 BEAVERBROOK CENTRE 2 BEAVERBROOK ROAD 02 SP REV 01 page 001

The spring sessions for all our group programs are starting on April 1st! Due to popular demand, we are adding a second Music and Movement class for children age 5-8 on Saturdays from 11:30-12:15. Our Exceptional Choir for adults and teens and Exceptional Choir Jr for children are still going strong--contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or to register!

Thanks to the National Arts Centre for producing this wonderful video! This clip highlights some work we did with the General Learning Program at Woodroffe High School as part of our ongoing Music Circle collaboration.

Executive Director Dr. Erin Parkes and voice teacher Sarah Tomaszweski are looking forward to presenting at the World Congress of Audiology in Vancouver this month! Erin and Sarah will present "Would singing lessons serve to provide improvement of pitch and timing in the auditory brainstem? A pilot study." This research project, in collaboration with Dr. Caryn Bursch of APD Ottawa and Dr. Amineh Koravand of University of Ottawa, involves providing six months of voice lessons with a curriculum specifically developed to improve pitch and timing issues in children with auditory processing disorder. Preliminary results are very promising! The study is ongoing--if you have a child with APD and are interested in participating, please contact us!

Executive Director Dr. Erin Parkes and voice/piano teacher Sarah Tomaszweski attended the Special Commission on Music Therapy and Music Education of the International Society of Music Educators Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland from July 20-23. Dr. Parkes was honoured to present a paper entitled "Teaching Music Educators to Teach Students with Autism" and a workshop entitled "ADAPT: A Comprehensive Model for Special Music Education in a Private Lesson Setting". Both Erin and Sarah were excited to be part of this commission and exchange ideas with the most respected special music educators in the world! We're looking forward to the next conference in 2018!

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Mark your calendars! Our year-end recital and silent auction fundraiser will be held on Saturday, June 25th at Kanata United Church. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to showcase their incredible talent and for us to celebrate all their hard work! We will have two recitals, at 1:30 and 3:15, with a reception and silent auction fundraiser in between. The reception is potluck so please bring goodies to share! Admission is by donation and anyone is welcome to attend! We express our sincere thanks to our supporters for donating amazing prizes for our silent auction. Here's the full list!

  • Kindle Paperwhite
  • National Arts Centre, 2 passes
  • Monkey Around Play & Learn Centre, 1-year membership
  • Ottawa Fury Tickets
  • Ottawa Redblacks Tickets
  • Valleyview Little Animal Farm, 4 passes
  • Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, 1-year membership
  • Kanata Group Fit, 1-month pass
  • Absolute Massage Therapy, 1-hr massage
  • Long and McQuade $100 gift certificate
  • Inner Revolution Yoga, 1-month pass
  • Yuk Yuk’s Comedy, 10-person table
  • Sand toys gift basket
  • Proform Eavestroughing $200 gift card
  • Museum of Nature, 4 passes
  • Great Canadian Theatre Company, 2 tickets
  • Mini Golf Gardens passes
  • Orpheus Musical Theatre, two subscriptions
  • Metronome courtesy Ottawa Pianos
  • Kate Spade sunglasses courtesy Nepean Optometric
  • Ottawa Little Theatre passes
  • Fun Haven, 4 flex passes

New for the 2016-2017, we will be introducing a children's choir for ages 8-14! Kids will have the opportunity to develop vocal technique, musical skills, and learn lots of fun repertoire! Singers will learn to work together in an ensemble in a small group, adapted environment. The choir will be led by our wonderful voice teacher, Sarah Tomaszewski. All abilities are welcome! 

We are looking for a guitar teacher and a piano teacher to add to our enthusiastic and passionate group of music educators. Must be absolutely devoted to helping students of all abilities reach their full potential! A background in special education is preferred. Training and ongoing support are provided. Please contact Executive Director Dr. Erin Parkes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

We are looking for volunteers to help out with our March Break, PD day and summer camps! We continue to do our best to run our camps almost entirely by volunteers so that we can keep costs low to our familites, but to do this we need your help! Volunteers are needed to help set up for activities, clean up after activities, work 1:1 with campers, assist with feeding and dressing, etc. Only volunteers over 16 years of age can count towards our 2:1 ratio, but we welcome younger volunteers who would like experience working with some awesome special needs kids! Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to volunteer or for more information.

Unfortunately our March Break camp and all remaining PD day camps for 2015-2016 are full! We are in the process of finalizing our summer camp schedule and will be opening registration in March. Stay tuned for more details!

We are excited to announce that we are now offering drum lessons! We welcome our new drum teacher, Alex Randall, to our team! Alex comes to us with a degree in psychology, experience teaching drums to students of all ages in a private setting, and many years of performance experience with a variety of Ottawa-based bands. We will be booking drum lessons on Monday evenings to start and space is very limited, please contact Becky at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register!

Congratulations to Aidan vandenBosch, Aidan Parkes, and Tanya Elgie on wonderful piano and violin performances at the National Library for International Day for Persons with Disabilities! We were honoured to be invited to participate in this great event. Our students were personally congratulated by Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough! Here is a photo of Executive Director Dr. Erin Parkes and Sandra Markovic from University of Ottawa with Minister Qualtrough.


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Our popular and acclaimed Music Circle program is back! Presented in collaboration with the National Arts Centre, the Music Circle provides an opportunity for children age 5-12 with developmental disorders to learn about the instruments of the woodwind family in a series of three hands-on, interactive workshops, followed by a final concert at the National Arts Centre. The workshops and concert have been adapted to meet the sensory, cognitive and behavioural needs of the participants. Thanks to support from the NAC's National Youth and Education Trust, this program is being offered completely free of charge!

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Our executive director, Dr. Erin Parkes, will be presenting her research on training music teachers to work with students with autism at the upcoming World Council for Curriculm and Instruction conference in Nashville, October 22-24, 2015. If you happen to be in Nashville, come check it out! More information on the organization and the conference can be found here http://wcci-nac.org/NAC.php.

We are very excited to be expanding our Lotus Centre staff! Welcome to Krista Dam and Dan Trolley, our two newest teachers! Krista's primary instrument is violin and she also teaches piano and general music. Dan teaches piano and general music. Both come to us with a wealth of experience both in music education and working with individuals with special needs, and we're very excited to have them onboard! Also, we are happy to welcome our new studio manager, Becky Ingersoll! Becky has been a member of the Lotus Centre board of directors since it's inception in 2012, and brings a wide range of administrative experience. Welcome Krista, Dan and Becky!

Registration for fall programs is well underway! Please contact us soon for the best spots for private lessons as they are going quickly! PD day camps are also filling very quickly this year, and there is only one spot remaining in our popular Music and Movement class--a great introduction to music! Check out our "Courses and Fees" page for more info, or contact studio manager Becky Ingersoll at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register!

This year's year-end recital will be held on Saturday, June 20th at Kanata United Church, 33 Leacock Drive, with the reception at 2:30 and recital starting at 3:00. This is a big day for our students as they get to show off their hard work! It is also our major fundraising event of the year and we sincerely thank all the wonderful donors who have provided great prizes for our silent auction! This year the event will also include recognition of our grant from Ontario Trillium Foundation, which has generously awarded us $114,000 over three years to support our operations and grow our programs. Admission is by donation. Please come out and support our students!

Join us in supporting Autism Speaks through the Walk Now for Autism Speaks event that will be held at Carleton University on Sunday, May 31. You can contribute to our fundraising efforts by going to this website and donating to team Lotus Centre for Special Music Education http://support.autismspeaks.ca/site/TR?fr_id=1120&pg=entry#.VVdH601FDIU. We'll also be on hand with some fun activities for kids and information about our programs at the vendors' fair, and we're honoured to have been asked to have some of our students perform again this year! Hope to see you there!

Starting this year we are adding music camp for teens to our summer camp lineup! Teens ages 13-19 can join us the week of August 24 to learn about and experience different musical instruments, create music, learn to sing, play keyboard and percussion instruments, and more! Complete info is available on our "Courses and Fees" page. Space in all our camps is filling up very quickly, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register.

10-week spring session of Music and Movement group class is starting April 11, 2015! This class is for preschoolers years who love to dance, sing and learn about music! Registration is limited to 5 participants so register soon! More information available on our "Courses and Fees" page.

"Pairing Activities and Music Concepts: Tuning into the Individual Child" free workshop offered Sunday, March 1, 2015 from 1-4pm. Teachers will learn about the Theraplay method and its core concepts of structure, engagement, nurture and challenge, and how to look at the individual child through this perspective. Many examples of musical activities within this framework will be presented and practiced. Teachers will also have the opportunity to discuss specific issues from their own teaching and explore solutions. The workshop will be led by musician and clinical psychologist Hedvig Lunderquist. Space is limited, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register.

We are so excited to offer another Music Circle series in collaboration with the National Arts Centre! Last year's series on the brass intruments was a huge success. This year, the focus will be on the instruments of the percussion family and will again be led by the NAC Orchestra's Liz Simpson. The series is open to students age 6-12 years with special needs. Workshops will be held at Lotus Centre on January 25, February 1 and February 8 at 1pm with a final concert at the NAC on February 15. These workshops and the concert are carefully designed to meet the sensory and learning needs of children with exceptionalities and provide the opportunity for all students to learn about the instruments, experience music making, and enjoy a professional concert at the NAC with their families in an adapted environment. Space is very limited, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or to register. Here are some NAC blog posts and videos on previous series. http://nac-cna.ca/en/stories/story/creating-the-conditions-for-joy?ref=home2 http://nac-cna.ca/en/stories/story/a-musical-experience-for-autistic-children

Our first ever African drumming workshop will be held Sunday, November 16, 2014 from 1-2pm. The workshop is for pre-teens and teens with a cost of $20 per participant. Parents are welcome to attend and participate! Space is limited, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register.

About the workshop: Starting with a little free play to warm up, participants will then work on basic drumming techniques and learn some simple West African rhythms. We will then move into an interactive call-and-response drumming circle where everyone will have the opportunity to follow someone else's lead as well as take the lead themselves!

About Rory Magill: Rory has travelled many times with his family to Ghana, West Africa, to study the complex and beautiful rhythms and take inspiration from the deep musicality and respect for the community that enriches every day life there. He has taught drumming to children at the Featherston Autism Unit, to youth in the City of Ottawa's SNAP program, and to private students of all ages and rhythmic abilities.


Due to the popularity of our March Break and summer camps, we will be offering PD day camps this year on OCDSB PD days. Camps are open to children age 6-12 years at a cost of $70 per day. Participants will experience interactive music making through rhythm, singing, movement and musical stories, have the opportunity to learn about and explore musical instruments, as well as crafts and cooperative games. Space is limited to 6 children. 2:1 ratio.

New this year--violin and guitar lessons are available! We are excited to be able to introduce students to instruments in the wonderful string family! We continue to offer piano and voice lessons as well as general music and theory lessons in a private lesson setting.

We are excited to offer two group programs this year: Children's Choir and Movement and Music. Both allow students to explore music and develop their musicality and creativity in a fun, social environment. All groups have a 5:1 ratio with extra assistance available if needed. Space is very limited and courses start September 20th. Check out our "Courses and Fees" page or contact us for more info.

Our recital will be help Sunday, June 22 at 2pm! Once again we are fortunate to be able to use the beautiful grand piano at Kanata United Church on Leacock Drive. Following the recital we will have a reception which will include our major fundraising event of the year, our silent auction. Prizes so far include lots of signed Sens gear, tickets to the NAC, golf membership, passes to Ray's Reptiles, Valleyview Little Animal Farm, Cosmic Adventures, and more! There are no tickets to purchase but donations at the door are appreciated.

It's time to book for summer and fall lessons! Please refer to our "Courses and Fees" page for updated information. Book soon, spots are already filling up quickly!

Due to high demand from the community, we are excited to announce that we are expanding our summer camps to four weeks of fun! We have two camp programs: "Exploring Music", focusing on learning about musical instruments, genres and musical elements, and "Rock Star!", where campers will have fun exploring propular music through singing, dancing and playing instruments. There are two weeks of camp each for ages 5-8 years (2:1 ratio) and 9-12 years (3:1 ratio). Camps include outdoor play, games, art and lots of music! Registration is limited to 6 children per camp. Check out our "Courses and Fees" page for more info. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register or with any questions.

We will be offering a FREE workshop to private studio music teachers on working with students with autism spectrum disorder. This is a part of a doctoral research project which includes a pre-interview, two-day workshop and 3 hours of lesson observation. In exchange for participation in the study, participating teachers will get some great free training and be better prepared to work with this growing population of kids who need music education! Please contact Erin Parkes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info.

Lotus Centre is so excited to launch a new partnership with the National Arts Centre in 2014! Our "Music Circle" series of workshops and a final concert will begin with Sunday afternoon workshops on January 19, February 2, and February 23 from 1-2pm at Lotus Centre. The series will end with a brass quintet concert in the Fountain Room at the NAC on Saturday, March 22 at 1pm. We welcome NAC orchestra French horn player Elizabeth Simpson, who will be introducing participants to the orchestra through an interactive workshop.

There are still spaces available in our Children's Choir! Our choir is adapted from the traditional model to allow maximum learning and fun for our special learners. Students learn about different musical styles with lots of support through visual and hands-on learning. Open to children age 6-12 years. Visit our "Courses and Fees" page for more information.

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