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Dr. Stuart Shanker and the two initiatives he founded, Self Regulation Institute (SRI) and the MEHRIT Centre (TMC), are global leaders in grounding living and learning in self-regulation. Dr. Shanker developed Shanker Self-Reg™ – a powerful method for understanding stress and managing tension and energy, which are key to enhancing self-regulation in children, youth and adults of all ages. Decades of research have shown that optimal self-regulation is the foundation for healthy human development, adaptive coping skills, positive parenting, learning, safe and caring schools, and vibrant communities.

In 2005, Canadian philanthropists Milton and Ethel Harris donated $5 million, and the Harris family donated a further $2.5 million in 2009, to fund ground-breaking child development research at York University, led by Dr. Stuart Shanker. It was the largest private donation in York University’s history. The innovative study, conducted at the Milton and Ethel Harris Research Initiative (MEHRI), provided clear and compelling evidence that the social, emotional and language development of children with autism could be dramatically improved by enhancing their self-regulation capacities. The study also demonstrated significant stress reduction in both children and parents. As ground-breaking as these findings were, by far the most significant aspect of the work conducted at MEHRI was shining the light on the importance of self-regulation for all children and youth.

In 2012, Dr. Shanker founded TMC to act as a hub and catalyst for self-regulation education and practice. Dr. Shanker’s ideas and work have sparked a worldwide conversation about the impact of stress on children’s lives and development, and how to reduce the impact of excessive stress on children and adults. Globally, parents, educators, and communities are now working on developing their own and their children’s and students’ self-regulation capacities. After founding TMC, it became evident that there is, more than ever, a pressing need for research that will deepen our understanding of the different stresses that we must all contend with, and how best to manage them.

Accordingly, in 2016, Dr. Shanker founded SRI, a not-for-profit charitable organization at Trent University. The organization is steered under the direction of Dr. Shanker, Science Director, and Dr. Lisa Bayrami, Executive Director. SRI’s mission is to enhance the health and wellbeing of children, youth, adults, and communities through integrative research steered by the innovative Self-Reg model. To support its mission, SRI conducts and supports basic, applied, and community-based research; disseminates evidence-based information on self-regulation; and encourages and supports initiatives designed to promote self-regulation in communities and organizations. 

Over a decade later, Milton Harris’ vision for enhancing the potential of each and every child is becoming an exciting reality.

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