October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.
The theme this year is, “LD is NOT who I am, it’s what I have.” In keeping with this theme, LDA Chapters across the province of Ontario are reminding their communities that people with LD are creative. They are intelligent. They have hobbies. They are brave. They have hopes, and they have dreams. They are many things beyond their disabilities. In fact, they are just like the rest of us; the only difference is that they have different learning needs.
Learning disabilities are neurological disorders that interfere with a person’s ability to store, process, or produce information. Learning disabilities come in many forms and affect people with varying levels of severity; regardless of age, race, creed, social or economic status. It is a lifelong condition that affects 1 in 10 Canadians with average or above average intelligence. This means that in Windsor-Essex County alone, there are over 38,800 people living with learning disabilities (based on 2011 Census data). Learning disabilities are the signal largest disability population.
While the majority of people with learning disabilities are able to cope and become successful adults, some people need extra help. In fact, according to the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada’s PACFOLD (2007) study:
- Canadians with LDs (in some ages) are twice as likely to report that they did not successfully complete high school (i.e. 28.3% of adults with LDs aged 20 to 29 versus only 14.3% of the general population of the same age).
- People with LDs are also more likely to drop out of high school before graduation.
- Nearly 1/3 of parents who have children with a LD reported that they could not afford the learning aids their children need to succeed academically (i.e. tutoring, assistive technology, etc.).
- Canadians with LDs overwhelmingly achieve lower than Level 3 in prose literacy (the desired threshold for coping with the increasing skill demands of a knowledge society).
- Canadians with LDs are 2 to 3 times more likely to report high levels of distress, depression, anxiety disorders, suicidal thoughts, and visits to a mental health professional and poorer overall mental and physical health compared to the general population.
In response, LDAWE provides families with the tools they need to help them succeed. LDAWE assists children, youth, and adults with learning disabilities, and those who support them, through information sharing, support, and relevant programs. Not only does LDAWE have a wide variety of programs and services for people with learning disabilities, the Association works closely with local school boards, social assistance programs, and like minded organizations to help people with learning disabilities achieve their full potential.
In celebration of LD Awareness Month, LDAWE is hosting the event, “Her Fast Mind Documentary Viewing & Discussion with Award-Winning Author, Zoë Kessler.” The event takes place on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 6:30pm at the Caboto Club in Windsor. The documentary, Her Fast Mind: An in Depth View at ADHD as it Affects Women, by Dr. Timothy S. Bilkey will be shown. It features two successful women with ADHD and discusses their challenges and experiences with ADHD. After the screening, Zoë Kessler will give us a first-hand account of her experience as a women with ADHD and how it has affected her life. There will be an opportunity to ask Zoë questions and a book signing for those interested in purchasing her newly published book, ADHD According to Zoë. For more details or to register to go: www.herfastmind.eventbrite.ca.
LDAWE is also accepting applications for the Reid Family Scholarship. Two awards of $500 will be given annually, one to a student at St. Clair College and one to a student at the University of Windsor, who has documented learning disabilities. The deadline to apply is Thursday, December 12, 2013. Go to LDAWE’s website for more details and to download the application form.
Would you like to help LDAWE spread the message of understanding and support for all people with learning disabilities? There are many ways you can help. Consider one of the following:
- Attend the Her Fast Mind event taking place on Thurs, October 17, 2013
- Share this posting with others using the social media feeds below
- Become a member of your local LDA Chapter
- Volunteer at your local LDA Chapter
- Help LDAWE in completing its mission of assisting children, youth, and adults with learning disabilities, by making a donation to LDAWE through CanadaHelps.org