Last week, all of the LDA Chapters across the province of Ontario had the opportunity to get together for a couple of days to network, share ideas, learn about new LDAO initiatives, and work on developing a consistent brand for LDAs across the province.  I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend, along with Shelley, who is one of our Board Members (Shelley is also one of our guest bloggers, check out her most recent post, Issues Facing Adult Literacy Learners).

It was great to hear about some of the innovative initiatives that other LDA Chapters across the province have been providing.  Between mentoring programs, entrepreneurial programs, having ambassadors and champions, publishing research in peer-reviewed journals, LDAs across the province are helping people with LD/ADHD achieve success.  Shelley and I came back from the meeting with lots of ideas of things we can try here in Windsor – Essex.

LD@School and TA@l’école

LD@SchoolIn my opinion, one of the most exciting things to hear about was LDAO’s new initiative, called LD@School (or TA@l’école in French).  This project is funded by the Ministry of Education, and is a website that offers free resources for educators who work with students with learning disabilities.  There is an English version of the website (www.LDatSchool.ca) and a French version of the website (www.TAaLecole.ca).  The websites are a work-in-progress, so new resources are being added all of the time.  There is currently:

  • various articles (written by LDAO staff and school board contributors);
  • English and French videos created in collaboration with Ontario educators;
  • practical summaries of strategies, practices, and approaches that educators can put directly to work in their classrooms;
  • sign-up page for upcoming webinars;
  • links to relevant websites with additional resources;
  • links to documents prepared specifically for educators from a variety of educational organizations; and
  • information relating to LDAO’s one-day Educators’ Institute being held on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 (there will be English and French workshops).


LDAO is currently looking for inspirational youth with learning disabilities who would be interested in submitting a Success Story for the website.  If you are someone you know would like to share their story, please contact LDAO at info@LDatSchool.ca or info@TAaLecole.ca.

The Importance of Self-Advocacy

knowledge_is_power1The more you know something or have a keen awareness of a subject, the more comfortable we are talking about it. These discussions are valuable for solving problems that may arise.

In the case of having Dyslexia – talking about the fact that he has a problem with reading, spelling and writing, my son Donny has decided that this disability is becoming more like a challenge accepted.

 I believe that his knowledge and awareness of his own unique challenges have helped him to become a more confident individual. He sees Dyslexia as a challenge in that he has to figure out how to take a task (like reading a novel) and make it work for him (buy/download the MP3 file of the that book, start earlier and budget more time, etc.). This is what teachers have been trying to do for ages!

 Since he was diagnosed and identified with Dyslexia, he has been kept informed of all the information he could handle at that time. In grade four he knew that he had a really difficult time reading, spelling and writing, but that was it! He did well in math and all his other subjects, as long as text was read to him.

 By grade eight, Donny was attending his own IPRC and helping decide his pathway based on recommendations made by the Learning Support Teachers, Counsellors, etc. He was also a strong advocate of his Individual Education Plan. He knew what was on it and what was best for his learning.

 Donny was a graduate of the Orton-Gillingham program and is familiar with the program so he has been encouraged over the years to help with tutoring (by listening to young students read). He also has the opportunity to sit on the Board of Directors for the Learning Disabilities Association – Windsor Essex as the students representative.

 Each experience and each chance to learn about LDs empowers him even more. He has been on The

Donny Rotary

Bridge radio show on CBC radio and was featured in Communiqué magazine. Last night I was very proud of him as he spoke in front of a group of Rotarians about his Learning Disability and the challenges he faces. He did a great job!

If your child is able to understand information about his or her learning challenge, empower them! Simplify things, but let them know that their challenge is not with everything – it is specific. This can create a shift in attitude. The idea that there is only a couple of challenges to face the task seems more manageable than if you feel that you don’t understand anything.

Empower your child! Talk with them about their learning issues. They will know what they are good at and what they have a hard time with. You can guide them through the tough parts and help to find strategies that will work for them. As they get older, ideally they will adopt these strategies as their own and know what works best for their own learning.