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Summer 2019

A Message from the Chair

The end of the school year brings a new set of activities for our families living with LD. Many of us are planning how to continue to support our loved ones with LD during the summer break in the midst of summer camps and family vacations and other life challenges.

At the National office, we too are facing challenges as we strive to support our staff and volunteers in their efforts to continue to support our LD community. Our Executive Director at the National office, Claudette Larocque, is taking an extended medical leave. We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to when we can again benefit from her wisdom and leadership in our LD community.

We have lots of exciting projects underway across the country. Your hardworking LD associations can help our families keep up the progress made during the past school year and prepare for when school begins again in the fall. Enjoy your summer – and hope it’s a productive summer too!

Thealzel Lee
Chair, Learning Disabilities Association of Canada

Editor’s Note

With the temporary absence of Claudette Larocque, as discussed immediately above, we do not have an Executive Director’s report and are presenting a shortened version of the usual newsletter in this issue. We hope things will be back to normal with the fall newsletter. We thank you for your patience.

Committee Reports

Research Committee

An update on an active Canadian researcher, Lauren D. Goegan, B.A., M.A., PhD Candidate

Lauren is a PhD Candidate at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on supporting individuals with LD, particularly students at the high school and postsecondary levels. Below is a description of one of her current areas of research.

Conducting research that includes individuals with LD is extremely important. Researchers take their results and make recommendations for supporting these individuals. But, have individuals with LD been properly supported to participate in research?

Work conducted by Goegan, Radil, and Daniels examines how the design of research can support the participation of students with LD. Building on the ideas of universal design (UD), they extend the UD principles into a research context. They propose a number of considerations moving towards Universal Design for Research (UDR), with particular focus on how to support those with LD when participating in questionnaire research. Their recommendations are grouped into four main categories to consider:

  1. Setting (e.g., Where is the best place for individuals to participate? Online? In-person?)
  2. Timing (e.g., Is the time needed to complete the survey reasonable for all individuals?)
  3. Presentation (e.g., Is the wording of the questionnaire appropriate for the reading level of all participants?)
  4. Response (e.g., Are assistive technology options available for students who need them?)

When designing research, we need to take a step back and think about these areas to ensure that all individuals, and in particular those with LD, are able to participate appropriately. If some individuals are unable to complete our questionnaires, then we lose the valuable information these people offer that enriches our work.

For more information:
Goegan, L. D., Radil, A. I. & Daniels L. M. (2018). Accessibility in Research Design: Integrating Universal Design to Increase the Participation of Individuals with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 16(2), 177-190.

 

Communications Committee

Our committee has continued to meet regularly and work on newsletter production. However, our primary focus in recent months has been preparation for LD Awareness Month in October. In a couple of recent meetings with provincial representatives, Lawrence Barns, the President and CEO of LDAO, has once again committed to help out the rest of the provinces and territories by providing many of the materials from Ontario’s “Don’t Dis My Ability” campaign.

We are very grateful for this help from LDAO because many of our provincial and territorial associations do not have the resources to produce their own materials. We are also encouraging all provinces and territories, even those who do have the resources to produce their own materials, to try to include at least some elements of the “Don’t Dis My Ability” campaign in their October awareness month activities and media in order to reinforce a national message.

In addition to the “Don’t Dis My Ability” focus, there will be a sub-focus on adults for those provinces who wish to go in that direction. Lorrie Goegan of our committee emailed out the Ontario materials from 2018, including four posters and a press kit, to a list of provincial and territorial contacts earlier in June. The 2019 refreshed images will be sent out when they are ready in August. Provinces and territories are encouraged to develop their own press releases etc. The Ontario ones are just intended as examples, and the national office will not be creating press releases.

Bob Cram –Chair
Members: Lorrie Goegan, Brendan O’Neill, Claudette Larocque, Brent MacPherson

Provincial/Territorial Updates

Manitoba

Bob Cram –Chair Members: Lorrie Goegan, Brendan O’Neill, Claudette Larocque, Brent MacPherson

Events and Other News

Many teachers feel unprepared to help students with learning disabilities. To assist such teachers, the U.S. National Center for Learning Disabilities and the organization, Understood, have recently developed a report for teachers on best practices to use to assist students with learning disabilities. The report is based on an extensive literature review of empirical studies and is available at https://www.ncld.org/forward-together.

Annual Educators Institute on learning disabilities, a bilingual conference from LDAO, August 20-21, 2019, Hilton Mississauga/ Meadowvale, https://www.ldatschool.ca/annual-educators-institute/about/.

27th Annual World Conference on Learning Disabilities, September 6-7, 2019, Houston, Texas, https://www.ldworldwide.org/conference-2018-info.

The 2019 Annual Conference of the U.S. Council for Learning Disabilities, October 3-4, 2019, San Antonio, Texas, https://council-for-learningdisabilities.org/2019-annual-conference.

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