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Summer 2021

A Message from the Chair

Warm and sunny days of summer are upon us – and just in time as the country opens up to new freedoms after the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful for the high vaccination rates and for the hard efforts from everyone to contain the spread of this virus and its variants. Pandemic or no pandemic, our dedicated professionals and volunteers in our LDA network continued to provide the essential support to our families throughout these challenging times. We are also grateful for their dedication. Before we know it, we will be back to in person learning and work in the fall. Enjoy the summer!

Thealzel Lee
Chair, Learning Disabilities Association of Canada

A Message from the Executive Director

We have been very active at the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada during the last quarter. We have recently completed our national virtual conference, which surpassed all expectations. We had over 400 delegates online, five sponsors, and amazing content from experts in academia from across Canada. It goes to show that our initial hunch that there is a hunger for connecting research with practical application in the classroom for Canadian teachers, who are passionate about helping kids with learning disabilities, is indeed a priority for many.

Our amazing program included:

  • Dr. Linda Siegel from the University of British Columbia speaking on challenges in terms of early intervention to prevent reading difficulties;
  • We then continued the program with Dr. John McNamara of Brock University who spoke about examining interventions for students with specific reading disorders;
  • Melanie Grice, a teacher with the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board, spoke about effective teaching strategies to support reading and writing

Other great sessions included those by Dr. Daniel Ansari of Western University, Sarah Hamilton on issues of numeracy and Karen McMillan as well as Kim MacLean on issues of executive functioning and strategies to support executive functioning self-regulation.

The recordings of all of the sessions are now available for all of our P/T partners, and we invite you to connect with us if you are interested in getting recordings of these sessions.

With the success of this event, we are looking forward to the next number of months when we will be preparing for October and Learning Disabilities Awareness month. With the backing of our wonderful sponsors and partners and the success of this last event, we are very confident that we can drive more awareness and appreciation for the challenges faced for those with a learning disability.

As we go into the summer session, I encourage you to reach out and build with us a truly national association of which you too can be proud.

Mark Buzan
Executive Director, LDAC

Committee Reports

Research Committee

This Research Committee report summarizes and provides a link to a webinar by a panel discussion by six education faculty from Memorial University of Newfoundland addressing strategies to support online teaching and learning.

Strategies to Support Online Teaching and Learning:
Insights from a Panel Discussion with Education Faculty at Memorial University
By Gabrielle Young, Christine Arnold, Saiqa Azam, Alireza Moghaddam, Kimberly Maich, and Sharon Penney

Memorial University offered a survey to students to gather their capabilities and needs for the upcoming semester that was to be instructed remotely or through online courses. Major themes addressed the desire for lecture recordings, online notes, and a detailed schedule of course activities and course requirements.

When online college students do not succeed in their online courses it often is attributed to getting behind, having personal problems, or having difficulty balancing work and family responsibilities.

To be successful in online learning, students need to:

  • create a schedule – by starting with your school timetable, adding in your work schedule, and scheduling down time;
  • eliminate distractions – by setting goals, working on one thing at a time, and studying in shorter bursts;
  • overcome procrastination – by planning out your time, setting a realistic goal, and breaking down your work into smaller tasks; and
  • set up a study space – by setting the scene, making the space comfortable and ergonomic, and staying organized.

In this webinar, panelists discuss:

  1. strategies for maximizing and generalizing learning through an inverted classroom approach, experiential and problem-based learning pedagogies, and various multimedia software applications;
  2. maximizing online/remote learning through synchronous and asynchronous sessions through a flipped classroom approach and various multimedia interactive technologies;
  3. strategies to support online/remote education; and
  4. the importance of understanding yourself as a learner; planning, organization, and setting realistic schedules; and breaking down tasks over a period of time.

This webinar will be of interest to teachers, students, parents, and others involved in online teaching and learning and can be accessed at:

https://www.ldanl.ca/learning-in-a-time-of-covid-strategies-to-support-online-teaching-and-learning/

Provincial/Territorial Updates

Quebec

Learning Disabilities Institute – Quebec
First of all, the team at the Institute would like to thank you for your trust and support further to the success of our 3-day online annual conference that brought together some 1,700 education and health professionals.

Turning to the present:
47th Conference
Save the date! Our next conference will be held online March 23-25, 2022. To be informed of our programming, please complete the form here:
English Form / French Form

Training for camp monitors and managers
It’s official, day camps will be open this summer! Whether you are a camp manager, monitor or counselor, do not miss our 3-hour pre-recorded training session (in French) to better support youth with learning and related disabilities.
Learn more about this training

Free resources for parents
– A new workshop has just been posted online (in French): Learning with a learning disability: 4 skills to develop
This workshop will enable you to become familiar with the executive functions and help your child better cope with executive challenges.

– To keep things simple, our videos featuring all the tips and advice from our experts are stored on a single page.
If you have not viewed them yet, they are available in French here and in English on our Youtube channel.

Yukon

LDA Yukon will be running our regular, albeit modified for health regulations, summer programming of camp and tutoring. We will have summer camps in both Whitehorse and Dawson City. Much of our tutoring takes place in our offices; some is now being done online. And we are very pleased to be able to welcome Dr. Gavin Reid (North Vancouver) back to the territory for a ten-day Educational Psychological assessment clinic in early summer.

Yukon Education recently released their Review of Inclusive and Special Education:
https://yukon.ca/sites/yukon.ca/files/edu/edu-inclusive-special-education-final-report-2021.pdf

We will work with our partners (Yukon Teachers’ Association, Yukon First Nations Education Directorate, and Autism Yukon) to push for much needed changes and improvements to be implemented.

Our workplace-based AURORA Workshops (https://www.auroraworkshops.com) have created two new workshops:

  • Instructional Skills Lab (2-3 days, in person or online)
  • 20 Brain-Based Tips for Less Terrible Zoom Meetings (2 hours – online only!)