LDS is committed to providing exceptional learning support and remedial instruction for our students with learning differences. Whether that’s by providing accessible education through internal and external bursary funding or by investing in innovative tools for delivering instruction, we continually search for ways to engage students. This has led to the creation of programs and opportunities unique to LDS.
In 2020, we looked to innovate and find new tools to help our students overcome educational barriers as in-person instruction was restricted by public health orders, school closures, family comfort levels, and the periodic need to self-isolate. From this need, we developed RISE at Home and began seeking new technologies that could help students. Thus, the seed was planted for a supportive space centred on enhancing the learning experience for our students—an idea that grew into our Assistive Technology (AT) Studio.
What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technologies are software and hardware tools designed to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability, including a learning difference. Examples of tools include specialized reading lights to help with dyslexia (Lexilight) and writing software to help students with their written output (Grammarly). Our AT Studio now has 16 different AT tools for our students to use.
How does Assistive Technology help children with learning differences?
LDS families have noticed a difference in their children’s learning experiences, outcomes, and confidence. We can provide these tools in-person and at home, expanding the scope of accessibility. Assistive technology can empower students, provide greater independence, stimulate engagement, improve learning outcomes, and enhance emotional and social development.
“My son has shown an interest in writing well in his school assignments and often has me help him edit an assignment before it is due. He has been very open to using Grammarly as an integrated tool in Microsoft Word and often uses it as he is writing and as a final check before he hands it in. Between the help he gets from me and the extra support of Grammarly, he is able to hand in well-polished writing that he feels a deep sense of pride in. For a child with a written expression disorder, it is really fantastic to see him use the tools available to him and flourish!” —LDS parent
How can I learn more about Assistive Technology?
To further our commitment to sharing the successes, programming, and tools available for students and creating awareness and accessibility, we are starting a new blog series that will feature one of our assistive technology tools each month. If you know a child with a learning difference who could benefit from these tools, please reach out to email@example.com to learn more.
Rie Stadnichuk (she/her) is the Digital Communications Specialist at LDS. Currently studying Communications and Economics at Simon Fraser University, she hopes to use this opportunity as a way of exploring meaningful work in the field. She is passionate about social issues and creating environments of inclusivity and open dialogue. Rie graciously lives and works on the unceded territory of the Syilx people.