Support “$200K for 200 Kids” and Transform a Child’s Life

Support “$200K for 200 Kids” and Transform a Child’s Life

Imagine this: You’re in elementary school and are asked to stand in front of your classmates to read a page from a book out loud. For one in 10 Canadian children who has a learning difference, like dyslexia, this can be a daunting task. At LDS, we believe that all children with learning differences should have access to the critical individualized education support they need to succeed in school and in life. That’s why we are raising $200K to provide learning support to at least 200 more vulnerable children in 2023. With your generous donation, you can transform a child’s life today! 

Your charitable donation to “$200K for 200 Kids” will help LDS and our dedicated expert instructors support 200 more students so they can catch up to their classmates, gain confidence, and achieve greatness their way. Until December 31, 2022, every dollar you donate will be matched by a generous LDS supporter, doubling your impact.

 

Corporate Philanthropy to Power Social Impact Locally

 

Does your organization have a corporate giving program? Consider LDS, Canada’s most comprehensive learning support, as your beneficiary charity this holiday season or as your Charity of the Year for 2023. 

As a corporate donor to “$200K for 200 Kids,” your organization will get: 

  • The assurance that your generous gift of education support will have a real and direct impact on the lives of children with learning differences in your community
  • Recognition on our LDS website and at our Learning Centres in East Vancouver and North Vancouver
  • Support for your corporate giving initiative. We’ll be happy to provide information on our programs for you to share with your staff and community, or possibly to attend an in-person or remote event with your team
  • Regular updates on our programs, student success stories, and community outreach initiatives through our Arise monthly newsletter
  • A donation receipt

Donating is easy. Just follow this link to access our donation form, which features options for individual and corporate donors.

We would be pleased to speak with you about building a relationship with you and your company; please get in touch with Rachel Forbes, Executive Director, directly at ED@ldsociety.ca or 604.345.9129.

For more information on “$200K for 200 Kids,” please visit our webpage here. 

Please share our webpage link with family, friends, and colleagues, tagging @ldvancouver (Facebook and Twitter), @ldsociety (Instagram), and #$200Kfor200Kids:  https://www.uniquelearners.ca/200kfor200kids/ 

As a registered charity (#108166307RR0001), LDS provides charitable donation tax receipts.

Sending a cheque? Please mail it to: LDS, 3292 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5M 1Z8. 

Catching Up with Hallie, a RISE TEAM Graduate

Catching Up with Hallie, a RISE TEAM Graduate

It’s been three months since Hallie, a 16-year-old high-school student from Fawkes Academy in Burnaby, was last at our East Vancouver Learning Centre, and a lot has happened since then. She is one of two RISE TEAM participants who, after having volunteered as junior leaders, were offered employment as Learning Centre Assistants last Fall. Hallie additionally had the opportunity to be part of the Early RISErs team from January to June as a Program Assistant. Working between 5-15 hours a week, she greeted visitors, answered phones, helped to create learning materials, prepared and cleaned up after snack time, and interacted with preschool-aged children and their families. She not only honed her professional skills (e.g., answering the phone professionally and learning to use a timesheet for the first time) but also worked on her interpersonal and social media skills.  

Building confidence was another key skill Hallie developed during her paid employment opportunity at LDS. This was evident in Hallie’s ability to share her experience with United Way staff members during a visit to LDS. Hallie’s ability to share her challenges and growth in terms of professional and personal development was an integral part of LDS receiving further funding for the RISE TEAM program. Since graduating from the program, she was able to secure more part-time employment and put all her newfound knowledge and experience to good use.  

“I worked at Playland in the summer, at the concession. They asked me if I could be a grill cook, so I did that, too,” Hallie explained, adding that she’d be back there for Fright Nights, Playland’s Halloween-themed experience.   

“I also took the babysitting course. I felt a little nervous at first because I was the oldest one there, but I got a score of 97.9% at the end of it.”  

It turned out that what she’d learned during the RISE TEAM program and EARLY RISErs work had translated well to babysitting and she was able to help look after a boy that her family knew very well—they carpooled together—and his younger sister, too. Despite some early reservations about the high level of responsibility that would come with the job, as an Autistic teen with ADHD and learning differences, she was able to interact well and care for the neurotypical children and give their mother some valuable support.  

Now a grade 12 student, Hallie is facing the challenges that come with that senior year and is determined to stay focused and keep working hard, traits that she partially attributes to being a Capricorn. To balance off the demands of school, she enjoys going to church every Saturday with her family and has a few hobbies, including baking and cooking, crossword puzzles, and, most of all, music and concertgoing. And she manages to find opportunities to learn and grow in everything that she does. Her latest task is: Get better at persuasive writing, not only to acquire a new skill but also to convince her father to let her attend yet another concert this year.   

About RISE TEAM 

The RISE TEAM program combines LDS Research-informed Individualized Student Education (RISE) with additional Training to advance their Employability, Abilities, or support Matriculation (TEAM). Thisinnovative employment readiness projectisdesigned to help teens with learning differences transition from high school to paid employment, training, or higher education. 

Thanks to generous donor funding from the United Way, LDS has spaces for students in grades 10 to 12 to complete the RISE TEAM program this school year. This includes paid work experience at LDS. 

To learn more about RISE TEAM, click here. You can also call us at 604.873.8139 or email info@ldsociety.ca 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assistive Technology: Harkla

Assistive Technology: Harkla

What is Assistive Technology? 

Assistive technology (AT) is any device, software, or equipment that is used to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability, including a learning difference. Technologies include hardware, or physical technologies that are kept on-site at our AT Studio, and software, or technology available via a computer that can potentially be used from home. To learn more about why and how LDS uses AT, head to our AT webpage.

What does Harkla do?

Harkla weighted blankets, weighted lap animals, and pressure vests provide calming sensory input to help create a perfect learning environment for LDS students. Harkla products can assist in calming and refocusing students who may struggle with sensory challenges such as ADHD. The use of weighted, calming products is supported by the science of Deep Pressure Therapy, which “helps to decrease nervous system activity” and encourages a feeling of calm and relaxation.”  

Harkla features:

  • Weighted Harkla products help students self-regulate emotions while in our AT Studio and Learning Centre. 
  • Products are thoughtfully designed for children and are easy to clean, odour and allergen-free, and durable. 

How can my child access Harkla? 

We offer Harkla as part of our AT Studio, a space dedicated to the collaborative use of leadingedge AT to help our students with learning differences. To learn more about how your child can benefit, email our AT Manager at AT@ldsociety.ca.

    —Rie 

    _________________ 

    Rie Stadnichuk (she/her) is the Digital Communications Specialist at LDS. A recent graduate from Simon Fraser University with a Communications and Economics degree, 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. 

    LDS presents recent research at the 14th International Development Coordination Disorder (DCD) Conference

    LDS presents recent research at the 14th International Development Coordination Disorder (DCD) Conference

    We are pleased to be attending and presenting our recent research at the 14th International DCD Conference, hosted by University of British Columbia’s Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy from July 6-9, 2022. Our Director of Education, Dr. Jenn Fane, will share with attendees the aim, details, and successes of our interdisciplinary early intervention program, Early RISErs, for children aged 3-5. 

    We would like to thank our Speech Language Pathologist, Penelope Bacsfalvi; Assistive Technology Manager, Mike Gray; Marlo Humiksi, instructor; and the University of Waterloo’s Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Laboratory for their support in integrating our socially assistive robots into our Early RISErs programming. We sincerely appreciate and value their continuous contributions to this program. 

    Some excerpts from our research poster presentation are provided below.

     

    MAIN FINDING 

    Interdisciplinary early intervention programming offers comprehensive supports and targeted referrals for young children and their families which help them to navigate the complexity of childhood health and education systems. 

    Introduction  

    Young children with developmental disabilities, such as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), Developmental Language Disorders (DLD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD), face significant barriers to participation in early years opportunities due to their unique challenges and needs. These barriers make it difficult for parents of young children to access the programming and professionals their children need to support their development.  

    Aims  

    To bridge this gap, we have piloted an early years parent-participation preschool-aged program that brings together Early Years Researchers, Speech Language Pathologists (SLP), Occupational Therapists (OT), Behavioural Interventionists (BI), Early Childhood Educators (ECE) and Kindergarten Teachers to create an inclusive program where children work with a range of professionals each week.  

    The program focuses on key areas important for young children’s development including speech and language, social skill development, and gross and fine motor skill development, early literacy and numeracy, and self-regulation.  

    Discussion  

    The program pilot has served dozens of young children and their families since autumn 2021 with a wide range of developmental disabilities, offering parents opportunities to connect, consult with, and be supported by early years professionals working with their children in an inclusive group setting. Through their participation in the program, parents gain a deeper understanding of their child’s strengths and stretches, and strategies that support their participation and integration into group educational settings.  

    Relevance to “DCD in the Real World”  

    Feedback from parents and other service providers suggests that integrating DCD focused screening and support into an interdisciplinary early intervention program is addressing a significant area of need for parents with young children with developmental disabilities who face barriers to participating in programs and services that meet their needs. 

    Program Details 

    LDS Early RISErs brings together Speech-Language Pathologists, Kindergarten teachers, Early Childhood Educators, Behavioural Interventionists, and Occupational Therapists to offer families a unique technology-embracing program that provides assessments, skill learning, parent networking and strategies to overcome children’s challenges by leveraging strengths. Early RISErs is an early childhood education and intervention program with parent/guardian participation that focuses on equipping families with knowledge about their young child and their learning and development to date. 

    The program, designed and facilitated by early childhood experts, focuses on key areas of learning and development including early literacy, early numeracy, speech language acquisition, social and emotional learning, and physical literacy to give families a detailed snapshot of their child’s learning and development to date, and engage young children in hands-on learning opportunities carefully scaffolded to individual child’s needs. 

     

    You can find the link to our full poster presentation here.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Assistive Technology: MindMeister

    Assistive Technology: MindMeister

    What is Assistive Technology? 

    Assistive technology (AT) is any device, software, or equipment that is used to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability, including a learning difference. Technologies include hardware, or physical technologies that are kept on-site at our AT Studio, and software, or technology available via a computer that can potentially be used from home. To learn more about why and how LDS uses AT, head to our AT webpage.

    What does MindMeister do?

    MindMeister is a web-based platform that allows for mind mapping—a visual representation of thoughts and ideas. This software lets you make Mind Map bubbles containing text and images, arrange them, and connect them with lines, to help organize and capture ideas a student may have. Mind Maps can be used to organize thoughts, make To Do lists, brainstorm, schedule, and so much more. And because it is an online platform, Mind Maps can be used on any device and used collaboratively on projects.  

    MindMeister features:

    • Customizable bubbles with colour, images, videos, emojis, notes, links, and more to help you stay organized.  
    • A wide range of templates that help you get started with various topics like homework planning, brainstorming, and To Do lists. 
    • The Magic Wand button adds images, videos, or notes matching the content of your bubble.   
    • The History tool allows you to see all previous versions of your Mind Map and revert back to any of them.   
    • The Presentation button allows you to quickly and easily show off your creation, bubble by bubble. 

      How can my child access MindMeister?

      Our RISE Assistive Technology Studio is supported by our thoughtful and generous LDS technology sponsors, including MindMeister. Like all our assistive software tools, LDS offers MindMeister to our students and their families for use in lessons, in school, and at home. To claim your free copy of MindMeister, please email our AT Manager at AT@ldsociety.ca. You can also request an LDS assistive software virtual tour to get an in-depth introduction to our assistive software suite.  

      We also offer MindMeister in our East Vancouver AT Studio, a space dedicated to the collaborative use of leading-edge AT to help our students with learning differences. To learn more about how your child can benefit, email our AT Manager at AT@ldsociety.ca.

        —Rie 

        _________________ 

        Rie Stadnichuk (she/her) is the Digital Communications Specialist at LDS. A recent graduate from Simon Fraser University with a Communications and Economics degree, 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. 

        Inclusive Language Toolkit from Stigma-Free Society

        Inclusive Language Toolkit from Stigma-Free Society

        We are very proud to have worked with the Stigma Free Society to contribute to a fantastic resource, the Stigma-Free Glossary. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the types of language to use when referring to an individual from a specific community or identity category. It provides a wide variety of definitions and terms to educate readers about inclusive language. At LDS, we continuously work on ways to be more inclusive and welcoming; the Stigma-Free Glossary is a great tool that enables us to practice this and help others practice this on a day-to-day basis.  
         
        As SFS acknowledges in their materials, not all terms are universally preferred by everyone within a community and we urge you to always ask what terms people prefer and be open to learning about their preference. Self-determination is key for inclusion to advance. 
         
        To learn more about how to use more inclusive language, check out the Stigma-Free Glossary here

        Assistive Technology: Live It Earth

        Assistive Technology: Live It Earth

        What is Assistive Technology? 

        Assistive technology (AT) is any device, software, or equipment that is used to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability, including a learning difference. Technologies include hardware, or physical technologies that are kept on-site at our AT Studio, and software, or technology available via a computer that can potentially be used from home. To learn more about why and how LDS uses AT, head to our AT webpage.

        What does Live It Earth do?

        Live It Earth is a Canadian company, based in BC, that produces programs for home and school classrooms that inspire kids to care for the world around them and empower them to act. Live It incorporates Indigenous perspectives and a deep appreciation for the natural world into all their content.  

        Live It Earth features:

        Each month during the school year, Live It builds a lesson around a theme, like the Arctic, Caribou, or Forest Fires.
        Around this theme, they prepare: 

        • A 20-minute educational show. 
        • An informative slideshow. 
        • In-house experts to interact with users and answer questions via Twitter. 
        • Teacher resources to encourage participation. 
        • 4 weekly challenges designed to get students involved. These challenges include a science challenge, a reading challenge, a creative challenge, and a game. They are designed to get kids engaged with the world around them, away from a screen, and using whatever materials and tools they have around them. Live It Earth curates their questions and challenge submissions on Twitter through the hashtag #LiveItEarth, and often features user submissions in their programming. 

        How can my child access Live It Earth?

        Our RISE Assistive Technology Studio is supported by our thoughtful and generous LDS technology sponsors, including Live It Earth. Like all our assistive software tools, LDS offers Live It Earth to our students and their families for use in lessons, in school, and at home. To claim your free copy of Live It Earth, please email our AT Manager at AT@ldsociety.ca. You can also request an LDS assistive software virtual tour to get an in-depth introduction to our assistive software suite.  

        We also offer Live It Earth in our East Vancouver AT Studio, a space dedicated to the collaborative use of leading-edge AT to help our students with learning differences. To learn more about how your child can benefit, email our AT Manager at AT@ldsociety.ca.

          —Rie 

          _________________ 

          Rie Stadnichuk (she/her) is the Digital Communications Specialist at LDS. A recent graduate from Simon Fraser University with a Communications and Economics degree, 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. 

          Assistive Technology: FocusCalm

          Assistive Technology: FocusCalm

          What is Assistive Technology? 

          Assistive technology (AT) is any device, software, or equipment that is used to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability, including a learning difference. Technologies include hardware, or physical technologies that are kept on-site at our AT Studio, and software, or technology available via a computer that can potentially be used from home. To learn more about why and how LDS uses AT, head to our AT webpage.

          What does FocusCalm do?

          Focus Calm is a wearable, brain-sensing headband and app that provide simple, scientifically developed exercises and games to train your brain to lower feelings of stress while staying alert and focused. FocusCalm monitors brain waves and other biological signals to determine levels of stress, focus, and calm. It offers simple games and guided mediation to expose the brain to various conditions and activities while striving for the FocusCalm state. LDS students benefit from FocusCalm as they practice gaining control over their mindset and improve their mental health. LDS students can download the FocusCalm app or visit our AT Studio to try it out for themselves.  

          FocusCalm features:

          • Focus Calm headband measures brain activity to provide immediate feedback in easy-to-understand numerical scores. Combined with the app, it scores mental activities from 0 (most active) to 100 (most calm) and the goal is to complete the activity while keeping the score as high as possible. 
          • FocusCalm is designed to track long-term progress to ensure users get the most out of their meditation practice. The FocusCalm app provides daily challenges, brain games, and guided meditation that improve the ability to regain focus and remain calm—especially important for students who may feel overstimulated or overwhelmed with learning materials.  
          • FocusCalm also offers a Tracker so the mental state can be monitored during any activity.

          How can my child access FocusCalm?

          We offer FocusCalm as part of our AT Studio, a space dedicated to the collaborative use of leadingedge AT to help our students with learning differences. To learn more about how your child can benefit, email our AT Manager at AT@ldsociety.ca.

            —Rie 

            _________________ 

            Rie Stadnichuk (she/her) is the Digital Communications Specialist at LDS. A recent graduate from Simon Fraser University with a Communications and Economics degree, 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. 

            How we build fairness and equity into our fee structure

            How we build fairness and equity into our fee structure

            Thanks for clicking on this link to learn more about how we set our fee structure for families we work with. Our goal is for our fees to be fair, equitable, consistent and accessible; this post helps to explain how we achieve that. 

            As you are likely aware, LDS is a nonprofit charity with a mission to provide high-quality, individualized, comprehensive learning supports to children, youth and adults to help them build the skills and confidence they need to succeed in life. We take that mission seriously, and so we are always looking at ways to ensure our services are inclusive and accessible for everyone, including financially.  

            That commitment to accessibility is why all of our services are offered on a sliding scale that takes into account net household income. 

            The ‘full fee’ amount that we charge is still a subsidized rate that does not fully cover our costs as an organization. We work hard to fundraise via several dozens of grants and many hundreds of donations every year to ensure our fees are kept accessible. At the same time, we need to make sure we are bringing in enough revenue via donations, grants and fees that we can afford to pay the team of experienced, caring, specialized and dedicated instructors and staff that deliver our programs and services.  

            So, even when a family is being offered a $10, $15 or $70 an hour sliding scale fee, we at LDS are working to subsidize the balance of that hourly fee – potentially including by requesting you work with us to obtain third party funding via CKNW Kids Fund or Variety Children’s Charity, as those are also critical components of our budget.  

            In 2020 we made a very small fee adjustment, and in 2021 our fees held stable. In light of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, inflation, and our need to retain the professionals in our team that we all rely on for specialized service, in 2022 we have adjusted our fee scale. We say adjusted because, although the top range of fees has increased, we made significant efforts to adjust the different levels of our fee scale to make these steps more consistent and have also added another option for families whose household income is less than $30,000 annually. Again, we strive for fairness, equity and accessibility across the scale and across our programs and we feel these changes help us achieve that.

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            In addition, we are always seeking out special funding opportunities to make some of our programs further accessible and sometimes free of charge to qualifying students and families. We are constantly scrutinizing our processes and practices to ensure that we are operating as efficiently as possible to keep our costs down.  

            If you have any questions or concerns about our fee structure, our other grant-funded programs and initiatives, or would like more information, please reach out to us anytime.  

            Thanks kindly for your time reading this and continuing to be a valued part of the LDS community. It is our honour to be working with you and your family; please always feel free to reach out to let us know how we can better serve you. 

            Yours truly,  

            Rachel Forbes 
            Executive Director

             

            Assistive Technology: Oculus Quest

            Assistive Technology: Oculus Quest

            What is Assistive Technology? 

            Assistive technology (AT) is any device, software, or equipment that is used to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a person with a disability, including a learning difference. Technologies include hardware, or physical technologies that are kept on-site at our AT Studio, and software, or technology available via a computer that can potentially be used from home. To learn more about why and how LDS uses AT, head to our AT webpage.

            What does the Oculus Quest do?

            At LDS we are always looking for engaging ways to instruct our students, including the use of innovative technology. The newest addition to our AT studio, the Oculus Quest is a cutting-edge, allinone, virtual reality headset. LDS staff and instructors are developing ways to use virtual reality to help students visualize and learn about history, math, science, and culture in an unprecedented fashion. 

            Oculus Quest features:

            • Engaging gameplay
            • Learning through fun

            How can my child access Oculus Quest?

            We offer the Oculus Quest as part of our AT Studio, a space dedicated to the collaborative use of leadingedge AT to help our students with learning differences. To learn more about how your child can benefit, email our AT Manager at AT@ldsociety.ca.

              —Rie 

              _________________ 

              Rie Stadnichuk (she/her) is the Digital Communications Specialist at LDS. A recent graduate from Simon Fraser University with a Communications and Economics degree, 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. 

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