Find the answers to the most common questions we receive below. If you can’t find the information you need, please call us at 604.873.8139 or email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org
The term “learning disability” was first introduced in 1963 and refers to brain-based differences that significantly hinder an individual’s ability to acquire, organize, retain, understand or use verbal and non-verbal information. Examples include dyslexia (reading), dysgraphia (writing), dyscalculia (math), dyspraxia (movement), auditory processing or other processing disorders, ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder), mild to moderate ASD (autism spectrum disorder), and other executive function challenges.
For some, the term “learning disability” can have negative connotations or stigma suggesting an individual weakness. Outside of medical or academic settings, the common preference now is to use the term “learning difference,” which has the same meaning but recognizes the individualized nature of learning and also allows more space to recognize differences as potential strengths.
At LDS, wherever possible, we use the term “learning difference” to highlight the rich and diverse ways that individuals learn.
Identifying a learning difference (LD) can be challenging, especially at an early age. Some of the common signs that an individual may have a learning difference include:
- Difficulty in reading and/or writing
- Challenges with math
- Distractedness and/or memory lapses
- Challenges following multi-stage directions
- Challenges with telling time
- Difficulty staying organized
Formal assessments, such as psychoeducational evaluations (sometimes called “psych-eds”), can provide a formal diagnosis of a LD or other neurodiverse issues, but may be subject to long wait-times and material cost. At LDS we are able to offer other helpful assessments in-house, often called “Level B” assessments, such as KTEA-3, and we can also refer LDS students with specific learning profiles for psychoeducational assessments or neuro-psych assessments through our partners at UBC PSCTC.
Our comprehensive programs span the full development cycle from ages 3 to adult and offer a holistic approach to academic and social-emotional development to ensure all individuals have the skills and confidence they need to realize their full potential.
Our RISE instruction programs target student-specific learning needs and provide one-to-one, specialized instruction that is progress monitored to ensure optimal adaptation to the needs of each individual learner. Details about each of our programs can be found here.
LDS instruction programs follow our unique Research-informed Individualized Student Education (RISE) proven methodology designed specifically to meet the needs of each individual student.
Developed from BC’s Core Competencies and research-based curricula, the LDS RISE method targets student-specific learning loss and educational needs and provides one-to-one, customized remedial instruction from highly skilled and specialized instructors under the guidance and case management of our learning support team.
We collaborate with leading universities to ensure that RISE incorporates the latest research and evidence-based approaches and provides the most effective learning support to students with learning differences.
Our carefully designed RISE programs are multi-curricula-based, incorporating Orton-Gillingham as one of many curricular approaches. We have found that our RISE multi-curricula approach achieves the most effective, individualized support for each student.
Our multi-year studies conducted with UBC show that LDS RISE students are catching up to their general classroom peers on average by up to ½ grade level per year with significant increases in self-confidence and self-esteem.
An LDS case manager forms a critical part of our carefully matched learning support team for each student.
Working together with our Director of Education and other specialists on staff, our case managers develop an individualized learning program for each student that identifies learning goals, curricula, and resources, including assistive technologies, as appropriate, that our instructors use to address specific skill gaps and learning needs.
Throughout the year, the case manager assigned to each learner provides a consistent first point of contact for students and families and, together with our instructor, develops assessments, progress monitoring, and reporting to ensure each student achieves sustained progress in their learning and development.
Working with our 17 technology company partners, LDS carefully identifies and integrates specific assistive technologies (AT) into our individualized support programs to enhance student learning and best practice in our teaching and to further the accessibility and inclusiveness of our support.
Examples of AT integrated into our lessons include software and hardware that enable visual organization of information, visual and auditory feedback of text, writing assistance, and screen-based reading enhancement.
We also now incorporate socially assistive robots in innovative ways into our lessons working with our partner, University of Waterloo, with remarkable success increasing student engagement and social-emotional learning.
We are typically open Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 7:30pm, and Saturdays from 9:00am to 5:00pm. During the summer we operate Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm.
We are pleased to receive and discuss your application with you at any time. School–year programming runs from September through June. We open applications for September in the spring and continue to accept students into our school–year programs until April. Applications for summer programming open in early spring for programs running in July and August.
Intake meetings may be conducted either via Zoom or in person. During your approximately 1 hour intake meeting our team will get to know your family better and speak with you about your child’s strengths and stretches and history of learning challenges.
Following your intake meeting, our team will review all of the information and documents you provided and carefully match your child with a specialized instructor based on your child’s learning needs and scheduling requirements.
We will then provide you with a session schedule and funding application assistance if needed.
At LDS we provide both informal and formal assessments. Our informal/Level A assessments provide grade-level estimates for reading, writing, spelling, and math.
Each LDS student receives an informal assessment at the beginning and end of the school year from their instructor. Our formal/Level B assessments, e.g., KTEA-3, are standardized assessments provided by LDS that indicate an individual’s grade-level performance in core subject areas including, reading comprehension, math computation, math applications and concepts, letter and word recognition, spelling, and written expression.
Through our partnership with UBC PSCTC, LDS can also refer individuals with specific learning profiles for a formal psychoeducational or neuro-psych assessment.
We carefully match each student with one of our skilled and experienced instructors taking into consideration each student’s learning, behavioural and social-emotional needs, and the diverse experience and training of our over 40 instructors.
Our LDS instructors include BC-certified teachers, special education assistants, Orton-Gillingham-certified instructors, speech-language pathologists, and experienced inclusive education tutors.
We recognize the importance of relationship building between our students and instructors and we endeavour to ensure that our students continue to study with the same instructor wherever possible.
At LDS, we place the educational needs of our students first. We design individualized programs and match students with instructors to meet each student’s learning needs.
Continuity of service and regular exposure to the learning methods crafted for each student are very important to ensure each learner receives the optimal benefit from their individualized program. To facilitate this, if there is a situation where a student is not able to attend a session in person or online, the LDS instructor will prepare a personalized take-home study package that can be completed on the student’s own time.
The personalized take-home study package may include video or audio recordings where possible. Please see our full program policies document, for more details on our attendance and continuity of learning practices.
LDS provides formal progress reporting toward learning goals twice per year. In January, we provide a mid-year progress report that covers a student’s academic, social, and emotional learning to date alongside set goals. At this time, we may also provide an updated intervention outline.
In June, we provide a comprehensive end-of-year report that covers full-year academic, social and emotional learning progress. As part of our holistic service approach, wherever possible, we encourage families to share our LDS reports with teachers, school administrators and other professionals working with your child.
In addition to formal progress reporting, our instructors complete and provide session reports after every lesson that include information about what was worked on and any notable achievements.
LDS Program Costs and Billing
Our one-to-one instruction full rate is currently $85 per session. All LDS program fees are determined on a sliding scale, meaning that fees are adjusted according to each family’s household income. We strive to be fair, equitable, consistent, and accessible in our approach to fee setting.
LDS fee payment schedules are program dependent. LDS one-to-one instruction program fees are paid on the first business day of the month following service; individual Speech Language Pathology or Social Language Group session fees are paid after each session; and group program fees for Camps and Early RISErs are arranged during intake.
All families are required to have a valid credit card on file, and all LDS fees are paid through our online invoicing system, TutorCruncher. Please note that individual credit card details are encrypted and held via Stripe and LDS does not retain credit card information.
Tax credits relating to educational services additional to the primary education of a person with a learning disability or impairment in mental functions are available for eligible families. Families interested to receive these tax credits should seek advice from an accounting professional with knowledge of tax provisions for persons with disabilities. Additional resources include:
T.J. Firenze at Firenze Financial Services Inc.
Please note that families may be required to provide proof of diagnosis by a medical practitioner or disability designation in order to certify that the support services are needed and qualify for the tax credits. LDS provides supporting documentation, including receipts for lesson fees paid, to families applying for disability tax credits.
Families who meet certain eligibility requirements related to household income and other criteria may apply for bursaries provided by third parties and LDS. You can read more on our webpage about funding here. External bursary providers to whom we refer families include CKNW Kids Fund, Variety Children’s Charity, Jordan’s Principle, and the Government of BC’s autism funding unit.