In May 2021, Stuti, an education assistant (EA) student, joined LDS for her practicum. As an organization specializing in individualized remedial instruction for students with learning differences, this experience was slightly different from a public or private school-based practicum setting. We hoped that we could provide an eye-opening experience of the impact educational assistants and specialized instruction can have on students’ lives.
Stuti was a science teacher in her home country of India and has always enjoyed working with children. However, when she immigrated to Canada, her Indian qualifications did not allow her to work within the Canadian school system. In March 2020, due to COVID-19, she was laid off from her job, and it gave her a chance to reevaluate. She wanted to return to a career that brought her joy and fulfilment.
It wasn’t until Stuti began looking into education programs that she came across educational assistance and specialized instruction for students with learning differences. “Back in India, I saw very little concept of inclusive education,” says Stuti, but at LDS, Stuti saw how the theories and concepts she’d learned in her program apply in educational settings. “I wanted to be part of this difference.”
“I had ideas of what the common challenges of autism were, but I didn’t know in-depth, or what exactly the support systems can be and how lives can be improved,” says Stuti. “I am more excited now for being an EA.”
Stuti also kindly took the time to write about her experience in her own words:
What an experience! My EA Internship
Currently, I am pursuing Education Assistant Certification, for which I did my practicum with the Learning Disabilities Society in Vancouver, an experience that was invaluable in so many ways. I was given the opportunity to get involved even more than I ever imagined. My experience of working with LDS has been significant in terms of learning as well as building on my current skills. The LDS instructors are so professional, talented, creative, polished, and artistic. Every instructor gives their own magical touch to the lesson plan by introducing different strategies as well as diverse kinds of reinforcements, which make it more entertaining as well as engaging for the student.
The practicum experience was amazing. It challenged me in so many ways. I found myself participating, as well as applying my course knowledge in the field. I got the chance to learn in-depth about learning disabilities and how to address individual needs. Also, LDS gave me the opportunity to learn about new strategies which I had not heard of before, like the Orton-Gillingham approach and Phonological Awareness Screening Test (PAST). Working with students in different settings like online, one-to-one, or in groups has made me aware of the challenges that one may encounter and how executive functioning skills can help to overcome those challenges. Working with the LDS team has helped me add more tools to my toolkit, which in turn will help me successfully assist individuals with diverse needs. I feel grateful to the entire team for sharing their strategies with me and giving me an opportunity to practice them with students.
—Stuti & Rie
Stuti (she/her) joins LDS as an Education Assistant practicum student. Currently studying Disability and Community Studies at Douglas College, she hopes to use this chance to experience working with children with diverse abilities firsthand and gain a deeper understanding of what is it means to have a disability. She has two years of experience working as a science teacher in India. Stuti is passionate about education and believes everybody deserves an equal opportunity to receive it.
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.