LDS Access: Our Very Own “Magic School Bus” Comes to LDS!

LDS Access: Our Very Own “Magic School Bus” Comes to LDS!

LDS Access: our very own “Magic School Bus”


Have you ever wanted to take a ride with Ms. Frizzle on the Magic School Bus? Well, LDS is thrilled to announce the next best thing: LDS Access, a clean-energy mini-bus! 

LDS Access is Canada’s first electric mobile classroom service, coming to a neighbourhood near you soon! LDS Access will offer outreach services—including our Research-informed Individualized Student Education (RISE) and Assistive Technology (AT)—to children and youth with learning differences.  

Did you know that besides providing learning support services in our East Vancouver and North Vancouver Learning Centres, LDS also works in community schools across the Lower Mainland? That’s right, our highly specialized instructors go right into schools to help students! When the pandemic first came to BC, families at these schools not only had to cope with school closures, but many children also lost access to the RISE programming they received from LDS.  

LDS consulted with our community to develop a solution to the critical challenge of getting educational support to the children who need it the most. After significant discussion, we developed LDS Access—an outreach program operating as a “classroom on wheels.”  

LDS worked with local companies, Green Power Motor Company and National Graphic Solutions Inc. (NGSI), to create a customized, clean-energy mini school bus to support vulnerable children and youth with learning and related disabilities—our very own Magic School Bus! 

Award-winning artist Carson Ting was inspired by the LDS Access initiative. As a child, Carson had struggled with a learning disability and received special education, and he was excited for the opportunity to give back to the community. Along with his design firm, Chairman Ting, Carson created a bright and colourful external mural that wraps around the bus, capturing the essence of LDS’s mission, vision, and values.  

LDS Access also incorporates ground-breaking social robotics programming developed in partnership with the University of Waterloo’s Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Laboratory (SIRRL), as well as state-of-the-art assistive technologies (AT) provided by 16 AT sponsors, including Microsoft Accessibility, Mind MeisterTexthelp, and others.  

With the help of our network of educational, community, technology, and financial partners, we came together to create this unique, innovative, technology-enhanced learning support service for students most in need. 

What is LDS Access?

LDS Access is a classroom on wheels that brings RISE programming and AT devices, software, and equipment on the road to visit children with learning differences where they live. 

LDS Access features: 

  • Operates in spaces such as school and Community Centre parking lots and other publicly accessible spaces in underserved neighbourhoods. 
  • Serves communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19, namely those with a high percentage of families who face intersectional socio-economic barriers, including financial, language, disability, or educational barriers. 
  • Adapts our service—which is already financially accessible—so that it can be physically accessible for those who cannot get to our Learning Centres and for whom remote learning is not appropriate. 
  • Provides customized solutions and assistive technologies (AT) that improve student learning outcomes. 
  • Ensures physical distancing and additional COVID-19 protective measures through the design elements of the mobile classroom.  

Want more access to LDS Access?

To learn more or to sign up for a tour of the bus, please visit our LDS Access webpage 

To learn about LDS’s other assistive technologies or our AT Studio—a space dedicated to the collaborative use of leading-edge AT to help our students with learning differences—please email our AT Manager at AT@ldsociety.ca. 

Assistive Technology: Lexilife’s Lexilight

Assistive Technology: Lexilife’s Lexilight

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 Lexilight do?

Lexilight is a reading-aid desk lamp that can significantly reduce symptoms of dyslexia when reading printed texts. Dyslexia is a common learning difference that affects the brain’s ability to process language. Those affected have normal intelligence but have challenges identifying speech sounds and relating letters and words.

Our in-person students affected by dyslexia can use the Lexilight in their lessons to improve their comprehension and comfort while reading. Innovative lighting technology combines both pulsated and modulated light to reduce the impact of dyslexia for many readers, allowing them to read faster, longer and with less eye strain. 

Lexilight features:

  • Adjustable dials on the rear of the lamp allow you to control the pulsation and modulation of the light that reduces the mirroring effect many children with dyslexia experience.  
  • Dual function Classic light and Lexilight modes. 
  • High quality LED lights for improved colour rendering and lightwave settings for better contrast

How can my child access the Lexilight?

We offer the Lexilight as part of our AT Studio, a space dedicated to leading-edge AT technology and the collaborative use of it to help our students with learning differences. To learn more about how your child can benefit, email our AT Manager at AT@ldsociety.ca [Link to email] 

    —Rie 

    _________________ 

    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. 

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    Assistive Technology: SMART Technologies’ SMART Board

    Assistive Technology: SMART Technologies’ SMART Board

    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 SMART Board Do?  

    The centrepiece of our AT Studio, SMART Technologies’ SMART Board is an industry-leading interactive display whiteboard that offers tools for LDS instructors to take their teaching to the next level. SMART Board offers a ton of effective and easy-to-use tools to make learning fun and engaging for in-person and remote learning. Built-in software allows instructors to personalize their lessons and access materials with ease, making the delivery of lessons easier and more effective than ever before.  

    SMART Board Features: 

    • 20 points of touch – Allows multiple users and tools like eraser, marker, and timer, to be used simultaneously. 
    • Built-in Android – Instructors can quickly access One Drive, Google Drive, teaching materials, and personalized tools. 
    • SMART Ink – Draw, annotate, and write on any type of document or webpage. Also allows users to move/erase notes, save files, and convert notes to text. 
    • SMART Learning Suite – Enables students to learn remotely by logging into an online classroom with an instructor via the SMART Board screen. Additionally, a SMART Board screen can be shared via Zoom for remote lessons.  
    • Supports all major computer operating systems (Windows, ChromeOS, Mac).

    How to access the SMART Board?

    We offer the SMART Board as part of our AT Studio, a space dedicated to the collaborative use of leading-edge assistive technology 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. 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. 

      Our Assistive Technology Studio—a supportive space to enhance the learning experience for our students

      Our Assistive Technology Studio—a supportive space to enhance the learning experience for our students

      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 at@ldsociety.ca to learn more. 

       

      —Rie 

      _________________ 

      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. 

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