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. 

Press Release: LDS Launches Mobile Classroom Service, Providing Learning Support Access to Kids Most in Need

Press Release: LDS Launches Mobile Classroom Service, Providing Learning Support Access to Kids Most in Need

LDS Launches Mobile Classroom Service, Providing Learning Support Access to Kids Most in Need

Vancouver, September 7, 2021 – Today, the Learning Disabilities Society (LDS) announced a new mobile outreach program, LDS Access, intended to work as a ‘classroom on wheels’ which will ensure access to critically needed learning support services in the Greater Vancouver region.  Hitting the road this summer, the mobile classroom enables access to LDS specialized support for children and youth with diverse abilities, in their own neighbourhood, eliminating barriers such as transportation access or financial circumstances.

“Our new LDS Access initiative furthers our commitment to provide accessible and inclusive support to all children and youth in our region with diverse abilities and to transform their lives through learning,” said Dr. Jennifer Fane, LDS Director of Education.  “Our mobile classroom service will ensure that students with access challenges can receive our one-to-one instruction from our highly skilled instructors and support from our comprehensive LDS assistive technology suite in locations close to where they live.”

The mobile classroom, housed in a clean-energy electric mini-bus, is the first of its kind in B.C. and its design reflects public health guidelines for the pandemic.  Special care has been taken in the mobile classroom design, including the addition of barriers between instruction units and modification of windows to ensure maximum airflow, to ensure compliance with all COVID-19 related safety protocols.

Many families have been severely challenged through the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those with children with special needs, and the LDS Access program will provide them with the same high-quality, one-to-one RISE (research-informed individualized student education) instruction provided at its leaning centers and in supported schools.  

“We were overjoyed to learn about the new LDS Access mobile classroom service,” said Lauren, whose son struggles with a diagnosed learning difference. “We have experienced challenges accessing specific services for our son and LDS Access will be able to provide local support for our son previously unavailable to us.”

LDS Access is funded by a recent $250,000 donation. LDS is grateful to its thoughtful and generous community of supporters who through financial and in-kind donations are enabling LDS to develop LDS Access and to continue its push for excellence in all areas providing accessible and inclusive support for children and youth in our region.

As a non-profit, Vancouver-based charity, LDS relies on donations and community support in order to sustain its programming and provide bursaries to families in financial need. Those interested in making a financial contribution to help vulnerable students with learning and related disabilities are encouraged to visit LDS’s Giving page: https://ldsociety.ca/giving/ .

 Media contact: 

Jenn Fane, PhD
Director of Education, Learning Disabilities Society 
778.789.8044 jennf@ldsociety.ca

About Learning Disabilities Society (LDS): 

Founded in 1970, LDS is a nonprofit charity that serves children with suspected or diagnosed learning disabilities by providing customized learning and related supports. LDS’s Research-informed Individualized Student Education (RISE) model enables students to understand their unique strengths, obtain support from specialized remedial instructors, and find success in the classroom and beyond. LDS is committed to making high-quality, affordable learning support accessible to all families, regardless of circumstance. 

Early RISErs for 3-5 yr olds: applications open now!Learn more!