Press Release: Vancouver Charity Expands Individualized Learning Support Services For Students Across B.C. with Learning Differences

Press Release: Vancouver Charity Expands Individualized Learning Support Services For Students Across B.C. with Learning Differences

Funding available to support costs for students from lower-income households

Vancouver, BC, Aug 17, 2021 – In response to the acute needs of children and youth with learning differences which during the COVID-19 pandemic has frequently translated to less learning support, the Learning Disabilities Society (LDS) is now enabling students across B.C. to receive online learning support  at home in time for Back to School. Fees for the program are on a sliding scale based on household income to ensure all students who require support receive it.

“For students with learning differences, the lack of access and resulting gaps they’ve experienced during the pandemic puts them at an increased risk of falling further behind their peers,” says Dr. Jennifer Fane, Director of Education at LDS. “Our programs focus on those gaps with individualized support also helping their self-confidence and passion for learning, which can have devastating knock-on effects if not addressed.”

The RISE at Home program combines online learning with personalized instruction. The sessions support vulnerable learners by utilizing dynamic and interactive software that enables LDS instructors to customize lessons based on the student’s needs, just as they would during in-person sessions. The format of the program now makes it available to students learning from home throughout B.C., including in regions currently underserved with learning support.

“We have been receiving frequent inquiries from families across B.C. wanting to access specialised learning services for their children that cannot be found in their area,” said Dr. Fane. “After a year of disrupted schooling, many families outside of major city centres are frustrated and worried as they see their child falling further behind and/or not being able to regularly access the support they need. Geography and transportation, just like financial position, should have no bearing on determining a student’s access to the learning supports they need to succeed.”

The program (RISE at Home BC) expands on a program launched in the Lower Mainland in March 2020, to enable LDS students to continue with their one-on-one instruction despite school closures. My daughter has been enjoying her sessions with our tutor using TutorCruncher and LessonSpace, it’s almost a better way to interact for her as she is a “techie” kind of kid so anything on a computer she likes! Overall big thumbs up at this end,” said a parent of an LDS student.

Online delivery of our RISE method has been so successful that many students and families chose to continue online sessions even after our learning centres re-opened and could accommodate in person instruction.  

Along with customized instruction, LDS also provides additional resources and services for RISE students, including access to secure specialized educational software with interactive tools, a dynamic interface and access to our Assistive Technology software suite. Parents can also access resources and guides to further support their child’s learning, like informative videos, webinars, technology support and even family coaching.

“LDS is dedicated to excellence and intentionally expanding our service delivery across all of B.C. This is yet another way LDS is breaking down barriers to bring the highest quality, accessible and inclusive educational supports to those most in need and transform their learning and life outcomes,” says Dr. Fane.

Applications for RISE at Home BC are open now, with placements starting in September for the 2021-22 school year: https://ldsociety.ca/riseathome/ . Fees for the program are on a sliding scale based on household income.

For more information about the RISE at Home BC program, or LDS, please visit our website or contact our office at info@ldsociety.ca or 604.873.8139.

 

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. 

Press Release: Vancouver Charity Expands Individualized Learning Support Services For Students Across B.C. with Learning Differences

Top 5 reasons your child with learning differences needs LDS’s remote learning support – RISE at Home

RISE at Home program offers students aged 5 through 18 with a suspected or diagnosed learning difference one-to-one support with a qualified instructor. Working on an ongoing basis to improve student independence, confidence, and academic success. 

1) Proven Results.  

LDS students are catching up to their general classroom peers by a quarter or half grade level in one year! Learn more about our Research-informed Individualized Student Education (RISE) methodology here

2) High-quality virtual classroom.  

RISE at Home is offered through TutorCruncher and LessonSpace. These platforms are user-friendly, high-quality, secure, and interactive, giving our community the best remote learning experience possible. These systems facilitate the lesson without distracting our students and create a secure learning environment.  

3) Technologically advanced.  

At LDS we are using assistive technology to enhance best practices in our teaching and student learning and to further the accessibility and inclusiveness of our support. We are carefully identifying and assessing potential assistive technologies for specific use in individual student’s learning plans to maximize the benefit to each student. 

4) Holistic approach to learning.  

We coordinate with parents and guardians, classroom and resource teachers, counsellors, psychologists, family doctors, pediatricians and other professionals to build a full picture of each student’s learning profile. Developing customized learning plans and practicing meticulous instructor matching for each unique student. 

5) Accessible and Inclusive. 

LDS is dedicated to providing equitable and affordable access to learning support for all students. Thanks to the ongoing generous support of our donors, grantors and sponsors, we are able to connect qualifying families with external bursaries as well as provide an internal bursary fund to help subsidize the cost of our programming to families in need. Learn more about our funding options today.  

What our families are saying…  

“My son is enjoying his time with his Instructor. He appreciates the ability to see and speak with her and working on a variety of activities to keep his interest. During these uncertain times, the consistency of this tutoring session is helpful to maintain his motivation.” 

“My daughter has been enjoying her sessions with our tutor using TutorCruncher and LessonSpace, it’s almost a better way to interact for her as she is a “techie” kind of kid so anything on a computer she likes! Overall big thumbs up at this end. We’ll certainly sign up for regular sessions when they become available.” 

“My son is enjoying his time with his Instructor online and is quite interested in using TutorCruncher, he feels like he is learning something new which keeps him engaged!” 

How RISE at Home offers the highest quality online instruction experience

How RISE at Home offers the highest quality online instruction experience

When COVID-19 came to Canada, our educators had to find innovative solutions to new challenges. In March of 2020, the LDS team worked around the clock to transform our in-person instructors into online instructors so we could continue to provide the same RISE (Research-informed Individualized Student Education) instruction that our families had come to expect. After dedicating hours to researching the right online platform for our students and their families, we launched our RISE at Home online learning through TutorCruncher and LessonSpace 

We chose TutorCruncher with the full student experience in mind. Far from the surface are the nitty-gritty detailsscheduling, invoicing, timesheetspersonal and organization-wide calendars, reporting to parents and to staff, data tracking, apps that sync people, apps that sync appsWe can also all rest easily knowing that the limited data that’s stored in TutorCruncher is on Canadian servers, is in line with Canadian privacy laws, and adheres to the highest data privacy standards (the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)). Choosing the right software was essential. TutorCruncher helps us coordinate the system that surrounds the student. With software to simplify our operations, we can minimize our resources devoted to administration and maximize developing more resources for families 

TutorCruncher is more than a business management system. Integrated into each scheduled lesson is an interactive whiteboardLessonSpacewhere our instructors and students meet. Many features of LessonSpace will feel familiar. We can see and hear each other through video calls, similar to FaceTime or Skype. On the interactive whiteboard, we can collaborate on schoolwork and the individualized lessons designed by our instructors. Using a collaborative whiteboard may be new for many of our students, but don’t worry. This one is easy to get started and easy to use. And after each session, parents can access lesson reports to keep updated on their child’s progress.  

The online whiteboard is “1-click connect.” It literally walks into a virtual classroom. Your paper and pencil are waiting. Screensharing on the whiteboard is like watching your instructor work out a problem on paper. It has separate tabs, just like turning to a new chapter in a book. It even has built-in graph paper for everyone working on their math skillsEven though it’s online, it feels familiar.  

Together, TutorCruncher and LessonSpace are user friendly, high-quality, secure and interactive—giving our kids, families, and instructors the best experience possible. These systems facilitate the lesson without distracting our students and create a secure learning environment. And they help LDS make learning accessible to more families in our community. 

Our mission is to empower the unique strengths of our students. The foundation of this service is employing instructors with diverse skill sets. Behind our capacity to individualize student learning is our ability to connect students with instructors experienced in creating a unique experience for each of their students, as no two students are the same.  

We find ourselves in a different world these days. Developing our online community is no longer just about keeping our students safe, it is also about keeping our services accessible. When it is important—or even just more convenient—for a child to learn from home, LDS will be there with RISE at Home.

We will continue to research and investigate new modes of teaching.  It is a great time for fostering creative solutions, and we look forward to joining you online via RISE at Home to keep our kids learning! 

Do you have questions, comments or feedback on RISE at Home? Want to find out more information about how we can help your child who has a suspected or diagnosed learning disability? Please get in touch at info@ldsociety.ca or 604.873.8139 ext. 102.

RISE one-to-one instruction is now open for applications!

RISE one-to-one instruction is now open for applications!

Our in-person and online RISE one-to-one instruction program is now open for applications!

Steps to Apply:  

Step 1: Read this blog

Step 2: Review all program details for in-person instruction or online instruction.

Step 3: If you still have questions after reading about our program, please contact our team at info@ldsociety.ca  

Step 4: Apply! Fill out the application form.

About our RISE program

In our Research-informed Individualized Student Education (RISE) program, students work one-to-one with a qualified instructor on ongoing, remedial support, explicit instruction, tutoring and homework support.  

The goal of this program is to improve student independence, confidence, and academic success.  

When do RISE sessions start?

Our 2021 academic year begins on September 13th and we aim to start our students then. Due to the high volume of applications we receive, we will not be able to start every student on September 13th, but placements will continue throughout the semester. Sessions are generally 50 minutes long and are offered Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 7:00 pm and Saturdays between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. Most students attend 2 sessions a week. 

Where are RISE sessions held? 

RISE one-to-one instruction is offered in-person at our East Vancouver Learning Centre and our North Vancouver location 

Not able to make it to one of our Learning Centres? No problem! 

Our RISE at Home program offers the same quality one-to-one instruction we offer in-person and delivers it virtually to your home via our dynamic, interactive online platform. Learn more about RISE at Home and how to get support no matter where you’re located in BC. Parents and guardians, please apply for one-to-one support through our online application form and select “RISE at Home BC” under program location.  

How much does it cost?

We operate on a sliding scale fee model to ensure our services are accessible to all families. We can discuss detailed fees and bursary support options during your intake interview. If your net household income (the amount you receive after taxes and deductions) is below $90,000 you are eligible for bursary support, so please indicate this where relevant in your application.  

How does the application process work?

Once you have filled out the application form, you will be added to our scheduling and invoicing platform TutorCruncher to begin our intake process (watch for a welcome email from TutorCruncher). We will reach out via the contact information you provide us to set up a time for an Intake and Assessment appointment. At this appointment, the LDS team will get to know you and your child better, gather information to understand your child’s learning needs and begin the process of matching them with an instructor. 

We look forward to reviewing your application! 

Vancouver Charity Offers a Specially Designed Intensive Intervention Program to Support Students with Learning Differences in ‘Getting Ahead’ before the 2021-2022 School Year

Vancouver Charity Offers a Specially Designed Intensive Intervention Program to Support Students with Learning Differences in ‘Getting Ahead’ before the 2021-2022 School Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

PDF version here

Vancouver, B.C., May 18, 2021 – In response to the prolonged effects of COVID-19 protocols on children and youth with learning differencestoday, the Learning Disabilities Society (LDS) announced a newly designed researchinformed intensive intervention program being offered beginning this summerRISE Intensive Intervention is designed to address skill gaps remaining at the end of the 2020-2021 school year and support students with learning differences in both ‘catching up’ and ‘getting ahead’ for September. 

“After over a year of learning disruptions throughout the pandemic, students with learning differences are at increased risk of falling further behind their peers,” says Dr. Jennifer Fane, Director of Education at LDS. “This may jeopardize not only their educational progress but also their self-confidence and passion for learning, which can have devastating knock-on effects.” 

Concerns around the disruption of educational services for children with learning differences are also echoed by the BC Teacher’s Federation, who in an April 2021 news release, identified that school districts facing pandemic-related budget deficits may need to reduce or eliminate additional education supports and services for students. There is a fear these cuts will disproportionally impact students with disabilities, complex learners, and other vulnerable students.i 

“Fortunately, with the support of a generous grant from Vancouver Foundation, we at LDS have been able to develop a program that ensures these students are not left behind – regardless of family circumstance,” explains Rachel Forbes, Executive Director at LDS. “Our research-based program provides an assessment of student needs and 50 hours of customized in-person, one-to-one remedial instruction to specifically meet the literacy and mathematics needs of each student. We are confident that this program, together with our team’s holistic ongoing support, can prevent unnecessary learning declines and build back confidence in our community’s most vulnerable learners.” 

RISE (Research-informed Individualized Student Education) Intensive Intervention program will run this July and August, offering students aged 6 through 18 with suspected or diagnosed learning differences an engaging and individualized intensive program that identifies and targets the grade level skill gaps that have emerged or widened during the past school year. The program offers individualized, focussed, and supportive one-on-one instruction to build student skills and confidence. Before the onset of the program, students’ learning needs are formally assessed, and students are carefully paired with specialized remedial instructors who can address their learning needs and goals.  

Applications for the program are open now available at: https://ldsociety.ca/rise-intensive-intervention/. Fees for the program are on a sliding scale based on household income; generous bursary support has been made possible by Vancouver Foundation.  

For more information about the RISE Intensive Intervention program, or LDS, please visit our website or contact our East Vancouver office at info@ldsociety.ca or 604.873.8139. 

                                                                                                                      — 30     – 

Media contact:  

Rachel S. Forbes  
Executive Director, Learning Disabilities Society  
604.345.9129 ed@ldsociety.ca  

About Learning Disabilities Society (LDS):  

Founded in 1970, LDS is a non-profit charity that serves children with suspected or diagnosed learning disabilities by providing customized learning support. 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.  

About Vancouver Foundation: 

Vancouver Foundation is Community Inspired. Their vision is to create healthy, vibrant and livable communities across BC. Vancouver Foundation does this by bringing together generous donors and linking their contributions to important work that addresses the needs of our communities. Vancouver Foundation is considered a local, regional, national, and international leader in responsive and proactive grantmaking and community capacity-building initiatives and collaborations. For a view into Vancouver Foundation’s world, visit www.vancouverfoundation.ca. 

 

LDS in the News

Our online RISE at Home one-to-one instruction, RISE Assistive Technology, and other programs that have helped us enhance our accessibility have received significant media attention. Check out some of our favourite media features below.

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September 23, 2021 –  Global News Morning host Paul Haysom spoke with LDS Director of Education Dr. Jennifer Fane about LDS Access, Canada’s first electric mobile classroom. 

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September 23, 2021 – Dr. Jennifer Fane, LDS’s Director of Education spoke about LDS Access with CTV about our mobile classroom outreach service that provides our RISE learning support and Assistive Technology to children and youth in neighbourhoods where they live. 

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September 22, 2021 – CKNW Radio’s Morning with Simi show, spoke about LDS Access, our new mobile classroom outreach service. Simi Sara reports, “what a great program, the mobile learning program for kids, I just think kids would love that.” Click here to listen to the whole segment. 

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September 21, 2021 – Jill Bennett from 980 CKNW Radio interviews LDS Director of Education, Jennifer Fane PhD about LDS Access our mobile classroom outreach service that provides our RISE learning support and Assistive Technology to children and youth in neighbourhoods where they live.

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September 16, 2021 –  Jennifer Thuncher reports about LDS Access. Click to read the whole story from The Squamish Chief. 

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September 14, 2021 –  Aaron Hinks reports about LDS Access. Click to read the whole story from Surrey Now-Leader.  

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September 14, 2021 – “The bus will visit LDS students in hard-to-reach communities throughout Metro Vancouver, including Surrey,” Aaron Hinks reports about LDS Access. Click to read the whole story from Peace Arch News.  

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September 13, 2021 – Rebecca Bollwitt author of Miss604, writes about the importance of LDS’s new mobile outreach program, LDS Access. 

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September 6, 2021 – CBC On The Coast’s Gloria Macarenko interviews LDS’s Director of Education Dr. Jennifer Fane about the challenges children with learning differences have faced during the pandemic and how RISE at Home program can help. 

September 5, 2021 – Global News Morning BC interviews LDS’s Director of Education Dr. Jennifer Fane about LDS’s RISE at Home, a remote remedial learning program that is now available BC-wide.

August 28, 2021 – Fraser Valley News interviews LDS’s Director of Education Dr. Jennifer Fane about LDS’s RISE at Home program that is now available BC wide.

May 19, 2021 – Kitsilano.ca highlights our Covid Catch-up Fund helping kids across BC with learning differences who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.  

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September 22, 2021 – CKNW Radio’s Morning with Simi show, spoke about LDS Access, our new mobile classroom outreach service. Simi Sara reports, “what a great program, the mobile learning program for kids, I just think kids would love that.” Click here to listen to the whole segment. 

CBC logo

September 22, 2021 – CKNW Radio’s Morning with Simi show, spoke about LDS Access, our new mobile classroom outreach service. Simi Sara reports, “what a great program, the mobile learning program for kids, I just think kids would love that.” Click here to listen to the whole segment. 

CBC logo

September 21, 2021 – Jill Bennett from 980 CKNW Radio interviews LDS Director of Education, Jennifer Fane PhD about LDS Access our mobile classroom outreach service that provides our RISE learning support and Assistive Technology to children and youth in neighbourhoods where they live.

CBC logo

September 16, 2021 –  Jennifer Thuncher reports about LDS Access. Click to read the whole story from The Squamish Chief. 

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September 14, 2021 –  Aaron Hinks reports about LDS Access. Click to read the whole story from Surrey Now-Leader.  

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September 14, 2021 – “The bus will visit LDS students in hard-to-reach communities throughout Metro Vancouver, including Surrey,” Aaron Hinks reports about LDS Access. Click to read the whole story from Peace Arch News.  

CBC logo

September 13, 2021 – Rebecca Bollwitt author of Miss604, writes about the importance of LDS’s new mobile outreach program, LDS Access. 

CBC logo

September 6, 2021 – CBC On The Coast’s Gloria Macarenko interviews LDS’s Director of Education Dr. Jennifer Fane about the challenges children with learning differences have faced during the pandemic and how RISE at Home program can help. 

September 5, 2021 – Global News Morning BC interviews LDS’s Director of Education Dr. Jennifer Fane about LDS’s RISE at Home, a remote remedial learning program that is now available BC-wide.

August 28, 2021 – Fraser Valley News interviews LDS’s Director of Education Dr. Jennifer Fane about LDS’s RISE at Home program that is now available BC wide.

May 19, 2021 – Kitsilano.ca highlights our Covid Catch-up Fund helping kids across BC with learning differences who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.  

December 31, 2020 – Our Executive Director, Rachel Forbes, was interviewed by Global News on how the pandemic has reduced our ability to raise funds while increasing the need for our services. 

December 16, 2020 – Global News featured LDS as part of its Month of Giving Back. In this feature, our Executive Director Rachel Forbes speaks about our mission and our efforts to continually increase our accessibility and services to support more children and youth.

December 15, 2020 – The Vancouver Sun profiles LDS’s new assistive technology programs to help keep high quality research-based learning supports accessible for all children with learning differences.

December 3, 2020 – RISE TEAM at LDS received a grant to increase accessibility and community inclusion, from the BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction

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July 5, 2020 – CBC News in British Columbia includes our summer camps in their list of recommended camps with improved hygiene protocols for COVID-19.

May 14, 2020 – The Georgia Straight profiles LDS’s RISE at Home remote learning program, and invites families to apply for the service.

May 8, 2020 – The BC Catholic writes about the challenges of online learning for students with learning differences, and highlights how RISE at Home is helping students and parents navigate this challenging time.

April 4, 2020 – PIQUE magazine lists LDS as an online learning resource for children with learning challenges.

April 2, 2020 – Rachel S. Forbes’ OpEd was published in the Province, discussing how we all need to support vulnerable learners during COVID-19.

April 1, 2020 – Article written by Howard Wu. RISE at Home is listed as one of the valuable resources for families during the COVID-10 Pandemic.  

April 2020 – Our Kids listed RISE at Home in the resource list for Virtual Kids’ camps and programs – learning and growing online, during social isolation. 

March 30, 2020 – Mornings with Simi Sara on CKNW News Radio interviewed our Executive Director Rachel Forbes about the launch of RISE at Home.

March 29, 2020 – Our Executive Director Rachel Forbes spoke with CTV Vancouver about our new online learning tool RISE at Home for at-home learning. We were able to adapt and launch this program quickly in response to COVID-19 social distancing measures.

March 29, 2020 – Diane Strandberg reports on how we are offering RISE at Home to help children while they’re away from the classroom. 

March 27, 2020Richard Zussman speaks with our Executive Director Rachel Forbes on Global News Vancouver, highlighting our RISE at Home online, dynamic one-to-one instruction platform as one of the ways vulnerable learners can be continued to be supported during a transition to online school for all students.

The Learning Disabilities Society Partners with the University of Waterloo to Study the Benefits of Social Robot Interaction with Children with Learning Disabilities

The Learning Disabilities Society Partners with the University of Waterloo to Study the Benefits of Social Robot Interaction with Children with Learning Disabilities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

PDF version here

Vancouver, B.C., November 30, 2020 – Today, the Learning Disabilities Society (LDS) announced partnership with the University of Waterloo’s Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Laboratory (SIRRL) to study the potential for assistive robot technology incorporation in programfor children with suspected or diagnosed learning disabilities and related disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, auditory processing disorders, ADHD and others.    

Through partnership with SIRRL, LDS is expanding its assistive technology program to incorporate developments in state-of-the-art assistive robotics with multiple potential benefits that include increased engagement, improved speech language progress, enhanced social-emotional learningand enhanced accessibility during periods with restrictive COVID-19 protocols 

By partnering with the University of Waterloo SIRRL, we will have the opportunity to study the incorporation of leading-edge social robotics technology that has been used successfully to advance social skills and emotion control with children with cognitive disabilities including autism,” said Rachel ForbesExecutive Director, LDS. The results of our collaboration could make a transformative difference in the learning outcomes for our student community. 

University of Waterloo’s SIRRL was founded in 2018 by Professors Kerstin Dautenhahn and Chrystopher Nehaniv to pursue advancements in social robotics, human-robotic interaction, cognitive and developmental robotics and embodied artificial intelligence. The goal of SIRRL’s research is to advance knowledge in social and intelligent robotics and to develop robots that can make a positive contribution to human society. Lead investigator Dr. Dautenhahn, Canada 150 Research Chair in Intelligent Robotics, has studied human-robot interaction for over 20 years, including extensive work with robots working together with human instructors to teach children social skills in ways not possible with only human instructors.  

am excited to partner with the Learning Disabilities Society to investigate assistive robot interaction with students with learning and related disabilities,” said Professor DautenhahnCo-Director SIRRL. “During my research over the past 20 years I have observed remarkable engagement of children with autism with assistive robots that the children found highly approachable. am excited to extend this work to now include students with learning and related disabilities and to incorporate our findings into individual programs with very material, positive impact. 

LDS and SIRRL plan to commence a pilot assistive robot study with students at LDS Learning Centre starting in 2021 with significant potential for program expansion over time. The partnership furthers the efforts of LDS and SIRRL to ensure accessibility and inclusiveness of educational support for all children and youth with special education needs. 

LDS is grateful to its thoughtful and generous community of supporters who through financial and in-kind donations are enabling LDS to develop and expand its assistive technology offerings for children and youth.  

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 Contacts:  

Rachel S. Forbes
Executive Director, Learning Disabilities Society
604.345.9129 ed@ldsociety.ca
https://ldsociety.ca

Dr. Kerstin Dautenhahn
Director of SIRRL, University of Waterloo
519-888-4567 x314155
kerstin.dautenhahn@uwaterloo.ca
https://uwaterloo.ca/social-intelligent-robotics-research-lab/

 

Resources:

Photos available (SIRRL): https://uwaterloo.ca/social-intelligent-robotics-research-lab/ or via ed@ldsociety.ca 

Video available (LDS RISE-AT) https://ldsociety.ca/assistivetechnology/  

Video available (SIRRL Beyond Human) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re4g6hxzSDE&list=PLawkBQ15NDEne8Gt2kzdmSjew5NmgDoIQ 

About Learning Disabilities Society (LDS):  

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

About University of Waterloo Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Laboratory (SIRRL):  

SIRRL was founded in August 2018 when Professors Kerstin Dautenhahn and Chrystopher Nehaniv moved from the United Kingdom to University of Waterloo. SIRRL research is situated in the fields of social robotics, human-robot interaction, cognitive and developmental robotics and embodied artificial intelligence. SIRRL is on a journey to discover fundamental principles and mechanisms that can make robots more socially intelligent, as well as enabling them to interact with people in a trustworthy and efficient but also “natural” and socially acceptable manner. The goal of SIRRL’s research is to advance knowledge in social and intelligent robotics and to develop robots that can make a positive contribution to human society. 

 

Local Charity Provides Children with Learning Disabilities Access to Leading Edge Assistive Technologies to Help Them Excel in School and Life

Local Charity Provides Children with Learning Disabilities Access to Leading Edge Assistive Technologies to Help Them Excel in School and Life

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

PDF version here

VANCOUVER., November 23, 2020 – Today, the Learning Disabilities Society (LDS) announced the launch of its RISE Assistive Technology Program (RISE-AT) which incorporates an impressive collection of leadingedge assistive technology hardware and software tools to assist children and youth with learning disabilities and social-emotional challenges 

LDS is a local non-profit charity that currently provides Research-informed Individualized Student Education (RISE) programming to students with suspected or diagnosed learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, auditory processing disorders, ADHD and others.  LDS is now furthering the accessibility and inclusiveness of its support with the launch of RISE-AT to provide students with additional opportunities to leverage their individual strengths. RISE-AT is helping LDS instructors teach more effectively, promote greatestudent engagement, and enhance student learning and progress. 

am extremely proud to be collaborating with our growing list of 15 technology company sponsors to be able to offer this exceptional collection of assistive technology educational supports to our students,” said Rachel Forbes, Executive Director, Learning Disabilities Society. “After doing extensive research on how assistive technology is being used effectively with children with learning differences around the world, we have assembled a group of software and hardware tools that will not only provide our students new tools and strategies for academic success, but will also help build their engagement, confidence and ability to self-regulate.” 

To further inspire community engagement and access, LDS has built its RISE-AT Studio which showcases leading-edge assistive hardware and software tools and is available for public access and trialLDS’s goal is to inspire a collaborative community of technology users and developers to advance assistive technology innovation and adoption to support the advancement of accessible and inclusive education for those with special education needs.  

Highlights of LDS’s current RISE-AT offering include: 

  • A large format interactive SMART Board and SMART software from SMART Technologies used for in-person and online instruction;  
  • Read&Write by Texthelpa powerful software tool that offers a range of literacy support features to help students create and engage with content across all grade levels and subjects, allowing them to optimize their own personal learning styles to meet their full potential; 
  • Mindmeister by MeisterLabsan intuitive visual mind mapping tool that assists students with their creative thinking, self-regulation, organization and planning; 
  • BeeLine Reader by BeeLine Reader, a software system which adds colour gradients to digital text to improve reading ability and focus; 
  • Juno by FrontRowan auditory and voice command system that boosts listening, participation, confidence, and comprehension; 
  • Grammarly by Grammarly, software tools for digital writing assistance; 
  • Echo SmartPen by Livescribe, a handwriting tool that transcribes written notes to digital text and voice; 
  • C-Pen Reader by Scanning Pens, a text-to-speech scanner specially designed for individuals with dyslexia;   
  • Lexilight by Lexilife, a specially designed reading aid lamp for individuals with dyslexia; 
  • A large screen monitor and 12 Surface Pros donated by Microsoft that facilitate access to RISE-AT software tools; and  
  • Calming and meditation toolsincluding Muse by InteraXon, Focus Calm by BrainCo, calming weighted accessories from Harkla, and other manipulatives and technologyenhanced accessories that will make up our multi-sensory calming room. 

Melanie, whose daughter in Grade 3 has a diagnosed learning disability, appreciates LDS’s researchbased, technology-enhanced approach: “Coming from a research background myself, I value that LDS’s instruction and methodology is based on the latest research, and that my daughter can access learning supports including assistive technology that are at the forefront of what’s available for students with learning differences.”  

“Our company is honoured to be partnering with LDS to help students with learning differences,” says Jeffrey Kassa of MindMeister. “We are excited to see the real life impact that our creative and flexible software tools can have on the learning outcomes of children and youth with learning differences.” 

LDS is grateful to its thoughtful and generous community of supporters who through financial and in-kind donations are enabling LDS to rapidly develop and expand its assistive technology offerings for children and youth in Greater Vancouver and virtually throughout BC.  

As a charity, we serve many families who are disproportionately affected by the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Forbes. “With LDS RISE-AT we further our commitment to ensure that all children and youth have continuous access to research-based learning supports of the highest quality and integrity 

As a non-profit, 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 access RISE-AT are encouraged to visit LDS’s Giving page: https://ldsociety.ca/giving/  

 

Media Contact:  

Rachel S. Forbes 
Executive Director, Learning Disabilities Society 
604.345.9129 (mobile) ed@ldsociety.ca 

 

Technology Company Contacts (contact details available on request): 

  • Laura James, FrontRow 
  • Jeffrey KassaMindMeister  
  • Alek Kolga, SMART Technologies  

Resources: 

About Learning Disabilities Society (LDS):  

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

 

 

LDS’s research-informed approach provides customized remedial programming that effectively meets student needs

LDS’s research-informed approach provides customized remedial programming that effectively meets student needs

Authors: Melissa Sager, Associate Director of Learning Support at Learning Disabilities Society, with support from Dr. Nancy Perry, Professor and Dorothy Lam Chair in Special Education, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education  

At Learning Disabilities Society (LDS), our instruction programs follow our unique Research-informed Individualized Student Education methodology (RISE Method). Developed from our intake process, BC’s Curricular Core Competencies, a broad array of research-based instructional strategies, and ongoing assessment of student learning, our RISE Method supports the learning strengths and stretches of each of our students through customized programming.  

Our Instructors offer a wide range of teaching and tutoring experiences in our centres, online learning platforms, and host schools. Our staff includes BC Certified Teachers, Special Education Assistants, Orton-Gillingham certified instructors, Speech-Language Pathologists, graduate-level subject matter specialists, and experienced inclusive education tutors.  

LDS Instructors are passionate about teaching and gifted in building rapport with students. The Learning Support Team works closely with them to design programs that encourage growth and mastery of specific skills, with the goal of helping students move more confidently towards independence, and gain empowerment through self-regulated learning.  

One of the core principles of our RISE programming is the high level of importance placed on really getting to know the students we support. We learn about our students’ unique interests, develop a comprehensive understanding of their learning profiles, and work as a team to make informed and meaningful decisions on their behalf. These decisions range from making Instructor-student placements, to choosing the most appropriate research-based curricula and/or effective teaching frameworks to promote optimal engagement through learning.  

As learning and teaching theories evolve over time to keep up with a world that is constantly changing, LDS conducts ongoing research to stay current on the most effective, research- and evidence-based methodologies and programs. We offer numerous programs and curricular options to our Instructors, and they receive ongoing training and case management from our Learning Support team, from internal and external professional learning opportunities, and from each other.  

Most importantly, we understand there is no one-size-fits-all approach to setting students up for success. LDS always considers requests from families or schools regarding specific instructional strategies, including Orton-Gillingham approach, but recognizes there also are other programming options that may be equally or more effective for students, depending on their unique learning profile and interests.  

“Learning Disabilities Society draws from a deep pool of instructors with diverse training and experienced learning support managers to provide their multi-method RISE programming that is grounded in current education research. I commend their offering of a wide range of programming options that are current, ‘state of the field’ and enable optimization of each remedial program design. Importantly, Learning Disabilities Society has diligently followed a holistic approach to instructor training, remedial program development and student assessment to deliver comprehensive individualized support that is ideally suited to each student’s needs.” – Dr. Nancy Perry, University of British Columbia Professor and Dorothy Lam Chair in Special Education  


LDS is proud to do customized intake and program design to match the unique literacy, numeracy, and executive functioning needs of our students.
 

 

LDS’s portfolio of program and curriculum options include:  

  • Sound Partners – A research-based tutoring program that provides individual instruction in early reading skills.  
  • REWARDS – A powerful research-based, short-term, and specialized program for adolescent students in grades 4–12 who struggle reading long, multisyllabic words and comprehending content-area text.  
  • Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) – The Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) model combines instructional strategies with a means to self-regulate. The goal is to teach the strategies that students need in order to write, while supporting them to be motivated.  
  • Orton-Gillingham – A direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy when reading, writing, and spelling does not come easily to individuals, such as those with dyslexia. 
  • Step Up to Writing – A multisensory, explicit, and systematic approach to teaching writing that is designed to provide clear strategies, methods, and supports for increased student success.  
  • Words Their Way – Based on years of research into invented and developmental spelling, the classroom-proven framework of this successful series is keyed to the five stages of spelling and orthographic development.  
  • Making Words – Making Words fosters high-order thinking skills and requires students to apply phonemic learning. This strategy builds holistic understanding of language by exploring how sounds form words and words form ideas.  
  • JUMP Math – An evidence-based program that has produced significant improvements in students’ achievement and attitudes in math.  
  • PR1ME Math – PR1ME Mathematics is a world-class program based on effective teaching and learning practices of Singapore, Republic of Korea and Hong Kong – consistent top performers in international studies.  
  • Dynamic Math – Guided workbooks and practice material that supports the BC Math Curriculum.  
  • The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) – World-renowned for providing evidence-based social skills treatment to preschoolers, adolescents, and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, and other socio-emotional problems.  

 

 

Press Release: Children With Learning Disabilities Can Learn At Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic Thanks to a New Online Platform 

Press Release: Children With Learning Disabilities Can Learn At Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic Thanks to a New Online Platform 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Learning Disabilities Society’s RISE at Home supports vulnerable students 

Vancouver, B.C., March 25, 2020 ─ Today, the Learning Disabilities Society (LDS)—in the face of COVID-19 related school closures and physical distancing—announced the launch of RISE at Home, a new, innovative online learning platform providing students with learning disabilities one-to-one at-home instruction. This tool will be available beginning March 30th, when students were set to return to the classroom following Spring Break. LDS is a local non-profit charity which provides programming to students with suspected or diagnosed learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, auditory processing disorders and others. 

“Consistent learning support is especially critical for students with learning disabilities,” said Rachel Forbes, Executive Director, Learning Disabilities Society. “By designing a system that combines online learning with personalized instruction, we can provide some of the much-needed engagement and continuity that not only curtails potential regression through a break from school, but positively impacts learning.” 

LDS’s RISE at Home (Research-informed Individualized Student Education) sessions support vulnerable learners by utilizing dynamic and interactive software that enables LDS instructors to customize lessons based on the needs of students, just as they would during in-person sessions. The new format of the LDS RISE at Home program makes it available to students learning from home throughout Greater Vancouver. 

In keeping with its mandate of ensuring that high-quality learning support is available to all students, regardless of circumstance, LDS offers bursaries to families in need. The pricing structure is based on a sliding scale model to make it accessible to all who need it. 

Responding to the needs of its community at this critical time, LDS is providing additional services through RISE at Home including: 

  • Access to secure specialized educational software with interactive tools and a dynamic interface at no extra cost
  • Increased instructional hours, Monday through Saturday 9am to 7pm
  • An online library to support families in effective home learning, including videos, technology support and webinars (e.g. Walk a MileInMy Shoes on April 1 and Disability Tax Credit on April 23 http://ldsociety.ca/event/). 

Eva Cipera, whose daughter in grade 7 has a diagnosed learning disability, has already been using the RISE at Home program. She was granted early access during the program’s trial phase. “The system that LDS has set up is a rich, dynamic platform. It is great to see the potential to integrate all sorts of media, templates and resources that can enhance the online lesson,” she says. “My daughter found it very intuitive to use.” 

“Our team of instructors and staff are very pleased to offer ongoing individualized educational support to our community, helping to provide resources and structure at a time when families are feeling multiple pressures,” said Forbes. “RISE at Home is one more way LDS is diversifying its services to ensure we are empowering all students with learning challenges. We are now able to take these technological tools and apply them to our RISE & Tell and RISE & Solve Summer Camps to ensure that programming continues regardless of our ability to meet in groups come July.” 

LDS is grateful to its thoughtful and generous community of supporters who through financial and in-kind donations are enabling LDS to rapidly develop and expand its online services platform and offer RISE at Home to children and youth in Greater Vancouver. 

As a non-profit, LDS relies on donations and community support in order to sustain its programming and provide bursaries to families in need during this challenging time. Those interested in making a financial contribution to help vulnerable students access RISE at Home are encouraged to visit LDS’s Giving page: http://ldsociety.ca/giving-2/. LDS is doing its best to ensure that all families are supported during this time; they encourage families to visit their website for learning resources or if they don’t have access to the internet to call LDS offices for support. 

– 30 – 

Media Contact: 

Rachel S. Forbes 
Executive Director, Learning Disabilities Society 
604.345.9129 ed@ldsociety.ca 

About Learning Disabilities Society (LDS): 

Founded in 1970, LDS is a non-profit charity that serves children with suspected or diagnosed learning disabilities by providing customized learning support. LDS’s Research-informed Individualized Student Education (RISE) program enables students to understand their unique strengths and find success in the classroom. The organization is committed to making high-quality, affordable learning support accessible to all students, regardless of circumstance. 

LDS RISE at HOME in the News

Click the links below to see the latest press coverage.

Global News – March 27, 2020

CTV News  – March 29, 2020

TriCity News – March 29, 2020

CKNW with Simi Sara – March 30, 2020

The Province – April 1, 2020

 

 

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