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.

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

CBC logo

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.  

 

 

How RISE at Home offers the highest quality all-round online instruction experience

How RISE at Home offers the highest quality all-round online instruction experience

Here we are in a brand new world with different challenges and new solutions. The LDS team has worked around the clock to transform our inperson instructors into online instructorsAfter dedicating hours to researching the right online platform for our students and their families, we’re excited to offer our RISE (Research-informed Individualized Student Education) 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, plus adheres to the highest data privacy standards (the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)). Choosing the right software was essentialTutorCruncher 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 new online whiteboard is “1 click connect“It literally walks into a virtual classroom. Your pencil and paper are waiting. Screen sharing on the whiteboard is just like watching your tutor 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 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 an individualized experience for each of their students, as no two students are the same.  

 

We have found ourselves in a changed world and since March, our transition has gained a new significance. Developing our online community now also keeps us safe. We will stay home and teach. We hope that you will stay home and learn. We will research, and we will investigate.  It is a great time for imagination, 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 – info@ldsociety.ca or 604.873.8139 x102 

 

 

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

 

 

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