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October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.


Learning Disabilities Awareness Month is a time when people pay special attention to children and adults with learning disabilities.

One in 10 Canadians live with a learning disability. Some people may think that learning disabilities are due to a lack of intelligence or laziness. However, children with learning disabilities regularly have average to above average intelligence, but may have weaker neurological processes that can be strengthened through evidence-based instruction.

What does the term learning disabilities really mean?

Learning Disabilities refer to a number of disorders that may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information. These disorders affect learning in individuals who otherwise demonstrate at least average abilities essential for thinking or reasoning.

Learning disabilities result from impairments in one or more processes related to perceiving, thinking, remembering or learning. They range in severity and may interfere with the acquisition and use of oral language, reading, written language, and mathematics. Learning disabilities may also involve difficulties with organizational skills, social perception, social interaction, and understanding the perspectives of others.

Types of Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities affect people differently; a child may have more than one learning disability and each one may range from mild to severe.

Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects how someone processes language. This commonly affects reading, writing and spelling. Some children may have trouble with one of these, but others may have trouble with all three. 

Dyscalculia is a learning disability that affects math skills and concepts. Someone with dyscalculia may, for example, have trouble remembering math facts, understanding concepts of time, reading numbers and grasping math concepts. 

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects written expression. Someone with dysgraphia may have difficulty with handwriting, grammar and organizing their ideas, either within sentences or across a range of paragraphs. 

Executive Function Difficulties is a learning disability that affects organization and memory. It is a lack of skill set to get things done. Executive Function helps one to pay attention and manage time. Students with poor executive function need help to organize research. They have trouble deciding which of two or three tasks to do first. They have difficulty changing tasks or working on one project for a long period of time.

ADHD is a disorder that can affect learning and may hinder a child’s success at school because they have trouble paying attention.

How are learning disabilities diagnosed?

A learning disability is diagnosed by a psychologist.  The psychologist may diagnose a child with a disability when there is “unexpected underachievement” in reading, writing or math skills, despite average to above average intelligence.

If a child is diagnosed with a learning disability, the next step is to create a suitable accommodation plan. An accommodation plan is specific to your child’s needs; planning and service delivery work best when parents and students are active participants in the process. Fear is the great disabler.  Fear is what keeps children from realizing their potential. A child who receives support through an individualized education plan and specialized environment gains confidence with each success, and little by little learns to replace “I can’t” with a feeling of “I can.”

James Cameron School is a strong advocate when it comes to helping spread awareness about learning disabilities this October.

JCS Tips for Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

  • Differentiation doesn’t mean lowering the bar. It means building the framework so that all of our students can reach the bar.
  • We always assume all students can learn!
  • Students with learning disabilities frequently shut down when faced with new or challenging tasks. Our proven approach and teaching method introduces small amounts of new info at a time.
  • We reduce the steps, give instructions in small chunks, and don’t interrupt the thinking process.

 

James Cameron School continuously accepts new student registrations throughout the entire school year.

This means parents can register at any time during the school year. The sooner James Cameron can begin to support your child, the earlier your child can begin to achieve success. Waiting for the new school year to begin is not always the best option.

We encourage parents to get a private psycho- educational assessment of their child at their first opportunity. 

James Cameron School is an affordable, warm, vibrant school community that understands children with learning challenges. For over 30 years we’ve been preparing children to achieve their potential in school and in life.

Please contact Penny, our school principal, for a consultation.