Winter 2006 LD Advocate The Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario-London Region Destination: Employment 2 Message from the Executive Director The New Year has started with two positive items bringing encouragement and support for our staff and for the clients we serve. If you recall, we were visited by the CEO of LDA Gabor Maté 3 Ontario back in September. January opened with a visit by the Executive Director of LDA Canada, Pauline Mantha, and LDAC’s Project Officer, Diane Sullivan, who manages the national project Destination Employment. Their presence lifted our spirits and gave national A Workshop Worth Repeating recognition for the work we do in our community for those with learning disabilities. Andrea 4 arranged a meeting with two of our clients, and our guests found that to be a highlight of their visit. Introducing Jennifer Kicks The second item was an announcement by LDA Ontario of approval by the Trillium Foundation 4 for a two-year funding grant designed to make our programs more publicly accessible by Who are they? Volunteers expanding our use of technology. Our office will receive a new computer with a comprehensive software package including adaptive technology. Our staff will be trained by and Students at LDAO-LR Microcomputer Science Centre Inc, and then we will be able to offer community programs, 5 such as workshops for adults and students with learning disabilities, and parents, and training for teachers, summer programs, or other possibilities. We are waiting to learn whether Quantum and LDAO-LR: London will be part of the first or second stage of the project. Big Ideas at Work 5 Thank you to all our volunteers who willingly give their time to help us. Whether they are working with the students registered in our programs, helping us to run a monthly Bingo, or performing office duties, they are greatly appreciated by the staff and by our Board of Coming Events 6 Directors who themselves are volunteers. Thank you also to our new sponsors. Microcomputer Science Centre Inc., Paul “The Tutor” Rouble, Riverside Educational Services, and Quantum Communications Group Inc. have all made in-kind donations to support our programs and our marketing campaign. You will see these names on our award-winning website, www.ldalondon.ca. LDAO-LR Staff -Paul Thompson Andrea Craig, Resource Consultant, ex. 26 email@example.com United Way of London & Middlesex Announces Theressa Jetté, Program Coordinator, $6,576,814 Campaign Achievement ex. 24 firstname.lastname@example.org We at LDAO-LR offer our congratulations to United Way of London & Middlesex, who have Michaela McMahon, Communications once again surpassed their campaign goal and set a new record for the most funds ever raised and Development Coordinator, ex.25 by United Way in this community. email@example.com “The United Way Campaign is truly a community effort that brings people from all walks of Paul Thompson, Executive Director, life together to help those less fortunate,” says Dr. Paul Davenport, 2005 Campaign Chair and ex. 22 firstname.lastname@example.org President and Vice Chancellor of The University of Western Ontario, in a United Way press release. “Once again the people of London and Middlesex County have demonstrated their unshakable generosity and profound caring for their fellow citizens. I want to sincerely thank The LD Advocate is published everyone who invested their time and funds into making this community better for quarterly by LDAO-LR. Questions, everyone.” comments, submissions, and other United Way is the largest non-government funder of social service agencies in London and feedback should be directed to Middlesex County and currently supports more than 80 programs at 40 community agencies, (519) 438-6213 ex. 21 or including the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario-London Region. On behalf of our email@example.com. We reserve the clients, we thank the United Way for their hard work and the community for its generosity. right to edit submissions. -Michaela McMahon Page 2 LD Advocate Destination: Employment A learning disability is not the result of a poor academic background, lack of motivation, socio-economic status, or an intellectual disability. People with LD have at least average to above average intelligence, and have valuable knowledge and skills, many of which are highly “Destination beneficial in the workplace. Some people are highly verbal and some are creative problem Employment empowers solvers. Tolerance of others, high motivation, flexibility, imagination, and a good sense of humor can also define individuals with learning disabilities. However, many adults with LD participants to make face barriers to finding and keeping employment. This is where Destination Employment changes in their lives comes in. through support and Destination Employment is a program designed for unemployed adults with LD. The program is a partnership between the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC) and Human heightened self- Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). The program’s goals are to integrate or esteem. It also gives reintegrate participants into the work force and to sensitize and educate employers to the abilities and valuable contributions employees with LD can make. them the ability to Destination Employment includes a psychological assessment done by a registered make decisions, psychologist, training, and a four- week work placement. The program is run in our office in overcome their a one-on-one setting. We follow a specific program, although participants are encouraged to bring up any related topics they need assistance with. difficulties, and to Participants in Destination Employment find the applied coaching and problem-solving this channel their skills”. program provides to be extremely useful. Destination Employment empowers participants to make changes in their lives through support and heightened self-esteem. It also gives them the ability to make decisions, overcome their difficulties, and to channel their skills. One of the most important aspects of Destination Employment is the psychological assessment that participants receive. This process helps them to understand exactly what their particular issues and strengths are, bringing validation to the participant’s struggles. In the words of a former Destination Employment participant, “If you do not know what the problem is, you start to think that it is just you or that the problem is huge. After an assessment, you can see specifically what the issues are and that it (the problem) is actually a lot smaller than you thought.” After going through the assessment process, this person felt able to fully understand their challenges and in turn, find strategies to overcome them. One of the components of Destination Employment is a four-week work placement. This allows individuals the opportunity to gain valuable work experience, build their resume, and develop skills in their field of interest. With basic accommodations, employers can provide an inclusive and supportive work environment. Accommodations such as “buddy” systems with another employee, written, taped or demonstrated instructions, and extended training periods can be very helpful when integrating individuals with learning disabilities into the workplace. Project Coordinator Diane Once Destination Employment participants gain employment, they receive ongoing support to Sullivan, Regional Coordinator help them to be successful. Examples of this support may be letters to employers, the Andrea Craig, and LDAC Regional Coordinator’s attendance at disclosure meetings, or suggestions regarding self- Executive Director Pauline advocacy within the job. Mantha, January 2006. Adults with learning disabilities are intelligent and capable individuals who, when given the chance to demonstrate their talents, can contribute fully to the goals and objectives of the workplace. Destination Employment can assist people with learning disabilities find the opportunities for employment that they unquestionably deserve. The program helps individuals to focus on becoming the best person that they can, not their learning disability. Many of the individuals who have completed this program have become successful, happy and productive employees. -Andrea Craig (For more information on Destination Employment, contact Andrea at 438-6213 ex. 26, or firstname.lastname@example.org.) LD Advocate Page 3 5 Questions for Gabor Maté, MD Dr. Gabor Maté is a physician, psychotherapist, and the best-selling author of Scattered Minds: A New Look at the Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder, Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, and When The Body Says No. He has had regular columns in the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail. Widely recognized for his unique perspective on ADD, and his firmly held belief in the connection between mind and body health, he is a highly sought-after speaker and seminar leader on these topics. LDAO-LR will welcome Dr. Maté to London on April 28, where he will lead a full day of lectures and seminars on the topic of “Understanding ADD and other Childhood Developmental Disorders.” I caught up with Dr. Maté somewhere between Montreal and Vancouver to ask him the following five questions: 1. You’ve written three bestsellers. What prompted you to address ADD in your first book, Scattered Minds? Dr. Maté: What prompted me was the recognition and subsequent diagnosis of myself as an ADD adult by a psychiatrist, and following that, the diagnosis of my children. 2. How has having ADD affected you personally? Dr. Maté: It interfered with my studies--for example, I didn't get it together to go to medical school until my late twenties, despite my lifetime goal of doing so. It has caused disorganization, chronic lateness and poor impulse control, as well as predisposing me to some addictive behaviours. 3. Can you relate a personal ADD success story? Dr. Maté: Yes, my own. Since my diagnosis and dealing with my ADD-related problems, I've written three best selling books. 4. Who should come to hear you speak in London on April 28? Dr. Maté: Parents whose children have or may have ADD; educators working with ADD kids; adults with ADD; health care professionals: physicians, psychologists, therapists, counselors, special Ed teachers. In addition to those already mentioned anyone with an interest in learning about child development would also benefit. 5. What can someone planning to attend the seminar on April 28 hope to take away with them? Dr. Maté: They will gain a radically new understanding of ADD not as an rigidly genetically determined "disease," but as a problem of neuropsychological development--the good news being that healthy development can be fostered in children at any age, and even in adult. They will learn that there is much more than medications to dealing with the problems posed by ADHD. There is every reason to be optimistic. They will also experience a dynamic and interesting workshop in which every participant, ADD or not, will learn much about themselves and their families. (Join us at the London Hilton Hotel on Friday April 28, 2006 for “Understanding ADD and other Childhood Developmental Disorders,” a full day of lectures and seminars delivered by Gabor Maté M.D. This revolutionary and energetic presentation will empower parents, educators, and health professionals to promote healthy development, rather than just address symptoms. Seminar topics include: “The Origins of Developmental Disorders: a Bio-psycho-social view”, “Understanding the Behaviours of Troubled Children”, “The Peer Factor in Development and Learning”, and “How to Promote Healthy Development in Children of all Ages”). -Michaela McMahon Page 4 LD Advocate A Workshop Worth Repeating In December I had the pleasure of facilitating what turned out to be one of the most educational “Each individual had a workshops we have done to date. It was simply titled “Adults with LD and/or AD/HD”, and it featured a panel of six adults who have been diagnosed with one or both of these disorders. These unique combination of four women and two men told the stories of their lives and shared their personal thoughts about strengths and what it is like to live with these kinds of difficulties. We listened intently as they each described what their LD is, its impact on learning, relationships, and performance, and the treatment they difficulties, and yet have endured. there emerged some We heard terms like dyslexia, dysgraphia, social anxiety disorder, non-verbal LD, self-esteem, common ground as they superior range IQ, misdiagnosis, and we heard about artistic talents, athletic prowess, verbal ability, and high energy. In some cases we learned that there were other added difficulties in told of the perceptions family environments. Each individual had a unique combination of strengths and difficulties, and of others and the yet there emerged some common ground as they told of the perceptions of others and the comments made by peers, teachers, employers, family, and friends. comments made by For those of us who work in this field, reading about these disorders helps us to learn, but when peers, teachers, we hear actual lifelong experiences described by diagnosed individuals, the learning takes on new employers, family, and meaning which is unequalled in text books and journals. A gentleman in the audience expressed an emotional thank you to the panel for teaching him so much to help him understand the friends.” difficulties his son experiences as a young man with a learning disability. One of the panel members offered some powerful advice about getting help from her daughter’s school to a mother who was frustrated by her unsuccessful attempts to talk with them. These six individuals provided a unique training session for us. I was struck by their willingness to share this personal information and by their determination to continue to work for success, in spite of the many roadblocks they have encountered over the years. In addition, it was apparent that they share the desire to help others who have LD and AD/HD. One young man attends many community meetings to bring awareness to the needs of this population. One young woman has begun writing a book for secondary students with LD. Another has created a concept for a TV commercial to heighten public awareness, and another has a job helping kids with difficulties. I would love to take this group on tour. The information they are able to share would be of enormous benefit to teachers, parents, professionals, and others. At the very least, maybe we can create a video presentation…. Hmmmmmm…. -Paul Thompson Introducing Jennifer Kicks My name is Jennifer Kicks, and I am a second year student in the Child and Youth Worker Program at Fanshawe College. From January until May, I will be doing a work placement at the Learning Disabilities Association. During my placement, I will be working alongside each staff member, but most closely with Program “In the few short weeks I Coordinator Theressa Jetté. In the few short weeks I have been here, I have learned a tremendous have been here, I have amount about how to run programs for children and youth with different disabilities, as well as about how to approach each individual and situation. I enjoy being involved in the preparation and learned a tremendous delivery of the Student Support Programs. amount about how to run I feel that my placement here will give me confidence in my ability to apply the skills I have learned programs for children and in my program in a real-world setting, as well as valuable insight into the needs of persons with Learning Disabilities. I would like to thank all the staff and clients of LDAO-LR for giving me this youth with different opportunity and making it so rewarding. disabilities, as well as about -Jennifer Kicks how to approach each individual and situation.” LD Advocate Page 5 Who are they? Volunteers and Students at LDAO-LR Who are the volunteers at LDAO - London Region? They are men and women who work long hours at various jobs, and still find time to give of themselves. They are hardworking students, social workers, lawyers, and retired teachers. They are often parents of young children, and occasionally, they are grandparents. They come from all walks of life, but have one thing in common. They care. They care about people with learning disabilities and understand the issues. Often, this understanding comes from knowing a child with LD, or from having an LD themselves. These people find great joy in helping the children that come to our office to learn differently and to feel good about themselves. Who are the children that come through the doors of LDAO - London Region? They are bright children who work very long hours at school and come to the office to learn more about homework skills and study habits. We can all learn from these children. Some are athletes and some are not. Some are artistic and some are more interested in computers and video games. The children come from all walks of life, and all have interesting stories to tell about their lives, and their interests. Some are children who need encouragement and some are children who are able to encourage others. With a focus on abilities while accommodating for disabilities, the children move ahead in a positive manner. They have a chance to shine. -Sue Cowan (Sue Cowan is a former teacher and longtime LDAO-LR volunteer. She currently facilitates one of our Skills for School programs, and urges people to find out for themselves just how rewarding the volunteer experience can be.) Quantum and LDAO-LR: Big Ideas at Work When LDAO-LR approached Quantum about working with them to develop an awareness poster, we immediately said yes! With Quantum’s years of experience in integrated marketing and creative talent we knew that this would be the right fit. Quantum Communications Group Inc. is a fully integrated, 100% Canadian owned mid-sized agency with locations in both London and Toronto and a diverse client list that includes not for profit, healthcare and large retailers such as Sears Canada. Regardless of company size or budget, we believe in providing effective strategic and creative solutions tailored to the needs of each individual client. At Quantum we believe in giving back to the community through the donation of our services. It was a pleasure to provide a creative solution for such a hardworking Art Director Johanne O’Leary organization and to create a positive message that mirrors the friendly and hospitable and Skye Phibbs display our atmosphere of the LDAO. We all have the ability to learn no matter what our individual new signature poster designed styles may be and the LDAO is there to offer a range of support services and the by Quantum and generously encouragement to succeed. sponsored by Riverside Educational Services, February By working as a team with LDAO-LR we are extremely pleased with the results and had fun 2006. in the process. Please visit our website at www.qcgi.com to see more examples of big ideas at work. -Skye Phibbs (Skye Phibbs is an Account Executive at Quantum Communications Group Inc. She has been actively involved in several projects for various not for profit organizations over the past year in both London and the GTA.) COMING EVENTS LDAO-LR presents Dr. Gabor Mate′ Join us at the London Hilton Hotel on Friday April 28, 2006 for “Understanding ADD and other Childhood Developmental Disorders,” a full day of lectures and seminars delivered by Gabor Maté M.D. This revolutionary and energetic presentation will empower parents, educators, and health professionals to promote healthy development, rather than just address symptoms. Seminar topics include: “The Origins of Developmental Disorders: a Bio-psycho-social view”, LDAO-LR “Understanding the Behaviours of Troubled Children”, “The Peer Factor in Development and 205 Oxford Street East Learning”, and “How to Promote Healthy Development in Children of all Ages”. Suite 205 London, ON Dr. Maté is a physician, psychotherapist, and the best-selling author of Scattered Minds: A N6A 5G6 New Look at the Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder, Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, and When The Body Says No. He has had regular Phone: columns in the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail. Widely recognized for his unique (519) 438-6213 perspective on ADD, and his firmly held belief in the connection between mind and body Fax: health, he is a highly sought-after speaker and seminar leader on these topics. (519) 438-0368 For registration or further information, please call (519) 438-6213 ex. 21 or email email@example.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Upcoming Workshops Monday, March 6th Transition To Secondary School • Providing information and helping prepare the student for the transition from “A different way of grade 8 to grade 9 and to reduce the problems associated with this move. learning can lead to success!” Monday, April 3rd Transition To Post-Secondary Pursuits • Tips to make the transition to post-secondary education, job training, the workplace, and apprenticeships less stressful and more successful. All Workshops are held at our offices between 7:00pm and 8:30pm at a cost of $10 per person. We’re online! Limited free parking is available. Please register in advance by calling (519) 438-6213 ex. 21 or sending an email to email@example.com. A full listing of topics for 2006 can be viewed at Visit our award-winning www.ldalondon.ca website at: www.ldalondon.ca Adult AD/HD Support Group If you are an adult who has been diagnosed with AD/HD, please consider joining our monthly support group meetings. Meetings are held at our office on the following Monday nights from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. February 20 March 20 April 24 May 29 June 19 Please call 438-6213 ex. 26 to register. You may join anytime throughout the year. Join our e-mailing list! To receive your copy of the LD Advocate in an electronic format, please send an email including your request, name, and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Student Support Programs If you have a child between the ages of 8 and 15 with LD or AD/HD who could benefit from additional academic and peer support, consider enrolment in our 10 week Skills for School program. The next session begins in April. Call 438-6213 ex. 24 or visit the Student Support Program pages at www.ldalondon.ca for more information.