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					                                                                  VOLUME 37 NUMBER 1




communiqué
                                                                 FALL/WINTER 2006




THE PUBLICATION OF THE LEARNING DISABILITIES ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO




Learning
Disabilities and
Mental Health
Double
Invisibility
New…

ASK THE EXPERT                                                 Accommodations
COLUMN
                                                              for Anxiety
                                                                                 Plus…
                                                          The First Edition of the
Self Esteem                                                 LDAO Hall of Fame!
                                                                        VOLUME 37 NUMBER 1   Communiqué, the magazine of LDAO, is published two times



 communiqué
                                                                       FALL/WINTER 2006       yearly. Articles should be submitted to the editor
                                                                                               (carterh@ldao.ca) approximately six weeks before the
                                                                                                publication date. Content deadline for the Spring/Summer
 THE PUBLICATION OF THE LEARNING DISABILITIES ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO
                                                                                                 issue is March 13th, 2007. Advertising rates available upon
                                                                                                   request. Subscription rate for non-LDAO members is
                                                                                                    $25.00 yearly.

        CONTENTS                                                                                     Communiqué provides a forum for information, news
                                                                                                     and opinions relevant to the field of learning disabilities.
        DEPARTMENTS                                                                                   The Association does not, in any sense, endorse opin-
 3      Editor’s Notebook: The Evidence of Things Not Seen                                            ions expressed or methods or programs mentioned.
                                                                                                       Articles may be reprinted unless otherwise stated.
 4      Message from the CEO: Chris Carew opens the floor on LD                                        Please mention Communiqué and the article’s
        and Mental Health                                                                               author if and when articles are reprinted.
        LDAO Happenings: New Chair welcomed • LDAO’s AGM a
        success • Web Pages opening new doors • SOAR soars! • Online courses
        • Roy Cooper Scholarship • Gloria Landis Memorial Bursary                                         LDAO Board of Directors

 8      Public Policy Round Up: Our resident policy expert shares the                                     EXECUTIVE
        low-down on provincial learning issues, including reports on Special                              Mr. Peter Chaban, Chair Toronto
        Education Transformation and Safe Schools Action
                                                                                                          Mrs. Ruth Taber, Past Chair Barrie
 9      Etc: ASET steps up to the plate to improve adaptive technology resources                          Mr. Steve Lee, C.A., Treasurer Toronto
        in Ontario.                                                                                        Mr. Randolph Sealy, Executive, Adult Rep.
                                                                                                           Pickering
 10 Elsewhere: Clips from around the country on LD/ADHD news
 12 Ask the Expert: Guest columnist Dr. J. Douglas Salmon Jr. offers                                       DIRECTORS
        thoughts on improving concentration and attention                                                  Dr. Marian Boer Barrie
                                                                                                           Mr. Bill Cormier Kingston
                                                                                                           Dr. Glenn DiPasquale Newmarket
                                                                                                           Mr. Vinnie Greco Sault Ste. Marie
        FEATURES
                                                                                                           Dr. Mark Handley-Derry Toronto
 13 Learning Disabilities and Mental Health                                                                Ms. Pam Howard Guelph
        The shadows of mental health that often hide LD have some light shed on                           Ms. Susan Kennedy Mississauga
        them in this special feature. This issue we feature an introduction to the                        Ms. Carol Lyons Newmarket
        struggles experienced by one woman with dyslexia and through her, an                              Capt. George McLeod, Barrie
        overview of some of the struggles and solutions for people living with these                      Dr. Vera Woloshyn St. Catharines
        issues. Writer Deana Collins offers some accommodation suggestions for
        people with LD experiencing anxiety, while Chad Abrahams shares his
        thoughts on self esteem. All this is complemented by definitions and tips                       LDAO Staff
        from the Canadian Mental Health Association, self-scoring quizzes from                         Chief Executive Officer: Christopher Carew
        psychologist Dan Johnson and a special portfolio showcasing LD stars                           Director of Services and Program
        from across the province who have done much behind the scenes to                              Development: Kate Lloyd
        improve mental health in their communities.                                                   Director of Chapter and Members Services:
                                                                                                     Karen Quinn
                                                                                                    Manager, Web Based Teaching Tool: Amy Coupal
        THE BACK PAGES                                                                              Coordinator of Public Policy and Client Services:
                                                                                                   Diane Wagner
 25 Book Review: Annie Sheehan reviews Teaching Every                                             Youth Services Coordinator: Jeff Clayton
        Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning                                 Wed Based Teaching Tool Content Development
                                                                                                 Coordinator: Cynthia Grundmann
 28 Chapter News and Views
                                                                                                Fund Development Consultant: Denise Harding
 30 Thanks to Donors and Sponsors                                                              Financial Consultant: Cynthia Zone

 31 Provincial LD Contacts

2 COMMUNIQUE
EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK
The Evidence of Things Not Seen


A
             mong the many and varied definitions and interpretations of “shame” in literature
             is this from Wikipedia: “a psychological condition and a form of religious,
               political, judicial, and social control consisting of ideas, emotional states,
                physiological states and a set of behaviors, induced by the consciousness
                  or awareness of dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation.”
                                                                                                                                 Carter Hammett, Editor

Indeed, American psychotherapist John Bradshaw, a pioneer in                 ders. A Health Canada report estimated that costs related to
the study of shame, refers to it as “the emotion that lets us know           mental health problems resulted in a total cost of $14.4 billion in
we are finite.”                                                              1998, placing mental illness amongst the most costly of all condi-
                                                                             tions in Canada.”
I once read somewhere that shame arose from “information made
public that wasn’t ready to be revealed yet.”                                The cruel irony is that people living with the uneasy marriage
                                                                             between LDs and mental health conditions face a double invisibil-
Unfortunately, learning disabilities (LD) and shame often go hand
                                                                             ity! It is certainly challenging enough to reveal an LD and have it
in hand. The disclosure or discovery of LDs has the potential to
                                                                             met with scepticism from a largely ignorant public, but to combine
be humiliating for some, devastating for others. Society is natural-
                                                                             it with other invisible conditions only compounds the problem.
ly nervous around behaviours it does not understand and cannot
observe, and because LDs are invisible, the impact can cut deep.             Never before have we had so many choices in front of us. Never
It is literally a double-edged sword.                                        before has the volume of information been so overwhelming and
                                                                             unreliable. But clearly the time to act is now. So it is with some
Furthermore, adults with LD and ADHD report conditions such as
                                                                             sense of urgency that we offer this latest issue as part of our con-
anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and other
                                                                             tribution to raising awareness about these vastly misunderstood
barriers at rates disproportionately higher than the rest of the
                                                                             conditions.
population. So much so, that mental health issues, perceived as
secondary conditions by psychologists, often override and                    From our province-wide gallery of stars who work tirelessly
indeed, bury the learning disabilities that have caused them in the          behind the scenes, raising awareness, advocating in the school
first place! And, according to The Justin Eves Foundation, the               systems or helping those with LD maintain employment, we
combination of these circumstances can have serious effects,                 salute a range of community activists who give wholly of them-
including:                                                                   selves. Writer Deana Collins offers practical tips and accommo-
                                                                             dations for those people with LD living with anxiety. LD and its
     Ten to twelve percent of adolescents with LD become
                                                                             impact on self esteem are examined from the perspective of a
     involved in the criminal justice system compared to 2.5% of
                                                                             young man, Chad Abrahams, who movingly shares some of his
     the general population. Almost half the LD population lives
                                                                             thoughts on this subject. Our new “Ask the Expert” column kicks
     below the poverty line and pregnancy risks for young women
                                                                             off this issue with psychologist Dr. J. Douglas Salmon Jr. offer-
     with LD increase dramatically.
                                                                             ing tips and insights on improving concentration. All this, plus
That is why the theme of this year’s LD Awareness Month, Mental              quizzes, tips and interesting data on mental health that shows
Health, is so important. It is also the focus of this issue of               there is hope out there.
Communiqué. The Canadian Mental Health Association reports
                                                                             Enjoy your flight, and don’t forget to fasten your seatbelts!
the cost of mental health conditions has a far-reaching impact
that cuts across multiple segments of society as well: “About 16%                                                         Carter Hammett, Editor
of health care expenditures can be attributed to psychiatric disor-



CONTRIBUTORS THIS ISSUE
Chad Abrahams lives in Toronto, where he con-       lished creative and promotional material in both   He is the author and co-author of numerous
tributes time to the Canadian Red Cross. This is    corporate and non-profit sectors. • Dan            rehabilitation and LD assessment, educational
his first published article. • Brenda Bunting is    Johnston is a clinical psychologist in Macon       materials and outcome evaluation measures. His
the Manager, Mental Health Promotion, for the       Georgia, USA. who has been counselling and         multidisciplinary private practice consults widely
Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto         teaching for more than twenty-five years. He       to public and private rehabilitation clinics, agen-
branch. Grateful acknowledgement is given for       works in a medical center and is on the faculty    cies and case management firms for the purpos-
permission to quote from this agency’s materials.   of a medical school. Visit his web site at:        es of clinical consultation/treatment, program
• Oshawa native Deana Collins, a graduate in        www.lessons4living.com • Dr. J. Douglas            development and training. • Annie Sheehan is
English literature from Queen’s University who is   Salmon, Jr. holds a Master’s Degree in             the executive director of LDA Lambton County in
passionate about LD, is a job developer with        Rehabilitation Counselling and a doctorate spe-    Sarnia.
ALDER and a freelance writer who has pub-           cializing in rehabilitation and neuropsychology.
                                                                                                                                           FALL 2006 3
 LDAO NEWS AND EVENTS
 A MESSAGE FROM LDAO’S CEO
            hildren with learning disabilities grow up to be adults with learning



C            disabilities (LD). Many of the difficulties experienced in childhood
             continue through into adulthood. In spite of these challenges, many
           individuals with LD are able to lead successful lives while others are
 barely able to survive emotionally, socially or financially.
                                                                                                                Chief Executive Officer Christopher Carew

 Why, despite similar backgrounds and LDs, does one individual end           Unfortunately, historical efforts have focused on academic and edu-
 up with a rewarding career, long term friendships, while another            cational areas, paying little attention to the development of attributes
 experiences a life of loneliness, isolation and financial stress?           related to learning disabilities and mental health in promoting posi-
                                                                             tive life outcomes in adults with learning disabilities. (Because inter-
 LD and Mental Health: Is there a Higher Risk? This year’s nation-
                                                                             ventions have traditionally been focused on educational arenas, few
 al campaign slogan for LD Awareness Month is a start to help illus-
                                                                             efforts have addressed the mental health promotion needs of people
 trate how mental health issues are not the cause, but rather the con-
                                                                             with LD.)
 sequence, of academic frustrations and continued failures.
                                                                             If it’s well-established that LDs are present throughout the lifespan
 Those of you living with or affected by LD know first-hand that deal-
                                                                             and that children with LD must function in settings beyond school, it
 ing with social and emotional challenges are part of growing up.
                                                                             is reasonable to think that we should direct greater efforts toward
 While our settings shift from school into work and community along
                                                                             fostering the development of success attributes, at least to the same
 life’s journey, the implications for these settings are equally important
                                                                             degree that we strive to improve academic skills. With increased
 as a measure of success. The child with LD may rely on family and
                                                                             recognition that LDs are in fact life long, medical, mental health and
 school for support, but the adult with a learning disability often strug-
                                                                             educational professionals may be able to better serve this population
 gles to find a support system, and this puts many at increased risk of
                                                                             and help build the self-esteem necessary to achieve future success.
 mental health problems.
                                                                             Please join us in celebrating our National Awareness Month – all
 LD Awareness Month allows us to collectively reflect for 30 days
                                                                             part of a bigger plan to build a better tomorrow for individuals and
 each year and reminds us to put our concentrated efforts into edu-
                                                                             families living with learning disabilities. I hope you enjoy this issue of
 cating as many people as possible about learning disabilities, with
                                                                             Communiqué, offering you once again a slightly different perspective
 this year focusing on the connection to mental health.
                                                                             on issues in the learning disabilities world.


 LDAO Welcomes New Chairperson                                               District School Board, primarily in secondary classrooms based in
 At the September 30, 2006 Annual General Meeting, LDAO wel-                 treatment centres, Peter is currently on secondment to the
 comed LDAO’s new chair Peter Chaban, who was nominated for a                Community Health Systems Resource Group at the Hospital for Sick
 one-year appointment.                                                       Children in Toronto, serving as the coordinator of the School Liaison
                                                                             Project. He is also the current Chair of the Public Policy and
 Peter joined the LDAO Board back in October 2000 and was
                                                                             Legislation Committee, one of the five sub-committees of the LDAO
 appointed Vice Chair of LDAO in 2005.
                                                                             Board. Members of the LDAO Board and staff wish to congratulate
 An educator who taught for many years with the Toronto Catholic             Peter in his new leadership role and wish him well during his term.


                     Farewell to Ruth Taber
                     A very special thank-you is extended to Ruth
                                                                             ment in 2005. Ruth’s knowledge of program planning, policy devel-
                     Taber who has acted as LDAO’s Chair since
                                                                             opment, evaluation, and strategic planning has served LDAO well
                     September 2004. Ruth was instrumental in lead-
                                                                             through these recent transitional years.
                     ing the Board through a governance review in
                     2005 which resulted in a renewed strategy, cre-         Ruth has agreed to extend her term for one additional year to act in
                     ation of an operational plan and enhanced               the capacity as Past Chair to mentor Peter in his new role. We wish
                     accountability for LDAO in executing activities to      Ruth well in her future endeavors and extend a warm thank you to
                     achieve its vision. Ruth also led the search for        her for the many hours of dedication and commitment given to
                     LDAO’s new Chief Executive Officers’ recruit-           LDAO over the years.


4 COMMUNIQUE
LDAO Holds its 43rd
Annual General Meeting

O
            n September 30, 2006, the Learning Disabilities Association of
              Ontario held its forty-third Annual General Meeting. The event,
              held at Toronto’s George Brown College, was well-attended by
            representatives from across the province.

The theme Honouring Our Past and Building for our Future pro-       Peterborough and in the educational system, brought a very
vided an opportunity to reflect on our successes and to engage      practical understanding of LD issues from the community per-
members in an open dialogue about future directions.                spective. Roy Cooper, who for many years has been the histori-
                                                                    cal memory of LDAO, will be sorely missed for his wisdom, gen-
With the support of sponsors and other partners, LDAO:              erosity, and sense of humour. Dr. Isabel Shessel, Past Chair of
                                                                    LDAO, has completed her tenure on the board. Her leadership in
  • Initiated a provincial project to provide all 20 Learning       the Promoting Early Intervention initiative and expertise in learn-
    Disabilities Association chapters the necessary technology,     ing disabilities have been notable.
    software and training to build a sustainable program to pro-
    vide access to assistive technology in local communities.       The Chair’s Award was presented to Randolph Sealy for his
    This project is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.      dedication and exemplary support of LDAO. In addition to serv-
                                                                    ing on the Executive Committee of LDAO, Randolph chairs the
  • Developed SOAR (Some Assembly Required) High School             Adult Advisory Committee of LDAO and is the Adult Issues
    to help equip youth, teachers, and parents with information     Representative on the executive of The Learning Disabilities
    to make the right choices for kids in secondary school.         Association of Canada. Although Randolph wears many hats
    Funding for this project was provided by the RBC                and contributes in several ways to the work of LDAO, he is
    Foundation.                                                     always willing to help over and above his regular duties.
  • Translated SOAR for middle school into French with funding      The 2006 Chapter Newsletter award was presented to LDA
    from the Ontario French schools boards.                         Sudbury and the 2006 Membership Award was presented to
                                                                    LDA York Region.
  • Created a new Youth Access web site, specifically designed
    and targeted for youth to interact, learn, and share issues     Three new members joined the Board of Directors. The Chair
    related to LD. This initiative was undertaken as part of the    welcomed Dr. Marian Boer, Dr. Glenn DiPasquale and Carol
    multi-year “Stay in School ” Youth Campaign.                    Lyons.

  • Held its “Invest in Success” event, with legendary hockey       After the business meeting, LDAO was pleased to introduce The
    coach Jacques Demers as guest speaker. Key sponsors of          Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Education, as its guest
    this event included Air Canada, CIBC, and Heathbridge           speaker. The address was both inspiring and thought provoking.
    Capital Management.                                             The Minister’s desire to implement programs to help more sec-
                                                                    ondary school students graduate resonated with attendees,
  • Continued the Web Based Teaching Tool implementation, an
                                                                    affirming LDAO’s commitment to developing programs to help
    initiative funded by the Ministry of Education.
                                                                    build an educational system that supports and encourages stu-
LDAO staff was thanked for their creativity, ongoing efforts, and   dents to reach their full potential. We will use many of the ideas
outstanding results during the past year. They are the ones who,    shared by Minister Wynne to help inform our decisions as we
with the support of our funding partners, make it all happen.       plan for the future. Participants also enjoyed a delightful lunch
Without their ingenuity and dedication, none of these undertak-     prepared by the staff and the students of the George Brown
ings would be possible.                                             College Centre for Hospitality and Tourism, affording students
                                                                    the opportunity to practice required trade skills as a component
The Chair acknowledged the contribution of members who were         of their course objectives.
leaving the LDAO Board of Directors. Dr. Ian Brown and Jean-
Luc Bernard made a considerable impact on the work of the           LDAO wishes to thank Janssen-Ortho for their generous spon-
board and the Policy and Legislation Committee. Lloyd               sorship in support of our Annual General meeting.
Schoenmaker, with his work for the LDA chapter in



                                                                                                                            FALL 2006 5
 LDAO Web Update
 About our New Shopping Cart                                       LDAO.CA
 The Shopping Cart is up and running. Clients can use this venue   Our main face website, LDAO.CA,
 to enrol in our online workshops/courses, purchase article sets   has been overhauled and redesigned to provide a broader spec-
 about LDs, and order any of our publications including Some       trum of information for clients. The LDAO.CA site will now serve
 Assembly Required and Job-Fit.                                    as a “first-stop” resource for people beginning their exploration of
                                                                   LDs in Ontario. The paired-down navigation system is arranged
 The cart is located at https://shop.access.ldao.ca and is also
                                                                   into simple, broad questions and answers:
 linked from our main website home page (www.ldao.ca) and will
 be linked from the ACCESS (www.access.learning.ldao.ca) site         • What Are Learning Disabilities?
 main portal page in the near future.                                 • What Helps?
                                                                      • Who Helps?
 About our ACCESS Learning site:                                   Other information includes a link to our events calendar, a scroll-
 www.access.learning.ldao.ca                                       ing news window, information about our resources, donation
 We now have 10 online workshops and one online course avail-      opportunities, and sponsor information.
 able. New sessions began October 6 and cost $15.00-$30.00.
 Registration takes place via our shopping cart:                   The initiatory articles on LDAO.CA suggest visiting and joining
                                                                   our ACCESS sites for more detailed information and in-depth
   • Parents Part One: If Your Child is Struggling
                                                                   resources. Content removed from LDAO.CA has been moved to
   • Parents Part Two: Understanding the IPRC Process              the appropriate areas on the ACCESS sites.
   • Parents Part Three: The Individual Education Plan
                                                                   Also featured on the LDAO.CA sites are instalments of our new
   • Introduction to Learning Disabilities Part One:
                                                                   Face of LD promotional campaign (featured characters change
     An Overview of Learning Disabilities
                                                                   when page is refreshed) and a Flash movie called What are
   • Introduction to Learning Disabilities Part Two:               LDs? created for children.
     Strategies for the Classroom Teacher
   • Introduction to Learning Disabilities Part Three:             ACCESS.LDAO.CA
     ADHD Workshop for Educators
                                                                   The ACCESS site has been audited for content and accuracy.
 The following workshops began October 6 and are offered free      We have also made some additions to the menu items. Look for
 of charge.                                                        the new “Media Files” and “Assistive Technology” sections
   • Learning Styles for Adults                                    linked from the main menu of each section (Parents,
   • Self-Advocacy for Adults                                      Professionals, Adults) We will also be implementing a new portal
                                                                   page that will make it easier for clients to navigate our entire
   • Learning Styles for Youth
                                                                   family of websites.
   • Self-Advocacy for Youth
                                                                   The main ACCESS portal page will provide and entry point to the
 Parent Consultant in Education Online                             following sites:
 Training Program (Fee $365.00)
                                                                      • Youth • Parents • Professionals
 LDAO (www.ldao.ca) in partnership with The Ontario Association
                                                                      • Adults • Learning • Shopping
 of Education Advocates (www.oaea.ca) is pleased to offer a
 comprehensive and innovative course in advocating for children
 with special needs.
                                                                   SOAR and SOAR High School
 This training is recommended for anyone involved in the excep-    Some Assembly Required (SOAR), our series of books about
 tionalities field such as:                                        learning and LDs for youth, has undergone some developments:
   • Parents/Guardians                                             • Thanks to the financial assistance of Ontario’s French school
   • School professionals                                            boards, the SOAR series has been translated into French, as
   • Special Education program staff                                 Un certain assemblage est requis.
   • Residential and treatment centre personnel                    • The original SOAR books have been redesigned with new
                                                                     covers
   • Others who relate to children with exceptionalities in the
     schools                                                       • SOAR HS: Some Assembly Required: High School is now
                                                                     available. A comics-style graphic book for high school students,
 All workshop and course descriptions can be found on our            SOAR HS delves into the nature of learning and LDs, the
 Website at:                                                         school system, and self-advocacy.
 http://www.ldao.ca/who_helps/Courses_Workshops.php                All of these materials are available for sale at www.ldao.ca .

6 COMMUNIQUE
LDAO Awards

Amhearstview Youth Receives
Roy Cooper Scholarship Award
Mitch Mullings is the latest recipient of the Roy Cooper                  of persistence. My
Scholarship Award.                                                        whole life, I spent try-
                                                                          ing to fit in with the so-
During his school career Mullings, of Amherstview, ON near                called norm and be
Kingston, was diagnosed with a reading comprehension disabili-            academically inclined.                               Mitch Mullings
ty that stalled his learning in aspects of certain courses – espe-        But I also had lot of
cially English. A dedicated student, he even repeated some                great teachers. I went to them a few times when I needed help
courses he had previously passed to get better marks in them.             and they did and I took advantage of any help I got.

“I first heard about the award from my guidance counsellor, who           “There have been a lot of people who have helped me along the
told me to apply for it, because he thought I had a good chance,”         way, and among those I wish to thank are: Andy Rush, Mr. Roy
says Mullings. “Once I read it, I thought it sounded good.                Cooper, the entire LDAO staff that helped organize it and some
                                                                          teachers in particular. They would be Neil Hopkins, Shiela
“I also wanted to go to Queens because it’s so close to home. I           Anthony, Jen Stanton, Rob Leggett, Nastasia Kotsovolos, and
have accessed Disability Services at Queens, and they’ve                  the rest of the staff at Ernestown Secondary,” says Mullings.
helped me out by allowing me to come into appointments, and
suggested some things like extra time for exams, note takers for          LDAO offers an annual $1,000 scholarship award in the name of
certain courses like Science,” he says.                                   long-serving Board Member Roy Cooper, to a high school stu-
                                                                          dent who has a documented LD and will be attending a universi-
He will be going into his first year of Bachelor of Science               ty or college majoring in engineering and/or a physical sciences
(Honours) at Queens majoring in Mathematics in the fall of 2006           discipline. Mr. Cooper spent his working life in the
and the $1000 reward will be used for tuition fees and/or books           engineering/physical sciences field, and as a parent of an adult
for the school year.                                                      child with LD, has spent over 25 years volunteering at the local,
                                                                          provincial and national levels of the LD Association. He will take
Happy to offer advice to other LD students, Mullings says: “If I
                                                                          an active role in the awarding process. LDAO congratulates
have anything to say, it’s do not give up. Learn to manage your
                                                                          Mitch on his accomplishments and wishes him the best of luck in
disability and turn it to an advantage. For me, I picked a math
                                                                          his endeavours.
subject I like, but since I have weak comprehension, I just read
over and over again until I understand. School also requires a lot




                                              Gloria Landis Memorial Bursary
                                              The 2006 recipient of the Gloria Landis Memorial Bursary is Sara Borland, a second-year
                                              student in Gerontology at Toronto’s George Brown College. This bursary was established in
                                              memory of Gloria Landis, a long-time advocate for individuals with LDs. Its purpose is to pro-
                                              vide financial assistance to a mature student with LDs in a postsecondary program who has
                                              been absent from full-time education for a period of three years. Sara is exemplary of the
                                              kind of person this bursary was set up for. She was out of school for four years taking care
                                              of her father who had Huntington’s disease, and her experience created an enthusiasm for
                                              working with older people. She was diagnosed with learning disabilities in college, and has
LDAO’s Randolph Sealy presents Sara Borland   been working hard to pursue her goal, making the Dean’s honour list last year through tire-
with her award                                less effort. Congratulations to Sara.




                                                                                                                                  FALL 2006 7
 PUBLIC POLICY ROUND UP


 T
              wo important documents were released in June that will have great rele-
              vance to students with learning disabilities.The first was the report of the
           Working Table on Special Education, Special Education Transformation,
           released by the Ministry of Education after a year-long process.
 The full report can be found at:                about the proposed changes to the human
 www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/reports/         rights complaints process. New legislation,
 speced/transformation/transformation.pdf,       Bill 107, was introduced in April, and has
 LDAO sent a letter to then-Minister Sandra      passed second reading. There were public
 Pupatello, congratulating the co-chairs,        hearings before the Standing Committee
 Kathleen Wynne and Dr. Sheila Bennett,          on Justice Policy in Ottawa, London and
 and indicating that we commend and              Thunder Bay in August. Hearings in
 endorse the overall direction and content       Toronto were to take place after the legis-
 of the report. LDAO welcomed the pro-           lature resumed sitting in the fall. An organi-
 posed improvements in coordination of           zation called the Accessibility for Ontarians
 services, transition planning, teacher train-   with Disabilities Act (AODA) Alliance has
 ing, professional development, and              strong concerns about the proposed
 accountability for student progress. After      process for human rights complaints, and
 consultation with the LDAO Legislation and      you can read about their efforts to get
 Policy Committee, a set of detailed com-        amendments to the Bill on their website:
 ments and recommendations were sent to          www.aodaalliance.org/. Other groups,
 the Minister in August. You can find a copy     including ARCH Disability Law Centre,
 of the submission on the LDAO website,          support the need for changes to the pres-
 under www.ldao.ca/who_helps/us.php.             ent human rights system. You can read
                                                 ARCH’s discussion of Bill 107 on their
 Another consultation process led to the
                                                 website:
 report of the Safe Schools Action Team,
                                                 www.archdisabilitylaw.ca/index.asp.
 Safe Schools Policy and Practice: An
 Agenda for Action. The full report can be       LDAO contends that any reforms to roles
 found at: www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/ssare-          of the Ontario Human Rights Commission
 view/report0626.html. In February 2006,         and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
 LDAO had sent comments and sugges-              must maintain the types of supports that
 tions on the safe school consultation ques-     vulnerable members of the public require
 tions to Chair Liz Sandals, and we were         in order to proceed with human rights com-
 very pleased to see many of our concerns        plaints, including access to investigation of
 and ideas reflected in the report. There        their complaints and legal representation.
 were many good recommendations on pre-          The Human Rights Commission reports
 vention, setting up a progressive discipline    that almost one-third of complaints filed
 system, community and parental involve-         are on the grounds of disability.
 ment, providing education and training to
 staff and students, and communicating
 with parents and students. A copy of com-
                                                  HOTWEB
 ments sent to the new Minister of                Be sure to check out
 Education, Kathleen Wynne, can be found          http://www.charityadvantage.com/aac
 on the LDAO website, under                       ld/HomePage.asp and visit The
                                                  National Association for the
 www.ldao.ca/who_helps/us.php.
                                                  Education of African American
 On September 1st the Ministry of Education       Children with Learning Disabilities.
 released a revised Policy/Program No.130,        This is an excellent web site, of interest
 on School Board Programs for Students            to everyone with an interest in diversity
 who have received a Full Expulsion.              and learning disabilities. Too often peo-
 (www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/130.html)       ple of diverse backgrounds are ignored
 , which appears to incorporate some of the       in their battle to have their voice heard
 recommendations from the Safe Schools            and this site does a great job of bring-
 report.                                          ing attention to the cause. Features
                                                  include a Hall of Fame, a chat room, an
 In the last edition of Communiqué, we            advocacy section, articles and research.
 shared a LDAO letter to Attorney General         Well worth the visit!
 Michael Bryant, voicing our concerns

8 COMMUNIQUE
ASET Works to Improve Access to
Scanned Textbooks
Many district school boards across Ontario spend hundreds of        However, scanning textbooks is time-consuming, labour inten-
thousands of dollars scanning, zone-editing and proofreading        sive and often requires lengthy editing to ensure accuracy. In
classroom materials to make them accessible to print-impaired       addition, many textbooks use a variety of colours of backgrounds
students through the use of assistive technology. The waste is      and fonts that challenge the OCR engines in these programs.
tremendous, as a large percentage of the titles being transcribed   There is also huge waste in the duplication of effort among
are the same in each board. Furthermore, inequities are creat-      school boards as most are working independently of each other.
ed as large urban boards can use classroom materials that are       There is currently, outside of ASET, no coordination of these
accessible to print-impaired students, while some remote and        efforts.
northern boards do not have the resources and/or the expertise
to transcribe print materials.                                      Textbooks are originally produced in electronic format, usually in
                                                                    some form of page layout program. ASET is asking textbook
The Association for Special Technology (ASET) is a new              publishers to make this available as an alternate format to
organizational network of adaptive and assistive technology con-    school boards that purchase these texts. These files could then
sultants, teachers, technicians and support staff from district     be made available through assistive technology software to stu-
school boards across Ontario and the Provincial Schools Branch      dents with print disabilities to use. ASET is also working on
of the Ministry of Education. ASET is dedicated to supporting       establishing a protocol to share texts between boards.
students with special needs through the use of technology.
                                                                    The W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind Resource Services
The goal of ASET is to help maximize the resources and signifi-     Alternative Formats Library provides accessible materials in
cant investment in special education technology for students,       Braille, large-print, audio and electronic text to approximately
district school boards, and ultimately taxpayers by decreasing
                                                                    3000 students, but its mandate only refers to visually-impaired
duplication of services and eliminating waste.
                                                                    students. Expanding this service to include other print-impaired
Many students with print impairments are unable to access text-     students such as those with learning disabilities or physical dis-
books. But they can comprehend materials read aloud.                abilities could result in providing services to over 100,000 stu-
Computer programs such as Kurzweil, WYNN and Scan and               dents.
Read, which scan text materials and read them to students, are
                                                                    For more information on ASET, contact: John Lubert, Provincial
being used successfully, allowing them to access the curriculum
                                                                    Schools Branch john.lubert@edu.gov.on.ca
and to achieve success in academic areas.




                                                                                                                            FALL 2006 9
 ELSEWHERE

 Elsewhere is a column that collects bits of interesting events and LD happenings from
 around the globe. Feel free to send us news you feel is interesting or useful.

 ADHD drugs can cause hallucina-                                    ADHD linked to lead, prenatal
 tions in children, Health Canada                                   smoking: study
 warns                                                              The Associated Press reported that about one-third of attention
 The Canadian Press reported that Health Canada is revising its     deficit cases among US children may be linked with tobacco
 prescribing and patient information for all ADHD drugs in Canada   smoke before birth or to lead exposure afterward, according to
 because of the “potential for psychiatric adverse events.”         provocative new research.

 These have included rare events of agitation and hallucinations    Even levels of lead the government considers acceptable
 in children spokesman Paul Duchesne said September 21 in           appeared to increase a child’s risk of having ADHD, the study
 Ottawa.                                                            found.

 Government officials are conducting an ongoing review of ADHD      The study bolsters suspicions that low-level lead exposure previ-
 drugs and discussing updated labelling with manufacturers which    ously linked to behaviour problems “is in fact associated with
 should be completed by December, Duchesne said.                    ADHD,” said Dr. Leo Trasande, of the Mount Sinai School of
                                                                    Medicine in New York.
 “Canadians taking ADHD medication should consult with their                                           24 Hours, September 20, 2006
 doctor if they have any questions or concerns,” he said, noting
 that patients should never stop taking ADHD medication without     Culture a factor in dyslexia: study
 consulting their doctor.”
                                                                    Metro recently reported that dyslexia; a reading and learning dis-
 Adverse drug reaction reports from 2000 to 2005 list about two     order can be influenced by culture researchers recently said.
 dozen cases of mood, personality and psychological reports
                                                                    They discovered that a different area of the brain is affected in
 among ADHD drug users.
                                                                    dyslexic Chinese children who read the character-based lan-
                                      Metro, September 22, 2006     guage than in Western youngsters who use an alphabet lan-
                                                                    guage.

                                                                    “The finding provides an insight…into dyslexia by suggesting
                                                                    that rather than having a universal origin, the biological abnor-
                                                                    mality of impaired reading is dependent on culture, “said Li Hai
                                                                    Tan of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesdam, Md.

                                                                    The scientists used brain imaging techniques to look at areas of
                                                                    the brain in Chinese children with impaired reading.

                                                                    Most studies of dyslexic Western children have focused on the
                                                                    left temporoparietal brain region, but research implicates differ-
                                                                    ent areas of the brain.




10   COMMUNIQUE
Brain Images Show Possibilities for Dyslexia
The University of Washington reported that brain images of children with dyslexia taken
before they received spelling instruction show that they have different patterns of neural
activity than do good spellers when doing language tasks related to spelling. But after
specialized treatment emphasizing the letters in words, they showed similar patterns of
brain activity. These findings are important because they show the human brain can
change and normalize in response to spelling instruction, even in dyslexia, the most
common learning disability.

                                                     Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com


Better Treatment for Teen Drivers with ADHD
Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System have found that teenage drivers
with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) drive better when they took OROS
methylphenidate (OROS MPH), a controlled-release stimulant, rather than extended
release amphetamine salts (se-AMPH ER). The findings, which reinforce the use of
OROS MPH to improve driving performance in teens with ADHD, appears in the Sept.
issue of Paediatrics.

“Car collisions are two to four times more likely to occur among teens with ADHD. Past
studies have shown that stimulants commonly used to treat ADHD can help improve
driving performance among this group,” said Daniel Cox, Ph.D., lead author and profes-
sor of psychiatric medicine at the University of Virginia Health System. “However, there
are many different formulations of stimulant drugs to treat ADHD and parents need to
know which ones will have the best positive effect.”

                                                     Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com


New Campaign Launched
British non-profit organization 2080Kids, the company behind innovative solutions for
making reading, spelling and writing fun for children as
well as making the Internet accessible for all, is
launching its campaign to help Dyslexia and
other communications difficulties sufferers.
Visit www.2080kids.com for more information.

Source: Press Association, 26/09/2006




                                                                                             FALL 2006   11
 ASK THE EXPERT
 Overcoming Attention/
 Concentration Difficulties
 By Dr. J. Douglas Salmon, Jr.                                                                                           Dr. J. Douglas Salmon, Jr.


 What is Concentration                                                    readily however, certain techniques or strategies can have a
                                                                          positive impact on this aspect of attention/concentration.
 and What Affects It?
 Concentration is the ability to focus one’s thoughts as desired,         Techniques to Improve
 without being distracted by external events or things such as
 thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations inside oneself. In           Selective Attention
 order for a person to remember anything, he or she must be               The suggestions below are important when the person needs to
 concentrating or paying attention to the information so that it          do something well, like listening to an important conversation,
 gets into memory. In fact, concentration is such an important part       writing a significant letter, or doing taxes. As effective as they are
 of the thinking process that it affects virtually all other aspects of   at compensating for concentration difficulties, it is important to
 the process, including reacting quickly, understanding others,           realize that they will not help improve the underlying problem.
 speaking clearly, problem solving, remembering things, and per-          So, these strategies will need to be used on a regular basis.
 forming complex tasks.
                                                                          The following are suggestions as to how to manage difficulties
 Difficulties in concentration can result from a primary weakness         with attention/concentration:
 in brain functioning. Problems in the front parts of the brain, the
                                                                          • Manage Distractions Within
 frontal lobes, which are responsible for concentration and paying
                                                                            Concerns such as worry, stress, depression, anger and frus-
 attention, may cause difficulties in concentrating. In extreme
                                                                            tration are all problems within an individual that can distract a
 forms, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may be
                                                                            person from what is going on around them and interfere with
 diagnosed to explain significant problems in attention/concentra-
                                                                            attention/concentration. These concerns can be dealt with
 tion. However, even if there is no sign of ADHD, concentration
                                                                            through counselling, stress management, exercise and healthy
 difficulties are commonly found in individuals with LDs as well.
                                                                            lifestyle choices.
 Unfortunately, concentration is perhaps the ability most vulnera-
 ble to disruption by different factors. In school settings for           • Avoid Distractions Caused by Others
 instance, it has long been recognized that children who do not             To ensure that the maximum amount of information is stored
 get proper sleep or nutrition due to family problems, poverty, or          into memory, it is important to make sure that the environment
 other problems, do poorly because of poor concentration. In                is free from distractions such as people passing by, TV, noise,
 some cases, concentration difficulties may be due to worrying or           and a lot of activity.
 daydreaming, while in others, emotional distress may be the
                                                                          • Focus on One Thing at a Time
 cause. Many people have experienced the fact that even the
                                                                            The person should pay attention to the source of the informa-
 cold or flu can make them feel groggy, and lacking in concentra-
                                                                            tion or the task at hand and try to not to multitask
 tion. Many workplace accidents are also caused by slips in con-
 centration, especially when a person is tired, say, during a mid-
 night shift.                                                             Strategies During Conversations
                                                                            ❖ When listening to someone talk, the person should focus on
 Selective Attention                                                          the speaker’s lips and facial expressions to help concentrate
                                                                              on what they are saying. They should also find a quiet place
 Attention and concentration are easy to understand in their sim-
                                                                              to talk.
 plest forms, when a person is focusing on something easy, with
 no pressing concerns. However, when faced with a lot of distrac-           ❖ When at a gathering, the person should try to minimize the
 tions or preoccupations, the person’s attention process becomes              number of people they are conversing with at any one time.
 much more complicated. For one thing, the person has to use                ❖ After a group discussion that hasn’t been followed, the per-
 much more mental energy filtering out background noises.                     son should individually ask participants to update them on
 Most people, whether they have LD or not, will likely notice that            what was said. Notes should be taken during important dis-
 sitting at the front of a lecture makes it easier to follow and is a         cussions as often as possible.
 lot less tiring because fewer distractions exist. Similarly, finding a     ❖ The person can reduce distractions by positioning them-
 person in a crowd, trying to listen to a conversation in a noisy             selves away from stimuli.
 room, and searching for a specific brand in a grocery store, are
 all examples of selective attention. Generally, with a lot of prac-      By using these simple techniques over time, attention and con-
 tice and patience, selective attention has been known to improve         centration difficulties should decrease, resulting in an increased
 with the right types of mental exercises and stimulation. More           self awareness and improved quality of life.

12 COMMUNIQUE
LEARNING
DISABILITIES AND
MENTAL HEALTH
      By Chad Abrahams, Deana Collins, Dan Johnston and Carter Hammett




                                                             FALL 2006 13
 DOUBLE INVISIBILITY:
 Learning Disabilities
 and Mental Health                                                                                             By Carter Hammett

 Anna Lavery has always enjoyed helping              lated and repeated firings from ‘dead-end            This has been part of Lavery’s cycle,
 others. Whether providing quality cus-              jobs’ have resulted in an affected self              “moving from dead-end job to dead-end
 tomer care in her job, lending a friendly           esteem.                                              job,” as she says. Recently though, she
 ear to a mate in need, or nurturing a                                                                    has sought counselling with an empathic
 desire to pursue a social work career, the          “I’ve been depressed for years,” she                 therapist and tried a new prescription with
 soft-spoken 38-year-old has always been             says. “Basically, when it hits, I’m not              positive results.
 there for others. “I’m a person who likes           happy. I sleep too much and don’t want to
 to help others,” she says. “I’m caring and          do much of anything. Or be with people               However, Anna is but one of an estimated
 I’m there for people.”                              either. I find I think negative thoughts.            three million Canadians living with learn-
                                                     When I started to work I felt rejection              ing disabilities (LD). And while it is difficult
 But recently she has started learning how           from employers because I was either                  to give precise figures, it is estimated that
 to take care of herself.                            working too slow or not being productive             up to half are living with co-existing men-
                                                     enough. The last job I had was in a ware-            tal health conditions such as anxiety and
 Like many with learning disabilities,               house. They fired me because I had a                 depression that often accompany LD.
 Lavery, who was diagnosed at 26 years               disability. I disclosed, and they tried to
 old with dyslexia, lives with co-existing           assist me by going through their prod-               Anxiety, depression and irritability are the
 mental health conditions that have affect-          ucts, but in the end, they said I wasn’t             most common ‘adjustment disorders’,
 ed many aspects of her life. Indeed,                producing enough. I want to be in a place            states Toronto neuropsychologist Dr. J.
 depression has left her often feeling iso-          where people are going to like what I do.”           Douglas Salmon Jr. “These conditions



    Symptoms of Mental Health Disturbances
    Although not necessarily indicative of mental disturbance, these actions, or signs of trouble, can sometimes help you identify someone who
    needs help:

    Acting Different Than Usual. Can you link this change in behaviour to something that has happened recently? Any event, such as the death
    of a close relative, or even something positive – like a job promotion – can trigger a troublesome emotional reaction.

    Seems to be Excessively Withdrawn and Depressed. Are hobbies, friends and relatives ignored suddenly? Is there a feeling that this person
    has begun to lose self-confidence? Depressive illnesses have many symptoms similar to these.

    Complains of Episodes of Extreme, Almost Uncontrollable Anxiety. Is this anxiety unrelated to any normal concern, such as a child’s ill-
    ness, a backlog of bills? Anxiety that has no discernible cause is a sign of an emotional difficulty.

    Becomes Aggressive, Rude and Abusive Over Minor Incidents. Are there remarks about groups or individuals “out to get me?” If that last
    remark was made in all seriousness, and blowups and violent physical behaviour occur, there is a strong indication some help may be
    required.

    A Change in the Person’s Habits Such as Eating, Sleeping or Grooming. Suddenly, has the individual almost stopped eating? Conversely,
    has he or she started eating or drinking a lot in a compulsive manner? Either sleeplessness or too much sleeping can be indicators, if they are
    done to excess.

    Any of these signals, if they continue for any length of time, may call for professional help. Fortunately, early identification of the underlying
    problems causing the behaviour can often make symptoms disappear.

                                                                                               Source: Learning Disabilities Association of America

                                                                                                                               Used with Permission


14 COMMUNIQUE
can be short-or-long-term and can range           three months, the traditional proba-
from mild to moderate severity. If the
problems become more severe, the indi-
vidual could become at risk of developing
                                                  tionary period

                                                • LD and substance abuse are the
                                                                                               At a Glance:
a more severe condition such as a                 most common impediments to keep-
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic               ing welfare clients from becoming
Attacks and/or a major depressive disor-          and remaining employed
der. The stress of being out of sorts with
the world can also cause or aggravate         Clearly, the economic and social conse-
physical conditions including headaches,      quences of LD and mental health con-
back pain, chronic fatigue, sleep disor-      cerns are undeniable. According to
ders and depravation, and muscle ten-         Chicago educator and author Carol Wren,
sion among other things. In turn, such        adults with LD are at a “very high risk for
emotional or physical conditions can          emotional problems and disorders for two
exacerbate the cognitive effects of the       related reasons. They struggle with the
learning disability, by reducing alertness    disability itself. They are also at risk
and concentration, and introducing inter-     because they are misunderstood, mis-
nal distractions,” he says.                   traught, misdiagnosed and mistreated,
                                                                                              • Anxiety and depression are the
                                              not only in school but also in psychother-
                                                                                                most frequently diagnosed adjust-
The Canadian Mental Health Association        apy and in life.”
                                                                                                ment disorders that co-exist with
reveals that mental health conditions are
the most frequently diagnosed disorders.      The Learning Disabilities Association of          learning disabilities
An estimated 20 per cent of all               America (www.ldaamerica.us) states that
                                              “there are certain aspects of learning dis-     • Of the three million Canadians
Canadians will be affected by a mental ill-
ness at some point during their lives.        abilities which increase the risk for an          with LD, it is estimated that half
About 10 percent of the population 18         individual to experience mental health            live with some kind of co-existing
and over will have a depressive disorder.     issues. Failure to identify a learning dis-       mental health condition. Mental
About 70 per cent are unemployed and          ability at an early age and to consequent-
                                                                                                health is the most frequently diag-
up to 15 percent of all people with a         ly delay the provision of intensive, individ-
                                              ualized instruction results in school fail-       nosed of all disabilities. About
major mental illness will die by suicide.
                                              ure. A child who was well-adjusted as a           20% of the population will be
Compare those statistics with these fig-      five or six year old can acquire overlays         affected at some point in their
ures from Justin Eves Foundation, a           of emotional disturbance after years of           lives.
Toronto non-profit that provides assis-       school failure. Anxiety and depression
tance to students with LDs:                   would be likely experiences for such a          • Many with LD and ADHD are
                                              child from the age of nine or ten.                more susceptible to mental health
  • 43% of the LD population live at or                                                         concerns due to repeated school
    below the poverty line; in the general    Furthermore, `certain specific LDs are
                                                                                                failures, perceptual deficits and
    population those who live below the       characterized by perceptual deficits,
                                              including misinterpretation of verbal or          social rejection.
    poverty line represent 18%.
                                              nonverbal cues that lead to awkward
                                                                                              • The evolution of white collar
  • Less than 16% of adults with LD           social interactions. These, along with
    receive services for their disability.    impulsivity associated with ADHD, con-            economies means higher demand
                                              tribute to generally poor social skills,          for postsecondary credentials
  • 50% of females with LD were single        which in turn lead to alienation or social        which can pose problems for
    mothers within three to five years        conflict.                                         adults with LD who have not per-
    after leaving school
                                                                                                formed well at school. This can
                                              “Individuals of all ages with learning dis-
  • Up to 60% of adolescents in treat-        abilities and ADHD are subject to ridicule        partly be addressed through prop-
    ment for substance abuse have iden-       from peers and are often the objects of           er assessments, counselling,
    tified LD                                 bullying behaviours. Low self-esteem is a         healthy lifestyle choices and
                                              frequent by-product of learning disabili-         expanding support networks.
  • 10%-12% of adolescents with LD            ties.”
    become involved with the criminal                                                         • Another powerful tool for adjust-
    justice system compared to 2.5% of        But what can be done about these wide-            ing to LD is reframing, whereby
    the general population (Source:           spread phenomena? Dr. J. Douglas
                                                                                                the person goes through a process
    Ontario government, 1986).                Salmon Jr., suggests solutions begin with
                                                                                                of problem recognition, accept-
                                              psychodiagnostic assessments.
  • Adults with LD typically hold a job for                                                     ance, understanding and action.


                                                                                                                           FALL 2006 15
 “The role of assessments is vital. They          “The evolution of the digital and high level        In her excellent book Hanging By a Twig:
 can clearly identify a source of learning        service economies has resulted in fewer             Understanding and Counseling Adults
 challenges among a wide range of rea-            blue collar jobs, and those blue collar             with Learning Disabilities and ADD, Carol
 sons that these conditions occur. A psy-         jobs which remain are themselves                    Wren notes that Ginsberg, Gerber and
 chodiagnostic assessment can identify            becoming more technical, relying on high-           Reiff suggest that many who have suc-
 the cognitive limitations of an individual       er- level math and reading skills. As a             cessfully adjusted to their LD have also
 arising from a psychiatric condition, and        consequence, entrance requirements are              engaged in a process called “reframing.”
 can discern memory and learning difficul-        now changing to postsecondary comple-
 ties arising from secondary medical con-         tion and this can be more threatening to            Reframing is a process where the con-
 cerns, like epilepsy, pain, or sleep disor-      someone with LD, who often do not com-              sumer reconceptualizes their disability in
 der. There are also very distinct diagnos-       plete schooling to that level and because           the past, restructures their lives in the
 tic profiles of those with actual learning       it’s more difficult to compete and meet             present and anticipates the future within
 disabilities,” says Salmon. “Without a           the more academically-related job                   the context of their LD. There are four
 proper assessment, if one is dealing with        demands. The lack of ability for a person           steps to this process, including: recogniz-
 an LD or co-existing mental health condi-        with LD to find their place in the economy          ing the LD, achieving a stage of accept-
 tion, one is limited in terms of selecting       can cause emotional turmoil and lead to             ance, understanding the LD and its myri-
 the most appropriate interventions with-         mental health issues,” says Salmon.                 ad of implications and taking action to
 out a proper diagnosis and understanding         “Moreover, the fast pace of technological           improve circumstances.
 of the underlying causes,” he says.              change is more disruptive to the individ-
                                                  ual with LD who by nature of the LD                 According to Wren, adults who have been
 And while some agencies like Ontario             condition is often less flexible in terms           recently diagnosed may feel a sense of
 Disability Support Program can cover             of finding or adapting to alternate                 euphoria and a reduction of guilt and self
 costs, especially if the individual identifies   forms of work, that don’t expose their              blame. However, depression or anger
 as having difficulty keeping a job, costs        weaknesses.”                                        may surface as they begin the process of
 can be prohibitive, depending on the                                                                 reviewing their lives. People may need
 extensiveness of the testing and report.
 Counselling is also available through
 local LD chapters and sometimes insur-
 ance will cover the cost of deeper inter-
 ventions like psychotherapy.                        Preventing Mental Health Problems:
 Salmon goes on to suggest a two-                    Tips For Parents Of Young Children
 pronged approach to dealing with at least
                                                     Encourage Your Child to Take Responsibility for His/Her Behaviour. We do not con-
 some co-existing mental health condi-
                                                     trol others. We can only influence others to want to change their behaviour.
 tions. The first involves bolstering coping
 resources and symptom management                    Establish an Atmosphere of Mutual Respect Between You and Your Child. Children
 strategies usually facilitated through              respond more positively when adults are consistent, honest, open and supportive.
 counselling, support or self management
 techniques, such as exercise, being                 Determine the Behaviour or Events That Take Place Before and After Unwanted or
 socially connected and talking about                Undesirable Behaviours. It is important to identify the things in the environment which
 problems.                                           set off or positively reinforce the child’s inappropriate behaviour.

 The second approach is “addressing the              Establish Consequences That Are Natural And/Or Logical and Apply the
 root issue, which, for adults, is normally          Consequences Objectively (Without Anger). If the consequence for the child is to sit
 vocational displacement. The key is for             and think for 15 minutes, to also yell in anger or to spank the child will destroy the effect
 the learning disabled individual to find a          of the learning process.
 niche where the job will accommodate the
 LD and provide a comfortable income with            Permit the Individual to Make His Choices and to Live With the Consequences. If
 opportunities for future advancement.               the individual makes the choice, then the outcome should rest with the one making the
                                                     choice. When the parent accepts the consequence, then the parent denies the child the
 “A neurovocational or combined psy-                 opportunity to grow and mature.
 chodiagnostic/psychovocational assess-
 ment can be critical in this respect                Make Certain Each of Your Children is a Valued Contributor. Maturation demands
 towards identifying the individual’s voca-          that everyone is treated as a full-fledged member of the family.
 tional strengths and weaknesses and
                                                                                                                           Source – CANHCgram
 appropriate training methods in the con-
 text of the LD, and from there to begin                                       California Association for Neurologically Handicapped Children
 the process of identifying best suited
 jobs,” says Salmon.

16 COMMUNIQUE
assistance integrating new-found pain, as         Taking action means accepting responsi-
they integrate this process into their lives.     bility for the change in one’s life. Goal         Suggestions for People
Once consumers recognize the emotional            setting can produce a lot of anxiety for
and pragmatic impact of their LD, therapy         the person with LD because years of
                                                                                                   with Learning Disabilities
can help work towards acceptance. At              experience may have led to an internal-
this stage, there may be grief associated
with the loss of the client’s normal self.
                                                  ized feeling of failure. But thinking in
                                                  terms of “open-ended possibilities” and
                                                                                                   L   earn as much as you can each and
                                                                                                       everyday.
Acceptance involves understanding and
resolving emotions such as anger that
                                                  learning experiences that can be revised,
                                                  can enable the person to embrace                 E   njoy the time to do the pleasurable
                                                                                                       things. It makes life more delightful.
may result from injustices that occurred          change with a little more safety. Typically,
earlier in the person’s life, or emotions
causing internal tension as well. This
                                                  those with LD show more progress when
                                                  concrete, practical steps can be meas-
                                                                                                   A   llow yourself to be open to
                                                                                                       suggestions. It might help you
                                                                                                       in the long run.
becomes an integral part of the healing           ured over time.
process.
                                                  Time is one of the single biggest accom-
                                                                                                   R   eward yourself with gifts for doing
                                                                                                       something wonderful from time to
                                                                                                       time.
Understanding involves a deeper level of          modations many with LDs can use to
comprehending one’s cognitive deficits
and how they impact on the the academ-
                                                  adapt to new situations. Anna Lavery
                                                  realizes that her depression is temporary,
                                                                                                   N   ever give up, there is always a way
                                                                                                       to achieve what you are working
                                                                                                       towards.
ic, vocational and social aspects of life.        “although each time it happens, I find
Wren warns it is never safe to assume
that adults fully understand their LD. For
                                                  myself asking, ‘why me’” she says.
                                                                                                   I   t’s important to think positive.
example, the same disability can have             With new resources, better funding and
profoundly different consequences during
the adult part of life, than it did as a child.
                                                  more education the world is slowly start-
                                                  ing to grasp the impact that invisible dis-
                                                                                                   N   othing beats going back-to-school
                                                                                                       to enhance your learning for a better
                                                                                                       career.
It is during this stage that one must             abilities have on society. Many mental
understand one’s strengths as well as the
weaknesses. For example, many people
                                                  health issues tend to be episodic in
                                                  nature, allowing for sustained periods of
                                                                                                   G   et lots of support for the hard times.

with LDs, by virtue of their challenges,          relative normalcy, but learning disabilities
may be excellent problem solvers and not
be aware of it. The ability to think in pic-
                                                  are life-long. Juggling the two remains a
                                                  challenge for many.                              D   on’t ever think you are alone.
tures for some with dyslexia is another
example of this, in that it conjures the          “I have learned to accept my challenges
                                                  and realize that there is a world out there
                                                                                                   I   t is not easy out there, it is a real
                                                                                                        challenge.
realization that alternative points of view
can be offered in a workplace situation
that other, non-disabled colleagues might
                                                  that is waiting for me,” says Lavery. “Now
                                                  that I have a better grasp of my strug-
                                                                                                   S   et goals for yourself, both short term
                                                                                                       and long term.

not have thought of.                              gles, it’s just a matter of time before I find
                                                  my place in that world.”                         A   pproach people with the same
                                                                                                       learning disabilities as you have to
                                                                                                       learn about their experiences.

                                                                                                   B   e patient with yourself.

                                                                                                   I   f things are too overwhelming take
                                                                                                       time to gather your thoughts.
 RESOURCES:
 Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario: www.anxietyontario.com/                                 L   isten to your gut feelings.
 Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario: www.ontario.cmha.ca/
 Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Disorders:
 www.canmat.org/resources/depression/index.html
                                                                                                   I   nquisitive people keep calendars to
                                                                                                       write down your appointments and
                                                                                                       special events.
 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health: www.camh.net/
 Children’s Mental Health Ontario: www.kidsmentalhealth.ca/
 ConnexOntario Health Services Information: www.connexontario.ca
                                                                                                   T   here is lots of help out in the
                                                                                                       community that you can benefit from.

 Family Association for Mental Health Everywhere (FAME):
 www.fameforfamilies.com/
                                                                                                   I   n addition, eat well-balanced meals.
                                                                                                       Be creative, it will make eating more
                                                                                                       interesting.
 Mood Disorders Association of Ontario: www.mooddisorders.on.ca/
 My Peace of Mind: www.mypeaceofmind.ca/flash.htm
 Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs:
                                                                                                   E   njoy life to the fullest, it’s too short.
 www.ofcmhap.on.ca/
 Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO:
 www.onthepoint.ca/kec/action.htm
                                                                                                   S   elect tasks one at a time, don’t over
                                                                                                       load.
                                                                                                                               by Anna Lavery

                                                                                                                                     FALL 2006 17
 Are you stressed? Stress M
 By Dan Johnston

 Find out by taking the test below through
                                                                                                   Anxiety is defined as; “the natural condi-
 (This test is not meant to replace a clinical assessment but to help you judge
 how you are doing. If you score as stressed you may need to seek help.)                           tion or feeling experienced when one per-
                                                                                                   ceives that the demands being placed on
 Answer these twenty questions: Yes                                                                him/her exceed his/her personal and
 or No. At the end, calculate all of your                                                          social resources.” As human beings, we
 “yes” responses.
                                                                                                   often feel the greatest levels of anxiety
                                                                                                   when we don’t believe that we possess
 1. Do you frequently neglect your diet?
                                                                                                   the time, experience and/or skills to effec-
        ■ Yes      ■ No                                                                            tively manage tasks.
 2. Do you frequently try to do every-
                                                                                                   Individuals with learning disabilities (LD)
    thing yourself?
                                                                                                   and other learning challenges – those
        ■ Yes      ■ No
                                                                                                   who have trouble neurologically process-
 3. Do you frequently blow up easily?                                                              ing information from the world around
       ■ Yes     ■ No                                                                              them – are more susceptible to anxiety
 4. Do you frequently seek unrealistic                                                             than other people because for them,
    goals?                                                                                         many of the simple processing tasks that
       ■ Yes     ■ No                                                                              others take for granted, pose problems.
 5. Do you frequently fail to see the                                                              If anxiety is the “wear and tear” of experi-
    humour in situations others find                                                               ence – the toil and trouble of evolution –
    funny?                                                                                         how can vulnerable populations lessen its
       ■ Yes      ■ No                                                                             harmful effects? After all, those affected
 6. Do you frequently get easily irritated?                                                        by LDs are, like the rest of us, compelled
       ■ Yes     ■ No                                                                              to live life through sensory process and
                                                                                                   experience!
 7. Do you frequently make a “big deal”
    of everything?                                                                                 One way to alleviate the negative feelings
        ■ Yes     ■ No                                                                             caused by anxiety (such as sadness,
 8. Do you frequently complain that you                                                            anger, mistrust and rejection) and to ulti-
    are disorganized?                                                                              mately avoid the plethora of health prob-
        ■ Yes     ■ No                                                                             lems associated with these feelings (such
                                                                                                   as heartburn, indigestion, ulcers,
 9. Do you frequently keep everything
                                              16. Do you frequently think there is only            headaches, high blood pressure, heart
    inside?
                                                  one right way to do something?                   attack and stroke) is to explore, under-
        ■ Yes    ■ No
                                                     ■ Yes      ■ No                               stand and utilize coping mechanisms
 10. Do you frequently neglect exercise?                                                           known as “accommodations”.
        ■ Yes     ■ No                        17. Do you frequently fail to build relax-
                                                  ation into every day?                            “Accommodations” are defined by LDAO
 11. Do you frequently have few support-
                                                      ■ Yes      ■ No                              as, “simple ways to use strengths to com-
     ive relationships?                                                                            pensate for weaknesses.” They can
         ■ Yes      ■ No                      18. Do you frequently spend a lot of time
                                                  complaining about the past?                      involve compensatory strategies, practice
 12. Do you frequently get too little rest?                                                        exercises and the utilization of technolo-
                                                     ■ Yes     ■ No
        ■ Yes     ■ No                                                                             gy, and by implementing the appropriate
                                              19. Do you frequently race through the               ones (some as simple as allotting more
 13. Do you frequently get angry when             day?
     you are kept waiting?                                                                         time to tasks and list making), individuals
                                                     ■ Yes     ■ No                                with LD and ADHD can diminish the neg-
        ■ Yes      ■ No
                                              20. Do you frequently feel unable to                 ative effects of stress in order to lead
 14. Do you frequently ignore stress              cope with all you have to do?                    happier, healthier, more productive lives.
     symptoms?
                                                     ■ Yes       ■ No
        ■ Yes     ■ No                                                                             The subject of accommodations is volu-
                                              For more information, or to complete this            minous and experts continue to expound
 15. Do you frequently put things off until
                                              test online, visit Dan Johnston’s web site           its validity in dealing with LD and ADHD.
     later?
                                              at: www.lessonsforliving.com                         This article provides an overview of vari-
         ■ Yes    ■ No
                                                       Scores of 13-17 Danger Zone. Watch out!     ous types of accommodations and, more
                                                       Scores of 7-12 Pretty Good Control
                                                       Your score is = Scores of 1-6 Few Hassles
18 COMMUNIQUE
Management
 Accommodations                                                                                            By Deana Collins
 importantly, portrays these accommoda-           ownership of duty and inspiring trust          Kurzweil 3000, Dragon Naturally
 tions as stress relievers. The following is      between involved parties.                      Speaking, JAWS, MAGic and
 a series of categorized tips and meas-                                                          MSAccessibility perform a multitude of
 ures to help the learning disabled and           Mentoring:                                     functions related to the translation of text
 learning challenged battle anxiety:                                                             to and from speech, as well as the ampli-
                                                  “Mentoring” – vicarious and symbiotic
                                                                                                 fication of text size and speech cadence
                                                  partnered learning – has proven itself an
 Enlightened Attitude:                            excellent stress management tool in
                                                                                                 and tone. These learning tools are
                                                                                                 increasingly being installed and imple-
 It’s paramount not only for individuals          recent years and is gaining popularity
                                                                                                 mented in schools, resource centers and
 with LD but also for parents, employers,         with school boards, employers and train-
                                                                                                 libraries and can be explored in great
 teachers and community partners, to be           ing facilities nationwide. Mentoring is a
                                                                                                 depth at participatory sites and through
 mindful of environmental anxiety.                very Laubachian (“Each-one-teach-one”)
                                                                                                 major retailers and the Internet.
 Attitudes and behaviours exhibited by            arrangement, whereby a new employee
 authority figures can have an immense            or struggling student is consistently          We live in fast, stressful times that often
 impact on children, employees and stu-           paired with a more seasoned employee,          seem to propel anxiety’s engine.
 dents with LD. To avoid stressors and            student or teacher so that “hands on”,         However, this should not condemn any of
 stigmatic triggers, individuals with LD and      concrete learning happens through direct       us to an anxiety-ridden life that is second-
 ADHD should be given extra time to read          observation and the sharing, practice and      rate because it is perpetually overwhelm-
 new materials, learn tasks and process           monitoring of tasks. Mentoring is a term       ing! To extend our humanity and success-
 information. It’s no secret that stress relief   that also includes “job coaching”, when        fully accommodate LD and ADHD popula-
 is directly linked to the allowance of extra     an individual (most often a representative     tions, employers, parents, teachers and
 time during exams and work projects!             from a social program or agency) works         social agencies alike must band together
                                                  on-site to help train a new employee who       to help develop and apply unique coping
 Organization:                                    is having difficulty. Regular “check ins” by   strategies for the learning disabled, and
                                                  employers and the utilization of note tak-     understanding accommodations as the
 Many people with LD manage stress and
                                                  ers and tutors by students are other           effective stress relievers they are is an
 execute accommodations through aug-
                                                  forms that fall into the category of men-      imperative to this noble vision.
 mented methods of organization. Some
                                                  torship.
 attest to the value of having clear written
 instructions accompany school and work
 assignments and by having “To do” lists
 generated on a “by project”, daily, weekly
                                                  Audio-Visual
                                                  Aids/Techniques:
                                                                                                   At a Glance:
 or monthly basis. The practice of prioritiz-     Some other practical stress management         • Anxiety can be defined as: “the
 ing that is gained by routinely itemizing        tools for people with LD and ADHD                natural condition or feeling expe-
 tasks quite commonly proves itself a             involve the use of various audio-visual          rienced when one perceives that
 priceless skill, and parents, teachers,          aids and techniques, such as highlighting,       the demands being placed on
 employers and social workers should              reverse highlighting, information marking        him/her exceed his/her personal
 encourage initial liaison followed by inde-      (such as coloured dots, stickers and page        and social resources.”
 pendence where list making and system-           strips), cascading folder systems (i.e. the
 atizing is concerned.                            Tickler file system), reduction of back-       • LDAO defines “accommodations
                                                  ground noise, earplugs, tape recorders,          as “simple ways to use strengths to
 Alternative,                                     day planners, palm pilots, mnemonics,            compensate for weaknesses.” They
 “Step-wise” Learning:                            and “chunking” (the organizing of infor-         can involve compensatory strate-
                                                  mation in ways and patterns that jog             gies, practice exercises and the
 Some people with LD also find great
                                                  memory), and more frequent breaks (per-          utilization of technology.”
 stress relief in being assigned repetitive
                                                  haps more often but shorter in duration).
 tasks at the outset and during the early
                                                                                                 • Many accommodations, including
 stages of a job or project, and then even-
 tually being graduated to the handling of        Adaptive Technology:                             mentoring, adaptive technology,
 more complex tasks and responsibilities.         Modernity has afforded us the luxury of          and attitude change, alternative
 This “graduated” model of learning/train-        various adaptive technologies through            forms of learning and audio-visual
 ing is both dynamic and progressive,             computer – both hardware and software            assistance can greatly reduce a
 focusing on realistic goals, emphasizing         – applications. Programs such as                 person’s anxiety levels.

                                                                                                                                 FALL 2006 19
 The Depression Test                                                                                                     By Dan Johnston

 Are you depressed? Take this twelve-question test to find out.
 As you fill out the questionnaire, read each item carefully and mark the answer that best reflects how you have been
 feeling during the past few days. Make sure you choose one answer for each of the twelve items. If in doubt, make your
 best guess. Do not leave any questions unanswered. Calculating your response. For every “No not at all” response, your
 score is “O”. For “No, not much,” score 1. For “Yes, sometimes,” score 2. For “Yes, definitely” score 3.

 (This test is not meant to replace a clinical assessment but to help you judge how you are doing. If you score as
 depressed you may need to seek help.)

 1. I feel miserable and sad             5. I still enjoy the things I            9. I have lost interest in                    11. I am more irritable than
                                            used to.                                 things.                                        usual.
        ■ No, not at all.
        ■ No, not much.                           ■ No, not at all.                       ■ No, not at all.                                ■ No, not at all.
        ■ Yes, sometimes.                         ■ No, not much.                         ■ No, not much.                                  ■ No, not much.
        ■ Yes, definitely                         ■ Yes, sometimes.                       ■ Yes, sometimes.                                ■ Yes, sometimes.
                                                  ■ Yes, definitely                       ■ Yes, definitely                                ■ Yes, definitely
 2. I find it easy to do the
                                         6. I am restless and can’t               10. I get tired for no reason.                12. I wake up early in the
    things I used to do.
                                            keep still.                                                                             morning and cannot go
        ■ No, not at all.                                                                 ■ No, not at all.                         back to sleep.
        ■ No, not much.                           ■ No, not at all.                       ■ No, not much.
                                                  ■ No, not much.                                                                          ■ No, not at all.
        ■ Yes, sometimes.                                                                 ■ Yes, sometimes.
                                                  ■ Yes, sometimes.                                                                        ■ No, not much.
        ■ Yes, definitely                                                                 ■ Yes, definitely
                                                  ■ Yes, definitely                                                                        ■ Yes, sometimes.
 3. I get very frightened or                                                                                                               ■ Yes, definitely
    panicky feeling for no               7. I get off to sleep easily
                                                                                   For more information, or to complete this test online, visit Dan Johnston’s web site at:
    good reason at all.                     without using medica-                  www.lessonsforliving.com
                                            tion.
        ■ No, not at all.
        ■ No, not much.                           ■ No, not at all.
        ■ Yes, sometimes.                         ■ No, not much.
        ■ Yes, definitely                         ■ Yes, sometimes.
                                                  ■ Yes, definitely
 4. I have crying spells, or
    feel like it.                        8. I feel anxious when I go
                                            out of the house alone.
        ■ No, not at all.
        ■ No, not much.                           ■ No, not at all.
        ■ Yes, sometimes.                         ■ No, not much.
        ■ Yes, definitely                         ■ Yes, sometimes.
                                                  ■ Yes, definitely




      Scores of 26-30 Moderate Depression Scores of Over 31 Severe Depression
      Scores of 15-20 Headed Towards Depression Scores of 21-25 Mild Depression
      Scores of 1-10 Normal Scores of 11-14 Normal Life Mood




20 COMMUNIQUE
COMMENTARY:
Comfortable Skin                                                                            By Chad Abrahams

Websters New English Dictionary and             see the glass as half-empty. It has no          and famous people had LD, including
Thesaurus defines self esteem as: “confi-       light switch. It is the darkness of one’s       Albert Einstein, Robin Williams, Winston
dence and respect for oneself.” It can          own self.                                       Churchill, Mozart and many more. But
also be defined as having an exaggerat-                                                         what all these people had in common is
ed opinion of oneself. There are two            Bad self esteem derives from feelings of        they would not use LD as a crutch, but as
sides to self esteem: good and bad.             worthlessness created by well-intentioned       a stepping stone to greater things. They
Good self esteem is being able to look at       parents looking to achieve a dream              would not let anything stand in the way of
oneself in the mirror with a smile and talk     through their child. “Son you are not           achieving their dreams, and nothing
about what a great person you are and           working yourself hard enough. ”You have         should stand in yours.
being able to see yourself as being worth       to make A’s.” My son is going to be one
it. Good self esteem can derive from the        of the finest surgeons since Sir William        I never found my confidence from sports
same places that bad self esteem comes          Osler. He’s going to be the best. (Tearing      or challenges like so many others, but
from: parents, teachers, friends, your          down a child’s efforts leaving him or her       from family and people like the publisher
boss, and your co-workers.                      feeling worthless and with the feeling that     of this article, as well as books, that
                                                love and acceptance can only come from          helped me see that I was putting negative
It grows from words spoken to you at a          outstanding achievements in life.               limitations on my life. Only I was holding
young age, words of encouragement,                                                              myself back from being the best possible
acknowledging how well you did even if          There are many ways bad self esteem             person I could be. I learned that nothing
you did manage just a B or C in school. It      can develop, but it can also be turned          comes easy in life without hard work and
comes from people saying you are a spe-         into good self esteem through therapy,          sacrifice, and it helped to see that many
cial person and as one grows older, good        finding a positive network, which may           people suffer from LD. We are unique
self esteem will come down to how you           include beavers, scouts, Big Brothers, the      individuals, all with our own abilities.
see the world perceiving you. Many peo-         martial arts, teachers, friends and family.     People with LD learn in many different
ple depend on a kind word from someone          It is the inclination about oneself devel-      ways, we all have a learning difference,
before they start believing in their self-      oped mentally. I believe self esteem is         we just can’t see it in other people. I work
worth.                                          about knowing who you are, and feeling          for a non-profit agency, helping to give
                                                good about yourself and your place in the       food to needy people. When I saw the
To carry oneself with good self esteem is       world.                                          conditions under which these people
to walk tall, look the world in the face and                                                    lived, I knew that I was helping to make
say, “what the heck?” It is important to        It took a long time to build up my own self     their lives better; giving back to them was
think and feel that no matter what others       esteem. It’s tough growing up with LD, I        more rewarding than anything in my life.
think of you, you are a unique and great        felt alone, trapped in a box, while the         To see them so thankful for just the
individual with a lot of promise for the        world went on around me. I felt stupid,         smallest amount, made me proud to be a
future; that you are someone worth know-        felt that my LD was all anyone would see        contributor. I saw that it was time to see
ing; that you are not just a face in the        of me. I wanted so hard to fit in with my       myself for who I was: someone with
crowd. As the title says, it is feeling com-    mainstream classmates; to receive more          compassion and heart, someone worth
fortable inside your skin. It is the smell of   than just the Most Improved Student             knowing.
fresh air. It is to think of oneself as a       award. I didn’t understand LD back then;
magnet.                                         it made me feel insecure. I connected my        I am not LD, We are not LD. The most
                                                LD with who I was as a person. The              important thing one can do to achieve
For me, a clear definition of bad self          lower my decline in attitude the more I         their dream, is to believe in themselves.
esteem is negative self talk, often about       felt I was drowning. No matter how I            Remember the greats; they have helped
worthlessness and self disgust, usually         acted on the outside with my friends,           us see that nothing is impossible if we
stemming from bad experiences.                  inside I felt empty, without purpose, I fell    stop believing. LD is a label; No one has
                                                into the trap of believing my LD was a          the right to put a label on us. I have
To have bad self esteem, is to have a           barrier in my life, that it defined who I was   learned to see that it is up to us to forge
negative notion about one’s abilities,          and what I made of my future. I want you        our way ahead. LD is not our excuse, it is
physical appearance, thoughts and work.         to know today, that you are not alone. LD       our strength; our stepping stone to
It is to perceive oneself as a failure and      doesn’t have to ruin your life. Many great      achievement.




                                                                                                                               FALL 2006 21
                                                                          “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one

 LDAO Hall of Fame                                                        persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress
                                                                          depends on the unreasonable man.” So wrote George Bernard Shaw
                                                                          many years ago. The people showcased in this feature are the “unrea-




                         The Great Canadian Pioneer                                                Role Model
                         Pat Hatt: Toronto & Kingston;                                             John Dyson: London, ON;
                         Occupation: Author, activist, retired                                     Occupation: Bank Employee, Writer,
                         teacher                                                                   Facilitator, Advocate
                         Seven books • Countless presentations                                     Because: Despite severe challenges,
                           Because: For over 35 years she has                                      recent years have been filled with great
                           been a tireless campaigner for adults with                              success since he decided – aided by
 learning disabilities, a pioneer in the field of literacy and a crack-   tough choices, dedication, hard work, assistive technology and
 erjack speaker on LD at workshops and conferences across the             timely community support – to conquer the LD that held him
 country. Because: Through a diverse range of key roles past              back, keeping him in a constant state of frustration. Because: In
 and present including executive positions at all three LD associa-       the last five years he has completed his Arts & Science Diploma
 tion levels (local, provincial and national) she has lobbied long        from Fanshawe College, attained a great job with TD/Canada
 and hard for recognition of LD as a legitimate disability and            Trust, conducted workshops and presentations for community
 directly or indirectly had influence across multiple service sectors     agencies, published an article in Closing The Gap on the use of
 that has made people take notice of the inequities that have             Dragon TM, created and maintained a blog on “Living With A
 befallen the LD community. Because: Despite her own reading              Learning Disability”, regularly writes articles that are shared with
 and writing challenges, she has, alone or in collaboration, pro-         the community, and advocates for people with LD in many circles
 duced seven highly-regarded publications, including, Target              including the influential ears of London area MPPs. Because:
 Literacy and Links in Learning that have become cornerstones in          He shares his thoughts, stories, knowledge and experiences so
 Canadian LD literature. Because: Even though she is now in               openly because he believes that words and voices can create
 semi-retirement, she shows no signs of slowing down and the              positive change for people living with LD. John’s advocacy cov-
 fire still rages. “There’s a dismal lack of services in this province    ers many different areas but his personal experiences and shar-
 for adults,” she snaps, “and still a lot of systemic discrimination.     ing of the difficult mental, social and lifestyle effects that LDs can
 Almost every other type of disability is supported by a health           have, are incredibly inspiring to anyone who hears him speak or
 connection, but LD is the only disability you have to pay to have        reads his articles. Because: John talks about learning disabili-
 a diagnosis for.” Because: After almost four decades in the busi-        ties from a place of understanding and empathy but also with a
 ness, she’s still our favourite hatt-trick.                              newly discovered sense of passion and optimism.




                         Visionary                                        Dyslexia Correction Facilitator. “I finally have found what I have
                         Cathy Dodge-Smith: Toronto;                      been searching for since I began my teaching career with chil-
                         Occupation: Psycho-educational                   dren with LD. I always could see the intelligence shining in their
                         Therapist, Psychometrist, Special                eyes. It was frustrating not knowing how to fix their perceptual
                         Education Teacher, Counsellor, College           difficulties or teach them to read and write as their intellects
                         Administrator, Facilitator                       should have permitted. Now, as a Davis Facilitator, I can give
                                                                          people the tools they need to put the disability aspect of LD
                          Because : For over 40 years she has             completely behind them and celebrate their gifts. My greatest
                          assessed, taught, inspired, counselled,         dream for the future is to see Davis learning strategies in every
                          represented and advocated for adults and        classroom so that all children will be able to learn easily and effi-
                          youth with learning disabilities. Her doctor-   ciently,” she says enthusiastically. Because: She is the founding
 al studies at the University of Toronto on children and adults with      president of the Davis Dyslexia Facilitators’ Association of
 ADHD precipitated the development and implementation of the              Canada and in 1989 received the Canada Volunteer Award for
 Smith Learning Disabilities Screen, a popular LD/ADD screening           her diligent work and tremendous progress in the field. Credited
 test for adults. Her impressive 35-year long commitment to the           with having pioneered the first full time rehabilitation program for
 Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC) has resulted          adults with LD in Canada, she has also written the groundbreak-
 in the success of countless projects and landed her a five-year          ing book For You: Adults with Learning Disabilities and traveled
 term on the LDAC Professional Advisory Board. She has also               cross-country, positively affecting lives by promoting LD aware-
 been president of both the LDAC and the LDA-Quebec.                      ness on a national level!
 BECAUSE: Through her passionate words and efforts, she con-
 tinues in her fight to help solve the riddle of LD as a Davis                                                                   – Deana Collins



22 COMMUNIQUE
sonable ones” among us, who work, sometimes silently, sometimes not,        our cause. They are often the unsung heroes who benefit generations to
behind the scenes and in front, to help repair inequities for people with   come and work to improve mental health in their communities. We pause
LD. They are writers, teachers and advocates. They are administrators,      here to salute these first inductees into the LDAO Hall of Fame and appre-
social workers and bank employees. Mostly they are just dedicated to        ciate them for all the work that they have done and continue to do.




                         Forces of Nature                                                            In Memoriam
                         Betty Borg: Peterborough;                                                   Isabel Wilson: Toronto;
                         Occupation: Co-founder, LDA                                                 Occupation: Former teacher, mentor,
                         Peterborough, former Administrator,                                         researcher, LD book distributor
                         Advocate, Unofficial Historian
                                                                                                      Because: Her commitment to education
                         Because: In a story of decades, Betty                                        was cemented early in her career, teach-
                         Borg has been there since the beginning.                                     ing swimming before marriage, tutoring
She became passionate about LDs after hearing a Kiwanas Club                music thereafter and never wavered. Because: She experienced
lecture on the subject, and shortly thereafter became a core                an epiphany of recognition after discovering a link in a missed
member of the group that formed the local LDA chapter at that               trigonometry concept for one of her charges. “The idea that a lot
1975 meeting. Because: There were and are few LD advocates                  of kids could be behind the eight ball in a similar fashion; that
as committed as she. Whether spreading her acquired knowl-                  some silly little detail could be blocking their progress, could be
edge to teachers, parents, school board officials, newspaper edi-           easily resolved if only one could find out what it is, galvanized
tors or provincial-level politicians, she has always been a vocal           her,” recalled son Doug. Because: She became one of LDAO’s
activist and passionate educator on the subject. Because: She               earliest members, shortly after moving to Toronto from her native
shifted roles in 1985, becoming chapter coordinator and used                Montreal, working tirelessly at collecting and consolidating the
this platform to continue disseminating information on assess-              then-scant resources in the burgeoning world of LD literature.
ments, recognition and remedy while positioned as the “face of              Because: After a year-long re-direction of energies studying
the agency” for almost a decade. Even after retiring in 1994, she           dyslexia in England, she was offered a distributorship for Ann
continued being a major presence, advocating within the school              Arbor Publishers’ line of LD educational materials, which she
system and supporting parents along the way. Because: In                    grew into a thriving business. The role afforded her the opportu-
2004, she added yet another hat to her diverse repertoire as                nity to speak with teachers she met at product displays, which in
unofficial chapter historian when she stepped in with valuable              turn saw her advice funnelled back into the classroom, where it
archival information after LDA Peterborough’s records were                  all began. Because: When asked by son Doug if there weren’t
wiped out in a major flood. Because: Her story does not end                 more important youth problems like drugs or hunger, she could
here.                                                                       tackle, she replied she wasn’t “heavy duty” enough for that, but
                                                                            could make a meaningful contribution within education with chil-
                                                                            dren who weren’t facing such extreme difficulties. Thank God for
                                                                            that. The LD world is truly richer for her legacy.



                         Community Builder                                  grams in the community provided short-term assistance, but our
                         Sheri Cohen: Toronto; Occupation:                  clients required longer-term support, often for more than two
                         Entrepreneur, Social Worker                        years. When I established ALDER, the employment community
                                                                            was reluctant to call us, but as we grew, we were called on to
                        Because: after being diagnosed at 30                provide training for other agencies and professionals. ALDER
                        with LD, she took this new-found knowl-             became a integral part of the community. Because: After almost
                        edge and, with the help of a large support-         a decade of growing the agency and watching her vision unfold,
                        ive network, positively channeled her               she graciously chose to pass the baton to someone else to helm
                        energies into what became ALDER,                    the service she nurtured from the beginning. “People with LD
                        Toronto’s first consumer-driven non-profit          have been told that if we worked harder, put in more hours and
                        agency providing employment support to              listened better, we could achieve our employment goals.
job seekers with LD. “I kept hearing from LD adults that employ-            Fortunately, the myth that people with LD are lazy and stupid is
ers didn’t understand them,” she says. “Understanding one’s                 beginning to shift,” she says. Because: Through the scholarship
own learning disability and how it impacted them on the job was             for LD students that bears her name at Ryerson University, she
essential to ensuring success in the workplace. Unemployment                still remains a vital and generous presence within the learning
and under-employment was continuously on the rise. I also felt              disability community. “I want clients to be the legacy of this
that education and training for employers to dispell the various            agency,” she says, humbly. ALDER is more than just our popula-
myths that existed for our population was required.” Because:               tion, and more than me. I believed that services for us should be
Despite initial resistance from employment service providers, she           different.” Because: Even though she has gone on to experi-
proved there was viability (not to mention funding available) for           ence a new phase in the wonderful journey of life, she’s still our
an agency that grew to support the complex needs of a shock-                sheri amour
ingly misunderstood community.” Most of the employment pro-


                                                                                                                                        FALL 2006 23
 Strength in Numbers                                                                              Carol has experienced the extreme
                                                                                                  highs and lows of raising children who
 The Cunningham Family – Carol,
                                                                                                  learn in different ways. She has advo-
 Rick, Todd and D.J. Provenance:
                                                                                                  cated so that all of her children would
 York Region; Occupations: Teachers,
                                                                                                  have instructional equity in the school
 Adaptive Technology Camp Facilitators, – have made significant
                                                                        system. Her experiences empowered her to share her knowl-
 contributions to helping those with Learning Disabilities and their
                                                                        edge and insights with parents and teachers, as well as the stu-
 families.
                                                                        dents themselves. Her passionate message provides empathy,
 The Cunningham Family is being nominated for their contribution        strategies for advocacy, and a host of ideas to assist the special
 through Learn Differently, an assistive technology camp. Todd          learner and their parents. She is particularly knowledgeable
 working together with his brother D.J. introduces and teaches          about assistive technology developments, and is delighted to
 participants from Grade 4 to high school in the use of assistive       share how they may enable special students.
 technology. Completing the camp experience, Rich and Carol
 (Todd and D.J.’s parents) lead sessions with the parents of the        Rick Cunningham
 Camp participants.                                                     Rick Cunningham has been a school administrator for 16 years
                                                                        in six schools, two boards and in the elementary and secondary
 Because:
                                                                        panels. In three of those schools he established inclusion as the
 Todd Cunningham is pursuing his PhD in Clinical Psychology             structure for the provision of special education service. Two of
 at the University of Toronto and is involved in ongoing research       his schools in the York Region District School Board, including
 in the area of assistive technologies. He has his BSc (Honours)        his current one, have been awarded the Jim Albert award by the
 in Psychology and Education through Trent University where he          Special Education Advisory Committee for exemplary and inno-
 was the Assistive Technology tutor. As well, he was the Assistive      vative practices in Special Education. At Forest Run P.S. he has
 Technologist for the Learning Disabilities Research Project            received visitors both locally and from as far away as Europe, to
 (LDRP) at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The rich          view their inclusionary practices and use of assistive technolo-
 perspective he brings as an individual who has struggled with,         gies. He has a Masters of Education in Special Education, was
 accepted and overcome his LD makes Todd a much sought-after            seconded to The Ministry of Education’s Thistletown Regional
 key note speaker, workshop presenter and trainer. Workshops            Centre, did a sabbatical at the Child Development Clinic of the
 and presentations have been provided for Additional                    Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, taught a self-contained
 Qualification courses through OISE, Queens University and York         Learning Disabilities class and was a foster parent to young
 University. Presentations have also been made for numerous             offenders for 25 years. Rick was also enriched by the experience
 learning disability associations, the University of Toronto, and the   as the only elementary representative on the Program Pathways
 Hospital for Sick Children. Last year he guest-lectured at several     for Students at Risk Working Group of the Ontario Ministry of
 universities and school boards throughout Ontario, and contin-         Education. He will be presenting on Assistive technology and
 ues to provide ongoing training in the Yukon for Human                 Inclusion at the Provincial symposium, Tools for Learning:
 Resources Canada and the Learning Disabilities Association. For        Effective Practice for the Use of Assistive Technology for
 three summers he has run assistive technology camps in                 Students with Special Education Needs, Kindergarten to Grade
 Southern Ontario for students who learn differently. Todd is an        12 this fall.
 active member of the LDAO Adult Advocacy Committee, where
 he is spearheading the Speakers Bureau Project.                        D.J. Cunningham
                                                                        D.J. recently graduated from Trent University with Distinction in
 Carol Cunningham                                                       his BBA degree. He has been dealing with dyslexia all his life
 Carol is a graduate of Ohio University with a major in Social          and learning how to cope using a combination of learning strate-
 Work. She is a certified Life Skills coach. She has been a foster      gies and assistive technologies. D.J. initiated a peer mentoring
 mother for 25 years to approximately 70 young offenders, many          service for students with LDs and has been an active member in
 of whom had undiagnosed learning disabilities. She also worked         the LD community at Trent. For the past two summers he has
 as an educational assistant in elementary and secondary special        inspired many students who have attended his family’s “Learn
 education classes. She is founder and co-director of Caring            Different” summer camps. His enthusiasm for technology and
 Community Connections of Toronto; a not-for-profit organization        empathy for students, who learn differently, has steered him in a
 which has conducted technology programs for youth who learn            career path of tutoring and creating workshops that will help others.
 differently.



24 COMMUNIQUE
Mental Health and
Mental Illness in Canada
1. Who Experiences                            • Mental illness is the second leading
                                                                                          FACTS ON
                                                cause of hospital use among those
   Mental Illness?                              ages 20-44.                               MENTAL
 • It’s estimated that 1 in 5 Canadians
   will be affected by a mental illness at
                                              • A Health Canada report estimated
                                                that costs related to mental health
                                                                                          HEALTH
   some time in their lives.                    problems resulted in a total cost of
                                                $14.4 billion in 1998, placing mental
                                                                                          Facts about Mental
 • Approximately 2.5 million Canadian
   adults or over 10 percent of the pop-        illness amongst the most costly of all    Illness
   ulation 18 and older will have a             conditions in Canada.                     The most common serious mental illness-
   depressive disorder.                       • One-quarter of the 34 million hospital    es are schizophrenia, depression and
 • Almost 20 percent of children and            days used in Canada each year are         manic depression. CMHA Toronto serves
   youth in Canada have a diagnosable           for the treatment of people with men-     people who have these illnesses.
   psychiatric disorder.                        tal illnesses.                            In general, the major mental illnesses
 • A recent Canadian study found that         • Schizophrenia requires a greater use      tend to be “episodic”. This means the
   two-thirds of homeless people using          of hospital beds than any other med-      symptoms come and go, leaving periods
   urban shelters have some form of             ical or surgical condition in Canada.     in between when people can lead fairly
   mental illness.                                                                        normal lives.
                                              • By 2020, it is estimated that depres-
 • Of the ten leading causes of disabili-       sive illnesses will become the sec-       A person is not an illness. We’d never call
   ty worldwide, five are mental disor-         ond leading cause of disease burden       a person with cancer “cancerous”.
   ders: major depression, schizophre-          worldwide and the leading cause in        Similarly, someone with a mental illness
   nia, bipolar disorder, alcohol use dis-      developed countries like Canada.          is “a person with schizophrenia” rather
   order and obsessive compulsive dis-                                                    than “schizophrenic”.
                                              • Over 70 percent of people with a
   order.                                       mental illness are unemployed.
                                                                                          Depression and
2. What Causes                               4. Can People                                Manic Depression
   Mental Illness?                              Recover From                              Depression and manic depression are
 • Mental illness has no single cause.          Mental Illness?                           also called mood disorders or affective
 • There has been increasing medical                                                      disorders. Depression is the more com-
                                              • Most people with mental illness
   evidence that many of the major                                                        mon of the two.
                                                recover and are able to lead fulfilling
   mental illnesses involve biochemical         lives with the appropriate treatment      The main symptom of depression is a
   imbalances in the body. Other caus-          and support.                              sad and despairing mood. Depending on
   es may relate to the amount of stress                                                  the severity of the depression people
   in one’s life, the patterns of commu-      • Treatments can be quite effective,
                                                                                          may:
   nication one develops within their           but generally require lifetime use of
                                                medications.                              • suffer from anxiety or restlessness
   family, poverty and poor housing, the
   number of close family members and         • Only 43 percent of depressed adults       • feel helpless and hopeless
   friends one has to support them              seek care from a health professional.     • feel guilty
   through difficult times, and the
                                              • 10 - 15 percent of people with major      • be forgetful, have difficulty concentrat-
   degrees of self esteem.
                                                mental illnesses will die by suicide.       ing and making decisions
3. What Is the                                • More than 90 percent of people who        • lose interest in activities they used to
                                                take their lives have a diagnosable
   Economic Cost of                             mental disorder.
                                                                                            enjoy

   Mental Illness?                                                                        • have less energy

 • About 16% of health care expendi-                                                      • have changes in appetite and weight
   tures can be attributed to psychiatric                                                 • sleep too much or too little
   disorders.

                                                                                                                           FALL 2006 25
 • think of suicide                             Anxiety Disorders
 • at times lose touch with reality (halluci-   These disorders include:
   nations and delusions)
                                                • generalized anxiety, phobias (unrea-
 People with manic depression (also               sonable fear of objects, animals or situ-
 called bipolar disorder) have periods of         ations)
 depression and periods of feeling unusu-
 ally “high” or elated.                         • panic disorder (a condition where the
                                                  person has repeated intense episodes
 The most obvious sign of mania is an             of intense, sudden fear and physical
 outgoing “feeling up” kind of mood.              symptoms re the person has repeated
 People in manic phases appear sociable,          intense episodes of intense, sudden
 talkative, very energetic and full of self-      fear and physical symptoms such as
 confidence.                                      difficulty breathing
 On the other hand, they may also
 become:
                                                • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, in
                                                  which a person is unable to control the
                                                                                                  GAP Academy
 • very irritable                                 repetition of unwanted thoughts or
                                                  actions.
 • unpredictable
                                                Successful treatment for anxiety disor-       We strive to fill the gaps...
 • overly self-important (grandiose)
                                                ders may include psychotherapy and
 • reckless (e.g., spending sprees to the       medication.
   point of financial ruin, trouble with the                                                  We are a small, independent,
   law or uncharacteristic hyper-sexual
                                                                                              alternative school for learning
   behaviour)
                                                                                              disabled students with very
 • sleepless and have flight of ideas (a                                                      small classes and individually
   racing thoughts)                                                                           tailored programs for teens and
                                                                                              pre-teens.

                                                                                              We offer intensive programming
                                                                                              in the following areas:

                                                                                              ✔   Homework Strategies
                                                                                              ✔   Study Skills
                                                                                              ✔   Instructional Skills
                                                                                              ✔   Academic Risk-Taking
                                                                                              ✔   Independence
                                                                                              ✔   Social Skills
                 TEN TIPS                                                                     ✔   Personal Awareness
                                                                                              ✔   Accountability
            FOR MENTAL HEALTH                                                                 ✔   Determination Skills
                                                                                              ✔   Critical Thinking
                                                                                              ✔   Problem Solving
   1      Build a healthy self-                 6    Get involved / volunteer
          esteem                                                                              ✔ And Finally - The Truly
                                                7    Manage stress effectively                  Innovative Program:
   2      Eat well and keep fit                                                                 "Learning to Learn"
                                                8    Learn to cope with
   3      Create positive family                     changes that affect you                          Call us anytime.
          relationships
                                                9    Identify and deal with
                                                                                                      (416) 249-1500
   4      Make friends who count                     your moods
   5      Create a meaningful                   10 Find a spirituality to call                        GAP Academy
          budget                                   your own

26 COMMUNIQUE
BOOK REVIEW
Teaching Every Student in the Digital
Age: Universal Design for Learning
by David H. Rose and Anne Meyer                                                                              By Annie Sheehan

                                                                        method necessary to




W
                    hen asked to review this book I agreed
                                                                        achieve it that many
                  with some reluctance. As a parent and
                                                                        students could not
                 non-educator, I did not know how to gauge              possibly succeed –
                the effectiveness of a book on teaching.                certainly a student
                                                                        with dysgraphia would
 A quick flip through Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age         falter.
only added to my anxiety, as I noted pictures of the human brain
and flow charts in abundance. Knowing almost nothing about              What is the goal here
Universal Design for Learning (UDL), I thought the book would           - to teach the stu-
explain one optimal solution for teaching everyone –but, as we          dents to write in cur-
painfully learned at home there is no universal method ideally          sive or learn how to
suited for educating all students.                                      organize and com-
                                                                        pose the essay?
The book is split into two sections: The Concept and Practical          Once the teacher is
Applications.                                                           able to clarify the
The first section explains the “learning brain.” Learning is distrib-   overall goal, it can be
uted across three interconnected networks: the recognition net-         reworded broadly
works (which are specialized to receive and analyze informa-            enough to include all
tion), the strategic networks (specialized to plan and execute          students.
actions) and the affective networks (specialized to evaluate and        Although the term “support” is frequently made in relation to
set priorities). More simply, the what, the how and the why of          assisting LD students, I really enjoyed learning about the term
learning. Learners cannot be reduced to simple categories such          “scaffolding”. Support implies holding up a learner who would not
as “disabled” or “bright”. Using excellent real-life examples to aid    otherwise be able to stand on his own, while scaffolding implies
understanding, the book helped me understand how unfair our             allowing a student to reach new heights – while still offering sup-
current methods of evaluating students are. While this section          port in needed areas.
was intimidating initially, it made so much sense and was fasci-
nating. It helped me understand the learning brain and how it           The book explains the importance of flexible instructional media.
impacts the LD children we deal with.                                   Not necessarily more media but better media. The major compo-
                                                                        nents necessary to implement UDL are technology infrastructure,
While much has been done in the last decade to address physi-           administrative support, teacher training and support, redefined
cal accessibility such as wheelchair ramps to public buildings, no      roles for special and regular education teachers, a new curricu-
movement has been pursued to provide universal accessibility to         lum planning model, parent and community involvement and cre-
the curriculum. Assistive technology is frequently discussed as         ative funding. A tall order – but well worth pursuing. I will never
the cure-all for educating LD and other special-needs students.         think about a regular classroom again without knowing what a
The difference between assistive technology and UDL is that             difference UDL would make. Flexible methods and materials –
assistive technology assumes that a printed curriculum is a given       the heart of the UDL framework – would allow each student in
and provides tools to support individual access to it. On the other     the classroom to follow his path and obtain a level of perform-
hand, UDL looks not to the student, but to the curriculum itself.       ance that represents personal progress.
The second part of the book: Practical Applications explains how        The book has templates for assessment, useful web links and
UDL can help resolve the apparent contradiction between stan-           examples of different UDL solutions for potential barriers. Highly
dards and student diversity when setting goals for learning. For        recommended.
instance, if a teacher establishes the goal that “students will be
able to write an essay in cursive,” the goal is so imbedded in the


                                                                                                                               FALL 2006 27
 LDA CHAPTER NEWS AND VIEWS
 DURHAM REGION                                                         Program Pilots – Plans & Outcomes
 LDA Durham Hosts Transitions for Learning                             Community educational workshops are being planned as a pilot
 Conference                                                            series in four Middlesex County centres with the assistance of
 The Learning Disabilities Association of Durham Region was            local teachers and community members.
 pleased to host the Transitions for Learning Conference on            Our first Skills for School Program focussing on the return to
 Saturday, October 21, 2006 as part of LD Awareness Month cel-         school and the classroom after the summer break was offered in
 ebrations.                                                            August. Both students and parents provided nothing but great
 We were pleased to have the following presenters, including:          feedback and it is our intention to make this a yearly program
 Dr. R. Garth Smith, whose topic was “Sitting at Cross Roads:          offering at LDA-London.
 Similarities & Differences between NVLD, ADHD & Asperger’s”;
 Carol Currelly, spoke on “Transitioning: “Oh the Places You will
                                                                       PETERBOROUGH
 Go …” and Getting There Intact” and George McLeod                     New Employment Program Launched
 addressed “Universal Design for Learners Benefits Everyone”.          LDA Peterborough is pleased to announce the launch of its new
                                                                       Employment Skills Development Program (ESDP).
 KINGSTON
                                                                       Designed to address the many barriers and challenges faced by
 LDA Kingston Welcomes Dr. Garth Smith                                 learning disabled adults in their pursuit of sustained, appreciable
 For part of our public awareness month we hosted Dr. Garth            employment, the program serves 10 participants and is funded
 Smith on Saturday October 28 at St. Lawrence College,                 through the Opportunities Fund program of Service Canada.
 Kingston. Topic: Sitting at the Crossroads: Nonverbal Learning        Participants are confirmed through an intake process, which
 Disabilities, ADHD, & Asperger Syndrome. Dr. Garth Smith is           includes confirmation of their present employment status, vali-
 Medical Director, Child Development Centre, Hotel Dieu                dates indicators of an LD and provides formal assessments
 Hospital, Assistant Professor, Paediatrics, Queen’s University.       through a contracted psychologist.
 For more information on the presentation, contact Lana                The ESD Program has four components...
 Greenwood, LDA Kingston at: Tel: (613) 545-0373 or Email:
                                                                       The first phase focuses on the development of self awareness
 ldak@kingston.jkl.net
                                                                       and strategy building, as it works through the Job Fit modules
                                                                       developed by LDAO.
 LONDON REGION
                                                                       The second phase provides actual hands-on work experience
 Welcoming New Staff                                                   training in a variety of professional pre-confirmed settings, cho-
 LDA-London Region has a new Executive Director, Tracy                 sen by the participants.
 Fawdry. Tracy is excited to be working with a wonderful group of      In the third block, participants gain valuable certification in such
 staff and board members, and looks forward to expanding and           courses as; CPR/First Aid, WHMIS, Smart Serve and food han-
 developing the work of the chapter.                                   dler’s certification, while completing the final draft of their
 Andrea Brown also joins the chapter as Program Coordinator            resumes, developing cover letters, and honing interviewing skills,
 and Liz Carruthers, who organized the Gabor Mate speaker              while completing applications for wage subsidy approval.
 event, has returned to take on the position of Administrative         In the final phase, potential employers attend workshops based
 Coordinator. Liz and Andrea are working hard to launch the first      on the “Roadmap” approach designed by LDA Canada, while
 round of the Skills for School Program that has a new, updated        participants begin their job search activities, including submis-
 design under the expertise of our Program Coordinator. As well        sion of resumes to potential employers.
 as being incredibly skilled, Liz is creating a warm and welcoming
 office atmosphere for parents, children, clients and volunteers of    Finally, upon successfully securing employment, both partici-
 the agency.                                                           pants and employers are encouraged to continue to access the
                                                                       supportive services of LDAP.
 Public Relations – Television Spot                                    Program facilitation costs are provided by Service Canada,
 Andrea Craig is working with a client, who is also our “local star”   including the cost of formal assessments. As of this writing, the
 nominee, on a regional television program called Today’s              program has been up and running for three weeks and although
 Londoner. The series is titled; “Today’s Boomers” and the pro-        we have a limit of 10 participant spaces, we have already
 ducers have chosen to focus on “adults living with a learning dis-    received 35 intake enquiries.
 ability”. They will appear on the program together to promote
 ideas around assessment, support, self-advocacy and workplace         Rick Lavoie is Coming to Peterborough!
 accommodations as well as discuss the work that LDA-London            LDA Peterborough welcomes renowned LD specialist Rick
 offers to the community.                                              Lavoie to Peterborough, APRIL 26, 2007, 4:30 – 8:30pm at
                                                                       Calvary Pentecostal Church. Rick LaVoie, whose topic, “How
                                                                       Difficult Can This Be?”, has served as an administrator of resi-


28 COMMUNIQUE
dential programs for children with special needs since 1972. He     WELLINGTON COUNTY (Guelph area)
holds three degrees in Special Education and has served as an
                                                                    Math Expert Comes to Guelph
adjunct professor or visiting lecturer at numerous universities.
His numerous national television appearances include CBS            Toronto-based author and playwright Dr. John Mighton was the
Morning Show, Good Morning America, ABC Evening News and            keynote speaker at a conference that was the highlight for LD
The Disney Channel.                                                 Awareness Month October 20. Mighton was on hand to outline
                                                                    the successful Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies (JUMP) pro-
Rick is probably best known for his videos “How Difficult Can
                                                                    gram he developed.
This Be? The F.A.T. City Workshop” and “Last One Picked,
First One Picked On: The Social Implications of Learning            Through use of this program, Mighton has shown that even
Disabilities”. These award-winning films have brought Rick’s sen-   those who start with a low level of math competence can master
sitive and compelling message to countless thousands through-       difficult skills and concepts. His secret? Every math concept is
out the world.                                                      broken down into steps that any child can figure out. Dr. Mighton
                                                                    makes extensive use of volunteers who work one-on-one with
SIMCOE COUNTY                                                       students. Results have been outstanding. More information on
                                                                    J.U.M.P. Math can be found at www.jumpmath.org .
Changes Abound in Simcoe Chapter
                                                                    The association also invited Guelph psychologist Dr. Linda
On June 5, Shari Pryce became LDA Simcoe County’s new               Bream to open the conference. She discussed the link between
Executive Officer. Our association is going through many            Learning Disabilities and Mental Health.
changes: recruiting new Board members, volunteers, and imple-
menting new programs.                                               For further information contact us by e-mail at
                                                                    lda_of_wc_jenc@rogers.com or our answering service at
We had a successful BBQ October 5th to raise funds for our          (519) 837-2050.
Association, which was hosted by M&M Meats of Alliston.
We recently participated in the Road to Reading Festival at the     YORK REGION
South Shore Centre in Barrie on Sunday September 17, 2006.
                                                                    Fundraising Drive Launched for LDAYR’s
We took this opportunity not only to bring awareness of our
association, but, also to do a small fundraiser in the form of a
                                                                    30th Anniversary
“Candy Corner”. The kids had a blast picking out penny candy in     At our September Annual General Meeting, York Region hosted
their little baggies. We had repeat customers with smiling little   a number of celebrations helping to commemorate our 30th
faces and some big ones too. By the end of the event we were        Anniversary. Participants from our programs for children and
sold out!                                                           youth were celebrated and presented with certificates of
                                                                    achievements to publicly recognize their successes through their
We had an Open House on September 14th where we were able
                                                                    participation in our Social Skills, SOAR and Summer Camp pro-
to have one-on-one discussions with potential members. One of
                                                                    grams.
our volunteers took the time to come and provide adaptive tech-
nology demonstrations.                                              In the spring, LDAYR launched a fundraising drive in support of
                                                                    our 30th Anniversary. With the goal of raising $30,000 during our
Our line up of speakers for our monthly support meetings is
                                                                    anniversary year, members and the public were invited to make
growing fast. Check out our website at www.ldass.org under
                                                                    contributions. To date, we have raised $10,000! Thank you to
“Meeting Schedule” to see a list of confirmed dates, topics and
                                                                    everyone who has contributed. With your support, we will
speakers.
                                                                    achieve our goal. If you would like to find out more about this
We would like to thank all of our wonderful and dedicated volun-    fundraising opportunity, please contact us at 905-884-7933,
teers!                                                              extension 23.
Without them, these events would not be possible.                   With the arrival of fall, our programs return in full swing.
                                                                    September saw the return of our extremely popular Social Skills
TORONTO                                                             program in Richmond Hill and Newmarket. Our Parent and
Fundraising Campaign Launched                                       Adults with LD support groups resume their monthly meetings in
To celebrate LD Awareness Month, the Toronto District chapter       October. ABCs and 123s tutors resume their monthly tutoring
launched a fundraising campaign.                                    sessions or are matched with a newly-referred student. These
                                                                    programs are offered in addition to our 1:1 resourcing, advocacy
With a donation of $50.00 or more we will dedicate your contri-
                                                                    and educational workshops that are carried out at our offices in
bution to our agency’s academic resources for parents, teachers,
                                                                    Richmond Hill and, when requested, in different communities in
students and those seeking a greater understanding of LD. Your
                                                                    York Region.
generous offer will be beautifully commemorated in the purchase
of a book.                                                          LDAYR is fortunate to have three field placement students this
                                                                    year from the Bachelor of Social Work program at York
Please make cheques payable to the Learning Disabilities
                                                                    University. These fourth-year students will be involved with
Association Toronto District
                                                                    clients both in the office as well as our programs. We look for-
121 Willowdale Ave., Suite 203, Toronto, ON, M2N 6A3                ward to working with these students and are grateful for the con-
T (416)229-1680; E-mail: Admin@ldatd.on.ca Website:                 tinued support of post-secondary institutions.
www.ldatd.on.ca




                                                                                                                          FALL 2006 29
 Thank You Sponsors
    Donors and
 INDIVIDUAL DONORS               CORPORATIONS &                            INVEST IN SUCCESS
 In memory of Michael Thompson   FOUNDATIONS                               DINNER AND AUCTION
 George F. Golesic               LDAO Assistive Technology Project         Janssen Ortho
 Ralph & Maria Esposito          and Library                               Ontario Elementary Teachers Federation
 Maryann & Yvan Gauthier         FK Morrow Foundation                      Heathbridge Capital Management (Robert
 Jacques & Karen Ribout          Ontario Trillium Foundation                 Richards)
 Marilyn & Ray Rouleau           Janssen Ortho                             Martin Harding
                                                                           Chris Carew
 In memory of Erika Chesser      SOAR
                                                                           Shire BioChem
 Jenny Tymczyszyn                Lloyd Carr Harris Foundation
                                                                           CIBC
                                 Chief Psychologists with Ontario School
 Gifts to LDAO                                                             Nelson Thomson Learning
                                   Boards
 Russ Gillman                                                              Ernst and Young (Steve Lee)
                                 TD Financial Group
 Bob McDerment                                                             Mark Smith and Anne Larson
                                 RBC Foundation
 Ian Brown                                                                 Bob Quinn and Andrew Hoggan -
                                 Dynamic Mutual Funds/David Goodman
 Wendel Block                                                                Freedom 55 Financial
 Bob & Karen Quinn               Online Workshops for youth, adults        Jay Mandarino (C.J. Graphics)
 Cari Wells                      and parents                               Scotiabank Group
 Jennifer Lanston                Artemis Assessment and Treatment          Frontier Computing
 Susan Calder                       Centre                                 Al Casale Restaurant
 Stuart Eagles                   TransCanada Pipelines                     Bob McDerment
 Chris Carew                     Eli Lilly Canada                          Dean and Kelly Iwai
 Denise Harding                                                            Laurie Giftocristos
                                 Communiqué
 Anthony Cohen                                                             Urban Cabinetry & Millwork (Gerrit
                                 GAP Academy
 Erick Boychuk                                                               Bargeman)
                                 Janssen Ortho
 Hilda May O’Brien                                                         Conseil Scolaire de district du Centre-
 Douglas Ross Wilson             Friends of LDAO                             Sud-Ouest
 Ruth Taber                      A & A King Family Foundation              Air Canada
 Lisa A McEwen                   Four Seasons Hotels                       Glen and Ruth Taber
 Jay Mandarino                   IBM Employees Charitable Foundation       Microcomputer Science Centre
 Omella Forestieri               Toronto Catholic District School Board    Ontario Principal’s Council
 Mimma Reszitnyk                 Halton District School Board              Peter Chaban
 Shari Stoch                     The Country Day School                    Clive Hodder
 Roy Cooper                      Book Events Company                       University of Ottawa
 Diane Wagner                    Consulting Engineers of Ontario           Jim Clayton
 Mark Handley-Derry              Sceptre Investment Counsel                RONA Foundation
 Maureen Beckett                 Telus                                     Librairie du Centre
 Ann Hamby                       Teachers Life                             Curtis Joseph
 Gail Keeffe                     Ontario Power Generation Employees        Joseph Estates Winery
 Thomas Hart                       Charity Trust                           Horseshoe Resort
 Lisa Piggott                    London Life Employees Charitable Trust    New Wave Travel
                                                                           Hockey Hall of Fame
 Roy Cooper Award                Youth Web Site
                                                                           Canada Post
 Anonymous                       Catherine and Maxwell Meighen
                                                                           Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
                                   Foundation
                                                                           Marlene Avery
                                 J.P. Bickle Foundation
                                                                           CCI Renaissance Canadian School, Italy
                                 College Boreal
                                                                           Uniglobe Voyager Travel
                                 Job-Fit                                   Peter Chaban
                                 Imperial Tobacco Foundation               Jean-Luc Bernard
                                 Canada Post                               Pam Howard
                                                                           Isabel Shessel
                                 ADHD Materials
                                                                           Vincent Greco
                                 Shire BioChem


30 COMMUNIQUE
LDA Chapters Around the Province
LDA Chatham-Kent                            LDA Mississauga                              LDA Simcoe County
Chatham-Kent Secondary School               165 Dundas St. W., Suite 400, Mississauga,   80 Bradford St., Suite 05, West Wing Barrie,
285 McNaughton Ave. E                       ON L5B 2N6                                   ON L4N 6S7
PO Box 1424, Chatham, ON N7M 5W8            Contact: Jim Muscat                          Contact: Shari Pryce
Contact: Karen Stonehouse                   Tel: (905) 272-4100                          Tel: (705) 726-5553
Tel: (519) 352-2024                         Fax: (905) 272-4863                          Fax (705) 730-1416
Fax: (519) 352-0734                         E-mail: mississauga@ldapeel.com              Email: ldoffice@ldass.org
Email: ldack@netrover.com                   Web site: http://www.ldapeel.com             Web site: www.ldass.org
Web site: www.ldchatham-kent.org
                                            LDA Niagara                                  LDA Sudbury
LDA Durham Region                           366 St. Paul St., St. Catharines, ON         Lockerby Composite School,
P.O. Box 346, Pickering, ON L1V 2R6         L2R 3N2                                      1391 Ramsey View Court, PO Box 21038,
Contact: Elaine McLea or Jutta Genova       Contact: Kay MacDonald                       Plaza 69, Sudbury, ON P3E 6G6
Tel: (905) 426-1442                         Tel: (905) 641-1021                          Contact: Ron Lessard
Email: info@ldadr.on.ca                     Fax: (905) 641-2336                          Tel: (705) 522-0100
                                            Email: ldaniagara@cogeco.net                 Fax: (705) 522-2289
LDA Halton County                                                                        Email: info@ldasudbury.ca
560 Guelph Line, Suite 9, Burlington, ON    LDA North Peel                               Web site: www.ldasudbury.ca
L7R 3M4                                     104-150 Central Park Dr., Brampton, ON
Contact: Stephanie Etherington              L6T 2T9                                      LDA Thunder Bay
Tel: (905) 333-1977                         Contact: Susan Silver                        P.O. Box 21090 Grandview Mall,
Fax: (905) 333-8116                         Tel: (905) 791-4100                          Thunder Bay, ON P7A 8A7
Web site: www.ldahalton.ca                  Fax: (905) 791-5189                          Contact: Lisa Coccimiglio
                                            Email: ldanp@bellnet.ca                      Tel: (807) 622-9741
LDA Kingston                                Web site: www.ldapeel.com
417 Bagot St., Kingston, ON K7K 3C1                                                      LDA Toronto District
Contact: Lana Greenwood or Janice Barling   LDA Ottawa-Carleton                          203-121 Willowdale Ave., Toronto, ON
Tel: (613) 545-0373                         160 Percy St., Ottawa, ON K1R 6E5            M2N 6A3
Fax: (613) 549-7855                         Contact: Michelle Reis-Amores                Contact: Mimi Hoffman
Email: ldak@kingston.jkl.net                Tel: (613) 567-5864                          Tel: (416) 229 -1680
Web site:                                   Fax: (613) 567-5979                          Fax: (416) 229-1681
http://kingston.jkl.net/~ldak/index.htm     Email: ldaoc@rogers.com                      Email: admin@ldatd.on.ca
                                            Web site: http://ldao-c.ncf.ca/              Web site: http://www.ldatd.on.ca
LDA Kitchener-Waterloo
171 Frederick St , Kitchener                LDA Peterborough                             LDA Wellington County
P.O. Box 29026 Frederick Plaza Postal       Peterborough Office:                         #233, 17A, 218 Silvercreek Pkwy. N.,
Outlet                                      159 King Street, Unit 204, Peterborough,     Guelph, ON N1H 8E8
Kitchener, ON N2H 6S6                       ON K9J 2R8                                   Contact: Karen Guse
Contact: Charlotte Buchan                   Contact: Shari Davis                         Tel: (519) 837-2050
Tel: (519) 743-9091                         Tel: (705) 748-9455                          Email: wclda@rogers.com
Fax: (519) 743-9027                         Fax number: (705) 748-9455
Email: ldakw@golden.net                     Toll Free: 1-866-503-3303                    LDA Windsor-Essex County
Web site: www.ldakw.on.ca                   E-mail: administration@ldaptbo.com           Herb Gray Centre for Non-Profit Excellence
                                            Northumberland Service:                      647 Ouellette Ave., Suite #106, Windsor,
LDA Lambton County                          c/o Baltimore PS 9320 Burwash Rd.,           ON N9A 4J4
Northern Secondary School                   Box 120, Baltimore, ON K0K 1C0               Contact: Beverly Clarke
940 Michigan Ave., Sarnia, ON N7S 2B1       Tel: (905) 377-9414                          Tel: 519-252-7889
Contact: Annie Sheehan                      Fax: (905) 377-9414 (phone first)            Fax: 519-252-4169
Tel: (519) 541-9687                         Email: ldanorth@bellnet.ca                   E-mail: learningdisabilities@on.aibn.com
Fax: (519) 541-9688                         Clarington Service:                          Web: http://www.ldawe.ca
Email: ldalc@xcelco.on.ca                   93 King St. W., Suite 204, Bowmanville, ON
Web site: www.sarnia.com/groups/lda-lc      L1C 1R2                                      LDA York Region
                                            Tel: (905) 623-1852                          221-11181 Yonge St , Richmond Hill, ON
LDA London Region                           Fax: (905) 623-1852 phone first              L4S 1L2
205 Oxford Street E. Suite 205 London, ON   Email: ldaclar@bellnet.ca                    Contact: Lynn Ziraldo
N6A 5G6                                                                                  Tel: (905) 884-7933
Contact: Tracy Fawdry                       LDA Sault Ste. Marie                         Fax: (905) 770-9377
Tel: (519) 438-6213                         898 Queen St., Sault Ste. Marie, ON          E-mail: info@ldayr.org
Fax: (519) 438-0368                         P6A 2B4                                      Web site: www.ldayr.org
E-mail: lda@linkd.net                       Contact: Margo Dale
Web site: www.ldalondon.ca                  Tel: (705) 942-4310
LDA London Region services The City         Fax: (705) 942-9228
of London and the counties of Oxford,       E-mail: learningdisabilities@shaw.ca
Middlesex, Perth, Huron, Bruce, Grey        Web site: http://www.geocities.com/ldassm
and Elgin

                                                                                                                          FALL 2006 31
   365 Bloor Street East,
    Suite 1004, Box 39,
      Toronto, Ontario
          M4W 3L4
    Tel: (416) 929-4311
    Fax: (416) 929-3905
           E-mail:
   membership@ldao.ca
   Website: www.ldao.ca




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