We need to move quickly and effectively to better help those with learning disabilities in Manitoba. This was the message that came from five panelists at our recent (Sept 23) Forum on Learning Disabilities. Sean Gander, Manager of Services for New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families spoke of the incredible difference it can make to a person with learning disability to receive effective help. Dr. April Buchanan, a psychologist specializing in helping children with learning disorders, spoke of the need to have a proper assessment to identify the specific learning disability, and the need to make such assessments more available. Jennifer Young, President of the Manitoba Association of Resource Teachers spoke of the progress being made in educating new teachers about learning disabilities. Tess Nguyen, Manager with STEPS2WORK, an organization which helps those with learning disabilities find employment, spoke of their success in helping individuals with learning disabilities find work that suits their abilities. Angela Taylor talked of the efforts her organization (she is the Founder and CEO) Inspire Community Outreach makes to help those with learning disabilities.
Learning Disabilities are common. Six to 8 percent of Manitobans have a learning disability. As April Buchanan emphasized, it helps when all of us are ready to understand and help those with learning disabilities achieve their dreams. But it has often been challenging – especially for those with complex learning deficits. Today, however, with advances in neuroscience and our understanding of neuroplasticity – how our brains can adapt – the opportunities for helping those with learning disabilities are greater than ever. As panelists explained to us, if you have a child with a learning disability, start with your child’s home room or resource teacher. If you are need further assistance talk with your doctor, with a psychologist like Dr. Buchanan or with Angela Taylor at Inspire Communications Outreach. If you are still having difficulty, my office (email@example.com) will try to help you find the resources you need to succeed.