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Learning Disabilities Symposium

March 20, 2019


The London District Catholic School Board is pleased to be one of the hosts for the Third Annual Learning Disabilities Symposium.

Date: Saturday April 13th, 2019
Time: 9:00 am- 2:00 pm
Registration/Check In: 8:15 am - 8:45 am
Location: Saint Andre Bessette Catholic Secondary School, 2727 Tokala Trail, London, ON N6G 0L8
Parking: Free on site and street parking is available

Click to register (Register by April 4)

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Break Out Session Descriptions

1. Learning Disabilities - A Family Affair (Dr. Colin King & Child and Youth Development Clinic student clinicians)
Learning disabilities have an impact not only on the child and youth, but the entire family. In this facilitated discussion, learn about common questions, concerns, and worries that are experienced by many families and caregivers in the process of caring, supporting, and advocating for a student with learning differences. Learn about perspectives, strategies, and resources that can support the entire family.

2. Advocacy Q &A (Lynne Hart)
What is necessary for a student with a learning disability to be successful in school? Students from elementary, high school and post-secondary will speak about the importance of self- advocacy and understanding their learning profile.

3. “Educating the Mind, without Educating the Heart is No Education At All”-(Deborah Shore Reid, Paul Cook LDALR)
Why SEL – because it works! This session will discuss the importance of acquiring universal social emotional skills in elementary, secondary, post-secondary and beyond. Included will be a discussion on research based evidence and best practices. How social emotional skills are taught, practiced and honed just like math and reading skills. The goal of including social emotional learning is to create an environment where all students are engaged and active learners who are self-aware, caring, respectful, connected to others, responsible decision makers and academic achievers.

4. Managing Homework and Study Skills: Practical Applications (Ashley Bildfell, Graduate Student Clinician and Mandy Gobatto, Psychological Associate)
Homework is a struggle and family life is busy! This session will focus on useful and realistic tips and tricks for getting the job done. Learn about executive functioning skills and homework, communicating with the school, how to manage stress and anxiety and helpful online resources. Strategies for both school-age children and teens will be provided.

5. All Students Can Learn! (Jordan Bell, Karen Rowland, Jennifer Cann, Heather Brunet TVDSB)
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students an equal opportunity to succeed. This approach offers flexibility in the way students access material, engage with it, and demonstrate what they know. Come learn how to develop lesson plans that will help all kids, especially those with learning and attention concerns, as well as our English language learners.

6. Beyond Social skills: Understanding and Supporting Social Competence In Students with Learning Disabilities (Jennifer Gould, Shawna Thuss, Lynne Hart TVDSB)
We will share practical strategies and tips for promoting social competencies for students with LDs. Maintaining a topic of conversation, asking for help, resolving social conflicts, self- regulating, figuring out the hidden rules in a social situation, taking another’s perspective, andinterpreting abstract language are just a few examples of the social competencies our students are expected to do all day, every day. This session will focus on furthering our understanding of the interconnected set of skills required to navigate social interactions and drive academic
success. Classroom strategies designed to improve social competencies in all students that can be incorporated into existing classroom instruction will be shared alongside some small group and in-the-moment teaching strategies. Connections between social competencies and curriculum expectations will be highlighted as well as potential IEP goals that reflect a student’s learning strengths and needs.

7. Understanding the Gifted/LD Student (Judy Hubert, Colleen Ellison-Wareing)
“Your child is gifted and needs special education?” Many parents are all too familiar with this kind of comment. You may hear it from friends and family. Yet there are lots of people who have exceptional ability in some academic areas and significant learning difficulties in other areas. Educators use a special name to describe students who qualify for gifted programs as wellas special education services. These children are referred to as “twice-exceptional” learners. In this session understanding the gifted/LD student will be discussed as well as strategies to use in the classroom.

8. Read and Write for Google (Tim Willick, Chad Downes)
In this session the participant will be exposed to the Read and Write for Google software which allows all students to access and interact with the same documents as their peers and teachers. To accomplish this, the software offers support tools for Google document, PDFs and ePubs which include:
  • Read aloud with dual color highlighting
  • Talking Dictionary, Picture Dictionary, Translator, and Fact Finder
  • Study Skills Highlighters and Collect Highlights
  • Vocabulary List Builder
  • Annotations (PDFs and ePubs)
  • Navigational tools (ePubs)
  • Websites
9. Understanding and Developing IEPS for the Student with a Learning Disability (Julie Savard, Lynn-Marie Pearce)
This session will explore the difference between program accommodations and program modifications that may be a part of a student's Individual Education Plan (I.E.P.). By exploring the link between a student's Strengths and Needs and those accommodations that can be put in place to keep a student working at grade level curriculum expectations. We will discuss the purpose of program modifications that may be at grade level or that may target curriculum expectations at a different grade level. Lastly, we will examine the importance of transition planning and how transition support can change as students move through the primary, junior, intermediate and secondary levels.

10. Student Engagement through Technology-Sam Goving (Amethyst: Assistive Technology Advisor)
With or without SEA devices, students can use available technology to assist in their creation and submission of work.
Smashing Apps will provide a walk through (really a sprint through) a variety of technology, apps and other resources that enable students with learning disabilities to access, respond, engage and be resourceful in all grade levels in school and beyond. These include dictation tools, reading tools, alternate assignment tools, optical character recognition and many more.

11. Transition to Post-Secondary, Speakers Western University & Fanshawe College
  • Bursary/scholarship information
  • Process in setting up disability services
  • What accommodations look like in Post-Secondary School
  • Choosing a school that is right for you
  • Services available for students with LDs at Ont. Colleges & Universities
12. Fostering Resilience: Positive Education Strategies for the Classroom
PRESENTERS: Dr. Michelle Wesley, Psychologist, and John Noftle, Psychologist.
Resiliency is the ability to respond adaptively in the face of adversity, and is a long-term predictor of success and happiness. This presentation will focus on five key factors that promote student well-being, and the ways in which resilience can be implicitly and explicitly taught at school. Key concepts will be reinforced through discussions and applied examples.


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