The Learning Disabilities Society offers online learning for kids during the pandemic

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      (This story is sponsored by the .)

      In efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19, families have had to adjust to the “new normal”. This includes distance learning for many students, and for those who have time and flour, a whole lot of baking.

      The Learning Disabilities Society of Greater Vancouver (LDS) is a nonprofit charity that provides specialized educational programming to students with suspected or diagnosed learning challenges. Their individualized one-to-one online lessons can help children with dyslexia, dyscalculia, auditory processing disorders, and other challenges gain the skills needed for a brighter future.

      LDS’s new online program, RISE (Research-informed Individualized Student Education), at Home helps to ensure that the risk of learning regressions during times of school disruption are minimized, thereby keeping kids confident in their return to school once safe to do so. RISE at Home includes one-on-one instruction with a student and instructor pairing based on the student’s specific learning, academic needs, and personality match with instructors.

      “Consistent learning support is especially critical for students with learning disabilities,” says Rachel Forbes, executive director at LDS. “By designing a system that combines online learning with personalized instruction, we can provide some of the much-needed engagement and continuity that not only curtails potential regression through a break from school, but positively impacts learning.” 

      RISE at Home uses interactive software that can be customized by each instructor, resulting in lesson plans that suit a child’s learning style and needs. Along with customized coursework, LDS also provides additional resources and services for RISE students, including access to secure specialized educational software with interactive tools and a dynamic interface at no extra cost and entry to an online library.

      Parents can find resources in the online library to further support their vulnerable child’s home learning, like informative videos, webinars, and technology support.

      For children who learn better with a later start time, RISE at Home has increased instructional hours from Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. This is also beneficial for children who have had their sleep schedule disrupted from the recent change in routine and for sleepy teenagers.

      Instead of using Zoom or Facetime to communicate with their students, the online instructors teach through TutorCruncher and Lessonspace. TutorCruncher manages scheduling, calendars, and reporting to parents and other staff. Students learn through Lessonspace, the integrated whiteboard, where they can see and hear their instructors through video calls.

      Lessonspace facilitates collaboration between the student and instructor when working through their school subjects or receiving remedial tutoring. After each lesson, parents are able to access a performance report so they can track their child’s progress and continue the learning off-screen.

      Both online teaching systems adhere to the world’s most strict data privacy standards and follow Canadian privacy laws—a child’s personal information and coursework will be kept confidential.

      For those who worry that a child may feel nervousness toward switching to online learning, there are several ways to make the experience more comfortable: create a designated spot for the child to learn, limit distractions, work with the child to develop an updated daily routine that includes time for homework, and shower them with endless encouragement. An occasional ice-cream bribe can also be quite effective.

      LDS relies on donations and community support in order to sustain its programming and provide bursaries to families in need during this uncertain time. If you would like to make a donation that will benefit vulnerable students, .

      To register your child for RISE online learning, visit .

      For more information visit the or follow the LDS on , , and .