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City raises flag in honor of Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

Friday, October 05, 2012   by: Jamie LyleA first ever event was held in North Bay as the Learning Disabilities Association raised a flag with Mayor Al McDonald to mark the beginning of the awareness for those suffering from learning disabilities.

October has been proclaimed as 'National Learning Disabilities Month, dedicated to those with a learning disability, those who help people with their conditions and also to inform and educate the public about these complex issues in our human learning system.

Learning disabilities are a broad spectrum of issues that can impact student at any age or development that impact their ability to learn the way a normal person would.
Aside from conditions such as dyslexia, many variations of learning disabilities exist that can impair a student's attention.

Hyperactivity, visual and hearing, even emotional issues can all cause disability in the learning abilities of young people and they need to be recognized as normal and treatable with the resources whenever possible.

Elaine Beckett-Albert, a resource facilitator for The Learning Disabilities Association of North Bay, says that public awareness is important because learning disabilities tend to be “enviable.”

“It is very hard for people to understand the difficulties that some of the students have, especially because they seem so normal in so many ways and they are intelligent and can manage so well but it can impact them so much,” says Beckett-Albert.
Beckett-Albert says one of the difficulties is the fact that student's often have difficulties with both sounds, hearing and pronouncing things correctly and often times extensive testing is needed to isolate and help rehabilitate the student's to a greater degree of learning.
Of course, this takes time, special equipment, trained staff and awareness in order to make sure that these things, whenever possible, are caught early and corrected.

The issue is further complicated by the tendency of student's to hide their disability of course, this makes it harder to diagnose and treat and of course, can further unduly stigmatize the student and can lead to a sense of social awkwardness and a resistance to continue in academic studies.
Obviously, people with learning disabilities are no different than anyone else and don't need to be stigmatized but do need to be supported in order to best overcome their individual disabilities.

"The children need the right type of understanding and support and it's very unique, depending on the student and so parents need to know how to advocate for their children so that they can be successful in the schools," says Beckett-Albert.
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