It is generally accepted that learning disabilities affect 10% of the population. This makes learning disabilities the signal largest disabled population. Studies throughout the world have reported the occurrence of ADHD in school age children as being between 5% and 12%.
Sources: www.ldao.ca and www.caddac.ca
Learning disabilities are diagnosed by having a psychological assessment completed. A psychological assessment can only be done by qualified members of the College of Psychologists or the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Assessments can also provide a lot of useful information about your strengths and weaknesses and recommend appropriate coping strategies and accommodations.
ADHD can be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, pediatrician, psychologist, neurologist, or a family physician. The diagnostic procedure for ADHD should be comprised of a medical history, an extensive interview with the patient and parents or significant other, and the administration of various symptom rating scales. However, a full psychological assessment is recommended so other conditions that exist with ADHD (called comorbid conditions) can be screened for as well.
The Ontario Ministry of Education requires that school boards provide, or purchase from another school board, special education programs and services for “exceptional” students. The role of the IPRC is to:
- decide whether or not your child should be identified as exceptional,
- identify the areas of your child’s exceptionality,
- decide an appropriate placement, and
- review the identification and placement at least once each school year.
The IEP is the school’s written plan of action for the special education student. According to the Ontario Ministry of Education, the IEP is a working document which describes:
- the strengths and needs of the exceptional student,
- the special education program and services for the student,
- goals/expectations for the student, and
- method of evaluating the student’s progress.
The Ontario Ministry of Education provides funding to school boards to purchase specialized equipment for students with exceptionalities, if the equipment is deemed by a qualified professional to be essential for the student in order to access the Ontario curriculum. Examples include: print enlargers, computer hardware and software, scanner, headset, modified desks, communication aids, etc…
Individuals who have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions may be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit through the Canada Revenue Agency. In order to be eligible, the individual must be unable to or take an inordinate amount of time to perform one or more of the basic activities of daily living. Download the application form from the CRA website.
ODSP provides two separate programs, Income Support and Employment Support. ODSP – Income Support is one of Ontario’s social assistance programs. Income Support provides financial help for people with disabilities who are in need. It can help pay for living expenses, like food and housing and some medical costs. ODSP – Employment Support is for individuals who have a disability, and who can and want to work. It can help you get ready for work and find a job, or start up your own business.