NNDSB Enhances Technology Support For Students With Learning Disabilities

An NNDSB student and teacher engaged in a virtual coaching session with LEARNstyle to support the use of SEA technology in the classroom.

Students of Near North District School Board (NNDSB) who use assistive technology devices are able to benefit from a unique opportunity this school year.

In the fall of 2020, NNDSB launched a new training initiative to provide targeted individualized coaching support on their assistive technology devices for students with a learning disability.

NNDSB has entered into a partnership with LEARNStyle, Ontario’s largest provider of coaching services for students with learning disabilities. LEARNStyle has more than 20 years’ experience providing coaching support for school boards, families, the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

Five hours of virtual coaching sessions are provided to students with a consistent LEARNStyle coach using individual, needs-based strategies activated by assistive technology to foster independence.

Although students have increasing access to technology, they sometimes struggle to use it well for learning purposes and this program is designed to integrate technology through proven learning strategies.

Since launching this program on Sept. 25, 2020, 54 students have been registered and more than 65 coaching sessions have been completed with positive results.

Students are reporting the strategies they are learning have improved their writing and research assignments. One student said the strategies he has learned have benefited his ability to feel more comfortable participating in class, become a better writer, and use a computer more efficiently.

Parents and teachers are also invited to coaching sessions, in order to continue the support for students.

Assistive technology can change the trajectory of students’ lives when supported by appropriate strategies to foster independence and that is the focus of this program.

The program is supporting students learning in-person and at-home, ensuring that NNDSB students are well supported.

For students to qualify for coaching and training on their assigned device, they must meet the Specialized Equipment Amount (SEA) Equipment criteria. If parents would like to join their child for their coaching session, this can be expressed on the informed consent form. In turn, they will be able to join the virtual coaching session on the Microsoft TEAMS platform.


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