LDAK Celebrates 40th Anniversary!
Our Historical Highlights and Timeline
LDAK would like to wish families, teachers and the Kingston community a happy summer ahead and share the exciting news of our 40th anniversary. This year marks 40 years since we received Charitable Status as The Frontenac County Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities. We invite you to take a look back with us on the historical journey of our local organization with a mission to serve the LD community. And we would like to say a big thank you to the many volunteers, families and funders who have worked with us over the past four decades to make it all possible.
In 1980, our very first group of parents met in Kingston to discuss the challenges facing people with learning disabilities, and decided to form a local chapter of the provincial association (ACLD). Pat Dudley, who remains an active member and our Treasurer, was among those parents eager to improve the educational climate for children with learning disabilities. Over a few months, our parent group hammered out the details of the Constitution, which was approved in 1981. When Charitable Status was granted one year later, the Frontenac County ACLD (renamed the Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston in 1995) hit the ground running. The Kingston community welcomed a local association dedicated to serving families with learning disabilities.
In the early years, LDAK offered targeted support, referrals, and information on learning disabilities through a phone information service, public lectures and events. Experts shared knowledge and advice on specific issues facing children and families with learning disabilities, a service LDAK proudly continues to offer (free of charge) to this day. In 1992, the Resource Centre was opened on Bath Road, which provided a hub of take-home resources available for parents, caregivers and students.
Over the next two decades, LDAK carried out a series of thematic projects, camps and conferences. Project Success offered reading tutoring, and summer literacy camps for children with learning disabilities followed. The Numeracy & Literacy Festival and social skills programs were other highlights. A series of annual Strategies Conferences, the precursor to our Speak Up for Ability forums, provided the space for parents/caregivers, teachers and other professionals to share resources and collaborate on advancing LD issues. Local school boards (LDSB and ALCDSB) also took part to help bridge the gap between home and school.
LDAK has worked hard to keep up with current educational trends and technologies to offer the latest forms of support to families. In the past 10 years, we have focused more on the use of assistive technology and have offered our Tech Smart Workshop Series and Reading & Robots Rock summer camps. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, LDAK strategized to pivot our programs online. Despite decreased funding we have been able to offer five webinars and two Speak Up for Ability forums online. Topics have included parent advocacy, support for FSL students and those transitioning to post-secondary education, mental health, literacy and the Right to Read Report.
We are also enthusiastic to have launched our LDAK Literacy Program this year based on the Science of Reading. LDAK recruited and helped train 8 tutors (Queen’s university teacher candidates), who tutor 16 students twice weekly at 3 participating schools. LDAK’s goal is to expand the tutoring program in the future.
Our local community of volunteers, families, and funders have been there supporting and cheering us on along the way. Do you have a favourite memory with LDAK from the past 40 years? Or do you have suggestions about what you would like to see us do next? Please take 5-10 minutes to share your feedback with us in our 2022 Community Voices Survey.
We love to stay connected to our Kingston & area community. One of LDAK’s clients shared: “Is the organization 40 years old? Wow! I became involved with LDAK in about 1990 when my daughter was about 10 and my son about 8... I participated in lots of workshops and evening sessions over the years. I found out about lots of good FREE programs from parents at these sessions.”
Over the past 40 years, LDAK has aspired to be a local leader on LD issues, contributing to the rights and recognition of people who have learning disabilities. Do you want to join us? If you are interested in volunteering, please reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in making a donation to LDAK, please do so through our Canada Helps page or click the Donate button on our homepage. Thank you for your ongoing involvement to help create the kind of future we want to see for children who have learning disabilities.