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 Jamie Pettit
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From: Monday, October 23, 2017 11:16 AM -0400
Subject:LD Awareness Month - Student Profile
October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.  According to the website LD@School, learning disabilities (LDs) affect approximately 10 per cent of Canadians. LDs are brain based difficulties that affect an individual’s ability to process information, in spite of average to above average thinking and reasoning skills.  LDs typically interfere with learning reading, writing, and mathematics.  Within Bluewater District School Board, there are approximately 628 students diagnosed as having a learning disability.

Image of Jarett working on his computerJarret Eidt remembers when he was in Grade 1, expecting to be the last one in his class to be finished his work.  In his words, he was “always last”.  Now in Grade 6, understanding that he has a learning disability and using technology to help him, “has changed everything” for him at school.

Jarret acknowledges that when he was diagnosed in Grade 5 with a learning disability, he was initially confused and upset.  However, through talking with his family, and with support at school, he came to understand that it did not mean he could not do things, but just that he had to do things differently.

With that mindset, Jarret willingly accepted the opportunity to receive training and support to utilize a touch screen computer (“Yoga”) to help him with his Grade 5 work.  He came to realize that even though he had a learning disability, he could understand more than what he could demonstrate through traditional reading and writing, and it was hoped that technology would be a way for him to demonstrate his learning.

Jarret remembers the day the “Yoga” arrived at school.  He had feelings of excitement, but he was also embarrassed and worried about what others in class would think.  All of those worries soon disappeared once he had the chance to learn and use programs that helped him with reading and writing (e.g., WordQ).   Jarret embraced the opportunity, and was quick to learn and show that technology was essential for him.  After working with the school and board team to collect evidence that it was essential for his learning, he received a Ministry of Education funded computer.  Jarret says that the only thing he worries about now with his computer, is that something will happen to it accidentally when it is in his backpack, since he takes it back and forth from home to school each day.

For Jarret, school is not as “boring or as stressful anymore”.  He describes feeling like he was following an “unstable line” in school before, but now, he is “stabilized and moved back to centre”.  He now understands why he had the difficulties he did when he was younger, and no longer feels like something is wrong with him.

Jarret wanted to share his story and be a “role model” for others who might have a learning disability.  His messages for others with LDs – ignore any people who might try to keep you from showing “who you actually are”; “never quit, go with it”…”try to get through it”… “with LD there are some obstacles to go around, but you can still get to the same end as everyone else”.

LD resources for parents: