The Learning Disabilities Society is bringing education to the front door of children most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Vancouver-based society announced this month a new mobile classroom bus that’s designed to provide specialized support for children and youth that have a learning disability. The bus will visit LDS students in hard-to-reach communities throughout Metro Vancouver, including Surrey.
Board director Greg Sullivan said the classroom on wheels was brought forward as a way to support students that don’t have access to the internet or transportation.
“The last few years, especially during COVID, we found that the kids that are the most in need have been the hardest for us to reach,” Sullivan told the Now-Leader Tuesday. “During COVID, a lot of these kids, single-parent households, don’t have a lot going for them. They’ve got some learning challenges and they are in neighbourhoods where they are undeserved.”
The society finds children that are in need of support through a number of different avenues, including referrals from school districts, psychologists, or parents contacting the organization.
Something like the mobile classroom, Sullivan added, helps some students that struggle with learning disabilities feel more comfortable than a traditional classroom setting.
“On average, our kids who were formally falling further and further behind in the classroom are now catching up to their classroom peers, up to about half a grade level per year,” Sullivan said.
If the program proves to be successful, the society will look at expanding the project in the region.
“I want to manage expectations. This is a new initiative, but to the extent that this is successful, there’s no reason why we couldn’t replicate it with a second and third bus and continue to extend those boundaries,” Sullivan said.