Do you know what these little blue flags mean?

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Students from the both school boards participated in planting 1,085 blue flags on the Essar Hall lawn beside Northern Avenue Wednesday morning. The flags represent the total number of students within the Algoma District School Board, the Huron Superior Catholic District School Board, Algoma University and Sault College that have a learning disability.

_dsc7178The celebrations continue this afternoon at 2:00 p.m., when the organization’s flag will be raised at the Civic Centre. Mayor Christian Provenzano will be on hand to read a proclamation marking October as Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.

“People with learning disabilities have a lot to contribute to the community,” said Dr. Ron Common, President of Sault College and Honourary Chair of Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. “If their needs are met and they fulfill their capabilities, not only do they benefit as individuals, but the community benefits as well.”

_dsc7197The following are some interesting facts and statistics about learning disabilities:

·         By definition someone with a learning disability has average to above average intelligence;

·         1 in 10 people in Ontario have a learning disability;

·         Learning disabilities impact certain skills, most of which can be improved with the right supports;

·         Because learning disabilities usually exhibit in the school system, those with learning disabilities can be identified early in life. Early intervention improves confidence;

·         When they do not receive appropriate support, individuals with learning disabilities have higher than the average rates of school dropout, unemployment and poverty;

·         Learning disabilities can be inherited and through their child’s diagnosis, many parents realize that they have been impacted by a learning disability themselves.

_dsc7161The greatest hurdle a person with a learning disability often has to overcome is the feeling that they are not intelligent so they begin to hide their disability and struggle in silence. However, with their creative strengths and above average intelligence, some simple support can see them excel in their educational pursuits and eventually find meaningful employment. By giving our children and youth with learning disabilities the tools they need to succeed, we can help them create successful lives. Those with learning disabilities can become among the most creative and productive members of our communities. The Association hopes to see Sault Ste. Marie become the leader in destroying the barriers misunderstanding creates.

_dsc7186The mission of the Learning Disabilities Association of Sault Ste. Marie and District is to provide leadership in learning disabilities advocacy, research, education and services and to advance the full participation of children, youth and adults with learning disabilities in today’s society.

The Learning Disabilities Association of Sault Ste. Marie and District relies on the generous support of donors and funders. The Association has partnered with Northern Credit Union on a fundraising campaign named We Are Not Alone. You can lend your support to the campaign by logging onto www.truenorthstrong.ca or by making a donation in person at any Northern Credit Union branch.

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