Identifying learning disabilities early can lead to greater mental health in adulthood. A study conducted in 2009 by several Canadian universities found that people with learning disabilities were more likely to experience depression, stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. One in 10 Canadians has a learning disability yet there are no standardized tests in place to catch the early signs in students.
The Honourable David C. Onley has always been an advocate for accessibility, whether it’s invisible or not. He believes accessibility is that which enables people to achieve their full potential. ”Accessibility is much more than wheelchair parking spots, curb cuts, automatic doors, ramps and things like that,” Onley says. Some 900,000 people in Ontario have invisible disabilities, he points out, including significantly limiting conditions such as depression or diabetes.
(WATCH: The Honourable David C. Onley, lieutenant governor of Ontario, speaks about accessibility.)
Delving deeper into this issue, we need to look at the goal which is to help people realize the depth of their capabilities. “A student has some difficulty, to use an example, of note taking or exam writing,” Onley says. ”If that’s their disability, then they need special assistance to achieve their full potential.” If these hurdles are identified early on, the negative effect they can have on someone’s mental health may no longer be a barrier in later years.
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How can schools help students with disabilities reach their full potential? Do you think school boards need to create standardized testing for learning disabilities? Share your thoughts and stories with us in the Comments section below.