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Teaching to Diversity parent support

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Down Syndrome
Early Childhood


Special Interest Areas
Learning Disabilities
Speech and Language

Web Sites for Kids 


  • Autism Community Training ACT is an information and referral service that supports individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families across British Columbia. 
  • Believe in My Child with Special Needs! Helping Children Achieve Their Potential in School
    by Mary A. Falvey.
    This handbook is an invaluable resource to share with parents of a school-age child with a disability. It demystifies complicated issues, encourages parents to celebrate abilities and recognize possibilities, and tells parents everything they need to know to be successful advocates throughout their child’s education.
    ISBN 1-55766-702-0. Brookes Publishing
  • Controversial Practices in Special Education (2002)
    Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs via ERIC
    Parents of children with disabilities such as autism, learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are often desperate to find treatments or interventions that will help their children overcome the disability and reach their full potential in school. Sadly, there are many individuals and organizations who are prepared to exploit the vulnerability of these parents by making unsubstantiated claims for “cures” and “treatments.” These usually have little scientific basis, and invariably cost a significant amount of money and often result in dashed hopes for parents whose only wish has been to help their children.
  • Everyone Belongs in Our Schools: Making the case for inclusive education in British Columbia
    This booklet makes the case for inclusive education by shattering myths, presenting research findings on the positive impact of inclusive education, and telling the stories of five young people who, with the support of their teachers and families, are a testament to the value of inclusion. Includes references and ideas for how to support and advocate for inclusive schools. A useful information tool for teachers, school boards, families, advocates and community organizations.
  • The F.O.R.C.E. Society for kid's mental health
    The F.O.R.C.E. Society for Kids' Mental Health is a provincial organization that provides families with an opportunity to speak with other families who understand and may be able to offer support or advice on what has worked for them. The F.O.R.C.E. also provides families and professionals with information, tools, and tips on how to support and assist children with mental health difficulties.
  • Helping Your Child Find a Passion: One Mother’s Story
    by Melinda Sacks
    Helping a child with LD discover his talents and interests can take time and patience.
  • Know Your Rights
    To support parents or guardians of children with learning disabilities or ADHD to in their on-going advocacy efforts and to make sure their child receives the best education possible. There is also a link for Know Your Rights - for students. A project of the LD Association of British Columbia, South Vancouver Island Chapter, funded by the Law Foundation of British Columbia.
  • LATA (Learning Assistance Teachers' Association) Student Grade Retention Brochure
    A review of the evidence regarding grade retention
  • Making the Most of Your Parent-Teacher Conference
    Learn what issues to focus on and how to plan for a productive parent-teacher conference.
  • Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN)
    A not-for-profit charity created by and for families who have a relative with a disability. Their two main functions: to assist families plan a good life for their relative with a disability both now and in the future. Ensure a safe and secure future by fulfilling the wishes of parents, after they die, or are otherwise unable to.
  • Talking about Special Education: A Handbook for Parents PDF file; Acrobat Reader required.
    Talking about Special Education Handbooks, written by the First Nations Schools Association and the First Nations Education Steering Committee. For teachers and parents. Written in easy to understand language. Download copies from their publications section on their web site:  http://www.fnesc.ca/publications/index.php  
  • The Value of Parent-Teacher Collaboration
    Explore ways to work in partnership with the school to make sure your child receives the help and services he/she needs.
  • Vela Microboard Association
    Their mission is to promote and secure innovative and individualized community options and supports for people with disabilities or chronic illness.


  • Anxiety among Kids with LD: Three Clinical Psychologists Discuss Causes and Symptoms
    Research shows that children and adolescents with learning disabilities (LD) may experience increased levels of anxiety compared to young people without LD. This article helps to give a better understanding of these issues as three clinical psychologists are interviewed to share their expertise.
  • BC FRIENDS for Life: The FRIENDS program is a school-based anxiety prevention and resiliency skill-building program, sponsored by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). There is also a FRIENDS Parent Program teaching parents about anxiety and ways to reinforce the FRIENDS skills at home.
  • How Parents Can Help Children Who Are Anxious
    by Roberta J. Goldberg, Kenneth Herman, and Bruce Hirsch
    The second in this series, this article focuses on approaches parents can use to help their children with LD who are experiencing anxiety.


  • Autism Community Training (ACT) webcast and online videos: listing.
  • Evidence-based Practice and Autism in the Schools (subscription required)
    A guide to providing appropriate interventions to students with autism spectrum disorders.
  • ABA Support Network - an organization of families and professionals educating and supporting families about Applied Behavioral Analysis and its’ application as a treatment for autism.


Early Childhood

  • Parents2parents.ca
    A web community built especially for expectant parents, new parents and parents with young children. It is a place to find critical information about your child’s development and how to parent effectively through those first five miracle years. But more importantly, it is a place to connect with other parents experiencing the same types of things you are. We know that becoming a parent can feel overwhelming at times – it’s comforting to know there is a place to go to talk to the experts as well as each other.
  • Infant Development Programs of British Columbia
    Provide a range of family-centered prevention and early intervention services and supports for such families and infants. Primarily, the programs serve children from birth to three years of age, while a few serve children up to the age of five. Programs are administered by a variety of community agencies.

Down Syndrome

  • The Down Syndrome Research Foundation was formed in 1995 in response to the need, expressed by parents and professionals, for detailed and research-based information for themselves and for the community at large. It is based in British Columbia.
  • Greater Victoria Down Syndrome Society -We are individuals who have Down syndrome; together with their families, friends, advocates, peers, educators, and medical professionals, who work and play together to create a better understanding of diversity and, in particular, to provide information and understanding about Trisomy21 and the people who have it.
  • The Lower Mainland Down Syndrome Society strives to promote opportunities for individuals with Down Syndrome by supporting families, promoting public awareness, networking with other organizations and individuals, and lobbying for appropriate educational, vocational and social opportunities.
  • The PREP Program is a resource centre dedicated to the inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome in home, school and community life. It is a registered, non-profit organization for parents, families and friends of people with Down syndrome. The PREP Program now provides a wide variety of services and resources to individuals with Down Syndrome in the Calgary area and around the world. The store includes these 2 recommended books: Effective Teaching Strategies for Successful Inclusion: A resource guide for educators and parents by Barbara Tien and Win -Win Advice for the Inclusive Classroom by Barbara Tien and Clare Clelland.
  • Riverbend Down Syndrome Parent Support Group research site 
    Their Mission Statement is:
        * To advocate for the needs of individuals with Down syndrome
        * To offer support, acceptance and encouragement for parents and families of persons with Down syndrome
        * To increase our awareness and knowledge of issues relating to Down syndrome
        * To educate the community about the presence, the potential and the needs to people with Down syndrome
        * To promote inclusive environments for all persons
  • Thompson Nicola Ups & Downs Society -Congratulations on the birth of your child! If you have just received the news that your baby has Down syndrome, you will have many emotions and questions. I know, because I had many of those same emotions and questions.  What I am glad to share is that there are many of us in this community and we all dealt with the news in many different ways. We would be happy to share our experiences with you, but mostly, we'd like to celebrate with you!
  • Woodbine House Publishing: Resources for many categories of special needs, including several resources related to Down Syndrome.
    For example, there is a book called Teaching math to people with Down Syndrome and other hands-on learners that includes proven, practical hands-on activities--with the help of games, manipulatives, props, and worksheets--to make learning concrete and more tangible to hands-on learners, including those with Down syndrome, autism, or other cognitive disabilities.


When you are claiming income tax, you might be interested in the Child Disability Benefit (CDB). It is a non-taxable supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit and Children's Special Allowances. The CDB will provide up to $133.33 per month ($1,600 per year) to low and modest income families to help them with the costs of raising children under 18 who have a severe and prolonged mental or physical impairment. For more information about this program, you can contact Canada Revenue Agency at: 1-800-387-1193 or download information and forms from their web site: www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca/cdb.


  • ABCs of Mental Health: parent resource guide from the Hincks Dellcrest Centre, Toronto:
  •  When learning - Can Disabled Children Be Successful? (SchwabLearning.org) 
  • A Parent's Guide to Individual Education Plans PDF file; Acrobat Reader required.
    Talking about Special Education Handbooks, written by the First Nations Schools Association and the First Nations Education Steering Committee. For teachers and parents. Written in easy to understand language. Download copies from their publications section on their web site: http://www.fnsa.ca/programs 
  • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Facts for Families
    Provides concise and up-to-date information on issues that affect children, teenagers and their families.
  • BC Children's Hospital Family Resource Library
    The Family Resource Library (FRL) is a consumer health library for families operated by volunteers and professional staff. Its mission is help to families and those working with them, to understand and manage the needs of children related to their diagnoses, tests and treatments. It provides families and patients access to: helpful medical websites, online pamphlets created by staff at BC Children's, and a variety of technologies (ie.on-line catalogue, in-house computers with internet access, fax, photocopiers, printers, scanners, DVD players, etc) to facilitate education and communication.
  • Books for Use with Children to Discuss and Promote Understanding of Invisible Disabilities PDF file; Acrobat Reader required., from Odin Books
  • Child Development Institute
    Child Development & Parenting Information - Provides information on child development, psychology, parenting, learning, health and safety as well as childhood disorders such as attention deficit disorder, dyslexia and autism.
  • Family/Educator Guide
    Please note that although American, there are some very relevant ideas for working with families of children with special needs.
  • Waisman Centre  - a global community that integrates information, resources, and communication opportunities on the Internet for persons with cognitive and other disabilities, for their families, and for those that provide them services and support. This includes informational resources on specific diagnoses, communication connections, adaptive products and technology, adaptive recreational activities, education, worship, health issues, disability-related media and literature, and much, much more!  




  • E-ssential Guide: A Parent's Guide to Social Relationships PDF file; Acrobat Reader required.
    This guide explains why your child with learning and/or attention problems may struggle in her social relationships. It also offers strategies for helping her improve her social skills.
  • Finding Friends and Persuading People: Teaching the Skills of Social Interaction
    Tips for teaching your children the skills needed for appropriate social interactions. -
    LD Online
  • The Sibling Support Project
    A US based national effort dedicated to the interests of over six million brothers and sisters of people with special health, mental health, and developmental needs. The project has published curricula and children's books that assist agencies in starting Sibshops and let young sibs know that they are not alone with their unique joys and concerns. They also sponsor the Internet's first and largest listservs for young and adult siblings where participants share their issues with others who truly understand.

Special Interest Areas


  • E-ssential Guide: A Parent's Guide to AD/HD Basics PDF file; Acrobat Reader required.
    This guide covers the fundamental facts about Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD).
  • Managing AD/HD with Medication — An Overview
    If your child has been diagnosed with AD/HD, then you probably know medication is often prescribed to help manage this condition. Many types of AD/HD medication are available, and they work in slightly different ways. Keep in mind that taking medication is just one part of a child’s treatment program. Counseling, making accommodations in school, behavior management, and other strategies may also be recommended.
  • Famous People with LD and/or AD/HDDid you know that many successful and famous people grew up with learning disabilities (LD) and/or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)? Actress Whoopi Goldberg, business leader Charles Schwab, and Olympic diver Greg Louganis, to name a few, are all inspirations. Talk with your child about some of these successful people whose interests he/she shares or whose accomplishments he/she may admire. This will help her/him understand that she's/he's not alone with her/his struggles and will foster hope for her/ his future goals.
  • Top 10 toys for children with ADHD
    The Top 10 list of toys has been developed based on the specific needs of children with ADHD, including the need to better focus attention, to gain self-confidence and to learn to socialize and interact appropriately with other children. The selection criteria used to choose these toys may provide useful guidelines for parents to consider when shopping for toys that their child with ADHD can enjoy. Together, the toy list and criteria may help parents interact with their child and also assist them to direct the child's energy in a more productive way.
  • What Parents Need to Know about AD/HD and Medication: Advice from an M.D.
    If your child has been diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and you are considering giving him medication to manage the symptoms, here is some advice for you from a pediatrician/child psychiatrist.
  • When teens with AD/HD are learning to drive: Parent strategies
    If your teenager has AD/HD, you have probably observed lapses in attention, persistence, activity regulation, gross motor control, reaction time, and rule-following behaviors in your child from an early age. This does not mean that all teens with AD/HD are doomed to have poor driving records, nor that they are destined to become driving failures. In fact, the difference between unsafe and safe teen drivers has more to do with the parents’ behaviour than you may think.



Learning Disabilities

  • Dyslexia — An Overview
    by Jan Baumel
    You've heard the term "dyslexia" and wonder if it applies to your child who's struggling in school. How can you tell if she has this language-based learning disability?
    The Expert Answers: Dr. Marshall Raskind on Success Attributes of Kids with Learning Disabilities PDF file; Acrobat Reader required.
    Answers the questions: What is success, and how do kids with learning disabilities become successful? How can parents help their kids develop success attributes? and more.
  • LD Learn More Articles relating to learning disabilities, topics include: ADHD, Assessment, Strategies, Social/Emotional Issues and more. Learning Disabilities Association of Canada.
  • Life Success for Children with Learning Disabilities - A Parent Guide
    Researchers describe six personal attributes: self-awareness, proactivity, perseverance, goal setting, support systems, and emotional coping strategies—and how each can aid in a child’s development and ability to achieve life success.
  • Famous People with LD and/or AD/HDDid you know that many successful and famous people grew up with learning disabilities (LD) and/or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)? Actress Whoopi Goldberg, business leader Charles Schwab, and Olympic diver Greg Louganis, to name a few, are all inspirations. Talk with your child about some of these successful people whose interests he/she shares or whose accomplishments he/she may admire. This will help her/him understand that she's/he's not alone with her/his struggles and will foster hope for her/ his future goals.
  • Summer Camps for Kids with Learning and Attention Problems
    Get practical tips on how to select a summer camp that's just right for your child.
    From Schwab Learning web site.
  • Talking with Your Elementary School Child about Learning Difficulties
    Talking with your child about a sensitive topic like a learning disability (LD) is not easy. But it may be one of the most important things you can do to foster his learning and emotional development.
  • Talking with your Teenager about Learning Difficulties
    by Brian Inglesby
    From curfew to career: help your teen understand how his LD impacts his daily life and future plans.
  • Writing Disabilities: An Overview
    Writing is a very demanding problem-solving task that requires a student to consider both content and audience, plan the overall organization of the piece, choose words and generate sentences, evaluate the writing using multiple criteria, and maintain motivation and persistence.


Speech and Language



Websites for Kids

  • Cool Math 4 Kids
    An amusement park of math and more -- especially designed for kids
  • Fun Brain.com 
  • Kidsource Online
    Provides in-depth and timely education and health information for parents and their children. Specific section on education includes information on LD, ADD, and gifted and talented children.
  • ProfessorGarfield.org (new home of SparkTop)
    Helps kids with learning difficulties feel better about themselves -- by giving them information about their learning problems, helping them recognize their unique strengths, showcasing their creativity, and connecting them to other kids who struggle with learning.

Updated June, 2015 

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