The Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC) is a national, non-profit voluntary organization which was founded in 1963 and incorporated in 1971. The organization's mission is to be the national voice for persons with learning disabilities and those who support them. LDAC is dedicated to a level playing field for individuals with learning disabilities to enable them to function as citizens with equitable opportunities and to develop to their chosen potential. LDAC accomplishes these goals through public awareness about the nature and impact of learning disabilities, advocacy, research, health, education and collaborative efforts.
The volunteer Board of Directors is composed of fifteen members appointed by each of the ten provincial and two territorial Learning Disabilities Associations.
The approximate membership is 10,000. Although the majority are parents, members also include physicians, psychologists, lawyers, language experts, optometrists, psychiatrists, public health and physical education personnel, educators, and members of school boards and administrators.
There is a Learning Disabilities Association in each province and one territories of Canada and from these extend a network of chapters in more than 55 communities across the country. These Associations are affiliated with the LDAC and share the same aims and objectives.
The LDAC activities include the collection and dissemination of information on learning disabilities in the areas of prevention, early identification, assessment, education, intervention, social interaction, health, coping skills, family support, advocacy, transitions, employment, and justice to consumers, parents, professionals, various levels of government, and other agencies.
Since the 1960s, the LDAC has established itself both in Canada and internationally as a credible organization. The level of respect that the organization commands is in part due to the cooperative model upon which it is built. In addition to the volunteer Board of Directors which includes leaders in adult issues and equal representation from all provinces/territories, LDAC has a Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) to which approximately fifteen recognized Canadian experts are appointed.
Although members of the PAC do not meet as a group, its volunteer professionals in the areas of pediatrics, psychology, neuropsychology, educational psychology, education, speech and language pathology, justice, employment, etc. allow for easy access to expertise in areas of interest.
The LDAC has published a number of manuals, guides, self-help and reference books to meet the growing needs of persons with learning disabilities. Project management has included small and large initiatives. Workshops for judges, literacy workers, correctional services educators, probation officers and volunteers have been offered in all provinces and territories.
Screening and teaching tools have been developed to increase the literacy skills of adults with learning disabilities. Early identification guides for parents, day-care providers, educators, road maps for postsecondary students, fact sheets and much more have and continue to be released by LDAC.
Ongoing public awareness initiatives include the annual celebration of LD month with activities held in communities across the country. Bi-annual national conferences and provincial/territorial conferences on learning disabilities are held across the country and reach consumers, parents, educators, and researchers.
LDAC has been invited to participate on several national committees and present a number of briefs to Federal Parliamentary Standing Committees (Finance, Justice, Environment, Health) on issues concerning the impact of federal policy changes and programming on Canadians with learning disabilities. These presentations have been critical in helping the organization successfully inform public policy in a number of priority areas including health, justice, prevention, income support, employment, literacy, research, advocacy, children at risk, and post-secondary education.