Learning Disabilities Centre set to close

The Learning Disabilities Association will close its doors later this month due to lack of funding.

“We hope there’s going to be a miracle and we’ll have to reverse our decision,” said Sheryl Krill, executive director, who added the organization is set to close June 17. “We’re trying to not panic our clients too much, but they are upset.”

Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta – Red Deer Chapter has been operating in the City for 22 years. In 2008, the non-profit, charitable society had to close its doors for four months because funding was needed.

“Right now, we don’t qualify for any more government funding for three years. We have subsidized programs heavily in order for people to afford our services,” said Krill. “Our busy time is coming up and the board is hoping to start up again in the fall, but I think that’s unlikely.”

The organization is in need of seven more board members to help out if the board is going to start up again in September.

“We have our annual general meeting on June 16 at 7 p.m., so we’re hopeful some people will come forward to help us out,” said Krill.

It’s been a tough road for the Association over the past year – they were nearly forced to close their doors in June of 2010. And while community and corporate donations and various grants have helped them continue over the past several months, there is still an urgent need for consistent funding, said Krill.

Clients are increasingly seeking out their services. Over the 2009/10 season, 470 people assessed their services. That number shot up to 788 over the 2010/11 season, she said. This excludes drop-ins, which can amount to about 12 per week.

According to the Society, 10 to 20% of Central Albertans are diagnosed with a learning disability, with many more going undiagnosed.

Also, 64.9% of school-aged children with disabilities have a learning disability, and 80% of learning disabilities are in the areas of literacy/reading and writing.

Statistics also show that 75% of children who show reading problems by the end of Grade 3 will continue to experience reading difficulties into adulthood, and that 35% of students identified as having learning disabilities drop out of high school.

For more information about the organization, call the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta’s local office at 403-340-3885.

Check out www.LDreddeer.ca.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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