For more than a quarter century, Learning Assistance Teachers have maintained a strong provincial association. Twenty-five years ago, we worked with students who had mild to moderate difficulties in learning and adjustment. These students in the so-called “grey area” required extra time and attention to achieve grade-level learning outcomes, but they did not fit into any special category of funded special-needs students. In those days, students who were Ministry designated special-needs students were frequently taught in separate resource rooms and were not integrated into neighbourhood classrooms.
Times have changed. In today’s inclusive classrooms, we welcome students with diverse needs, including those with severe learning disabilities, FAS, autism, exceptional gifts/talents, and intellectual/physical challenges. How many students have learning difficulties? In 1997, a report entitled, "Addressing Student Differences: Next Steps", estimated that 20% of students were not successful in school. For students with learning differences, Learning Assistance Teachers are the vital link between students and school success. We must not become the missing link!