Dr. David Philpott, Faculty of Education, has completed an important step in the collaboration of parents, teachers and academics to work together for the betterment of children with learning disabilities (LD).
“Two years ago the president’s office awarded me a grant which was established from a private endowment (the Henry Collingwood estate), earmarked for local research in the area of LD,” said Dr. Philpott. “Dr. Mildred Cahill (Faculty of Education) and I conducted a national research project on the professional knowledge base of LD in Canada and that report was presented at the national conference for learning disabilities held in St. John’s last year. It has just been accepted for publication.”
Dr. Philpott, along with other national and international colleagues, has formed a research consortium to conduct specifically Canadian-focused research in the area of LD.
“We are optimistic that this team will grow quickly,” stated Lynn Green, president, Learning Disabilities Association of Canada. “The prioritization of shared research with community groups and families where we will not just provide data but actually be co-researchers with these academies – creating the research questions, designing methodologies, collecting and distributing knowledge that will inform our children’s programs.”
Dr. Philpott accentuated the importance of Canadian focused research.
“We are tired of reading statistics that are American, and seeing Canadian programs informed by American research when there is so much excellent work being done here,” Dr. Philpott said. “Nationally, 60-70 percent of students at university support centres have LD, and half of the students requiring support in the K-12 system have LD. Ten per cent of the population is affected by LD, and it is easily the most litigious area in special education.”
He also mentioned the value of endowments in their ability to stretch important research for many years.
“Mr. Collingwood’s endowment has been doubled and is now poised to increase many times over and create a real impact in this country. It was very important to us to use that money wisely, as it could typify how a one endowment to the university could have a profound impact nationally,” he said.