Pilot project aims to assess, accommodate and empower workers with learning disabilities

·2 min read
Sandra Jollimore says she wants to help break down barriers around learning disabilities. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)
Sandra Jollimore says she wants to help break down barriers around learning disabilities. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)

Sometimes it can be hard for Sandra Jollimore to focus or understand. She says she struggled a lot before she was diagnosed with a learning disability more than 20 years ago.

"I just found it so stressful, so frustrating, to the point where I would stop, not that I wanted to give up, but it was just so stressful it was my answer."

Now she has the skills to cope and will be helping others through a new program called ADAPT, which stands for Accommodating Learning Disabilities to Accelerate Performance and Thrive.

The pilot project, aimed at helping workers get better at their jobs by pinpointing why they are struggling, is being offered by the non-profit Workplace Learning P.E.I. It runs until August 2024.

'Lessen the stigma'

"I look forward to breaking down some of those barriers and lessen the stigma," Jollimore said.

P.E.I. is partnering with New Brunswick, where the program also exists, in hopes of helping alleviate the provinces' labour shortages.

The program will provide free assessments and virtual appointments with psychologists. In the past there were long waits, and an assessment could cost a patient thousands of dollars.

About $1.5 million is being funded by the federal government, and more from employer donations.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

They hope to assess hundreds of people over the next three years.

Employers will often see the signs, but it may be hard to know the cause, said Jeremy MacEachern of Workplace Learning P.E.I.

"A lot of times it's a failure to keep up with work tasks, it could be things like organization, working memory, adjusting if there's alterations to their specific job, adjusting to those specific things."

Already seeing results

Charlene Miller of Workplace Learning P.E.I. said they're already seeing results in people they've helped.

"They began to become a fully productive, happier person with more confidence in the workplace ready to accept those challenges that perhaps they weren't ready to accept before," she said.

"All they need is a little support to put in place and they're off and running."

Jollimore said it can be hard for people to ask for help or for employers to suggest it, but she hopes people won't hold back.

Getting her diagnosis was like an "aha moment," she said. "It was like a relief, like a weight off my shoulders."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting