Friday, December 12, 2008

LATCH-ON Literacy Program

North Island College launched LATCH-ON Literacy this past September, a literacy program developed specifically for young adults with intellectual disabilities, including Down Syndrome.

LATCH-ON, which stands for Literacy and Technology Hands-On, was initiated in 1998 at the University of Queensland in Australia by Dr. Anne Jobling, a Down Syndrome researcher, with the help of Dr. Karen Moni, a lecturer in English curriculum and literacy education. LATCH-ON was developed with a socio-cultural approach to literacy that uses a combination of technology and more traditional methods of instruction to enhance literacy development.

The program’s objectives include providing opportunities for young adults with intellectual disabilities to continue their literacy development in a post-secondary environment, using computer technology to enhance literacy, and enhancing self-concept and life opportunities (work placement) through the expected positive outcomes of improved literacy development.

North Island College welcomed both Dr. Jobling and Dr. Moni in late August where they provided a week-long intensive training session for NIC instructors, as well as for project partners from the Down Syndrome Research Foundation in Burnaby. It is expected that the program will reach up to 30 students from the North Island region during its two-year trial, 10 at each of the regional campuses located at Campbell River, Comox Valley and Port Alberni.

“This is the first time the LATCH-ON program has been offered in Canada, and we are extremely pleased that North Island College was selected as the pilot site,” says program coordinator, Sheila Doncaster, who also serves as the Chair of the Department of Access for Students with Disabilities.

Funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, LATCH-ON is a joint project of North Island College and the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. For further information about the LATCH-ON program, please contact Sheila Doncaster at (250) 334-5079 or