Counting for Life® is a program developed by Learning Links.
Learning Links was established in 1972 by parents concerned about the lack of appropriate education and support services to meet their children’s needs. Today, our focus is on preventing learning difficulties from causing disadvantage.
What we do
Learning Links works in collaboration with schools, early childhood settings and parents to help children with learning disabilities and difficulties. These include conditions such as ADHD, high functioning autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, fine and gross motor delays and speech and language delays. The children are often anxious, have trouble communicating and interacting with others, and many have behavioural issues. In the later years they are often challenged in literacy and numeracy which impacts on their ability to complete education and participate in the community.
Early intervention for young children who experience developmental delays is critical to mitigate the risk of poor educational outcomes later in life. Learning Links is recognised as a pioneer in the area of inclusive early childhood education. At our inclusive preschool, children of all abilities learn side by side, maximising their learning abilities and wellbeing as they progress to primary school.
How we support children with learning difficulties and disabilities
Today in Australia, a diagnosis of a learning disability and difficulty does not entitle a child or family to financial assistance. This means that they rely solely on their family’s ability to pay for critical assessments, therapies, educational supports and targeted behavioural interventions. Learning Links raises awareness of these issues and the need to provide better access to supports.
For the many children in our community who come from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, access to interventions can be particularly challenging. These children are part of families who not only lack the financial means to pay for interventions, but who may also lack the ability to provide the practical support their children need due to the hereditary nature of their learning disabilities and difficulties.
Learning Links raises funds through donations, partnerships and grants to offer its services at subsidised rates to children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. We also deliver a wide range of free programs and services focused on improving children’s literacy, numeracy and emotional well-being in schools across Sydney and in other parts of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
In 2017/2018, Learning Links provided therapy, education and support services to:
Children with conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and ADHD participated in programs to improve literacy and numeracy.
Children were assessed to determine their strengths and needs and to provide families with guidance regarding the support required.
Children received therapy to develop communications, language, sensory, fine and gross motor skills.
Parents and carers were provided with specialist knowledge and skills in children’s learning, development and family support.
Children with social, emotional and behavioural concerns were provided support to reduce anxiety, build confidence, self-esteem and stronger family relationships.
Children and families in disadvantaged communities were assisted with specialist intervention and support.
Children received inclusive educational care through our Preschool and Out Of School Hours care services.
Professionals including teachers and early childhood educators were provided with specialist knowledge and skills in children’s learning, development and family support.
Provisional psychologists gained expertise and skills working with children and families to fulfil the requirements to become fully registered.