Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, ADHD, etc., are considered as learning disabilities. Having a child who has learning disabilities can be expensive, especially if a school refuses to identify and/or provide necessary instruction.
The Canadian Disability Tax Credit (DTC) is a possible way to recover costs and to pay for future expenses.
It is a process that you must research before applying on your own or hiring a company specializing in DTC. Certain criteria must be met.
Filling out forms and writing the required letters takes a short amount of time. Form T2201 has a section that must be filled out by a medical practitioner, which includes educational psychologists who have an expertise in learning disabilities.
EVEN THOUGH your psychologist gives a significant and sufficient amount of information on this form, your psychologist will have to fill out another form.
If you are accepted, you will have to write a brief letter stating that you want benefits extended back to your child’s birth year.
You may hire a company to help you apply for the DTC. These companies have knowledge of this process and are knowledgeable about Canada Revenue Agency’s criteria. These companies will charge a percentage of the tax credit received. Expect to pay up to a few thousand dollars for their services when approved.
The constituency office may also help guide you.
When approved you will receive up to tens of thousands of dollars. You will also be eligible for other tax measures and tax credits such as: medical expense supplements, working income tax benefits, child care expenses, registered disability savings plan, certain education-related benefits, GST exemptions, and disability support deduction of expenses such as: tutoring expenses, talking textbooks, reading services, note-taking services, etc.
Canada Revenue Agency is looking for certain criteria. Some psychologists will need guidance on how to fill out the forms.
If criteria are not met, there will be a denial. You then can write a letter to have your application reviewed.
Use the guide below as it is a synopsis of information from Government of Canada.
Key Information for Canadian Disability Tax Credit: Learning Disabilities
Synopsis of information for Learning Disabilities from Government of Canada – see links below.
To help you understand the applying process, the following are key points of information from the Government of Canada website:
Guide RC4064, Disability-Related Information, is a great resource.
A Medical Practitioner must certify that there is a severe and prolonged impairment in mental functions. Eligibility is based on the effects of the impairment, not on the medical condition itself.
People who have dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, etc. were born with this condition. This meets the criteria of lasting, continuously, for at least 12 months.
The criteria must meet marked restrictions in two or more basic activities of daily living 90% of the time even with appropriate therapy, medication, and devices.
You and your child’s medical practitioner must fill out the application form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certification with the following:
1. Information about the person with the disability.
2. Information about the person claiming the disability amount.
3. Authorization must be given to allow your medical practitioner to give/discuss information.
4.The section titled: Mental Functions Necessary for Everyday Life, may be filled out by a medical doctor, a nurse practitioner (they must have a report giving a diagnosis of dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, etc.) or a psychologist. Ideally, have the educational psychologist who made the official diagnosis fill out this form and give certification.
5. Your psychologist must refer to this section for requirements when describing the Effects of Impairment section on the last page of this form.
For the section, Effects of Impairment, describe everyday living supports and supervisions that are needed 90% of the time.
The following are key:
Lack initiative or motivation, disorganized behavior, and/or unable to anticipate consequences of behavior.
Adaptive functioning examples:
Abilities related to self-care, safety, abilities to initiate and respond to social interactions and common, simple transactions.
Ability to remember simple instructions, basic personal information, or material of importance and interest.
Problem-solving, goal setting and judgment (taken together) examples:
The ability to solve problems, set and keep goals, and make the appropriate decisions and judgements.
Remember: Effects of Impairment must be significantly restricted to happen 90% of the time with two or more effects.
Ensure that your psychologist makes NO REFERENCE, to school and to parental experiences as they will harm chances for approval.
Restrictions for daily things that take longer than the average person are to be written, such as:
-Cannot read or needs assistance reading written instructions, street signs, menus, posters, letters, faxes, emails, maps, etc.
-Needs help with finding and returning from locations
-Needs reminders for completing tasks: put boots away, clean room, put laundry away, put items in dishwasher, etc.
-Needs supervision for making payments and for receiving money, can be taken advantage of, etc.
-Need adaptions to express and communicate information: needs use of technology to help spell, needs an editor, needs time to write to take down instructions, notes, letters, emails, etc.
It is important to state these restrictions are life long (from birth and all day). Use an additional sheet as there is not much room on the certificate form. Significant and sufficient information must be provided.
Examples from eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit and guide RC4064:
Example 1, Garry can carry out the mental functions necessary for everyday live, but can concentrate on any topic for only a short period of time.
Other comments need to be written to describe: He is unable to anticipate consequences of behavior when interacting with others; he cannot make a common, simple transaction without help, such as a purchase at the grocery store, at least 90% of the time; he continues to need daily supervision given the unpredictability of symptoms of his impairment, such as his lack of initiative and motivation, and his disorganized behavior; etc.
Examples of some accepted DTC comments:
For everyday life:
-Never locks door when using a public bathroom, never ties her own shoes, never changes to wear different clothes without instruction, etc.
-Only sometimes bathes/showers without direction, only sometimes washes hair properly or tidies self or checks clothing without direction
-Struggles to attend and hold information of working memory long enough to recall and carry out instructions.
-Unable to read and obey common signs and recall routes.
-Weak recall of directions from others and weak directional orientation so easily lost. Unable to reliably follow traffic signals and access road situations due to high distractibility.
- Struggles to inhibit impulses. For example, sits in a chair dangerously, does not “stop and think”, easily exploited to due weak impulse control.
-Requires significant intervention to stop an activity and shift to another when required. For example, stopping required activity, move to another activity, and starting the new activity. Unable to self-monitor and evaluate proper completion of task. Needs assistance to edit written work and to read some instructions.
-Cannot consistently recall address, sequence for month of the year, coin values and combinations, basic arithmetic facts, letter-sound combinations, routes for travel.
-Will continue to lay behind peers even with appropriate medication, devices, and therapy.
Once received by the Winnipeg Tax Centre you and/or your psychologist will be contacted. A new form (questionnaire) must be filled out by your psychologist answering medical history and effects of the impairment(s) as they related to the condition(s) diagnosed.
Being accepted, you will receive a deposit (only for a certain amount of years). If you would like to receive Child Disability Benefit for years back to birth date you will need to submit a written request to the CRA. For example,
As per the letter dated (month day, year) for the Disability Tax Credit Program I was advised that a written request be submitted to claim Child Disability Benefit for years prior to 20_ _. Therefore, I am requesting to claim Child Disability Benefit for (name of child) for the (birth year) to 20_ _ base years.
(Sign and dated)
If you are denied you can ask for a review of your application (in writing within 90 days).
Manitoba Constituency Office
Eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/segments/tax-credits-deductions-persons-disabilities/information-medical-practitioners/eligibility-criteria-disability-tax-credit.html
Guide RC4064, Disability-Related Information: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/publications/rc4064.html
Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pbg/t2201/t2201-17e.pdf
What is a schwa?
It is an unstressed and toneless neutral vowel that is found in an unstressed syllable. It is represented with an upside-down e: /ə/ and it makes a short u sound.
How many syllables does the word ‘about’ have?
There are two syllables: a-bout.
Saying the word ‘about’, which syllable is stressed?
The second syllable is stressed: a-`bout.
What does the sound of ‘a’ make in the word ‘about’?
It sounds toneless and is unstressed. It is like /uh/ or the short u sound. The ‘a’ is a schwa.
Schwas are lazy sounding vowels. It is the most used vowel sound. All vowels and two vowel diagraphs (oo and ou) make this vowel sound.
Vowel(s) Word Phonetics
a what hwət
e the t͟hə
i family fa-mə-`lē
o from ˈfrəm
u circus ˈsər-kəs
y syringe sə-ˈrinj
ou country ˈkən-trē
oo blood ˈbləd
To help remember the vowel and diagraph schwas I have made up a story.
The family went to the circus in the country. They found a bloody syringe and want to stay away from it.
R-controlled vowels also make the schwa sound. For example, ar as in beggar, er as in her, ir as in bird, or as in doctor, ur as in burn.
I am a dyslexic tutor in Winnipeg. Check out my website: 4theloveofreading.ca
It is extremely important to advocate for yourself or for a dyslexic as dyslexia is an invisible disability.
The International Dyslexic Association defines dyslexia as follows:
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002.
Many people do not like to be told that they have a neurological disability as there are a lot of misunderstandings and bias.
Since October is Dyslexic Awareness Month, I want to clarify misunderstandings and end biases of dyslexia.
When you meet a person with a visible disability do you judge them for not seeing well or wearing glasses? I don't and I hope you don't either.
fMRI scans show that a dyslexic brain is organized differently than non-dyslexic brains. This causes learning and carrying out tasks that require reading and spelling to take longer for a dyslexic to process. Are you going to make fun of them just because they have difficulty reading fluently?
Dyslexic people can have a low to high IQ. Einstein had an IQ of 160 and he was dyslexic. Think of other intelligent people: Steve Jobs, Steven Spielburg, Nicola Tesla, Jennifer Aniston, Ingvar Kamprad, Leonardo da Vinci... These are just some famous dyslexics. Do you still think that having dyslexia means being stupid? If you do, read this paragraph again and again until you realize dyslexia does not equal stupid.
Dyslexics just need to read more and then they will be fine. Making a dyslexic reader read a lot will not help them become a better reader. They need specialized instructions for them to build on their phonemic awareness skills. Practicing of these skills will allow them to remember and apply while reading. Once they have a good understanding they will be able to enjoy reading. Advocate for more time to read and to write tests.
A diagnosis will not do any good. A friend of mine was sick and she went to the doctor who said a diagnosis would not do her any good. Can you believe this? I hope not, as it was a story that I made up to show that a diagnosis is deserving. When I was told that my 11 year-old daughter was dyslexic I told her. Her shoulders relaxed and relief came across her face as she said, "You mean I'm not stupid?" She deserved to know for her understanding of why reading and spelling (among other things) was difficult for her. She was then able to advocate for herself. Her newest Language Arts teacher was impressed as my daughter told her that she had dyslexia. The teacher then knew why my daughter was asking for help to read some instructions, to spell some words, and for reading somewhat slowly. The most important reasons for why a diagnosis is so important as it allows people to find out how to overcome dyslexia.
Dyslexics can learn to read in large classes. Dyslexics can overcome dyslexia with specialized instructions. They will be dyslexic for life, but learning skills will allow them to cope. Take my daughter for example, she was reading at a grade one level when she was half way done grade six. I studied the Orton-Gillingham approach and taught her the skills that she needed (the way she needed to be taught). She is now very close to grade level reading. My daughter's teachers were very good, but they did not have the time to teach her one-on-one. Advocate for proper instruction that is one-on-one.
Please comment on why advocating is important or ask questions.