2020 Marks 100 Years for Vocational Rehabilitation

On June 2, 1920, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Smith-Fess Act, known as the National Civilian Rehabilitation Act.  Two earlier congressional Acts had established vocational rehabilitation programs targeted to helping disabled World War I veterans transition to civilian life.  The Civilian Rehabilitation Act of 1920 took those models and created a program for all Americans with disabilities, and this year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of that action. The Civilian Rehabilitation Act established the federal/state rehab program and gave funds to states, with a 50-50, match mainly for vocational services, guidance, training, occupational adjustment, and placement services. … Read More »

New School Safety Website Launched

The U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services have joined together on a clearinghouse focused on school safety – www.SchoolSafety.gov.  The new website provides resources for K-12 school administrators, educators, families, and the law enforcement community to prepare for and deal with school safety and security. There are a number of resources available at SchoolSafety.gov.  These include an assessment tool to help schools evaluate their safety situation and an “action plan” template to help prioritize needed steps, as well as possible grant opportunities.  The site also has a secure feature for school personnel to share… Read More »

Education Department Addresses Privacy Concerns with Online Learning

With almost all schools in the country closed and many trying to provide virtual learning experiences, some questions have arisen about privacy of students and families.  Student privacy is covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Student Privacy Policy Office (SPPO) at the U.S. Department of Education has developed a fact sheet with resources to assist educators and families in navigating how to ensure privacy while providing virtual education.  SPPO has a number of resources on its website, including documents that address FERPA exceptions and a checklist to evaluate online educational apps. One question that… Read More »

Children’s Needs Addressed in Coronavirus Stimulus

In light of the current situation with COVID-19, Congress has been working overtime to address the needs of the country. The third stimulus package has been passed by both chambers of Congress and has been signed by the president. For LDA members, concerns have been raised about using this vehicle as a way to waive parts of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). While waiver language remains, hopefully any use of this secretarial authority will be limited and carefully crafted by the U.S. Department of Education. The CARES Act contains an Education Stabilization Fund that will provide $30.75 billion… Read More »

LDA Action Report: Together We Have a Powerful Voice

Over the past several weeks, LDA has been closely monitoring developments related to Congress’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the leading voice for individuals with learning disabilities, LDA knows the value of ensuring that your voice is heard and represented in Washington D.C. Over the past week,  LDA created a series of action alerts for members and LDA supporters to send to their U.S. Senators and Representatives. The first action alert was in opposition to a proposal that Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) offered giving the U.S. Secretary of Education authority to approve state waiver requests for any requirement of… Read More »

April Webinar: Military Special Needs Education Crisis

Military families with special needs children have unique challenges they face every day. This webinar presented by four military spouses will focus on the experience military families have with special needs education, the problems and difficulties facing families, and potential legislative solutions that Congress can provide to fixing those problems. A replay of the webinar will be provided for all registrants via email. About our Presenters: Michelle Norman, 2019 AFI Navy Spouse of the Year, is a Navy spouse of 25 years and mother of a 16-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy and multiple other disabilities. After years of successfully advocating… Read More »

Make Your Voice Heard: CARES Act Threatens Educational Rights

Thank you for making your voice heard last week! Over 230 of you reached out to your Senators/Representatives through our Action Alert! Thanks to your action, LDA has learned that the proposal to allow Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to have an absolute waiver authority over IDEA has been taken off the table! Despite this progress, the educational rights of our children are still in jeopardy. Last week, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate ‒ the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The Act includes a provision directing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to report back to Congress within… Read More »

Make Your Voice Heard: LD Protections are Being Targeted!

As the U.S. Congress deliberates on a stimulus package to address the COVID-19 epidemic, the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) has learned that Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has offered a proposal that would give the U.S. Secretary of Education authority to approve state waiver requests for any statutory or regulatory requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for one year, along with the permission of extensions. This provision harms the rights and protections of children with learning disabilities including Child Find, a free appropriate public education (FAPE), and Individualized Education Program (IEP, all procedural safeguards, re-evaluations, related… Read More »

March Webinar: Covering Your Bases: Common Advocacy Myths and Mistakes

Many times advocates and parents need to “go with their gut,” but what happens when instinct runs contrary to sound legal strategy? This session will cover common mistakes in advocating for services in schools, as well as common myths in special education advocacy. A replay of the webinar will be provided for all registrants via email. About our Presenter: Caitlin McAndrews is a shareholder with McAndrews, Mehalick, Connolly, Hulse and Ryan, handling special education and estate planning matters in Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. She previously worked as a special educator in the Philadelphia area. Since that time… Read More »

Protected: 2021 Conference Theme Survey

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Remote Learning And College Students with Learning Disabilities

In response to  the coronavirus pandemic, nearly every college and university in the country has announced it will move to remote learning .  LDA is aware that this change raises many questions  for students with learning disabilities. How will a student access course material? How will accommodations be made? LDA interviewed LDA Board Member, Manju Banerjee, PhD, Vice President of Educational Research and Innovation at Landmark College in Vermont and an expert on college students with disabilities, on how this move to remote learning may affect college students with learning disabilities. LDA:  Dr. Banerjee, if a student has already been… Read More »

In Wake of the Coronavirus, LDA Offers Advice for Students with Learning Disabilities as Schools Move to Online Instruction or Extended Closings

With schools moving to online instruction or closing for an extended period of time, there is a concern for students with disabilities, including learning disabilities like dyslexia, who receive services through an IEP or Section 504 Plan.

The Learning Disabilities Association of America has made its experts available to answer questions that concerned parents and educators have about how remote learning will affect a student with a learning disability. Read More »

Learning Disabilities Association of America Supports the READ Act

The Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) applauds U.S. Representatives Chrissie Houlahan (D-PA) and Bruce Westerman (R-AR) on introducing the READ Act (Reading Early and Addressing Dyslexia Act). The bipartisan READ Act, modeled after a Pennsylvania program, creates a federal grant program for states to establish three-year early literacy and dyslexia pilots using evidence-based screening, evidence-based instruction, and intervention for students found to be at risk for early reading deficiencies and dyslexia. Read More »

LDA of America Conference 2020 Welcomes Your Feedback

LDA Remembers Martha Bernard

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Martha Bernard, 96, President of ACLD (now LDA) in 1973-74. Martha passed the morning of January 31, 2020 at home in New York City after a brief decline. Her family members were with her. Martha was a founding member of the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities (ACLD, now LDA) and remained active in LDA. She was the current Secretary for LDA of New York and chaired the national Support Services Committee until 2018. Up until a few years ago, she attended national conferences–the last was Baltimore in 2010–when she could… Read More »

Baby Foods with Arsenic and Lead & Safer Choices

New report finds 95 percent baby food tested contains toxic chemicals that harm kid’s brains * The chemicals found in baby food – arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury – are neurotoxins that can permanently harm the developing brain, lower IQ, and affect behavior. Here are some tips to protect your family: 1) SNACKS: Puffs and other snacks made with rice flour are high in arsenic. Choose rice-free packaged snacks. Better yet, try these healthy snacks with fewer chemicals: apples, applesauce (unsweetened), bananas, barley with diced vegetables, beans, cheese, grapes (cut lengthwise), hard-boiled eggs, peaches, and yogurt. 2) CEREAL: Infant rice… Read More »

LDA’s Core Principles

Over the last two years, LDA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Committee has spearheaded work on what will be a series of papers addressing our Core Principles for the Identification and Support of Individuals with Learning Disabilities. Recently, the Board approved the third core principle document, Best Practices in the Use of Cognitive Assessment in Learning Disability Identification. This paper was written with input from members of LDA’s Professional Advisory Board and experts in the field of learning disabilities. IDEA defines specific learning disabilities as disorders in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using… Read More »

President’s Message – January 2020

On behalf of the members of the Board of Directors, it is my pleasure to personally invite you all to the 57th Annual International Conference of the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA), Building Connections: Making Equity Accessible.  Join us in sunny Orlando, Florida, February 17-20, to soak in information from three excellent keynote sessions and over 150 general sessions focused on topics of interest for individuals with learning disabilities, their families, and professionals that work in the field of learning disabilities and related disorders.  Our exhibitors and networking sessions will round out the conference leaving you armed with information… Read More »

Candidates for 2020 LDA Officers and Board Members

The LDA Nominating Committee is pleased to introduce the candidates who will be placed in nomination at the Assembly of Delegates during the Annual Meeting, February 19, 2020, in Orlando, Florida. The Committee worked diligently to select candidates who bring a variety of skills and experience to their respective positions and to the Board of Directors of the Learning Disabilities Association of America. Officers: Monica McHale-Small, President Monica McHale-Small is currently an Adjunct, Associate Professor of School Psychology at Temple University and project manager for Pennsylvania’s Dyslexia Screening and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot. She previously served as Director of Program… Read More »

February Webinar: My learning disabilities made me a better scientist: Let’s help neuro-diverse students excel!

Presented by: Collin Diedrich, Ph.D. Our presenter, Dr. Collin Diedrich has multiple learning disabilities and will share how the help he received at all levels of his academic journey allowed him to become the scientist he is today. Dr. Diedrich will share his story about overcoming the negatives associated with learning disabilities. He will also discuss how his learning disabilities helped him become a better scientist! He will discuss the importance of teaching empathy, self-advocacy, how to build on failures, how to overcome imposter syndrome, and how to be allies (jet packs!) to students that think differently. As long as… Read More »

LDA Legislative News – January 2020

Fiscal Year 2021 Deliberations Begin With only a few exceptions over the past several years, Congress has extended the time needed to settle funding for the federal fiscal year.  One year’s deliberations seem to blend into conversations about the following year’s funding.  Extending the federal process can seriously impact school districts and other state and local agencies, as they try to set their own budgets for the coming year.  This process continued in Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020), with Congress finally deciding funding in December, three months after the start of the fiscal year.  Now discussions are already underway on… Read More »

January Webinar: Why Will No One Play With Me? Helping Children of All Ages Make Friends and Thrive.

Presented by: Caroline Maguire, M.Ed., ACCG, PCC “Why Will No One Play with Me?” – a question parents fear having to answer, yet one that has become more prevalent with each generation. Whether you are the parent of a child with learning differences, social integration issues, one that is a victim of bullying or even the parent of a child navigating the seemingly simple process of growing up, there has never been a greater need for a go-to resource that provides parents with the tools to help their children navigate the challenges of social interactions. In this webinar, Caroline introduces audiences… Read More »

Core Principles: Best Practices in the Use of Cognitive Assessment in Learning Disability Identification

Cognitive assessment of students typically involves administering one or more standardized, norm-referenced tests but also involves recognition of the importance of multiple data sources; that is, cognitive assessment provides only one source of data to inform classification decisions, such as Specific Learning Disability (SLD), Intellectual Disability, and Gifted and Talented. Information gathered from cognitive assessment includes current levels of functioning in multiple cognitive domains such as accumulated knowledge, reasoning, working memory, and many others. In addition, cognitive assessment data provide insight into how a student learns and why he or she is struggling academically (e.g., Compton, Fuchs, Fuchs, Lambert, &… Read More »

In Memorium: Sharon Bloechle

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Sharon Bloechle, a long-time advocate and leader in LDA of America. Sharon grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, moved to Nebraska, met and married her husband Bob, and together they became parents of three children.  As a parent of a child with learning disabilities, she reached out to the Learning Disabilities Association for information. She joined LDA of Nebraska and soon became LDA State President. In the late 1980s as President of LDA of Nebraska, she attended the national conference and joined with other state presidents who made up the State Affiliates branch of national LDA.  Read More…

Get to Know LDA’s New Executive Director, Cindy Cipoletti!

LDA did an extensive search for a new Executive Director and Cindy Cipoletti was chosen among a very experienced field of nonprofit professionals. Beth McGaw, President of LDA, sat down with Cindy to learn more about her and gain her insights on the future of LDA…..Read More…