LDA of America Launches New Web Site

It’s here… the new LDA website!Same great content with an updated look! We hope you will find the new LDA website easy to navigate while searching for information important to helping your child or yourself. But wait! There are some NEW options available on our site. Ask The Expert: Take advantage of LDA’s association with many well-respected professionals who will answer your questions. Just submit your question and we will try to match it to a professional that can best answer it. » Ask the Expert a question! State Affiliate Pages: LDA has over 100 state and local affiliates that… Read More »

Where Can I Find an Affordable Option for Diagnostic Testing?

Question: I am trying to find any resources to help my daughter. She is in first grade at a private school. Her teacher has expressed concern over my daughter’s grades, especially in reading and writing. I am trying to find the best route to get her tested. Everything I have seen is extremely out of price range. I am not sure if I am missing any resources that we can benefit from. Where can I go to get affordable testing? Answer: Teachers in the early grades are often the best predictors of which students are truly struggling and may need… Read More »

The Ins and Outs of Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities (LD) is a broader term in the United States to describe various types of neurologically-based processing problems. These processing disorders can interfere with learning basic life functioning skills such as reading, writing, or mathematics. They can also interfere with higher level skills such as organization, time management and abstract reasoning. The types of LD are identified by the specific processing disorder and can be categorized within one or more of the following four areas. They might relate to getting information into the brain (Input), making sense of this information (Integration), storing and later retrieving this information (Memory), or… Read More »

How Much Time Should Be Spent on Homework?

Time spent on homework should be appropriate to the child’s grade level. At the elementary level homework should be brief, at your child’s ability level and involve frequent, voluntary and high interest activities. Young students require high levels of feedback and/or supervision to help them complete assignments correctly. Accurate homework completion is influenced by your child’s ability, the difficulty of the task, and the amount of feedback your child receives. When assigning homework, your child’s teachers may struggle to create a balance at this age between ability, task difficulty and feedback. Unfortunately, there are no simple guiding principles. We can… Read More »

The Importance of Avoiding Excessive Corrections

Excessive correction reduces everyone’s motivation and increases feelings of low self-worth. Be sensitive when providing feedback. Learning occurs in safe environments where children do not need to defend their actions, strategies or opinions. Some correction is necessary for children to learn what does not work or is inefficient. Most times, however, children will arrive at their own understanding. This process can be accelerated by asking your child if he or she can think of another way to complete the task. You can then guide your child specifically by asking him or her to think of a faster, more careful way,… Read More »

The Importance of Remaining Task Oriented

It is important for you to accept the feelings of frustration your children may occasionally have with homework. It is also important that you then redirect your child back to the current task, explaining what needs to be done and how to best to do it. Feeling frustrated, at times, is a normal occurrence of life. Nonetheless, if it occurs too frequently, there is a problem to be addressed. In response, if you become irritable or angry, your behavior will only heighten your anxiety as well as your child’s frustration. Perhaps a good initial question to ask your child is… Read More »

Helping Your Child Complete Boring Assignments

It would be wonderful in life if every activity were interesting. But you and your child know that is not the case. Sometimes we have to work on boring tasks, because they are necessary for everyday life. These not only include general household chores but for many children, some homework assignments, as well. There are two basic things you can do to help your child make a dull or boring homework task more enjoyable. Increase rewards your child will obtain after finishing a dull task. For example, what activities can your child look forward to? What snacks, games, or phone… Read More »

Helping Your Child Manage Difficult or Long-Term Assignments

Children struggling to manage difficult or long-term assignments will need to develop self-management skills. Some children are overwhelmed by multi-step projects or confusing assignments. Their first reaction is to ask for help or put the assignment off for another time. A number of strategies can help your child handle these types of assignments: Underlining. Use magic markers to highlight important parts of directions. Read all of the headings, table of contents, chapter questions and bolded words in reading assignments. Highlight or write them down if that helps. Highlight directions on any worksheet. If it is a math sheet, highlight symbols… Read More »

Helping Your Child Gain Independence with Homework

Eventually it will be important to transfer adult assistance to methods that will improve self-help for your child with homework. Remember that an important goal of homework is to develop independence and responsibility. Thus, the most important lesson to be learned from homework is how to complete it successfully the next time. Fostering independence is accomplished by moving your child from dependence on you to dependence on homework buddies and material resources (e.g., references, lists, reminders). Remember that focusing on what is right about your child is the best way to help him or her strengthen and develop homework completion… Read More »

Help with Homework

The amount of assistance your child requires with homework will be determined by his/her age and level of ability. Elementary school students, as well as those with learning problems will require more of your time, assistance, and support than secondary students. Your assistance also depends on whether the homework assignments represent practicing a skill already mastered by your child or developing and mastering a new skill. The later will take more time and involvement on your part. Most parents feel quite capable of providing assistance when the goal of homework is to practice previously learned information. For example, using flash… Read More »

Graphic Organizers

What is a graphic organizer? Graphic organizers are visual thinking tools that make pictures of your thoughts. The pictures demonstrate relationships between facts, concepts, or ideas, and guide your thinking as you design the map or diagram. People who have learning disabilities are often visual learners and thinkers. That means they understand and remember information better when ideas, words, and concepts are associated with pictures, diagrams, charts, and maps. Why use graphic organizers? Graphic organizers can help to visualize and construct ideas, organize and/or sequence information, plan what to write, increase reading comprehension, brainstorm, organize problems and solutions, compare and… Read More »

Self-Advocacy in the Workplace: Requesting Job Accommodations

Self-advocacy is knowing what you want, what you do well, and what you have difficulty doing. It includes knowing your legal rights, your needs, and telling that information to the appropriate person. Effective self-advocacy empowers people and gives them access to reasonable accommodations and strategies. Following are some tips for becoming an effective self-advocate in the workplace beginning with Setting the Stage: Be productive! Bosses and co-workers are more likely to agree to accommodation requests from people who are considered productive workers. Do your personal best at all times. Market your work to your bosses and co-workers. Each organization has… Read More »

Learning Disabilities in the Workplace

Learning disabilities may make it difficult for an individual to learn, work, or behave in the manner that ordinarily would be expected. A learning disability is an impairment of neurological origin that impacts on specific areas of learning. The following are major types of learning disabilities: A sequencing disorder is a difficulty with the order of a series of things. It may lead to problems with prioritizing, organizing, doing mathematics and following instructions. Language disorders are difficulties with receptive language (understanding and remembering) or with expressive language (oral or in writing). Visual perceptual and visual motor disorders are difficulties with… Read More »

Five Misconceptions About Job Advancement

The basics of job advancement are similar for all people, but people with learning disabilities must particularly ensure that they assess their strengths, develop credibility, and take advantage of available leadership opportunities. Five misconceptions about job advancement can impede the process of getting promotions and advancing in careers for many people with learning disabilities. Misconception #1: I don’t deserve a raise or to be promoted. People with learning disabilities must overcome many challenges, including discrimination in the hiring process, requesting and receiving job accommodations, and negative thoughts and feelings that can lead to avoiding anything to change their situation, even… Read More »

Workforce Centers: One-Stop Services

What are Workforce Centers? Workforce Centers provide basic employment, training, literacy and rehabilitation services. They are found in every state. In addition to basic services, they also provide access to other intensive and training services. If you are an adult with a learning disability who needs help finding a job, your local workforce center may be able to help you. What are the basic services? Outreach, intake, and orientation to services; Initial testing of skill levels, aptitudes, abilities, and support services; Job search and placement assistance with career counseling (if needed); General employment information and local/statewide labor market data; Program… Read More »

News-in-Brief – July 2013

PARCC Approves Accommodations Manual The Governing Board of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of two consortia developing assessments based on the Common Core State Standards, has given final approval to the first edition of its accessibility and accommodations manual. LDA provided comments on earlier drafts, and some favorable changes have been made. However, LDA and other disability organizations remain concerned about specific accommodations, including read-aloud features. The manual indicates the read-aloud accommodation is “intended for a very small number of students and will result in a valid score only for those students for… Read More »

News-in-Brief – February 2011

President Calls for Education Investments in State of the Union In the 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama called for a “Sputnik” moment in education reform and innovation. The president reiterated his strong commitment to a federal investment in education, despite a critical need to cut spending and reduce the deficit. Meanwhile, as the FY 2012 budget process gets underway, deep cuts in domestic spending seem inevitable (See related article). So what impact with this have on federal education policy, and particularly the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, currently known as No Child Left… Read More »

News-in-Brief – January 2011

ESEA Reauthorization Discussions Move Forward Despite the shift in majority in the House, staff members believe the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, currently known as No Child Left Behind) could move forward. Rep. Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, has stated the reauthorization may come as a series of smaller pieces rather than as comprehensive legislation. House Democrats believe continued bipartisan support for changes to the law could result in legislative action, but haven’t made a definitive statement about the form they prefer. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) may have… Read More »

News-in-Brief – Nov-Dec 2010

LDA Celebrates 35th Anniversary of IDEA On November 18 LDA will join members of Congress and the U.S. Department of Education and other advocates and families in celebrating the 35th anniversary of the signing of Public Law 94-142. Now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), P.L. 94-142 was the first federal statute that guaranteed children and youth with disabilities the right to a free appropriate public education. Signed by President Gerald Ford, the IDEA now affords almost 6.6 million students with disabilities special education services and early intervention services to nearly 350,000 infants and toddlers with disabilities… Read More »

News-in-Brief – October 2010

Poll Reveals Public Attitudes on SLD The fourth Roper Poll on public attitudes about children with learning disabilities has just been released. The poll, commissioned by the Tremaine Foundation, reveals conflicting perceptions – more public understanding about learning disabilities, but also the need for continued public education. For example, while the majority of individuals surveyed support government funding for early identification of learning disabilities, half also responded that learning disabilities are the result of laziness. On a positive note, public responses show increased awareness that individuals with learning disabilities “are just as smart as you and me.” The first Roper… Read More »

News-in-Brief – September 2010

Data Indicate Drop in Students with SLD The 2009 Digest of Education Statistics, issued by the U.S. Department of Education, reports a drop in the 2007-08 school year from 2.9 million to 2.6 million students identified as having specific learning disabilities. While the data indicate an overall decrease in students identified as having disabilities generally under the IDEA, the change in the SLD category is by far the greatest. The important question is what has caused the drop in numbers. The debate has begun over whether these data are linked to changes in education policy, such as Response to Intervention… Read More »

News-in-Brief – August 2010

Department of Education Awards “i3” Grants On August 4, the U.S. Department of Education announced the highest rated applicants for grants under the Investing in Innovation Fund (“i3”). Under i3, grants are awarded to applicants with a demonstrated record of improving student achievement to support expansion of and investment in innovative practices that close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, increase graduation rates, or increase college enrollment and completion rates. Among a pool of 1,698 applicants, 49 were selected as the “highest rated,” including several education foundations and non-profits, universities, and local school districts. In order to become an official grantee,… Read More »

News-in-Brief – July 2010

The “Forgotten Middle” Gets Hill Attention LDA is working on the Success in the Middle Act (H.R. 3006/S. 1362) in coalition with other education groups to focus attention on the importance of supports for students in the middle grades. Recently the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform sponsored a briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight the problems in middle schools and how two middle schools have turned around expectations and achieved success. Co-sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Middle Schools Association, the College Board, and ACT, the forum gave some startling statistics on the… Read More »

News-in-Brief – June 2010

Common Core State Standards Released On June 2, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released the final version of the Common Core State Standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. Forty-eight states, two territories, and the District of Columbia participated in developing these standards, as well as the earlier Career- and College-Ready Standards which correlate with the K-12 content standards just released. In the next months, states will decide through their own processes if they wish to adopt these standards as their “state standards.” The… Read More »

News-in-Brief – May 2010

Senate Holds ESEA Hearing on Special Populations The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) recently held a hearing on special populations in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization. Witnesses provided testimony on homeless and migrant children, children with limited English proficiency, and children with disabilities. Lucinda Hundley, Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, Littleton (CO) Public Schools, gave strong testimony recommending changes to the ESEA that are necessary for students with disabilities to be successful. Her recommendations tracked closely with LDA’s suggested changes to the law. Ms. Hundley recommended first that Congress maintain full accountability… Read More »