Beyond the Classroom

Group of children playing with hula-hoops outdoors in summerThe impact of learning disabilities does not end in the classroom but can extend to activities outside the schoolyard. This area will provide articles of interest related to activities beyond the classroom: tutoring, summer activities, special education expenses, social skills and more.

Learning and Developmental Disabilities Groups Call on Lowe’s to Ban Toxic Chemicals Harmful to Children’s Brain Development

MEDIA CONTACT: Maureen Swanson, Healthy Children Project Director, Learning Disabilities Association of America, 724.813.9684 Pressure Mounting on Lowe’s to Eliminate Toxic Paint Strippers Linked to Dozens of Consumer and Worker Deaths Pittsburgh, PA (April 12, 2018) – Four of the nation’s largest national learning and developmental disabilities organizations, along with more than 20 of their state chapters, have asked home improvement retailer Lowe’s to end the sale of paint-stripping products containing two dangerous and neurotoxic chemicals within the next six months. The Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA), The Arc of the United States, Autism Society of America and the American… Read More »

DIY Shouldn’t Be Deadly!

This week, LDA and 16 LDA state affiliates, along with partner organizations, sent a letter urging Lowe’s to take swift action to protect people from methylene chloride and N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP), toxic chemicals commonly found in paint strippers sold in Lowe’s stores throughout the country. Children whose mothers are exposed to methylene chloride or NMP during pregnancy are at higher risk for problems with brain development, learning and behavior. Studies link men’s exposure to the toxic solvents to impaired sperm quality and higher risk of babies with low birth weight, which in turn can contribute to learning and developmental disabilities. Methylene chloride… Read More »

No Lead for Kids in Schools or Child Care Facilities

MEDIA CONTACTS: Maureen Swanson, Learning Disabilities Association of America, 724.813.9684 Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Children’s Environmental Health Network 202-543-4033 x11 Claire Barnett, Healthy Schools Network, 202.543.7555 National report cites untapped opportunity to reduce toxic risks to children Pittsburgh, PA (April 4, 2018) – National experts in education, child care and children’s health today issued a joint call to get the lead out of schools and child care facilities. More than 66 million children in the U.S. are enrolled in schools and child care programs, where they may be exposed to lead in old paint, water pipes and fixtures, soil, air, and products… Read More »

National experts in education, child care and children’s health issue joint call to get lead out of schools and child care facilities, which enroll more than 66 million children in the U.S.

The report, “Eliminating Lead Risks in Schools and Child Care Facilities,” outlines strategies to ensure lead-free learning environments and prevent risks to significant numbers of children across the country. The report is the result of a workshop convened by the Learning Disabilities Association of America, Children’s Environmental Health Network and Healthy Schools Network. “Lead has no place in learning environments. Even low levels of lead are linked to learning disabilities, attention problems and IQ deficits,” said Maureen Swanson, Healthy Children Project Director, Learning Disabilities Association of America. “Getting lead out of schools and child care facilities is doable and will… Read More »

Major New Warning: Toxic Flame Retardants

The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns consumers, especially pregnant women and children, to avoid furniture, kids’ products, electronics, and mattresses that contain certain toxic flame retardants. It’s welcome advice and follows the agency’s recommendation that these chemicals be banned in consumer products. The commission also voted to move forward with rule-making to ban the chemicals in these product categories. While this is great news, are you left wondering what to do now? Click here for some great tips to help you reduce your exposure until these chemicals are officially banned from consumer products.   

Homework: Don’t Let Today’s Kindness Be Tomorrow’s Cruelty

Homework. In many families, this word brings up instant angst – LD or no LD. Students who struggle to complete homework often voice negative thoughts and demonstrate negative behaviors about it in such a way that the whole family can develop anxiety over the concept. As parents, we try supportive measures such as creating a quiet organized desk space. We play classical music. We make other family members go to a different area of the house during homework time. We try to encourage/force completion through a rewards or consequences system. We might even sit and do the work with (hopefully… Read More »

Call to Action: Preserve Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act!

Contact your Congressional Representatives, State Legislators, and Governors NOW! Members and Friends of LDA, The House of Representatives is expected to introduce a bill to cut Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on February 27 and immediately to begin work on the bill in the House committee. The result would be two major blows to individuals with disabilities. Reach out to your federal and state legislators and the Governor’s office in your state and tell them that repealing the ACA and replacing it with a plan that CUTS Medicaid is unacceptable. People’s health, services, and lives are at stake! … Read More »

Parent Scholarships Available for 2017 Annual Conference in Baltimore

Parent Scholarships LDA is pleased to announce a limited number of scholarships available, to be awarded to parents/guardians of children in grades K-12, for our 54th Annual International Conference. PROCEDURES FOR NOMINATIONS Complete application and submit it online, via mail or email, with accompanying paperwork no later than Wednesday, November 23, 2016. Print Application can be found here. Online Application can be found here. Brief essay (no more than 250 words) indicating why you want to attend this conference, must accompany application. Winners will be notified no later than Monday, December 5, 2016. The scholarship includes the cost of the registration fee. The… Read More »

Scholarships Available for 2017 Annual Conference in Baltimore

Teacher Scholarships LDA is pleased to announce a limited number of scholarships available, to be awarded to active teachers in grades K-12, for our 54th Annual International Conference. Through the generous support of The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, 20 scholarships will be awarded this year. PROCEDURES FOR NOMINATIONS Complete an application (either print or online) and submit it via mail (LDA, 4156 Library Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15234) or email, with accompanying paperwork no later than Friday, November 25, 2016. Letter of recommendation from immediate supervisor (Principal, Assistant Principal, Head of School, Assistant Head of School) must accompany application. Winners will… Read More »

Smart Ways to spend the Summer

With summer in the air, many parents worry about how to keep their children’s brains occupied with something other than TV and video games.  It’s a very valid concern, as kids lose an average of two months of math computation skills and 25% of their reading skills over the summer.  Is it any wonder that teachers typically spend between four and six weeks re-teaching material when kids return to school in the fall? The brain experts, Beth Ardell and Susie McDaniel, co-owners of LearningRx in Atlanta have put together a list of ideas to help you keep your kids’ brains… Read More »

Lazy Days of Summer? No Way!

Designing a summer program by keeping a balance of fun and structure can be difficult for busy families. Preparation may be the key to enjoying the summer. As you plan for the summer, consider the needs of your child and family. Define your budget and family vacation/activity schedule. Whatever plans you make for your child should fit comfortably within those parameters. Respect your child’s social and emotional needs. He may want a break from school work over the summer. Keep in mind that he is probably working hard in school at the time you must decide on summer plans. He may feel less… Read More »

Learning Disabilities and Social Security Disability Benefits

When living with a learning disability, you’re empowered to thrive in all aspects in life despite the challenges that can be faced daily. However, in some situations, adults who suffer from severe learning disabilities can find it difficult to maintain gainful employment to support their families. Also, if you have a child who lives with a severe learning disability, it can be hard finding and affording opportunities for them to success both in and out of the classroom. In either situation, the financial effects can, sometimes, be overwhelming to an individual or a family. The good news is that Social… Read More »

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month!

Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) is working hard this month to shine the spotlight on learning disabilities. It is important during Learning Disabilities (LD) Month to focus less on the disabilities aspect and focus more on the incredible abilities so many of these individuals possess as well as emphasize the phenomenal achievements and important strides so many of these individuals have made. Membership in LDA is a way in which to support and nurture individuals with learning disabilities throughout not only the United States but the world. LDA does make a difference in the lives of those it touches.… Read More »

To These Teachers, We Say THANKS!

In the spring of 2014, LDA began an “Honor Your Teacher” appeal.  We asked our friends to give thanks to all of the great teachers that have touch their children’s live or even their own and made a lasting impact.   Here are their special messages:   Kristin Malock, Washington Elementary School, Pennsylvania “Mrs. Malock made my daughter want to go to school every day! She was truly an inspiration in my child’s education!” — Mary-Clare Claire Richardson, Western Branch Middle School, Virginia “Claire has five of her own children and teaches SPED (children with LD). Her daughter Kaitlya just graduated… Read More »

Tips for Parents of Children with LD/ADHD

Parents are always looking for hints that will make learning easier for their LD/ADHD child. This article suggests some helpful tips that LDA parents have learned from one another over the years. It includes tips for organizational problems, auditory problems, visual and motor problems, language-expressive problems and language-receptive problems as well as tips for parenting in general. Providing structure in your family can be a good first step. Also, your local LDA parent group can often offer more tips and, most importantly, offer parental support that you need. Contact your state or local affiliate for more information and possible referrals in… Read More »

Professionals Who Can Help

There are many trained professionals available to help individuals with learning disabilities. Researching what each specialist can do to improve the issues that you or your child may be dealing with is important. Choosing the right one that best fits the needs of the individual can save time and money. Also, know that you may not have to see every specialist at once.  Trying to work on one or two issues at a time depending on the severity of the issue can help prevent burnout and still help address each issue over time. Listed are a few of the professionals and… Read More »

Summer Reading Tips for Parents

Summer shouldn’t mean taking a break from learning, especially reading. Studies show that most students experience a loss of reading skills over the summer months, but children who continue to read actually gain skills. Efforts should be made during the summer to help children sustain reading skills, practice reading and read for enjoyment. Children who continue to read actually gain skills. Reading builds visualization, thinking and language abilities. Taking the time to read with your child can help you evaluate your child’s reading skills. If you discover that your child is having trouble with reading, he or she may have… Read More »

Tips on Choosing a Tutor for Your Child

Most parents dream of their children doing well in school, going on to college and having a successful career. But what are parents to do when they find out that their child is falling behind? The answer for many is to provide a tutor. Hundreds of thousands of children having difficulty with a subject in school are currently being tutored in the United States for a variety of reasons: Many students didn’t master basic skills which need to be re-taught to them; Some have a learning disability which poses challenges to the mastery of information and slows down progress in… Read More »

Get Your Child Ready for Work

You can help your child become a satisfied and valuable employee by teaching him to develop the values and skills of a good worker, avoid the common pitfalls of youth with learning disabilities, and learn job-related skills at home. Someday your child will have to find a job if he is to become self-supporting. Hopefully, this work will challenge him and contribute to the economy. It’s hard for parents to focus on their child’s future work when simply to get him an education is such a struggle. Yet, school years usually make up less than a third of his life.… Read More »

What are Special Needs Trusts?

What is a “Special Needs” Trust? “Special needs” is just a term to describe any trust intended to provide benefits without causing the beneficiary to lose public benefits he or she is entitled to receive. What kinds of public benefits do Special Needs Trust beneficiaries receive? Each Special Needs Trust can be intended to protect different public benefits. Most commonly, Special Needs Trusts are intended to permit Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid recipients to receive some additional services or goods. Does the existence of a Special Needs Trust qualify the beneficiary for public benefits? No. The existence of a… Read More »

Special Education Expenses – Tax Deductible or Not?

An IRS private letter ruling dealt with payments to a private school on behalf of two children diagnosed with learning disabilities. The children were attending the private school in order to participate in a special education program designed to help the children deal with their conditions and then progress to a regular school program. The question addressed was whether or not the payments would qualify as tax deductible medical expenses. In the ruling, the IRS clarified that what matters is not the nature of the school but the special education provided to the student. The letter states: “Deductibility of tuition… Read More »

Power of Attorney – Do You Need One?

Adults with learning disabilities or psychiatric disabilities most often are legally competent to handle their own affairs. However, a person with a disability may wish to have some assistance from a parent, sibling, spouse, or friend in handling certain matters. For example, an individual with severe mathematics disorder may wish the help of another person in handling financial affairs. Similarly, an individual with a psychiatric disorder may wish assistance in handling medical treatment decisions, especially if there may be subsequent time periods during which the individual may be deemed not competent to make medical decisions. Sometimes, arrangements for this help… Read More »

Parenting Children with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and Related Disorders

Children with learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and related disorders puzzle parents because of their many abilities and disabilities. It can also be difficult to understand how much of their behavior is the nature of the condition and how much is oppositional. It is all too easy for parents to sense a child’s feelings of inadequacy and then feel bad as a parent. Parenting approaches that include clear, concise instructions; structure without rigidity; nurturing a child’s gifts and interests; and constant approval of positive behavior help parents feel better and help children feel safe. It takes time for both… Read More »

Social Skills and Learning Disabilities

The consequences of learning disabilities are rarely confined to school or work. Many areas of life are affected, including the role of the person with learning disabilities in their family, relationships with friends, non-academic functioning such as sports or dancing, self-esteem and self-confidence to handle daily situations. Individuals who have learning disabilities may be less observant in their social environment, may misinterpret the social behavior of others at times, and may not learn as easily from experiences or social “cues” as their friends. Some children may exhibit an immaturity and social ineptness due to their learning disability. While seeking acceptance,… Read More »

Early Writing: Why Squiggles Are Important

Much earlier than the time when we actually think of children as writers or readers, we must begin to provide opportunities that encourage writing. There are a number of ways to do this. Having conversations with children; answering those why questions; talking about what you see as you drive to various places; sharing stories and storybooks are just a few of the ways that our young children can be engaged in conversations. Even though we are talking about early writing, early literacy is really a more correct statement, as the experiences that relate to early reading go hand in hand… Read More »