LDA Today - September/October 2014

We are pleased to present articles focused on LD Awareness: a calendar of daily activities in which to participate during October, LD month; the need for early intervention and identification of developmental delays; safety tips for kids in parking lots and crossing streets; and the importance of well-planned transition starting at an early age. In the President’s Message as Nancie Payne examines the meaning of “learning disabilities month,” she encourages us to consider LDA’s Vision and Mission and set a personal goal to heighten awareness about learning disabilities .

Signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, to take effect on July 1, 2015, will open doors for people with disabilities.The new law creates a blueprint for job growth, and makes key improvements to the nation's workforce development system. Despite this positive action, there is much left undone on the Washington scene, covered in the article “Congress Leaves Town with Unfinished Business." Unfortunately, the bill to ban neurotoxin flame retardants remains in limbo and is discussed in “LDA Supports National Action on Neurotoxin Flame Retardants.”

On a more positive note, we are proud to announce that an LDA Past President, Charlie Giglio, 2006-2008, was named New York State 2015 Teacher of the Year. Congratulations to Charlie and to the Gloversville Enlarged School District on this honor. We end with a tribute to the late Audrey McMahon who founded LDA’s Research Committee originally known as the Scientific Studies Committee.

With the mid-term elections little more than a month away, take time to exercise your right and privilege to vote on the candidates and issues on your local ballot. Looking at the world scene and recent demonstrations of people of other nations seeking to live in a democracy, let’s try to shake off some of the lethargy, disappointment, or antipathy for the political process and be involved in making our voices heard.

Shirley Hilts-Adams

LDA President’s Message

October is Learning Disabilities Month.  As I was thinking about this edition’s message, I pondered what a “learning disabilities month” really means.  How does it affect or not affect those with learning disabilities across the lifespan?  When you think about it, there are days, weeks and months dedicated to many causes, all of which are important to many people and communities.  What makes October – Learning Disabilities Month – stand out? Again, I have to return to the vision and mission of the Learning Disabilities Association of America.  The Vision of LDA is a simple, yet powerful statement involving three… Read More »

Parking Lot and Street Crossing Safety Tips for Parents and Caregivers of Children with Special Needs

As the new school year progresses, parents and caregivers have fallen into routines for the pick-up and drop-off of their children, before and after school. Parking lots are full, and cars are parked in bus zones; therefore, we need to be extra diligent ensuring the safety of children with special needs. When a child has special needs, there are many reasons to be extra cautious as your child might: Lack compliance or attending skills Lack a fear factor, or awareness of danger Exhibit increased distractibility and impulsivity Have difficulty or inability to filter out visual and auditory stimuli Lack the… Read More »

Thinking about Transition: Keeping It Simple While Dreaming HUGE!

Transition is a hot topic in special education and the learning disabilities community. It drives IEP writing and becomes a topic of fear for many parents whose children struggle with school and learning. Questions arise: “Is my child going to be able to go to college?”  “Will my little girl be able to find employment, and what kind?”  “Will my boy be able to live independently in the community?”  Believing that all students, with the right instruction, guidance, and nurturing can be empowered to work toward their highest potential, the staff and faculty you work with at your child’s school… Read More »

Recognize the Individual during LD Month

Learning Disabilities Awareness Month is here again for LDA. We can work within our individual communities to focus attention on learning disabilities and individuals with learning disabilities. During this month, I would like to encourage each member of the LDA community to reach out to at least one individual and teach them something that they may not have known about learning disabilities. You could e-mail someone an article from the LDA website, such as The Ins and Outs of Learning Disabilities. You could share one of our newsletters with the individual or invite them to listen to one of LDA’s… Read More »

A Tribute to Audrey McMahon, 1920-2014

Audrey McMahon’s son, Ned, shared with us the news of his mother’s passing: Dear friends and colleagues of Audrey McMahon: Please forgive this impersonal e-mail but I would like to share with you the news, on behalf of our family, that our mother Audrey Raymond McMahon died peacefully this morning (8/19/14) at age 93.  Her remarkable life ended the way she lived it, with grace and dignity.  Even in her final days she continued to impress those around her with her good cheer and caring. I am sure that you join us in celebrating her life and legacy. She touched so many… Read More »

Early Childhood Intervention Makes a Difference

Parents are their child’s first teachers. Understanding what their child must have to grow, learn and thrive can be a tremendous learning process for every parent.  Much is known about how a young child learns and how their brains develop.  We also know that emotional, behavioral, motor and language development all occur differently in each child. Parents need reassurance as issues in development appear.  It is important for parents to find the support needed from their own self education, from family relationships and from their communities. Children develop at their own pace and our first job as parents is to… Read More »

Signing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 Will open Doors for People with Disabilities

The signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 creates a blueprint for job growth and makes key improvements to the nation’s workforce development system. For the unemployed, the new law offers hope; for the young, it offers encouragement; and for people with disabilities, it brings opportunity. This law helps workers attain the foundation skills necessary for 21st century jobs and fosters a modern workforce that can compete in a global economy. It emphasizes the creation of career pathway programs, improved training, and streamlined service delivery to individuals – especially for underserved youth and adults.  Click here to… Read More »

Congress Leaves Town with Unfinished Business

Once again Congress has kicked the tough decisions down the road.  Since early spring, Senate Appropriations Chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) have worked to steer Congress back to the normal schedule for determining spending for the new fiscal year (FY 2015), which begins on October 1, 2014.  Despite those efforts, Congress left town on September 19 without completing the appropriations process. Heading into the fall election, Congress wanted to avoid at all costs a repeat of last year’s government shutdown.  Therefore, before concluding its pre-election work session, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR), a… Read More »

LDA Supports National Action on Neurotoxic Flame Retardants

Most people don’t realize that when they stretch out to take a nap on the couch, they’re resting on cushions filled with neurotoxic and carcinogenic chemicals. These chemicals migrate into household dust, and are found in our homes, bodies, breast milk, food and waterways. The chemicals are flame retardants, meant to reduce fire risk. A study by Duke University showed that 85% of couches in American homes contain toxic or untested flame retardants.  The chemicals are also abundantly used in electronics – televisions, computers, phones, laptops, etc., and in crib pads, carpet pads and building materials. Three separate studies of… Read More »

Across the States: October is Here

  Throughout the nation, the quiet soldiers who labor behind the scenes in our state affiliates and locals are volunteering to become a new marching band touting the good of the Learning Disability Association. Recognizing our vital need for members, each affiliate is asked to pledge to seek a 10% increase in membership throughout this year.  We are learning to use the 2014 IDEA Publication: “Leading by Convening:  A Blueprint for Authentic Engagement.”    Focus began with distribution of “Reasons to Become an LDA Member.”  Asking people to join is often the most forgotten approach, as simple as it may seem. … Read More »

Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award

Each year the LDA of America selects an outstanding educator to receive the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award. This is an opportunity to give educators a well-deserved “thank you” and lets them know that they are greatly valued for their contributions to individuals with learning disabilities. The award is designed so that exceptional educators can be honored at the local, state and national levels. We hope that every local and state affiliate will participate! The Procedures for Nominations were sent out from the National Office to state and local affiliates. Local LDA affiliates or members-at-large may submit a… Read More »

Charlie Giglio Named 2015 New York State Teacher of the Year

Charlie Giglio, LDA of America President, 2006 – 2008, was recently selected as the 2015 New York State Teacher of the Year. He is the Latin teacher for grades eight through 12 in the Gloversville Enlarged School District. Charlie, whom his students refer to as “Mr. G,” came out of retirement to join the Gloversville district in January 2006. Charlie has permanent New York state certifications in elementary education, secondary English and Latin. He’s certified as a school building administrator and school district administrator. In addition to his work with the Learning Disabilities Association of America, he’s a member of… Read More »