LDA Today - July/August 2015

President Nancie Payne reviews a bit of our history and urges members to renew their passion for service to ensure that those with learning disabilities will have the best opportunities for success. Public Policy Director Myrna Mandlawitz shares information on the authorization and appropriations processes currently underway in Congress and their relation to special education.

Also in this issue are:

  • Calls for nominations for LDA Officers and Board of Directors as well as nominees for the annual Harrison Sylvester Award;
  • Helpful tips for parents and children starting a new school year;
  • An introduction to the National Council on Disability (NCD) report on the School-to-Prison Pipeline which takes a close look at the policies and practices that push many of the nation's schoolchildren into juvenile and criminal justice systems;
  • An examination of laziness, motivation, and neurological impairment as causes of a learning disability;
  • The State Presidents’ Representative message and activities of state affiliates in Across the States;
  • Information on two important upcoming anniversaries: The 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote and the 40th anniversary of Public Law 94-142, the Education for all Handicapped Children Act which improved access to education for children with disabilities; and, lastly,
  • A reminder of where to find information on being prepared for natural disasters such as fires, floods, and tornados.
  • Our next issue, September/October, will feature activities for LD Awareness and LD Month; calls for nominees for the Harry Sylvester Award and for the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award. Also welcome will be articles on rarely discussed issues of having a learning disability; success stories of coping with a learning disability; tips for adjusting to a new school year and what to be concerned about after the first marking period in the school year.

    Shirley Hilts-Adams
    Editor, LDA Today

President’s Message

Over the past few years, the Learning Disabilities Association of America has questioned and analyzed its role in the learning disabilities arena.  To say the least, we are surrounded by many national and state organizations that are engaged in various levels of direct and indirect services.  However, there is one thing that clearly separates LDA from other organizations; that is its grassroots, shoes on the ground approach.  Over our past 52 years of existence LDA has devoted enormous time, talent and tools to ALL who have learning disabilities as well as those who support them.  We frequently refer to the phrase… Read More »

Appropriations 101: Translating the Federal Funding Process

The annual appropriations process is just getting underway in Congress.  “Appropriations” is a fancy word for funding.  The federal legislative process involves two major steps:  authorization and appropriation. In fact, it’s pretty much the same at the local and State levels, as well.  You have to be familiar with both steps to really understand how government funding works. Authorization and Appropriation The first step – authorization – involves Congress passing a law that establishes a program.  For example, in 1975, Congress passed the Education for All Handicapped Act (EHA), the forerunner of what we know today as the Individuals with… Read More »

Deadline is Looming –August 31 – to Nominate 2016-17 Officers and Board of Directors

  LDA’s nominating committee is ready to receive your nominations for the 2016-17 officers and board of directors. Positions to be filled at the Assembly of Delegates in Orlando on February 16, 2016,  include: President (two year term), First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer (all one year terms), and four positions as members of the Board of Directors (all three year terms). All of us have an important role in nominating and electing LDA’s Board of Directors, which is the governing body of LDA that enacts policies, adopts plans, monitors programs and services, and sets priorities of the… Read More »

NCD Report Issued on School-to-Prison Pipeline

by Steve Noble, Public Policy Committee On June 18, the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency, released a report which takes a close look at the policies and practices that push many of the nation’s schoolchildren out of the classroom and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Many of these children are in fact students with disabilities, and many are also children of color. The report, entitled Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students with Disabilities, considers whether existing federal laws offer ways to disrupt this pattern. The full report can be obtained on the web at… Read More »

Across the States

The summer months are in full swing, and even though travel may occur, we all know that teaching and being part of a worthy cause is a full-time gig—with no time off! Our state LDA affiliates are showing the truth to this statement—staying busy, busy, busy! Planning is underway for a number of state conferences. Illinois has been planning for a seven week Saturday workshop series. Each week will tackle a new topic. These topics include: bullying, behavioral interventions, how to prepare for performance evaluations with data collection, literacy interventions, special education services for English language learners, planning for transitions,… Read More »

Getting Ready for a New School Year

Where has the summer gone?  Memorial Day was great, planning for the whole summer, but before activities really got underway, July 4th appeared!  Now, school supplies are the featured items wherever we shop. The coming school year is right around the corner with many children happy to return to routine, as are their parents.  But for kids with learning disabilities or ADHD, it could mean that dreaded classroom where progress is hard to achieve for many students. It doesn’t have to be like that. There are ways to return to cheerfulness and contentment for both children and parents. Many teachers… Read More »

Laziness and Lack of Motivation is not the problem for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Neurological Impairment Is!, Part I

by John O. Melby   An Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting was held for a student named Eddy, who has an Orthopedic Impairment (OI), due to his Cerebral Palsy.  The school had scored low on the President Physical Fitness Minimum Standards. Eddy didn’t walk anywhere near how fast his classmates walked and lowered the overall score.  I suggested at the meeting that he attend tutoring to increase his walking speed by working with the coach after school until he can meet the minimum standards. Eddy had tears in his eyes, and the parent then blurted out “Can’t you see? He… Read More »

Are You Ready for a Natural Disaster?

As forest fires rage in several states, flooding and tornados are occurring in others. Some of our family members with learning disabilities certainly have been amongst the displaced homeowners or renters. Have they been prepared with a Go-Kit or a Survival Kit to see them through the next few to several days? When a disaster strikes, seldom is there time to assemble all things that go in such a kit. Visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/plan to help your family assemble a kit and develop a plan for survival in a natural disaster.                     Return to LDA Today, Vol.2 No.4- Home… Read More »

Important Anniversaries of Note

Two important anniversaries will be occurring this year, the 95th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution and the Education for all Handicapped Children Act, signed into law (Public Law 94-142) by President Gerald Ford. Both are events that call for celebration. In the past, LDA affiliates have recognized the PL 94-142 individually or by joining with other disability-specific organizations, or by attending functions sponsored by their State Departments of Education or Public Instruction. Now is the time to do some planning. The 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution… Read More »

Now Accepting Nominations for the Harry Sylvester Award

This award honors and recognizes an adult with learning disabilities who has shown a strong dedication and commitment to advancing the issues of adults with learning disabilities. It is the wish of LDA to thank, in Harry Sylvester’s name, an adult with learning disabilities for his/her commitment to those living with learning disabilities. The Harrison Sylvester Award was created in 2010 to honor Harry Sylvester, a gentle but strong voice in the field of learning disabilities. Harry discovered in his mid 50’s, after struggling for most of life, that he was an adult with learning disabilities. With the knowledge of his… Read More »