[New Orleans, Louisiana] At the Learning Disabilities Association of America’s (LDA) 59th Annual Conference, the organization presented awards to Robert Broudo, Head of Landmark School, Rachel Berger, learning disabilities AT specialist of Microsoft, Cindy Silvert of the Woodward Academy Transition Learning Support Program and Dr. Scott Decker from the University of South Carolina. 

The awards presentation is a highlight of each LDA Conference, and honors those who have accomplished outstanding achievements in fulfilling the mission of LDA on behalf of all individuals with learning disabilities. 

“LDA considers it a privilege to honor champions in the field of learning disabilities,” LDA CEO Cindy Cipoletti said, “These amazing people are out there every day making sure that children and adults with learning disabilities are equipped to be successful in school, at work, and in their relationships. Honoring these champions was an opportunity for LDA to express our gratitude for the work they do.”

This year’s LDA Award recipient, Robert Broudo, has dedicated decades to helping students with dyslexia and language-based learning disabilities. Since 1990, Broudo has served as the head of Landmark School, a Massachusetts-based school serving students in grades 2-12 with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities. The LDA Award is the highest honor given by LDA, and is presented in recognition and appreciation of outstanding leadership, support, and dedication in the field of learning disabilities. 

“I am sincerely honored and humbled to receive the LDA Award from an organization that I have deeply respected and cared about for so many years because of its missions, focus, and energy to create awareness and equality in education for all learners through advocacy and training,” Broudo said. 

The Harrison Sylvester Award recognizes an adult with learning disabilities who has shown a strong dedication and commitment to advancing the issues of adults with learning disabilities. Rachel Berger, the recipient of this award, has dedicated years to ensuring that individuals with learning disabilities are able to access education and employment opportunities. As an individual with dyslexia, Berger’s lived experience informs her work, which includes managing accessibility engagement at Microsoft and serving in multiple disability and literacy partnerships, nonprofits, and coalitions. 

“I’m honored to be recognized by LDA for my work in the field of learning disabilities.  Together, we build a strong community of collaborators working to break down barriers and ensure students can achieve their full potential,” Berger said. 

LDA honored Cindy Silvert with the Samuel Kirk Educator of the Year Award for being a strong and compassionate ally to her students with learning disabilities and their parents for eight years. Silvert is currently working with Woodward Academy’s Transition Program Director to build a structured, explicit executive functioning curriculum. This award is given in memory of Dr. Samuel A. Kirk, a pioneer in the field of special education. 

“I am excited and honored to accept the Sam Kirk Teacher of the Year Award from the Learning Disabilities Association, an organization that has been supporting and advocating for students with learning disabilities for nearly 60 years.  As teachers seek to support all students in these unprecedented times, it is reassuring to know that the LDA provides encouragement and recognition for teachers, as well,” Silvert said. 

Finally, LDA honored Dr. Scott Decker with its first ever PAB (Professional Advisory Board) Distinguished Service Award for Research and Practice.  Dr. Decker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Carolina.  In addition to serving as an LDA Professional Advisory Board member, Dr. Decker has made significant contributions to research for advancing policy and procedures for identifying children with learning disabilities using evidence-based methods. His research has contributed to translating neuroscientific research in learning to benefit children in an educational context.

“I’m incredibly honored to receive this award from LDA,” said Decker. “I’m very proud to be part of an organization that has such an important impact on children with learning disabilities and serve as vital advocates for the families of these children.”    

LDA is a national, member-based, nonprofit organization committed to advancing opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities through support, education, and advocacy.