by Joan K. Teach, State Presidents' Representative
by Joan K. Teach, State Presidents’ Representative

The month of October is yearly designated as Disabilities month and in keeping with the concept, the Learning Disability Community takes this opportunity to celebrate those who have overcome these diversities and heighten the awareness of others about the meaning of learning disabilities.

During October our country was abuzz with activities.  Manchester, New Hampshire, hosted a wonderful conference for over 200 entitled, Executive Functioning: Impact on Academic Performance.  Dr. Richard Guare provided individuals with support to better understand the functioning challenges that affect a person’s academic performance.  Massachusetts will be following with their own conference in November. 

New Jersey sponsored a full day conference featuring the head of special education in New Jersey as the keynote speaker.  This provided the opportunity for the State to hand out copies of the October calendar from LDAA, as well as a flyer from NCLD called the Ten Myths of LD.  Perhaps, however, the real highlight was when a young man shared his video for his Dare to Dream project. This was a poignant film of his friends in high school with their comments about how they see themselves with Learning Disabilities, and got a standing ovation.  We will try to get a copy of this to show at conference.

The State of Maryland outdid us all as two affiliates presented programs.  Greater Baltimore provided Navigating the Social World: Tips and Strategies for Strengthening Your Adolescent’s Social Skills.  LDA Montgomery County had a full day workshop Success in the Classroom & Home where Dr. Larry Silver was one of the keynote speakers.  A state-wide Membership Luncheon is planned for May.

Kansas hosted a statewide conference jointly with a Kansas City metro group called ADHDKC, which is a CHADD affiliate. This free event began on Friday evening with a panel of individuals, family and professionals who deal with a variety of learning disabilities and their exhibit/vendor area was open for this fun, family-friendly evening.   They provided pizza and ice cream. The second day of the conference (Oct. 3-5th) highlighted the keynote speaker, Chris Zeigler Dendy, recent winner of CHADD’s Lifetime Achievement Award!  This conference focus was executive function and how it relates to both LD and ADHD.  The conference was a big hit!  They had around 200 people in attendance and 12 organizational sponsors, receiving lots of positive feedback!

Utah partnered with the Dyslexia Center of Utah for their conference. In creating this coalition they had about 80 people attend. 

Other events held were designed to heighten awareness of the factors of Learning Disabilities.  Folks from South Carolina went to five Town Council meetings; those from New Jersey went to the Senate and General Assembly.  Georgia sponsored an Awareness Luncheon with Sandra Deal, the governor’s wife and our own Katie Cyphers as speakers.  With 40 attending, it was a lovely event, promoting opportunities for success for individuals living with learning disabilities.  Official Proclamations from New Jersey, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and Texas created a prominent awareness with South Carolina taking the prize with 10 major city proclamations/ resolutions from across the state declaring October as Learning Disabilities Month or as Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, as well as receiving a state resolution from their Governor, Nikki Haley, declaring October as Learning Disabilities Month.

Many states used a collaborative approach working with the local organizations in Dyslexia, CHADD and other ADHDKC like groups.  When we work together, we achieve so much more.  When we share our progress through Twitter (SC, GA), Facebook (SC, GA), Pinterest (SC), Newsblasts (SC), Blogs and Websites we spread our wealth.  Fundraisers for scholarships in South Carolina and Maryland, membership drives and give-aways (SC) are all ways to enhance our product.  I hear from affiliates that are planning spring and summer conferences, working on membership, developing workshops and supporting local meetings (SC, GA, HI).  There is a lot going on, and I am so pleased to share it with you. 

Last but not least I am proud to announce that South Carolina initiated and held the first meeting of the student LDASC college club on a college campus – the first of this to occur or take place in the nation as well as in the history of LDA America.  Congratulations to them.  The idea of student clubs on campus has been in the pipeline for a long time and it is great to see it is now a reality.

Congratulations to all who have worked so hard.  Individually I know you feel worn out, but when we look at what we have done together, we are awesome. 

Joan K. Teach is a many-year veteran working with those with ADHD/LD. She is the former Director of Lullwater School and currently the Director of the Community Resource Center that provides the Georgia Area a support system for attention and learning disabilities. She facilitates monthly support groups for parents, adults and women with LD/ADHD. She is also the State Presidents’ Representative to the LDA of America Board of Directors.


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