by Analisa Smith, State Presidents’ Representative
All state affiliates continue to do things daily to advocate and make a difference for individuals with learning disabilities. Many of these things are often not known to the bigger public domain, but are very important nonetheless.
State Affiliate Items in the News/Public Forum:
- LDA South Carolina collaborated with SCBIDA (SC Branch of International Dyslexia Association) to host three events in the state for the viewing of Dislecksia: The Movie. The collaboration and events were successful and an impact was made in the community.
- LDA New Jersey hosted a Dislecksia: The Movie viewing. A Navigate the Maze from Pre-K to College and Career conference was also held October 6 with Peter W. Riffle as the keynote speaker.
- LDA Oklahoma hosted a fall conference on November 1 entitled Bullying and its Impacts.
- LDA Kansas hosted a conference, Down the Barriers to Growth: Building Resiliency for Students with Disabilities, with keynote speaker Jerome J. Schultz,
- LDA Minnesota participated in We Day 2013. Over 9,000 books were donated to LDA Minnesota at We Day. LDAMN gives 15-20 books to every child that is served through the community-based Learning Connections program.
- LDA Arkansas held their November UPHOLD Meeting: Knowing What I Know Now, presented by the LDAAR Board of Directors, on Monday, November 4, 2013. The UPHOLD (Understanding that Parents Have Options for Learning Disabilities) meeting of the season included parents who shared their experiences raising children with learning disabilities. Participants were encouraged to bring advice for helping parents, educators and other community helpers educate and to inspire young people with learning disabilities.
- LDA Wisconsin hosted a Power-Up 21st Century Technology: State Learning Disabilities Workshop on November 23, 2013. Two workshop sessions were held: The ABC’s (and D’s!) of iThings: Apps, Building Connections & Documentation in Special Education, by Lynda Laugavitz, an Assistive Technology Advocate & Consultant, and QR Codes for Education by Carrie Perock.
- LDA Illinois has hosted a series of several events recently. In September, two workshops were held: Implementing Common Core Standards for Students with Learning Disabilities with Beverly Holden Johns and Loads of Ways to Differentiate Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities with Dr. Vinni Hall. At the beginning of October, Teaching Self-Advocacy to Students with Learning Disabilities was held with Dr. Pam Hill. Dr. Margaret Kelly Carroll presented Stress and Anxiety in Students with Learning Disabilities (And Their Parents and Teachers!) at the end of October. The November event, with Dr. Meg Heron-Blake, was titled Fostering Executive Functions in Students with Learning Disabilities.
- LDA Kentucky was busy this past fall hosting a series of monthly support group meetings for Adults with LD and Parents of Children with ADHD/ADD.
- LDA Indiana held the state affiliate Annual State LD & ADHD Conference on November 15, 2013.
- LDA Virginia also held a conference in September. The theme of the conference this year was The As have it – Assessment and Assistive Technology.
- In Maryland, many exciting things have been happening with LDA:
– LDA Montgomery County presented Part II of Navigating the Special Education Process on Saturday October 26, 2013, 1:30-4:00 at the Rockville Library. In this second session, Brian Gruber, a practicing special education attorney and Vicky Shaffer, a resource teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools presented the differences between an IEP and a 504 Plan. They showed participants a real Maryland IEP form and explained all its parts.
– Edith Peters, LDA Maryland board member and Healthy Children’s Project has been working on visiting state organizational meetings and writing articles for the local LDA chapter on the topic of environmental health and air quality in schools at a Maryland Environmental Health Network. She attended the IPM Best Practices(BMP) online learning tool development session sponsored by Cornell University through a grant to Northeast School IPM Working Group and best practices “train the trainer” meeting in Annapolis at the Department of Agriculture. Ms. Peters also attended the Children’s Environmental Health & Protection Advisory Council meeting held by the Department of Environment in Baltimore that pertains to individuals with specific learning disabilities.
– Former LDA Maryland President Nanette Schweitzer has been active in combining LDA Howard County into a new LDA Greater Baltimore Area chapter. The new president of LDA GB is Cheri Crow.
– Representatives from LDAMD and LDA St. Mary’s County have been working with someone in Prince George’s County to form a chapter in that county.
- LDA Washington held an event on November 21, 2013, Transition Strategies from High School to College or Work. LDAWA was excited to present expert panelists, Bree Callahan, M.Ed., Director of Disability Resources for Students, University of Washington; Effenus Henderson, Chief Diversity Officer at the Weyerhaeuser Corporation; Kelly Moore, Ph.D., Director of Student Support Services at Eastside Preparatory School; and Heidi Shepherd, M.Ed., Faculty Coordinator of the Social & Human Services Program at Lake Washington Technical Institute to provide up to date information that benefitted parents and teachers working with young adults with learning disabilities in their transition to higher education or the work place.
- The St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association recently joined cities and towns across the nation to host a theatrical screening of the documentary Dislecksia: The Movie, which explores many of the misconceptions surrounding dyslexia, while underling the need for stronger awareness, early identification and social change. Karen Thomson, Development/Outreach at St. Louis LDA said, “This screening is a great opportunity to raise awareness about Learning Disabilities and that with programs like St. Louis LDA, they can become learning abilities.”
- LDA Iowa held its 42rd Annual Conference Oct. 13th and 14th. The theme was Transforming Learning with Technology. The keynoters were Chris Curran,(UNI- Iowa,) Maggie Moser Leewood, Kansas, and Martha Rust, Georgia Tech. Survey data indicated the conference was well received by all participants.
- LDA Utah held one day workshops for the communities in October and November. The October workshop held two sessions. The first session was presented by Kim Fratto, USOE Education Specialist – Special Education & Deanne Shields, Educational Consultant Ã¢â‚¬“ Parent. Topics included, Identification of a Specific Learning Disability; Understanding the Process for Receiving Services under IDEA; Advocating for Your Child; Review of the Eligibility Process; What is a Comprehensive Evaluation as Outlined in State Guidelines; and Specific Learning Disability (which includes dyslexia) Eligibility Criteria. These workshop sessions were open for free to the public.