As the recently appointed chair of the LDA Professional Advisory Board (PAB), I’d like to introduce myself and tell you a bit about the function of the PAB, as well as my vision of what the PAB can do to support the efforts of LDA. Let me begin by thanking my esteemed predecessors in this position, Dr. Robin Church and Dr. Larry Silver. I served under these dedicated professionals since joining the PAB six years ago, and they have taught me much about the history and the purpose of this board and its relationship with the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors (BoD), and the various committees of LDA.
I view the PAB as a group of active, engaged professionals from various disciplines who have a deep and abiding commitment to further the mission of LDA by providing consultation and guidance that is informed by their long years of service to agencies or institutions that care for or about individuals with LD. The common denominator of all the PAB members is that they have dedicated their professional lives to the essential mission of LDA: to create opportunities for success for all individuals affected by learning disabilities and to reduce the incidence of learning disabilities in future generations. Their actions on the PAB support the three core functions of LDA: to strengthen the effectiveness of the organization, to maintain the focus on addressing the needs of individuals with LD, and to strengthen LDA’s role and presence in the larger learning disabilities community.
As members of the PAB, we provide support and direction in many ways. We follow trends and best practices in the identification, education, support, treatment and prevention of learning disabilities. We make suggestions about ways LDA can collaborate with other agencies that share our vision for a better world for those with LD, and we use our personal contacts to build bridges to colleges, hospitals, schools and clinics. Through our synergistic collaborative discussions, we suggest directions in which LDA might move, and we provide direct support and guidance by serving as consultants to the various LDA committees that are aligned with our interests and expertise.
Newly elected LDA President Nancie Payne, Ph.D., is the “bridge” that connects the PAB with the Board of Directors. In addition to what we learn in our roles as consultants to various committees, our frequent communication with Nancie will help us remain aware of issues, themes and initiatives under consideration by the BoD and the committees. The PAB also supports Nancie’s own personal goals, which include expanding LDA’s visibility and enhancing its image through networking, collaboration and relationship building. The PAB will also make recommendations that will further her goals of creating opportunities for those with LD and their families to realize their full potential, and the promotion of excellence in professional practice. The members of the PAB are also in a position to offer recommendations about increasing LDA membership and the development of resources that will help this organization function in a fiscally healthy and productive manner.
The PAB meets face-to-face at our annual conference, and this is a wonderful opportunity to share ideas, meet with the President and other members of the executive committee, and to think creatively and make or strengthen professional and social connections with members of the Board of Directors.
My personal goals as the new chair of the PAB include communicating regularly with other PAB members throughout the year. This will give me the opportunity to encourage collaborations among PAB members (such as authoring articles for LDA publications, engaging in research, developing conference presentations), and the exchange of professional resources (e.g., articles, information about research or exemplary teacher preparation programs, etc.). I would also like to help individual PAB members find additional ways to share their expertise and ideas with others in LDA. I plan to ask my colleagues on the PAB to help identify “rising stars” in the professional community who share our commitment to LD, who might be considered for membership on the PAB. This active recruitment would help to ensure that fresh perspectives and new ideas continue to nourish LDA as it continues to expand and grow in strength and influence in the LD community. I consider it an honor to serve as the chair of the PAB, and I welcome your ideas for improving or expanding the functions of this important body.