Education: LDA Highlights from 2020

  • LDA’s Education Committee: A Year in Review 
  • COVID-19 Resource Center
  • LDA’s 57th Annual Conference in Orlando
  • Orton-Gillingham Training Course

LDA’s Education Committee: A Year in Review

Submitted by Kristina Scott-Quinlan, Ed. D. and Vincent C. Alfonso, Ph. D. 

This year began with us honoring the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award winner, Patricia Buckley, who dedicated over forty years of her life to teaching special education. This award is given annually to an outstanding educator who has made significant contributions to the field of learning disabilities. Patricia shared her life experiences, dedication to the profession, and advice as she accepted her award at the 57th annual conference. If you missed hearing her advice, you can catch some of her words of wisdom on the podcast interview Mrs. Buckley so graciously participated in.

The LDA Podcast, which now has over 20 episodes, launched in the summer of 2020. The Education Committee spent last year identifying speakers for this podcast, and this year we were able to interview our selections and then launch the podcast. Some speakers from the 2020 year included: Dr. John King, Jr., Caroline McGuire, Bev Johns, Toby Baker, Tracy Gregoire (Healthy Children’s Project), and Dr. Anneke Schreuder. The podcast is looking to bring listeners more interviews focused on learning disabilities content in the 2021 year, so please let us know what topics you want us to cover in these interviews this upcoming year!

As a committee we have also been contributing a monthly article to LDA Today. These articles have fit with the theme of the issue, and have covered such topics as: the Difference between an IEP and 504, Educating the Community about LD, and the Importance of Teacher Diversity. As we move into the 2021 calendar year, we will be looking to highlight evidence-based instructional strategies for students with learning disabilities. In addition to these articles, we have also been working on providing more content refreshing some of the existing content on the LDA website. If there is a topic you would like to read about or content you think should be on the LDA website, please let us know

We have been working in collaboration with other committees to plan an advocacy education certificate. The plan is to launch the first of three advocacy strands which start with beginner advocacy (then moves to an intermediate-level and finally an advanced advocacy) strand to educate parents, general education teachers, and other related service providers on navigating the school environment for individuals with learning disabilities. 

The Science-to-Practice (S2P)  virtual conference that takes place prior to the LDA annual conference was also created and worked on by members of this committee. The S2P virtual conference promises to be a unique experience as more than 30 leading scholars, researchers, and thinkers in the fields of learning disabilities, special education, school psychology, neuropsychology, and speech-language pathology will be presenting state-of-the-art information on the identification of and interventions for learning disabilities. For more information and to register, please go to:

In the 2021 year we look to continue all of these efforts. If these activities excite or interest you, please consider joining our education committee. If you would like to join, please reach out to Kristina Scott or Vinny Alfonso

COVID-19 Resource Center

When the pandemic turned everything upside down, LDA worked to create resources to help students with LD, parents, and educators stay afloat.

Months later, these resources are still timely. You can learn how to monitor your child’s IEP plan from home, see the steps to creating a more accessible online classroom, review your rights as a college student with accommodations, get tips on how to monitor your child’s mental health, get a list of free and low cost apps for accessibility, and more.

Visit our COVID-19 Resource Page at:

LDA’s 57th Annual Conference 

This year’s annual conference was in Orlando, FL just before most activity in the U.S. had an overhaul due to COVID-19. Over the course of 3 ½ days, we enjoyed over 157 sessions with our 650 attendees including keynotes from Dr. John B. King, Dr. Mary Brownell, and John & Ellen Wood. 

An overview from General Conference Chair, Kaci Smith: 

The Conference Committee, Conference Program Committee, Conference Managers, and the LDA staff worked tirelessly to provide a jam-packed informative and worthwhile week for all. There is no other conference that offers the variety and breadth of sessions that pertain to Specific Learning Disabilities all in one place. Orlando was a wonderful place to have the conference. The hospitality that was shown by the hotel went above and beyond our expectations. Orlando was a wonderful location for not only attendees but their families as they were able to enjoy some downtime in the evenings being free to explore the hotel and surrounding areas. I could not have asked for a better team to work with!

The Committees have been hard at work since February, planning the 58th Annual Conference. While we won’t all be together in New Orleans as planned in February 2021, the conference still goes on! We look forward to seeing you all on-line for our first virtual annual conference. One big difference for the virtual conference: you get access to ALL 85+ sessions.  Be sure to register for your spot today

Multi-Sensory Reading Instruction Course

An introductory multi-sensory reading instruction course taught the basics of multi-sensory reading instruction was offered free to LDA members this Spring!  During this 8 hr online course (over 4 days), more than 300 attendees learned all about structured literacy and a multi-sensory approach to reading and spelling. Participants created their own card decks for tutoring, phonemic awareness strategies, a series of training drills (visual, blending, and auditory), spelling rules and generalizations, syllable types and syllable patterns, and how to effectively teach non-phonetic words. Be sure to stay tuned to LDA Today and follow LDA and LDA of Pennsylvania on Facebook for information on future classes!