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LDA State Affiliates: Highlights from 2020

  • Welcome New State Affiliates
  • 2020 Affiliate Accolades
    • Legislation for Translation Services at IEP Meetings in Illinois
    • Alternative Teacher Preparation Program in Minnesota
    • Resource Directory, Communications, and Legislative Advocacy in Texas
  • PPE for Teachers in Pennsylvania
  • Virtual Conferences 

Welcome New State Affiliates

LDA now has 31 active state affiliates! In 2020, we welcomed new state affiliates in Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, and Virginia. Welcome to our LDA Community – we’re glad you’re here! 

2020 Affiliate Accolades

Each year, states have an opportunity to highlight their projects that support LDA’s purpose of creating opportunities for success for all individuals affected by learning disabilities through support,  education and advocacy. ANY program, procedure or process that your state  takes pride in is worthy of sharing with other affiliates.  These projects are presented at the State Leaders’ Meeting at the Annual Conference and one is selected as the recipient of that year’s Accolade Award. Three states presented projects at the 57th Annual Conference in Orlando in February and state leaders felt all were worthy of the award recognition. With special support from state leaders in Michigan, we were able to make this happen, so we are proud to announce that the 2020 Affiliate Accolades vote was a three-way tie for Illinois, Minnesota, and Texas.  

Legislation for Translation Services in Illinois

LDA of Illinois found that parents who are not fluent in English are not able to be full participants in the eligibility meetings and IEP meetings for their children with disabilities. Districts sometimes provide someone who can speak the parents’ language, but these ad hoc interpreters may have no knowledge of the terminology related to special education and may not be fully versed in the confidentiality to which parents and children with disabilities are entitled. Members of the LDA of IL Board worked with legislators to enact public law that will make training of interpreters required. Illinois Public Act 101-0124 requires the state board to establish criteria/standards/competencies for a bilingual interpreter. 

Alternative Teacher Preparation Program in Minnesota

LDA of Minnesota was approved as the first Alternative Teacher Preparation Program in the state of Minnesota for initial teacher licensure. Licensure was received in June 2019 and has admitted their first cohort of teacher candidates who will graduate and be recommended for special education licensure in May 2021. This program was developed to: offer an affordable pathway to becoming a special education teacher; to provide a high quality and practical residency program for teacher candidates; to diversify the teaching workforce in MN; and, to help train more special education teachers in a state and national shortage workforce area. 

Resource Directory, Communications, and Legislative Advocacy in Texas

LDA Texas was the 3rd recipient of the 2020 Affiliate Accolade Award. In 2020, LDA Texas increased the size of their board of directors, increased their social media presence to having 8,000 followers on Facebook, worked with their Governor to declare October as Learning Disabilities Month in the state of Texas, and responded to over 400 inquiries from people asking for help for LD testing and guidance related to diagnosis or services for themselves or their child(ren) with LD. During 2020, LDA Texas communicated with state Senators to advocate for individuals with learning disabilities in relation to the GEAR UP for Success Act, Mental Health Advocacy, and the IDEA Full Funding Act. In addition, LDA Texas created a Resource Directory that includes Educational Consulting, Coaching, Private Tutors, Transition Planning Resources, and resources for Evaluations and Testing throughout the state of Texas. 

PPE for Teachers in Pennsylvania

As schools returned to school this fall, LDA of Pennsylvania went to work! They developed a fundraiser through GoFundMe to provide high-quality National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health approved (NIOSH, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/index.htm) N95 masks and face shields to 1000 special education teachers and staff. Over the last two months, they have raised $5,230 and are just over ¼ of the way to their goal! They have sent out 1756 face masks and 420 face shields – enough to help 325 special education teachers and staff! 

Virtual Conferences 

New Jersey

LDA New Jersey (NJ) did a live workshop at The College of NJ-Education Building on March 9th, which was a simuIation of what it’s like to be a student with a learning disability in a classroom.   The “class” was the attendees; attendees were primarily educational evaluators in NJ, Learning Disability Teacher Consultants, who serve on the Child Study Team along with a psychologist and social worker.  Within the same week, all live conferences came to a halt.  

In spite of the COVID epidemic and in part because of it, LDANJ felt that it was important to continue the mission of informing parents, educators, other professionals, adults, and students about different topics related to Learning Disabilities during these challenging times.  

With the technology help of Disability Rights NJ (DRNJ), LDANJ did a virtual Life in High School and Beyond Conference on both August 11 and October 18. There were 30 workshops to choose from. In addition to DRNJ, LDANJ is very grateful for the participation of all of the speakers, sponsors, and advertisers.  

Michigan

For LDA Awareness Month in October, LDA of Michigan was unable to have their Annual Conference as a live event, but they were able to present a webinar for their planned keynote with Dr. Dawn Flanagan. This webinar was free to all LDA members and provided the most current information about using assessment to design intervention and resources for students with learning disabilities. 

To learn more about what is happening in LDA State Affiliates, find them on our website map!