Learning Disabilities Awareness Month is here again for LDA. We can work within our individual communities to focus attention on learning disabilities and individuals with learning disabilities. During this month, I would like to encourage each member of the LDA community to reach out to at least one individual and teach them something that they may not have known about learning disabilities. You could e-mail someone an article from the LDA website, such as The Ins and Outs of Learning Disabilities. You could share one of our newsletters with the individual or invite them to listen to one of LDA’s many free webinars available on YouTube.
One thing that is important for us to focus upon is that the learning disability does not make the individual. It is only one facet of the person diagnosed with LD. LDA does well to work with individuals to help them realize their individual potentials and to train the community about this as well. Membership in LDA helps us to keep these efforts alive and is important for us to move forward. Membership cannot be accomplished without individual efforts.
I am reminded of a young man I taught several years when he was in high school. I have continued to work with John over the years and mentored him some as he continued to progress through college and secured gainful employment. Recently, I worked with him to help get his needed accommodations for an assessment for a work-related advancement. After some consultation and communication with his employer and the test administrators, John was able to get the accommodations he needed to be able to take his assessment and secure his advancement with his employer.
John contacted me last week to say thank you and how he would never have achieved the successes he had without my help. But, I had to talk to him to explain it had nothing to do with me. He had made the accomplishments and advancements in his life all on his own merit. I have known John’s family for about a decade now, both professionally and as friends. As a professional, I have not made accomplishments for John. I have only helped him to gain access. He is the real star. As a friend, I want John to know his accomplishments and realize the potential he has as an individual. This is what LDA is about at the heart of the issue: helping individuals with LD to gain and keep access and to realize and to reach potential.
So, in many ways, I am asking you to consider what you can do as an individual member of LDA to help a person with LD to realize their potential and their merit. Each person diagnosed with LD is an unsung hero as he or she navigates through academic and employment environments to lead a successful life.
Part of the way we can help to provide access for individuals with LD is to continue to provide support at the individual level and to promote awareness through affiliate-led activities. What is your affiliate doing this month to promote LD Month and LD awareness? You can make a difference. With you, LDA can make a difference.
Below are some unique and fun ways to promote LDA and LD knowledge during the month of October:
- Introduce a child or adult reader with LD to audio books through use of BookShare, Learning Ally, BARD, or the state talking books programs.
- Share positive LD stories on your affiliate website or social media pages.
- Share the 31 Days of LD Month calendar with your friends and colleagues.
- Invite people you know to join LDA as members.
- Share your knowledge of what LD is, and is not, with others.
In addition to being Co-Chair of the LDA Membership/Affiliate Support Committee, Analisa Smith, Ed.D., is a member of the LDA of America Board of Directors, State President of South Carolina LDA, an educational consultant and distance education professor. She has worked for over 20 years in public and private education settings.