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LDA Honors Outstanding Educator with Sam Kirk Award

1/23/2023

[Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] LDA honored teacher Warren Schoepfer with the Samuel Kirk Educator of the Year Award for his outstanding work with students. The award is named in honor of Dr. Samuel Kirk, a pioneer in the field of learning disabilities, and is given annually to an outstanding educator who has made significant contributions to the field of learning disabilities. 

Schoepfer is a certified special education teacher at Benway School in Wayne, New Jersey, a private, state-approved special education school serving students grades 1-12 with social/emotional, behavioral, and academic challenges that make it difficult for them to succeed in their district school. 

Schoepfer works with students with learning disabilities, mental health issues, behavioral struggles, and high absenteeism. His innovative teaching prepares these students for bright futures by establishing executive function, self-regulation, and employability skills, while holding high expectations for all students. 

“Mr. Warren is one of those teachers you come across once in a great while.” Elizabeth Alves, a colleague of Schoepfer, said, “He is popular with students, families, and colleagues. He develops his programming based on the needs and interests of his students with laser focus.”

Schoepfer is well-known for building a growth mindset and character in his students, and for inspiring mutual respect within the classroom. 

One student shared, “He is always teaching me how to fight my battles without disrespect. He believes I can be so much more than what I am.”

Schoepfer also created a hands-on STEM program that gets students excited to learn, and an Everyday Law class that educates students with specific learning disabilities or complex trauma to enable them make informed decisions. These innovative programs have inspired and empowered hundreds of students, including those with a higher risk of dropping out and being incarcerated. 

Schoepfer attributes listening to his students as the key to his teaching success. 

“I am deeply honored and grateful to have been chosen as the Sam Kirk Award recipient for 2023,” Schoepfer said. “Teaching isn’t just about the lesson. It’s about becoming a better listener. By listening to what my students have to say, it enables me to have a greater understanding of their needs.”

Schoepfer will be presented with the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award at LDA’s 60th Annual International Conference in Las Vegas. 

LDA is a national, member-based, nonprofit organization committed to advancing opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities through support, education, and advocacy.

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LDA Awards LD Advocate & Journalist with Harrison Sylvester Award

LDA HONORS LEARNING DISABILITY ADVOCATE  

[Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] The Learning Disabilities Association of America’s (LDA) presented the 2023 Harrison Sylvester Award to Denise Brodey, a learning disabilities advocate and journalist. The award recognizes an adult with learning disabilities who has shown a strong dedication and commitment to supporting  adults with learning disabilities. 

“Denise Brodey is a passionate journalist with a candid and clear-eyed view of being ADHD and dyslexic as an adult in the workplace…We are excited to select her for this award,” LDA Adult Topic Committee Chair Joan Teach said.  

Brodey is the founder of Rebel Talent, an organization that provides support to individuals with ADHD and/or learning disabilities that are struggling in the workplace. Brodey has helped thousands to get jobs, ask for accommodations, and thrive. Brodey is also an author, keynote speaker, and senior contributor to Forbes, where she focuses on writing about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and works to destigmatize neurodivergence through the lens of lived experience. Brodey is also a regular contributor to Remedy Health Media.

“I am incredibly grateful for this recognition. As a woman with learning disabilities who is also ADHD, I know how difficult it is to explain how people like me experience work and life,” Brodey said. “My job as a business journalist, and now as a business consultant, is to make invisible disabilities visible. I try to do it with humor and compassion and positivity—and of course, facts—because that’s what the workplace needs now. I love every minute of it, but most of all, I love hearing that I have made an impact and allowed people to do their best work.”

Brodey will be presented with the LDA Award at LDA’s 60th Annual International Conference in February at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel. 

LDA Honors USF Special Education Professor with LDA Award

1/6/2023

[Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] The Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) awarded Dr. David Allsopp, Professor of Special Education at the University of South Florida, with the LDA Award. This award is the highest honor given by LDA, and is presented in recognition and appreciation of outstanding leadership, support, and dedication in the field of learning disabilities. 

Dr. Allsopp has contributed extensively to the field of special education through research, writing, resource development, and presentations during his 23 years in academia. Dr. Allsopp’s focus is on instructional methods for students with high incidence disabilities and research methods for developing and validating effective practices. He is the co-author of five books on learning disabilities and ADHD, and has contributed to numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and books. 

In addition to being a professor at the University of South Florida, Dr. Allsopp also served as the Assistant Dean of Educator Preparation and Partnerships, and Endowed Chair and Director of the David C. Anchin Center in the College of Education.

“I am humbled to receive the LDA Award,” Dr. Allsopp said, “There are so many wonderful folks who do very meaningful work advocating for and with individuals with learning disabilities and their families. Receiving this award truly means a great deal to me and I am very appreciative of the LDA Board of Directors for this prestigious recognition.”

LDA’s CEO, Cindy Cipoletti, expressed support of the Board of Director’s decision to honor Dr. Allsop.  “Dr Allsopp has been a member of LDA’s Professional Advisory Board for the past four years, and has  been actively involved in LDA’s educational programs and resources.  His contributions to our Annual Conference and expertise in learning disabilities have been invaluable to our organization.  We are thrilled to honor Dr. Allsopp with this Award.”

Dr. Allsopp will be presented with the LDA Award at LDA’s 60th Annual International Conference in February at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel. 

LDA teams up with Marker Learning for Giving Tuesday

Contribute to our campaign

Our campaign is still ongoing until December 15th! Help us to reach as many students as possible!

This Giving Tuesday LDA and Marker Learning are partnering to raise funds to provide free evaluations to students who are unable to afford the cost of an evaluation.

While Marker strives to provide affordable, accessible evaluations for learning disabilities and related disorders, cost is still the primary barrier to reaching students.

Cost is the primary barrier to reaching students. In one month alone, 60 students decided not to move forward with Marker due to financial limitations.

Early and accurate identification of learning disabilities is critical to the success of students with learning disabilities. The earlier an individual is accurately identified as having a learning disability,  the sooner they will have access to the services, supports and accommodations needed for success.

Fast facts on LD Diagnosis: 
While 20% of the population has a learning disability or related disorder, only 5% get accurately diagnosed. Being undiagnosed can elevate the risk of: homelessness, poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and incarceration. The stakes are high. School waiting lists for evaluations can last months or years. Parents can either wait, get a private evaluation, or give up entirely. Marker Learning aims to provide accessible, affordable evaluations for every learner, but affordable is subjective. This Giving Tuesday, LDA and Marker are partnering to raise $60,000 to provide free evaluations to 60 students who can't afford the cost of an evaluation. Help us reach our goal and donate at: ldaamerica.org/donate.

Giving Tuesday is November 29th, and donations are currently being accepted. Learn more about the campaign by visiting the donation page.

Marker Learning conducts evaluations for students living in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Applications for free evaluations will be reviewed by LDA and Marker Learning to assess fit and eligibility. Evaluations will be granted to students who have never been evaluated for a learning disability in the past, meet certain need-based criteria including income level, and are currently in grades K-6. Recipients will be notified by the end of January 2023.

Earning Your GED as an Adult with Learning Disabilities

What is a GED?

GED stands for General Educational Development test. It is an alternative certification you can receive if you left high school before graduating. 

The GED test has four subjects: 

  • Mathematical reasoning
  • Reasoning through language arts
  • Social studies
  • Science

These four subjects are broken up into four separate tests. You do not need to take all four tests at once, you can take them at your own pace. 

There is a time limit for each test, although individuals with a documented disability may be able to get extended time. Learn more about each test here.

How can I get a GED?

You will need to take the test by registering at the official GED website: https://ged.com/. You can take the test at a registered testing center, or, in some states, online in your home. 

Find the in-person testing center closest to you by using this GED test center locator.

To see if your state allows you to take the test online by visiting the pricing and state rules page of GED.com.

What does the GED cost? 

GED costs vary from state to state. You can check the pricing for each subject test here. Please note that this price is for each subject, not the test overall. 

Can I get accommodations for the GED?

To receive accommodations, individuals will need documentation of a learning disability, ADHD, or other health condition. Learn more about documentation here.

Requests for accommodations are considered on a case-by-case basis, as no one accommodation will work for everyone. You can apply for accommodations on the GED website by creating an account and following these directions. 

You should apply for accommodations as far in advance as possible. Processing accommodations requests typically takes about 30 days if your documentation is complete. 

Accommodation approvals are automatically valid for one year after the date of your approval. After that, you can apply for an extension. 

If your request for accommodations is denied, you appeal here.

What accommodations are offered?

Accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed.

Some accommodations may include: 

  • Extended exam time (standard time +25%)
  • Extra breaks
  • A separate testing room 

What if I’m Concerned About Passing the GED?

You can get official study materials on the GED website, and can find an in-person GED test prep center on their official website. 

You can take an official online GED practice test for $6.99 per subject. The practice test is half the length of the real test, and can help you decide when you want to take the test. 

Job Resources By State for Adults with Learning Disabilities

We’ve created a directory of resources for individuals with LD who are looking for job and workplace resources.

Below are links to each state’s labor commission’s disability employment  services. These resources can include:

  • Job matching and placement services for individuals with disabilities
  • Services to assist with employment
  • Information about the eligibility process for filing a disability claim
  • Postsecondary education support services
  • Assistive technology
  • The eligibility process for social security benefits
  • Vocational adjustment training
  • And more!

Resources available can vary from state to state. Some states have resources for individuals with disabilities who are looking for employment under their employment division website, health and human services division website, or may have another website entirely dedicated to individuals with disabilities. Most likely, resources on employment for individuals with disabilities can be found under the ‘Vocational Rehabilitation’ category.  

National Resources

O*Net

The O*NET Program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Valid data are essential to understanding the rapidly changing nature of work and how it impacts the workforce and U.S. economy. From this information, applications are developed to facilitate the development and maintenance of a skilled workforce.

JAN (Job Accommodation Network)

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on job accommodations and disability employment issues. Serving customers across the United States and around the world for more than 35 years, JAN provides free one-on-one practical guidance and technical assistance on job accommodation solutions

GED.com

Learn more about GED online testing for your state!

EARN (Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion)

EARN has information and resources to help employers, HR professionals and diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) staff create workplaces that are inclusive of people with disabilities.

LEAD Center

On this site you will learn about resources, programs and partnerships that can create an inclusive workforce system. Our work supports people with disabilities and people who work on employment and workforce development at the state and local level.

PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment

Person Centered Planning is an ongoing problem-solving process used to help people with disabilities plan for their future. In person centered planning, groups of people focus on an individual and that person’s vision of what they would like to do in the future. This “person-centered” team meets to identify opportunities for the focus person to develop personal relationships, participate in their community, increase control over their own lives, and develop the skills and abilities needed to achieve these goals.

National Disability Institute

A national nonprofit committed exclusively to financial education & empowerment for people with disabilities.

State Resources

Alaska

Vocational Rehabilitation: We Help Alaskans with Disabilities Get and Keep Jobs


Alabama

Alabama’s Employment Services


Arizona

Arizona’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services:


Arkansas

Arkansas Workforce Services


California

California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency


Colorado

Colorado’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation


Connecticut

Employment for Individuals with Disabilities


Delaware

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation


Florida

Resources for Assisting Individuals with Disabilities


Georgia

Find Resources for Jobseekers with Disabilities


Hawaii

Hawaii’s Disability Employment Initiative


Idaho

Job Seekers Able to Work


Illinois

Illinois Department of Human Services: Disability and Rehabilitation


Indiana

Job Seekers with Disabilities


Iowa

Employment and Disability


Kansas

Disability Resources for Kansans with Disabilities


Kentucky

Kentucky’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation


Louisiana

Louisiana’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program


Maine

Maine’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services


Maryland

Maryland’s Division of Rehabilitation Services


Massachusetts

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Services


Michigan

Michigan Rehabilitation Resources


Minnesota

Minnesota’s Employment and Economic Development Commission: People with Disabilities


Mississippi

Mississippi Department of Employment Security: Resources for People with Disabilities


Missouri

State of Missouri Disability Portal: Employment Resources


Montana

Disability Employment and Transitions


Nebraska

Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation


Nevada

Nevada Vocational Rehabilitation


New Hampshire

Employment for Individuals with Disabilities


New Jersey

New Jersey Vocational and Rehabilitation Services


New Mexico

New Mexico Department of Vocational Rehabilitation


New York

New York ACCES-VR


North Carolina

North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Services


North Dakota

North Dakota Health and Human Services: Vocational Rehabilitation


Ohio

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities


Oklahoma

Oklahoma Rehabilitation Services


Oregon

Oregon Department of Human Services: Vocational Rehabilitation


Pennsylvania

Employment and Training Services for Individuals with Disabilities


Rhode Island

Rhode Island Rehabilitation Services


South Carolina

South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation


South Dakota

South Dakota Department of Human Services, Rehabilitation Services


Tennessee

Tennessee Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation


Texas

Texas Workforce Commission, Vocational Rehabilitation

See also: Texas Center for Learning Disabilities, and Disability Rights Texas


Utah

Utah Workforce Services, Rehabilitation


Vermont

Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living


Virginia

Virginia’s Division of Rehabilitative Services


Washington

Washington Department of Health and Human Services: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation


West Virginia

West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services


Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development


Wyoming

Wyoming Workforce Services: Vocational Rehabilitation

If you’re unable to find the resources you’re looking for on your state website, reach out to us at info@ldaamerica.org and we may be able to help you find other resources. 

In Search of Outstanding Educators…

Each year LDA of America selects an outstanding educator to receive the Sam Kirk Educator of the Year Award. This is an opportunity to give educators a well-deserved “thank you” and lets them know that they are greatly valued for their contributions to individuals with learning disabilities. The award is designed so that exceptional educators can be honored at the local, state and national levels.

The award will be presented at LDA’s national conference, being held in 2023 in Las Vegas, NV. Complimentary conference registration will be provided.

Nominate someone today – deadline is November 21, 2022

  • Nominee General Information

  • Nominee's Work Information

  • Nominee's Education Background

  • Other Nominee Information

  • Please attach the following below:
    1. CV or Bio
    2. Support letters (optional)
  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: pdf, Max. file size: 16 MB.
    • Nominator's Information

    Submit a Nomination for the 2023 Harrison Sylvester Award!

    About the Award

    This award honors and recognizes an adult with learning disabilities who has shown a strong dedication and commitment to advancing the issues of adults with learning disabilities. It is the wish of LDA to thank, in Harry Sylvester’s name, an adult with learning disabilities for his/her commitment to those living with learning disabilities.

    The Harrison Sylvester Award was created in 2010 to honor Harry Sylvester, a gentle but strong voice in the field of learning disabilities. Harry discovered in his mid 50’s, after struggling for most of life, that he was an adult with learning disabilities. With the knowledge of his learning disabilities came an empowerment to help others, and he dedicated his life to this work. Harry was a President of the Learning Disabilities Association of America and carried LDA’s message of acceptance, understanding and support throughout the country.

    Nomination Procedures

    The recipient of the Harrison Sylvester Award must be a person with learning disabilities who has shown a significant commitment and dedication to adults with learning disabilities and their issues.

    Nominations must include a completed nomination form (below), including a brief description of how the learning disabilities have affected his/her life and a one-page description of the work the individual has done.

    The award will be presented at LDA’s national conference, being held in 2023 in Las Vegas, NV. Complimentary conference registration will be provided.

    Nominations can be submitted online using the form below or sent to the LDA office at 4068 Mount Royal Boulevard, Suite 224B, Allison Park, PA 15101. All nominations must be received by November 21, 2022.

    Questions can be sent to the Learning Disabilities Association of America National Office (info@ldaamerica.org).

    2023 Harrison Sylvester Award Nomination Form

    LDA Unveils New Member Platform and Community

    LDA is excited to announce a new and improved member platform, which allows LDA Members to access all of their benefits in one place, and includes a brand new members-only social platform!

    A screenshot of the new member portal dashboard, which includes links to the LDA Learning Center, LDA Article Library, and Members-Only Community

    In the new member portal members can access the LDA webinar archives, which include over 37 hours of content. All previously purchased webinars and presentation handouts replays will also be available in our new learning center. After completing a webinar or session, the learner will now automatically earn a certificate of attendance.

    LDA’s Learning Center, which includes the members-only webinar archive, an introduction to the new member portal, and any previously purchased webinars.

    LDA Today, LDA’s monthly e-newsletter, has always been a member benefit. The new member platform makes these newsletter articles easier than ever to find. All past LDA Today articles are located in the LDA Today Library, which members can access just by logging into their profile.

    Lastly, LDA has introduced an entirely new member benefit: a social platform where members can connect. Networking with others has been one of the most requested features for members over the years, and LDA is proud to now offer this benefit.

    LDA’s members-only social platform dashboard, where members can post, like, comment, join groups, and friend request other members. The platform has many similarities to Facebook.

    The platform shares similarities to Facebook, where members can post, like, and comment. Members can also join groups on topics that they’re interested in, like the Healthy Children Project, advocacy, higher education, adults with LD, a parent group, and more!

    Join groups of interest in the members-only community.

    With this new member platform, LDA aims to add value to membership, and to continue to support the learning disability community, families, educators, advocates, and other LD professionals.