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Join LDA’s Board of Directors!

Since 1964, Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDAA) has provided support to people with learning disabilities, their parents, teachers and other professionals with cutting edge information on learning disabilities, practical solutions, and a comprehensive network of resources nationwide. These services make LDAA the leading resource for information on learning disabilities. LDAA’s mission is to create opportunities for success for all individuals affected by learning disabilities through support, education, and advocacy.  

LDA of America  is seeking to expand its Board of Directors by bringing on a diverse group of new members from across the nation. Nominations will enhance the strengths, expertise, business acumen, and demographics of our current board of directors. New board members will join an already committed, dedicated and professional governing board. The Board of Directors is responsible for supporting the mission of LDAA of America, setting policy, providing leadership and is accountable for fiscal and strategic oversight.  

LDAA’s Nominating Committee is seeking applicants who are able to serve a 3-year term from 2025 through 2028.  Specific areas of expertise and experiences desired in nominees include:

  • A passion for the work and mission of LDAA of America
  • Strategic business development and organizational capacity building
  • Financial acumen, including strategic financial management skills
  • Legal expertise
  • Experience with fundraising and working with individual and/or institutional funders
  • Diverse individuals such as:
    • Racially/ethnically and culturally 
    • Geographically
    • Young Professionals
    • Neurodiverse

To apply, please complete the Board of Directors Application by August 30, 2024. Applicants will be interviewed in September 2024 and notified about their application status in December 2024, prior to board elections in February 2025. Nominees must attend the 2025 LDA Annual International Conference from February 27 – March 1, 2025.

Help, He’s Having a Meltdown: Coping with Stress

Bev Johns

As a parent or educator, you may be making this plea. A child is upset, and you are not sure why, but his behavior tells you there is a problem, and he just can’t cope. He may be yelling, screaming, throwing objects, pacing, etc. There may be a number of reasons children get upset. He may be tired and hungry, there is just too much stimulation, a task he doesn’t want to do, and the list keeps going. Children can become easily frustrated if they don’t have the coping skills to calm themselves down. 

Most adults have learned how to regulate their emotions, but some children struggle. Let’s talk about what a parent or educator can do to help and the coping strategies we need to teach children so they learn to regulate themselves when an adult is not around to calm them.


What’s a parent or educator to do?  Parents and educators can engage in preventive strategies before a full-blown meltdown occurs. Preventive strategies are a must. We can look for triggers that might set the child off, like certain words or certain environments. Once we know those triggers, we can prepare the child for them. Let’s say we know that the child is easily upset when there is a lot of noise, too much light, or they are expected to do a task they don’t want to do. When we know those are likely occurrences, we can give the child headphones, reduce the light, examine the task level we expect the child to do, break the task down into small steps, and more. The more we can prevent, the better. We often have to be detectives about what may be precipitating the behavior. 

Maybe you have done these things, but you missed something that upset the child, and you noticed the child was getting frustrated; in that case, try to redirect the child so he switches gears and focuses his energies on something else.  


When a child is in a meltdown, stay calm and quiet, speak in a soothing voice, and say as little as possible. Stay at least 12 ½-3 feet away (Johns, 2018). Never get too close to the child, and stand at an angle. Do not touch the child. Arguing and pleading will get you nowhere. You can’t allow another child to get hurt, so it is important to remove the other child or children or try to get the child to move with you to another location. 

You might say, 

“Can we take a walk,” 

 “How about we get a drink of water?” 

“What do you need right now?” 

“I want to help you but can’t until you’re calm. “ 

“Is there anyone I can get for you to talk to?”

Anytime you can redirect the child and focus on something else, it is desired. 

Suppose the child is having a meltdown in a public place. In that case, it is important to attempt to get the child-directed to another location so he is not getting embarrassed or getting attention for negative behavior.

Teaching Coping Skills

Children need to be taught skills for emotional regulation. Given the pressures some of our children face, it is critical that we teach them how to manage their emotions in a number of different ways. First and foremost, we need to model how we handle situations when we are upset. Do we take deep breaths, move away quietly, or yell at another person? We have to engage in strategies that show children that we stay calm.

Here are some activities to consider.

  1. Teach deep breathing techniques. There are various breathing techniques, like five-finger breathing, that you can teach young children through college students.
  1. Give children an outlet for their emotions. When upset, can they draw something or write a poem or story? What is something soothing to them? Look for cathartic experiences that the children can have to relieve their stress.
  1. Experience nature by taking a walk when someone is upset. This can be very calming. 
  1. Listen to soothing music.
  1. Establish a quiet area where a child can go when they are upset. That area could have bean bag chairs, rocking chairs, or an indoor swing. The motions of rocking and swinging can be very calming. The area might also have soft music and fidget toys that can calm the child. 

Meltdowns will occur unless we teach children coping strategies designed to assist them in regulating their emotions. This is a life-long skill that will serve children well into adulthood. 

Johns, Beverly. Techniques for Managing Verbally and Physically Aggressive Students. Pro Ed, 2018.

Bev Johns is currently a Learning and Behavior Consultant having worked in the public schools with students with significant behavioral and emotional disabilities as well as students with learning disabilities for well over 30 years.  She was the administrator and founder of an Alternative School and also was responsible for staff development for the Four Rivers Special Education District. She served as a Professional Fellow at MacMurray College until its closing.

Bev is the author or co-author of over 26 non-fiction books, including the textbook on Learning Disabilities, fiction books, and numerous other articles.

She is the current President of the Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois, served on its board, and is a past president of Delta Kappa Gamma, Illinois State Organization. The Council for Exceptional Children awarded Bev the 2000 Outstanding Leadership Award. In 2024, she received the Division for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award and the President’s Award from LDA of America. 

We Need to Keep (but Revise) the Specific Learning Disability Construct in IDEA

Nancy Mather, Ph.D.

Monica McHale-Small, Ph.D.

David H. Allsopp, Ph.D.

Sarah VanIngen Lauer, Ph.D.

We have all been in this field for a very long time. Rumor has it (from attending the LDA 2024 Conference) that some professionals are once again suggesting that specific learning disabilities (SLD) is no longer a useful construct and perhaps should be replaced in the re-authorization of IDEA 2004 with classification based solely on low achievement (at or below the 5th percentile on standardized achievement measures) or even eliminated altogether. This recommendation for using low achievement as the criterion for special education is not new, but it is inconsistent with the concept of SLD (See Mather & Gregg, 2006), The purpose of this commentary is to examine why we still need to identify students with SLD, explain the main characteristics of SLD, and make a few suggestions for the revision of the SLD categories in the re-authorization of IDEA 2004. 

The Concept of Unexpectedness

SLD was first categorized as a disability in the United States in 1975 with the passage of PL 94-142, but the existence of this disability was not created by this law. We have known about the existence of SLD for over a century. Case studies of these individuals can be found in the late 1800s. For example, Pringle Morgan (1896) discussed Percy, a bright 14-year-old boy, who: “… seems to have no power of preserving and storing up the visual impression produced by words – hence the words, though seen, have no significance for him. His visual memory for words is defective or absent which is equivalent to saying that he is what Kussmaul has termed ‘word blind.’ I may add that the boy is bright and of average intelligence in conversation…The schoolmaster who has taught him for some years says that he would be the smartest lad in the school if the instruction were entirely oral” (p. 1378).

Similarly, Hinshelwood (1902, 1917), a Scottish ophthalmic surgeon, described children with congenital word blindness as having average or above-average intelligence in other respects. He noted that many parents reported that their children apart from their reading difficulties were the most intelligent members of their families. Monroe (1932) also described numerous cases of children with reading disorders, some who were highly intelligent. She observed that “The children of superior mental capacity who fail to learn to read are, of course, spectacular examples of specific reading difficulty since they have such obvious abilities in other fields” (p. 23).

These early examples illustrate the concept of unexpectedness. Today, this concept is still explained in reference to the person’s intelligence or oral language, that is, the person has the intelligence or verbal abilities to be a much better reader.  For example, in discussing the specific learning disability of dyslexia, Shaywitz and Shaywitz (2020) describe it as an unexpected difficulty in reading in an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader.

The Concept of Specificity

This unevenness among abilities illustrates the concept of specificity, another central theme of SLD. The word “specific” conveys the idea that not all abilities are low or impaired. Specificity indicates that the weaknesses in reading, writing, or math, do not affect other domains. Kavale and Forness (2000) explained that the addition of the adjective specific indicates that the poor academic performance experienced by students with SLD can be attributed to a limited number of underlying deficits (p. 245), which we might also understand as neurocognitive differences.

Travis (1935) described children who fail to learn to read or spell despite having adequate intelligence, as well as those who have a striking disparity between their ability in one subject and that in another. He explained that some children cannot read although they can comprehend the material when it is read to them, whereas other children present the opposite condition. He proposed that children who do not achieve as well as would be expected in a certain direction may be regarded as having a “special” disability. He explained that the clearest expression of this disability is consistently low scores in a given subject with average or superior scores on tests in other subjects.

For example, in the case of evidence for a reading disability, a student may have scores at the ninth-grade level in arithmetic, but at the third-grade level in reading. This unevenness in abilities would provide evidence of a striking reading disability; another child might indicate just as striking a disability in mathematics. Several decades later, Gallagher (1966) described these intraindividual differences as “developmental imbalances” meaning significant differences between the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Since the last revision of IDEA, research uncovering some of the “underlying deficits” commonly seen in children struggling with reading, writing, or math has continued to amass. 

Thoughts for the Revision of IDEA 2004

Given more recent advances in the neurocognitive underpinnings of learning, it merits discussing how this knowledge as well as other advances in evaluation and assessment can help us to revisit how to conceptualize the construct of SLD in the IDEA. Under the current IDEA, SLD includes the following eight categories: oral expression, listening comprehension, basic reading skills, reading fluency skills, reading comprehension, written expression, mathematics calculation, and mathematics problem solving. We would like to suggest some revisions to these eight categories.

Inclusion of oral language. More recent research related to oral language has led to an increased understanding of disorders specifically related to language (i.e., Developmental Language Disorders). Developmental Language Disorders (DLD) affect both oral expression and listening comprehension, two areas included in the IDEA definition of SLD. By continuing to include oral language (oral expression and listening comprehension) in the SLD definition, it creates confusion due to the overlap between the diagnostic categories of SLD and developmental language disorders (DLD).

Clearly weaknesses in oral language affect academic learning but these difficulties may often be better categorized as DLD, rather than SLD. High comorbidity exists between DLD and SLD but they are distinct disorders that require different interventions. In many cases, students who have SLD, but no other disorders, have a discrepancy between their average or above average oral language and one or more areas of academic performance.

Therefore, SLD seems to be best reserved for specific problems in the academic domains of reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), and mathematics (dyscalculia).  When a student is struggling with reading comprehension, math applications and problem solving, or written expression, it can be difficult to determine when such difficulties are the result of a more global language disorder or rooted in weakness in cognitive processes such as working memory. Furthermore, SLD in these academic domains can also impact other areas, such as poor reading contributing to math problem solving, as well as the impact that SLD can have on a student’s social and emotional learning.

The category of written expression. As with categories of reading and mathematics, the area of written expression needs to include both written expression and basic writing skills. Students who have dysgraphia who struggle with handwriting and spelling often do not qualify for SLD as their ability to express their ideas in writing is not impaired. Also, a student with dyslexia, who has had systematic reading intervention, may have average scores in reading, but still demonstrate a significant weakness in spelling and require intervention.

As an example, consider the following writing sample from Aaron in Figure 1, a bright sixth-grade student, who has average reading scores. Aaron did not qualify for special education services, as the multidisciplinary committee concluded his difficulties were with basic writing skills, not with written expression. This writing sample demonstrates Aaron’s SLD in written expression (dysgraphia) and his need for systematic instruction in basic writing skills.

Writing Sample: Mystical Creatures. Hi My name is fred. I'm the most unuique mystical creature in the planit. Becos I can travle throw time demnchins. And I have the body of a gala and the weings and tell of a draggen, the demchin I lev in is cold the land of mystical creatures. One day me and my wife talk about doing sum time traveling. Wee did not now wer we wanted to travle to so we lokt at the map's we hade. Her is one I holld Julie call out wht is it I ask. She brot it ove and it red planit erth. I thot about it and I relized we have never vizzated this planit. And that is wen the trable began.
Figure 1. Aaron’s Writing Sample

The category of mathematics. Additionally, we need to reconsider what is emphasized with respect to mathematics and the construct and evaluation of SLD. Currently, mathematics calculation (fact retrieval and computation) and mathematics problem solving (operationalized as word problems) are included in the definition. Although important, these areas are an incomplete representation of the mathematics curriculum and what is understood about the learning of mathematics and students with SLD in mathematics.

For a broader perspective, these two areas in the definition could be replaced with four categories: Number Sense, Mathematics Processes/Practices (used for problem solving), Mathematical Fluency (accuracy, efficiency, and strategy), and Mathematical Visual-Spatial Abilities. These four areas represent a more comprehensive treatment of mathematics that includes not only “calculation” and “problem-solving” but also the additional areas that get at the “what” of math (content), the “how” of math (doing math), and the “why” of math (conceptual understanding). Students who struggle in these areas can illustrate “symptoms” of a SLD in mathematics that can then be verified by an evaluation of relevant cognitive processing areas such as verbal working memory and visual-spatial processing that relate to math disabilities (Soares. et al., 2017), setting the stage for a robust way to determine patterns of strengths and weaknesses that can inform intervention.

Alternatively, the definitions and explanations of mathematics calculation and mathematics problem solving could be revised to better capture the breadth of mathematical deficits that are characteristic of SLD.

Three Procedures for Identifying SLD

The final concern about IDEA 2004 requirements are the three procedures that may be used to diagnose SLD: (1) the identification of a significant discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement; (2) the use of other alternative research-based procedures, most often operationalized as a pattern of strengths and weaknesses (PSW) approach; and (3) a student’s response to evidence-based intervention, often referred to as response to intervention (RTI).

While an important process in determining which students are in need of a comprehensive evaluation, RTI should not be included as a way to diagnose SLD. There are many reasons why a student would not respond to a specific intervention and only one of the reasons is they have SLD. Whereas the first two procedures include the evaluation of targeted assessment data, both quantitative and qualitative, the RTI process often does not. RTI’s definition of SLD is not in alignment with the definitions of SLD outlined in major diagnostic manuals and seems best described as a school-wide framework for identifying and providing support to all struggling learners, regardless of the existence of a disability (Mather & Schneider, 2023). 

Although problems exist with both, the other two criteria make sense. The ability-achievement discrepancy is an attempt to capture the unexpectedness of the adequate intelligence compared to the low achievement and may have utility in the evaluation of twice-exceptional students (Pennington et al., 2019). The PSW approach is an attempt to operationalize the concept of specificity and demonstrates that not all of the individual’s abilities are low, only the ones that are related to the disorder. While there are critics for all of these approaches with credible concerns, a PSW approach is most consistent with our past and current understanding of SLD.


Two basic concepts that are common among most definitions and have endured over time regarding SLD are: a specific pattern of strengths and weaknesses and unexpected learning failure (Kavale & Spaulding, 2008). Although formal assessment can provide useful quantitative and qualitative information, clearly the diagnosis of SLD involves more than just interpreting a student’s performance on standardized tests. For an accurate diagnosis, the evaluation team must also consider any previous diagnoses or comorbid disorders, such as DLD or ADHD; family history (e.g., any close relatives with SLD); school history and prior interventions; teacher, parent, and self-reports; social and emotional concerns; and current classroom performance. Because of the overlap among reading, writing, and mathematics disabilities, evaluators will want to consider comorbidity when one or the other is determined to exist. 

Students with SLD exist and the category needs to be maintained as it is different than other types of disabilities. In discussing the dedication of their book, Stanger and Donahue (1937) said: “There are many poor readers among very bright children, who, because they are poor readers, are considered less keen than their classmates. This book should really be dedicated to the thousands of bright children thus misjudged” (p. 43).  We cannot overlook the educational needs of these children.


Carpenter, T. P., Fennema, E., Peterson, P. L., Chiang, C. P., & Loef, M. (1989). Using knowledge of children’s mathematics thinking in classroom teaching: An experimental study. American Educational Research Journal26(4), 499-531.

Dennis, M. S., Calhoon, M. B., Olson, C. L., & Williams, C. (2014). Using computation curriculum-based measurement probes for error pattern analysis. Intervention in School and Clinic49(5), 281-289.

Gallagher, J. J. (1966). Children with developmental imbalances: A psychoeducational definition. In W. M. Cruickshank (Ed.), The teacher of brain-injured children (pp. 23-43). Syracuse University Press.

Hinshelwood, J. (1902b). Four cases of word-blindness. The Lancet, 159(4093), 358–363.

Hinshelwood, J. (1917). Congenital word-blindness. Lewis.

Hwang, J., & Riccomini, P. J. (2021). A descriptive analysis of the error patterns observed in the fraction-computation solution pathways of students with and without learning disabilities. Assessment for Effective Intervention46(2), 132-142.

Kavale, K. A., & Forness, S. R. (2000). What definitions of learning disability say and don’t say. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33, 239-256.

Kavale, K. A., & Spaulding, L. S. (2008). Is response to intervention good policy for specific learning disability? Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 23, 169-179.

Mather, N., & Gregg, N. (2006). Specific learning disabilities: Clarifying, not eliminating, a construct. Professional Psychology, 37, 99-106.

Mather, N., & Schneider, D. (2023). The use of cognitive tests in the assessment of dyslexia. Journal of Intelligence, 11, 79.

Moyer, P. S., & Milewicz, E. (2002). Learning to question: Categories of questioning used by preservice teachers during diagnostic mathematics interviews. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education5, 293-315.

Monroe, M. (1932). Children who cannot read. University of Chicago Press.

Morgan, W. Pringle. (1896). Word blindness. British Medical Journal, 2, 1378. 

Pennington, B. F., McGrath, L. M., & Peterson, R. L. (2019). Diagnosing learning disorders: From science to practice (3rd ed.). Guilford.

Shaywitz, S., & Shaywitz, J. (2020). Overcoming dyslexia (2nd ed.). Alfred A. Knopf.

Soares, N., Evans, T., & Patel, D. R. (2018). Specific learning disability in mathematics: a comprehensive review. Translational Pediatrics7(1), 48.

Stanger, M. A., & Donohue, E. K. (1937). Prediction and prevention of reading difficulties. Oxford University Press.Travis, L. E. (1935). Intellectual factors. In G. M. Whipple (Ed.), The thirty-fourth yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education: Educational diagnosis (pp. 37-47). Public School Publishing Company.

Travis, L. E. (1935). Intellectual factors. In G. M. Whipple (Ed.), The thirty-fourth yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education: Educational diagnosis (pp. 37-47). Public School Publishing Company.


Nancy Mather is a Professor Emerita at the University of Arizona. She studied with the late Dr. Samuel Kirk, who is often referred to as the father of the field of learning disabilities. She is a co-author of two recent publications, Essentials of Dyslexia: Assessment and Intervention, 2nd ed.(Mather & Wendling, 2024) and the Tests of Dyslexia (Mather, McCallum, Bell, & Wendling, 2024).

Monica McHale-Small, Ph.D. is Director of Education for the Learning Disabilities Association of America. She retired after twenty-seven years of service in public education in Pennsylvania having served as a school psychologist and in various administrative roles including district superintendent. Monica has been an Adjunct Associate Professor of School Psychology at Temple University.

David Allsopp is a professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Learning’s Exceptional Student Education program.  David engages in Teacher Education research related to how teacher educators can most effectively prepare teachers to address the needs of students with learning disabilities and other struggling students especially in the area of mathematics.

Sarah van Ingen-Lauer is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of South Florida where she co-directs the innovative and nationally recognized Urban Teacher Residency Partnership Program. Dr. van Ingen Lauer collaborates with Dr. Allsopp to enhance teacher effectiveness with students with learning disabilities in mathematics.

Apply to Be a Guest on the LDA Podcast

We are always on the lookout for the next great LDA Podcast guest. If you know, or are that person, then please submit the form below so we can contact you with the next steps!

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Meet Our Members: Meet Lisa Rogers!

Tell us about yourself!

I am a single mom of 3 and a grandparent of 3. I have worked in Special Education for the past 25 years. I have taught adjunct for 10 years in developmental reading and writing courses as well. I believe teaching is my calling. Daily, I strive to answer that call at work. I’m a Baylor Bear fan and currently live in Waco, TX. I enjoy reading novels with a fun book club. I also enjoy attending conferences and presenting at them as well. In my spare time, you can find me in my flower beds and in my yard working hard. I enjoy church with my family and playing fun games. I love to have fun and make people laugh. I am completing two books currently: So You Wanna Teach? and the ABCs of Teaching. 

What’s a fun fact about you?

I currently serve as the Texas Association for Alternative Education President. I have been actively involved in alternative education and the organization for the past two decades. 

Why did you become a member of LDA?

I love to stay busy and abreast of the current trends and challenges in education. I feel that being a special needs specialist helps me to advocate for special needs learners in my district as well as support their families. I want to take an active role in all that I do in education. I believe wholeheartedly that we have to actively work together to bring about positive change in education for all learners, but especially special needs learners. We should never leave one child behind. 

Meet our Members: Meet Pam Cusick!

Tell us about yourself!

I’m a research professional with expertise in research study design, implementation, and analysis. My background in public health communications and research, coupled with a passion for patient advocacy, were a great match with the Rare Patient Voice (RPV) mission and vision, and I’ve been with the company for almost eight years. I’m dedicated to helping people to share their opinions and experiences with decision-makers, which can have a major impact on others living with their disease as well as those down the road. It’s always a treat to meet people at in-person events and hear their stories of taking part in healthcare research. As Senior Vice President of RPV, I work on the company’s continued growth and success, with a focus on client services and business development, and oversight of patient outreach, panel management, and marketing. I’m also a wife, mom, daughter, and friend, and I really enjoy mentoring other women in the research community.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I’m a superfan of the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz. In fact, several years ago I dressed as Dorothy for Halloween, while RPV President Wes Michael went as the Scarecrow!

Why did you become a member of LDA?

I became a member of LDA for both personal and professional reasons. One of my two sons lives with hearing loss and learning disabilities, so I know very well about the challenges he has faced, which has spurred me to advocacy. This includes raising awareness of the issues people living with learning disabilities face, such as neurodiversity and accommodations in the workplace (which I presented on at this year’s LDA conference). Wearing my RPV hat, it’s important to spread the word about how we connect people with opportunities to take part in paid research studies. We welcome all members of the learning disabilities community to sign up with us at:

Meet Our Members: Meet Elizabeth Hamblet!

Elizabeth Hamblet is the author of 7 Steps to College Success: A Pathway For Students with Disabilities, and is a college learning disabilities specialist. Elizabeth is an LDA member to support research and advocacy for individuals with learning disabilities. 

Learn more about Elizabeth in the video below!

LDA’s 2023 Year in Review

Thanks to the generosity, dedication, and advocacy of our LDA Community we have achieved significant accomplishments in 2023, and we are excited to share some of the milestones we’ve reached together this year. 

We look forward to working with our amazing supporters, members, and donors in 2024 as we continue to strive for a more equitable society for all learners. 

Our 60th Annual Conference

We celebrated 60 years of LDA conferences at our 60th Annual International Conference in Las Vegas. LDACON60 provided 140+ sessions on a wide range of learning disability topics, including the latest research, evidence-based practices, advocacy strategies, strategies for the classroom, and much more. 

Be sure to join us for LDACON61 this February in Orlando, Florida, for another outstanding LDA conference!

The World Literacy Summit

This year, LDA was honored to be a part of the World Literacy Summit in Oxford. The World Literacy Summit brings together leaders from 85 countries with a single focus: advocating, championing, and educating on the vital importance of improving literacy levels across the globe. 

As many learning disabilities are disabilities impacting reading, LDA was eager to raise international awareness for LD. Our Education Director, Dr. Monica McHale-Small, presented on LDA’s Learning Disability Assessment Standards, and discussed comprehensive evaluation, accurate diagnosis, and effective intervention. 

Assessment Principles and Standards

In August of 2023, LDA and an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners partnered to develop new SLD Evaluation Principles and Standards in response to alarming achievement gaps between students with learning disabilities and their non-disabled peers.  

The purpose of these standards is to guide best practices for the evaluation and identification of specific learning disabilities. This research paper serves as a valuable resource for educators, psychologists, policymakers, and anyone interested in enhancing the quality of education and support for individuals with specific learning disabilities.


To celebrate six decades of grassroots support and advocacy for individuals with learning disabilities, we’ve shared the story of the Learning Disabilities Association of America in a documentary60 Years of Learning Disabilities Advocacy: Celebrating Progress, Inspiring Change. 

The documentary features past and present LDA members who discuss the origin of LDA, and how we’re carrying on the essential work of advocating for individuals with disabilities today. 

Executive Function Seminar

In October in Pittsburgh, LDA hosted a two-day seminar on executive functioning for educators that featured Dr. George McCloskey, a professor and Director of School Psychology Research in the School of Professional and Applied Psychology of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

This interactive workshop was based on Dr. McCloskey’s 25 years of research and experience in the field, and helped participants to gain a deeper understanding of executive function deficits, and how these deficits impact the behavior and academic production of children and adolescents. 

The training also gave participants evidence-based methods to help their students improve the use of their executive functions. 

Math Forum

LDA hosted a virtual international math forum that brought together 17 experts from the fields of cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, school psychology, psychological assessment, special education, and mathematics education. 

The well-attended forum discussed the latest advances in each of these fields, and how these advances can improve our work in the classroom and beyond. The forum participants plan to continue to meet and discuss the latest research on best practices for math instruction, disabilities impacting math, and more.

Quick LDA 2023 Statistics:

Nominate an Adult with LD for our Harrison Sylvester Award!

This prestigious 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.

Harrison Sylvester was a strong voice in the field of learning disabilities, and it is LDA’s wish to thank, in his name, an adult with learning disabilities who is carrying on this work today.

To nominate someone for the 2024 Harrison Sylvester Award, simply fill out the form below, include a brief description of how learning disabilities have affected their life, and include a one-page description of the work the individual has done. The nominee for this award must be a person with learning disabilities who has shown a significant commitment and dedication to adults with learning disabilities.

The deadline to submit is December 13th, 2023. The winner will receive their award at our 61st Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida in February.