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60 Years of Learning Disabilities Advocacy: Celebrating Progress, Inspiring Change

In our new documentary, learn more about the origins of LDA, and how we’re carrying on the essential work of advocating for individuals with learning disabilities today.

To celebrate six decades of grassroots support and advocacy for individuals with learning disabilities, we’re sharing the story of the Learning Disabilities Association of America. Journey back to 1963 with us, when a concerned group of parents came together to discuss the dire need for services for their children, and where Dr. Samuel Kirk, ‘the father of learning disabilities,’ created and used the term ‘learning disabilities’ for the very first time. That coalition became the Learning Disabilities Association, and from then onward, we fought to expand and protect the rights of individuals with learning disabilities and pushed for learning disabilities to become universally understood.

LDA was there to help pass key legislation like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensuring that students with learning disabilities receive the educational support needed for successful learning. Hear from past and present LDA volunteers and employees about the 60 year impact of LDA’s work, and learn how LDA continues to support all individuals with learning disabilities through education and advocacy.

Get the transcript for the documentary here.


Registration is Open for LDACON61!

Educators, professionals, adults with LD, parents, and students, as we celebrate our 61st Annual International Conference, we’re keenly aware that this conference is all about YOU! Our attendees, our speakers, our sponsors and our colleagues come together to network, learn, have a bit of fun, and then take home what we’ve learned to continue to support, educate and advocate for individuals with learning disabilities.

Our conference includes fantastic speakers, three amazing keynote speakers and our exhibit hall, with some of the best schools, products, technology and supports for individuals with learning disabilities all in one room. Connect with vendors, learn more about topics of interest and network with colleagues from across the world – all in beautiful Orlando. We can’t wait to see you there!

For more guidance on how to register for LDACON61 using our conference platform, watch this walk-through video. Reach out to us at with any difficulties, and we’ll be happy to help!

Book Your Room!

Our conference and all official events will take place at the Renaissance Orlando Hotel at SeaWorld. Book your room at the Renaissance through our hotel block!


LDA Publishes SLD Evaluation Principles and Standards

The Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) announces the publication of a groundbreaking research paper titled “Specific Learning Disabilities Evaluation Principles and Standards.”  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. The standards will guide professionals in developing a comprehensive evaluation and written report that describes the nature of the specific learning disability, the area and levels of impairment, and specific considerations for practitioners to develop individualized interventions designed to meet the unique academic, linguistic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of the student. 

“The LDA SLD Evaluation Principles and Standards represent an interdisciplinary and international research-to-practice lens, to provide the LD field guidance in implementing a comprehensive whole-child approach to the SLD evaluation connected to informed individualized instruction/intervention for struggling learners,” said Dr. David Allsop, a co-author of the research paper.  

The SLD Evaluation is guided by seven foundational principles; the SLD Evaluation is 1) interdisciplinary, 2) research-informed, 3) consequently valid, 4) dynamic and iterative, 5) whole-child focused, 6) strengths-based, and 7) universally benevolent. LDA believes these principles serve as a foundation for establishing a common ethos among stakeholders with respect to the SLD evaluation and its connection to practice. 

Dr. Elsa Cardenas-Hagan, one of the authors of the research paper, stated “The LDA Assessment Standards serve as a roadmap for accurate diagnosis of learning disabilities, among all students including English learners/Emergent Bilinguals.”

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.

Meet Our Members: Meet Jennifer Strong!

Tell us about yourself!

I’m Jennifer Strong, born and raised in a quaint Alaskan fishing village. Despite my Alaskan roots, my parents originally came from California. My upbringing was deeply rooted in a family of medical professionals, offering me a firsthand glimpse into the world of caregiving. Witnessing my father’s exceptional dedication to serving others left a lasting impression.

My academic journey began at the University of the Pacific, where I laid the foundation for my future pursuits. Currently, I am actively pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology, specializing in Public Policy and Law, with a deep commitment to advancing the field of School Psychology. Today, I am the proud owner of Cognitive Diagnostic Associates. Our primary focus is conducting psychoeducational assessments for students and offering unwavering support to families navigating the complexities of the IEP process.

The motivation behind starting this business stemmed from a profound need within our educational system. Additionally, my own children faced challenges within the public schools, underscoring the need for more comprehensive support. We are genuinely excited to make a difference and extend our assistance to communities in need. Furthermore, we take immense pride in our membership with the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

What’s a fun fact about you?

One fascinating aspect of my life relates to my hometown, Seldovia, Alaska, a quaint village nestled amidst the wilderness with a mere 300 residents. In our remote corner of the world, we had a distinct feature: nine payphones scattered across town. Seldovia’s isolation meant that reaching our community required either a flight or a boat journey, making our mode of communication truly unique.

During my carefree days playing outside with friends, there were moments when I needed my father to pick me up. To conserve our precious dimes, we devised an ingenious Morse code-like system for communication by pressing the payphone buttons. You see, my father couldn’t hear me until a dime was inserted. A single click conveyed “no,” while two clicks meant “yes.” My dad would diligently work his way through all nine payphones, systematically asking, “Are you at the airport? Are you at the post office? Are you at the city dock?” until he pinpointed my location. Once I signaled “yes,” he’d swiftly come to collect me.

This unique childhood experience nurtured my capacity to think creatively, akin to what School Psychologists term “Fluid reasoning abilities.” It instilled in me the ability to adapt and critically assess situations. Now, it’s time to “payphone” it forward and give back to the community that saved me countless dimes. I eagerly look forward to supporting not only my local community, including Learning Disabilities Association of America but also the cherished Alaskan community of my youth, a place I am incredibly proud to call home.

Why did you become a member of LDA?

I joined LDA with the goal of fostering a sense of community and raising awareness about special education, learning disabilities, and the vital support available to those in need. Through our platform on the website, we aim to unite people and highlight the diverse array of resources within the realm of special education. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to build a supportive community and connect families with this incredible organization.

Our company’s core mission revolves around this commitment, firmly believing that every individual deserves equitable support and access to the resources they require.

Help Students Improve Their Use of Executive Functions in the Classroom

Join our 2 day seminar featuring Dr. George McCloskey

October 30-31, 8:30am – 3:30pm

Helping Students Improve Their Use of Executive Functions in the Classroom. With Dr. George McCloskey, October 30-October 31, 2023, RLA Learning and Conference Center, just outside of Pittsburgh, PA. 12 Act 48 Credits Provided!

Join us for a 2 day in-person seminar featuring 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.

Join us at the RLA Learning and Conference Center, just outside of Pittsburgh, on October 30th and 31st. 12 Act 48 credits will be available.

Course Description

This course will help participants gain a deeper understanding of executive functions and how executive function deficits impact the behavior and academic production of children and adolescents. Participants will gain state-of-the-art knowledge of evidence-based methods to help children and adolescents improve their use of executive functions. Ways to discuss executive functions with children, parents and other school staff will be offered, as well as ways to help motivate children and adolescents to ensure their full participation in efforts to help them.

Special emphasis will be placed on how to orient students to intervention efforts and help them move from being externally controlled to internally self-regulated through the use of bridging strategies. Case study examples of assessment and intervention efforts and outcomes with children and adolescents will be discussed throughout the presentation. Participants will leave this workshop energized and with a renewed sense of purpose, a greater knowledge of how to improve executive functions, and a greater realization of how they can have a positive effect on the children, parents and professionals with whom they work.

Course Objectives – participants will be able to:

  • Describe a comprehensive model of executive functions
  • Describe and apply orienting strategies that help students identify challenges, set goals for improvement, and identify strategies to use to make improvements
  • Describe and apply strategies that use external control to help a student function more effectively in school settings
  • Describe and apply strategies that help students bridge the gap between being externally controlled and being internally self-regulated
  • Describe and apply strategies that enable students to improve their use of internally self-regulated strategies to improve their functioning in school settings
  • Explain the difference between learning difficulties and producing difficulties
  • Identify and access sources of information about evidence-based methods that can be used to strengthen student’s awareness of when and how to self-regulate
  • Identify and access sources of information about evidence-based programs that foster executive function development and/or remediate difficulties

Intended Audience

  • All Teachers, Special Educators, School Administrators
  • School Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists
  • Learning Specialists, Counselors, Academic Support Staff
  • other professionals who work with children and adolescents in grades PreK-12

George McCloskey, Ph.D., is a professor and Director of School Psychology Research in the School of Applied and Professional Psychology of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and holds Diplomate status with the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology. Dr. McCloskey has amassed 40 years of experience in test development, teaching, research, and assessment and intervention work. The content of the workshop is based on the past 25 years of his research and experience working specifically with children, adolescents and adults exhibiting executive function difficulties. He frequently presents at international, national and state conferences on cognitive and neuropsychological assessment and intervention topics and consults with a number of school districts and private schools nationwide on issues related to improving students’ executive capacities. 

Dr. McCloskey is the lead author of the books Assessment and Intervention for Executive Function Difficulties and Essentials of Executive Functions Assessment and his most recent writing on interventions for executive functions and executive skills difficulties appears in Chapter 10 of the book Essentials of Planning, Selecting, and Tailoring Interventions for Unique Learners (2014). He also is the author of the McCloskey Executive Functions Scales (MEFS) Teacher (2016) and Parent (2019) Forms that have been standardized and published with Schoolhouse Educational Services and the author of the McCloskey Social-Emotional Learning Scales (Parent and Teacher Forms in press).  Dr. McCloskey is co-author with his wife, Laurie McCloskey of the children’s book titled The Day Frankie Left His Frontal Lobes at Home (2021).  

This workshop is $99 per individual to attend.

RLA Learning and Conference Center

850 Cranberry Wood Drive
Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania 16066
United States

Register for Helping Students Improve Their Executive Functioning in the Classroom

A Two Day Teacher Seminar with Dr. George McCloskey

Meet our Members: Meet Mitch Beres!

Meet our Members, Meet Mitch Beres

Tell us about yourself!

I am a retired business executive and am currently the President of the Learning Disabilities Association of Virginia. I went to college at SUNY Cortland NY and received my Masters from the NY Institute of Technology. I am married and have three children.  The younger two have learning disabilities. Thus, my experience and any expertise are that of a parent.

Why did you become an LDA Member?

When my two younger children were in grammar school, we started to notice certain difficulties in learning. The school provided a little insight but no real answers. My wife, who studied journalism, is an avid researcher. There really is not anything she will not investigate. In her endeavors she learned about and joined LDA and began to utilize them for knowledge, ideas, recommendations and essentially how to manage our way through this process. 

LDA provided an immense amount of information that we utilized.  My wife’s efforts, along with LDA’s information helped to set the course we would follow, leaving no stone unturned. As a result, the two younger children were able to graduate from Hofstra University. As a result, in a way of giving back, I am now a volunteer and President of LDA of Virginia.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I love to cook.  I first learned to do basic cooking as a teenager.  My mother worked and she would have us start dinner as she came home from work. This developed into doing the cooking for my roommates in junior and senior year in college. Overtime I developed a joy for cooking and loved trying new and different dishes. This has grown into trying all different national cuisines. My wife is the perfect partner. As noted above, she is an avid researcher and would even read a cookbook. She finds many different opportunities across the spectrum; we discuss it and then I give it a whirl. We love the variety and as luck would have it our children have also developed quite the palate.

Meet our Members: Meet Dr. Lisa Rutner!

Tell us about yourself!

I earned my bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies in 2009, which was 30 years after I graduated from high school. I earned my master’s degree in 2013 in Special Education and my Ed.D. in 2018, also in Special Education. The reason why I share this is because I want others to know it is never too late to follow your dreams. 

What’s a fun fact about you?

The best vacation I ever took was a three-week motorcycle trip from Florida to Nova Scotia. Yes, I owned a motorcycle and drove it the entire trip. We had no hotel reservations but a destination of Nova Scotia. Having no set plans and the open roads provided us with the best way to travel. We entered Canada through upstate NY. We rode into Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. We rode on ferries and through a lot of mountains.

Why did you become a member of LDA?

As a child, I struggled with undiagnosed learning disabilities (that still haunt me today). At the time, there were little to no resources, and my parents were told that there was nothing wrong with me, that I was just lazy. At the time, nobody discovered my processing deficits and lack of decoding knowledge, which made reading extremely challenging. Since returning to college and earning my degrees, I learned that I do have a learning disability. I have learned how to overcompensate for my learning disabilities. It is my desire to help others learn how to overcome their learning disabilities and reach their full potential.

Register for Learning Evaluations for Adults

Meet our Members: Meet Keitha Osborne!

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Keitha Ava Marie Osborne. I am a passionate and committed educator with over 30 years of experience in the educational system. I have a keen interest in all aspects of students’ development with a particular focus on children with special needs and the use of technological resources that support the inclusion of all students. My aim is positively contribute to the training and empowerment of not just future educators, but also parents and other stakeholders to be able to embrace, engage in and foster inclusion at all levels for students with varied abilities.

I am currently serving as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Special Education at The Mico University College. I have worked in the USA as a media specialist, reading coach, and family and consumer teacher. It was while teaching in the USA my interest in special education began, and I attended Fayetteville State University where I did some courses at the master’s level in Special Education K-12 (Specific Learning Disabilities). 

I hold an MSc in  Educational Media and an Ed.D in Special Education from Nova Southeastern University, Davie, Florida. I also have a Dip. Ed in Technical Teacher Education and a B.Ed in Home Economics from the University of Technology, Jamaica.

I have co-authored a book chapter entitled, Educators Coming Together to Empower Learners, Families, and Teachers in Developing Culturally Responsive/Sustaining Postsecondary Transition Plans During COVID-19. 

What’s a fun fact about you?

I enjoy traveling and shopping. I am a bargain and coupon shopper. I enjoy smiling and listening to the rain.

Why did you become a member of LDA?

I have been a LDA member for three main reasons:

I was diagnosed as having a specific learning disability, so I wanted to learn more about this condition.

I wrote and taught a 45-hour course on teaching students with learning disabilities, so I ensured I was aligned with the latest resources in this area.

Lastly, I want to do more in the area of advocating for persons with learning disabilities (LD) as individuals with LD have average or above-average intelligence so most times these students are misunderstood.

Celebrating Young Advocates: Meet Elina Csapo!

As heard on the LDA Podcast.

Elina Csapo is a rising high school senior with apraxia who created Young Able Voices, a peer-to-peer support group for children and teens with hidden disabilities. Elina talks about overcoming bullying, the power of a community of support, the importance of being your true, authentic self, and more! 

Learn more about Young Able Voices at: 

Read the Transcript:

Lauren Clouser [00:00:06]:

Welcome to the LDA podcast. a series by the Learning Disabilities Association of America. Our podcast is dedicated to exploring topics of intro to educators, individuals of learning disabilities, parents, and professionals to work towards our goal of creating a more equitable world.

Lauren Clouser [00:00:23]:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the LDA podcast. I’m here today with Elina Csapo. She’s the founder of Young Able Voices, a safe space for kids with hidden disabilities to connect. So, Elina, thank you so much for being here.

Elina Csapo [00:00:35]:

Thanks. I’m so happy to be here.

Lauren Clouser [00:00:37]:

So could you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?

Elina Csapo [00:00:41]:

So, I’m 17. I live in New Jersey, and this September, I will be a senior. I was adopted from Khabarovsk, Russia, when I was about two and a half years old. My favorite subject is history, and I really enjoy some of my Latin classes. I love playing field hockey, rock climbing, golf, and I have to say I have never been to an ice cream shop that I have not liked.

Lauren Clouser [00:01:15]:

Sounds like you have a lot of good hobbies too to keep you busy. So, could you start off by telling us a little bit about what apraxia is, and then maybe we can dive into your journey with apraxia?

Elina Csapo [00:01:27]:

Yeah. So childhood apraxia of speech is a neurological speech disorder. So how I explain it to people is just a connection between my brain and mouth that doesn’t always connect very well, but it isn’t the strongest. So I was diagnosed when I was about four years old. When I was five, my mom met with literacy experts. And after that meeting, they told her that I was actually never going to be able to read, and I was destined to be a C student. Hearing that, my mom was, like, heartbroken and crying for weeks. When I was younger, a lot of teachers underestimated me. However, because I have such an amazing mom, she pushed me and kept giving me words of encouragement and pushed me to my limits. And I can say that I can read, and I am an A average student.

Lauren Clouser [00:02:41]:

That’s amazing. And it’s so great that your mom’s able to support you in that way. So could you tell us a little bit about some of the day to day challenges that you experience with apraxia?

Elina Csapo [00:02:52]:

So, when I was younger, it definitely was a lot more challenges that I faced, but now as a high school student, I struggle with word recall, I explain it to some that it’s like, my grandparents, old people, they have trouble with coming up with words, so that is something I struggle with on a day to day basis. And then sometimes sounds blur together, especially if I’m tired or it’s late at night. Sometimes like my ‘S’s or ‘SH’s blur together.

Lauren Clouser [00:03:42]:

So what is something that you wish that more people knew about apraxia?

Elina Csapo [00:03:47]:

So my dream for apraxia is for it to be known just as much as dyslexia is known. But I think when I tell people, oh, yeah, it’s a neurological disorder, people sometimes underestimate the intelligence thinking, oh, it has something to do with the intelligence. And that’s kind of what, like, the speech experts start. So I think one thing I would want people to know about, it has nothing to do with your intelligence, and don’t underestimate the kids with apraxia.

Lauren Clouser [00:04:30]:

Yeah. That’s a really important message, but they aren’t necessarily limited in the way that your speech experts thought.

Elina Csapo [00:04:36]:

Yeah, and like, their ability to not like…they have the ability to learn just like anyone’s kid. It’s just hard for them to speak or share their ideas.

Lauren Clouser [00:04:49]:

Well, and then I was watching the introduction video on your website, And in it you mentioned, you know, going through, feeling unheard and alone with your apraxia, could you talk to us a little bit about that?

Elina Csapo [00:05:02]:

So when I was younger, no one really understood. I understood that I sounded different because of a speech disorder. So no one could really understand me, and it was hard for me to make friends. And for years, I didn’t know that…I was the only one with apraxia. So I couldn’t really connect with anyone or know that, oh, I’m not, like, the only person who has apraxia or going through a hidden disability.

Lauren Clouser [00:05:45]:

Yeah. That’s really true. So you would also mention some experiences with bullies. Unfortunately, you know, that’s something that we hear about quite a bit. So could you talk a little bit about how that impacted you? And do you have any advice for students who might be going through some bullying right now?

Elina Csapo [00:06:02]:

So I can remember bullying from kindergarten to 8th grade. It wasn’t like every single day, but it was a part of my experience growing up. So reflecting back, I don’t really have a grudge on the kids when I was younger in elementary or intermediate school, as I honestly feel like they didn’t know what they were doing. They didn’t understand. However, middle school is a little bit different story. So one experience in middle school, it was the first marking period, and there was this kid who, I will just call ‘A’, who kept making fun of how I sounded, saying like, ‘why do you sound so different?’ ‘You should go back to where you came from,’ or just really hurtful words and comments, and, like, ‘No one can understand you,’ trying to push me down. And I didn’t tell the teacher or my mom for a while, as I thought I could handle it. And I’ve handled other cases, but, also, I kind of felt like it was common. I was like, I expected that. At that point, I expected someone making comments like that, but eventually it just became too much. And one time I came home, and I told my mom, I’m about to punch this kid if he makes one more comment. I wouldn’t really punch, but I was very angry and hurt. And my mom immediately reached out to the principal to the teacher. And the next day, the teacher pulled me aside and said that he was going to fix this. And so that was a really impactful experience as I realized that I don’t deserve to expect that people will make mean comments. I expect a human respect, decency. And so from then on, when I get mean comments, which I didn’t get many, bullying is banned, but I just told the teacher. And unfortunately the next year I lost a friend that I thought I had. But yeah. So always expect, demand to get human decency and respect.

Lauren Clouser [00:09:02]:

That’s great advice. I really love that. and again, I’m sorry you went through that, but I think that’s such a good message to share with people that you know, you don’t deserve that, and you should reach out. Well, switching gears here a little bit. Could you tell us about Young Able Voices?

Elina Csapo [00:09:18]:

So Young Able Voices is a nonprofit organization, got papers filled out earlier this summer, so it’s a peer-to-peer support group for kids and teens with hidden disabilities to connect with one another, via zoom or online to know that they aren’t alone and that their future is bright.

Lauren Clouser [00:09:44]:

That’s great because it sounds like community is so important, to helping people know that they’re not alone. Yeah. So could you talk a little bit about why you decided to create Young Able Voices? It sounds like your own experience really shaped a lot of that.

Elina Csapo [00:09:59]:

Yeah. So I will try to do the short version.

Lauren Clouser [00:10:03]:


Elina Csapo [00:10:05]:

As it’s quite an interesting, story. Right before the pandemic I was in 8th grade, and my speech teacher told me that I graduated speech. And for me, for the longest time, that was something I was wishing and hoping for. It was this huge fantasy of mine that once I was done speech, I wanted a big giant cake, I wanted a banner, I wanted a whole celebration and be done with that. But apraxia is the gift that keeps on giving, and you can never fully get rid of apraxia. So during my sophomore year, I realized that I needed to go back to speech due to word recall. I was really struggling with that. And having that frustration, that realization…because I always thought if I work hard on something, I would overcome it. But with apraxia, as much as I work hard, it won’t ever go away. So that was a big realization for me. And, so I wanted to talk to people about it. And I thought I would find a support group, because my mom was a part of many support groups on Facebook. Unfortunately, I couldn’t I didn’t find any. And I still had that frustration. And I even tried, my school offered this literary magazine thing, and I wrote about my apraxia and submitted it. Unfortunately it didn’t get published, but it was a really good way to get my anger out. But this is the funny part of it. So I was going, near the end of my sophomore year, I was going on my first date. And I realized that I could not say my date’s name. It had 2 ‘R’s in it, my nemesis, and so I called up my speech teacher and we practiced it for 10 minutes and it went good. So as a thank you, my mom sent her the piece I wrote about my apraxia. So, like, 3 hours later, I get an email from a teacher from my school wanting to have lunch with me. At first, it was like, oh gosh, what happened? Well apparently, my speech teacher sent it to her colleague, and her colleagues sent it to the parents they work with, and one of them was a teacher at my school. So her daughter just got diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech. And she wanted to know what her future would be like. And that’s what really changed it all for me. After that conversation, I came home, I told my mom about it. And I told her, why isn’t there a support group for people to connect? Like, kids, teens, And then she gave me, like, one of her looks and that was ultimately when I decided to try to start something, start a community.

Lauren Clouser [00:13:56]:

That’s awesome. Filling in need that you saw. That’s awesome. Could you talk to us a little bit more about why it’s so important to have this community of support? I think, you know, you touched on it a little earlier when you said it can feel like you’re alone a lot of the time. Could you tell us a little bit about the benefits of having a community of people that understand you?

Elina Csapo [00:14:17]:

So having that community definitely helps you not feel alone, knowing that there are others who are in the same boat as you or was in the same boat, who could offer some pieces of advice. And it helps you really not feel like an outcast, as sometimes I know when I was a girl, and even now sometimes, I feel like an outcast. But with that community, I can be myself, I don’t need to work as hard with my apraxia. I can just relax. And really the community gives love, hope for the future, a lot of empathy and a lot of understanding, and it’s just a place where people can really be their true authentic selves, and not feeling the pressure of trying to fit in or be perfect. As we all know that we are struggling with something, and we have that understanding.

Lauren Clouser [00:15:31]:

Well, and just a little bit more about the group too, is it just for people with apraxia, and what age groups are typically in Young Able Voices?

Elina Csapo [00:15:40]:

So I have a bunch of age groups, so I have from like, 8

Elina Csapo [00:15:48]:

to, like, twelve year olds, around that range, and then I have high schoolers slash middle schoolers. There’s weekly chats. It’s not just for people, kids, or teens with apraxia. It’s for anyone with any hidden disability dyslexia. or any sort of speech disorders, stuttering, all sorts.

Lauren Clouser [00:16:23]:

That’s awesome. So how can those who are interested, how can they start to join in? Do they just go to your website?

Elina Csapo [00:16:31]:

Yeah. So, they can go to, and on my website, as soon as you see, it tells you what Young Able Voices is. And then on the side, there are weekly chats and when you go in, you will select the chat of the week. And for the date and time, there was a link, and there’s going to be a calendar, and you can just click on the dates, that weekly chat and sign up. You can also reach out to me on my email at Elina@youngablevoices or through social media at Young Able Voices on Instagram and Facebook.

Lauren Clouser [00:17:20]:

That’s great. We’ll make sure to include that in the show notes so people can find it easily. And then, Elina, I just have one last question for you. And what are your plans for the future?

Elina Csapo [00:17:33]:

So, in the recent future I am planning a hidden disability summit at my school in mid-October, and planning to do stuff with Young Able Voices, as the 3rd week of October is invisible disability awareness week. And then my further future is going to college.

Lauren Clouser [00:18:05]:

Fantastic. Do you know what you wanna study? What are you gonna do?

Elina Csapo [00:18:10]:

I’m thinking about maybe doing a double major in business in psychology. But really my goal in life, or in my future career, is just to really help people the best I can.

Lauren Clouser [00:18:25]:

Absolutely. And it sounds like you’re already doing that with Young Able Voices. So before we wrap up, I just wanted to ask, is there anything else that you wanna talk about or mention that maybe I didn’t ask a question about?

Elina Csapo [00:18:39]:

Just wanna leave with one little thing. So definitely with my apraxia, I never felt normal. However, normal definitely doesn’t get you to where you will be in the future. So forging your own path, it’s scary, yeah, but it would get you farther in life than trying to fit in with everyone else. And it’s scary, but I will want to encourage people to try to be their best self, be their authentic self.

Lauren Clouser [00:19:26]:

I think that’s a great note to end on.

Elina Csapo [00:19:28]:


Lauren Clouser [00:19:29]:

Well, Elina, thank you so much for being on the show, and thank you so much for creating Young Able Voices where people can have a spot to feel safe and connect with others.

Elina Csapo [00:19:39]:

Thank you. And thank you both so much for inviting me. It was great talking with you.

Lauren Clouser [00:19:50]:

Thank you for listening to the LDA podcast. To learn more about LDA and to get valuable resources and support, visit

Do you know someone who would be a great fit for our ‘Celebrating Young Advocates’ series? Send us an email at for a chance for them to be featured on The LDA Podcast!

Meet our Members: Meet Nichole Fussell!

Tell us about yourself!

Hi, I am Nichole Fussell; I am the Director for Disability Services at Faulkner University. I also am the LDA President for the Alabama chapter.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I was a pole-vaulter in college.

Why did you become a member of LDA?

I became an LDA member when I first got into the field of disability services to learn more about resources in our community and to assist with needs and trainings. I really have learned so much from LDA, especially the resources in my community and the needs of individuals in Alabama.

Our former president Tamara Massey works with Healthy Children and this has really influenced Alabama in educating individuals about environmental factors that can affect children. LDA really helps families to better understand resources and the needs of individuals with learning disabilities.