In This Issue
  • A Word from the President
  • 2018 LDA Annual Conference Speakers and Keynote
  • LDA Action Alert
  • Submit an Award Nomination for 2018
  • LDA's New Privacy Policy
  • Meet the LDA Board Members
  • Attend the Board Meeting on August 4th

A Word from the President 
July 31st  always seemed like the middle of summer. However, for lots of us, it is more like the end of those relaxed days and the beginning of anxious days as school approaches. In Indiana, the starting date for school varies greatly: for some counties, it is August 1st , while others begin on the 9th, the 14th or other days in early August. What this means for parents, teachers, and, most importantly, students, is that planning for school need to happen. As imagined, planning for school success is not some prescribed program but one that is custom-designed for each individual involved. Here are some ideas.

For many years, I have encouraged families and students be involved in '"school warm-up" activities. Just as an athlete preparing to compete in a big athletic endeavor like the Olympics (or a marathon which is how many students/parents may view the school year) goes through specific training, so should students and parents do preparation for the upcoming school year. These "school warm-up" activities will indeed aid for a smooth start to school. These activities can encompass a variety of areas: daily routine, academics, organization.
During the summer, many of us quickly migrate to a relaxed schedule. We find ourselves having a more flexible "get-up" time followed by casual, unstructured activities. There may have been some specific activities during the day, but usually not filling the full day. Some kids may have gone to a summer camp with highly-scheduled days; however, the activities there are usually ones that the campers are craving. So, when school starts, it is hard to get back to the family schedule, one that requires regular morning and bed times along with needing a more ridged daily framework. Such a drastic change is often hard to make for many! Also, we have to go back to coordinating with the members of the family, vying for drop-off and pick-up, vying for homework help - you get the gist.
Over the summer, some kids keep reading and doing learning activities; for others, those school activities are banned! So as school approaches, they have to get back involved with books and academics. Think about how to encourage reading, perhaps a family read (depending on the age the students) to get the kids welcoming the activity. Also, this would allow for discussion - dusting off those analytical and verbal presentation skills. Often schools have a required summer read- often this" chore" is left until right before school - that, too, could become a group read. Getting math skills has to be a little more focused and deliberate. Get a math book from the library or used bookstore and complete the chapter reviews. Some may have a copy of last year's books to use for this review. In the area of writing, find opportunities for the kids to write. It might be in the form of a blog about summer, or maybe the narration for a family photo book. Some fun writing activities can involve multiple family members to create a poetry book, a joint fiction story, or a family genealogy project - anything that encourages writing and editing.
And before school starts is the time to get organized. Now, we all think of buying the school supplies - paper, pencils, folders, calculators. You don't have to wait until the first day to get the list of necessities: most schools send their specific grade supply lists to the local office supplies stores. Getting the backpack ready for school can get done. Now, turn your focus to other things that need to get organized for school. Look at the closets and drawers. Put at the front the school clothes, those items that follow dress-codes. Do the same in the drawers and shoe racks. This restructuring could become a good "saying good-bye to summer" activity and, when school begins, will help make the morning prep run more smoothly.
As the new school year approaches, that anxiety can be alleviated. Approach it with good planning. Try some "warm-up" activities to make the transition go more smoothly.
We wish you all the best this new school year.

Patty Useem
LDA Annual Conference
November 2, 2018
Ritz Charles Conference Center
9:00 AM- 3:45 PM
We are pleased to present these outstanding speakers for the 2018 conference!

The Keynote Speaker will be RICK LAVOIE

Rick Lavoie served as an administrator of residential programs for children with special needs for 30 years. He has been a visiting lecturer at numerous universities and has made numerous national television appearances including The TODAY Show, CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, ABC Evening News, and Walt Disney Presents.

Rick has served as a consultant on Learning Disabilities to several organizations including PBS, New York Times, National Center for Learning Disabilities, USA Today, and Girl Scouts of America, and, in 2009, Rick was the recipient of the Learning Disabilities Association of America's Samuel Kirk award.  Rick's intensive experiences at residential schools provided him with a "living laboratory" in which he developed and refined his methods and philosophies related to the education of children and adolescents with special needs.

He is the author of the book "It's So Much Work to Be Your Friend: Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success (Touchstone/ Simon and Schuster, 2005). The book addresses the direct link between learning disabilities and social skills issues that many children face. Rick provides specific strategies for parents, teachers and caregivers about how to assist the child in making and keeping friends. 
Most parents and professionals know Rick through his videos "How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T.  City Workshop" , "Last One Picked, First One Picked On: The Social Implications of Learning Disabilities" and "When the Chips are Down: Learning Disabilities and Discipline".   These classic, award-winning films have brought Rick's sensitive and compelling message to countless thousands throughout the world and are among the most widely distributed films in the educational media.

His newest book and PBS DVD on student motivation "The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child" (2007) were featured in USA Today. LDA of Indiana Board Members are thrilled to have Rick Lavoie back in Indiana for our conference. He will present two two-hour keynote sessions.

The Luncheon Speaker will be MEG EDWARDS

LDA of Indiana is excited to introduce Meg Edwards and welcome her to our luncheon podium. Meg is a student and a contestant and titleholder for the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Organization. She will present an in-depth and insightful look into how learning disabilities can affect self-esteem. Her theme, "Meg's Mirror Message," is described in her article below.

Meg's Mirror Message
Encouraging kids to look in the mirror and love who they see.
I am a girl. I am a student. I am an athlete.  I am labeled by many more nouns, including someone with a disability. I am someone living with ADHD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a learning disability which affects the ability to concentrate or focus. It is a controversial disorder that is often times misunderstood. Being diagnosed with a disability changed the way I viewed myself. I have felt worthless because of my differences in the classroom and in my everyday life. I have experienced self-hatred because of my perceptions.  I never had someone encourage me or help me find hope. I never had a role model with whom I could connect, so I desperately want to be this person for someone else.
Meg's Mirror Message helps me show people with disabilities they are not to be held back by a label. I have given a little girl a princess to look up to who is special, just like her. I want to eliminate stereotypes surrounding the word "Adderall". I want to inspire others to never be ashamed of the person they see in the mirror.
As a contestant and titleholder for the Miss America Organization, I am a writer and a public speaker. By pairing the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Organization with Meg's Mirror Message, I have connected with others as the girl who could give a voice to this social issue of self-confidence. I want to promote my platform in schools and hospitals for the disabled and provide a living proof example that people living with learning challenges can do anything they set their mind to. I will show others that their goals are valid.
Partnering with the Indiana chapter of the Learning Disabilities Association of America has helped me to develop my platform and share my experiences with their organization. Working with this program has helped extend the reach of Meg's Mirror Message at a local, state, and national level. Given this opportunity I will make a difference by changing the way those with disabilities view themselves.

I will inspire others by being more than just a pretty girl. I am strong and smart, and I will show my peers who struggle with learning challenges they are also capable of achieving success as well. I will be a role model and a voice for those who are unheard because of a label. Telling others about my story and my struggle will help them find the strength and courage they are looking for. I support everyone with a goal who is willing to work toward it and I connect with those who feel like giving up. I give people hope and help them believe in themselves - regardless of the developmental diagnosis received.
Registration for the November 2 conference will open August 15

Go to to download a registration form,
or email to receive a registration form via email.

Scholarships are available for parents of students with disabilities
and for a limited number of educators.

Check the website after August 15 for details.

Tell Your Senators to VOTE NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Background: On November 16, the House of Representatives passed its version of a tax bill. Now the Senate is finalizing its own version.                                 
Both bills are extremely damaging because they:
  • Increase the deficit significantly to provide tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans and corporations.
  • May trigger cuts in mandatory programs, such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Supplemental Security Income - including also possibly eliminating the Vocational Rehabilitation State Grant program - if there aren't enough savings in required program cuts to offset the increased deficit.
The Senate bill is worse than the House bill in one significant way: It also repeals the "individual mandate" for people to have health care coverage. The individual mandate is a central part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which greatly benefits people with disabilities by eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions, banning annual and lifetime limits, prohibiting discrimination based on health status, and much more.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on its tax bill as soon as Thursday, November 30 .
We must stop this very harmful and unpopular legislation NOW.
  1. Call your Senators TODAY: Call the Capitol Switchboard number 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators. (If you don't know who your two Senators are, go to to find out.) ASK THEM TO "PLEASE VOTE NO on the Senate tax bill! Thank you."
THANKS for being an LDA Advocate!
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Here are the Award Winners  from Last Year's Conference.  
Who do you know that deserves to be
recognized this year? 
Submit a nomination today below!
2017 Award Winners
Learn, Dream, & Achieve Award
This award acknowledges and celebrates the accomplishments of an Indiana high school or college student who has a learning disability or attention deficit disorder.
2017 Winner: Beverly Winters
 Cascade High School, Clayton

Amy Forshey Memorial Excellence in Education Award
This award acknowledges and celebrates the accomplishments of an Indiana educational professional who excels in the field of learning disabilities and/or ADHD.
2017 Winner: 
Dr. Beth Tulbert
Fortune Academy, 

You Make a Difference Award
This award acknowledges and celebrates the accomplishments of a community member or organization in Indiana that has been especially helpful to persons with  learning disabilities and/or ADHD.
2017 Winner: Amanda Whybrew
Kokomo Center Schools, Kokomo

Read More about the Award Winners Below!
LDA-IN is now accepting  nominations for the 2018 Awards
to be presented at the next Annual Conference.  For questions, email
Please submit your nominations for awards by September 30, 2018.  See information on the LDA website:
Click here to read LDA's new

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LDA Board Meeting
You are invited to attend the next Board meeting on
August 4th at Midwest Academy, 1420 Chase Court in Carmel. 
See a map and directions on the LDA website. 

For information about the conference or state organization 
or go to the
for up to date legislative news or information about
Learning Disabilities, Auditory Processing Disorder, Dyscalulia,
Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Language Processing Disorder,
Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities, Visual Perceptual,
Memory, ADHD, Executive Functioning.