In This Issue
  • A Word from the President
  • Mark Your Calendars for Rick Lavoie on November 2 at the 2018 LDA Conference!  
  • Interesting Links for the LDA Community
  • "Student Motivation and Developing a Growth Mindset Culture" by Dr. Joshua Tolbert
  • "Thinking Differently: An Inspiring Guide for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities," David Flink, Author.  A Book Review by Dr, Bobbie Weikle
  • Submit an Award Nomination for 2018
  • Seeking Proposals for Presentations for the 2018 Conference
  • Meet the LDA Board Members
  • Attend the Board Meeting on June 2.  You are welcome!

A Word from the President  

LDA of Indiana is a very active affiliate of our national organization, the L earning Disability Association of America. Several of our board members are on National boards and committees and are presenters at the national annual conference. But perhaps more importantly, we are becoming busy here within our own state.
As a recent example, we participated in a community information night at the Greater Lafayette Area of Student Services (GLASS). We shared general information about the various types of learning disabilities and attention deficits and answered questions about educational diagnostics and educational programs for struggling learners. (If you would like LDA of Indiana to come to your area or community group to present such information, please contact me at .)
Another topic that we discussed with the participants was the Healthy Children's Project (HCP). LDA of Indiana is one of the 23 LDA state organizations who are part of the coalition. HCP focuses its efforts on decreasing the exposure to environmental toxins that are known to effect neuro-development in children. Because their brains are still developing, children are particularly susceptible to the effects of harmful chemicals in kids' products (such as toys, clothes), as well as those found in our air, food, water, and soil, along with other manufactured goods in our homes. Recently, LDA of Indiana signed on to a national campaign addressed to Lowe's about two chemicals - methylene chloride (DCM) and N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) - used in paint stripping products, pose an unreasonable risk to human health. In this letter to Lowe's we asked "that [Lowe's] take action now  to help protect people's health and lives, especially those of childbearing age, by phasing out the sale of these toxic products within six months or less."
This is important work and one that we will continue to provide updates. Tracy Gregorie is the Coordinator of the HCP at LDA of America. You can contact her at . If you would like to be involved in the efforts at the local or state level and/or get more information, please contact me at . We invite you to join in this important work.

Best wishes, Patty Useem

Mark your calendars for November 2, 2018!
LDA of Indiana board members are excited to be planning our 2018 conference around our outstanding keynote speaker, Rick Lavoie! Rick is probably best known for his videos "How Difficult Can This Be?: The F.A.T. City Workshop" and "Last One Picked, First One Picked On: The Social Implications of Learning Disabilities" . These award-winning films have brought Rick's sensitive and compelling message to countless thousands throughout the world. After viewing the videos, former First Lady Barbara Bush stated, "You really wowed us! I only wish that every parent and teacher in the United States today could also see your program." His new video on behavior management is entitled "When the Chips are Down ..." is now available through LD OnLine. Rick will be presenting two two-hour sessions at the conference in November. Watch this site for more information about the conference and registration.

                                                                 Paid Advertisement

Student Motivation and Developing a Growth Mindset Culture
By Dr. Joshua Tolbert
In  The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child, Lavoie (2008) provided one of the more vivid and humanizing illustrations of motivation that one is likely to encounter - the "bathroom beating."

Lavoie (2008) recounted the experience of a young student who kept trying to master reading skills, and who was subjected to public embarrassment in a setting where struggling readers were expected to read aloud to classmates. In response, this student repeatedly broke his glasses to avoid reading, with the full awareness that doing so would result in a "bathroom beating" (being taken into the bathroom and beaten emphatically by his father) as punishment. In recognition of the serious and violent consequences this student faced, Lavoie (2008) emphasized that this student's challenge was not a lack of motivation; this young man "was probably one of the most highly motivated children" (p. 10) his teacher would ever encounter.

For pre-service teachers seeking credentials in special education, topics like motivation and behavior are particularly important. Teachers need to understand concepts like the behavioral unit, recognizing the function of behaviors, and identifying specific replacement behaviors that can be directly taught to students. In direct observation, the "bathroom beating" anecdote from Lavoie (2008) has been an incredibly powerful way for pre-service teachers to challenge some of their notions of behavior and motivation, and to really understand these concepts as they relate to living, feeling human beings. Students who have previously wrestled with what it means for behavior to have a function can suddenly grasp the idea in new ways when they realize how desperately the student in Lavoie's (2008) example wanted to avoid or escape the humiliation related to continued struggles with reading. Perhaps more importantly, the "bathroom beating' has been a catalyst for students to challenge their existing notions of what it means to be motivated.

           Expanding on Lavoie's (2008) assessment of how motivated this student really was and how that motivation could have been translated to success in reading, the pre-service teachers I work with often become fixated on why the teachers or adults in this child's life did not recognize his motivation (or determination), thereby overlooking this student's potential. This is a valid question, and one worth extending to many students who struggle, whether because of learning disabilities or not. To really help struggling students succeed through strategic intervention, there is an urgency to understanding what motivates and individual student, as well as how that connects to their academic and social behaviors.

After absorbing some of the lessons of Lavoie's (2008) "bathroom beating," exploring some of Dweck's (2007) work on mindset can be an effective way to start moving from empathy to action in the classroom. Specifically, Dweck (2007) proposed that people tend to develop either a fixed mindset (characterized by believing that intelligence or ability are predetermined and unchangeable) or a growth mindset (in which intelligence or achievement can be deliberately and incrementally developed). Research by Dweck and others has generally demonstrated that students with a growth mindset tend to be more resilient and more willing to take on new challenges; students in a fixed mindset are more likely to give up, engage in academic dishonesty, or make excuses.

         Not unlike Lavoie's (2008) description of the "bathroom beating," there is one element in Dweck's (2007) work that has resonated most in the courses I teach: the concept of "not yet." Dweck (2007) asserted that, rather than continuing with binary notions of success and failure, classroom teachers should frame students' performance more as a continuum showing whether the goal had been reached or whether the student was still working toward it.

           As a point of connection, it is worth wondering what might have happened if the student in Lavoie's (2008) "bathroom beating" example had been able to cultivate a sense of incremental progress toward the goal of proficient reading, rather than internalizing a sense of failure and the hopelessness that would make being violently beaten in private preferable to being humiliated in public.

           As is generally true of behaviors, the sort of growth mindset Dweck (2007) promoted cannot be expected to develop in isolation or as a result of pure intrinsic motivation on the part of an individual student. If a developing and maintaining growth mindset can be considered a positive behavior, then the behavior will need to be reinforced. Praise has shown evidence of being a powerful reinforcement, to the point that Dweck concluded that just one line of praise (or one statement) could be powerful enough to have a positive impact on the recipient (Bronson & Merryman, 2009). Importantly, Dweck has been adamant that the general praise that teachers and parents may habitually offer to children (like "Great job!" or "You're so smart!") can reinforce a fixed mindset, or even be more harmful than might be assumed (Bronson & Merryman, 2009). Instead, Dweck emphasized that praise is more beneficial when focused on a student's effort, which can shift the focus to making ongoing efforts to improve (Bronson & Merryman, 2009). As a general framework, giving students praise that is timely, specific, and related to effort can offer a clearer path to growth.

            For educators and other adults, the lessons on motivation and mindset presented by Lavoie and Dweck might prompt us to ask vital questions about our perceptions of students and the practices we choose to implement in schools. As an example, punitive responses to student behavior (including the extreme of zero tolerance policies) or grudgingly making accommodations to a static curriculum do little or nothing to account for students' motivations or to cultivate a sense that they are successes-in-the-making. Conversely, restorative practices and approaches like differentiated instruction or principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can support a shift away from the sense that students present a problem to which we need to react. Instead, we can consciously take steps to recognize students as being motivated in diverse ways (or for different reasons) and as developing human beings who are capable of being a little closer to the goal tomorrow than they were today.

                With due respect to Dweck and the substantial research on the growth mindset, it is possible that the teaching profession has largely focused on cultivating a growth mindset in students, without devoting sufficient attention to the role of parents and teachers. As acknowledged by Blackwell, Trzesniewski, and Dweck (2007), the growth mindset intervention they studied would likely have been more effective if teachers and parents had been included. Returning one last time to Lavoie's (2008) "bathroom beating," it may be instructive to consider how that young student's life would have been improved not only by a clearer understanding of his motivation, but also by the opportunity to develop a growth mindset. More to the point, how would the situation have been improved if his teacher had prioritized a growth mindset, rather than dismissing students and unmotivated and essentially deserving of public shaming? What if the boy's father had been inclined to see his son's setbacks as necessary for learning and growth, rather than as transgressions meriting aggressive punishment? Ultimately, these questions are purely academic for the young man who endured months of beatings and continual struggles with reading. However, if students, parents, and teachers can be united in working to harness motivation and co-create environments that foster growth, mistakes of the past can be avoided.

Book Review by Dr. Bobbie Weikle

LDA of Indiana Professional Advisory Board Member
Flink, David. (2014). Thinking Differently: An Inspiring Guide for Parents of Children with  Learning Disabilities. Harpercollins books, 195 Broadway New York, NY, 10007, ISBN #978-0-06-222593. Library # 371.9F64T
The author is the cofounder and chief empowerment officer of Eye to Eye, a national mentoring program for children with learning differences. His explanation of growing up with his own learning disability and attention deficit disorder will be of great interest to parents and professionals. The book will help people understand what the child is experiencing. The writer's emphasis on the importance of building and maintaining the self-esteem of children and assisting them to discover their inner gifts and special talents will be thought-provoking to readers.
The writer discusses the difficulty in identifying learning problems, particularly in girls and points out that many times they do not get identified until later on. In his view, due to girls being prone to "inattentive" ADHD, which is less disruptive than students who are hyperactive, they often go undiagnosed. It is also maintained that girls with ADHD "also endure greater emotional distress" and "may be significantly more likely to attempt suicide or injure themselves as young adults than girls who do not have ADHD, according to research published by the American Psychological Association".

Mr. Flink holds a degree from Brown University and a master's degree in Dis/Ability Studies from Columbia University. While at Brown University, he helped start a mentoring program where college students worked with adolescents to help mentor their development. His vision has continued and grown into his Eye to Eye national mentoring program.
Paid Advertisement
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
You may submit a nomination for an award at any time.  See information on the LDA website:

Seeking Presenters for 2018 Annual Conference

LDA of Indiana is seeking presenters for the 2018 Annual Conference to be held on November 2 at the Ritz Charles Conference Center in Carmel.  We are looking for knowledgeable presenters with strategies and tips for teaching students with learning disabilities in these academic areas:  Writing, Beginning Reading Instruction (phonics, sight words, fluency, etc.), Reading for Comprehension in middle grades, Elementary Math, Middle and/or High School Math.  Please send proposals to by June 1. 

Paid Advertisement

LDA Board Meeting
You are invited to attend the next Board meeting on
June 2 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.