Thursday, February 22, 2007

LDA Podcast 08 Conference Overview

The Conference
The 2008 Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) International Conference is the 45th Annual Conference, to be held at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, February 27-March1, 2008. It is especially appropriate because it was at a 1963 meeting in Chicago, that Dr. Samuel Kirk first coined the term “Learning Disabilities” to describe the learning/behavior problems that were typical of the individuals now identified as having learning disabilities(LD).

The Setting and Atmosphere
The LDA Conferences generally attract more than 2,500 attendees. The Conference is widely recognized for bringing parents, adults with LD, and professionals together with the common goal of improving opportunities for children, youth, and adults in education, independence, work, and life success. This “interactive mix” at the Conference is enhanced by more than 200 sessions that provide information, networking, support, research data, and practical solutions for parents, LD adults, and professionals who attend the intensive four days of sessions. All Conference sessions, as well as lodging are available within the Hilton Chicago to facilitate communication among attendees.

Conference Program Overview

4 Keynote/General Sessions

1) Wednesday....Reg Weaver, NEA President,
Has a national perspective on teacher quality, the general & inclusive classroom, and NCLB
Addresses Diversity & Culturally Responsive Teaching for the LD Student.

2) Thursday.....Margo Mastropieri, George Mason U, VA
Supports LD as an identifiable disability, interests include mnemonics HS teaching practices.
Speaks on Maximizing Learning in Today’s Schools

3) Friday.....Peter Scheidt, Director National Children’s Study at National Institutes of Health (NIH) NCS is a large, longitudinal study designed to search for correlates with later health and cognitive problems, including LD.

4) Saturday... Dale Brown, LD On Line, Arlington, VA
An adult with LD who had worked in the Federal Government, is a writer and consultant.
Brings her experience and positive view in Step to Independence: Soar to Success

100 Exhibitors - sharing materials for parents and teachers, as well as schools and school-related services; opens Wednesday evening, all day Thursday and Friday.
10 Workshops - half and full day topical sessions, most of which intersect the interests of both parents and professionals from their own perspective.

5) Environmental Toxins and Reading A panel reviews research suggesting a link between environment and academic/behavioral problems

6) NCSER: National Center for Special Education Research An overview of this Institute for Education Sciences subgroup supporting research to identify effective, high quality assessment, interventions, and programs. Thursday session for prospective researchers.

7) Mental Health in School Settings A panel address concerns of parents and teachers to suggest practical approaches to discipline and behavioral problems in the schools.

8) IDEA 04 Impact on Students with LD. A Chicago attorney discusses IDEA provisions for LD identification/eligibility, as well as the link between IDEA and Response to Intervention (RTI).

9) LD and Juvenile/Criminal Justice Systems A panel discusses the status and efforts to improve the education and future of Juvenile and how to avoid their becoming criminals.

10) Adults with LD: Challenges They Face An interactive session in which a panel and attendees discuss and pinpoint various challenges and possible solutions.

11) Early Childhood: Nurturing Literacy A panel outlines skills needed for effective literacy, with an emphasis on the needs of young English Language Learners.

12) Response to Intervention: Policy to Practice A panel representing Federal (Lou Danielson), University research (Doug Fuchs), Regional Resource Center technical assistance (Mid-South RRC), and State-level implementation (Wisconsin) will be shared.

13) Strategy Instruction Model (SIM). Based on Don Deshler’s work at University of Kansas, hands-on 3-hour workshops that research has shown to improve secondary students learning of academic content - Concept Anchoring and Framing Routines - will be provided by trained professional developers.

2 Poster Sessions
At each session a variety of displays of research-based data will allow attendees to browse and have informal discussions with researchers. A booklet of post abstracts will also be available.

2 Table Talk for Teachers Sessions
At Friday afternoon and Saturday morning sessions a variety of practical techniques for developing academic and behavioral skills in students of all ages, will be presented in small groups that attendees can move among during the 2 hour sessions.

A selection of speaker-authored books (with book signings), inexpensive, hard-to-find printed resources, and classic best sellers will be available for purchase by families, professionals, and researchers.

Finding Your Future
A multitude of resources, both displays and people, will help parents, teens, and young adults explore post-secondary opportunities, Many options may be explored during this Saturday morning event. Representatives from technical, community, and 4-year colleges, as well as the armed forces, apprenticeships, small businesses, and other presenters will enable attendees to “put a face on the information available on the internet” and get individual answers to many questions. Admission is free to this session.

Daily Discussions
Lunch-time informal sessions of current topics, such as IDEA and RTI.

Conference Strands
The Conference Program is developed around numerous strands by the Program Committee. Selections from just 2 pages in the program give a glimpse of the variety of sessions topics within some of these strands:

Evidence-Based Practice..Teaching Multiplication/Division: Computation ‘Sense-Making”

Early Childhood................Oral Language Problems in Early Childhood
Assessment.......................Research in Reading Assessment & Instruction.
Instruction.........................LD/Dyslexic & Neurologically Integrated Methodology
Adults ...............................Put Me In Coach: Basic Skills of Cognitive Coaching with Adults
Parents and Families.........Developing Self-Esteem & Self-Advocacy

On site Registration for the February 27-March 1, 2008 Conference at the Chicago Hilton Hotel is available at a daily rate, or for multiple days.

The Annual LDA Conference Program is developed by a Committee composed of both parents and professionals. The next Conference will be held in Salt Lake City in the last week of February 2009. Forms to submit proposals for review by the Committee are available on the LDA website, and must be submitted by May 15, 2008. If you have an idea for a presentation you or someone else might make, please check the website for more information.

Jean Lokerson e-mail:

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Healthy Children Project at the 2008 LDA Conference

There will be many opportunities at the 2008 LDA Conference to learn how toxic chemicals such as pesticides, lead, mercury and flame retardants can harm brain development, leading to learning disabilities and behavioral problems. Find out how you can get involved to help safeguard children’s health by reducing exposures to toxic chemicals at home, school and play.

Conference highlights include:

Environmental Health Workshop: (Wednesday, February 27, 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.) Experts in the fields of psychology, brain development, early childhood learning and environmental health will present “Teaching Reading: How Environmental Toxicants Impair Learning.” The speakers will address how prenatal or early childhood exposure to neurotoxicants – such as pesticides, flame retardants, mercury and lead – can impact children’s brain development. Panelists will explore the effects of these toxic substances on cognition, academics and behavior, and ways to reduce the risks of exposure.

Nationally known neurologist David Bellinger of Harvard University’s School of Public Health will moderate the workshop proceedings, and will present, “Strategies for Assessing the Effects of Environmental Exposures on Learning.” The workshop is sponsored by the Heinz Endowments and the Learning Disabilities Foundation of America.

Lead-Testing Demonstration: (Wednesday, February 27, 5:15-7:30 p.m.) Bring your toys, jewelry and other items to the Healthy Children Project booth for testing to see if they contain lead and at what levels. A Chicago representative of Innov-X Systems will provide demonstrations of the portable, hand-held XRF technology to screen products for lead over the course of several hours at no charge to conference attendees.

LDA’s Healthy Children Project: Acting to Reduce Toxic Chemical Exposures (Thursday, February 28, 8:30-9:30 a.m.) This session provides an opportunity to talk with LDA’s Healthy Children Project Coordinator and state affiliates active in Healthy Children Project efforts. After an overview of the HCP goals and strategies, we will hold an interactive, open meeting to engage a range of viewpoints, ask questions, and brainstorm joint projects and activities.

Learning Disabilities and the Environment: Scientific Consensus, Policy Opportunities and Consumer Campaigns, (Thursday, February 28, 11:15 a.m.–12 p.m.) Elise Miller, executive director of the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health and coordinator of the Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI), will highlight how members of the LDDI are translating the science on neurotoxicants into effective public health policies and consumer actions that protect children’s health.

Children’s Environmental Health Legislation, (Friday, February 29, 8:30 a.m.) LDA members are highly effective advocates for legislation that protects children from toxic chemicals in toys, furniture, food and other products. Many of these chemicals are linked to learning and behavior problems. LDA advocates will provide the most current news of state and federal legislation related to children’s health and the environment, and will share ways to get involved in your state.

Friday Keynote Session (Friday, February 29, 9:45 a.m.): Dr. Peter Scheidt, Director of the National Children’s Study, will speak about the Study, now underway, which will follow 100,000 children from birth to age 21. Researchers will gather data on children’s genetic makeup and biological, chemical, environmental, physical and social factors. The aim of the study is to gain insight on preventing and treating diseases and conditions such as birth defects, diabetes, autism, cancers and obesity.