Learning Disabilities Association of Kansas

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Monday March 30, Volume 1

Letter from the President

On Behalf of The Learning Disabilities Association of Kansas, I would like to congratulate and thank the LDAK Executive Board and PAB (Professional Advisory Board) for putting together an extraordinary 2008 Annual Conference.  The evaluations were positive, in large part due to Johnson County Community College (JCCC) which provided the facility for our successful conference.

LDAK currently has 105 members and we would like to welcome more. Please spread the word and ask people to check out our web page at www.ldakansas.org.  LDAK would like to welcome our new Executive Secretary, Andrea Cronin (Olathe School District), and our new PAB members Andrea Crisp (DeSoto School District), Charity Ziegler (Blue Valley School District), and Sandy Crable (Olathe School District).   LDAK would also like to thank our outgoing Executive Secretary Marcia Williams for her many years of dedication in this organization.  Marcia has agreed to serve on the PAB and we are thankful for her continued service.

Gloria Dye (Washburn University), PAB member, and I attended the National Learning Disabilities Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah February 25-28, 2009.  We brought back valuable information to share on the LDAK Website. 

You won’t want to miss our 39th Annual Conference on November 12-13, 2009 which will be held at JCCC again. 
The keynote speaker will be announced very soon.   

Thank you in advance for everything that you do to meet the needs of individuals with learning disabilities in Kansas.

Respectfully Yours,

Cindy Swarner

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after a success.”       ~anonymous

Activities to Increase Attention

students sitting in a classroom

General Suggestions

  1. Give short simple instructions.
  2. Establish eye contact when giving instructions to students.
  3. Provide “quiet area” for child to work in.
  4. Provide the child with earplugs/headphones.
  5. Provide frequent breaks when doing seat work, giving the child an opportunity to move around the room.
  6. Free the working area of outside distractions and noises.
  7. Have the child repeat instructions before he performs to reinforce auditory clues.
  8. Help increase the attention span of children by providing short, concentrated work periods with a gradual increase in working time.
  9. Change the activity before students become bored.
  10. Use multisensory approach to teaching.
  11. Turn off fluorescent lights.

Free Presentation on Spectrum Disorder

This free presentation is open to the public and sponsored by Horizon Academy, a fully accredited private school serving students in grades 1-12 with learning difficulties.

Brain Balancing for Spectrum Disorder

Dr. Brooks Rice & Dr. Melanie Smith
Thursday, April 9, 2009      
7:30 – 9:00 p.m. @ Horizon Academy, 4901 Reinhardt Drive, Roeland Park, KS 66205 913.789.9443

Dr. Brooks and Dr. Smith will discuss the role of the nervous system balance in assisting those with learning disabilities and/or spectrum disorders. Dr. Rice will give insight into the importance of nutrition in helping to chemically balance the brain.  Dr. Smith will dive into the anatomy of sensory processing and the role of Craniosacral Therapy in sensory integration for all children.  Together their information provides a holistic approach to supporting better brain-body functioning. 

Horizon Academy also offers a Summer School Program and Dyslexia and Reading Institute.  To learn more, visit their web site at www.horizon-academy.com

Transition from High School

student sitting on steps reading a bookBeing well-informed about the differences between high school and college for students with learning disabilities is necessary for a successful transition. In high school, the primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the school; however, in college, the primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations belongs to the student. Another important difference is in high school, the school is required to ensure that students are successful in their classes; while colleges are only responsible for ensuring that students have access. For example, a student may be provided a word bank in high school to assist them on a test which is considered a modification of the test. In college, no modifications are required-only accommodations, such as receiving extended time on tests.

Academic accommodations must be determines based on your disability and individual needs. Students must self-identify themselves to the disability services office and provide “appropriate” documentation of their learning disability before any accommodation can be provided. What is meant by the term appropriate? When a student requests an accommodation, such as a note taker for lecture class, the documentation must strongly support the need for the accommodation before it can be provided. Having a history of receiving the accommodation is helpful but may not justify a current need for the accommodation in a college setting. Rather, information regarding the current level of functioning in writing speed, spelling, handwriting, or ability to listen and take notes concurrently may be what is needed to support the request. Each college can set their own standard for appropriate documentation so it is best to contact each college individually.

Students play an important role in planning their transition, and should be included throughout the process. Read more about how to engage in successful transition planning at www.ed.gov/ocr/transition.html.