Archive for the 'Events' Category

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Is LD viable?

Panelists for DLD showcase 2010 in Nashville
L-to-R: T. Scruggs (foreground), D. Fuchs, M. Gerber,
and N. Zigmond

At the behest of Rollanda O’Connor, Dan Hallahan gathered four informed people—Naomi Zigmond, Tom Scruggs, Mike Gerber, and Doug Fuchs—to address this question: “The LD Construct: Can it be Saved? Is it Worth Saving?” The discussion, which was held at the annual international convention of the Council for Exceptional Children, as a product of the Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD). Of course, I’m biased (I am compensated as the executive director for DLD), but I have to say that this was a top-notch event.

These advocates agreed that there really is something to LD. They argued clearly and effectively that educators need to reconsider the construct of LD; focus on individual students needs; the needs of those students can (in fact) be discriminated from others who have low achievement; that there’s lots of good to response to instruction (or intervention), but it’s neither likely to address all the learning problems students experience nor identify those who need additional services; and that those students may need instruction that is radically different from what they can get in general education settings.

There’s lots more to what they had to say, and I hope TeachingLD can capture and disseminate it. If so, I’ll relate it here.

HB, Ken Kavale

On 5 February 1946, Kenneth A. Kavale was born in Brooklyn (NY, US). After graduating from college, Ken taught for a few years and then began graduate studies. In the 30+ years after he completed graduate work, he became one of the foremost contributors to the contemporary understanding of Learning Disabilities. As a journal editor, speaker, book author, and researcher, he assembled a remarkable record for scholarship. As an advocate, he encourage educators to think carefully about their words and actions. As a pal, he made lots of us laugh. Ken died in 13 December 2008. The phenomenon of Learning Disabilities is better understood because of the work he did.

Read the notice of Professor Kavale’s death on SpedPro.

DLD conference sessions filling

Although registration continues for the Division for Learning Disabilities conference, “Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice,” some of the sessions are reaching their limits and will be closed. As a part of its emphasis on creating workshop settings where participants learn how to implement evidence-based practices, DLD caps the number of participants in sessions.

Linda Siegel has put together a very impressive line-up of presenters and topics. As one can see here, the agenda for the meeting in San Diego 23 & 24 October 2009 is chocked full of good sessions by internationally renowned presenters.



David F. Bateman How to Prepare for and Survive a Due Process Hearing
Jenny Sue Flannagan & Lucinda S. Spaulding Best Practices for Inclusive Science Instruction
Steve Graham & Sharlene Kiuhara Writing Problems and Writing Solutions
Paige C. Pullen Phonological Awareness Assessment and Instruction: A Sound Beginning
Karen R. Harris, Karin Sandmel, & Mary Brindle, “The Magna Carta Provided That No Free Man Should be Hanged Twice for the Same Offense”: Self-Regulated Strategy Development for Writing
Charles A. Hughes Two Recent SIM Writing Strategies: The Essay Test-Taking Strategy and the Editing Strategy
Erica Lembke & Todd Busch Using Curriculum-Based Measurement for Data-Based Decision Making within a Response to Intervention System
Maureen W. Lovett Multiple Component Intervention to Improve the Outcomes of Struggling Readers: Remediating Reading Skill Deficits and Misguided Beliefs About Effort and Achievement at the Same Time
Marjorie Montague Improving Mathematical Problem Solving of Middle School Students with LD
Brian Bottge Teaching Mathematics to Adolescents with LD in Rich Problem-Solving Contexts
Rosemary Tannock Understanding and Engaging Children’s Wandering Minds
Karen J. Rooney Adolescent Literacy: Putting Research into Practice to Develop the Literacy Skills of Older Students
Deborah C. Simmons Integrating Vocabulary Strategies into Social Studies Instruction
David Scanlon The ORDER Routine: For Comprehending Content-Area Concepts
José Luis Alvarado & Anne Graves RTI for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners: Supporting Teachers to Implement Tier I and Tier II Literacy Instruction for Older Struggling
Susan P. Miller Building a Strong Numbers and Operations Foundation to Enhance Mathematics Success
Nicole Ofiesh “Got Accommodations?” Implications for Planning Instruction and Transition from Secondary to Postsecondary Settings
Rollanda E. O’Connor Successful Tier 2 Interventions in Reading: Grades K-4
Kimberly Bright & Paul Riccomini I THINK: A Real-Life Problem-solving Strategy for secondary students with Learning Disabilities

Link to the conference page at to register.

HB, H. Myklebust

photo of Myklebust in lab

On this day in 1920 Helmer Myklebust was born in Lester (IA, US). Professor Myklebust was among a half-dozen educators and psychologists who provided the critical academic support for the creation of the special education services for students with Learning Disabilities. Although Professor Myklebust’s work influenced Learning Disabilities, he also made substantial contributions to the assessment and treatment of individuals with hearing problems and the deaf.

Professor Myklebust taught at Northwestern University (Chicago, IL, US), Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL, US), and the University of Illinois Chicago (Chicago, IL, US; it was called “University of Illinois Chicago Circle” at that time). He published scores of articles and books, including the five-volume Progress in Learning Disabilities which collected papers by experts during the early days of LD.

In 2000 Naomi Zigmond, one of the people who was fortunate enough to study with Professory Myklebust, commented on his influence on her research career.

It was easy to be passionate about children with learning disabilities in those early days. We knew so little. We had so much to find out. Under Myklebust’s tutelage, we approached each child as a detective approaches a new case. We looked for clues in what the child could and could not do, how he or she learned, how to get through to that brain where others had failed. He had us search relentlessly “for the right way in” so that a child could be helped to learn how to understand, or communicate, or read, or write, or calculate, or behave in a socially appropriate manner. If a child didn’t learn, we were responsible. We hadn’t figured her out well enough yet. We hadn’t found the right way to teach her. We hadn’t been good enough detectives.

Professor Myklebust died 26 February 2008. Link to the LD Blog post announcing Professor Myklebust’s death.


Zigmond, N. (2000). Reflections on a research career: Research as detective work. Exceptional Children, 66, 295-304.

NJCLD on adolescent literacy

The National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) held a symposium regarding the release of “Adolescent Literacy and Students with Learning Disabilities: Building Effective Programs and Partnerships Adolescent.” Invited guests representing various US agencies, organizations, and interest groups joined delegates from the organizations that are members of NJCLD the afternoon of Friday 5 June 2009 for the session.

Mary Beth Klotz, chair of the NJCLD, introduced the session and individual speakers. Froma Roth, a representative of the American Speach-Language-Hearing Association and one of the writing team that prepared the statement, began the session with a brief recapitulation of its contents. Brett Miller followed Professor Roth with an overview of current research supported by the Reading, Writing, and Related Learning Disabilities of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, US Department of Health and Human Services. Nancy Hennesy, of the Council for Learning Disabilities and also a member of the writing group, described the complex and challenging context for addressing deficits in adolescent literacy.

These are the folks who participated in the panel:

  • Mary Beth Klotz (National Association of School Psychologists);
  • Nancy Hennessy (International Dyslexia Association) ;
  • Amanda Karhuse (National Association of Secondary School Principals);
  • Brett Miller (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development);
  • Barbara J. Moore (Anaheim Union High School District, CA);
  • Patti Ralabate (National Education Association);
  • Froma P. Roth (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association); and
  • Kippi Sutphen (Parent Representative).

Link to the NJCLD Web site (maintained by LD Online). Watch for the slides and other materials from the symposium to be posted there. Meanwhile, download a copy of the NJCLD document.

ICDR voting ends tomorrow

I received a note from folks associated with the Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) reminding me about the pending end of the opportunity to vote on priorities for research about disability and rehabilitation. Public voting on the importance of the priorities ends tomorrow (15 May 2009).

The federally mandated Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) utilized a Web-based approach to collect online disability research comments to assist in developing a federal disability and rehabilitation 2010 research agenda. The comments were submitted from March 27th until April 17th. Additionally, registered participants were invited to review all research related comments submitted and to vote on their top 10 concerns in each topic area from April 22nd through April 29th.

As we indicated previously, the voting was suspended on April 23 to modify the database application due to the overwhelming number of recommendations. If you voted previously, it will be necessary to recast your votes during the new one-week timeframe: May 8-15, 2009. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to return to the site to vote for your research priorities. For more information, please visit

Similar content also appears on EBD Blog. Please share the word.

ICDR input opportunity

The Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) issued a reminder about its process for securing recommendations about priorities for about disability and rehabilitation research. Following its earlier call for recommendations, ICDR now solicits public voting about the agenda.

The ICDR Seeks Your Recommendations on Emerging Disability Research Topics

Web site provides opportunity to vote and prioritize disability issues of greatest concern

This year for the first time, the federally mandated Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) is utilizing an innovative Web-based approach to collect online disability research comments to assist in developing a federal disability and rehabilitation 2010 research agenda. This technology-driven approach gives the public a three-week timeframe from March 27th through April 17th to submit their recommendations. Additionally, registered participants will be invited to review all comments submitted and vote on their top 10 concerns in each topic area during the one-week period from April 22nd through April 29th. Public comments from stakeholders are the focal point of the disability research recommendations in the ICDR Annual Report to the President and Congress.

All disability-related research topics are welcomed, including discussion about concerns important to the veteran and military communities. The ICDR is seeking comments with special emphasis placed in the following areas:

  • Collaboration and coordination among federal agencies;
  • Health information technology and/or electronic health records;
  • Health disparities;
  • Health promotion in the workplace;
  • Employment and health; and
  • Other critical research issues.
  • Guidelines and Instructions:

  • Access the ICDR Public Comment Web site: for complete instructions, guidelines, and registration.
  • If you do not have access to a computer or the Internet, you may mail your comments to ICDR c/o CESSI, 6858 Old Dominion Drive, Suite 250, McLean, VA 22101 or fax to 703-442-9015. Please follow the following instructions for written comments:
    • No longer than 250 words or 1500 characters
    • Single-spaced using 12-point font in Times New Roman
  • Key Dates:

  • Web-based Public Comments: March 27 – April 17, 2009 (3:00 P.M. EDT)
  • Written Comments: March 27 – April 17, 2009 (Must be postmarked no later than the deadline)
  • Online Public Voting: April 22 – 29, 2009 (11:59 P.M. EDT)
  • Cross-posted with EBD Blog.

    Davis goes on tour

    Ron Davis, whose arguments that dyslexia is something worth having ring hollow and whose claims to have discovered the answer to dyslexia deserve strong challenge, will begin a speaking tour of the US and CA in May. If the lectures are like the public relations materials promoting them and Mr. Davis’ views, they will be heavy on a recounting of his terrific childhood triumphs, when he overcame Autism, taught himself to read, and learned to speak during his late adolescence. He will also provide a first-person account of what it is like to have dyslexia—one is likely to resonate with others’ views—and tout his books, The Gift of Dyslexia and The Gift of Learning, as well as his methods, “Davis Dyslexia Correction®,” “Davis Math Mastery®,” and “Davis Learning Strategies®.”

    Continue reading ‘Davis goes on tour’

    Kirk used “Learning Disability” before 1963

    I was fiddling around with a new feature of Google and thought I’d test its use on a task. Having just read the only entry in the proposed canon for LD (please add to it, folks), I thought I’d search for instances of the perpetuation of the myth that S. A. Kirk coined the term Learning Disability in 1963 in a speech to the group that would become the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities (and, ultimately, the the Learning Disabilities Association of America, and of many other countries, too).

    “But, everybody says that’s when he coined it, don’t they?” Not really. Some folks know that Professor Kirk and Barbara Bateman had already used the term “Learning Disabilities” in a paper published a half year earlier (and, given the delay between submission and publication of an article, they’d likely used the term at least a year before the famous meeting).

    This analysis does not take anything away from the importance of the meeting in Chicago; that was a signal event, an illustration of the political clout of parents who rally around a common theme in the service of their children. That meeting was the beginning of what one might call the Learning Disabilities movement in the US and now the world. In fact, the LDA site doesn’t make the mistake about the birth of the term; it simply recounts the momentuous events that occured there and then.

    Professor Bateman explained it correctly (and she should know) in her 2005 paper “The Play’s the Thing”: “The definition of LD, now controversial, was not an issue when the term learning disabilities was first introduced by Kirk in 1962.”

    Anyway, I started a list of places where writers have perpetuated the myth that the term “Learning Disabilities” was introduced in 1963 at the Chicago meeting. Here are a few.

    • “Dr. Kirk’s most influential pronouncement was a speech he delivered to an education conference in 1963, when he coined and defined the term ‘learning disabilities.'”
      New York Times obituary for Professor Kirk.
    • “The phrase ‘learning disability’ was coined here in Chicago in 1963 by Kirk”
    • “The term learning disabilities was first coined in 1963 by Samuel Kirk”
      2005 Newsletter of the Oregon chapter of Learning Disabilities Assocation of America.
    • “The term learning disabilities was first coined in 1963 in Chicago, Illinois, by Samuel Kirk,”
      Doris Johnson’s abstract for a plenary session at the University of Pennsylvania.
    • “The term learning disability was first coined in a speech that Samuel Kirk delivered in 1963 at the Chicago Conference on Children with Perceptual Handicaps.”
      S. W. Lee in The Encyclopedia of School Psychology (p. 290).

    But, I really ought to give credit to those who got it right, who didn’t repeat the misinformation. Ahhh, but that’s another entry.

    Bateman, B. (2005). The play’s the thing. Learning Disability Quarterly, 28, 93-99.

    Sprout Film Festival comes to C’ville

    Anthony DiSilvo reminded me that the Sprout Film Festival will be in my neighborhood. Although it’s not expressly about Learning Disabilities, it’s relevant to LD Blog for other reasons (e.g., achievements of individuals with disabilities).

    SPROUT FILM FESTIVAL “Making the Invisible Visible”

    Two Shows! 10:30 am – 12:00 pm (Free Admission)
    7:00 pm – 9:00 pm ($10 suggested donation) at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performing Arts Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    Tickets are general admission and available at the door.

    People with developmental disabilities as subjects and performers remain marginalized in the media. The Sprout Film Festival aims to raise their profile by showcasing works of all genres featuring this population.

    By presenting films of artistry and intellect, the festival hopes to reinforce accurate portrayals of people with developmental disabilities and expose the general public to important issues facing this population. The goal is an enjoyable and enlightening experience that will help breakdown stereotypes, promoting a greater acceptance of differences and awareness of similarities.

    The local event is sponsored by the Piedmont Regional Education Program. Here’s a link to the flyer for the event and here’s a link directly to the PREP Web site. I’ve run notices about SFF in New York City over on Teach Effectively or SpedPro in the past. One about this year’s festival will appear on SpedPro pretty soon. Here’s a link to the NYC event.