By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Special Interest | Issue: November 2011
Linda Modenbach, president of the Learning Disabilities Association of Oklahoma, holds the hallmark textbook written by conference keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Dieker.
It takes special people to bring out the best in special children who learn in special ways. A large group of these educators and concerned parents will meet at the Tulsa Southern Hills Marriott Hotel on November 17 and 18.
The 2011 Fall Conference of the Learning Disabilities Association of Oklahoma (LDAO) brings together educators, administrators, parents of children with learning disabilities, and those responsible for teacher preparation. The nonprofit parent and professional organization is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with learning disabilities by focusing on education, advocacy and prevention.
Their belief is that every person with learning disabilities can succeed in school, at work, in relationships, and within the community – when provided the right opportunities. According to Linda Modenbach, retired special educator and LDAO president, a key element of success is early intervention. “The earlier, the better,” she says.
Positive outcomes take place when skilled teachers and other professionals understand the child with learning disabilities and provide appropriate education and support. Children begin to know they are different types of learners, even in preschool. Their academic achievement may be significantly behind their intellectual ability, or they may show an uneven pattern of development. Their day-to-day struggles with learning are not caused by a lack of discipline or laziness. They suffer from a neurological disorder with real, observable symptoms.
The disability may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations. But, as Linda explains, it is important to fully understand that learning disabilities are not just an academic or school problem; they impact the individual throughout their lifetime.
During school-age years, the area of focus may be mostly on academic skill acquisition, but later the focus may be self-esteem, job skill training and adult-appropriate social and life skills that are critical to success. “The problem must be identified, understood and addressed through proper education tailored for that individual,” Linda explains.
The LDAO Conference provides an opportunity to learn and share the most current information and applications concerning learning disabilities. The conference will include numerous presentations from acclaimed professionals and breakout sessions for more up-close education.
“Parents who attend find that they are not alone,” says Linda. “Others have the same feelings and challenges. We see a lot of parents who come to us seeking help on how to handle siblings of a child with learning disabilities. The whole family is affected, but we can help them.”
Keynote speaker for this year’s event is Dr. Lisa Dieker, a professor and Lockheed Martin Eminent Scholar at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Dieker is particularly interested in the areas of math and science. She also has a passion for how technology and, specifically, virtual classrooms can be used to impact teacher preparation. One of Dr. Dieker’s publications, “Demystifying Secondary Inclusion, Powerful School-wide & Classroom Strategies,” is widely recognized as a hallmark textbook in the field.
Another highlight of the conference is the student art contest. Students are invited to submit drawings, paintings, photography, sculptures or creative writing. Art award winners in each category will be recognized at the awards luncheon on Friday.
The Fall Conference will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, November 17 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, November 18. Registration information is available on the website, www.Idao.org or by calling (918) 298-1600.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.