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Bringing Home the Knowledge: Thoughts from the Learning Disabilities Association of America Conference

This past week, I (Taylor Fortney) was given the opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida to attend the Learning Disabilities Association of America Conference. I was able to go with 3 of my colleagues, Tamara Mancini, Taylor Fidler, and Terri Greene, all of whom work in our Student Disability Services main office.

This was such a great opportunity to learn and grow as professionals in the field of working with students with learning disabilities. By listening and talking with educators, researchers, and parents from a variety of experiences and backgrounds, I was really able to pull some great information that I look forward to sharing with my students. One of my favorite sessions dealt with how to take notes from a textbook, in a way that is neither stressful nor overwhelming to a student who struggles with either attention span or a reading disorder.

As this was my first conference, it was a great opportunity to learn, but it was also incredible to hear how many people recognized the great work we do here at Texas Tech University, at both the main Student Disability Services office, as well as our specific program of the TECHniques Center. To hear people ask about how we do things, and how they would like to incorporate similar programs at their school was truly a remarkable thing, and I was happy to be able to represent our outstanding department.

I was certainly not alone in this adventure, as my fellow conference attendees also took valuable lessons away from the conference as well.

“There’s definitely an increase in the resources that students have. I was encouraged to hear about the approaches to student success. From the discussion of self-advocacy prior to college, to the variety of assistive technologies that can make a big difference in how a student can learn, we continue to see a trend of inclusion. When we look back just a couple decades ago, it seemed as though the learning model was more exclusionary in the sense that there were barriers preventing students from receiving the help they needed. Students with learning disabilities now have a voice and we’re seeing that in things like the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act, or READ Act.” –Taylor Fidler, Academic Counselor in Student Disability Services

Our own Tamara Mancini had the opportunity to present at the conference, as she led a wonderful session on working with students who are also veterans! She had some valuable insight to share with fellow conference attendees.

“I consider myself really lucky to get to attend national conferences in order to hone my skills in disability services.  It is always a learning experience, even if the session isn’t quite what you thought it would be because then you are able to use your analytical skills to figure out how to use that information to pertain to you and your students.  I really enjoyed this year’s LOA because I feel like I made some great connections with other offices/schools that are really interested in what we do here at Texas Tech in the disability area.  Also, there were no other sessions like the one I presented on about working with veterans and disabilities, so I am glad I was able to contribute in that way.”– Tamara Mancini, Senior Assistant Director of Student Disability Services

I had a great time, and I know my colleagues did as well. I can’t wait to incorporate the things I have learned into our program!

More information about the Learning Disabilities Association of America can be found here at their website.

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