JLC staff members to present at national LDA conference

Release Date: 2/7/2012

Jones Learning Center Program Coordinators Debbie Carlton and Debby Mooney, along with Director Julia Frost, will make presentations at the Learning Disabilities Association of America's annual conference in Chicago February 23 to 25.

At LDA of America's annual conference, parents and educators learn about all the latest research in the field, find out about best practices, and can choose from among the variety of presentations that best meet their immediate needs.

Carlton will make a presentation entitled "Assistive Technology and Writing the Collegiate Research Paper," while Mooney will present "Helping Students Cope with Academic Reality." 

Carlton's presentation emphasizes cutting edge educational technology. "I explain how our college students can use assistive technology to help them succeed," she said. "The specific programs are Kurzweil 3000 and Dragon NaturallySpeaking. "Kurzweil takes scanned or uploaded text and turns it into audio. Dragon NaturallySpeaking takes audio and turns it into text. So I'm showing how they can use those two programs to help students with learning disabilities create research papers. For a problem such as dyslexia, for example, these technologies are invaluable."

Carlton said she feels conferences such as this one are most helpful in that through them, parents and educators can have face-to-face interaction with U of O. "We are so unique here because we're small and have so much hands-on with students," she said, "whereas if they go to a bigger university, they may get seen once a week by student support. But further, one reason I chose to do this presentation is you go to a lot of conferences and they tell you about the existence of a program, but that's the end of it. I designed this presentation to show them step-by-step how the technologies can be useful to them. Here's a research paper; this is how the student goes through these programs step by step; here's the result. I think that's helpful to most people."

While Carlton's presentation deals with helpful technology, Mooney's talk deals with some challenges of that same technology. "In my presentation I am focusing on the so-called Millennial Generation, also sometimes called Generation Next," said Mooney. "Research has shown these children spend so much time growing up in the virtual world of personal computers, cell phones, and the internet that they sometimes have difficulties exhibiting appropriate behaviors on the college level - staying up too late, inadequate preparation, etc. And it knocks them for a loop when they get back their first homework assignment and don't receive the positive feedback they are used to getting in other areas of their lives. I discuss several strategies I use to help them cope with the demands of life, to help them function responsibly and do well and become productive and useful citizens."

Frost's presentation, "Helping Students with LD and ADD through the College Admissions Process," will cover the differences in the laws between high school and college, which students with LD and ADD should apply to college and what assistance they will need, and how to determine the most appropriate college and program.  "I hope to assist parents and educators who are in attendance so that they can better support their students/children in tackling this next step in their lives," she said. 

Frost said she has also been asked to serve on a panel that will focus on helping adults to obtain adequate documentation in order to get accommodations that they need in adult education, postsecondary, and work environments.  "I will be covering the requirements for documentation for postsecondary institutions," she said. "The other three on the panel are experts in the areas of disability employment policy, high stakes testing, and law."

Frost will also assist two educational consultants and the director of an adult life skills program in a talk that will focus on what types of assistance college support services provide, how to access those services, and how to determine what type of support is needed by each student.

The JLC will also be exhibiting at the Postsecondary Options Fair, Finding Your Future, on Saturday morning, Feb. 25.  "That would be a great time for interested parents and educators to visit with us," Frost said.

Frost currently serves on the Adult Topics Committee for LDA of America. The committee is made up of individuals from across the country who work specifically with adults with learning disabilities. Part of their work has been planning portions of this conference that deal with adult issues.