National Associastion For Adults With

Special Learning Needs

Great Conferences

Plan To Attend The 2004 Conference In

Tampa, FL

The National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs (NAASLN) is an association for educators, trainers, and employers of adults with all types of special learning needs. Robyn A. Rennick is the Vice-president of NAASLN.

NAASLN held its annual conference in Columbus, OH, in March. Over 300 participated in the conference that hosted 60 sessions covering an array of topics such as

Emotions! Meeting the REAL Needs of Persons with Disabilities
Mental Health and Biochemical Challenges that Hide Beneath the Surface of LD
Supporting Persons with special Needs in Employment
A Model Literacy Program for Dyslexia/ADD/SLD Adults
Best Practices to Instruct Adults with Visual and Hearing Impairments
Substance Abuse: Understanding and Treatment

Robyn Rennick, Director of Teacher Training for The Hardman Technique, presented four sessions at the conference. Her topics were: "MSLE: More Tan Theories - Practical and Accredited Curriculum for the Dyslexic/ADD/SLD Learner"; "Don't Tell Me How to Study, Teach Me How"; A Model Literacy Program for Dyslexia/ADD/SLD Adults; and "They Didn't Grow Out of It (dyslexia/ADD/SLD) Just Because They Grew Taller".

NAASLN's 2004 Conference will be held in Tampa, FL next March. Go to for more information

Dyslexia Research Institute
Influences High Stakes Testing
For Students With Disablities

Florida's high stakes testing, the FCAT, was established to determine the success of Florida schools in teaching their students. However, students with disabilities were left out of the equation in terms of providing a level playing field as they take the tests.

Students who are visually impaired and who use talking computers and calculators in all classes and for all tests MAY NOT use them on the FCAT. They must read Braille, even though only 10% of all visually impaired have been taught Braille. Students who are dyslexic and who use readers during all other testing MUST read the FCAT by themselves.

Without the appropriate accommodations, hundreds of students with disabilities who had passed all course work were not being allowed to graduate with a standard diploma. Dyslexia Research Institute brought the inequities to the attention of Florida's legislators. Helping to craft legislation with Senator Stephan Wise's office and Representative Bev Kilmer's office, a bill is being passed to address some of these inequities.

The bill is a compromise. Students with disabilities must fail the FCAT two times, without accommodations, and then have their records reviewed to determine if they have the academic levels to earn a standard diploma. While this is still not a true level playing field, it does allow students to earn a standard diploma who may not be able to pass the FCAT without accommodations.

Rest assured DRI and Dr. Hardman will be going back to the Legislature next year to attempt to bring the FCAT in compliance with ADA and to assist students with disabilities to have the same opportunities/accommodations on the FCAT that they have on all other tests.

Dyslexia Research Institute Advocating

for Students with Disabilities

Florida: A First in Providing Choice to Students with Disabilities

In 2000 Florida Statue 1002.39 was established. This is the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program which allows parents of children with disabilities to attend alternate public or private school programs of their choice.

For the first time in Florida's history, parents who have children with disabilities have the choice to remain in the public school or to receive a scholarship to attend a private school of choice. The program began with 6 children and 3 schools participating in 2000 and has grown to over 9,000 children and 500 schools participating in 2002.

Dr. Patricia K. Hardman, director of Dyslexia Research Institute, was an integral part in crafting the bill with Senator John McKay's office. Since the program has been established in Florida, DRI has sponsored a seminar for private schools that are involved in the McKay Scholarship Program. DRI helped to establish The Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools which is dedicated to making the McKay program remain viable for student with disabilities.

In the third year of its inception, Florida's Senate President Jim King has appointed a task force to examine accountability for the McKay Scholarship Program. Dr. Hardman, representing both DRI and the Coalition, has been appointed to this task force.

Dr. Hardman was also invited to The Cato Institute in Washington to participate on a panel (which was web-casted) discussing with other state leaders the effects of the McKay Scholarship Program. The McKay Scholarship Program is being reviewed and suggested as a national model.

Check our Links Page for more information concerning the McKay Scholarship Program and The Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools.








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