LDA Newsletter

Newsletter – April 2018

Autism Awareness Begins Early

Karen Thomson, M.A., St. Louis LDA Early Childhood Outreach

Research has demonstrated that early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is of great benefit to children, families and the community. Timely interventions help to improve academic performance and reduce behavior challenges. The sooner children are identified as being on the spectrum, the more likely they are to participate socially and have greater feelings of self-worth. However, in spite of these benefits—and despite advances in screening tools to detect ASD in young children—most children are not identified until they are in elementary school. This is past the age at which early intervention services are most beneficial. Parents, caregivers and early education teachers are critical in identifying young children with ASD.

Specific to families, diagnosing autism as soon as possible provides some answers for their children’s development. This creates a deeper understanding of the actual effects for their child and begins the process of perceiving the future another way. Families are able to replace worry with solid information about the nature of their child’s challenges. This allows them to move from unfocused concern and panic to factual information and an action plan to support their child. Such mobilization is often a source of relief from some Save & Exit of the anxiety parents experience as they move through the process.
Children with autism have a different learning profile. These children are more successful when they receive unique teaching and approaches to a curriculum that is built for their distinctive learning style. There is more focus on direct instruction, increased structure, and intervention hours. A number of studies have documented better outcomes for young children with autism who receive intensive and specialized treatment by age 3.
Diagnosing ASD is most

  1. often a two-step process:Developmental Screening
  2. Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until they are much older. This delay means that children with ASD might not get the help they need.

The lifetime price of autism is costly and life-changing for the child, so it is critical that early detection efforts and access to early intervention be improved to decrease negative impact and increase positive outcomes.

  • Early detection of ASD benefits children, families and society.
  • Screening tools can identify young children at-risk for ASD.
  • Many children are identified past the age at which early intervention is most useful.
  • Parents, caregivers, and early education teachers are uniquely placed to screen and refer for autism spectrum disorders.

Information taken from St. Louis LDA’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Workshop. For more information about St. Louis LDA’s early intervention services or our Early Childhood Outreach Program, please call 314-966-3088.


Dyslexia: Coming To a School Near You – Part II
Joe Biondo, MA
Educational Consultant

In the February 2018 edition of the LDA Leader I briefly touched on the mandate by the Missouri legislature requiring all public schools in the state to begin screening for Dyslexia during the 2018/2019 school year. I included the definition of Dyslexia by the International Dyslexia Association and briefly described the intent of screening as it applies to Dyslexia.

As of this writing, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) task force assigned to define the guidelines for this screening continues to gather information, develop the guidelines and finalize the process. Many school districts have already established a training component for teachers and administrators as to a screening process, tools to be used for screening and criteria for identification of at-risk students for Dyslexia. Many more districts have yet to begin the process and are waiting for DESE to give screening specifics.

St. Louis LDA, in cooperation with the Decoding Dyslexia Missouri parents group, met with a representative of the DESE team in January of 2018, and we were given a draft of the Screening for Dyslexia Flowchart. Recommendations were made to the DESE representative concerning greater emphasis on Dyslexia Screening versus Universal Screening.
St. Louis LDA has yet to see the final product but will keep you posted in an upcoming issue of LDA Leader.

If you have questions specific to Dyslexia and how it translates to Learning Disabilities in Basic Reading and Reading Fluency, you are welcome to contact me at jbiondo@ldastl.org or 314-966-3088.

To learn more about dyslexia screening, please regis

ter for our workshop:


Click here to support the students of St. Louis LDA

Volunteer Spotlight

Bob Layne

Volunteers are special here at St. Louis LDA! We appreciate that they share their many talents while helping us help kids that learn differently. Volunteer opportunities may include: working fundraising events, assisting with bulk mailings, helping with special projects and serving on the Board of Directors.

Robert (Bob) Layne is one of our exceptional volunteers; his hobbies include photography and amateur radio. For the past 7 years, Bob has donated his time and talent by photographing two of our annual fundraising events: Trivia Night and Unlock the Magic of Learning (Unlock), an outside evening event at Grants Farm. While he enjoys photographing both events, they have their differences. “Unlock is more of a challenge in that it is DARK, also it can be cold; there are always lots of interesting people who do not mind having their photo taken. Trivia Night provides photo opportunities for people interacting and their response to others, as well as the serious nature some people assume with the game; it’s a fun night and I always get some good portraits.”

We are so fortunate that Bob enjoys sharing his hobby while giving back to St. Louis LDA. “I chose St. Louis LDA as a place to volunteer because my wife, Debbie, works as a psychologist for LDA, they needed a photographer for Unlock and I was drafted.” Bob volunteers because he enjoys giving back and working with other like-minded individuals. Bob’s passion for photography can be witnessed at www.robertlphotography.com.

We would love to have you volunteer at our next event! Our Annual Scholarship Golf Classic is Thursday, May 17, 2018, at the Missouri Bluffs Golf Club. To get more information or volunteer, contact Linda Meyer at linda.meyer@ldastl.org or call 314-966-3088.

Have  You Seen These Upcoming Events?


Fundamentals of Dyslexia Screening Friday, April 13, 2018

Scholarship Golf Classic
Thursday, May 17, 2018

LDA STL kendra may 2018

LDA STL kendra may 2018

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