President’s Message for July 2013

Erica Lembke

Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve as president for the Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD)! DLD continues to set an example as the most diversified organization for learning disabilities (LD), with:

  • Support for our members who are practitioners as they teach students with learning disabilities through provision of information on evidence-based teaching practices, updates on policy changes, and providing state grants for technical assistance and/or conferences
  • Support for our members who are teacher-trainers by providing current information on policies in LD and special education and on the most effective teaching methods for preservice teachers
  • Support for our members who are researchers by continuing to provide updates regarding current policy decisions and research findings in areas critical to LD

As we continue to determine how critical issues like Response to Intervention, the Common Core State Standards, revisions in state high-stakes assessment structures, and revisions in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also referred to as NCLB) will impact students with learning disabilities and their teachers, DLD will continue to strive to provide the best information and advocacy for our members. Members of the board are well positioned to serve as vocal members of discussions where the needs of students with LD are discussed.

This year, we will continue to support states as they hold their DLD conferences and work to retain and recruit additional members. We will work to collaborate further with other organizations concerned with students with learning disabilities, such as co-sponsoring activities or publications with the Council for Learning Disabilities. We will continue to provide products to increase awareness of best practices for students with LD in the form of webinars, packaged materials to guide webinar discussions, white papers or chapters addressing critical issues in the field, and other members-only publications such as the Current Practice Alerts, the DLD newsletter, and HotSheets.

I look forward to my presidency and to reconnecting with the historical underpinnings of the field of learning disabilities (watch for our series of videos that will be posted on TeachingLD called ‘Voices from the Field’) while advancing in our knowledge of how to best serve students with LD, their teachers, and their families.

I would like to thank Janette Klingner for her thoughtful and innovative leadership as President of DLD in 2012-2013. She set a wonderful example for all board members with her motivating and dedicated approach. I would also like to thank Paul Riccomini, past president, Paige Pullen, publications chair, José Luis Alvarado, diversity chair, and Amy Boelé, student representative, for their outstanding service and commitment to DLD, including many years of exceptional service to DLD and the field. I look forward to continued work with the current board members and our executive director, including new board members Laurie deBettencourt, vice-president, Bill Therrien, publications and communications, Diane Rodriguez, cultural and linguistic diversity, and Abby Carlisle, student representative. I feel fortunate to be working with such smart, pragmatic, forward-thinking individuals. Together with you, we will continue to focus on and advance the field of Learning Disabilities!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need additional information or if you have ideas or thoughts you’d like to share. My e-mail address is

Erica Lembke, Ph.D.
University of Missouri
President, Division for Learning Disabilities, Council for Exceptional Children

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