President’s Message August 2018

Kristin Sayeski, PhD

August 2018

Welcome to the Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD) of the Council for Exceptional Children.  The mission of DLD is to promote positive outcomes for individuals with learning disabilities through advocacy, outreach, and education.  As President of DLD for 2018-2019, my role is to further this mission through strategic engagement with our executive board, members of DLD, and the larger community comprised of individuals with learning disabilities, families, educators, and related-services personnel who share in our mission.

Over the past year, DLD has been engaged in a variety of efforts aimed at raising awareness of critical issues related to the education of individuals with learning disabilities, increasing educators’ knowledge of evidence-based practice, and working with CEC and other national organizations such as the National Center for Learning Disabilities ( around issues related to legislation, standards, and practice.  I look forward to continuing these efforts with a particular focus on positive, forward momentum.

The 2017 Supreme Court ruling on the Endrew F. case found that schools must provide more than de minimis educational benefit.  At the same time, there has been an increase in state legislation related to identification of, teacher training for, and/or services provided to students with dyslexia.  Research on evidence-based practice continues to advance an understanding of what effective instruction entails.  What this means for DLD is that we can and should play a role in determining what are “appropriately ambitious” goals for students with learning disabilities, and there is great opportunity to leverage the momentum of other professional organizations in order to provide advocacy, outreach, and education.

A special thanks to Stephanie Al Otaiba (DLD President, 2017-2018) for her vision and stewardship of DLD’s mission; I look forward to her continued guidance and leadership as she serves as past-president this year.  As Kristi Baker, student representative, concludes her time on the board, we are thankful for her work to engage student members of DLD.  Thanks also to Linda Mason, past-president, for her work within the presidential line over the past three years.  As editor of Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, Linda will continue in her outstanding efforts to promote DLD’s research-to-practice mission.  Thanks also to Nancy Mamlin, executive director, for keeping us all in line and online, fed, and accounted for! We bid a sad farewell to Bryan Cook (Research) and Devin Kearns (Membership), who completed their terms as chairs of their committees and will be moving off of the board.  Their energy, commitment, and delightful personalities will be missed, but their engagement with DLD will continue.

I look forward to working with our new officers – Michael Faggella-Luby, President-Elect; Bill Therrien, Vice President; Stephen Ciullo, Secretary; and Vickie VanUitert, Student Representative – and extend a warm welcome to our new executive director, Miriam Ortiz, and several new committee chairs – Emily Solari, Membership; Diane Haager, Research; and Peishi Wang, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity.

If you are not a member of DLD, we would love for you to join us!  

Kristin Sayeski, PhD
University of Georgia
President, Division for Learning Disabilities, Council for Exceptional Children

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