Learning Disabilities Association of Michigan

Learning Disabilities Association of Michigan Logo

Basic Information

Address: 200 Museum Dr. Suite 101 Lansing, MI 48933-1914
Phone Number: 1-888-597-7809 (toll-free) or 517-485-8160
Fax Number: 517-485-8462

Action Shots

* There are currently no photos associated with this listing.

Additional Information

Executive Director: Flo Curtis, Acting Executive Director
President: Loreena Parks, 2009-2011; Amy Barto, 2011-2013
Service Description: Support, training and education for stakeholders: families, policymakers, educators, the community, and persons with learning disabilities.
Mission Statement:

To enhance the quality of life for all individuals with learning disabilities and their families through advocacy, education, training, service and support of research.

Membership Fee: $35/year (includes national, state and local memberships)
Eligibility Requirements: All interested in supporting the mission of the Learning Disabilities Association of Michigan
Area Served: State of Michigan
Hours of Operation/Schedule: Office is open daily. Telephone messages will be answered promptly. Inquiries may also be made by e-mail.
Services Offered:
Referral to local resources, parent to parent support, consultation for education planning, policy advocacy.

Annual conference in November at the Kellogg Conference Center at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. See our website for further details.

Conferences/Speakers: Keynote speakers TBD; call for proposals posted on our website. One-day professional symposium, one-day teen transitions-focused offerings, both days offer one and two hour presentations. Exhibitors, vendors and advertisers encouraged to reserve space early.
Fundraisers: Book sales at conference, small electronics turn-in program, and a "cause" on Facebook (http://apps.facebook.com/causes/357275).
Support Groups: We are pleased to have local chapters in several parts of the state, and would like to support the formation of several more (see our website for contact information: Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor area) Southeastern Michigan (Detroit metro area) Mid-Michigan Area (Bay City) We are also encouraging the establishment of student chapters of LDA of Michigan, to complement the preparation of teachers in serving the needs of children with learning disabilities. Currently, our student chapters are: Aquinas College LDA, student chapter Plans are being made for additional student chapters. Contact our office if you are interested in supporting a chapter in your area.

On April 6, 1963, a resourceful group of parents convened a conference in Chicago entitled "Exploration into the Problems of the Perceptually Handicapped Child." Professionals from various disciplines and with diverse and extensive clinical experience in dealing with the needs of these children participated. Professionals and parents shared a common concern: the recognition of the dire need for services for their children, services that did not exist.

The 1963 conference articulated the cornerstones on which the field of Learning Disabilities is based. The underlying assumptions put forth provided the frameworks for legislation, theories, diagnostic procedures, educational practices, research and training models. A consensus was reached on a name for the category, reflecting both the heterogeneity and homogeneity of the characteristics observed in the children, while differentiating them from others within existing categories. The term "Learning Disabilities" embedded within the title of Dr. Samuel Kirk's conference paper, was selected. A national movement was underway!

During the months that followed, many preliminary details towards formation of a national organization were worked out. With a core of volunteers agreeing to become its nucleus, the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities (ACLD) was created and incorporated in January, 1964. The organization was conceived as a group driven by parents and adults with learning disabilities, and the bylaws and structure of the organization -- now known as the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) -- clearly reflect the consumer driven position and philosophy.

The local groups of 1963 now had their umbrella, and soon LDA chapters were active at both state and local levels. Visibility and success at the national level were soon to follow.

Legislation was passed that specifically included individuals with learning disabilities, chief among them The Children with Specific Learning Disabilities Act of 1969. Finally! We had a working definition of learning disabilities within the Federal law. Within this definition a medical cause was presumed, though the focus was on the mandate for remedial education designed to address the unique needs of children with learning disabilities.

Other landmark pieces of legislation were to follow: the Elementary and Secondary Amendments of 1969; the Vocational Rehabilitation Act 1973; the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1974; the Juvenile Justice and Prevention of Delinquency Act; and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The LDA national office was established in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1973, initially housed in donated space in a basement. That same year the organization's first Executive Director, Jean Petersen, was hired, and remained in that position until her retirement in 1998!

Our activities in Washington have been ongoing, coordinated through the persistent efforts of the many volunteers of LDA. Thanks to the efforts of LDA's grass roots volunteers, the recognition of learning disabilities as a handicapping condition provided the means for agencies to acquire funding for research, service delivery programs, and professional preparation.

The LDA of America headquarters continue to be located in Pittsburgh, where a staff supports the nationwide work of hundreds of key volunteer leaders, an annual conference that draws upwards of 3000 participants annually, and answer hundreds of queries from individuals, families and professionals every day.

Adapted from material written by Dorothy Crawford, LDA President 1983-1985

Detailed Organization Information:




Our Strategic Plan


As an all-volunteer organization, our board members serve on multiple committees.  We have four strategic planning committees focusing on:

1.     Office operations: to build our organization’s effectiveness and increase membership

2.     Outreach to the community: to strengthen our role in policy advocacy and to stay current in research developments

3.     Conference planning: to serve people with learning disabilities in Michigan

4.     Web and media presence: to broaden our connections with stakeholders in Michigan


Each committee has been setting goals and marking progress on goals between our four board meetings each year. 


Looking ahead, our strategic plan is working to:

1.     Address the national re-authorizations of No Child Left Behind, and IDEA

2.     Participate in discussions about changes in special education service models and the rules and regulations that affect them

3.     Work with other organizations to reduce the state’s budget impact on all children, especially those with disabilities

4.     Advocate for better coordination of services on behalf of displaced workers with learning disabilities as they seek re-training and employment

5.     Collaborate with other organizations to provide information and support for people with learning disabilities


Outreach to Other Organizations


We participate in meetings of SEAC (Mich. Dept. of Ed., Special Education Advisory Committee) and the quarterly System Design Committee meetings of the Michigan Alliance for Families (the government-funded parent training and technical assistance organization for the state, with ARC of Michigan as its fiscal agent).  In addition, our organization is a member of the Michigan Coalition for Children and Families a statewide, non-partisan network of more than 70 child-focused organizations and individuals with a shared mission of improving the quality of life for Michigan children and families.




This year we were budgeted into a grant by Michigan Alliance for Families (MAF) to provide professional development and consultation on Learning Disabilities to their regional staff members. MAF is a coalition of disability organizations, under the fiscal guidance of the ARC of Michigan, however all disability areas are represented. Regional offices are being set up using local knowledge of parent needs and preferences. The MAF website is set up with virtual “kits” to assist parents in learning about special education processes, services and supports, as well as disability information.  These kits are used in local parent trainings.  See http://michiganallianceforfamilies.org for more information, and look for their Learning Disabilities folder to be updated soon.



LDA of Michigan’s Presence Increased on the Web

Here is a current directory of our many web-based connections in Michigan:

1.     Website: http://www.ldaofmichigan.org --Lists events, articles of interest, research opportunities, our chapters around the state, and other basic information.

2.     E-mail address: ldamich@sbcglobal.net -- How to get in touch with us with your questions and comments.

3.     Listserv on YahooGroups:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ldaofmichigan/join -- used mostly for sharing newsletters from other, related organizations.

4.     Healthy Children: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/healthychildrenproject/join -- at YahooGroups, a partnership of several Michigan organizations with funding from the Healthy Child initiative of LDA of America.  This initiative focuses on keeping children safe from environmental toxins.

5.     Blog: http://ldamiexchange.blogspot.com -- for discussions started by board members and open for comments from the community.

6.     Virtual Conferencing: http://www.wiggio.com -- for board communications. This tool will allow board members to hold “virtual” committee meetings by telephone and on the web. It also serves as a mailing service, file cabinet, bookmark library, and internal polling place.  We think that this tool may help us provide better support to new chapters around the state.

7.     Networking: http://michiganlda.ning.com/ --  This group is for Members Only.  Items posted here will be for paying members of LDA of Michigan, exclusively.  Tell us what you want, and we’ll try to make this a valuable part of being an LDA of Michigan member.

8.     Facebook fundraising: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/357275 -- LDA of Michigan is a “Cause” on Facebook, where you can donate funds, or earn your favorite cause a penny per search, by using the “Causes” searching tool. 

9.     Facebook Groups: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=175934873651&ref=nf  -- LDA of Michigan is also a “Group” (LDA of Michigan on Facebook).  Someday, we’ll figure out how to merge the two Facebook presences.

10.  Conference presentations:  http://ldaofmichigan.wikispaces.com


Acknowledgments for the 2009 Conference:


Thanks to our board, professional advisory, and the presenters at our annual conference who make our organization look much bigger than we are.  We’re all especially indebted to Edna Felmlee and Lori Parks who led this year's conference preparations, Pam Bellamy, June Newsome and Glenda Hammond for their organization of the Teen Transitions strand, and Delia Laing for becoming the Chair of the PAB, and coordinating this year’s day-long symposium on Universal Design for Learning.  A very big thanks to Flo Curtis, Edna Felmlee, Betsy Schrage, Kim Hatzl, Byron Vorce and John Carter for keeping the office going.  Our ongoing collaborations with other environmental health organizations would not be possible without the able leadership of Amy Winans and the artistry of Jackie Igafo-Te’o.  I am passing the baton to Lori Parks, confident that she’ll continue to have the support of this wonderful group of volunteers.  It has been a pleasure serving LDA of Michigan as its’ president.


--Kathleen Kosobud, President, 2007-2009




Slogan: To advance the general well being for individuals with and the education and knowledge of learning disabilities.