Westport, CT (PRWEB) December 05, 2011
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. announces the 2012 Youth Achievement Award Contest, a nationwide recognition for students 19 or younger with learning disabilities (LD) or ADHD. The $1,000 award will be made to a student who demonstrates talent and determination resulting in a notable accomplishment in any field including art, music, math, athletics, or community service.
Applications for the award may be submitted by parents, teachers, coaches, or by students themselves, via a form posted on the organization's website at http://www.smartkidswithld.org/award. The contest deadline is February 28, 2012.
“Children with LD and ADHD are no less capable than their peers,” said Dr. Devon MacEachron of Madison, CT, co-chair of the Youth Achievement Awards Committee. “But too often, we focus primarily on their weaknesses and fail to support these students’ considerable strengths. Identifying and nurturing their strengths is vitally important to helping them succeed, both in the classroom and beyond.”
Celebrating these children’s potential is particularly important in view of the widespread misconceptions concerning learning disabilities. According to the September 2010 Roper Poll produced for the Tremaine Foundation, “seven out of ten or more of the general public, parents and teachers incorrectly associate mental retardation and autism with learning disabilities.”
In addition to combating misperceptions concerning LD, the award helps raise parents’ expectations for these children, according to Jane Ross, Executive Director of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities. “These children are as intelligent as anyone else, and frequently have significant strengths and talents. The remarkable accomplishments of our Youth Achievement Award candidates each year demonstrate these students’ tremendous potential, when they receive the support and confidence of their parents and teachers,” Ross stated.
The winner of the 2011 Youth Achievement Award was Ryan Haggerty of Stamford, CT. Ryan decided early on that he would not let his severe language and reading disabilities get in the way of his achievement—including his determination to excel at hockey. Buoyed by his gifts as an athlete and ability to think “outside the box,” he took a leading role in student life at Villa Maria School for children with learning disabilities in Stamford, and was recruited as a high school junior by the U.S. National Developmental Hockey Team. Ryan played a key role in the team’s Gold Medal-winning seasons in 2010 and 2011, and is currently a freshman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.
Special Recognition Awards were presented to Jacklyn Sullivan of Levittown, LI and August Hunt of Paris, TX. Honorable Mentions were awarded to students from Providence, UT, New York, NY, Kettering, OH, and Winston Salem, NC.
The winner of the 2012 Award will be expected to attend the awards ceremony at the Stepping Stones Museum in Norwalk, CT on June 8, 2012. Transportation and hotel accommodations will be provided for the winning student and his/her parents.
Honorable Mentions will also be awarded, though attendance will not be required.
About Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.:
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) and attention-deficit disorder (ADHD). Its mission is to educate, guide and inspire families dealing with disabilities and to change the perception of learning disabilities as a stigmatizing condition. Henry Winkler, the famed actor, director and producer as well as the author of the Hank Zipzer book series about a boy with learning disabilities and ADHD, serves as the organization's Honorary Chairman.
Jane Ross, Executive Director
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.