Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Announces the 2013 Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award Contest

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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. announces the 2013 Fred J. Epstein 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.

What I say to children with LD is, we're like anybody else in terms of intelligence. But we're wired differently. If we were in the majority, we'd be trying to figure out how to teach them!

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. announces the 2013 Fred J. Epstein 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. Honorable Mentions will also be awarded.

The award will be presented at the organization’s annual benefit on the evening of Friday, April 26, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. Transportation and hotel accommodations will be provided for the winning student and his/her parents.

Applications 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 January 31, 2013. Winners will be posted on the organization’s website on April 1, 2013.

Celebrating these children’s potential is particularly important in view of the widespread misconceptions concerning learning disabilities. “Children with LD and ADHD are no less capable than their peers,” said Dr. Devon MacEachron, co-director of the CT Center for Exceptional Learners and a member of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities’ Professional Advisory Board. “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.”

In June 2012, the Youth Achievement Award was named in honor of Dr. Fred J. Epstein, the pioneering pediatric neurosurgeon who credited his significant learning disabilities as a major factor in his success – causing him to become unafraid of failure, as he developed neurosurgical techniques beyond what anyone thought was possible in order to save children’s lives. He became an inspiration to children with LD, playing an important role in talking openly with them about his struggles and ultimate success.

The winner of the 2012 Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award was Clinton Berry of Owensboro, KY who credits his reading and writing disabilities with motivating him to set high goals for himself. He participated in a STEM leadership project as a high school senior, and was honored with numerous academic and public service awards. He is currently a freshman studying engineering at Murray State University.

A Special Recognition Award was presented to Elliott Sabbagh of Ann Arbor, MI. Maxence Mouries of Falls Church, VA received a Junior Achievement Award and Daniel De Chucho Estruch-Gonzalez of Vienna, Austria received a Junior Special Recognition Award. Honorable Mentions were awarded to students from Berwyn, PA, Oak Park, IL, Branford, CT, Princeton Junction, NJ and Norwalk, CT.

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.

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