Announcing the 2015 Youth Achievement Award Contest, Celebrating Students with Learning Disabilities

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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. announces the 2015 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.

Alexandra Sheridan

Too often, we focus primarily on these students' weaknesses and fail to support their considerable strengths.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. announces the 2015 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, science or community service. Honorable Mentions will also be awarded.

The award will be presented at the organization’s annual benefit on the evening of Saturday, March 7, 2015 in Stamford, 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/2015award. The contest deadline is December 15, 2014. Winners will be posted on the organization’s website on February 28, 2015.

The Youth Achievement Award helps to celebrate these children’s potential, and to combat the widespread misconception that children with LD are any less intelligent or capable than their peers. As Dr. Devon MacEachron, an expert on giftedness and learning disabilities at the 2E Learners Center in New York City, has said, “Too often, we focus primarily on these students’ weaknesses and fail to support their considerable strengths. Identifying and nurturing their strengths is vitally important to helping them succeed, both in the classroom and beyond.”

In June 2012, the Award was named in honor of the late Dr. Fred Epstein, the pioneering pediatric neurosurgeon who credited his significant learning disabilities as a major factor in his success. He played an important role in talking openly with children about his own struggles and ultimate success, becoming an inspiration to children with LD.

The winner of the 2014 Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award was Alexandra Sheridan of Marcellus, NY. Alexandra is a Youth Ambassador for the UN, as a representative of Dr. Jane Goodall’s non-profit organization, Roots & Shoots. Her out-of-the-box thinking and hard-won self-confidence have made her successful as an experiential counselor, award-winning artist, and performing artist despite her struggles with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD.

A Special Recognition Award was presented to Brian Meersma of Princeton Junction, NJ, and a Junior Achievement Award to Blake Resnick of Las Vegas, NV. Students from Houston, TX; Kensington, CT; Sewickley, PA; and Stallings, NC received Honorable Mention Awards.

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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