Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Receives $35,000 in Grants for Parent Advocacy Programs and Brief Video of LD Experts

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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities received a $30,000 grant from the Allegra C. Ford-Thomas Foundation for educational programs to engage parents in their role advocating for their children and $5,000 from the Marion Moore Foundation for producing a brief video, featuring LD experts.

Allegra Ford Thomas with her mother Anne Ford

Brief videos are the gold standard in delivering engaging, informative messages -- particularly in areas as complex and emotionally charged as parenting children with special needs.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities received a $30,000 grant from the Allegra C. Ford-Thomas Foundation. The grant will help fund educational programs, parent support meetings and other activities, aimed at engaging parents in their role advocating for their children. A $5,000 grant, awarded by the Marion Moore Foundation, will help produce a brief video, spotlighting LD experts.

The Allegra C. Ford-Thomas Foundation, based in Detroit, Michigan, was named in honor of Allegra Ford. She is the granddaughter of Henry Ford II and the subject of “Laughing Allegra,” a book by her mother, Anne Ford. The memoir, co-authored by John-Richard Thompson, details the denial, pain and joy of raising a child with severe learning disabilities (LD).

In the mid-1970’s, Allegra, at age four, was diagnosed with LD. Her mother, fearful and confused, took Allegra from one preschool to another, one specialist to another. By school age, Allegra lacked focus and coordination. She not only struggled with words and math symbols but also the social cues necessary to build friendships.

All this time, Allegra’s family was unaware of the diagnosis of LD. Her mother, feeling ill-equipped to deal with “rejection and failure” in what she perceived as a family of achievers, kept the news to herself.

Denial and fear of stigma by parents of children with LD or special needs were not unusual in Anne Ford’s generation. Recent research indicates that many parents, teachers, and the general public continue to have serious misperceptions about LD.

However, with a determination to help her daughter and a strong conviction that no parent of a child with LD should endure the journey alone, Anne Ford became intensely involved in the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). She served as the non-profit’s chairman for 12 years (1989-2001).

Anne Ford remains an avid spokesperson for LD, speaking to school, corporate, radio and TV audiences as well as at national conferences, e.g., International Dyslexia Association and Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA).

Each year, the NCLD administers the Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships. Both scholarships recognize an outstanding high school senior with documented learning disabilities who wishes to pursue a higher education.

The Anne Ford Scholarship is for $10,000 ($2,500 per year), awarded to a student in a full-time bachelor’s degree program. The Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship is for $2,500 (one-time), granted to a student in a two-year community college, technical school, vocational school, or a specialized program for LD students.

Recently, Anne Ford co-authored her fourth book, The Forgotten Child…Sibling Issues: When Learning Disabilities Cause Tension in the Home. The 178-page book is available on Amazon.com.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities (SKLD) also received a grant of $5,000, awarded by the Marion Moore Foundation, located in New York City. The monies will fund a brief video, featuring leading experts on LD and ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder). According to Jane Ross, Executive Director for SKLD, the video will be the first of a series of videos, an increasingly critical part of the non-profit’s outreach program.

“Brief videos are the gold standard in delivering engaging, informative messages – particularly in areas as complex and emotionally charged as parenting children with special needs,” reported Jane Ross, Executive Director for SKLD.

She added. “These two grants, totaling $35,000, will allow us to ramp up our outreach to parents, helping them to strengthen their roles advocating for their child and others.”

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. is a Westport-based nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit disorders (ADHD) via its educational programs, award-winning website and blog, and free e-newsletter at http://www.SmartKidswithLD.org. The organization also educates the public about these children’s gifts and talents. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is an Honorary Board member and Henry Winkler, Golden Globe award-winning actor, director and author, serves as the organization’s Honorary Chairman.

For more information, visit http://www.SmartKidswithLD.org.

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Jane Ross
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities
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