Presidents Letter

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DicksonThis past weekend I found myself looking through the program for the IDA National Conference that will be in San Diego this November and remembering the first one I attended. It was in Los Angeles in 1993, and it turned out to be a pivotal point in my career.

I had been a classroom teacher in first, second, and third grades and always had bright students who struggled with reading. I couldn’t figure out how to best help them, so I consulted with a learning specialist at my school. I was fascinated with what I learned from her and, with her encouragement, I took a Slingerland teacher training course. I joined the IDA and attended the national conference in LA shortly after my Slingerland training.

I was completely impressed with the caliber of speakers at my first IDA conference and the depth of knowledge shared. I felt a kinship with others equally interested in learning why students struggle with reading and how best to teach them. I met NCBIDA friends that November in LA who remain friends to this day. It was at this conference that I first participated in the Experience Dyslexia® simulation created by and put on by our IDA branch, an experience that evoked a whole new level of empathy and understanding for struggling readers and writers.

These experiences shifted my focus in education and eventually led me to receive my master’s degree in learning and instruction and become a learning specialist. I am grateful to IDA for putting on such a high-quality conference every year. I’m not sure how many IDA national conferences I’ve attended since that first one in 1993, or how many Experience Dyslexia® simulations I’ve since helped to facilitate, but I do know I’m very much looking forward to attending the IDA conference again this November, and I hope to see many of you there. I promise it will be well worth your time. And it’s in beautiful San Diego right here in our home state!

Frances Dickson
NCBIDA Board President