Wednesday, Oct. 27 • 6:00 – 7:15 pm ET

Transitions Are Not Just For Students

Your student's growing independence can create new challenges for families, parents and caregivers—from frustrations about college rules to new kinds of parental anxieties.

For the parents and caregivers of soon-to-be high school graduates, watching the person you have cared for quickly develop a new sense of independence and head off to college or a career often requires that you change as well.

Understanding the dynamics involved in supporting your student as they take these important steps can help reduce the stress on you and your family. You know your student still needs support but you also want to create room for growth.

As a leading advocate for people with learning disabilities, the nationally recognized LDA America has a special commitment to supporting the families and caregivers of young people with disabilities. We’re excited to partner with them for this program where you will hear from parents who have been through this experience.

Learn how you can support your graduate, manage conflicts and expectations, and reduce stress on your family. You’ll get help figuring out when to step in and when to step aside. Our panelists include family therapists and others who can offer valuable wisdom, insights and advice.

You will have a chance to sign up for similar presentations and workshops when registration opens for Pt 2 of the inaugural Different Choices Fair. You can preregister for the spring event today. 

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What you'll learn

  • How to help your student develop greater independence and a capacity for self-advocacy

  • Why colleges have the privacy rules they have and how you can ensure support your child while respecting their privacy

  • How to sort through your own concerns and feelings about your student's increasing independence

  • How to recognize when your student needs support and when to step back

Presented in Partnership with The Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA).

LDA is a membership-based, non-profit organization of parents, educators, adults with LD, professionals, and academic researchers with 33 state affiliates and members in every state and territory. Established in 1964 as a grassroots movement, LDA’s mission is to create opportunities for success for all individuals affected by learning disabilities through support, education, and advocacy. For more information, go to

Cindy Cipoletti, Esq. is the executive director of LDA.  An attorney by trade, she practiced law and served as a judicial law clerk in the Pittsburgh area until moving into the nonprofit sector in 2012.

As executive director of LDA, Cindy actively pursues opportunities to provide essential education, training and advocacy resources to parents, children and adults with learning disabilities.

Cindy has helped LDA create new educational opportunities and resources for the learning disabilities community in response to COVID-19 and remote learning, and is working with LDA state affiliates to offer additional programming to help students and adults with LD be successful.

Cindy also founded a support group for parents of children on the autism spectrum and has been actively involved in the public school system as her son struggled with a learning disability and ADHD.

Cindy is passionate about helping adults and children reach their full potential and working to remove barriers that prevent disadvantaged people them from being the best version of themselves.

Monica McHale-Small, Ph.D., is an adjunct assistant professor at Temple University. She retired from public education after 27 years of service in Pennsylvania.

Monica started her career as a school psychologist but spent the last 14 years in a variety of administrative positions including, most recently, superintendent.

Dr. McHale-Small has long advocated bringing research into practice in public schools and has served as an adviser oPennsylvania’s Dyslexia Screening and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot, which supports researched-based, structured literacy instruction and intervention beginning in Kindergarten.

Dr. McHale-Small is an advocate for responsible inclusion and equity for historically underserved students including racially, culturally and linguistically diverse students and students with disabilities. She cofounded the Greater Lehigh Valley Consortium for Equity and Excellence, and currently consults with the ACLU of Pa., on the School to Prison Pipeline issues.

Monica has served on LDA  Board of Directors, the International Dyslexia Association, and the National Association of Pupil Services Administrators. She also serves her own community as a board member and volunteer advocate for Coatesville Citizens Who Seek Educational Equality.

JoAnna J. Barnes, Esq. is the parent of two young adults with learning disabilities. She has been involved with LDA since 2002 when her older child, then in 2nd grade, was struggling in school. She credits LDA for her daughter finally being identified as learning disabled in 3rd grade.

JoAnna lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., and is active with LDA of North Carolina serving on its Board of Directors and now as president. She is chair of the LDA Advocacy Committee, and one of two LDA representatives to the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities.

In 2015 she chaired an LDA task force on accessibility of testing accommodations for adults with LD who apply to take the high school equivalency exam. 

Beth McGaw is an outspoken advocate for children with learning disabilities and has been an active member in LDA for over 10 years.

Elected to the LDA Board of Directors in 2012, she currently serves on the Executive Committee as past president.

She cofounded the Atlanta-based, award-winning magazine Kids Enabled and currently works as an independent educational consultant at Launch Pad Consulting Group in Dallas, which assists families and their students with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and/or autism spectrum disorders locate postsecondary options, including college, job search and residential living options.

Beth also volunteers for LaunchAbility, a nonprofit that offers supportive employment services for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Beth and her husband have three adult sons, one diagnosed with learning disabilities as a young child. They enjoy adventurous vacations with their family to stay connected.