Thursday, March 15, 2007

Show #47 Conversation with Sally Smith, Founder of the Lab School

Sally Smith started the Lab School in Washington, DC, in 1967, based on her need to find a school for her own son who had severe learning disabilities. Like most moms on a mission, she gathered her friends and turned an old house into a school. Now, 40 years later, the Lab School serves children from age 5 1/2 to age 19, provides support of college students and adults with learning disabilities, and provides in depth multidisciplinary testing. There are now Lab Schools in Baltimore, MD and Manayunk, PA. Sallycontinues in her role as Director of the Lab School, as well as servign as Head of the Graduate Program in Special Education:Learning Disabilities at American University. She has written a wonderful book, which continues to be updated, entitled "No Easy Answers: The Learning Disabled Child at Home and At School".

My conversation with Sally took place at the Lab School in Washington. When you enter the grounds of the Lab School, you are immediately struck by the art work and creativity that permeates the whole school. Sally's office is filled with art, pictures, mementos from travels around the world, and a sense of warmth and home. I've split the conversation into two parts. In Part I, we discuss how Sally founded the Lab School as a way to help her own child, and how it's grown exponentially over the years. We discuss the state of LD education now, and what has changed over the years. In Part II, we discuss early intervention, the deficits many kids with LD share, and how we can help them succeed. We also discuss the importance of parental support, reading methods, including Orton Gillingham and Linda Mood Bell, and why it may be best to have all tools at your disposal rather than just one.

Click Here to Listen to Show #47-Conversation with Sally L. Smith, Part I

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