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Westport's Smart Kids With Learning Disabilities Launches Contest

Photo Credit: File

WESTPORT, Conn. – Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, a Westport-based nonprofit organization, announces the 2015 Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award Contest, a nationwide recognition for students 19 or younger with learning disabilities or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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, or community service. Honorable mentions will also be awarded.

The 2015 award will be presented at the organization’s annual benefit on Saturday, April 7, at a location in Fairfield County. Transportation and hotel accommodations will be provided for the winning student and his/her parents.

Parents, teachers, coaches may submit applications, or by students themselves, via a form posted on the organization's website at http://www.smartkidswithld.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/2015-YAA-form.pdf . The contest deadline is Dec. 15. Winners will be posted on the organization’s website on Feb. 15.

Celebrating these children’s potential is central to Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities’ mission, and is particularly important in view of the widespread misconceptions concerning learning disabilities.

“Children with LD and ADHD are no less capable than their peers,” said Devon MacEachron, a psychologist and co-director of the CT Center for Exceptional Learners in Madison, and a member of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities’ Professional Advisory Board. “But too often, we focus primarily on their weaknesses and fail to support these students’ considerable strengths. Identifying and nurturing their strengths is vitally important to helping them succeed, both in the classroom and beyond.”

The co-chairs of the 2015 Award Committee are Linda Straubel of Darien, and Maria Prorok of New Rochelle, N.Y.

In June 2012, the Youth Achievement Award was named in honor of Epstein, the pediatric neurosurgeon who credited his significant learning disabilities as a major factor in his success – causing him to become unafraid of failure, as he developed neurosurgical techniques beyond what anyone else dreamed of in order to save children’s lives. He became an inspiration to children with LD, playing an important role in talking openly with them about his struggles and ultimate success.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering parents of children with LD and 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.

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