2017 Annual Conference - Atlanta

Award Recipients

Congratulations to our 2017 IDA Award Recipients. Each of these individuals have accomplished incredible achievements within the world of learning disabilities and as such are being honored to show our appreciation for them and all they do.

The Samuel Torrey Orton Award
Maureen Lovett, Ph.D.

Maureen Lovett is a Senior Scientist in the Neurosciences and Mental Health Program at The Hospital for Sick Children and a Professor of Paediatrics and Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto. She is Founder and Director of the Hospital’s Learning Disabilities Research Program, a clinical research group that develops and evaluates intervention programs for children, youth, and adults who struggle to learn to read. She received a Ph.D. in Psychology from McGill University, and was trained by a pioneer in Canadian Psychology, Dr. Sam Rabinovitch, who founded the first Canadian multidisciplinary centre at McGill devoted to the assessment and treatment of children with learning disabilities. After her Ph.D. studies and clinical psychology internships, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in paediatric neuropsychology at The Hospital for Sick Children. From that position, she was recruited to start a pilot research program focused on the treatment of learning disabilities.

Dr. Lovett has contributed to learning disabilities research and practice for more than three decades, and was one of the first researchers to conduct randomized controlled trials of the efficacy of remedial interventions for children with reading disabilities. She is known internationally for her research on intervention for children and youth with reading disorders. She, her team, and longtime colleagues Drs. Robin Morris and Maryanne Wolf, have created interventions for children and teens with severe reading disabilities, evaluated their efficacy in controlled designs, and scaled interventions up in school systems. This research has been funded by multiple operating grants from NICHD (NIH) and the Institute for Education Sciences (IES, the US Department of Education), as well as by provincial and federal agencies in Canada.

Maureen Lovett will be presenting Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.

The Margaret Byrd Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award 
Eric Tridas, M.D.

Dr. Tridas is the Medical Director of the Tridas Center for Child Development, a Clinical Associate Professor in Pediatrics at the University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine, a member of the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) and a past president of the International Dyslexia Association. He is also the State Medical Director for Pediatric Health Choice-Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Facilities (PPEC). He is an International Advisor for Project Difference an organization that provides support for children with learning differences in Barcelona, Spain.

Dr. Tridas is a Developmental Pediatrician who specializes in the diagnosis and management of neurodevelopmental conditions including ADHD, learning differences, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities and other developmental and behavioral problems. Dr. Tridas is also a founder and partner of Tridas, LLC, a software company that developed the Tridas eWriter, an application for web based structured interviews of caregivers and teachers that generates a customized evaluation report and provides hundreds of specific recommendations.

Dr. Tridas will be presented with this award on Friday, November 10 at 2:00 p.m.

The Norman Geschwind Memorial Lecture
Stanislas Dehaene

Cognitive neuroscientist and director of the Cognitive NeuroImaging Unit at NeuroSpin in Saclay, France, Stanislas Dehaene has made the study of the human brain his life work. His research combines the methods of experimental psychology, neuropsychology, neuroimaging and mathematical modeling to dissect the brain mechanisms associated with human competence, including mathematics, language processing, and access to consciousness. The scientific contributions and ongoing research led by Dehaene have resulted in important advancements in understanding the brain organization of human cognitive abilities and pathologies.

IDA is honored to have Stanislas Dehaene as the 2017 Geschwind Honor and Lecturer. His presentation, “New Data on how Literacy Transforms the Brain,” will discuss the acquisition of literacy accompanied by a major reorganization of cortical circuits in order to “recycle” them for the efficient processing of written words. Highlighted will be the results of a new longitudinal study of functional MRI data during and after the acquisition of reading in individual children that shed light upon the hurdles that face any young reader today.

Stanislas Dehaene will be presenting Friday, November 10, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.

IDA Excellence in Leadership Award
Martin McKay

Martin McKay is CTO and founder of Texthelp, where he directs the R&D program. His product development is built around Universal Design for Learning. His goal is to deliver simple, effective educational technology to help people with literacy. Martin has served on the Assistive Technology Industry Association board, and the NIMAS board focusing on simple technology to help with reading and writing.

More recently Martin has been exploring big data solutions to helping first and second language learners accelerate their learning. His products are being used by millions of students worldwide. He has also filed patents related to accessible EBook creation, accelerated writing technologies, and web sites that read themselves aloud.


Pinnacle Award
Malcolm Mitchell

Malcolm Mitchell is a native of Valdosta, Georgia.  He was an Under Armour All-American and one of the most talented athletes in his high school’s history.  While at the University of Georgia, he was considered one of the top wide receivers in Division I Football and was a top-ten all-time receivers in the University’s history.  Malcolm graduated in December of 2015 with a Degree in Communications.

During his freshman year in college, Malcolm developed a love of reading.  Initially, reading was a challenge, however, through perseverance, books became an avenue for expanding his curiosity, creativity and learning.  Today, Malcolm is an avid reader, active member of a book club and reading mentor to elementary school students. Malcolm has been recognized by the Page Turners Make Great Learners Foundation for his work to improve literacy throughout the state of Georgia and beyond.  Additionally, his inspirational story, which won the College Sports Media Awards Outstanding Special Feature, has been featured nationally on CBS Evening News, CBS Sunday Morning, CBS Sports, ESPN, USA Today, CNN, MSNBC and the NFL Network and has been used by many schools as encouragement for students to embrace the importance of reading. Malcolm was featured in Sports Illustrated Kids during 2016 National Reading Month and was selected as the 2016 Georgia Writer’s Association Children’s Author of the Year.  

While a student athlete, Malcolm was named National Captain of the Allstate Good Works Team (1st Student ever at UGA to win this Honor), awarded the National Haier Achievement Award and was the opening speaker for the 2016 Georgia Striving Readers Leadership Conference.  Malcolm received an invitation to the 2016 Savannah Book Festival, a rare achievement for a first-time self-published author.  In November, his book became the highest selling book in the history of the UGA Bookstore. Malcolm received the Atlanta Sports Council Community Spirit Award, the Georgia Chapter of the National College Football Hall of Fame Jack Turner Award, and the UGA Student Athlete of the Year Award.  

In May 2016, Malcolm was drafted by the New England Patriots, and in February 2017 he became a Super Bowl Champion as a wide receiver for the New England Patriots.  He recently received an Accommodation from the State of Georgia and a “Key to City of Valdosta, GA” for his work on and off the professional football field. In April 2017, Malcolm was honored at the 20th Anniversary of the President’s Summit for America’s Future and the America’s Promise Alliance Gala as the recipient of the Promise Hero Award.


Remy Johnston Certificate of Merit
Oliva Amante

Olivia Amante is a college student whose life has been about resilience in the face of obstacles with learning. She was diagnosed with a reading/spelling disorder and ADHD in third grade, but was resourceful and dedicated to not letting these diagnoses define her. Those who know Olivia personally describe her as empathetic, compassionate, and devoted to serving others. Today, Olivia uses her voice and her story to be an advocate and role model to those who struggle with learning. She uses what she has experienced to encourage others to strive towards excellence despite any and all barriers that might try to stand in their way.  

Emerging Researcher Award
Sunjung Kim

Sunjung Kim, began her career as a speech-language pathologist in Seoul, South Korea.  She went on to pursue her Ph.D in Speech Language Hearing Sciences at the University of Florida. After the completion of her degree in 2012, Kim went on to become an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Central Arkansas, where she currently serves as a faculty member guiding students at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.

Dr. Kim is Orton-Gillingham trained for multisensory strategies in reading, writing, and spelling. Her research has led to numerous publications, including work detailing her most recent study exploring text and icon graph interpretation in students with dyslexia through eye-tracking.

Dr. Kim is honored to receive the 2017 Emerging Researcher Award from the International Dyslexia Association for her research focusing on language and cognitive processing in visual display (e.g., graphs, maps, online lecture), exploring the relationship of working memory and executive function deficits to literacy, and examining the use of technology (e.g., eye tracker, I-PAD) in studying the efficacy of interventions for spoken and written language disabilities.