Published by the Austin Area Branch of The International Dyslexia Association

Founded in Memory of Samuel T. Orton

"Dedicated to the study and treatment of individuals with specific language disability"

Taken from: November 2003 Edition       (512) 452-7658   

The International Dyslexia Association neither recommends nor endorses any specific speaker, school, institution, instructional program or material.

The International Dyslexia Association supports the efforts to provide dyslexic individuals with appropriate instruction and to identify these individuals at an early age.    The Association believes that teaching and learning is the best approach currently available for those affected by dyslexia.  The Association, however, does not endorse any specific program, speaker, or instructional materials, noting that there are a number of such which present the critical components of instruction as defined by the Task Force on Multisensory Teaching which works under the guidance of the The Association’s Teacher Education Issues Committee.

Click here to view Fall 2003 Newsletter


A Friend for Life



Thank You

Welcome New IDA Members of the Austin Branch

IDA has new membership rates that are effective on Jan. 1, 2004

Please Share Your E-mail Address

A Friend for Life
by Laura Walth

Most of you probably have someone you would call your best friend. I didn’t always have a best friend. When I was growing up I had friends that I played with, but I’m not sure they were really my best friends. I was just a playmate for them when their best friend wasn’t available. The following is a list of some questions children were asked about friendship: 

1. What is the main problem in friendship? Response: Leaving someone out.
2. How do you keep a friend? Response: Treat someone like you want to be treated.
3. What is a good friend? Response: Somebody you can depend on.

What I am about to share with you is something very personal. It is a story about someone that was not always my friend but became a very good friend much later in my life.

I was with her in first grade when she did something that was rather embarrassing at the time. As we get older we find out that it is not really that uncommon. What I remember about it is that she denied it happened even when it was obvious she was the one that left that puddle under her desk. I wanted to tell her that it was ok, but even I didn’t really believe it was ok back then. I wasn’t very nice to her. I called her a liar. In fact, I’m sure that I was the one responsible for making her feel ashamed of herself because I wasn’t willing to be her friend. I didn’t really like her.

Perhaps you’ve known someone like that in your lifetime. Someone that you thought you might want to be friends with, but there was just something about them that you didn’t really like. Through the years, I got to know her a little better, but I still didn’t want to be around her much. I guess you could say that I avoided her. To me, she was annoying. She seemed to be rather self-centered.

I remember one time when she made me so mad that I literally wanted to strangle her. I was bringing my hands together in a choking motion, and the next thing I knew, I was praying for her instead of wanting to strangle her. I wanted to know how to help her. It was one of those silent prayers that only I knew I was praying. I was asking God to help me find a way to forgive her. It must have worked because she smiled back at me as I looked at her face.

That was a turning point in our friendship; after that I tried to get to know her better, but it wasn’t easy. She was always looking for someone or something else besides me to be there for her. Perhaps, we were just too close because after all we had grown up together. I knew things about her that no one else knew. I knew that she was always trying to please people. If she couldn’t, she felt like there was something wrong with her.

What annoyed me about her more than anything was her insecurity. I like to be around someone who feels confident and self-assured. It gets depressing being around someone that always feels like they are to blame for things that they have no control over, like what other people think. I think she felt that she was responsible for how others felt about her. What she didn’t realize is that if she would just learn to like herself, it wouldn’t matter what other people thought of her. 

I don’t think she really spent much time getting to know who she was because she was always trying to find someone else to do that for her. You can probably see why I got tired of being around her. 

I know friends are supposed to help each other, but you can only do so much when someone isn’t willing to be your friend. Looking back on it makes me wonder how we ever got to the point we are today. It may never have happened if she hadn’t finally realized that she needed professional help to get her to realize she is not such a bad person after all. She really does have a good heart. I know she cares about others. Her biggest problem was not learning to care about who she was to begin with. Now that she realizes this, I can honestly say we will be friends for life. 

My friend that I’ve been telling you about is myself. I am the one who did not always like who I was. I needed to take the time to get to know who I am. It took me a long time to realize I had to be my own best friend before I could really be a friend to someone else.

Let’s review what we talked about at the beginning of this article, only this time let’s think about these questions from the viewpoint of being our own best friend:

1. What is the main problem in friendship?
Many times we may feel like we don’t have a friend. Remember to think of yourself as your own best friend. 

2. How do you keep a friend?
Treat yourself like you are a friend. Be kind to yourself and think of helpful things to say to yourself instead of being upset with something you may have done wrong. Also give yourself praise for the things you do well. Feel good about your accomplishments no matter how small they may seem to someone else. Above all, don’t hate yourself. 

3. What is a good friend?
When there is no one else around and you feel you need someone you can depend on, try relying on yourself to be there for you. After all, you are the one you will be spending the rest of your life with after your friends and family are gone. You might as well start liking yourself. Discover who you are now!

If you’ve been told you have a disability or a disorder, don’t let that stop you from being your own best friend. Instead, start looking for the abilities in your disability and the order in your disorder. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish once you start believing in yourself, even when others might not believe in you. 

Remember it is better to learn from a mistake than to never try for fear of making one. Next time you get upset with yourself, remember you are your own best friend, and treat yourself like you really mean that.

Laura Walth has been a successful Reference Librarian for the Public Library of Des Moines for over 12 years. She was diagnosed with AD/HD as an adult. She became the CHADD site facilitator for Des Moines, Iowa to help others with AD/HD how to learn to recognize their weaknesses and focus on their strengths. CHADD is a support group for children and adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. You can email her at [email protected] or you can write her at P.O. Box 93812, Des Moines, IA 50393-3812. 

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Saturday, January 24, 2022 at 6:00 P.M.

 at the Old Pecan Street Cafe

310 E. 6th Street

(between Trinity and San Jacinto)

$25.00 per person (this includes a choice of one of the four entrees, tea, dessert, and gratuity.)

Click here for dinner/meeting registration form

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AABIDA’s Annual Conference 
“Make Learning Bearable”
Friday, February 27, 2021
8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
at: Norris Conference Center 
2525 West Anderson Lane
Austin, TX 

Click here for conference registration form


Keynote Speaker: 
Lucille Helton 

“Label the Problem, Not the Person”  

Exec. Dir. of The Learning Center of North Texas, a “Schools Attuned” Regional Training Site for Dr. Mel Levine’s All Kinds of Minds

Since 2000, approximately 1000 educators have received Schools Attuned training in Texas making a positive impact on the lives of over 109,000 students. The brain child of pediatrician Mel Levine, Schools Attuned embraces the notion that all children learn in different ways. “To treat all children the same is to treat them unequally, “ Levine says, “We are making a plea for the understanding of diversity, for greater flexibility in education, so that every child can find success in his or her own way.” Come learn more about this program that is positioned to create an educational revolution in our nation.  



Diane Newton, C.A.L.T.   “Does H-O-M-E-W-O-R-K Spell Headache?”  

Certified Academic Language Therapist and an ALTA Qualified Instructor

As president of Leadership-Designs, she teaches study skills and learning strategies in private practice and to advanced students and adults through the Learning Therapy Program at Southern Methodist University.  She also conducts professional development workshops for corporations, educational associations and not-for-profit organizations.  Diane serves on the Branch Council Executive Committee of the International Dyslexia Association and is a founding board member of the Learning Center of North Texas.


Dr. William Dailey  “The Brain and Dyslexia”  

Educational Psychologist

Dr. Dailey has his own private practice in Austin, Neuropsychology Services of Austin.


Jim Walsh    “Legal Issues in Serving Students with Dyslexia”

Attorney at Law

Jim Walsh practices school law with the Austin office of Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Schulze & Aldridge.  He is a co-author of the Educators Guide to School Lay, a consulting editor with the Journal of Learning Disabilities, the editor of This Just In, and a co-publisher of the Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest.  He has taught education law at both Texas State University – San Marcos and Baylor University.  Mr. Walsh is a highly sought after speaker in Texas and throughout the nation.


David Sweeney  “Transitioning to Higher Ed:  What Every Teacher and Parent Should Know”  

Adaptive Technology Services, Texas A & M University

Although transition planning for high school students with disabilities who plan to matriculate is mandated under the law, many of these students are unprepared.  Key areas of concern are:  changing roles, differences in the law, self-advocacy, documentation, and admissions.  Questions such as, “Do I disclose my disability during the application process?”  and, “Should I request accommodations for the SAT?” are infrequently addressed by high school transition counselors,  This presentation will focus on the essential information students, parents, and teachers need to know for successful transition to the academy.


Registration:  7:30 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.

  8:00 A.M. –   9:45 A.M.     Lucille Helton             

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.     Diane Newton                       

11:00 A.M. – 12: 20 P.M.  LUNCH                        Lunch will be on your own.  There are several

12:30 P.M. –   1:30 P.M.      Jim Walsh                         restaurants near the Norris Conference Center,

  1:40 P.M. –   2:40 P.M.      Dr. Dailey                         and a map of nearby locations will be available

  2:50 P.M. –   4:00 P.M.      David Sweeney                       at the conference.

Click here for conference registration form

In the unlikely event that the program cannot be held due to circumstances beyond our control, no refunds will be granted. But, we will make every effort to reschedule.

Thank you to those of you that attended the various 20 events that were hosted by the Austin Area Branch of the International Dyslexia Association during October 2003.  These events were in accordance with Governor Rick Perry’s proclamation of October 2003 as “Dyslexia Awareness Month”.  Please let us know what events were helpful to you by mailing your thoughts to:

Reflections on Oct. 2003 
AABIDA                                 Please include how or why a
P.O. Box 92604                     particular event was helpful to you.
Austin, TX 78709-2604 

Also, thank you to the San Marcos Civic Foundation and Austin Community College for underwriting the costs of the “Bridges to Practice” training.

And, thank you to Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic – Texas Unit for co-hosting an Open House with AABIDA at the RFBD – Texas Unit.

Thank you to those volunteers and speakers that dedicated their time and efforts in providing these free events to the public.

  Finally, thank you to Governor Rick Perry and his staff for the help and cooperation with educating the Texas public about dyslexia.

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Welcome New IDA Members of the Austin Branch

Lydia Andreas                    Mason Hale               Virginia Cowden

Cheryl Bollish                     Corina Hinojos           Alejandra Martinez

Mr. & Mrs. Steve Mjos       Deborah Sigoloff       Laurie McDonald

Amanda DeWitt                 Kathy Williams           Karen M. Smith

                                                Stacy Zella

 *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *

 If you’d like to be more involved with the Austin Area Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, please leave us a message on our help-line number at (512) 452-7658.

*              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *              *

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IDA has new membership rates that are effective on Jan. 1, 2004.

Individual rates remain $60.00 per year.

Institutional membership will increase to $395.00 per year.  And, a copy of non-profit status will be required.

For further information, please visit IDA’s web-site at:

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 Please share your e-mail address!

As we increase our efficiency, we are moving to e-mail communication.  So, please share your e-mail with IDA at: 

[email protected]

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The International Dyslexia Association neither recommends nor endorses any specific speaker, school, institution, instructional program or material.

Austin Area Branch of the International Dyslexia Association
Local Austin Area Helpline (512) 452-7658 ---

Call our volunteers for:

  1. Membership application blanks and basic information packet
  2. Teacher training information
  3. Referral lists for: