Learning Ally Blog: Access and Achievement

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Now more than ever, people with learning and visual disabilities are flourishing in the classroom, launching productive careers and becoming assets in their communities. This blog spotlights remarkable individuals who demonstrate that having a visual or print disability is no barrier to educational success.


Aleisa Myles Wins National Achievement Award
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Media, PA resident proves visual impairment is no barrier to educational success

Aleisa MylesPRINCETON, NJ – Learning Ally, a 68-year-old nonprofit serving individuals with learning and visual disabilities, has bestowed its highest award to Aleisa Myles of Media, PA. Myles is one of six students from across the U.S. who will receive cash awards and travel with their families to be honored at Learning Ally’s National Achievement Awards Gala celebration in Denver, Colorado in April. Aleisa is a graduate student at Widener University’s Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology. She has been visually impaired with Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis since birth. As she works to complete her Doctorate, she is dedicated to studying and writing about the perspective of children and young people, and is providing therapy for disadvantaged populations in her pre-doctoral internship. “My limitations have taught me to be persistent and flexible,” Aleisa says. “I have a sense of awe and deep gratitude for the role that Learning Ally plays in my life, my studies, and my ability to serve others. Having tens of thousands of audiobooks accessible to me is an adventure playground for my mind. "I am very much in a wonderful place in moving towards my professional career and work. I have known since I was young that I wanted to be a psychotherapist and work with people who have many kinds of struggles in life. "Being a learner with a disability requires a certain transformation and requires one to become an advocate for oneself to learn what it is that one needs and how to explain it. And it takes everyone’s help and support to allow people like me and every person to have a role and participate in society." About the National Achievement Awards Since 1959, Learning Ally has honored exceptional students who are blind or visually impaired through its privately endowed Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement (SAA) Awards for college seniors and beyond.  Hundreds of students apply for these prestigious awards each year and are selected by committees of Learning Ally volunteers, board members, parents, educators, donors and staff. Students are recognized for their academic excellence, extraordinary leadership, and service to others; and they have thrived on their education paths thanks in part to their extensive use of accessible educational content and assistive technology provided by Learning Ally. Each award winner has a long list of honors and accomplishments, and has graduated with a GPA above 3.0, with most near the 4.0 mark. For more information, visit https://LearningAlly.org/naa . About Learning Ally Founded in 1948, Learning Ally supports K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom read and learn differently due to dyslexia, blindness or visual impairment, and other disabilities.  The organization hosts live and virtual events for families and teachers; provides instructive webinars led by experts as well as peer-to-peer sessions led by students; personal consultations for parents; and professional development workshops for educators. Learning Ally’s collection of 82,000 human-narrated audio textbooks and literature titles can be downloaded by students using their smartphones and tablets, and is the largest of its kind in the world. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Learning Ally is partially funded by grants from state and local education programs, and the generous contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information visit www.LearningAlly.org.


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