Tacoma resident proves learning disability is no obstacle to educational success
PRINCETON, NJ – Learning Ally, a 65-year-old nonprofit serving individuals with learning and visual disabilities, has bestowed its highest award to Maia Schumacher of Tacoma, Washington. Schumacher is one of six students from across the U.S. who will receive cash awards of $6,000 and travel with their families to be honored at Learning Ally’s National Gala celebration in Washington, DC this April.
Reading and writing have always been a struggle for Schumacher, who is severely dyslexic and has difficulty with spelling and decoding words. As she progressed in school grade levels, the complexity and quantity of her reading assignments grew to be overwhelming, requiring the assistance of a reader to help her complete her homework and bringing about dependency on others to cope with the sheer volume of assigned reading for each class.
A turning point came when Schumacher started using Learning Ally audiobooks to complete her assignments instead of a human reader. With higher self-confidence and a newfound sense of independence, she rose to the top of her class. A gifted athlete and highly involved volunteer, Schumacher continued to excel in her academics and extracurricular activities, graduating from high school with numerous awards and a 3.98 grade point average.
Now at age 18, Schumacher is attending Seattle University to pursue a master’s degree and career as a nurse anesthetist. “Since the second grade, I have struggled with dyslexia and know all too well the emotional pain, isolation and frustration of living with a learning disability,” she says. “But now I look at my disability in a different light, as a gift in the form of a challenge that has shaped me into the person I am today.”
About the National Achievement Awards
Each year, Learning Ally (formerly known as Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) honors exceptional students through the Marion Huber Learning Through Listening® Awards, which were instituted in 1991 for high school seniors with learning differences such as dyslexia. 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, leadership, and service to others; 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; and they have thrived on their education paths thanks in part to their use of accessible educational content and assistive technology provided by Learning Ally. For information about applying for Learning Ally’s National Achievement awards, visit https://learningally.org/naa/apply
About Learning Ally
Founded in 1948, Learning Ally serves more than 300,000 K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom cannot read standard print due to blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. Through its programs and audiobooks, Learning Ally enables families and schools to manage the needs of students with learning disabilities. The organization offers integrated learning management systems and professional development for teachers, as well as support for parents through personal consultations, webinars and other tools. In addition, Learning Ally’s collection of more than 80,000 human-narrated textbooks and literature titles can be downloaded on mainstream smartphones and tablets, and is the largest of its kind in the world. Several thousand volunteers help to produce the educational materials, which students rely on to achieve academic and professional success. 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 https://learningally.org.
Contact: Doug Sprei
Learning Ally PR & Communications