Month: September 2013

New Logo New Beginnings

new-logo

Exciting, inspirational, hopeful. These are words that describe the new Lutheran Association for Special Education (LASE) logo. But who really is Lutheran Association for Special Education (LASE)? LASE includes everyone with a heart for reaching, inspiring and strengthening the potential and purpose of every child of the King.

LASE is every loving parent who struggles to understand how to help her child flourish and grow; who has wept with “lost” potential. LASE is the Lutheran school administrator and classroom teacher, who dedicate their existence to reaching, teaching, and loving each child in their schools. LASE is a supportive team of special education experts, who are strong and durable, dedicated and competent, compassionate and tough, and driven by their share value for educating the promise and potential in the spirit and mind of every child of God. LASE is volunteers and donors, each with a story and a reason for engaging with this unique and compelling mission.

LASE is a cause, not just a program, that uplifts and treasures the diversity of learning in all children.

The new logo communicates the brand of the organization in a very simple and easily understood way. This logo symbolizes the community and relationships within LASE. Each figure is shown growing and exhibiting joyful movement as they reach upward, forming a cross, emphasizing our unique Christ-centered mission. The solid, uppercase typeface give a very foundational feel to the name of the organization, while also speaking to the expertise and strength within it.

LASE did not choose a new logo simply to create something novel or beautiful. The new LASE logo is a visual symbol of new beginnings and a revitalized impetus to change our community for Christ. A new logo speaks to the bigger impact that LASE wants to have on our students, teachers, principals, parents, donors, and volunteers. Together we are a part of the community of LASE, here to encourage and inspire the God given potential of every child into reality.

“I Can Do” Attitude Drives Success for Orion Melton

When asked how he has grown as a student, Lutheran High School St. Charles junior Orion Melton replied, “I’ve learned to think of homework less as daily torture and more as something that needs to be done and that I can do.”

Orion attributes much of his high school success to the LASE Learning Center, a program that provides academic instruction, support, and curriculum modifications for students with varying disabilities. Orion’s grandmother, Pam Melton, said that she used to be worried what high school would be like for him since he is a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism.

Pam said her fears were dispelled when they found the LASE Learning Center and teacher Mrs. Sue Klobnak. “Mrs. Klobnak helps him tremendously by keeping him organized. I couldn’t ask for a better teacher.” Teachers at Lutheran High are very complimentary about Orion’s work ethic and thoughtfulness.

Orion says he sees the love of Christ show through at LHSSC because the students are so positive. When asked what he wants others to know about people with Asperger’s, he carefully replied, “Asperger’s make people act and think differently but it does not mean they are not intelligent or not interesting.” Orion is not sure what the future holds but he definitely wants to go to college and perhaps become a writer. The best is still to come for this bright young man!

A Light at the End of the Tunnel: Former LASE Student Finds Niche as Mechanical Engineering Intern

Corey Bryan’s mom, Karen Starnes, wondered how she would ever get her son through school when he was diagnosed with learning disabilities in reading, processing, and short-term memory issues. LASE helped her find the answers. Corey was a hard working student and learned to compensate for his challenges with the help of one of his favorite LASE teachers, Mrs. Sandi Loduca. A Christian school and LASE Resource Room at Christ Community Lutheran School was a blessing for Corey because no one picked on him or made him feel dumb.

Fast forward over 10 years to the present. The boy who couldn’t remember his math facts in grade school is now a doing high level math as a senior Mechanical Engineering student at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO. Corey is currently completing an internship in Sweetwater, TX with United States Gypsum (USG), the largest manufacturer of building materials in North America. Corey’s learning disabilities did not magically disappear, but over the years he learned how to overcome his challenges. His job prospects after graduation are promising.

Corey’s mom, Karen, says, “I cannot thank LASE enough for the work they did with Corey from second grade on to put him in the position he is today! In Corey’s case LASE absolutely met and far exceeded their mission to…’serve a child with special needs to grow in Christ and enjoy his God-given potential.'”

Ability Awareness Day Ignites Student Sensitivity

What would it be like if you had trouble seeing, trouble hearing, or couldn’t use your hands?

Students at St. Mark’s Lutheran School, Eureka, discovered what it was like during a day dedicated to Ability Awareness when they learned that the biggest word in “disability” is “ability.” Lutheran Association for Special Education (LASE) Resource Teacher, Carlyn Reed, and School Counselor, Susan Howard, organized the March 2013 event to develop student sensitivity and compassion toward people with disabilities.

The activities were designed to heighten student awareness of different disabilities, convey to students how people with disabilities feel, and highlight the many accomplishments people with disabilities have made in the world.

Students learned first-hand from presenter, Aaron Likens, what it is like to be a person with Asperger’s. Likens told students how he did not know he had Asperger’s until he was out of high school, but knew that he approached life differently than most people. He has also written a book about his experiences.

Students also engaged in simulation activities that helped them experience what it might be like to be learning disabled, and physically, visually or hearing impaired. Fourth grade teacher, Linda Dehn , asked students to reflect on what they learned from the day.

Here are some ways in which they grew in their awareness:

  • I learned that it isn’t easy to do certain things if you have disabilities. I felt how it can feel with disabilities. It can be very hard.
  • Even if people are different you should still treat them the way you would want to be treated.
  • Just because you are different, you can still be smart.
  • People with disabilities want to be treated like a normal person.

LASE Resource Teacher, Carlyn Reed, believes that heightening students awareness of the different gifts in others helps everyone to love and accept others for who they are, which is exactly what our Christian faith calls us to do.

Thank You LASE, I’m Ready to Face the World!

Things just weren’t clicking for Meredith Rauscher in third grade at Salem Lutheran School, Affton. Reading, math, and writing – “Why is it so hard to get this stuff?” Her questions were answered at the end of 3rd grade when she found out she had a learning disability. Help came to her through LASE Resource Teacher, Mrs. Karen Wittmayer. Meredith recalls how Karen went above and beyond expectations to give her learning strategies she needed to blossom and the encouragement to persist throughout grade school. That memory planted a seed: “I want to impact others’ lives. I want to give back to others because of my teachers’ kindness to me.”

Meredith transitioned well to public high school and learned to be her own best advocate. The special relationship between Meredith and Mrs. Wittmayer continued as the two kept in touch throughout her high school years. Meredith was thrilled to be nominated for a $1000 scholarship for special education students to Webster University and ended up choosing Webster to complete her BS in Education.

Looking back on her grade school years, Meredith is grateful for the mentors like Mrs. Wittmayer who inspired her to succeed. Meredith is currently an admissions officer for Harris Stowe University where she is able to use her gifts of speaking on panels and doing workshops for high school students. She is also attending UMSL to pursue her Masters Degree in Higher Education.

Karen and Meredith recently reconnected at the LASE Purse Auction in September where Meredith got to get to know some of the LASE faculty and staff. She indicated that she would be “proud to be an ambassador for LASE. You have so many amazing people in your organization. . . and you help the children. Thank you for all you do.”

Congratulations, Meredith, for making a difference in the world. God has great plans for you.