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Youth achievement contest deadline Jan. 31

Published 4:15 pm, Saturday, January 19, 2013
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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Inc. will accept entries for the 2013 Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award Contest, a nationwide recognition for students 19 or younger with learning disabilities or attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, through Thursday, Jan. 31.

The $1,000 award will be made to a student who demonstrates talent and determination resulting in a notable accomplishment in any field, including art, music, math, athletics or community service. Honorable mentions will also be awarded.

The 2013 award will be presented at the organization's annual benefit on April 26 at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich. Transportation and hotel accommodations will be provided for the winning student and his or her parents.

Applications may be submitted by parents, teachers, coaches or by students themselves via a form posted at www.smartkidswithld.org/award.

Winners will be posted on the organization's website on April 1.

"Children with LD and ADHD are no less capable than their peers," said Devon MacEachron, a psychologist who is co-director of the Connecticut Center for Exceptional Learners in Madison and a member of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities' professional advisory board. "But too often, we focus primarily on their weaknesses and fail to support these students' considerable strengths. Identifying and nurturing their strengths is vitally important to helping them succeed, both in the classroom and beyond."

The co-chairmen of the 2013 Award Committee are Molly Van Wagenen, of Darien, and Kristine Stoker, of Pound Ridge, N.Y., both of whom are parents of bright children with learning disabilities.

In June 2012, the award was named in honor of Fred Epstein, the pediatric neurosurgeon who credited his significant learning disabilities as a major factor in his success -- causing him to become unafraid of failure, as he developed neurosurgical techniques beyond what anyone else dreamed of in order to save children's lives. He became an inspiration to children with LD, playing an important role in talking openly with them about his struggles and ultimate success.