Expert on learning differences Rick Lavoie to speak at Midwest Academy


By Mark Ambrogi

The Midwest Academy staff is eagerly awaiting national learning disabilities expert Rick Lavoie’s visit.


“It was kind of like someone said a rock star was coming to our school,” said Lori Dearing, Midwest Academy director of external affairs.

Lavoie, a Boston resident, will give a free presentation at the school, 1420 Chase Ct., Carmel, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 8.

“This guy just has a storied career,” said Kevin Gailey, Midwest Academy head of school. “He’s kind of like the Mick Jagger of learning differences.”

Lavoie served as an administrator for children with special needs for 30 years.

“He is going to be talk about what’s like to have a child in your house with learning differences and the effect it has on the entire family,” Gailey said.

Gailey said Lavoie’s presentations are informative and entertaining.

Lavoie will hold a workshop with Midwest Academy teachers earlier on Aug. 8. The staff is quite familiar with Lavoie’s PBS special called “How Difficult Can This Be?: The F.A.T City Workshop” from 1989.

“Since then he’s gone on tour speaking to people about learning differences,” Gailey said.

Gailey said he showed that video during a staff training week a few years ago and now shows it each year.

“For the folks who have been there awhile, it’s optional,” Gailey said. “But everybody comes and watches it again and again because there’s so much information about kids with learning differences and learning challenges. It’s things you struggle with as you are trying to teach them and as you are trying to parent them, you watch this and he shows and explains how the brain is working differently than the traditional learner.”

Another of Lavoie’s well-known PBS videos is “Last One Picked, First One Picked On: The Social Implications of Learning Disabilities.”

“He speaks at a lot of national conferences on learning disabilities,” Dearing said. “People pay a lot of money to come and see him, especially when he headlines the huge conferences.”

Dearing said a donor, who wants remain anonymous, is funding Lavoie’s visit.

To RSVP for the free presentation, call 1-317-843-9500. For more, visit