Sophie Cassidy Gibson, IDA leader, receives the Etoile DuBard Award of Excellence, presented by IMSLEC, the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council.
After attending the 1981 International Dyslexia Association conference in Tampa, Florida, Sophie joined the organization. A charter member of the Louisiana Branch of IDA (LaBIDA), formed in 1987, she served on the Board of Directors from 1987 to 1995, and served as president from 1988 to 1990. During those years, Sophie organized an annual one-day conference in Baton Rouge utilizing the expertise of current IDA Board Officers, and during her presidency there was a five-fold increase in LaBIDA membership.
While on Branch Council during her years as President of LaBIDA, Sophie was elected to serve on the national Nominating Committee and continued to serve on that committee until 1992 when C. Wilson Anderson, IDA President, appointed her to serve as Chair. In addition to meeting during the annual conference, at the Nominating Committee’s request, they began meeting in Baltimore during the spring Branch Council meetings. Marcia Henry, the next IDA President, also appointed Sophie to serve as Nominating Committee Chair. During those years, the Nominating Committee worked as a group to establish Information Packets for perspective Board Members, policies, and procedures, and to create a handbook for future Nominating Committee members. An ongoing current National Board “areas of expertise” list was established as well as areas of expertise of perspective Candidates for current and future Committee use. Nominating Committee members and Branches were kept informed of needs and encouraged to recruit appropriate perspective Board candidates.
In 1993 when the national conference was held in New Orleans, Sophie served as Volunteer Chair (in those years, the local branch provided volunteers to run almost every aspect of the conference, session monitors, information, registration, speaker hospitality, etc.)
She made presentations at many local and regional IDA affiliated conferences, and served on State Department of Education committees concerning the educational needs of dyslexic students. Sophie made annual presentations at the National IDA Conferences from 1993 until her retirement in 2006.
In 2001 Sophie brought together eight regional non-profit organizations to collaborate to host a two-day conference. Those organizations were the Louisiana Branch of IDA, CHADD, Dyslexia Association of Greater Baton Rouge/Brighton Academy, Center for the Study of Dyslexia, Giardina Family Foundation, Dyslexia Society of South Louisiana, Gulf Coast Teaching Family Services, and McMain’s Children’s Developmental Center.
The September 20 – 21, 2001 Conference – Reading Disabilities & ADHD: Challenges and Answers featured: Robert Brooks, Ph.D, Sam Goldstein, Ph.D., Jane Fell Greene, Ed.D., Louisa C. Moats, Ed.D., and Gordon F. Sherman, Ph.D. Attendance – more than 500 from five states and international participation.
The September 18 – 19, 2003 Conference – Reading Disabilities AD/HD: Enhancing Student Achievementfeatured: G. Reid Lyon, Ph.D., Richard D. Lavoie, Larry B. Silver, M.D., and G. Emerson Dickman. Attendance – more than 500 participants from six states.
The September 22 – 23, 2005 Conference – Reading Disabilities & AD/HD: Opportunities for Excellence was scheduled to feature: Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D., Sally Shaywitz, M.D., Terri James Bellis, CCC-A, FAAA, Clare Jones, Ph.D., R. Malatesha Joshi, Ph.D., and Sharon Weiss, M.Ed. Unfortunately, this conference had to be cancelled the second week in September due to the catastrophe caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Sophie continues to have a passion for insuring that the educational needs of dyslexic students are met. In addition to presentations at local conferences, she does some consulting work. Currently two of her eleven grandchildren are diagnosed as dyslexic.