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Professional Advisory Board

Under the leadership of Matthias Grünke, Ed.D., the Professional Advisory Board is composed of educators and practitioners from the field of Learning Disabilities. Their extensive research and practice within this field provides guidance and the dissemination of relevant information on issues related to learning disabilities.  LDW® thanks them for their contributions.

Matthias Grünke, Ph.D., Ed.D., Chair 

& Vice-Chair, LDW® Board of Directors
Matthias Grünke is a full professor of special education at the University of Cologne. Before his current assignment, he was a full professor at the University of Oldenburg. He received his Masters degree in educational psychology from the University of Erlangen-Nuremburg and his Ph.D. and his postdoctoral degree ("Habilitation") in special education from the University of Cologne. Dr. Grünke is a trained behavior therapist and Montessori educator. His research has focused on the efficacy of teaching methods for learning disabled students and on professionalizing special education teachers.

Dr. Grünke published nearly 100 scholarly articles and books between 2000 and 2010. During the same time, he presented over 100 papers and posters at professional conferences. He is the editor or author of the (German) textbooks Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities, Learning and Behavior Problems, Fostering Resiliency in Children and Youth with Learning Disabilities, and Teaching Students with Math Problems. Together with Dr. Jürgen Wilbert, he edits the German speaking and peer-reviewed journal Empirical Special Education and is on the editorial board of Insights on Learning Disabilities: From Prevailing Theories to Validated Practices, Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (in German), and Psicothema. In addition, he has served as a guest editor for Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal and as an ad hoc reviewer for the German Journal of Educational Psychology.

Dr. Grünke is the vice president of Learning Disabilities Worldwide (LDW®), the chair of the professional advisory board of the same organization, the vice chair of the scientific advisory committee of the German Association for Children with 22q11 Deletion Syndrome (KiDS-22q11), and a member of the Consortium for Empirical Research in Special Education (AESF), the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI), the German Association of Colleges and Universities (DHV), the German Association of Psychology (DGPs), as well as the German Association of Education (DGFE). He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Cologne, the University of Leipzig, the University of Oldenburg, the University of Potsdam, and the State Study Academy of Saxony. Dr. Grünke has been a doctoral thesis supervisor at the Egyptian Beni Suef University, the University of Cologne, and the University of Oldenburg. He is a regular instructor for the Consortium for Behavior Modification (AVM), for the Institute for Behavioral Therapy, Behavioral Medicine, and Sexology (IVS), and for the German Institute for Rational-Emotive and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (DIREKT). He has served as a consultant for the German Federal Department of Education and Research (BMBF) and other renowned institutions. 


Alpana Bhattacharya, Ph.D.

Dr. Bhattacharya is an Associate Professor at Queens College in New York.

Robert Brooks, Ph.D.
Dr. Brooks received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Clark University and did additional training at the University of Colorado Medical School. He is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and has served as Director of the Department of Psychology at McLean Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital.  He is the author or co-author of 14 books including The Self-Esteem Teacher; The Charismatic Advisor: Becoming a Source of Strength in the Lives of Your Clients; Raising Resilient Children; Nurturing Resilience in Our Children: Answers to the Most Important Parenting Questions; Raising a Self-Disciplined Child; Handbook of Resilience in Children; Understanding and Managing Children’s Classroom Behavior: Creating Sustainable, Resilient Classrooms; The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life; and A Pediatric Approach to Learning Disorders.

Dr. Brooks completed a videotape and educational guide for PBS titled Look What You’ve Done! Stories of Hope and Resilience that focuses on the resilience in children with special needs and participated in the production of two videotapes by Sunburst Communications, one about parenting children with learning and attentional problems and the other about developing responsibility in children.  He received the Gubernatorial Award for Distinguished Public Service for his work with the Governor's Alliance Against Drugs in Massachusetts.  Dr. Brooks also received "Hall of Fame" awards from both CH.A.D.D. (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders) and the Connecticut Association for Children with Learning Disabilities for his work with special needs children and adolescents, a Special Recognition and Media Award from the Massachusetts Psychological Association, the Friends of Family Award from the Family Place, MA and the Mandy Overton Award from St. David's Child Development and Family Services, Minnetonka, MN for his work on behalf of children and families, The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Prentice School in Santa Ana, California, for his efforts on behalf of students with learning differences, the Distinguished Leadership Award from Learning Disabilities Worldwide in recognition of his contributions and commitment to the field of learning disabilities, and the Outstanding Educator Award for Mental Health Education from the New England Educational Institute, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In addition, Dr. Brooks has served as a consultant to Sesame Street Parents Magazine.

Henry Nicholas Elksnin, Ph.D., NCSP
Nick Elksnin has more than 30 years of experience as a school psychologist, special education consultant, and special education administrator. He earned his doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Georgia and was a post-doctoral fellow in Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. 

Dr. Elksnin is the co-author of the texts, Teaching Social-Emotional Skills at School and Home, Teaching Occupational Social Skills, Working with Students with Disabilities in Vocational-Technical Settings, Assessment and Instruction of Social Skills, and Introduction to Developmental Disabilities. Nick was co-editor of Assessment for Effective Intervention for nine years.

Linda K. Elksnin, Ph.D.
Linda K. Elksnin earned her doctorate in special education from the University of Virginia. Dr. Elksnin is Professor Emerita at The Citadel, where she received several teaching awards. She has taught students with disabilities at the preschool, elementary, and secondary levels.

Dr. Elksnin is the co-author with Dr. Nick Elksnin of three texts: Teaching Social-Emotional Skills at School and Home, Occupational Social Skills, and Assessment and Instruction of Social Skills. She co-authored Educational Assessment of Learning Problems with Gerald Wallace and Steve Larsen. Dr. Elksnin was co-editor of Assessment for Effective Intervention for nine years and is past president of the International Council for Learning Disabilities. She is a member of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities.

Doug Fuchs, Ph.D.
Douglas Fuchs received his doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota. He is a professor in the Department of Special Education at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee.

Dr. Fuchs's research has focused on the development of effective and practical pre-referral interventions, peer-assisted learning strategies in reading and math, curriculum-based measurement procedures, and methods of reintegrating students with high-incidence disabilities into mainstream settings.

He is the author or co-author of more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and has won "best paper" awards for several of these publications, including the American Educational Research Association's Palmer O. Johnson Award, the American Psychological Association's Fellows' Award (Division 16), the Samuel A. Kirk Award (Division for Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children), and "Best Paper of the Year" Award (National Association of School Psychologists). In 2001, he was named Joe B. Wyatt Distinguished University Professor by Vanderbilt University. In 2003, with Lynn Fuchs, he was awarded the Council for Exceptional Children's Career Research Award.

Lynn Fuchs, Ph.D.
Lynn Fuchs is the Nicholas Hobbs Professor of Special Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, where she also co-directs the Kennedy Center Reading Clinic. She has conducted programmatic research on assessment methods for enhancing instructional planning and on instructional methods for improving reading and math outcomes for students with learning disabilities. She received her doctorate in Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Fuchs has over 20 years experience working with students with special needs. She is a nationally recognized expert who has published more than 200 empirical studies in peer-reviewed journals and has received a variety of awards to acknowledge her research accomplishments. She currently serves on the editorial boards of 10 journals.

Edward Hallowell, M.D.
Edward (Ned) Hallowell is a child and adult psychiatrist and the founder of The Hallowell Centers in Sudbury, Massachusetts, and New York City. He was a member of the faculty of the Harvard Medical School from 1983 to 2004.

A graduate of Harvard College and the Tulane School of Medicine, Dr. Hallowell is an expert at offering practical ways to approach some of life's most difficult challenges. He is the co-author of the national best sellers, Driven to Distraction (Pantheon, 1994) and Answers to Distraction (Pantheon, 1995), both of which discuss attention deficit disorder in children and in adults. In addition, he has written numerous books addressing emotional and psychological issues such as forgiveness, worry and anxiety, raising happy children, excessive busyness, and many more.

R. Malatesha Joshi, Ph.D.
Dr. Joshi is the Professor of Reading/Language Arts Education, ESL, and Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development Texas A & M University College Station, Texas. 


Karen Russo, Ed.D.
Karen Russo is an Assistant Professor in the Child Study Department of St. Joseph's College in New York, where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses related to elementary education and literacy instruction. Before joining the college faculty, she was an Assistant Principal of a New York City elementary school, a literacy specialist, teacher mentor, staff developer, and adjunct professor at Queens College (CUNY). She has recently joined the panel of the New England/New York Comprehensive Center's Teacher Quality Collaborative in the hope of improving and maintaining the quality of teacher preparation programs in the Northeastern United States.

Dr. Russo has presented at local, national and international conferences and has published articles on differentiating instruction, enhancing motivation of struggling readers and writers, and effective professional development for teachers. She has served as Guest Editor for Reading Writing Quarterly and Insights on Learning Disabilities: From Prevailing Theories to Validated Practices. Dr. Russo is co-editor of Strategies for Successful Learning, an online journal for general and special education teachers published by Learning Disabilities Worldwide.


H. Lee Swanson, Ph.D.
H. Lee Swanson is the Distinguished Professor and Peloy Chair at the University of California at Riverside. He did his postdoctoral work at UCLA in the area of cognitive psychology and received his Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of New Mexico. 

Dr. Swanson is the author of numerous articles and textbooks. He is editor of Journal of Learning Disabilities and a past editor of the Learning Disability Quarterly. He serves on the review board of fifteen journals. He has two recent textbooks: Handbook of Learning Disabilities co-edited with Karen Harris and Steve Graham, and A Comprehensive Analysis of Interventions For Students with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-analysis of the Literature, (coauthored with Maureen Hoskyn and Carole Lee).

Sharon Vaughn, Ph.D.
Sharon Vaughn, a leading expert on learning difficulties, is the H.E. Hartfelder/Southland Corp. Regents Chair in Human Development and the Executive Director of The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at the University of Texas, Austin. She is the author of numerous books and research articles that address the reading and social outcomes of students with learning difficulties. She is currently the Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator of several research-grant programs at the Institute for Education Science, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and Office of Special Education Programs; these programs investigate effective interventions for students with reading difficulties and students who are English language learners.

Dr. Vaughn has received many awards including the American Research association, Special Education Research Special Education SIG, Outstanding Researcher Award, the University of Texas Dean's Award for Research. Dr. Vaughn is the Past President, Division for Learning Disabilities, Council for Exceptional Children. She is also the Previous Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Learning Disabilities.

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