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Atlantic Cape Speaker Series with LeDerick Horne Advocates for Students with Disabilities while Discussing his Personal Struggles

03/27/2023 | Media Contact: David Zuba, Public Relations Manager and Copywriter | (609) 343-4933
LeDerick Horne speaking at Atlantic Cape's Walter Edge Theatre

MAYS LANDING — Atlantic Cape Community College hosted speaker, advocate, education consultant and poet LeDerick Horne for an emotionally-stirring discussion on advocating on the behalf of individuals with learning disabilities during the college’s Speaker Series on Thursday, March 23 at the Walter E. Edge Hall Theater on the Mays Landing campus.

LeDerick Horne at Atlantic Cape's Walter Edge Theatre prior to taking the stageHorne, who co-authored the book “Empowering Students with Hidden Disabilities: A Path to Pride and Success” with Ohio State University Researcher Margo Vreeburg Izzo to help improve the outcomes of all students with disabilities, spoke of his struggle with learning disabilities from an early age and depression, and how he ultimately overcame them.

“I didn’t think I had enough skills to have a career and to do work that I was passionate about. In the winter of my junior year of high school I sank into a deep depression and a self-diagnosed emotional breakdown,” Horne admitted to those in attendance. “I used that breakdown as an opportunity to redefine and rebuild who I was by asking myself ‘who are you?’ ‘What do you really want out of life?”

During this self-assessment, Horne learned a lot about himself and then came up with a vision of what he wanted to do and be.

“I emerged from this realizing that there was nothing wrong with me. Yes, I have a disability and all of these challenges, but innately there is nothing wrong with who I am,” Horne said. “I then began to build myself up. I was ready to take on the world. In my next IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting I said I wanted to go to a four-year college or university.”

Building himself from the ground up intellectually through rigorous academic training never deterred Horne from achieving his goals. He was advised that if he wanted a bachelor’s degree to start out at a community college to build up his credits and skills, which would allow him to transfer wherever he wanted to go. The experience made Horne a huge supporter of community colleges.

“We are so fortunate in New Jersey to have such an amazing network of county community colleges. I think that our associate’s granting institutions are hands down some of the best in the United States. I always preach this gospel everywhere I go: ‘go to county community college.’ Why? Because with a smaller campus size we get more one-on-one interaction with the professors and pedagogical research has shown that the quality of teaching at community colleges is a lot better.”

Horne attended Middlesex County College and was accepted into a life-changing support program for students with disabilities called Project Connections, which provided him with accommodations for access to learning that allowed him to thrive.

“This was the first time that I got a clear understanding of how my mind worked as a person with a disability. And more profoundly it was the first time that I started to have community with other people with similar challenges to me. That community really helped me change my outlook in school and to become a successful student.”

Horne went on to graduate from New Jersey City University with a B.A. in Mathematics. He is currently chairman of the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education and co-host of the Black and Dyslexic Podcast. He has had the pleasure and good fortune to speak at workshops and give keynote addresses that engage many on topics, such as equality, pride, self-determination and hope for the disabled. Horne has also appeared at prestigious institutions, such as the White House, United Nations and Harvard University where he speaks to the challenges that the disabled face.

During the presentation, Horne elaborated on five key skills and experiences that all students should receive: transition assessments, self-determination/self-advocacy, executive function skills, connecting to the disability community and resources. He also spoke of the Transition Assessment and Goal Generator (TAGG), which provides those youth with disabilities, their parents and professional support staff with a profile that outlines their specific strengths, weaknesses and suggested IEP goals to help them with their education.

Atlantic Cape’s Center for Accessibility (CFA) provides equal access to all facets of campus life, enhances academic success and provides reasonable accommodations for all students with documented disabilities. The team at the CFA also coordinates supports services, promotes disability awareness at the college and across the community. All services are free of charge and the CFA is committed to helping students with disabilities to achieve their academic goals. Visit for more information.

Horne also advocated for students with disabilities to volunteer their time as mentors to younger students with similar disabilities. He understands how connecting with a fellow disabled peer may positively benefit an individual who doesn’t know how to live with a disability or talk about it. For more information, anyone interested may sign up for his newsletter at and find him on social media, as well.

“I have always been very resilient and that’s because I feel that I won the ‘parent lottery.’ I was surrounded by an incredible family and community of awesome people,” said Horne, who summed up what was an integral key to his success in school and in life.


About Atlantic Cape Community College

Atlantic Cape is a comprehensive two-year community college serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. The college offers over 40 career, transfer and workforce development programs to more than 8,000 students annually at three campuses in New Jersey: Atlantic City, Cape May Court House and Mays Landing.