Each week, LD OnLine gathers interesting news headlines about learning disabilities and ADHD issues. Please note that LD OnLine does not necessarily endorse these views or any others on these outside websites.
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Braintree Patch (MA)
"Congratulations," a friend remarked to me recently, "You finally have a diagnosis." She was referring to the recent confirmation of my son's dyslexia. I had long suspected, since the time that he was two to be exact, that my son's aversion to Sesame Street was more innate than television snobbery.
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (NY)
Effective special education services are among the most important work of any public school district. For too many years children with disabilities were pushed out of the classroom and away from any chance for a productive life in mainstream society. Now, the quality of the system must match the moral imperative that created it in the first place.
A lot of people seem to have the idea that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is something less than a real condition. The problem is that many of these folk theories about the reality, causes and proper treatment of ADHD are mostly, in my opinion, nonsense, perpetuated by people who think they've uncovered some grand conspiracy but have very little understanding of what they're talking about.
Times of Trenton (NJ)
Disputes in special education revolve around whether a student with a disability has an appropriate educational program and whether the school placement is least restrictive. Many more disputes could be defused and resolved by the use of alternative conflict resolution procedures to avoid costly hearings and litigation.
Salem News (MA)
As cities and towns continue to struggle with the question of how to pay for their schools, a look at the explosion in spending on special education might be instructive. Legally and morally, children with disabilities are entitled to a "free, appropriate public education," and it's a given that in some cases the cost of providing such is going to be expensive. But while the cost of special education services approaches $2 billion a year in Massachusetts, the results have been mixed.
Las Vegas Sun
As a special educator, I am working in classrooms where students with learning disabilities are mainstreamed into the regular education environment. There are different findings depending upon which research is read, but the fact that many students with disabilities learn from the behaviors of their peers is something most in education agree upon.
The Examiner (DC)
College special education master programs do not include comprehensive instruction in reading for dyslexics. Yet, dyslexics or children with reading disorders make up 70-80% of the special education students. Is there any wonder why special education reading scores are so low? How does this happen?
New York Times
The word "dyslexia" evokes painful struggles with reading, and indeed this learning disability causes much difficulty for the estimated 15 percent of Americans affected by it. In recent years, dyslexia research has taken a surprising turn: identifying the ways in which people with dyslexia have skills that are superior to those of typical readers. The latest findings on dyslexia are leading to a new way of looking at the condition: not just as an impediment, but as an advantage, especially in certain artistic and scientific fields.
Over the last 30 years, special education has grown dramatically in Florida and across the nation. But in the last decade, Florida has managed to constrain growth in special education in a way that other states have not: since 1999, special education rates have actually declined in Florida while national disability rates have increased by about 5 percent. According to our new study for the Manhattan Institute, the state's McKay Scholarship Program, a novel voucher program for disabled students, is an important piece of the puzzle.
Like a fourth-grader who keeps jumping out of his chair, the uptick in America's ADHD epidemic demands our attention. According to a new report in Academic Pediatrics, the number of doctor's visits by children being given a diagnosis or treatment for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder jumped to a total of 10.4 million in 2010, representing a 66 percent increase over the year 2000.
The Faster Times
When it came to school, help was needed for our son Andrew in a big way. Diagnosed with severe ADHD in middle school, formal education was torture for him, except for the socialization part at which he excelled. Approximately six weeks before he was to report to college, Andrew dropped the bomb that he would not be going. Harold and I had a decision to make and we had a split second in which to make it. We could register devastation and disappointment and push him one more time to at least give college a try, or we could accept his decision with full hearts, and by accepting that, we could finally accept him for the smart, funny, loving young man he is. We chose the latter.
Los Angeles Times
Do charters take their fair share of special-ed students and English-language learners, who tend to be very expensive to educate and don't get high test scores? Are charter schools really teaching the same students as public schools? Ralph Shaffer and Lisa Snell debate.
Most parents do not tape IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings. They simply trust that everyone will do their job honestly and often, this is the case. Some people take offense at tape recoding and see it as antagonistic. It isn't. If everyone is doing their job with integrity, then how is taping an IEP a hostile gesture?
Lake Oswego Review (OR)
If a patient sees a doctor, the doctor gives a recommendation but ultimately a patient decides whether or not to take that advice. If parents meet with a special education specialist to discuss their child's education, according to a federal law, ultimately the specialist selects an outcome for the child. That is what Lake Oswego resident Martha Renick, one of a handful of parents, told the Oregon House Education Committee on April 15.
During their first year out of high school, more than one in four special education students in Oregon never held a paying job or enrolled even part time in college or job training, a new state report shows. It marks the first time that Oregon has tried to determine what happens after high school to students who received special education services.
The Oregonian (OR)
A record 72,800 Oregon students qualified for special education services this year, with the biggest growth among students with attention disorders or other health problems that make it hard for them to concentrate in school, the state reported Wednesday.
"While nobody likes to be disorganized, for students with learning disabilities, disorganization can spell certain disaster. Searching for lost assignments or course handouts can take up valuable time, and it's almost impossible to study and meet deadlines when notes from different subjects are all jumbled together."
The Oregonian (OR)
Oregon State volleyball player Ashley Evans struggled with severe dyslexia, but overcame her struggles to become a Pacific-10 Conference all-academic honoree and a standout on the team.
How does the brain learn? Why do some children find learning so challenging? What can educators do to help those children? These are questions that neuroscientists have been grappling with over the past 10 years. By and large, they are beginning to find answers.
“Out-of-the-Box Advocacy” is all about finding ways to start conversations about LD in an effort to raise awareness, remove stigma, and encourage others to embrace your child for who they are, despite their disabilities. While starting a blog or tweeting about LD-related topics may seem difficult for some, sometimes the hardest part of advocacy for many parents is actually talking about the realities of LD within their very own communities.