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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Abbotsford Mission Times (Canada)
Tyrone Brown, 13, and his younger brother Lyndon, 11, reached deep into their hearts and found the strength to communicate their undying respect for veterans with beautifully written Remembrance Day poems. But, the boys' poems are unlike any other, for Tyrone and Lyndon both suffer from severe dyspraxia, which prevents them from being able to talk.
Advocates for students with disabilities have a full agenda for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, including rolling out long-awaited regulations for educating young children and cracking down on the use of restraints and seclusion as school disciplinary measures.
Bit by bit, the U.S. Department of Education is trying to pull down the walls that have traditionally separated general and special education. One facet of the plan is the department's support of "response to intervention," or RTI, an educational technique that bolsters the skills of academically struggling students before they fall so far behind that they need special education services.
The Education Department, in recently released guidelines, suggests that special education aid under the stimulus measure be used for one-time expenditures. "There's a huge opportunity to help train regular education teachers to better work with special education children," Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the House Budget Committee. But spending on short-term projects may leave school administrators in the position of buying equipment with one pot of money, while laying off teachers at the same time.
Publishers Weekly (NY)
In response to the urgency of special-needs problems, including autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (4%–12% of school-age children, reports the American Academy of Pediatrics), upcoming seasons offer an array of new titles, ranging from the Mongolian adventures of an autistic boy and his parents (The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson) to preeminent child psychiatrist Stanley Greenspan's Overcoming ADHD.
Educators sometimes ask me about the virtues of print versus screen reading. Unfortunately, the basic summary of my position is "we don't know enough and the technology changes too fast to learn" Studies take a long time to put together and technology moves faster than the research. There are some great studies comparing print to CRT monitors; these may or may not be so useful anymore. Studies are often conducted in labs rather than in real-life conditions, limiting the usefulness of the findings. There certainly isn't any clear consensus.
Houston Community Newspapers – Pearland Journal (TX)
Concerned residents who spoke to the school board at their regular meeting April 8, lobbying for special education services they say are lacking in the district. "I'm hoping more people will join so the District will realize [special education] isn't as good as they think," said parent Amy Sabalesky.
Tulsa World (OK)
Some of the most scathing and legally damning findings in an investigative report released this week about the Tulsa Academic Center of Tulsa, Oklahoma involve the treatment of special education students. A summary of an investigative report prepared for the Tulsa school board details repeated violations of federal and state laws, as well as Tulsa Public Schools' own policies and procedures for safeguarding the rights of students with disabilities.
Salem News (MA)
Local school superintendents are looking at a cash infusion from the federal government to help some of their neediest students. For the moment, they're looking at it cautiously. "It can sure be put to excellent uses," Salem Superintendent William Cameron said. "But we lack information about the rules for expending these funds beginning July 1."
New Haven Register (CT)
If New Haven, Connecticut residents don't appropriate $250,000 to cover a pending deficit in the special education budget, there will be immediate layoffs and program eliminations in the schools, Superintendent SaraJane R. Querfeld says. Querfeld said the money, which would be tapped from the unappropriated fund balance, will cover educational costs for nine special education students who have been placed by the state Department of Children and Families, the court system or a hospital.
Telegram & Gazette (MA)
The governor announced yesterday he will allocate $280 million in federal economic stimulus funds to pay for special education programs in local school districts and another $10 million for preschool special education services.
"As a new round of budget talks gets underway in Congress, special education advocates are sounding the alarm about big cuts that may be on the horizon. Though detailed proposals have yet to be released, the Council for Exceptional Children — which lobbies on behalf of special educators — is estimating that such cuts would mean more than $2 billion less for programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act."
The Telegraph (NH)
A host of changes were made to the state's special education regulations this summer, and for parents, it may be a daunting task to try to understand what they all mean. The Parent Information Center will be hosting a workshop next week for anyone interested to learn more about what the changes are and how they impact the delivery of special education services.
Whittier Daily News (CA)
It's been nine months since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have helped special education students get their diplomas without having to pass the California High School Exit Exam. Now, an exemption plan for the exit exam will come before him again this summer, only in a different form: SB 1446 by Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles.
Pasadena Star-News (CA)
California state legislators advanced a bill Thursday aimed at exempting special education students from having to pass the high school exit exam to receive high school diplomas. It would provide a two-year exemption for disabled students who complete all of the requirements for graduation but do not pass one or both sections of the California High School Exit Exam.
Times Leader (PA)
Florence Palermo's 36-year career in special education tightly traces the sweeping changes the field has undergone — and the adaptations teachers have needed to make. The trick, she believes, is to get solid training and to keep up-to-date with the law, then implement the training with patience and respect.
When Judy Sorrell was a child, she knew she would devote her life to working with children with disabilities.
As a 5th grader, well before the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act existed, requiring public schools to educate students with disabilities in the "least restrictive" environment possible, Sorrell was already indignant over the way a younger cousin with Down syndrome was being treated in school.
Meet voucher supporters' new fellow strategists: students with disabilities. Creating private school vouchers for special education studentsprograms that are largely unchallenged in court, unlike other publicly financed tuition voucherscan be the perfect way to clear a path for other students to get school options, according to school choice proponents.
A special education buddy program pairs regular education (RE) students with special education (SE) students. If your child's school doesn't have a special education buddy program, set up a meeting with your special education liaison to share ideas to create one.
Hartford Courant (CT)
A complaint filed on behalf of 70 students at the 2550 Main Street Academy paints a picture of a chaotic school where little learning takes place and conditions are unsafe. As a result, the middle- and high school-aged special-education students are being denied their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and several other federal and state statutes, the complaint says.