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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Cleburne Times Review (TX)
A talk with Cleburne ISD superintendent Dr. Ronny Beard about the promise and pitfalls of spending stimulus funds of $1.225 million for Title I schools and $1.591 million for IDEA.
Despite being bullied in school, Steven Spielberg didn't let dyslexia prevent him from becoming a Hollywood legend. Read his encouraging words for people with learning disabilities.
Mansfield News Journal (OH)
Jim "Basketball" Jones, an expert basketball handler and motivational speaker, dazzled fourth graders while imparting life lessons he learned from his struggles in school as a child with learning disabilities.
The Mills Campanil (NY)
On Oct. 21, Services for Students with Disabilities held its first event for students with non-apparent disabilities. The event was the premier of the film "Speaking Our Truths: Surfacing the Stories of Non-Apparent Disabilities," which follows the lives of several people who have struggled to receive an education with disabilities such as dyslexia or ADHD.
Physics teacher Roy McClean has set up a bench in the parking lot of St. Gregory High School, which is also the only Archdiocese high school that provides for students with learning disabilities or other issues that impede learning. He is starting a lesson in "projectile motion." In other words, students will be launching rockets and hopefully not breaking the windows of any cars.
Washington Post (DC)
Published in the June 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study compared St. John's wort to a placebo in children aged 6 to 17 and found the herb wasn't any more effective than the placebo at treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
When Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, stepped through the doors of Humboldt High School, Principal Mike Sodomka handed her a yellow folder of dry statistics detailing all the ways in which his school supposedly is a failure. Yet Sodomka wants Weingarten to return to Washington to advocate for schools like his. One-fourth of Humboldt's 894 students receive special-education services. More than 40 percent are just learning English, and more than 90 percent are impoverished.
The District of Columbia's top special education official testified in federal court Monday that some school personnel ignore scheduled meetings with parents, contributing to the city's failure to meet the needs of students with learning disabilities or behavioral challenges.
ADHD News Blog, ADDitude Magazine
The results of a new attention-deficit study conducted by the ADHD Awareness Coalition suggests that 60 percent of ADD adults have lost jobs because of the disorder, nearly half of ADD children experience social struggles, and 38 percent of ADHD kids also have a sleep disorder.
Some instructional approaches associated closely with special education are gaining traction more quickly than ever as more states and districts look to them as the ideal tools to implement the Common Core State Standards. In particular, two strategiesuniversal design for learning and response to interventionare being cited by states in requests for waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act in the section about how they will implement the standards. Those familiar with the techniques say the pairings are logical, and the timing is right.
Special education advocates are greeting the burgeoning common academic standards movement with a mixture of optimism and caution.
Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Serious problems with some Ohio school districts' special-education programs have gone unnoticed because of weak state oversight, a new federal audit says. The U.S. Department of Education visited in October to test how well the state Department of Education keeps tabs on schools' special-needs practices. Federal reviewers found that some of the school districts they spot-checked were blatantly violating the law and failing to properly educate disabled students.
The Washington Post (DC)
The Virginia State Board of Education approved revisions to special education rules yesterday that omitted two proposals that parents of disabled students had said would severely restrict their rights. But some parents said they are still worried about the state's procedures for evaluating children with special needs.
19-year-old Lena Rominscaia spent years in Portland public schools where she couldn't read lessons on the overhead projector, with teachers who failed to give her Braille textbooks or materials in extra-large print. Once she enrolled in the Oregon School for the Blind last fall, she was taught to write Braille and for the first time she can easily read her own writing. The 135-year-old school, which educates Rominscaia and 31 other students who are visually impaired, may close in three months due to a rise in favor for educating blind individuals in their local schools.
The Georgia Board of Education will vote today on new rules for providing vouchers to students with disabilities who want to transfer to other public or private schools. The policy was crafted to clear up confusion about application criteria, parent notification and qualifications for private schools receiving students in the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program.
Saying that many special-education students are being shortchanged academically, the state is considering changing the "IEP" diplomas awarded annually to thousands with severe disabilities. Controversial options include a change in the name from "diploma" to "completion credential" or "certificate." But some Long Island parents say a name change would unnecessarily embarrass teens with disabilities.
The Tennessean (TN)
A new law effective this month aims to keep disabled children safe from unreasonable, unsafe or unwarranted discipline. Previously, Tennessee had no laws or rules governing the use of restraint or isolation of special education students.
Roanoke Times (VA)
William Fleming High School Principal Susan Willis and four other school administrators inappropriately kept 31 students with disabilities out of state tests over the past two years, according to a report from the Virginia Department of Education. Administrators altered class schedules so that lower-performing students would not take Standards of Learning tests, the report said. That practice may have artificially boosted William Fleming's overall pass rates and made it more likely the school would meet state and federal benchmarks.
Des Moines Register (IA)
Iowa has joined a nationwide push to curb the use of physical force and "timeout" rooms in schools to discipline the most unruly students. "I don't believe that teachers or building administrators set out to be unkind or cruel or harmful to children. In the rare occasion that that happens, it happens really because of ignorance as to what to do. This should help alleviate any instance of that." said Susan Myers, a mother who heads the Access for Special Kids Family Resource Center, a nonprofit advocacy group.
Gotham Schools (NY)
A new push by the state to standardize the way school districts plan which services special needs students should receive is rattling parents across New York. The state wants to implement one Individualized Education Plan (IEP) form for all schools. Advocates worry that this would weaken parents' ability to insure that their child receives services.