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The Distracted Princess Blog, ADDitudeMag.com
My daughter's sticker chart was designed to motivate and reward good behavior throughout the school day. Instead, it's become a complicated, inconsistent lesson for teachers and parents alike.
The federal economic-stimulus package's $12.2 billion in funding for special education has been cheered as a way to offer financial breathing room for cash-strapped states. But for the part of the federal special education program that provides programs for the youngest children, the stimulus gave more than breathing room: It provided a chance for survival.
The increase in special education funding driven by the economic stimulus is bringing new attention to a unique provision in federal special education law: Districts that get more special education funds from the federal government are allowed to cut back on the local funds that they use to pay for special education programs. The intent of the provision in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was to allow districts to gradually scale back their own spending while using federal money to fill the gap. But the law did not anticipate a near-doubling of special education funding from the federal government in a short amount of time.
Stimulus money is finally flowing to Tennessee schools, with local districts eligible for millions in additional funds to help low-income and special education students. The first batch of funding was released at the beginning of this month and is earmarked for students with disabilities. It can be used to improve teacher training, data collecting or to invest in programs that will boost test scores.
Detroit Free Press (MI)
Terry Wooten started a tradition 25 years ago: families gathered around a campfire Saturday nights to hear poets and storytellers. There are just two rules — no reading and no hard-core stuff. The no-reading rule is linked to Wooten's dyslexia. Growing up he realized he could deliver a speech or oral report better if he memorized it.
Whether you're a special education teacher or not, you likely teach students who are on the autism spectrum or who have learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, anxiety disorders, or emotional disabilities. Differentiating instruction for such students can be challenging. But as an urban middle school teacher with more than 30 years of experience, I've identified some strategies that increase the chances that we're meeting all students' needs on a daily basis.
Mathew Goldberg sees benevolence everywhere and wishes others took more notice of the good that people do. Mathew also recognizes the importance of serving his peers in school and that's why administrators, teachers and students at Allentown High School recognize him as a leader who goes above and beyond in both academic and extracurricular activities. Mathew was diagnosed with dyslexia and auditory processing disorder as a child, but vowed to not let that regulate how he would live his life.
The Pioneer Log (OR)
The Student Support Services at Lewis and Clark College held an "Is It Fair?" workshop to shed light on accommodations for students with disabilities. Director Dale Holloway addressed grievances raised by students without disabilities: "The problem here is that these are all 'invisible' disabilities, which is why they cause skepticism." But this skepticism, when put to words, has been known to offend and hurt students who have these disabilities, according to staff at SSS.
Journal Times (WI)
Andrew Kittel expected seventh grade at Jerstad-Agerholm Middle School to be just as bad as sixth grade, or maybe even worse. For Andrew, who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, sixth grade was filled with peers that bullied, staff that didn't always understand and classes where he strayed off topic and off task, sometimes doing poorly.
For one young man, racing is more than just a hobby; it's become a coping mechanism for his learning disability. "Racing helps me get away from some of the down times of being dyslexic. I escape when I race in my car. I've learned that everybody struggles with different things and that everyone has a talent," Abbey told a learning specialist and author who featured the student and racer in her recently released children's book, That's Like Me!
Ted is a stuffed brown bear with potential star power, even if he wears a tin can over one leg and views life through an oversized red eye. Erica Lopez, a Hartnell College student, dreamed up Ted — short for "technically enhanced droid" — in a motel room while on a trip to Arizona. The bear was part of her recent exhibition, "It's Alive," at the college. Lopez, who is dyslexic, aims to work as a 3D animator. She'd like to create the characters, stories and settings that go into animated films.
Most days, from the wee hours of the morning until late into the evening, you can find Lynika Strozier in a molecular genetics and cell biology lab at the University of Chicago, poring over a microscope, conducting experiments with cells. To look at Strozier now, you'd never know what she's been through. She will tell you that although the trial-and-error process is the cornerstone of science, it has also been the story of her life.
Mahwah Patch (NJ)
A Ramapo College student says she wants her newly published fiction novel to act not only as a jumpstart to her writing career, but as an example for her peers. "I'm dyslexic, so when I was younger I had a lot of trouble reading," Lauren Santaniello, a senior literature major, said. "I struggled in school and got made fun of and I hated it."
Times & Transcript (Canada)
Erik Bruens always hated reading. The 15-year-old Moncton High School student has dyslexia, and until recently, he wasn't sure he'd ever be able to read. That was until Erik joined the Wilson Reading Centre, run by Priscilla Wilson. The Moncton-based private tutor program gave Erik the tools to break down words and sound them out. Erik was one of a few dozen students of various ages who were celebrating success with the program last night at the centre.
Instead of attending Dr. Phillips High School on Wednesday as usual, Chris Casseus spent the day at the Animal Medical Clinic in Orlando, Florida, learning how to care for animals. The hands-on learning was part of Disability Mentoring Day, a nationwide event that pairs students and job seekers who have disabilities with professionals to learn about careers. More than 1,300 students and mentors are participating statewide; nationally, more than 17,000 students and job seekers participate.
Chronicle Herald (Canada)
Brandon Mossman sits across the table from Bill Bent, listening, repeating, answering, and learning. Above all, learning. Brandon has dyslexia. He admits he can’t say what he visualizes. As he reads, letters are transposed, making it difficult to convert words to understanding. For the last three years, Brandon, grade 9, has spent two hours a week, after school, at the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation Learning Centre for Children in Dartmouth.
Some students with special needs won't have one-to-one aides until the attorney general paints a clearer picture of who has authority over Guam's schools. The U.S. Department of Education is withholding $40 million until it's clarified who governs the school system. Most federally funded programs have enough funding to persevere until the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. Special Education doesn't.
Children who enter kindergarten with a small vocabulary don't get taught enough words—particularly, sophisticated academic words—to close the gap, according to the latest in a series of studies by Michigan early-learning experts.
The findings suggest many districts could be at a disadvantage in meeting the increased requirements for vocabulary learning from the Common Core State Standards, said study co-author Susan B. Neuman, a professor in educational studies specializing in early-literacy development at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The number of students in special education across Oregon continues to climb as schools struggle to meet state graduation and learning targets for them, according Oregon Department of Education data. The state released two reports on Oregon's 84,707 kids in special education, outlining the number of students needing specialized services and a report card detailing how well districts are meeting those needs.
Greenwich Times (CT)
Kastriot Djema, a 17-year-old ARCH School student may have a penchant for wisecracking in the classroom, but says even he thinks twice about trying to match wits with teacher Tony Mullen. Mullen's sense of humor was one of many traits that students at Greenwich's alternative high school cited as an effective teaching tool Monday, after learning that the science and electives teacher would be named the "2009 National Teacher of the Year" by President Obama at the White House. In choosing Mullen, council officials cited his extensive public-service career, both as a New York City police officer and narcotic agent for 20 years and then as a special-needs teacher for the past seven.