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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School Library Journal
Akron Public Schools is like many public urban school districts in the country — lacking funding to achieve performance goals that need investments in technology. With Ohio’s Race to the Top goal to"“reduce performance gaps by 50 percent in reading," the LeBron James Family Foundation and its Wheels for Education program, started by Akron native and Miami Heat NBA star LeBron James, has given Akron Public Schools one of the largest e-library sites in the country. Completely online, the e-library can be accessed by any Akron student, from elementary to high school, each with his or her own log in information.
Wicked Local (MA)
Behind the classic hipster he played on "Happy Days", Henry Winkler was an insecure kid who suffered from dyslexia. Winkler's children's book series "Hank Zipzer: The World's Greatest Underachiever" is based on his real life struggle with learning disabilities. Winkler will appear at the Sandwich High School auditorium on Today, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. to promote the newest Zipzer book "The Life of Me (Enter at Your Own Risk)" and to talk about how he overcame dyslexia.
The 1in5 Initiative
Learning Ally has created a new online support community and dyslexia resource. The site is explore1in5.org. It's a place where people who have or know others with dyslexia can find others "not only seeking answers, but also dispensing advice. 1in5 is an oasis, rich in audio and video communication, where you can upload your stories and experiences, and watch the stories and experiences of others."
"Finding apps isn’t difficult. Finding education apps is only a bit more challenging. Finding free education apps is also possible. Finding free education apps worth downloading is a different story entirely."
"The following is our list for the 55 best apps for learning we can find. Some are formal learning–math drilling and phonics, for example–while others are RSS readers, social media platforms, and the like. These are purposely not all purely academic, “training” apps that focus on individual skills, but rather the an array of apps students could use daily to improve their ability to think, connect, and use information."
"In a world as fast-changing and full of information as our own, every one of us — from schoolchildren to college students to working adults — needs to know how to learn well. Yet evidence suggests that most of us don’t use the learning techniques that science has proved most effective. Worse, research finds that learning strategies we do commonly employ, like rereading and highlighting, are among the least effective."
Gabbi Urban, a senior at GlenOak High School, doesn't let dyslexia keep her from communicating. Art has become her outlet. "A lot of people are afraid of learning disabilities, but it's not a negative — we just learn differently."
It's only in recent years that ADHD is becoming better understood in girls and women. But we still have a long way to go, according to Terry Matlen, ACSW, a psychotherapist and coach who specializes in ADHD. She noted that we need to improve how we identify girls with ADHD, evaluate them and administer treatment.
The New York Times (NY)
This "Really?" column looks at claims, widely promoted online and advocated by various companies, that eye exercises can reduce the need for glasses and ease learning disabilities. The bottom line: Eye exercises are useful for some problems, but they do not seem to relieve myopia or dyslexia.
RTI Action Network
The legal dimension of response to intervention (RTI) has been the subject of considerable confusion. This brief article provides an overview of the prevailing misperceptions, or what may be termed the “common lore,” and the corresponding objective recitations, or the actual law, regarding RTI. Many of the misinterpretations are due to the professional norms or particular preferences of scholars from the various fields—including school psychology and developmental neuroscience—that intersect at special education.
Like one in five students, Jacob has language-based learning disabilities that affects his reading and writing abilities. His challenges include dyslexia, dysgraphia, slow processing and decoding issues. When asked what's hard about reading, the fourth grader answers, "Sounding out words. Sounding out words, yeah. It shouldn't. I just feel I have no time and I have to rush. So, it was hard for me to sound out words or read words or memorize words."
The Wall Street Journal
As a mother of two children with ADHD, The Wall Street Journal's Work and Family reporter Sue Shellenbarger wonders, "How can you tell whether all that splintered energy will help your own child succeed? And how can you help channel all that mental voltage productively?" She asked a few famous ADHD sufferers and their parents for answers, including the founder of JetBlue airlines, the founder of Kinko's, and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" host Ty Pennington. Ty's mother, Yvonne, says that while many viewers get emotional watching her son deliver remodeled homes to deserving families, she cries for different reasons. After being told years ago that her unruly son was the worst kid in his school, she says, "my tears come from the joy, at how far he has come."
You don’t need to look far to find a wildly successful person with Dyslexia; Tom Cruise, Robin Williams, Richard Branson, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Muhammad Ali, Steven Spielberg — take your pick. If you are a young dyslexic person today there’s a broad spectrum of role models to choose from, from actors to inventors, entrepreneurs to sports stars. Each provide a shining example of how you can overcome adversity, use your failings to your advantage and follow a pathway to success. Nothing is ever easy, but it helps when someone has trodden the path before you. Now name a few famous faces with dyscalculia?
For kids with dyslexia, learning to read can be tough going. The disorder afflicts an estimated 15% of Americans. Dyslexics typically have trouble associating letters with sounds and words. Many learn to work around the challenge, but there's an intriguing new twist: some who work with dyslexics believe that the disability may also confer certain advantages. Specifically, anecdotal evidence suggests that dyslexics have sharper peripheral and three dimensional vision. Join the Diane Rehm show for a talk about the special challenges and possible advantages for people with dyslexia.
Recent policies enacted by states and school districts across the United States have reawakened the debate on mandatory grade retention. Since 2012, 14 states and the District of Columbia have adopted mandatory retention policies aimed at students who can’t read proficiently by the third grade. This article discusses the pros and cons of mandatory retention.
For the parent of a special-needs child, it's often the small things -- getting her dressed, out the door, starting homework -- that feel like monumental obstacles. Carolyn Dalgliesh had no idea how much her daily life would change when her two-year-old son began showing signs of developmental delays. And while her child received support at the doctor's office and at school, she felt unprepared for the changes she would need to make at home. To get ready for the challenges ahead, Dalgliesh, who had experience in the business world in sales, customer service, and recruiting, focused her business skills on rejiggering life at home.
Brandon News & Tribune (FL)
A group of middle schoolers enthusiastically leaves the confines of their academic classroom, bouncing into a high-tech gymnasium of sorts, where they not only use their muscles, but their minds. Interactive Education Academy, a school for special-needs students in Valrico, FL, has introduced a new fitness program that also incorporates motor skills, coordination and classroom work.
The New York Times
"A United Nations report, “The State of the World’s Children,” underscores the moral bankruptcy of Senate Republicans who blocked ratification of a treaty to help disabled people around the world. There is scant data on how many children have such disabilities or how their lives are affected. One outdated estimate is that some 93 million children, one in 20 of those 14 or younger, live with a moderate or severe disability of some kind. The issue is how they might be helped to overcome their disabilities and become productive members of their societies."
The Berkshire Eagle (MA)
Since age 3, Pittsfield High School sophomore Katie Jodoin has been classified as a special-needs student. A generation ago, Jodoin, who has a genetic learning disorder, might have been educated in a classroom only with other children identified as needing extra help, students with afflictions ranging from vision or hearing impairments to autism. But thanks to her school's policy of inclusion she takes both regular and special-education classes and participates in Pittsfield High's culinary arts program.
Equine-assisted ADHD therapy forced me to align my actions with my intentions and to exude the calm confidence I asked for in return. Horses, I learned, mirror what they see in our hearts and feel in our heads.
New York Daily News
Beck Johnson, 10, had a business plan, his startup funding a dream of opening an ice cream stand, but first he needed a variance from the Sunapee, NH zoning board to open in a residential zone. He admits being a bit "freaked out" before his presentation, but ultimately got the go-ahead. Beck's mom, Sue Johnson, says her son first got the notion of opening his own business when he was just 6, after a school official told him learning disabilities would probably keep him from going to college.