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By the time he was 17, Antonio Rocha had bounced among 11 New York City schools and was reading at a first-grade level. It wasn't until he told school officials "I want a lawyer!" that things began to change. "Compensatory education" complaints are increasingly being used by parents who say school districts have a legal responsibility to educate children in spite of disabilities.
The Wall Street Journal
Federal health officials have launched a probe into the use of antipsychotic drugs on children in the Medicaid system, amid concern that the medications are being prescribed too often to treat behavioral problems in the very young. In New York, a spokesman for the state health department said some children between ages 1 and 2 received antipsychotics for conditions such as autistic disorder and attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that forced an Oregon school district to reimburse parents of a special-needs student for private tuition opens doors for students in other states, education officials say. In Pennsylvania and across the nation the decision means districts need to be especially diligent about identifying who qualifies for special education, experts said.
The New York Times (NY)
The U.S. Education Department sent guidance to governors, state education commissioners and thousands of school superintendents encouraging them to "spend funds quickly to save and create jobs." The guidance admonished educators to spend the stimulus money, which is temporary, in ways that would minimize the dislocation that could follow when it ran out in two years.
A study that will cost $3.2 billion and last more than two decades to track the health of 100,000 U.S. children from before birth to age 21 will be launched in January, U.S. health officials said on Friday. The National Children's Study will examine factors behind autism, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, birth defects, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, obesity and other conditions, the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health said.
University of Florida News
The University of Florida has received an $846,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a model program to help students with learning disabilities achieve academic success in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, collectively referred to as STEM.
Iowa City Press-Citizen (IA)
A University of Iowa student has managed to overcome learning disabilities and ADHD on her march toward a master's degree. Kristi Starnes, 28, was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder two years ago and also has dealt with learning disabilities for reading, writing and mathematical reasoning since fifth grade.
Scientists have said their discovery of a gene could help explain dyslexia and speech disorders in children. The University of Edinburgh staff found the gene ROBO1 linked to the mechanism in the brain that helps infants develop speech.
The Guardian (UK)
Since winning the regional award for special needs teacher of the year in June, Elaine Loughran of County Antrim, Northern Ireland has put special needs back on the map. While Loughran applies every ounce of her imagination and energy to her teaching practice, it is the behind-the-scenes work for children who are genuinely struggling that is most commendable and has won her the UK award.
BBC News (UK)
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are being given passes in most UK theme parks to jump the queue if they can prove they have the condition. This may reduce the stress of waiting, which they find very difficult. But Professor Katya Rubia, of London's Institute of Psychiatry, said it was important they learned to do so.
BBC News (UK)
US researchers have pinned down new differences in the brain chemistry of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They found ADHD patients lack key proteins which allow them to experience a sense of reward and motivation.
The Guardian (UK)
Police, courts and prisons will test all adult offenders for attention deficit disorders in a bid to reduce reoffending rates and cut aggressive behavior in prisons. The scheme is being set up by the Department of Health after research revealed a disproportionately high number of undiagnosed and untreated sufferers in the criminal justice system.
Babies born slightly early or two weeks late have a marginally raised risk of learning difficulties from poor vision to autism, research suggests. The Glasgow University study of 400,000 schoolchildren found those born between 37 to 39 weeks were 16% more likely to develop problems than those born at 40. But the overall risk was still relatively low, at 5% of all children.
Cranswick Today (UK)
A young boy from Scunthorpe with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has designed a leaflet to help raise awareness about the condition. Bradlei Byrne, 10, who attends Brumby Junior School in North Lincolnshire, made the leaflet 'How I Cope with ADHD' as part of a project to help him manage his behavior in school.
The Times (UK)
The heavy emphasis on teaching children to read and write in nursery and reception classes is preventing teachers from focusing on more important aspects of early childhood development, such as speaking and listening skills, the author of a major government report has warned. John Bercow, a Conservative MP and author of a report on speech, language and communication (SLC) needs, was speaking as the government announced a £40 million program, called Every Child a Talker, which will provide training to help nursery staff identify and support children with speaking and language problems at an early age.
Mid Devon Star (UK)
Queen Elizabeth's Community College in Crediton has been acknowledged for its work in helping students with dyslexia. The college has received the "Devon Inclusion Award – Dyslexia" at the 'established level'. The award, now into its third year, was set up by Devon’s Dyslexia Strategy Group. It aims to help schools improve access to the curriculum for students with severe literacy difficulties, and to recognize good practice.
Headingley Today (UK)
Horsforth's Lucy Greenwood was born a fighter. Lucy. 13, has battled a stroke at birth, mild cerebral palsy and dyspraxia, secretly penning an incredible book called The Lost Ruby. Her parents had no idea that the youngster had been furiously rattling out page after page of her novel before firing off copies to publishers all over the UK.
The Telegraph (UK)
Learner drivers with conditions such as dyspraxia, which affects hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and short-term memory can find it even more challenging than most to get their license.
BBC News (UK)
Families who paid for a controversial treatment for dyslexia are waiting to see if they have lost their money after the company hit financial difficulties. The Dore program claimed exercises such as tying knots and balancing on "wobble boards" stimulated parts of the brain and improved reading and writing. Some 30,000 children and adults have participated in the program since 2000.
Dyslexia could be caused by defects in the part of the brain that controls muscle co-ordination, Edinburgh scientists have discovered. Edinburgh University scientists have found the cerebellum, at the base of the brain, may influence how a person learns to interpret written language.