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"The flexibility of digital text makes it a great option for customizing text to the needs of different learners. Digital text can be searched, rearranged, and read aloud by a computer. And because it is so flexible, it is often a perfect option for students with disabilities. The National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) are working to create a standardized format that will allow alternate versions of text designed to meet the needs of students with visual, physical, hearing, learning and cognitive disabilities. While it is being developed, there are still many books and historical documents which have been converted to digital format, for access via a computer."
BBC News (UK)
A new study suggests that Transcendental Meditation could help to increase brain function and lower stress. Fifty students took part in the trial at the American University in Washington DC, and after ten weeks of meditation they reported feeling more alert and said they coped better in difficult situations. Josh Goldberg took part in the study at the American University and claims it has helped to get him off a cocktail of drugs he was taking to control Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The Dallas Morning News (TX)
Center for BrainHealth at the University of Dallas tested a new way to teach complex reasoning and critical thinking skills with students with ADHD. They are ready to turn their SMART (Strategic Memory and Reasoning Training) findings into a web-based training program for all students. They are searching for $20 million in funding to do so.
Clayton Tauscher started going to University of Tennessee when he was a young child, visiting the Pediatric Language Clinic for help with his autism and learning and speech disorders. Last week he received his bachelor's degree from UT. The Tauschers credit compassionate and dedicated teachers who helped motivate Clayton to endure the educational obstacles he faced.
Salt Lake Tribune
Jennifer Heaney isn't above trying magic if it can help severely disabled students read better. Heaney, a special-education team leader at Sandy, Utah's Eastmont Middle School, has received a $1,674 grant from the Qwest Foundation to order five optical scanners that translate the written word into spoken sentences. Heaney says the devices, known as Readingpens, should help disabled students with reading impairments understand science and social study textbooks.
The Cynic (VT)
The University of Vermont was one of 22 schools to receive a federal Universal Design grant aimed at helping students with disabilities. Susan Edelman, a research professor at the UVM's Center on Disability and Community Inclusion, said, "research shows when faculty makes these changes in courses, it benefits everyone. [Universal Design] allows people to find their best mode out of an array of options."
The District of Columbia and many states, including Maryland and Virginia, review portfolios of student work for assessment of students with serious cognitive disabilities. But Virginia has gone much further, expanding their use for students with learning disabilities or beginning English skills. Statewide, the number of math and reading portfolios submitted for such students nearly doubled in a year, from 15,400 in 2006-07 to more than 30,000 in 2007-08, and state officials predict another jump this school year.
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Va)
The Virginia Department of Education will start a new program this fall to identify students with learning disabilities. "We are concerned that a lot of young people, especially those with reading difficulties, end up in special education when we know lots of reading problems can be remedied within the general education environment," said H. Douglas Cox, assistant superintendent in the division of special education.
Journal Advocate (CO)
One of the goals of any school is to prevent students from falling through the cracks, and that's the purpose of Colorado Department of Education's new framework Response to Intervention (RTI). Parents and teachers got a chance to learn more RTI at a workshop presented by PEAK Parent Center.
Just as it has every June since 2006, the U.S. Department of Education last month delivered a rating to each state and territory based on the performance of its special education programs. But when you ask state and federal officials if the effort has led to better education for students with disabilities, the answer that comes back is: We're not sure.
The Press-Enterprise (CA)
Eric Atkinson says he has struggled with dyslexia throughout his education, but after being diagnosed while attending community college, has found ways to work around it. In fact, he has earned three postsecondary degrees, is working on a fourth, and won first prize in the prestigious Randolph Edmonds Young Scholar program at the annual Black Theatre Network conference. His award-winning paper compares the origins of hip-hop with the development of bebop jazz 60 years ago.
The New York Times
Playing action video games may improve reading in children with dyslexia, Italian researchers have found. The small study, published online last week in Current Biology, involved two groups of 10 dyslexic children. One group played action video games for nine sessions of 80 minutes each, while the other followed the same routine with nonaction games.
Sandwich Broadsider (MA)
Former "Happy Days" star Henry Winkler said he never thought he could write a book because of his dyslexia. But he just recently finished the 15th book in the Hank Zipzer series. "I have done a lot of things in my career and — outside of my children — I am the proudest of these books," Winkler said.
Woodbury Bulletin (MN)
As children return to school this week, we should all be encouraged that Minnesota state and local schools are going the extra distance to ensure our youngest students reach that first major milestone of success: learning to read.
Virginia officials are moving to sharply limit an alternative testing program that many schools in the Washington, DC suburbs use to measure the abilities of special education students who traditionally have fared poorly on the state's Standards of Learning exams.
News Leader (VA)
S. Gordon Stewart Middle School of Fort Defiance, Virginia hosted a Disability Sensitivity Day on Tuesday. Sharon Blatz, assistant professor in the exceptional education program at James Madison University and the other coordinators of the day at Stewart wanted students to come away from the various activities with a new understanding of what their peers living with physical, cognitive and learning disabilities go through each day.
The Virginian-Pilot (VA)
Seth Porter bursts with questions and answers. But at his old school, his raised hand often was ignored. It's different in Jared Setnar's history class at Chesapeake Bay Academy. At this private school on Baker Road, most students have struggled or failed in other settings. They have learning disabilities that can make school frustrating for them despite natural intelligence. Setnar, 29, understands. "I'm learning disabled, too," he said.
Virginia education leaders moved this week to introduce a standardized test for students with disabilities and phase out a widely used alternative that many officials say is undermining the state's accountability system. The modified multiple-choice test is expected to be more objective than the flexible, portfolio-style exam that thousands of students in Northern Virginia are assessed with now. A small sample of schools will try it this spring.
You have probably said or heard the phrase "My eyes are playing tricks on me." Local doctors say that if your child is underperforming in the classroom or on the playing field, he or she may be suffering from a problem that literally plays visual tricks on eyes. You've likely heard of dyslexia, but that's not the only vision issue your child may face. The issue begins with two seemingly interchangeable words: vision and sight.
Smarthistory & Khan Academy
"Traditional textbooks are prohibitively expensive for many and do not take advantage of the digital technologies that are reshaping education. For example, textbooks often use only a single image to represent a work of art, they speak with an authoritative but impersonal voice, and they rarely incorporate the many valuable resources that universities, libraries and museums make available."
"We built Smarthistory to emphasize the experience of looking at art by using unscripted conversations recorded in front of the work of art whenever possible, by incorporating numerous images and video, and by curating links to high-quality resources on the web."
"Smarthistory joined Khan Academy in October 2011. Our missions are perfectly aligned—we are all working toward a 'free world-class education for anyone anywhere.'"