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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The Daily Iowan (Iowa City, Iowa)
The American Heart Association recently suggested children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder receive heart tests before they are given stimulant drugs. Between 1999 and 2004, the Food and Drug Administration received reports that 26 children on stimulant medications suffered strokes, cardiac arrests, or heart palpitations. The anecdotal evidence, while serious, does not imply that the medications caused complications, according University of Iowa Professor Dianne Atkins, a reviewer of the heart association's report.
Wisconsin State Journal
This year, UW-Whitewater moved to strengthen its claim as a draw for students with disabilities, a varied population that includes not only students who have physical disorders, but those who have autism and attention deficit disorder, among other disabilities.
The Eagle-Gazette (OH)
Special education will be the focus of a new master's degree program offered at the Ohio University Lancaster Campus. The Master's of Education program is aimed at increasing the pool of special education teachers, especially in the Lancaster region. Program director Robin Schaffer said the high demand for special education teachers is exacerbated by a high turnover rate among those who are qualified.
The Wall Street Journal
"Researchers have long observed that some dyslexics have an easier time with languages like Japanese and Chinese, in which characters represent complete words or ideas, than they do with languages like English, which use separate letters and sounds to form words."
The Wall Street Journal
After her 12-year-old son spent two years at a specialized school for children with learning disabilities, Lisa Lunday decided he was ready for a more challenging, mainstream environment. The school she chose, however, required all students to study Japanese as part of its academically rigorous curriculum. Ms. Lunday was unsure how her son, who is dyslexic, would cope. The result surprised her. The boy, now 13, excelled in his Japanese studies.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Chester Community Charter School, Pennsylvania's largest charter, would be among the biggest losers if an administration proposal from the governor to change special-education funding for charter and cyber charter schools becomes law. The 2,150-student Delaware County charter school received $21,840 last school year for each special-education student from its home district, Chester Upland, but state calculations show that the charter spent less than a third of the $9.4 million it received for special-education students on special education.
New York Times
As recently as 2002, an international group of leading neuroscientists found it necessary to publish a statement arguing passionately that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was a real condition. In the face of "overwhelming" scientific evidence, they complained, A.D.H.D. was regularly portrayed in the media as "myth, fraud or benign condition" an artifact of too-strict teachers, perhaps, or too much television.
The Baltimore Sun (MD)
Everyone's heard of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, but left undiagnosed and untreated, it can carry over into adulthood. Dr. David W. Goodman, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University and director of the Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Center of Maryland in Lutherville answers questions about Adult ADHD.
Regulators have ruled against Shire in a battle over generic copies of its hyperactivity drug Adderall XR, approving a cut-price version of the medicine from Actavis, which is being bought by Watson Pharmaceuticals.
Petal Today (MS)
The Lamberts moved to Petal, MS for one reason: so their 9-year-old son, Caleb, could attend the Dynamic Dyslexia Design School. On May 18, Caleb's first year of the unique institution's two-year program ended, and his mother says the family's sacrifice was worth it. "We have seen growth in many areas," Shirley Lambert said about her son's experiences at the 3-D School. "He's just doing so much better in his reading."
Stories about children who have died or were injured after being restrained or secluded in school often prompt a burst of local attention. But no federal agency requires that records be kept on seclusion and restraints, and state laws vary widely in how such techniques can be used. Advocacy groups for people with disabilities, however, are trying to keep the issue of restraints and seclusion on the front burner.
"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.