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Tuscaloosa News (AL)
Celia Sofie, the Title I reading teacher at Cottondale Elementary, in Cottondale, AL works with students every day who have mild to severe forms of dyslexia. Sofie has been recognized by school officials for her work ethic and dedication in helping students with dyslexia learn to read. After getting her doctorate, Sofie decided to channel her energies into students with dyslexia and learn more about the disorder that affects 20 percent of the population.
This entry in the Times-Piscayune's Nola Blog describes the situation faced by Shawn Datchuk, the only special education teacher in a New Orleans charter school. What do you do and who do you help with the time and resources you have?
St. Petersburg Times (FL)
One of the first people Sharon Platter met when she transferred her son to Center Academy, a private school that serves children with learning disabilities and other challenges, was Patricia Lambert, then the school's assistant principal. Platter got the feeling Mrs. Lambert cared about each student and was won over. Mrs. Lambert, who died July 25 at 65, was the school's driving force. A teacher at Center since 1984, she became principal a decade ago, shepherding and challenging its 100 or so students.
Amazon announced late Friday that the company is modifying systems to allow authors and publishers to decide whether to enable Kindle's text-to-speech function on a per-title basis. For Kindle owners interested in the text-to-speech feature — such as those with dyslexia or visual impairments — the device just lost value.
Amazon.com's Kindle e-book reader is getting two new features to make it more accessible to blind and vision-impaired users. The announcement came a month after UW-Madison and Syracuse University said they wouldn't consider making the device available on campus until Amazon made it easier for vision-impaired students to use.
New York Times Well Blog
As a child, school for me was like being in Charlie Brown's classroom. The other kids heard what was going on, and all I would hear was "Waa, waaa waaa, wa wa." Words were spoken, and I knew them, but I couldn't figure out exactly what it was I was supposed to be getting. Everything changed in the seventh grade, when I decided to join the track team. School had been nothing but one failure after another and a constant reminder that I was inferior to the other kids. But when I stepped on the track it was different. I could keep up.
On April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that has caused anguish in the world of special education and children's mental health. The case, Forest Grove v. TA, centers on the question of whether the families of disabled children have the right to seek reimbursement for private school tuition from the state, if the child has not first received special education services in public school. The legal question is a narrow one, but the case raises larger, more troublesome issues about student safety and the quality of educational services that families should expect when they place their children in private residential care.
When I began at Harvard this fall, I wasn't like a lot of the other freshmen. I wasn't my high school valedictorian. I hadn't invented anything, let alone Facebook, although I spend way too much time on it. I never aspired to be president but thought it would be cool to have a future president as my roommate. I hadn't spent the last 19 years dreaming about going to Harvard. In fact, all I really hoped for was to get through middle school.
What once read "requires" now reads "needs." But the amending of that single word in the 2004 update of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) automatically triggered a surge in the number of students eligible for assistive technology in K-12 schools. Education technology magazine T.H.E. Journal looks at how assistive technology is being used in schools.
North Shore Magazine (IL)
While diagnosing emotional and behavioral disorders helps many children get the extra support they need to succeed in school, some North Shore parents wonder if diagnostic labeling has gone too far. When should we just let kids be kids, and when should we seek expert intervention to remedy those things that make them "different"? The answer isn't always easy.
Infants who are given general anesthesia more than once are twice as likely to have learning disabilities later on than children never exposed to the drugs, a new study suggests.
As a second-grader Ann Arbor's Annika Helber was told that her dyslexia was so severe that she'd never be able to read past the fourth-grade level. College was certainly out of the question. For Helber, it's been a long fight against dyslexia, and when she enrolls at Grand Valley State University in the fall, she'll pursue an education that will enable her to help other learning-disabled students reach their potential.
As the country marks the 20th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act this week, the Obama administration and Congress are taking steps to give the disabled greater access to federal jobs and technology. Under a new executive order from President Obama, federal agencies will step up efforts to hire 100,000 disabled employees over the next five years.
On Special Education Blog, Education Week
It's official: This month, Oregon asked the U.S. Department of Education to allow it to cut about $15.7 million from its special education budget and not lose the same amount of federal money for students with disabilitiesa double hit.
New York Times
The Choice Blog: The Choice has lined up Marybeth Kravets to field questions this week about applying to college with a learning disability, the subject of a column published over the weekend in The Times's Education Life supplement. In this first batch of answers, Ms. Kravets addresses questions on test scores and foreign language requirement waivers. Answers to additional questions will continue this week.
At the end of April, the White House announced that Anthony Mullen, a special education teacher in Greenwich, Conn., had been selected as the 59th National Teacher of the Year. A plain-spoken, unvarnished man of 50, Mullen worked as a New York City police officer for 21 years before leaving the department in 2000 to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher of students with special needs.
Math anxiety refers to feelings of tension and fear that interfere with solving mathematical problems in everyday life and school settings. Math anxiety involves physiological arousal (e.g., sweaty palms, racing heart), negative thoughts (e.g., “I am just not a math person.”), escape and/or avoidance behaviors (e.g., developing pains to get out of math class), and, when the individual cannot escape the situation, poor performance.
The negative impacts of math anxiety are enormous. Math-anxious students do not see the value of math for everyday life, they participate — and learn — less in math classes, receive lower grades in math, and take fewer math classes in high school and college.
A new concept has emerged on the horizon that promises to establish a more positive foundation upon which to build new strength-based assessments, programs, curricula, and environments for these kids.
The concept is neurodiversity. The term, which was coined by Australian autism-activist Judy Singer and American journalist Harvey Blume in the late 1990s, suggests that what we've called in the past "disabilities" ought to be described instead as "differences" or "diversities." Proponents of neurodiversity encourage us to apply the same attitudes that we have about biodiversity and cultural diversity to an understanding of how different brains are wired.
Motherlode Blog, New York Times
The parent of a second grader newly diagnosed with dyslexia wrote me asking if I knew of any apps that might help her son with reading and math. She'd searched and come up with nothing and so did I, with the same result. I asked Warren Buckleitner, who reviews children's technology for The Times's Gadgetwise blog, what he'd recommend.
Greenwich Time (CT)
After six years teaching at ARCH School, Anthony Mullen, 48, is now being recognized as one of four finalists in the state's 2009 Teacher of the Year Contest, an annual competition that recognizes Connecticut's top educators for their efforts in and out of the classroom. Superintendent of Schools Betty Sternberg chose Mullen to represent Greenwich in the state's contest last spring, after observing him in the classroom and talking to him about local and statewide issues in special education.