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 Gazette (CO)
In elementary school, Griffin Smith struggled with dyslexia. But working with a reading specialist, he became an avid reader. In ninth grade Smith asked if he could mentor younger kids struggling with reading and writing. "Griffin has made a difference in the lives of my students by leading by example," said teacher Kathy Rugh.
J.B. Holmes is a young up-and-coming professional golfer. His golf skills were so good that he was able to join the high school golf team at age 8. But he had troubles in other areas of school. Holmes would open a schoolbook and feel as if he were trapped in a maze. Eventually he was diagnosed with dyslexia.
Science News (DC)
Women's brains have a different read on dyslexia than men's brains do. Women diagnosed with this severe disability in reading and other facets of written language show a right-brain deficit in tissue volume, in contrast to a primarily left-brain volume reduction already reported for dyslexic men, according to a Georgetown University neuroscientist.
The Western Front (WA)
As a recipient of Fairhaven's $15,000 Adventure Learning Grant, Western Washington University junior Tyson Minck is stretching his dollar and mind to the fullest potential in a journey which he has titled "The Bicycle's Impact on South America: A Dyslexic Perspective."
The New Jersey state senate cleared a bill that would create the New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force to study best practices for diagnosing, treating, and educating students with reading disabilities.
Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Dyslexia would be added to the Ohio's official definition of learning disabilities under a bill sponsored by two central Ohio lawmakers that passed the House last week.
New York Daily News
Black and Latino boys with disabilities are more likely to land in special-ed classes where dropout rates are high and chances of graduating are slim, a new report showed. Kids with disabilities in "self-contained" city classrooms - where all kids are in special education - had less than a 5% chance of graduating last year.
The National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities (AACLD) provides numerous resources for the African-American LD community. You can access this information, as well as infobriefs, IDEA guidelines, and advocacy training information on their site.
The Journal News (NY)
While there are numerous programs to teach disabled children and adults how to ride horses, the one at the Ramapo Equestrian Center in Suffern, NY is unique because it is led by an instructor who is herself disabled. Alison Dolan, who two years ago became the first blind instructor to be certified by a national organization, in December started her own instructional program for others with disabilities.
Journal and Courier (IN)
When Mintonye Elementary School students went to the Purdue University football home opener, they didn't know they'd soon meet the players off the field in their school gymnasium. Defensive tackle Ryan Baker told the kids about his own struggles with a learning disability and encouraged them not to make fun of each other but to respect their classmates.
Guided by outside auditors who studied the district's special-ed services and outlined the strengths and weaknesses, district officials plan to refine the way they help students who are at risk of failing at school. Under the system now in place, "in our district, depending on what school you're at ... you'll have a very different experience," said Charlie Silva, special education coordinator for the Boise School District. "It needs to be streamlined, and that is what we're doing."
Wausau Daily Herald (WI)
Percy Jackson, the young hero of "The Lightning Thief" is far from perfect; he has ADD and dyslexia and has been kicked out of more schools than he can count. He soon learns, however, that he is in fact a demi-god — half god, half human. Ultimately, it is a story about finding your gifts, even if you think you don't have any, and using them in the best way possible.
The New York Times
Introductory chapter books aimed at second, third and fourth grade readers overwhelmingly reflect a suburban milieu with white protagonists. Students of other races and ethnicities seldom encounter characters like themselves in books, and some education experts say that can be an obstacle to literacy. Below, click on titles that feature main characters who are black, Latino, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native and read the beginning of each book.
Governor Deval Patrick has touted his proposed expansion of charter schools as a way to help students who face the greatest academic challenges, such as language barriers and disabilities. But a Globe analysis shows that charter schools in cities targeted by the proposal tend to enroll few special education students or English language learners.
The Boston public system is facing a ballooning backlog in its review of special education plans, federally mandated each year for thousands of students, prompting officials to propose one-time bonuses to staffers to get the job done.
National Public Radio
Like a lot of smartphone users, Rolando Terrazas, 19, uses his iPhone for email, text messages and finding a decent coffee shop. But Terrazas' phone also sometimes serves as his eyes: When he waves a bill under its camera, for instance, the phone tells him how much it's worth. Terrazas is blind, and having an app to tell bills apart can be a big help. Terrazas' daily life is full of useful technology like this, but it also has a downside: The more he uses technology, the less he uses Braille, the alphabet of raised dots that the blind read with their fingers.
Brain scans of dyslexic adolescents who were later able to compensate for their dyslexia showed a distinct pattern of brain activity when compared to scans of adolescents who were unable to compensate, reported researchers funded in part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The finding raises the possibility that, one day, imaging or other measures of brain activity could be used to predict which individuals with dyslexia would most readily benefit from various specific interventions.
Hive Health Media
A recent study conducted at the Children’s Hospital Boston has concluded that the brain activity recorded on MRI scans even before a child actually learns to read could provide an early diagnostic marker for Dyslexia. It has been found that children at risk for Dyslexia have significant differences in brain activity that can be captured through MRI scans even before the child is capable of picking up his first lessons.
Researchers have found that brain activity called alpha rhythms, the most predominant signal recorded in the brain, increases before a mistake is made. Lead researcher Ali Mazaheri imagines this could be used to alert a person with ADD/ADHD that their attention is declining and direct them to refocus, or help determine whether drugs for the disorders are effective.
Scientists maintain that they've been narrowing in on the origins and mechanics of disabling distraction, while gathering increasing evidence that ADHD is as real as such less controversial disorders as Down syndrome and schizophrenia. Their most recent progress is described in a Sept. 9 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, based on a new study that indicates a striking difference in the brain's motivational machinery in people with ADHD symptoms.