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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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'Read-Aloud' Assistance on Common Tests Proves Contentious

Education Week

Faced with the decision of whether to allow students with dyslexia and other print disabilities the option of having text passages on the common-core tests read aloud to them, the two federally financed consortia responsible for creating the general assessments took a Solomonic approach. Rather than prohibit the so-called "read-aloud accommodation" entirely or allow reading aloud with no restriction, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers decided to permit text passages to be read to students, with a notation on score reports saying no claims can be made regarding the student's foundational reading skills.

'Response to Intervention' in Math Seen as Challenging

Education Week

Educators gathered in Washington, D.C. last week to discuss a recent federal 'practice guide' on response to intervention for students struggling in mathematics agreed that applying the RTI approach to that subject is challenging. But they also suggested that doing so was worth the effort.

'Response to Intervention' on NEA's Agenda

Education Week

Despite a promotional push by the federal government and adoption by school districts around the country, "response to intervention" remains a little-known educational framework to many. Supporters say the teaching method, which requires teachers to initiate scientifically based, intensive instruction when students show signs of academic struggle, could mean better classroom results for all students.

'Rewired' Brains Help Children Read Better

Pittsburgh Union Tribune (PA)

Carnegie Mellon University researchers said Wednesday that brain scans of 25 fifth-graders who participated in the reading program managed by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit improved to near-normal activity in brain areas responsible for reading.

'Serving All Kids, No Exceptions'

Education Week

More than 30 years after passage of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, schools are still working on including students with disabilities in all facets of public school. And in many places, they remain segregated for at least part of the day, says Wayne Sailor. For many years now, Mr. Sailor has been working with public schools around the country on changing the fundamental culture of how students with disabilities — and all students — are taught.

'Square Peg' Students More Often Targets Of Bullies

Georgina Advocate (Canada)

Studies show students with learning disorders or attention problems are especially vulnerable to bullying. Author and educator Richard Lavoie says that's because these students may have a hard time negotiating the maze of social interactions and "hidden curriculum" in the schools.

'The Gift of Adult ADD' by Lara Honos-Webb

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX)

Lara Honos-Webb, author of The Gift of Adult, challenges those with attention-deficit disorder (ADD) to cast off the stigma of the disability and harness the strengths of the affliction. Those with ADD are ideally suited for specific roles, she contends, and each of the affliction's drawbacks is really an advantage that needs to be reframed.

'The Short Bus' Author to Visit Housatonic

Connecticut Post (CT)

Jonathan Mooney, author and advocate for alternative education will talk about the needs of children with behaviorial disorders Thursday at Housatonic Community College. Mooney recommends modifying traditional learning environments to better teach children who have disorders like ADD, ADHD and dyslexia. He maintains that children with disabilities require different learning strategies than traditional students.

'The Sky's the Limit' for Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities

Westport News (CT)

Westport, CT resident Jane Ross, for a decade now, has been helping parents who have children with learning disabilities and ADHD through her nonprofit organization, Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. Ten years is cause for a celebration, and so, Smart Kids' "The Sky's The Limit" benefit will be taking place at the Westport Country Playhouse on March 12.

'Weighing' Students a Heavy Cost for Schools

Warwick Beacon (RI)

There are 10,482 students enrolled in the schools of Warwick, Rhode Island. Or are there 11,582 students? Actually both figures are correct depending on how students are counted. In terms of bodies the 10,482 total is correct. But in terms of the contract with the Warwick Teachers Union some students actually count for 1.5 or even 2 students. That's because the contract weights those students with an IEP, or individual educational program.

'What Works' Guide Weighs In on RTI

Education Week

The federal Institute of Education Sciences has released a practice guide on reading instruction and "response to intervention," lending its stamp of approval to a process that has already been widely adopted by schools and districts.

(Opinion) A Fair Way to Test Special Ed Students

Los Angeles Times (CA)

As a high school special education teacher, I have a deep concern for my students who take the California high school exit examination. I am not sure that another government study or piece of legislation is needed to address this issue and open wider doors for our special-needs students to complete high school.

(Opinion) A Rough Year in First Grade

Boston Globe (MA)

This parent advice column looks at what to do to help a first grader who has had a rough first year of school: There are so many reasons why parents need to get all the help possible, as soon as possible. I apologize if I didn't really answer your question, but with so many variables, I think the best advice I can give you is to seek professional help.

(Opinion) A Special Plan for Palin: Vouchers

National Review Online

Sarah Palin says, if elected, she would be "a friend and advocate in the White House" to children with special needs. It would be great to have an advocate for special-needs kids in the White House. It would be even better if that advocate endorsed the most promising reform for improving special education — vouchers for disabled students.

(Opinion) ADD/ADHD Pills Can't Teach Difference in Reading for Content Versus Pleasure

Scripps News

Education expert Yvonne Fournier answers a parents' question about the appropriateness of a school recommending ADHD medication: While true ADD/ADHD behavior is usually treated with medication, it is more important, however, to diagnose and treat your child's underlying learning problem, not its behavioral manifestations. No pill can teach a child the difference in reading a textbook for content and reading a novel for a book report or help a child discover his or her working capacity, which leads to personal time-management techniques.

(Opinion) ADHD Awareness Week is Sept. 14-20

Battle Creek Enquirer (MI)

On the fifth anniversary of national ADHD Awareness Day, Congress has now designated a whole week to raise awareness about this pervasive and impairing neurobiological disorder. When we as a society understand that all brains are different and children need different supports based on actual differences in brain development, we will go far in the support of self-esteem and safety of these affected children.

(Opinion) ADHD Is Not Autism

Arizona Star (AZ)

While many children with autism also have ADHD and/or Sensory Integration Disorder, that doesn't mean children with these disorders also have autism. If the definition of autism keeps getting broader, confusion will cause these misdiagnoses to increase.

(Opinion) Campaigns Need to Address Disability Issues

The Progressive Magazine (WI)

While both sides say they care about children with disabilities, neither campaign is addressing the issues — from health care to education to employment to access to technology — that are of vital concern to people with disabilities, like myself.

(Opinion) Champion of Change: Leroy McClure

Dallas Morning News (TX)

A Dallas man's vision promises fresh start for children — and a vacant building. He's renovating an old grocery store to open Focus charter school. For children with dyslexia, ADHD or other impediments to traditional learning, Focus will create personalized evaluations and learning paths designed to reach the potential of otherwise bright kids.

(Opinion) Courses, Workshops, Websites, Organizations Help Teacher Hone Advocacy Skills

Flint Journal (MI)

The key for a teacher who wants to become an effective parent advocate lies in understanding special education laws, rules, and procedures. A good, informal training approach to learning special education laws and procedures is to attend workshops hosted by local school districts, advocacy organizations, and professional special education organizations.

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