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 Post and Courier (SC)
The Superintendent of Charleston Schools responds to yesterday's story Failing Our Students: Unfortunately, a decade ago, Ridge was in a school system where specialized instruction was offered only after children failed. Today, the "waiting to fail" model is a thing of the past. When it comes to specialized instruction, CCSD is proactive, not reactive.
The Monitor (TX)
A local teacher looks at the myths and realities of dyslexia. Recognizing the signs of dyslexia is the critical first step. The second is diagnostic testing, she says.
To finally put a tag on what I have lived with all my life — dyscalculia — I finally know that some part of my brain is different, I know why I always scored so low in IQ tests. There is no triumphant feeling that I made it despite my disability. There is no other feeling except the knowledge that I am not dumb and that this disability made me who I am.
The Flint Journal (MI)
An expert answers a parent who is frustrated and surprised by the school's actions to expel her son: According to state and federal rules and regulations, your son is entitled to a free and appropriate public school education. The district has the right to not allow him to return to the high school; however it is still obligated to implement the most current IEP.
San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
San Francisco school officials and advocates for the disabled have recently made news fighting the state requirement that special education students take the high school exit exam. Upon closer inspection, this seeming issue of simple compassion becomes much more complicated. A positive agenda focused on getting special ed students to pass the exit exam will, in most cases, help these young people succeed in life much more than compassionate defeatism.
TPM (Talking Points Memo) Media LLC (NY)
The report is very difficult to read, relating stories of disabled children without a voice subjected to abuse, seclusion, and confinement with no obvious repercussion for the teachers and abusers involved. Probably more frightening than the individual stories of cruelty, the GAO reported the inability to find "a single Web site, federal agency, or other entity" that collects information on the use and extent of these methods.
Broomfield Enterprise (CO)
Parents so often watch for signs of autism or learning disabilities, but are rarely as vigilant in observing a child's strengths. By doing so, not only can we parent better, but we can also give our children a wonderful gift — lifelong observations that can give them insight into their personalities and gifts they themselves might not be able to see. Here are a few ideas for finding your child's strengths.
The Boston Globe (MA)
The chief of pediatrics of the Mass. General West Medical Group says drugs are lifesaving, pain-saving tools, but sometimes they're not necessary, and where we draw the line is critical. Given the ever-changing science of medicine, it is prudent to adopt new medications for children carefully, especially when they are to be given for a long period of time.
Baltimore's Kennedy Krieger Institute recently identified fine motor control as a root source of some of the problems categorized as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Now — before I get a lot of correction comments about autism and dyslexia being different things — let me assure you, I understand the difference. But the research about handwriting is intriguing enough, I think, that I wanted to share it here.
The Desert Sun (CA)
In this advice column, a psychologist explains that although audiobooks can never take the place of reading aloud, they can help eliminate the frustration struggling readers experience with decoding.
The News & Observer (NC)
Reading reaches a watershed year in third grade: skills learned by the end of third grade are the basis not only for further advancement in reading, but for advancement in all other subjects. We need to make teachers and reading specialists experts on recognizing dyslexia and other visual learning disabilities.
Christian Science Monitor
Some parents are asking themselves an uncomfortable yet critical question: Does the practice of inclusion detract from my child's education? Is it really worth it? It all depends on your point of view. The author's has changed in the past 30 years, after seeing some unexpected benefits from having her son, who has Down syndrome, enrolled in regular school.
Sioux City Journal (IA)
The president of Iowa's Learning Disabilities Association praises a new component to the kindergarten registration process. All parents who attend are able to screen, or are assisted in screening, their own children for determination of the child's level of development on pre-literacy skills. It is a win-win situation for both the families and the schools.
A collection of some of the more appalling, erroneous comments school staff have made to parents seeking help for their children's reading disabilities. They'll make you scoff, make you despair, and mostly make you appreciate how incredibly brave kids who struggle must be to attend school day after day in the face of such misunderstanding.
BBC News (U.K.)
After a British MP this week claimed dyslexia is a myth, thereby igniting fierce criticism, BBC News website readers have been reacting to the story and describing their experiences.
A special education advocate says parents really don't get to give a lot of input regarding two main areas of their child's public special education. They are: staffing and methodology. You can always make requests, but you generally don't have a lot of say in these areas — with only rare exceptions.
Troy Record (NY)
John Gray is co-anchor of Fox 23 News in Troy, NY. In this column for The Troy Record, he describes his experiences as the father of a child with dyspraxia: "Within an hour (the doctor) told us he had dyspraxia, a speech disorder that is totally correctable. Even though you are hearing those two words — 'totally correctable,' it is still hard to believe a child who can't even say 'Mom' or 'Dad' is going to be speaking in complete sentences some day."
Hattiesburg American (MS)
A high school senior recommends her favorite children's books, beginning with those of author Dav Pilkey. Young Dav was diagnosed at a young age with ADHD and dyslexia and made the most of his frequent time in the hall by making up stories. His first book won a national award while he was still in high school, and he followed up this initial success with books, including Dogzilla and the irrepressible Captain Underpants.
In the wake of the upsetting report from the GAO about restraint and seclusion in schools, a parent and educator looks at how parents can inset themselves into the classroom to help watch for and prevent abusive situations for their children.
Metapsychology Online Reviews (NY)
This book fills a unique spot in the ADHD literature, providing a detailed historical account of the controversy over ADHD and medication treatment options for it. The writing is clear and accessible, and I would recommend it to general readers who would like to understand the ADHD controversy.