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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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.
5 Towns Jewish Times (NY)
An expert in the Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching of written language looks at how reading problems affected seven-year-old Rifky. The author also explains what dyslexia is, and what parents should do if they suspect their child has dyslexia.
The Ledger (FL)
A civil rights lawyer specializing in juvenile-justice law with the Southern Poverty Law Center says that Florida's harsh approach to handling children with behavioral problems is just flat wrong. It will be far more economical, more humane and more effective to make sure these children get the help they need in school rather than to pay for incarceration later.
Robin Hansen, vice-chair of the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education for the San Francisco Unified School District, says the lottery used to decide school placement for students essentially strips away some parents' federally mandated rights. Parent participation is a legal requirement in an IEP, as is participation of professionals who are familiar with the child's needs.
Robin Hansen, Special Education parent advocate, continues her look at for the San Francisco Unified School District's use of lottery to assign students to schools. On at least two occasions, the dubious practice of "lottery assignment" of special education students has gone to due process and cost SFUSD untold amounts of money in time and legal fees.
Orange County Register (CA)
A teacher answers: I think you should get the IEP. That was a strange reaction from the school. You are not "saddling" her with a stigma of an IEP. Even if she qualifies for services, she is receiving individual support.
Hickory Daily Record (NC)
No summer school due to budget restrictions? I am writing to remind parents of children with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that schools are required by the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to provide Extended School Year if the IEP team has determined that this service is necessary for your child.
The Gleaner (Jamaica)
If your child seems to have a learning disability, first, have his or her hearing and vision tested to rule out these causes. Then, obtain a medical evaluation. If your child is learning disabled, he or she will need your emotional support. Remember, a learning disability is not related to a child's intelligence.
The Seattle Times (WA)
Teachers need to know more about dyslexia and how to teach students who struggle with this particular learning challenge. The Washington state Legislature is moving toward a solution.
Los Angeles Times (CA)
Maria Shriver writes: As a journalist, I respect the right to freedom of speech, and my kids will tell you I laugh the loudest when we see a comedy. But as the niece of someone who had a developmental disability, and as a member of the board of directors of Special Olympics International, I know how hurtful the "R-word" is to someone with a disability. I know why "Tropic Thunder's" opening was met by protests on behalf of the intellectually disabled.
The Berkshire Eagle (MA)
A tutor of adults with dyslexia reflects on how her knowledge of, and her students' experience with, dyslexia informs her interpretation of the movie The Reader.
The Examiner (CO)
A disabilities advocate explains the IEP process, and advises: Don't skip steps in the IEP process. Each step builds upon the last one in the process to give a better picture of the student's needs.
About.com Autism Blog
Curious about what the Obama administration has in mind for folks with autism or learning disabilities? WhiteHouse.gov published his agenda on disabilities, which includes a commitment to "funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, supporting early intervention for children with disabilities and universal screening, improving college opportunities for high school graduates with disabilities, and making college more affordable. Obama and Biden will also authorize a comprehensive study of students with disabilities and issues relating to transition to work and higher education."
The New York Times (NY)
Securing a good spot in an oversubscribed New York City kindergarten, whether public or private, is difficult enough for most parents. But for the parents of children with special needs, it is especially challenging.
The Boston Globe
Charles P. Conroy, Ed.D., executive director of Perkins School in Lancaster writes in this opinion column, "On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a special-education decision, Forest Grove School District v. T.A, that had been closely tracked in many sectors of American education. Those who compulsively need to keep score might conclude that private schools for children with special needs had 'won.' They would be wrong. The true winners were children with what one might call hidden disabilities — social, emotional, and learning needs that are often less apparent than some visual, auditory, ambulatory, or intellectual challenges."
When working with children with reading disabilities, keep in mind that even if the text is technically within their ability to read, a history of failed attempts may keep them from trying. To build self-confidence, include simple questions in your lessons so that they have the chance to answer some questions. Make encouraging comments frequently and consider pairing each student with another more advanced student for assistance with assignments.
The Examiner (CO)
Children with a writing disability may show symptoms in a number of different areas. Parents and teachers should watch for several typical symptoms that may indicate a problem.
The Washington Times (DC)
In the first of a three-part series, the authors of a report from the Manhattan Institute, Marcus A. Winters and Jay P. Greene, explain the effects of Florida's McKay voucher/special education program, and why parents view vouchers and special education as a good match.
East Valley Tribune (AZ)
A recent Arizona appellate court decision scrapping a school-voucher program for disabled and foster children robs a small number of disabled students (117 were enrolled this year) and foster children (140 students) and their parents of their civil rights in order to make a political point, and push a false interpretation of the state's constitution.