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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Greenwich Times (CT)
Kastriot Djema, a 17-year-old ARCH School student may have a penchant for wisecracking in the classroom, but says even he thinks twice about trying to match wits with teacher Tony Mullen. Mullen's sense of humor was one of many traits that students at Greenwich's alternative high school cited as an effective teaching tool Monday, after learning that the science and electives teacher would be named the "2009 National Teacher of the Year" by President Obama at the White House. In choosing Mullen, council officials cited his extensive public-service career, both as a New York City police officer and narcotic agent for 20 years and then as a special-needs teacher for the past seven.
Daily Record (NJ)
Small group summer classes, Smart boards, teacher training, expanded preschool classes — these are just a few of the ideas local school districts have for spending $21 million in federal stimulus funds that Morris County schools are eligible to tap for at-risk and special education students.
Times & Transcript (Canada)
When Greg Drewett's level of literacy went from that of a Grade 1 student to high school in two years, it did more than just get the Hillsborough man's job back — it changed the way he dressed. Greg acknowledges that confronting his struggles with dyslexia and learning to become a better reader has done much to change him beyond just simple literacy. It's transformed how he interacts with other people and, primarily, how he feels about himself.
The Arizona Republic
A school cast from a different mold is scheduled to open in August in Scottsdale, AZ. Lexis Preparatory School is a new kindergarten through eighth-grade college-prep private school serving students in Maricopa County. The school will provide a customized, high-quality learning experience for children with ADHD, ADD and other learning differences, said Dana Herzberg, head of the school.
Henry Franklin Winkler, 64, son of Jewish holocaust survivors, is best known for his role as the ultra-cool Fonzie in the "Happy Days" series of the 1970s and '80s. He went on to various roles in TV, theater and film and to serve as a director. Lesser known is his interest in education (master's degree of fine arts from Yale) and the challenge that shaped him most: dyslexia.
Plain Dealer (OH)
Doctors and lawyers are double-teaming the Cleveland schools' special-education office. MetroHealth Medical Center pediatricians who suspect that their low-income patients suffer from learning disabilities are referring families to Legal Aid lawyers with offices in the hospital and three neighborhood health centers. The lawyers then pressure the school district to provide what can be costly services.
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments over when school districts are obliged to pay for educating children with special needs in private settings. Parents say their children can't wait for the public schools to improve and nonpublic placements offer more experienced teachers and staff and a better learning environment. Public school officials counter that funding private school tuitions drains resources from special-ed students who remain in the system; they say parents should be required to give public schools a chance before asking local governments to pony up for expensive nonpublic placements.
The Supreme Court will consider a question this week that has riled parents, cost local school boards here and across the country hundreds of millions of dollars, and vexed the justices themselves: When must public school officials pay for private schooling for children with special needs?
Grade schoolers who take medication for their ADHD can improve their long-term academic success, particularly in math and reading comprehension, compared to children with ADHD who do not take medication, according to a new study published today in the journal Pediatrics.
Daily Record (NJ)
Pat Gesualdo had worked with Deep Purple, Kiss and Quiet Riot during his career as a drummer. He's now working with children and adults suffering from disabilities as the chief executive officer of the nonprofit organization Drums and Disabilities. "What made me really want to start DAD was that I had a severe battle with a disability myself," said Gesualdo, a Boonton Township, NJ resident.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (WI)
Recalling how their children had suffered from the use of inappropriate physical restraints and seclusion in time-out rooms, parents and advocacy groups called Wednesday for new legislation that would restrict such measures in Wisconsin schools.
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.
Day three of Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic's 14th annual Record-A-Thon in Goleta, CA was all about the blues, the Baron, the blind reading for the blind ... and mystery. It was the busiest day of the weeklong event as celebrity authors, disc jockeys, musicians and Braille readers participated in recording books for students with print differences.
Could it be that Joe Wright was born to be a director? Few probably would have figured that the kid from the Islington neighborhood of London, who had trouble paying attention in school, would grow up to direct films with such complex story lines as Atonement and Pride & Prejudice. But before he would be diagnosed with dyslexia, he had long been directing his life, building up a healthy arrogance for anyone who’d underestimate him.
Lake Oswego Review (OR)
If a patient sees a doctor, the doctor gives a recommendation but ultimately a patient decides whether or not to take that advice. If parents meet with a special education specialist to discuss their child's education, according to a federal law, ultimately the specialist selects an outcome for the child. That is what Lake Oswego resident Martha Renick, one of a handful of parents, told the Oregon House Education Committee on April 15.
Seminole Chronicle (FL)
Kelly Cooper remembers a time when she was unable to find a camp to entertain her young son during long, hot summer days. "When you said 'special needs,' the door was slammed," Cooper said. Next Wednesday night, the Special Education PTA of Seminole County, Florida will be introducing families to the numerous recreational, therapeutic and academic opportunities offered this summer at the Second Annual Summer Activities and Enrichment Expo held at Winter Springs High School, in Seminole County, Florida.
The Signal (CA)
The Reading Rights Coalition will participate in the L.A. Times "Festival of Books" to educate authors about the need to enable text-to-speech for books available for Amazon's Kindle 2 reading device. The coalition includes the blind, people with dyslexia, people with learning or processing issues, seniors losing vision, and many others for whom the addition of text-to-speech on the Kindle 2 promises for the first time easy, mainstream access to more than 260,000 books.
The Daily Press (VA)
Every school in Hampton, VA will open with a full-time nurse but may lose them through attrition. Losing full-time nurses will move the 22,500-student school system at least a decade back in progress, said Linda Lawrence, the district's health services coordinator. The responsibility for health care will fall to teachers and secretaries if a nurse isn't available, Wayman said, and staff will have to dial 911 if they can't handle a situation.
The News-Press (FL)
For six years, Elke Podlasek of Sanibel Island, FL tried to find out why her daughter Amanda, now 13, had trouble reading. Doctors performed test after test, from IQ exams to screenings for dyslexia, but no one could find a problem. Then she met Dr. David Dalesio, an optometrist with Fort Myers Eye Associates. He discovered that when Amanda read a word, she saw 10 other words on the page before getting to the second word she was supposed to read. While her vision was fine, her eyes weren't tracking correctly.
United Press International
An international team of more than 70 researchers says it has found nine new genes on the X chromosome that, when knocked-out, lead to learning disabilities. The scientists said they studied nearly all X chromosome genes in 208 families with learning disabilities.