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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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Iowa Senator to Enhance Transition Services Nationwide

Disability Scoop

"Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he is currently working to bring a reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act up for consideration. As part of that process, Harkin said this week that he would like to see vocational rehabilitation agencies take a bigger role in facilitating internships and other real-world experiences for students with disabilities who are in transition."

Four Tools to Avoid Summer Learning Loss


"Combating learning loss over the summer for young readers is a challenge that many teachers face. The amount of time it takes to assign summer reading along with the lack of face time to keep students up to date with their reading and comprehension can make summer reading seem like a less-than-useful task."

The Global Plight of Disabled Children

The New York Times

"A United Nations report, “The State of the World’s Children,” underscores the moral bankruptcy of Senate Republicans who blocked ratification of a treaty to help disabled people around the world. There is scant data on how many children have such disabilities or how their lives are affected. One outdated estimate is that some 93 million children, one in 20 of those 14 or younger, live with a moderate or severe disability of some kind. The issue is how they might be helped to overcome their disabilities and become productive members of their societies."

Machine Scoring Fails the Test

National Council of Teachers of English

"Writing is a highly complex ability developed over years of practice, across a wide range of tasks and contexts, and with copious, meaningful feedback. Students must have this kind of sustained experience to meet the demands of higher education, the needs of a 21st-century workforce, the challenges of civic participation, and the realization of full, meaningful lives."

Tracing Images and Heeding Voices to Learn the Basics of Reading

The New York Times

"Apps are all about the basic skills of reading. But once a child has mastered “the cat sat on the mat,” it shouldn’t be too long before the youngster will be reading himself to sleep — if a parent is willing to give up that task."

Special Ed May Face $2 Billion in Cuts

Disability Scoop

"As a new round of budget talks gets underway in Congress, special education advocates are sounding the alarm about big cuts that may be on the horizon. Though detailed proposals have yet to be released, the Council for Exceptional Children — which lobbies on behalf of special educators — is estimating that such cuts would mean more than $2 billion less for programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act."

Benefits of Expanded Learning Time


"Too often, special education is viewed as a place or a static state, when the truth is that special education is a series of interventions, modifications, and accommodations afforded to students who are unable to access a curriculum under routine circumstances."

Discover some benefits of expanded learning!

Demystifying Math Struggles

Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity

"Students with slower processing speeds or executive-function problems are often no different from their peers in math proficiency in first and second grade; but as they confront multistep computations in upper elementary school tests, their scores tumble because they lack the skills necessary to produce organized, efficient output. These students aren’t losing their earlier skill base. New tasks demand efficient processing in different domains. These skills are often difficult for dyslexic students."

Audiobooks May Improve Reading Scores


"Brett Cooper, a fifth grade teacher at Lewiston Elementary School in Columbia County, GA, wrote a white paper titled, "Listen up - using audio books to help improve reading." Cooper measured marked student improvement in reading scores as a result of introducing audio books to a classroom reading period each day."

Dyslexia Caucus Announces New Co-Chair

Bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus

"The Bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus is pleased to announce that Representative Julia Brownley will serve as the co-chair to the Bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus with Representative Bill Cassidy for the 113th Congress."

Music Instruction for Kids with LD


"For many, music is a great source of pleasure and a great way both to express yourself and even to escape. Music and other forms of art can be all of this and more for all children, including kids with learning disabilities (LD) and special needs. But have you faced challenges relate to your child’s LD in the musical arena that make learning to play an instrument, understand musicality, memorize lyrics or read music challenging for your child?"

AbilityNet Proposes Digital Inclusion Strategy


"In our increasingly digital self-service economy technology now dominates shopping, entertainment, work and communication, as well as citizenship itself, but age and disability are barring people from full participation. Organizations like AbilityNet, Go ON UK and its disability focused partner, Go ON Gold, are making great strides to close the gap between the computer literate and the technologically disenfranchised, but the gulf is wider than that. AbilityNet’s new digital inclusion strategy ‘Mind the Digital Gap’ looks at the obstacles faced by the huge numbers of people who struggle to use digital technologies that are badly designed and just don't meet their needs."

Struggling Readers Need to Learn to Read with Fluency

This Reading Mama

"Today we’re going to focus on how struggling readers need to learn to read with fluency. Why do some readers have fluency problems? While it varies from child to child, here are a few ideas to chew on."

Organization Tips for Teens with LD


"While nobody likes to be disorganized, for students with learning disabilities, disorganization can spell certain disaster. Searching for lost assignments or course handouts can take up valuable time, and it's almost impossible to study and meet deadlines when notes from different subjects are all jumbled together."

Emotional Fuel: How to Motivate Students

Huffington Post

"Most people think raw intellectual talent is the primary marker for academic success among children. But new insights are proving that motivation is perhaps even more important to learning than innate intelligence. One widely cited study, recently published in the journal Child Development, supports the view that motivation and cognitive learning strategies outweigh intelligence as the top factors driving long-term achievement, particularly in math."

Study Finds Learning Disabilities Often Bundled

Psych Central

"A new University of Melbourne study suggests that up to 10 per cent of the population is affected by specific learning disabilities (SLDs). Disabilities include problems with math (dyscalculia), reading (dyslexia) and autism, translating to two or three pupils in every classroom."

Public Spending Per Student Drops

The Wall Street Journal

"U.S. public-education spending per student fell in 2011 for the first time in more than three decades, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data issued Tuesday. Spending for elementary and high schools across the 50 states and Washington, D.C. averaged $10,560 per pupil in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011."

Trend Toward Tech Toys

Huffington Post

"As parents and teachers, we may be wondering if the introduction of technology into the lives of children is changing the way children play, learn, think and express their own creativity. Do the changes signal the demise of traditional toy and game play, or is it possible to encourage and manage both to the benefit of the child?"

Discovering the Gift of a Learning Disability

Huffington Post

"When I was in third grade, a teacher I didn't know walked into my reading class, called my name, and then led me down the hall and into her office. "Do you know why you're here?" she asked, offering me a seat at a table next to her desk..."

Social and Emotional Learning Fosters Academics


"With all of the high-stakes testing in our schools, and the resulting judgments and consequences for students and teachers, it is no wonder that schools are taking time away from activities like recess, breaks, art, music... to spend more time on academics. Yet I believe, based on what I have seen in schools, that we should move in the opposite direction, and take time out of academics in the early elementary years to focus on making students feel safe, secure, and confident in the classroom, in other words making them ripe for learning."

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