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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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Public Invited to Special Ed Forum

The West Milford Messenger (N.J.)

More than 100 parents packed the Westbrook school library for an open meeting on special education. For parents, it was a golden opportunity to be heard.

Study Confirms Antipsychotics Pose Heart Risk

The Wall Street Journal

A recent study of "atypical" antipsychotic drugs shows that the drugs pose a risk for cardiac failure. These drugs are approved for treating schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autism in children as young as 5. Researchers say they are widely prescribed for off-label treatment of dementia in nursing-home patients and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, in children. An editorial accompanying the new study said the use of such drugs should be "reduced sharply" among children and elderly patients.

ADHD Medication: Can Your Child Go Without?

U.S. News and World Report

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be a distressing diagnosis, but families have more treatment options than they might realize. Behavioral therapy for ADHD — and parent retraining, too — can be good alternatives to medication.

Parents Speak Out for Children with Special Needs

NY1 News (NY)

Dozens of Staten Island parents of special needs students packed a meeting Tuesday to talk about how the Department of Education can better serve their kids, who suffer from learning disabilities like dyslexia or developmental disorders.

Remembering Sally Smith, the Pioneering Arts Educator

HuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children's Defense Fund, remembers Sally Smith, pioneering founder and director of the Lab School of Washington, D.C., and nationally renowned champion of arts education for learning disabled children.

Novato Magician to Play Marin Center

Novato Advance (CA)

Novato-based comedian and magician Jay Alexander will present two special shows where all proceeds for his appearance will be donated to the Hamilton PTA. "I have dyslexia and the only way I got through school was because of the arts," said Alexander. "The arts teach creative, collaborative, and critical thinking skills that are useful in all aspects of one's life."

(Opinion) Is Dyslexia a Myth? Your Views

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.

National Anti-Restraint Law Sought

Connecticut Post (CT)

Three Wilton, Conn., women urged President-elect Barack Obama and Congress to enact legislation to protect disabled children from abusive seclusion and restraint practices in public schools. Connecticut approved such protections in 2007, but a report released Tuesday by the National Disability Rights Network shows that about 40 percent of the states in the nation have no laws, policies, or guidelines concerning restraint or seclusion use in schools.

City Signs Contract to Track Special Education Data

The New York Times (NY)

The New York City Department of Education, long criticized for a haphazard approach to special education, has signed a $55 million contract with a Virginia company to overhaul the way it tracks information about 190,000 students with disabilities.

Mary Alciatore Teaches with a Purpose

The Daily Advertiser (LA)

Mary Alciatore overcame dyslexia in college, and her struggle with the learning disability inspired her to help others with similar problems. Alciatore's work with special needs students at Comeaux High School — her alma mater — has made her a 2009 "inspirational" finalist for the Lafayette Education Foundation Teacher Awards.

MP Under Fire for Questioning Existence of Dyslexia

The Guardian (U.K.)

A Labour MP who claimed dyslexia was "cruel fiction" to cover up bad teaching of reading and writing was fiercely criticized today by charities for the condition. Dyslexia advocate Kate Griggs, said: "His position is just so wrong from all the scientific evidence, and it's just terribly unhelpful for parents who often struggle to get their children support."

A Booming Business Serves Special Needs Families

Business Week

With 6.3 percent of children ages five to 15 diagnosed with a disability, companies are realizing that it's in their best interest to keep employees focused on work rather than their children's needs. So some employers are providing education and resources to help families with disabled members.

Palm City School Offers Forum on Attention Deficit Disorder

TC Palm (FL)

Bessey Creek Elementary Parents' Forum is holding a public forum to Tuesday discuss how specialists can help children with attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Here are some experts' tips for parents of children with ADD/ADHD.

Mother, Son Beat Odds, Earn Degrees Together

CantonRep.com (OH)

Sandra, 50, and Christopher Crossan, 31, of Canton graduated together from Stark State College of Technology on Sunday. The mother and son team overcame challenges — including health issues and a learning disability — to get their degrees. The mother and son team made a pact to get their degrees together. "You are not going to let this disability get you down," Sandra said to her son.

Clarion Series to Feature 'Virtue of Risk'

Brazosport Facts (TX)

The Clarion at Brazosport College continues its International Filmmakers Series with Dave Banks' "Virtue of Risk" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Banks is a three-time Emmy-winning photojournalist and documentarian who was told by teachers that his dyslexia would haunt him forever and diminish his professional opportunities. Banks found solace in an old Ansco box camera given to him by his grandmother.

Online Giving Replaces Bakesales: 'Citizen Philanthropists' Contribute to U.S. Classrooms

The Women's International Perspective (CA)

Although per pupil spending across the country has increased on average over the past 30 years, it has not kept pace with the costs of educating an increasingly diverse school population, which includes children with language learning needs and learning disabilities.

Group Performs 'Beauty and The Beast'

Pekin Daily Times (IL)

East Light Theater will come alive tonight as children with disabilities prepare to take to the stage for a performance they have been working on since last September.

Nearly 8 Percent of Major-Leaguers Have ADHD According to League Drug Reports

Kansas City Star (MO)

Major-league baseball apparently suffers from what one doctor calls an "epidemic" of attention deficit disorder. The league granted nearly 8 percent of its players a medical exemption for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the 2008 season.

And Access For All

T.H.E. Journal

What once read "requires" now reads "needs." But the amending of that single word in the 2004 update of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) automatically triggered a surge in the number of students eligible for assistive technology in K-12 schools. Education technology magazine T.H.E. Journal looks at how assistive technology is being used in schools.

What if a Parent Is Told the Child Has ADD or ADHD?

Scripps News

Dr. Fournier answers a question from a parent who received advice from a teacher that her daughter has ADHD and to seek medication. He notes that the diagnosis should come from a developmental pediatrician. And yes, 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.

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