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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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Individuals with ADHD Inattention Subtype More Likely to Quit Smoking

Medscape Medical News (NY)

New research may help clinicians better tailor smoking-cessation treatment in individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a patient population where tobacco use is high and quit rates are low.

Virginia Middle School Hosts Disability Sensitivity Day

News Leader (VA)

S. Gordon Stewart Middle School of Fort Defiance, Virginia hosted a Disability Sensitivity Day on Tuesday. Sharon Blatz, assistant professor in the exceptional education program at James Madison University and the other coordinators of the day at Stewart wanted students to come away from the various activities with a new understanding of what their peers living with physical, cognitive and learning disabilities go through each day.

Long-Term Academic Effects of Child's ADHD May Extend to Siblings

eMaxHealth.com (NC)

The long-term academic problems that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often experience may affect their siblings as well, according to an analysis partially funded by NIMH and published in the Journal of Health Economics.

Vouchers can be Lifelines

Arizona Daily Star

Devon Dobbins was diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder in elementary school. When her family learned the state was offering scholarships to special-needs students to go to the school of their choice, including private schools, they jumped at the chance to send her. Devon is among 225 students statewide with special needs whose scholastic fates will be determined by the Arizona Supreme Court, which will hear arguments Tuesday about whether it's legal to send state dollars to private schools to educate special-needs and displaced foster children.

Are You Ready for the ADA Amendments Act of 2008?

Workforce Management (CA)

When President George W. Bush signed legislation to expand the protections afforded by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, it broadened the definition of 'disabled,' triggering important changes for employers. Being informed of these changes—and in compliance with the new law—is a must for employers and HR.

Program Provides Assistance to Visually-Impaired and Dyslexic

The Oklahoman

To pick up a book and read is an activity that many of us take for granted. But for the approximate two million who are blind or suffer from dyslexia, it's a privilege that is neither easily available nor accessible. For the past 60 years, the RFB&D (Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) has been providing an audio textbook library to the visually-impaired, and members from the Brush, Fort Morgan and Sterling Lions Clubs of Colorado recently learned more of the program from Ed Sardella, former KUSA 9News anchor turned volunteer/spokesperson for the program.

Words Working Backwards

The Berkshire Eagle (MA)

Learning disorders can be complex in origin and definition. But at Tuesday's Hillcrest Educational Centers conference on the topic in Pittsfield, MA, they were summed up on the side of a candy bar. Each of the 135 participants yesterday were given a familiar-looking chocolate bar in dark mocha-colored wrapper. But instead of the bold-faced silver lettering reading "Hershey's," for example, the bar was labeled "Dyslexia."

ADHD: Burden or Blessing? A New View Stirs a Debate

Herald-Tribune (FL)

When pediatricians diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, they often ask their patients whether they know anybody else with the problem. These days, children are likely to reply with a household name: Michael Phelps, the Olympic superstar, who is emerging as an inspirational role model among parents and children whose lives are affected by attention problems. But the emergence of a major celebrity with attention deficit has revealed a schism in the community of patients, parents, doctors and educators who deal with the disorder. For years, these people have debated whether it means a lifetime of limitations or whether it can sometimes be a good thing.

Winners Make an Impression

Downey Patriot (CA)

West Middle School and its library have not been the same since identical twins Brittany and Brianna Winner, 13, held an assembly on Nov. 6 called, "If You Can Dream It, You Can Write It." The creators of "The Strand Prophecy" are the youngest award winning authors in the United States — and they are dyslexic.

Advocates for Disabled Students Cheer Graduation Rule

Education Week

The U.S. Department of Education's recent regulations setting a standard calculation for high school graduation rates appear to have pleased disability-group advocates, who were concerned that a loose standard could mean fewer opportunities for students with disabilities to earn a regular diploma.

Lawsuit Against MPS Aims to Help Special Education Students

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (WI)

Kina King said she repeatedly had asked Milwaukee Public Schools to evaluate whether her daughter Jamie had special needs since the girl was 5. But it wasn't until Jamie failed first grade for the third time that the district determined that she suffers from cognitive delays and needs additional support. The question of what MPS should do to compensate the students it has failed to place in special education in a timely manner is at the heart of the third phase in an ongoing class-action suit about how MPS serves special education students.

'Fractured' Deaf School Faces its Troubles

Providence Journal (RI)

Learning to read and write, as some teachers say, is rocket science. For deaf children, acquiring language skills is exponentially harder. Many students arrive at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf without a solid language base or the advantages of hearing children, who pick up incidental language skills through television, music and radio. Many of the children at school also have significant learning, behavioral or physical disabilities that must be addressed. The school is confronting the challenges shared by schools struggling to successfully educate all students regardless of learning disabilities at the same time the state is raising its academic standards, says David V. Abbott, deputy education commissioner of Rhode Island’s public schools.

Universities, Colleges See Students with Disabilities as a Growth Market

Ottawa Citizen (Canada)

Changes are making higher education possible for those who would have been shut out only a few years ago, writes Joanne Laucius. Every year, between 50 and 100 students arrive at Carleton University with suspected learning disabilities that have not yet been confirmed, said Dr. Nancy McIntyre, coordinator of the university's learning disabilities program.

Reading with Children Builds Strong Connections

Waukegan News Sun (IL)

One simple way to spend time with your children is to read together. "Thank You, Mr. Falker" written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco, is available at many public libraries. Based on Patricia Polacco's own childhood, this beautiful story shares the pain of having a learning disability and the joy of overcoming it.

'Best Kept Secret' Makes Stone Soup

Grand Haven Tribune (MI)

When folks ask Gareth Bergman what grade he's in, he says he's in the Snake Clan. "If I were in a grade, it would be third grade," the eight-year-old said. At Voyager School, where Bergman is enrolled, students are grouped in one of three multi-age "clans" based on skill level and emotional intelligence.

Keeping a Legacy Alive

Mundelein Review (IL)

Sandra Serna of Grayslake remembers her husband, Carlos, as "quiet with a great sense of humor." Carlos was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor in July 2007 and passed away in spring 2008. To keep his memory alive, his family created the Carlos J. Serna Learning Resource Center. Carlos had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia, so starting a resource center to help children with learning disabilities is a wonderful way to honor him, Sandra said.

Learning Disability Reversed In Mice

eMaxHealth.com (NC)

Just as traffic signals enable safe traversing of the roadways, so too does the brain's machinery for learning and memory rely on its own stop-and-go signals. An NIMH grantee has traced a human learning disability to an imbalance in signals that increase and decrease neural activity — and demonstrated a way to correct it.

Dyslexia Only a Bump in Road

The Huntsville Times (AL)

When Rachel Colwell first got the results of her testing, she didn't want to accept she was dyslexic. She was worried about being labeled, she said. Then, she realized, "It's not a bad thing." She knows now that she isn't dumb. She just learns differently.

She Captures Special Moments

The Bradenton Herald (CA)

Shannon Campbell's son's ADHD made it hard for him to sit still for a formal photograph. That was the inspiration for starting her own photography company. Her Captured Images Photography specializes in photographing children with special needs. "I found it's much better to take candid shots and photograph the child where he's going to be comfortable wherever that may be," she said.

School Board Focuses on Co-Teaching

Garden City News (NJ)

At their November 12th work session, the Garden City Board of Education was updated on co-teaching, in which two teachers — one who concentrates on general education and one whose specialty is special education — share the responsibility for a single group of students. They teach the required curriculum and address Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals, with mutual ownership and joint responsibility.

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