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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Nashville City Paper
With a new face leading special education and a growing level of public attention, the ground is ripe for big changes to take place in the education of children with disabilities at Metro Nashville Public Schools. Linda DePriest, new executive director of special education for MNPS, has publicly stated her willingness to make changes. DePriest said she is a strong proponent of inclusive practices but believes that full inclusion does not meet the needs of all students.
When Michael Phelps was a kid, his primary school teacher told his mother he would never amount to anything because he was unable to focus. When Phelps won the first of his 14 Olympic gold medals, in Athens in 2004, he remembered those words as he stood on the podium and listened to the "Stars and Stripes". Despite being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at the age of nine, Phelps went to prove that teacher spectacularly wrong.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Public Schools must pay just more than $450,000 to the legal staff representing plaintiffs in a class-action suit over how the district serves students with special needs, a federal judge has ordered. The order Friday followed a ruling in June that MPS must do more for special-needs students, including assessments for children who might need services and interventions for students who have a high number of suspensions and for those who have failed a grade.
Floyd Allen's story speaks to the entangling forces that can keep scores of New Orleans students, often left to fend for themselves through turbulent lives, from graduating on time - or at all. Diagnosed with a learning disability in middle school, Allen, 19, did not always receive the extra attention he needed, both Allen and his father said. Yet, as a special education student, Allen could have walked away from high school with a "certificate of achievement" rather than a diploma.
All of society would benefit if schools paid closer attention to students' mental health, a vital component for academic and intellectual development. Is this even possible, when 240 psychologists have to meet the needs of 340,000 students, as is the case in the Miami-Dade School District? Of course not. That's why so many go through the system with undiagnosed learning disabilities, attention deficit, depression or behavior problems.
Southeast Missourian (MO)
Michael Phelps might be a gold-medalist Olympian, but one out of every 30 children in a U.S. classroom has something in common with him: They have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. In order to keep students with ADHD focused and in the classroom, teachers at Cape Girardeau public schools can use techniques that focus on reminding the student of what is expected of them to succeed.
The News Press (FL)
The old way of dealing with academically challenged students: Wait until failure is obvious and then offer an evaluation for special education services. The new way: Start remediation at the first hint of trouble. The Lee County School District this year is shifting its philosophy on special education — known in Florida as exceptional student education — and working to pinpoint reading difficulties before a student's progress lapses. Students will get the special education referral only if a three-tiered RTI remediation strategy fails.
Hattiesburg American (MS)
Dynamic Dyslexia Design, a specialized two-year school to help children in first and second grade to learn techniques to overcome dyslexia, couldn't open because of construction delays involving fireproof doors. But the Petal-Harvey Baptist Church has stepped in and offered facilities until the doors can be installed.
Too often accessibility standards are overlooked online, and the digital equivalents to curb-cuts and other physical accommodations have only rarely been implemented to serve those with print disabilities. This article looks at how libraries are doing in this regard, and highlights some tools that can help make websites accessible to all.
The Charleston Gazette (WV)
With 20 children on waiting list, the nonprofit Childhood Language Center hopes to add fourth therapist. The center was created in 1992 by members of the Scottish Rite, and offers children with speech problems, hearing problems, even eating disorders help for free. Therapists also train parents so they can continue the lessons at home.
New York Daily News (NY)
The actor, 19, has revealed he has dyspraxia, a condition that can cause problems with coordination. Radcliffe also said that he decided to become an actor partly because he had trouble in school due to dyspraxia.
The News-Press (FL)
A growing body of research shows the brains of dyslexics don't work the same way typical readers' do — parts of the left temporal lobe aren't functioning as they should. Perhaps even more importantly, evidence is mounting that scientifically based remedial programs actually activate those regions of the brain that control reading — erasing biological differences between those who have the disorder and those who don't.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a mental disorder usually associated with children, but it also affects millions of adults and can take a toll on daily activities such as work.
The Georgetown Record (MA)
The Alternative Program at Georgetown Middle High School was revamped this summer and now allows the district to service kids in the program better and may allow some special education students who want to come back into the district to be able to — as long as it's in compliance with their individual education plans (IEP).
Burlington Post (Canada)
Tailored education can spell success. Located in a wing of Wellington Square Church, the not-for-profit school is designed for children who might have learning, emotional or behavioral problems, and are taught a customized educational program following the Ontario school curriculum. Touted as the only school of its kind in Halton, the school is unique with its teacher to student ratio never exceeding 6:1, but it does come with a price. The program fees are $1,100 per month.
The Berkshire Eagle (MA)
Teens in the five-week "Summer Program Oh Eight!" keep active while school is out of session. The participating youths are referred to the program through their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). "These are the students who would substantially regress if they did not have summer programming," said one of the program coordinators.
The Tennessean (TN)
Nashville's special education students belong in regular classrooms, served by teachers trained to meet their needs, a task force composed of parents, researchers and advocates said Wednesday. The Mayor's Advisory Council on Special Education released a six-month study of special education services. Reform could take up to five years to roll out, but Mayor Karl Dean said it's one of his top priorities.
Detroit Free Press (MI)
A state legislative committee gave its OK Wednesday to proposed changes to rules governing special education programs, allowing the changes — some of them controversial — to become official.
Daily Comet (LA)
The foundation that supports a new charter school in Thibodaux recently received a state-level award for its quest to provide quality education for students with learning disabilities. "It’s certainly a great honor," said Dianne Savoie, coordinator of the Giardina Family Foundation. "We’ve worked since 1997 to improve the education for students with dyslexia, attention-deficit disorder or similar learning differences."
St. Petersburg Times (FL)
A parent offers an uplifting story about how, after years of difficulty at school, she and her son, who has Asberger's syndrome, found hope at a new charter school. She says these amazing schools offer hope to parents who think there is none.