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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The Daily News (MA)
The number of people getting a GED certificate is on the rise. Jennifer Drew, homeschooled since fifth grade by her mother after having problems keeping up in school due to her dyslexia, found GED preparation classes perfect. "The classes are small, so it is more attention," she said. "It's up to you to get your work done, so I felt like I saw an adult world, especially as there were people in their 30s and 40s in class with us."
Times Picayune (LA)
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 did not always receive the extra attention he needed.
Ada Evening News (OK)
Dr. Charlie Jones, professor of business administration at East Central University, has been honored for his contributions to the achievements of post-secondary students with disabilities.
BBC News (U.K.)
A book featuring a new Harry Potter tale by J.K. Rowling has become the fastest-selling collection of short stories of all time in England. More than 10,000 copies were bought on its first day of release. All profits will go to two reading organizations: English Pen and Dyslexia Action.
The New York Times
Many of America's juvenile jails would be empty if the public schools obeyed federal law and provided disabled children with the special instruction that they need. Texas has both a moral and legal obligation to remake a system that is crippling, then writing off, the state's most vulnerable children.
WISH TV 8 (IN)
For students who struggle academically, the return to the classroom can be tough. One program aims to change that. The Dyslexia Institute of Indiana has paired with Indiana Public Schools to help students improve their reading skills.
WHOI ABC 19 (IL)
Some families are concerned that their children with dyslexia aren't getting the special accommodations they require. Coping with dyslexia has been challenging, but Miriam Meyer says surprisingly, the hardest part is getting her daughter's school district to accept it.
Saying that many special-education students are being shortchanged academically, the state is considering changing the "IEP" diplomas awarded annually to thousands with severe disabilities. Controversial options include a change in the name from "diploma" to "completion credential" or "certificate." But some Long Island parents say a name change would unnecessarily embarrass teens with disabilities.
The Dunnville Chronicle (Canada)
"All my friends had disabilities," said Crystal at a round-table discussion on bullying held at a recent Self-Advocates meeting in Cayuga. "When one of us was bullied, we would try to stand up for each other. But that didn't always happen. Sometimes we'd be too scared." She and other folks at Community Living have created an entertaining puppet play called "Same Difference," which is all about getting to know people even if they do things a bit differently.
Press Democrat (CA)
To understand Ryan Neitzel's high school journey, the first thing you need to know is that he has a severe form of dyslexia. It wasn't until Neitzel met with an educational psychologist that a world of possibilities opened up to him. "This guy told my mother, 'Ryan is very intelligent.' He drew up an education plan for me. I learned that my learning comes in waves, as epiphanies sometimes, but it does come," Neitzel said.
Sandwich Broadsider (MA)
Former "Happy Days" star Henry Winkler said he never thought he could write a book because of his dyslexia. But he just recently finished the 15th book in the Hank Zipzer series. "I have done a lot of things in my career and — outside of my children — I am the proudest of these books," Winkler said.
Brattleboro Reformer (VT)
Windham County schools continue to outpace the rest of the state in the number of special education students who are receiving services, according to a report released this week by the Vermont Department of Education. The annual special education data report is required under IDEA, and tracks how districts are placing and serving students with disabilities.
CBC News (Canada)
The parents of children with learning disabilities are the target for a new counseling program funded by the United Way and created by The Learning Disabilities Association of Prince Edward Island.
San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
San Francisco school officials and advocates for the disabled have recently made news fighting the state requirement that special education students take the high school exit exam. Upon closer inspection, this seeming issue of simple compassion becomes much more complicated. A positive agenda focused on getting special ed students to pass the exit exam will, in most cases, help these young people succeed in life much more than compassionate defeatism.
The U.S. Department of Education has given grants to 20 universities to revamp their special education teacher-preparation programs, a step the department says is key to increasing the numbers of highly qualified teachers in that field.
Centre Daily Times (PA)
The Pennsylvania state school board will require all newly certified teachers — regardless of whether they teach history, physics, art or elementary education — to have extra training in special education. The aim of the new requirements, which won't begin to kick in for another three years, is to serve the growing population of children who need special education services in the same classrooms as their peers whenever possible.
The Gilroy Dispatch (CA)
For any child with attention deficit disorder, strenuous exercise and activity in organized sports is a good thing. But, unable to sustain attention, focus, and possess self control, players with ADD are too often scolded or yelled at by coaches. Here are some ways parents and coaches can work together to make sports rewarding for youths with ADD.
The Arizona Republic (AZ)
Arizona's state speaker of the House is asking that the governor call lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session aimed at saving a pair of embattled private-school voucher programs for disabled and foster-care children.
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who will race up to 20 times in Beijing in pursuit of a record eight gold medals, was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at 9. When he was in elementary school, a teacher told his mom that Phelps would never focus on anything. His mom disagreed. She had seen him at swim meets.
Cohasset Mariner (MA)
Peggy Lewis made headlines in December when the Cohasset Schools took her to Superior Court in order to keep her son in special education against her wishes. She told the Mariner "something has to happen because of this, parents don't know they could lose all say over their child’s education." Eight months later, something could happen. Proposed changes to special education federal rules would "permit parents to unilaterally withdraw their children from further receipt of special education."