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 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."
New York Post (NY)
Officials are planning an overhaul of the district that serves more than 20,000 of the city's most disabled students — a move that could put many more special ed kids in regular classrooms.
The Scotsman (U.K.)
Every child in Scotland should be tested for learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, and ADHD by the time they are eight, says a new petition launched on the Scottish Parliament's website. Teachers should be trained to identify and educate pupils with the difficulties, campaigners urge.
Southtown Star (IL)
Counselor Doreen Zaborac for the Southtown Star fields a question from a concerned 38-year-old woman. The woman says that she has "a habit of making quick decisions without thinking about the consequences." With all of the symptoms that the woman is experiencing, Zaborac thinks adult ADHD may be the root of the problem.
Wicked Local (MA)
Behind the classic hipster he played on "Happy Days", Henry Winkler was an insecure kid who suffered from dyslexia. Winkler's children's book series "Hank Zipzer: The World's Greatest Underachiever" is based on his real life struggle with learning disabilities. Winkler will appear at the Sandwich High School auditorium on Today, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. to promote the newest Zipzer book "The Life of Me (Enter at Your Own Risk)" and to talk about how he overcame dyslexia.
Dr. Mary Pickett from Harvard Medical School discusses her son Casey, whose burgeoning symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder turned out to be an iron deficiency.
The Journal News (NY)
While there are numerous programs to teach disabled children and adults how to ride horses, the one at the Ramapo Equestrian Center in Suffern, NY is unique because it is led by an instructor who is herself disabled. Alison Dolan, who two years ago became the first blind instructor to be certified by a national organization, in December started her own instructional program for others with disabilities.
The nation's largest pediatricians' group says most children getting attention-deficit drugs don't need heart screening with electrocardiogram tests, challenging advice from a leading heart doctors' association. The new policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics renews a debate over the safety of the powerful stimulants.
Daily Courier (AZ)
The roller coaster ride continues for parents working to get the best education available for their special needs children. The Arizona Legislature in 2006 approved a scholarship program for special needs students and foster children. The scholarship program, which the Arizona Department of Education manages, is under attack on two fronts, legally and financially.