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 Intelligencer (PA)
Two legal challenges have prompted Bucks County Technical High School administrators this summer to review their procedures for handling special education students, an official said. The challenges, which will be handled by a hearing officer, are common in every school district, said Kevin Gentilcore, the school's supervisor of pupil services. However, they are the first to be filed against the tech school in its 50-year history, he said.
The Times (UK)
The heavy emphasis on teaching children to read and write in nursery and reception classes is preventing teachers from focusing on more important aspects of early childhood development, such as speaking and listening skills, the author of a major government report has warned. John Bercow, a Conservative MP and author of a report on speech, language and communication (SLC) needs, was speaking as the government announced a £40 million program, called Every Child a Talker, which will provide training to help nursery staff identify and support children with speaking and language problems at an early age.
The Herald News (IL)
Eight local schools will receive equipment and services from the state's Reading For the Blind and Dyslexic program to help students with print-related disabilities. Through the grant, students will have access to the same books as their classmates, just in a different format either electronic or CD versions.
The Chatham Daily News (Canada)
The Learning Disabilities Association of Chatham-Kent launched summer tutoring programs this week. "Offering a summer program is critical for students who are struggling or who have made academic gains throughout the school year," said Dawn Babkirk, the association's executive director.
Evansville Courier and Press (IL)
In high school, students often have lots of assistance, but once in college they are on their own to a much larger degree. The Summer College Program, now in its 39th year, is a six-week orientation for students with a variety of physical and learning disabilities that helps them make the transition to college.
Detroit Free Press (MI)
Terry Wooten started a tradition 25 years ago: families gathered around a campfire Saturday nights to hear poets and storytellers. There are just two rules — no reading and no hard-core stuff. The no-reading rule is linked to Wooten's dyslexia. Growing up he realized he could deliver a speech or oral report better if he memorized it.
The Monitor (TX)
A local teacher looks at the myths and realities of dyslexia. Recognizing the signs of dyslexia is the critical first step. The second is diagnostic testing, she says.
Belleville Intelligencer (Canada)
Kay MacDonald's efforts to help her own son turned into a lifelong passion for helping other children. She's retiring after 25 years with the Learning Disabilities Association of Niagara Region. For 17 of those years, she served as executive director.
Des Moines Register (IA)
Iowa has joined a nationwide push to curb the use of physical force and "timeout" rooms in schools to discipline the most unruly students. "I don't believe that teachers or building administrators set out to be unkind or cruel or harmful to children. In the rare occasion that that happens, it happens really because of ignorance as to what to do. This should help alleviate any instance of that." said Susan Myers, a mother who heads the Access for Special Kids Family Resource Center, a nonprofit advocacy group.
The Tribune (CA)
A Southern California advocacy group has filed a complaint with the state on behalf of local special-needs students, alleging that families are not easily able to transfer their children into districts where needed services are available.
The Desert Sun (CA)
In this advice column, a psychologist explains that although audiobooks can never take the place of reading aloud, they can help eliminate the frustration struggling readers experience with decoding.
New York Times
The House passed a major civil rights bill last Wednesday that would expand protections for people with disabilities and overturn several Supreme Court decisions issued in the last decade. The bill, approved 402 to 17, would make it easier for workers to prove discrimination. It would explicitly relax some stringent standards set by the court and says that disability is to be "construed broadly," to cover more physical and mental impairments.
Parents of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder sometimes seek alternative treatments if medication doesn't adequately relieve symptoms or causes unwanted side effects. Might one common choice, St. John's Wort, provide relief?
Daily Gazette (NY)
Schenectady and other counties across New York will now be responsible for paying 100 percent of the administrative costs of pre-kindergarten special education services in the latest shift of state and federal fees to local municipalities.
The Learning Disabilities Association Toronto District is looking for book and video donations after dozens of supplies have gone missing. Christina Ferri, resource facilitator for the association, said she noticed the lack of materials while reorganizing the library in June.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Even though the state has increased support for schools struggling with the costs of high-need special education students, the amount collected by Milwaukee Public Schools has barely budged. "The question is less why does MPS get so little as why does Milwaukee not claim more," said the state special education director.
Evanston Review (IL)
A new coalition of special education parents urged the District 65 School Board Monday to closely monitor whether the district delivers the services promised in the child's individual plan.
Daily News-Record (VA)
When Pat Harmon was a little girl, she had a lot of trouble learning to read. Now, as she teaches students to read, Harmon said she has a gift for connecting with them in a way that not only helps them achieve but also gets them excited about their ability to read. Harmon was recognized earlier this month as Educator of the Year for Harrisonburg, Va.
Empire State News.net (NY)
The New York City Department of Education must improve the timeliness of its evaluations and placements of special education student applicants, according to a report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
East Valley Tribune (AZ)
A recent Arizona appellate court decision scrapping a school-voucher program for disabled and foster children robs a small number of disabled students (117 were enrolled this year) and foster children (140 students) and their parents of their civil rights in order to make a political point, and push a false interpretation of the state's constitution.