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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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"ADHD Moms" Online Community Offers Tools on Facebook

The Financial (Nation of Georgia)

In response to the rising trend of consumers seeking health information and everyday support online, McNeil Pediatrics, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc, on July 9 announced the launch of the "ADHD Moms" online community housed on Facebook.

Testing Officials Again Tackle Accommodations And Exclusions for Special Student Populations

Education Week

Perhaps no topic has as thoroughly vexed officials who oversee the nation's leading test of academic progress as the wide variation among states and cities in the proportion of students with disabilities and limited English proficiency whom they exclude from taking the exam or provide with special accommodations for it.

Special Ed Students Could Be Exempt from Exit Exam

Whittier Daily News (CA)

It's been nine months since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have helped special education students get their diplomas without having to pass the California High School Exit Exam. Now, an exemption plan for the exit exam will come before him again this summer, only in a different form: SB 1446 by Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles.

ADHD Not a Lack of Intelligence, Psychologist Says

Upstate Today (SC)

Last week at a meeting of South Carolina's Oconee Alliance, school psychologist Bridget Briley didn't just talk about Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) — she let the audience experience the condition themselves. Attendees were asked to read a brief text, projected overhead, within a couple of minutes. The text, however, was interrupted every few seconds with flashing images. A soccer game. Windows. Bright white light. The effect made the assignment almost impossible. After time elapsed, the audience was asked to take a brief quiz. The result: failure.

Commentary: Pediatricians and the Drug Industry

San Francisco Chronicle

Most parents have never heard of him, but Joseph Biederman of Harvard may be the United States' most influential doctor when it comes to determining whether their children are normal or mentally ill. In 1996, for example, Biederman suggested that drugs like Ritalin might serve 10 percent of American kids for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. By 2004, one in nine 11-year-old boys was taking the drug … That's why Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley's recent revelation that Biederman did not declare $1.6 million in drug company consulting fees is so important, scary, and tragic.

Teach India: Make Room for Special Kids

The Times of India

Aranya is eight and in her drawings, elephants can fly. She enjoys art and has a vivid imagination, but when it comes to her studies, she struggles with writing and concentration. Aranya is suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a neuro-behavioural developmental disorder. Often children like Aranya are labeled 'lazy' or 'dumb' although they are neither. "My daughter is very creative. She loves painting animals and working with clay. All she needs is a little more time to grasp her lessons. It is unfortunate that in the pursuit of high scores the power of the imagination is under-estimated," says Aranya's mother.

ADHD Conference Opens in Minneapolis

Pioneer Press (MN)

A national conference started yesterday in Minneapolis to help adults cope with ADHD, short for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The Attention Deficit Disorder Association expects more than 400 adults with ADHD to attend its 13th annual conference, which features sessions on everything from time management and spousal support to meditation.

Penn State Helps Bridge Gap for Students with Learning Disabilities

Penn State Live (PA)

In Pennsylvania, more than 260,000 students with learning and other disabilities are in public schools, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). This presents challenges to the teachers responsible for their education, but who often lack adequate specialized preparation. In response to new teacher certification requirements, Penn State has created a teacher training program called Evidence-Based Practices for Inclusive Classrooms and Differentiating Instruction (EPIC) for current and future teachers.

Triad Academy Campaigns to Expand its Services

The Dispatch (NC)

Triad Academy of Winston-Salem, North Carolina was created in the late '90s by a group of parents to address the unmet academic needs of students who learn differently after seeing them fail in the mainstream of a traditional school. The school that serves students with dyslexia or a specific learning disability is looking to expand its services by launching a capital fund campaign that could possibly help the school expand or even relocate to serve more children.

Ontario Reading Program May Close Books

Bayshore Broadcasting (Canada)

A former local principal may have to close the book on her free reading program in the Owen Sound area if funding doesn't come through soon. Linda Soehner has about 40 students registered with Reading Rescue Ontario — children and adults suffering from dyslexia who are learning to read.

ADHD Might Raise Kids' Obesity Risk

The Washington Post

Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at a 50 percent higher risk for being overweight if they are not taking medication for the condition, a new study finds.

Summer Camp Director Sees Something Special in Kids

Enterprise Ledger (AL)

Attention Deficit Disorder, emotionally conflicted, developmentally disabled. Whatever the label, they are all James Warren's kids. For 34 summers, Warren has run a six-week day camp for special needs children in Enterprise, Alabama. Inspired by his daughter Aresha, Warren became interested in special education and worked as a behavior specialist at New Brockton High School.

PA School Facing Special Education Legal Challenges

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.

UK: Children Should Learn to Speak Before They Learn to Read Says Review

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.

Grants to Help Students with Reading Disabilities

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.

LDA Tutoring Programs Begin

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.

Program Helps Students Adjust to Different Surroundings

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.

Stone Circle Draws Poets, Storytellers and Singers to Spin Tales from the Heart

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.

(Opinion) Don't Disregard Dyslexia — It's All Around You

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.

Mom Helps Others with Learning Disabilities

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.

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