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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Contra Costa Times (CA)
While any child can have bouts of hyperactivity, an ADHD child's level dramatically exceeds the levels for his age. Pediatricians offer a good starting point for diagnosing ADHD. They can assess the youngster or they can refer parents to appropriate specialists such as child psychiatrists or psychologists, behavioral neurologists, or developmental/behavioral pediatricians, if needed.
The Times (IL)
This articles looks at the routes local school administrators can take to help students who are lagging behind their peers, including: retention; special education and diagnosing learning disabilities; credit recovery programs; and summer school.
Without hesitation, veteran special education teacher Diane Binmore says: "This has been the most satisfying year of my career." With the help of assistive technology, ten learning disabled grade 5 pupils at Pleasant Corners Public School were able to begin reading at their grade level. "You should have seen the effect this had on them," Binmore says, thrilled.
Press of Atlantic City (NJ)
Samantha Ravelli loves to read the Cheetah Girls books, and her mother, Beth, is more than happy to buy them for her. The books represent not just a pre-teen trend, but a major learning accomplishment. Three years ago Samantha, dyslexic and in third grade, could not read. Help for her came in the form of the specialized Wilson reading system.
Free Lance-Star (MD)
Starting this fall, Spotsylvania County schools will no longer classify students aged 5 to 8 as developmentally delayed. Those students will be placed in another special education category or mainstreamed into standard classrooms.
Gothic Artist and Writer Glenn James was diagnosed as Dyslexic in 2002, after a lifetime of wielding a pen, the artist explores his feelings and experiences about the condition, in the hope that it will help anyone else who is wrestling with it.
New York Times
About 2.5 million children in the United States take stimulant drugs for attention and hyperactivity problems. But concerns about side effects have prompted many parents to look elsewhere: as many as two-thirds of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D., have used some form of alternative treatment.
Tulsa World (OK)
Some of the most scathing and legally damning findings in an investigative report released this week about the Tulsa Academic Center of Tulsa, Oklahoma involve the treatment of special education students. A summary of an investigative report prepared for the Tulsa school board details repeated violations of federal and state laws, as well as Tulsa Public Schools' own policies and procedures for safeguarding the rights of students with disabilities.
Killeen Daily Herald (TX)
Truman Kilpatrick of Copperas Cove, Texas is in the fourth grade but he reads at a kindergarten level due to his dyslexia. Truman's parents, Jeffrey and Pam Owen, say Copperas Cove Independent School District is failing to provide the attention and education their son requires. The Owens have written letters to state and U.S. congressmen seeking stricter requirements and increased accountability for dyslexia programs in public schools, and Pam Owen said she hopes to eventually file a lawsuit at both the state and federal level.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
After losing another round in its long battle over how it identifies and works with special education students, Milwaukee Public Schools has a decision to make: Keep fighting or find a way to end this seven-year dispute. A federal judge ruled in favor of a settlement reached between the state Department of Public Instruction and Disability Rights Wisconsin. MPS rejected that deal, which, among other things, could extend services to thousands of students who had been held back a grade or frequently suspended and mean the appointment of an outside authority to oversee special education programs in MPS.
New York Daily News
For years, parents of kids with learning disabilities have had to work the phones to find out which public schools had the right therapies for them. Now, city officials are trying to make it easier. Starting this week, the city is posting special education "service delivery reports" on the website of every public school.
Arizona Daily Star
Wings on Words is a preschool program that specializes in helping young children speech and language problems. Noted one parent, "A lot of people just wait until they're in the school system, and they get referred by their primary teachers, but getting help early just sets a totally different tone for the rest of their lives. It's just one less obstacle for them to overcome."
The Daily Journal (MN)
On the eve of her retirement, Fergus Falls Area Special Education Cooperative Director Nancy Johnson reflects on the history of special education, and some of the dramatic waves of innovation she's seen, over the past 35 years.
The Niagara Falls Review (Canada)
Kay MacDonald's efforts to help her own son turned into a lifelong passion for helping other children with learning disabilities. She retires this week after 25 years with the Learning Disabilities Association of Niagara.
The fear of due-process hearings looms large in disputes between parents of children with disabilities and schools. But more than 80 percent of requests for due process mdash; a legal remedy outlined in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act mdash; never get to the point at which a hearing is held, according to the Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education, a national technical-assistance center on resolving special education disputes.
Edmonton Journal (Canada)
Throughout her years in public school, Kerie Hildebrandt struggled. In college, her world changed counsellors, new equipment and learning devices she had never seen before were all available to her. Her grade point average zoomed to a 3.8 with the right support.
Newport News Daily Press (VA)
Is it really possible that disabilities are much more common than they were just a few years ago? That's what special education enrollment numbers would indicate. But don't be startled. The explanation is probably encouraging, not alarming. We're better at identifying learning disabilities than ever before.
Washington Post (DC)
A special program in Montgomery County, Md., addresses one of the most vexing problems in special education: What to do with a child who is disabled but capable of work at or above grade level? Such programs are unusual in public education. Because children with Asperger's often are bright and capable, albeit with some behavioral quirks, schools tend to assign them to regular classrooms, either missing or misdiagnosing their disability.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (WI)
After losing another round in its long battle over how it identifies and works with special education students, Milwaukee Public Schools has a decision to make: Keep fighting or find a way to end this seven-year dispute. The district should find a way to put its long battle over special education behind it.
A study in Kenya finds that those with genes associated with ADHD who still live a nomadic life are actually more fit, but those who have adopted a more settled life are less fit. Cynthia Graber reports in this podcast.