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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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Dyslexia Workarounds: Creativity Without a Lot of Reading

The Wall Street Journal

Actor Henry Winkler was told he was stupid. A teacher labeled Dan Malloy, the future governor of Connecticut, "mentally retarded." Delos Cosgrove recalls "hanging on by my fingernails" in high school and college before becoming a thoracic surgeon and the Cleveland Clinic's chief executive officer.

Each has dyslexia, a condition that makes reading difficult but has little to do with intelligence. Mounting evidence shows that many people with dyslexia are highly creative, out-of-the-box thinkers, and neuroimaging studies demonstrate that their brains really do think differently.

Literacy Activities for Young Children

Get Ready to Read!

The 36 Get Ready to Read! skill-building activity cards are fun, engaging, child-friendly early literacy activities to try with 3- to 5-year-old children. They’ll give you new ideas for bringing literacy activities into your classroom, home, and daily routine. The cards were created with both parents and educators in mind, and they’re free and easy to print.

IEP Tips from a Special Education Parent


In her last post, Parent Contributor Ellyn Levy discussed the experience of getting an initial Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for her teenage daughter. Now, Ellyn’s daughter is a successful college graduate, and Ellyn is back to share the lessons she has learned in advocating for her daughter throughout her learning disability (LD) journey.

Out-of-the-Box Advocacy: Talk LD in Your Community


“Out-of-the-Box Advocacy” is all about finding ways to start conversations about LD in an effort to raise awareness, remove stigma, and encourage others to embrace your child for who they are, despite their disabilities. While starting a blog or tweeting about LD-related topics may seem difficult for some, sometimes the hardest part of advocacy for many parents is actually talking about the realities of LD within their very own communities.

New Guide to Social and Emotional Learning Programs

Get Ready to Read!

New Guide to Social and Emotional Learning Programs The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning released their 2013 publication that identifies well-designed, evidence-based social and emotional learning programs for the pre-K and elementary grades. It’s downloadable and free!

There's an App for That! But Is It Right for You?


I can't recount the number of apps we initially downloaded with great anticipation, only to realize that we would probably never use them again. We learned that an estimated 26% of all downloaded apps are only used once. In the end, we came up with the following strategies for evaluating an app before deciding to buy it...

Phonics Teaching Tips for the Common Core

Eye On Education

The Common Core is bringing phonics back. According to the Common Core’s Reading Standards for Grades K–5, students need to learn foundational skills, including print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, and fluency.

Click the link to read four tips for meeting these new requirements.

Are Some Brains Better at Learning Languages?

Discovery News

There may be certain areas in the brain that are enlarged or extra efficient that could lend some language learners an advantage. Studies show that it becomes more difficult to learn new languages as you get older. Neuroscientists are still trying to understand all the various brain regions involved in learning language.

That raises the question: Is there something unique about certain brains, which allows some people to speak and understand so many more languages than the rest of us?

New Software Decodes Emotions By Phone

Discovery News

A company called eXaudios has developed software that detects emotions during a phone call. The program is currently used by companies to assist customer service agents. The versatile software could even soon diagnose Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia and even cancer. Analyzing a person's voice to gain clues about their health and emotional state is nothing new, said Pentland. Humans do it all the time. The computer is just doing a better job at voice analysis than most people because it largely ignores content and focuses on form. Whether a computer or human is analyzing a conversation, however, "it's not what you say," said Pentland. "It's how you say it."

The software could have potential implications for individuals who have difficulties perceiving social cues.

What Educators Should Know about the Dyslexic Brain


What do you think of when you hear the word dyslexic? All too often the reflex reaction is a stream of negative associations -- "slow reader," "under performance," "extra time on exams," "difficulty spelling." While it is true that these are common symptoms in students with dyslexia, they are surmountable problems. For any educator, the key to unleashing academic success in dyslexic students lies in understanding how their brains work.

Click the link to learn the four things ALL educators should know about the dyslexic brain!

Self-Advocacy & Mentors Crucial for College Students with Disabilities

Disability Scoop

College remains a hurdle for many with disabilities. Now a new study offers insight on what separates individuals with special needs who are ultimately successful in higher education from those who are not. In interviews with recent graduates with disabilities, researchers found that students who earned degrees shared the ability to self-advocate and persevere. They also had good insight into their abilities and limitations and often cited a strong relationship with at least one faculty or staff member on campus.

Find out more about the study in the full article!

Ohio School Practices ‘Reverse Inclusion’

Disability Scoop

A unique approach at one Ohio school has typically-developing teens entering the world of special education for an eye-opening experience. Through a semester-long elective at Kenston High School in Bainbridge, Ohio, high school juniors and seniors work side-by-side in a special education classroom with their peers who have special needs.

Parent & Educator Tool: "Road Map" to the IEP


The National Center for Learning Disabilities has put together a practical and clearly organized infographic for the IEP process. Use the tool as a "road map" to your child or student's education.

High-Tech Help: Assistive Tech

The New York Times

From pens that can remember to text that can talk, [assistive] technologies are now being held up as important tools for students with learning disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia (trouble writing) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“These technologies help level a playing field for individuals who would not be able to demonstrate their capabilities as learners,” says Brant Parker, director of learning and innovation technology for the Calgary Board of Education in Canada. In his district, at least 90 public schools are using Dragon Dictate, a voice-recognition program that does the typing for you.

Third Grade Crucial for Literacy Skills

The International Dyslexia Association

What is the single most important year of an individual’s academic career? The answer is not junior year of high school, or senior year of college. It is third grade. What makes success in third grade so pivotal? It is the year that students move from learning to read—decoding words using their knowledge of the alphabet—to reading to learn. The books children are expected to master no longer are simple primers, but fact-filled informational texts.

Attention Problems, Except for Screens

The New York Times

Why is it that children with attention deficit problems at school can be held in rapt attention by a video game or television program?

A child’s ability to stay focused on a screen, though not anywhere else, is actually characteristic of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There are complex behavioral and neurological connections linking screens and attention, and many experts believe that these children do spend more time playing video games and watching television than their peers.

Can Audiobooks Help Kids with LD?

Learning Ally

Students with print disabilities who have access to audiobooks significantly outperform their peers in math tests, according to a recent study conducted by the national nonprofit Learning Ally, the nation’s leading provider of accessible audiobook learning resources for students with disabilities such as dyslexia and visual impairment. The study reinforces the organization’s recent findings that audiobook resources bolster student performance in reading.

Assistive Technology Tools for Writing

Bend Language & Learning

Writing by hand can be a daunting task for students with dysgraphia, dyslexia, or motor limitations. As a result, students with handwriting challenges typically produce written work that is far below their oral expressive skills. Fortunately, assistive technology can alleviate the handwriting burden, so that students are freed to focus on the content of their written work. As the holiday shopping season approaches, you may wish to consider investing in technology to support your child’s writing skills.

Number of Students Labeled with LD Drops

Education Week

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in fall 2007 approximately 2.573 million youth ages 3 to 21 were classified as having specific learning disabilities, out of 6.606 million children covered by the IDEA. A specific learning disability is defined as a psychological processing disorder that impairs learning but not a student's overall cognitive ability.

Can Your Child's IEP Meeting Be Recorded?

The Wrightslaw Way

An IEP meeting should focus on how to provide appropriate education to a child with a disability. There should be no conversation at an IEP meeting that cannot be repeated or taped.

Federal law does not prohibit a parent or school official from recording IEP meetings. State departments of education or school districts can require, prohibit, limit, or regulate the use of recording devices at IEP meetings.

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