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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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.
New York Daily News
City special education fifth-graders are still waiting to find out where they're going to middle school next fall. It's been particularly troublesome for students in inclusion classes, where general- and special-education students attend class together, educators said. Middle school parents have charged it took months to learn where their children would be attending school next year - and some haven't yet heard where.
Easy Reader (CA)
The conflicting demands of federal and state law have presented the Manhattan Beach Unified School District with a predicament: The district has been unable to meet the testing standards of the No Child Left Behind Act for the third straight year, despite the fact that its test scores rank among the top five school districts in the state. The catch-22 binding the districts' schools is that students with disabilities who are on state-mandated Independent Education Plans (IEPs) are legally allowed to have accommodations while taking standardized tests. The federal government, however, negates such students' tests and counts them as though the student failed to show.
Shire Ltd. said Monday it is voluntarily recalling some of its Daytrana attention deficit hyperactivity disorder skin patches because some people could have difficulty removing the release liner, or backing material, of the patch before applying it to the skin.
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education
"On both HBCU and White campuses, many Black and Latino students with learning disabilities never get any help," says Thomas Mays, manager of disability services for Prince George's Community College in Maryland. "Many are never diagnosed, and many of those who were identified as having LDs in grammar or high school had such a terrible time in special education that they never want to be identified in college even though they could really benefit from our services."
The Post-Star (IA)
Each year, school officials create a budget, hoping the money is enough to run a school district. Certain expenses, such as oil, can be difficult to plan for, because of the volatility of weather and price. But no single expense is as problematic for a school district as special education.
Washington Post (DC)
Published in the June 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study compared St. John's wort to a placebo in children aged 6 to 17 and found the herb wasn't any more effective than the placebo at treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Pittsburgh Union Tribune (PA)
Carnegie Mellon University researchers said Wednesday that brain scans of 25 fifth-graders who participated in the reading program managed by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit improved to near-normal activity in brain areas responsible for reading.
Christian Science Monitor
Some parents are asking themselves an uncomfortable yet critical question: Does the practice of inclusion detract from my child's education? Is it really worth it? It all depends on your point of view. The author's has changed in the past 30 years, after seeing some unexpected benefits from having her son, who has Down syndrome, enrolled in regular school.