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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Savannah Morning News (GA)
This parenting column discusses ways to support your child, including understanding their disability, finding their strengths, and identifying ways to work with the disability.
U.S. researchers found that a gene associated with ADHD was linked to better health and body weight in a group of nomadic cattle herders, but could cause malnourishment in their cousins who have recently settled and begun to grow crops. "Our findings suggest that some of the variety of personalities we see in people is evolutionarily helpful or detrimental, depending on the context," said lead author Dan Eisenberg, an anthropology graduate at Northwestern University.
Southtown Star (IL)
Columnist Paige Fumo Fox reflects on her recent meeting with school staff about her son's individualized education plan, and encourages any parent about to enter the IEP process to be optimistic, but prepared.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently called on the Food and Drug Administration to ban artificial coloring in all U.S. foods based on a controversial claim that artificial coloring is behind the rise in kids' behavioral problems, like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. To others, however, that connection is far less clear.
The Washington Post
A recent Bollywood movie about a dreamy 8-year-old boy had all the ingredients of an Indian blockbuster — six songs, tearful ups and downs, and a happy ending. But the film has also planted the seeds of a movement to raise public awareness about dyslexia in India.
Detroit Free Press
Benjamin Bolger admittedly can't read well, but the 32-year-old Michigan native today is expected to walk across the stage at Harvard University to receive a doctoral degree in design — his 11th advanced degree. "I can read at about a fifth-grade level I can sound out just about any word now, but it just takes some time," he said.
Charities Aid Foundation News
A UK charity auction is to be held to sell an 800-word "prequel" to the Harry Potter series. JK Rowling has penned the work for Waterstone's What's Your Story? Auction, the profits of which will go to charities Dyslexia Action and English PEN. Other authors who are selling similar works at the event include Sebastian Faulks, Irvine Welsh, Lauren Child, and Margaret Atwood.
The Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
More than half of Utah's special-education students have learning disabilities, said Jennie Gibson, associate director of the Utah Parents Center in Salt Lake City, which helps parents navigate the educational system for their children with special needs. The vast majority of special-education students graduate high school, but those with significant problems in need of transition skills can extend their education up to the age of 22.
Exchange Morning Post (Canada)
Canada has undertaken a Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) to collect information on adults and children with disabilities. Here it looks at specialized equipment, the use and requirements of such aids and equipment, funding sources, and related obstacles. One finding: individuals with a learning limitation such as dyslexia had more unmet needs for assistive devices than individuals with any other disability.
Sioux City Journal (IA)
The president of Iowa's Learning Disabilities Association praises a new component to the kindergarten registration process. All parents who attend are able to screen, or are assisted in screening, their own children for determination of the child's level of development on pre-literacy skills. It is a win-win situation for both the families and the schools.
The Marlborough Express (N.Z.)
The "gift of dyslexia" is dismissed by psychologist Laughton King whose own battle with the disorder has involved "really, really hard work." Travelling around the country with artist-wife Natalie Tate, Mr. King will be in Blenheim tomorrow to speak about "Strategies to help children with learning difficulties (including dyslexia)."
Utica Observer-Dispatch (NY)
Proctor High gets assistance in helping students with disabilities transition to life after high school from Resource Center for Independent Living representatives such as Mike Zane. He visits special education classes about once a week to help teach students skills they need for a successful life after high school.
The Florida kindergarten teacher who had students vote last week whether a 5-year-old (who has since been diagnosed with an autism-spectrum disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder) should be allowed to stay in class told police she wanted him to hear how his behavior was affecting his classmates.
CJAD NewsTalk Radio (Canada)
Researchers say children who show signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are regularly misdiagnosed in every province — with the exception of Quebec. That's because Quebec has guidelines for ADHD diagnosis, which means children are likely to receive the same assessment, regardless of which doctor they see.
The Montreal Gazette (Canada)
Like his creator — author and actor Henry Winkler — the hero of the best-selling "Hank Zipzer: The World's Greatest Underachiever" series isn't so hot with words or numbers. Also like Winkler, Hank is a popular class clown whose adventures, and misadventures, revolve around the fifth-grader trying to compensate for his learning disabilities.
Flint Journal (MI)
Guest columnist Andrew Schwab encourages parents of children struggling academically to ask the school for accommodations. Persistently asking questions such as "what is the school's plan?" or "how will the school adapt to this child's needs?" does not allow schools to escape a solution by blaming other professionals or departments.
The Oregonian (OR)
Oregon's proposed high school exit exam would unfairly deny diplomas to good students who struggle with a single academic weakness, warned people testifying at a state hearing on the test Wednesday.
Daily Herald (IL)
School board member James Hussey will ask the board to pursue a lawsuit against the Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL) to stop the agency from borrowing $26.5 million to renovate and construct new facilities. He feels SEDOL member districts need more time to discuss the plan. He said he also favors District 95 quitting SEDOL because it "circumvented the normal democratic process."
The Baltimore Sun (MD)
The Baltimore school system is contracting with an outside company, Pennsylvania-based Specialized Education Services Inc., to run a school for special-education students, a move that will combine two special-education schools currently operating alongside each other in the same building.
Brown Alumni Magazine (RI)
Jonathan Mooney, author of "The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal," visited his alma mater Brown University to lecture about learning disabilities. Diagnosed with dyslexia and attention problems, Mooney didn't read until he was twelve. Eventually, after much hard work, he transferred to Brown ("somebody took a risk on me," he says), concentrated in English, and graduated with a 4.0 grade average.