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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The Fort Collins Coloradoan (CO)
Research shows that unscripted imaginative play — and the self-talk that goes along with it — helps children develop executive function: to be creative, control their emotions, resist sudden impulses and maintain mental focus.
The Press of Atlantic City (NJ)
College enrollment of students with disabilities has increased 86 percent since 1994. Advocates applaud the efforts of these students. But counselors also worry that the societal emphasis on attending college has pushed some disabled students into a stressful environment for which they are not adequately suited or prepared. Some worry that the very efforts that helped students get through high school have been almost too successful, lulling them into a false sense of just how accommodating real life will be.
The News Tribune (WA)
In Saturday's NFL draft, the Seattle Seahawks selected Red Bryant, a 318-pound defensive tackle from Texas A&M. Although diagnosed with dyslexia, Bryant earned his degree in agricultural leadership and communications. He was so skillful at communicating, in fact, that teammates voted him a captain of the Aggies all four seasons.
The Peterboro Examiner (Canada)
Getting the right school resources for children with special needs is a lonely business for parents says an advocate for special needs. Dr. Norm Forman, a psychologist and founder of Parents Advocacy in the School says some of the parents' frustrations stem from not getting the right assessments for their children, school boards and teachers not being forthcoming with resources, or teachers that don't have the right skills.
The Tennessean (TN)
In the third grade, Melissa Brock checked out Helen Keller's biography from the library eight times, each time becoming more fascinated with how Annie Sullivan helped Keller, who could not see or hear, learn to communicate. She knew then that she wanted to be a teacher, working with kids with disabilities. She's been named Metro Nashville Public Schools' elementary Teacher of the Year.
Santa Monica Mirror
After an audit faulted Santa Monica schools for its special education practices, Superintendent Dianne Talarico stressed that the district should only use settlement agreements "as a last resort when an impasse has been reached in resolving disagreements at the IEP [Individual Education Plan] level and that such an agreement will require approval at the superintendent level."
The Eureka Reporter (CA)
Mikey is a special needs child, part of a growing population in Humboldt County. This article looks at what the National Institute of Mental Health has to say about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), how California is addressing the problem, and how it impacts local educators and families like Mikey's.
The push to ensure that all students, not just the academically gifted, take introductory algebra and do so earlier has gained widespread acceptance in U.S. schools over the quarter-century since A Nation at Risk advocated strengthening graduation requirements in math. Last year, for the first time, California state officials approved an entire set of math programs devoted specifically to "algebra readiness," or raising the skills of students likely to struggle in that subject.
The Washington Post
A proposed revision of Virginia's special education rules is triggering widespread protests among parents of disabled students, who say it would strip them of power in negotiating their children's education.
Las Vegas Review-Journal
In the green room at Nevada's New Horizons Academy, students walk on carpet manufactured from recycled soda bottles. They learn in natural light collected by a solar dish and piped indoors via fiber-optic cables. The small private school serves students with learning disabilities, and school officials are eager to offer students a cleaner, greener place to learn.
The Dallas Morning News
My Wednesday began pretty much like every other day for me, with a call from the White House. This time, it was actually a conference call, from first lady Laura Bush and her daughter, Jenna Bush. The mother-daughter combination has collaborated on a new children's book, Read All About It! It's derived from their shared experience of having been teachers. During her own teaching days, Jenna encountered kids with learning disabilities and others who were simply "not interested in reading So, I tried to listen to my students, especially my boys, and find things that they found interesting." At that point, she says, she actually stood a chance of having them "fall in love with good literature."
The Aurora (Canada)
Labrador City has all the town qualities Nicole Blake dreamed of for her family, but there's something critical missing — a doctor. The Blakes moved from Goose Bay less than a month ago and the mother of four young children says she was turned down by the four family physicians when she sought to find one. Nicole's eight-year-old son Kyle is diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) as well as a more concerning disorder known as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). The mother painfully describes her child's problems that are manifested often in impulsive and sometimes violent behaviors.
United Press International
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs can increase heart rate and blood pressure, so the American Heart Association recommends that children on such medication have their hearts checked regularly.
Mansfield News Journal (OH)
Jim "Basketball" Jones, an expert basketball handler and motivational speaker, dazzled fourth graders while imparting life lessons he learned from his struggles in school as a child with learning disabilities.
The Salt Lake City Tribune
Woodland Hills stood among the few Utah private schools for special-needs middle school students, and the only such private school for high school students. But its recent expansion and a new focus on athletics has angered some parents, who say mixing competitive athletics students with timid special education students hasn't worked.
U.S. author Debbie Macomber has written more than 100 books, and sold more than 60 million books worldwide. Not bad for someone who couldn't read until she was 11 years old. "I am dyslexic, but they didn't have a word for that when I was a child," she says. But she loved telling stories. She adored books, and she fantasized, always, about becoming a writer.
Officials in districts across the country are rapidly adopting early intervention programs for students, hoping that steering a child away from expensive special education classes later will pay off for school budgets, too, in cost savings. But the adoption of these programs comes at a time when parents and educators are debating the benefits of "response to intervention" (RTI), and when districts have been trying to also cut down "over-identification" — too many poor and minority kids being shunted off to special education who don't need to be there.
News and Record (NC)
Poverty can have negative effects on child and adolescent brain development, a report out today concludes. Those effects, in turn, can lead to learning disabilities, behavior problems, and other psychological and emotional problems, the report says. The report, "Child Poverty in North Carolina: A Preventable Epidemic," is being released by the nonprofit group Action for Children North Carolina.
The Advocate (CT)
State human rights officials have ruled that the city of Stamford, CT discriminated against a firefighter with a learning disability by denying him extra time on a promotional test. The city defended the denial by claiming a fire captain, the position Lenotti sought, must be able to read and process information quickly at a fire scene. But state officials said the city never proved that was true, never consulted with disability rights experts, and does not use a promotional test that actually measures how fast a candidate can read.
Hattiesburg American (MS)
The town of Petal, MS recently approved bids on construction projects that will renovate local buildings to be used as a cultural arts center and a senior center with a school for dyslexic children on the second floor. Dynamic Dyslexia Design is a school that will provide instruction and help for students with dyslexia.