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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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Parents of Special-Ed Students Oppose Changing Consent Rule

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.

Private LD School Pursues Earth-Friendly Learning Environment

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.

Profile: First Lady and Jenna Bush Share Their Thoughts on Teaching

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."

My Boy Needs a Doctor

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.

Children Taking ADHD Medication Should Have Heart Health Monitored Periodically

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.

Springmill School Students in Mansfield Get Pep Talk from 'Basketball' Jones

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.

School's New Mission Angers Utah Parents

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.

Living with Dyslexia

Independent (Ireland)

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.

Catching Problems Early, Schools Try to Avoid Special Ed

USA Today

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.

Poverty May Impair Growth of Brain

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.

City Violated Rights of Fireman with Learning Disability, Panel Rules

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.

Construction Bids Approved for Center with Dyslexia Program

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.

High School Track Star Overcomes Learning Disabilities

The Baltimore Sun

Distance runner Gabriel Lincoln-DeCusatis helped Maryland's Harford Tech H.S. outdoor track and field program grow rapidly in the past few seasons. But there's a lot more in the senior's life than track and field. He has a 4.0 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society and the school's student government, a feat even more impressive considering Lincoln-DeCusatis has had to overcome learning disabilities in writing, reading, and mathematics. He says that overcoming his learning disabilities makes him "more determined to do things the right way."

Technology Puts More Pupils in the Mainstream

The Boston Globe

Bringing assistive technology into the mainstream curriculum and classroom, a process known as universal design, makes education accessible for all children, allows children with special needs to feel included in a school's social life, provides for a more equitable education, and better prepares them for life outside school, supporters say.

Exams Set Up Special-Needs Children for Failure

The News Gazette (IL)|

Except for the 1 percent of a school's students with the most extreme disabilities, who take an alternate test, students classified as special needs take the same test as everyone else in their grade, whether they're ready or not. It's setting some of the children up for failure, says Susan Baker-Ory, the Urbana school district's director of special education, by giving them a test beyond their abilities. "Our teachers feel very passionately about the almost harm this does to the kids," she said.

Seminar Tries to Clear Up Confusion About Inclusion

The Journal Times (WI)

A group of parents, educators, and disability advocates met Saturday with University of Wisconsin education professor Elise Frattura, clearing up the confusion of including special education students in regular education classrooms.

Academy Provides Extra Attention

Times-Leader (PA)

Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Nicholas, age 6, became the first enrolled student at the Graham Academy when the school opened in February. Being in a setting with teachers and specialists was life-changing, said his mother, who has seen a dramatic improvement in her son's behavior.

Special Ed Advocates Seek Program Boost

Houston Community Newspapers – Pearland Journal (TX)

Concerned residents who spoke to the school board at their regular meeting April 8, lobbying for special education services they say are lacking in the district. "I'm hoping more people will join so the District will realize [special education] isn't as good as they think," said parent Amy Sabalesky.

Professors Study Early Treatment of ADHD

The Brown and White — Lehigh University (PA)

Two Lehigh professors are working toward a way to analyze symptoms related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among young children by studying parents' behavior and techniques. Professor George DuPaul said, "There's definitely medication that helps [kids with ADHD], but what can we do beyond that?" His project concentrated on how parents could better use behavior management strategies to reduce symptoms associated with ADHD.

Johnstown, Valley Take Top Honors at Quiz Bowl

Newark Advocate (OH)

The Rick DeMuth Memorial Quiz Bowl, sponsored by the Educational Service Center, gives special-education students the chance to show off their knowledge. "(These kids) a lot of times don't get the same recognition as a star athlete," said Janet Watterman, director of special education at the ESC. Teams competed in one of two divisions: cognitive disability and specific learning disability.

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