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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Roseville Press Tribune (CA)
A few years ago, Jordan Heald marched into the office of A Touch of Understanding and said she wanted to be a speaker for the organization. The Granite Bay nonprofit's Executive Director Leslie DeDora asked what she would speak about. "I'll never forget what she said," DeDora said. "She said she has dyslexia and her younger sister does too, and she doesn't want her to be teased the way she was. Who can say no to that?" Jordan joined the group's Youth FORCE, which stands for Friends Offering Respect Creating Empowerment, and visits schools to spread awareness about disabilities.
Assistive technology is designed to make hard or even seemingly impossible tasks doableand for students with disabilities, writing can be one of the hardest school tasks of all. But since difficulties in writing are wide-rangingand technology is rapidly evolvingfinding the right AT device can be an ordeal.
The Detroit News
It took two years of state pressure and the threat of losing millions in funding, but Detroit Public Schools has reformed its special education evaluation system to comply with state and federal laws.
ADHD News Blog, ADDitude Magazine
The results of a new attention-deficit study conducted by the ADHD Awareness Coalition suggests that 60 percent of ADD adults have lost jobs because of the disorder, nearly half of ADD children experience social struggles, and 38 percent of ADHD kids also have a sleep disorder.
Infants who are given general anesthesia more than once are twice as likely to have learning disabilities later on than children never exposed to the drugs, a new study suggests.
Pioneer Press (MN)
A 22-year-old Minnetonka man with a learning disability who asked for accommodations to take the Law School Admission Test and was twice denied has received the opportunity to take the exam as the result of a government settlement.
Voice of San Diego
In the wake of a 2007 report that concluded the district was far too often segregating students with disabilities, San Diego Unified redoubled its efforts to transition almost all of its special needs students to general education classes for most, if not all, of their school day. That follows a national trend, driven by a philosophy called "inclusion," the concept that children with special needs should be included, whenever possible, in general education classrooms where they can learn, play and laugh with their nondisabled peers. Inclusion is great, when done right. But doing it right takes motivation, planning and money.
Globe and Mail (Canada)
The case against adult ADHD goes something like this: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a dubious condition promoted by Big Pharma to push stimulant drugs; the small number of children with true ADHD (rather than lax parenting) will outgrow it by their teens, so adults have no business using the diagnosis as an excuse for failing to meet their commitments as employees, spouses and parents. Judging by its public face, you'd think ADHD was a loser's gambit. But Sarah Blyth, a Vancouver parks board commissioner who was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, begs to differ.
Brain-imaging study suggests that reading difficulties are the same regardless of overall intelligence and that more children could benefit from support in school.
Johanny Hernandez is alone among her Latino relatives and friends to have a child diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, the 30-year-old mother of four had never heard of this condition - until her son's kindergarten teacher suggested that he be evaluated. Many of her friends seemed skeptical about ADHD, insisting that her son was just very active, sometimes mischievous, but not "loco," the Spanish word for crazy. Still, her son's classroom behavior has improved since he started therapy and taking ADHD medication, and Hernandez tries to block out what she hears from others.
On Special Education Blog, Education Week
School districts often find themselves short of special education teachers, even as they lay off other educators. The Special Education Faculty Needs Assessment project found that part of the shortage is because of an ongoing dearth of special education faculty that may grow worse in the near future.
The Courier-Journal (KY)
Understand that students with learning disabilities are bright. They possess average to above average intelligence. It is important that their teachers and parents honor them with high expectations for academic and personal success.
It's the beginning of a new school year and some parents may be noticing issues with their children for the first time. Perhaps they are struggling with homework or suddenly don't want to go to school. These and other warning signs could indicate a learning disability.
On Special Education Blog: Proposed changes by some Republican senators to the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now called No Child Left Behind, could push more children with disabilities away from taking the same kinds of tests as their classmates. That could limit how many students with special needs are included when schools and districts are held accountable for their students' progress, the National Center on Learning Disabilities told several senators in a letter this week.
When children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) practice controlling their emotions and impulsive outbursts, they will be healthier and happier at school and home.
Normally dyslexia is considered a handicap: a mental deficiency that makes reading, long-division and remembering whether letters and numbers face left or right difficult. Challenging this view, learning disabilities experts Brock and Fernette Eide argue that dyslexia is an alternative way brains can be wired one with many advantages.
My Health News Daily
Kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who regularly play outside in settings with lots of green, such as grassy open fields and parks, have milder ADHD symptoms than children who play indoors or at playgrounds, a new study shows. Researchers measured the effects of 49 common after-school and weekend activities the ADHD symptoms of more than 400 children, and found an association between playing in green outdoor settings daily or several times a week and milder ADHD symptoms.
There are now about 40,000 educational applications for the iPad, Apple reports, and districts that launched pilot programs last school year now are stepping up their iPad use for special-needs students after seeing results. For example, in Zeeland, Mich., students are starting the school year with 3,100 new iPads, courtesy of a $5.3 million bond issue that will include $1.5million for the tablets, says superintendent David Barry. According to Barry, video can be used to practice social skills, speech recognition aids students who have writing difficulties, and the touch screen makes use easy for children who have dexterity problems.
In this blog for ADDitude magazine, mother Kay Marner writes, "Powerlessness. Lack of control. Those are exactly the enemies I fight against daily as I raise my daughter, Natalie, who has ADD/ADHD. I feel powerless over the messes she makes. I feel powerless over her moods and her reactions to stressors. I can't make her follow my directions the first time I give them. I can't make her challenges go away."
The Guardian (UK)
Happy Days star Henry Winkler has been named "Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire" by the Queen of England for his work on dyslexia in the U.K. The actor and director, who played the Fonz in the classic U.S. sitcom, said it was "humbling" to receive the honor, awarded at the British embassy in Washington DC. Having been diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult, Winkler has toured schools in the UK over the last two years to talk about the learning difficulty.