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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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Opinion: We're Not Paying Enough Attention to ADHD

Washington Post

Like a fourth-grader who keeps jumping out of his chair, the uptick in America's ADHD epidemic demands our attention. According to a new report in Academic Pediatrics, the number of doctor's visits by children being given a diagnosis or treatment for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder jumped to a total of 10.4 million in 2010, representing a 66 percent increase over the year 2000.

The Horse Who Read My Mind


Equine-assisted ADHD therapy forced me to align my actions with my intentions and to exude the calm confidence I asked for in return. Horses, I learned, mirror what they see in our hearts and feel in our heads.

Indiana Football: Nick Sliger Overcomes Learning Disability

Indianapolis Star

There have been few obstacles in the trenches of high school or college football that Indiana defensive lineman Nick Sliger has been unable to overcome. His 6-3, 293-pound frame has taken care of that. Sliger's challenges always came in the classroom, but those troubles are now a thing of the past. An athlete who had serious doubts in high school that he would receive his diploma because of a learning disability, Sliger has made the most of his time at IU.

Learning to Drive With A.D.H.D.

New York Times

Learning to drive is hard and scary for many teenagers, and driving is far and away the most dangerous thing teenagers do. But the challenges are significantly greater for young people who have attention problems. A number of cognitive conditions can affect driving, and instructors report a recent increase in the number of teenagers with Asperger syndrome seeking licenses. But the largest group of challenged teenage drivers — and the mostly closely studied — appears to be those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

'Bully' Movie to be Released 'Unrated.' Will that Allow More Kids to See It?

Christian Science Monitor

The award-winning documentary "Bully" will open in theaters Friday as "unrated." The movie, which tells the stories of five children and their families, had been given an "R" rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The rating was publicly challenged by Katy Butler, a bullied high school student from Michigan, who launched an online petition at Change.org that garnered the signatures of 500,000 people. But the MPAA refused to change the rating, unless several bursts of crude language were removed. Katy argued that such a rating was likely to prevent viewing by the very people she says need to see it most.

Learning Issues and the Arts

PBS NewsHour

It's minutes before the curtain is set to rise for this year's production of the Black History Month play at Henderson Inclusion Elementary School on a late February morning. Students are excitedly tending to last-minute costume fixes and teachers are busy issuing their last tidbits of advice. But there's one teacher here who's clearly in charge: the play's director, Darlene Jones-Inge. She's been a special education teacher for more than three decades. At Henderson, she works side-by-side with her partner general education teacher. Their elementary school in Dorchester, Mass., is unique. A third of the students have learning issues, and they're educated in the same classroom as students who don't. And the arts are an important part of engaging Henderson's diverse student body.

"What Kind of Special Needs Does Your Daughter Have?"

ADHD Parenting Blog

When another parent instantly recognized Natalie's differences, it hit me hard that no matter how much we practice social skills, ADHD is always front and center.

Five Misconceptions about Learning Disabilities

PBS NewsHour

In the classroom, it starts simply — sometimes with a struggle to sound out simple words; sometimes with trouble telling time, memorizing the times tables or learning left from right. It often ends simply, too: with a troubling statistic. One in five of the American students identified as having a learning disability will walk away from their education. That's compared to a dropout rate of 8 percent in the general population.

One Man’s Mission to Save Struggling Students

Scientific American (Blog)

You could call his classroom a rescue mission. Each September, Tyson Schoeber takes under his wing 15 fourth through seventh graders that normal classrooms have left behind, defeated and too often, deflated. Schoeber's program, called THRIVE, at Nootka Elementary School helps to bring a select group of kids, many of them dyslexic, back from the brink of academic stagnation. It boosts their reading and writing skills using individualized programs, multisensory learning techniques, lots of repetition—and most importantly, encouragement.

What Do You Mean You're All Out?!?

ADHD Experts Blog, ADDitudeMag.org

Two months ago, the sky was falling in for parents of children with attention deficit disorder. ADHD medication shortages — Ritalin and its generic equivalents, as well as the amphetamine Adderall and its generic forms — popped up in several states. This forced parents to speed-dial doctors and dozens of pharmacies to find the medication their child depends on to manage symptoms.

Data Reveal Disparities in Schools' Use of Restraints

Education Week

New federal data that for the first time attempt to catalog how many times students were isolated or restrained—by a school employee or with a device—show that, in many cases, those techniques are applied disproportionately to students with disabilities, particularly black students with disabilities.

Bully: A Hard Documentary, but Does It Deserve to Be Rated R?

TIME Healthland Blog

Profanity has garnered the new documentary Bully an R-rating, but anti-bullying advocates argue that the film should be PG-13, so more kids can see the film in schools and theaters without parents tagging along.

WI Assembly to Revisit Subsidies of School Transfers for Disabled

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Next year Wisconsin students with disabilities could attend a public school outside their home district or a private school with a taxpayer subsidy, under a bill coming before the state Assembly on Tuesday. The proposal is just one of a series of education bills on a daunting legislative calendar as the Legislature wraps up its session this week.

Feds Share Largest Collection of Student Restraint, Seclusion Data

Education Week (Blog)

New federal data about how often public school students are restrained or secluded at school show that, in the majority of cases, these approaches are used to contain kids with disabilities, who make up just a sixth of all students.

PA Senate Education Committee Approves Bill to Overhaul Special Education Funding Distribution Formula

Patriot-News (PA)

The Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee approved legislation that would establish a 12-member House-Senate commission to develop a distribution formula for new state special education funding. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh County, would direct the commission to establish a formula that separates special education students into three cost categories based on their need for services. More funds would be allocated for students requiring higher levels of service.

Opinion: Confessions of a 'Bad' Teacher

New York Times

I am a special education teacher. My students have learning disabilities ranging from autism and attention-deficit disorder to cerebral palsy and emotional disturbances. I love these kids, but they can be a handful. Almost without exception, they struggle on standardized tests, frustrate their teachers and find it hard to connect with their peers. As you might imagine, my job can be extremely difficult.

KS Senators Discuss Dyslexia

Topeka Capital-Journal (KS)

Citing phone calls from frustrated parents, a Kansas Senate committee discussed a bill to help identify and effectively teach dyslexic students last week.

Special Ed. Vouchers May Open Doors for Choice

Education Week

Meet voucher supporters' new fellow strategists: students with disabilities. Creating private school vouchers for special education students—programs that are largely unchallenged in court, unlike other publicly financed tuition vouchers—can be the perfect way to clear a path for other students to get school options, according to school choice proponents.

ADHD: Backlash to the Backlash

Scientific American (blog)

The idea that ADHD drugs might be killing us represents just one of several ominous storylines associated with the disorder. In recent years, we've also heard speculation about whether ADHD is real, and if it is real, whether it's being grossly overdiagnosed. And then there are the drugs. These backlashes against childhood developmental diagnoses seems to rise and fall every few years, but lately it's burgeoning.

Princeton Group Says It's Hard to Get Children's Dyslexia Treated or Even Recognized

The Times of Trenton (NJ)

The group of parents sitting in a board room here were part of a hard-luck fraternity even before they decided to start their new statewide advocacy group, Decoding Dyslexia. They had been meeting for years in local coffee shops to discuss how their children weren't reading anything by first grade, couldn't spell their names, couldn't remember sounds, couldn't match rhyming words, couldn't distinguish left from right, didn't have a dominant left or right hand, couldn't get their shoes on the correct feet let alone tie the laces — and they weren't getting support in their classrooms. And all along they were being told, there is no such thing as dyslexia.

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