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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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ADHD Med Shortage Puts Squeeze on Parents

The Tennessean

Jason Greene can easily predict which customers ask for Ritalin or Adderall. Their faces are new to him, but their anxious looks have become familiar. "The parents do get a little rattled sometimes when they are trying to help their children," said Greene, a pharmacist at Reeves-Sain Drug Store in Murfreesboro. The independent pharmacy has picked up new customers due to a shortage of ADHD medicines that has parents scurrying from drug store to drug store as if competing in a poker run.

Don't All of Our Kids Deserve Teachers Like This?

ADHD Parenting Blog, ADDitudeMag.com

School-related anxiety was making both Natalie and me sick — literally. Until a meeting with her pro-active special-ed teacher proved that ADHD guardian angels do exist.

Four Books Look at Dyslexia

The Boston Globe

"Dyslexia is our best, most vivid evidence that the brain was never wired to read," writes Maryanne Wolf, and she's got the word on why. Wolf is director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts and a professor of child development. She also has a son Ben, who went to the Rhode Island School of Design, draws like a dream — and is dyslexic. But more to my purpose, she's the author of a madly fascinating book called "Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain."

For Kids with ADHD, Some Foods May Complement Treatment

WBUR (MA)

You may remember the controversial studies linking food coloring and additives to hyperactivity in kids. Or you may know parents who have pinned their hopes on an elimination diet to improve their kids' rowdy behavior. A review paper published in the journal Pediatrics evaluated the evidence from many studies on this topic. And it concludes that changing a child's diet is usually not enough to effectively treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Conclusions on San Diego Unified's Big Special Ed Shift

Voice of San Diego (CA)

It was the biggest change in the way San Diego Unified educates its students with special needs in a decade, and we wanted to know how the district had coped with the transition. In 2008, after a report concluded that children with disabilities were too often being segregated into separate classrooms, the district began a concentrated effort to include far more children with special needs in general education classrooms in their neighborhood schools. The shift required a complex reorganization of where kids with special needs would go to school. Rather than being grouped at relatively few sites that focused on special education, thousands of students with disabilities instead began flooding into their local schools.

Students with ADHD Have Legal Right to Supports in School

Toronto Star (Canada)

Thousands of Ontario students with ADHD who are struggling in the classroom now have the right to receive help at school, according to a statement from the Ministry of Education. A memorandum to school boards quietly posted on the ministry's website last month says children with conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are entitled to special education supports and services if the condition interferes with their learning.

ADHD Drug Shortage: Can Meditation Fill the Gap?

Huffington Post

Drugs designed to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) have been widely available for decades, but America now faces its most severe shortage of these drugs since they came on the market. Meanwhile, more and more health professionals are recognizing the viability of effective meditation for overcoming ADHD.

F.D.A. Finds Short Supply of Attention Deficit Drugs

New York Times

Medicines to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are in such short supply that hundreds of patients complain daily to the Food and Drug Administration that they are unable to find a pharmacy with enough pills to fill their prescriptions.

GAO Says College-Entrance Exams Fall Short on Accommodations

On Special Education Blog, Education Week

College entrance exams such as the ACT and SAT aren't always reformatted for students with disabilities the way they should be, a recent report from the Government Accountability Office finds. The same goes for some tests that students need to get into graduate school, medical school, law school, and other programs.

No, the School Nurse Is Not In

National Public Radio

More than half of American public schools don't have a full-time nurse, and the situation is getting worse as school systems further cut budgets. This year, 51 were laid off in Philadelphia's public schools, 20 in a Houston suburb, 15 in San Diego and dozens more in other school systems nationwide.

Special-Ed Advocates Sue Schools Over Placement

Boston Globe

Even as it prepares to open five new classrooms for special education students this week, the Boston public school system is facing a class-action lawsuit in federal court asserting that the district routinely violates state and federal law by delaying evaluations and classroom placements for preschoolers with special needs.

Scientists Probe the Origins of Dyslexia

HealthDay

Problems in how people with dyslexia process the sounds they hear may be at the heart of this learning disorder, new research suggests. The study findings, published in the Dec. 22 issue of the journal Neuron, may one day lead to better therapies for children and adults who are diagnosed with this common yet still ultimately mysterious condition.

Study: Testing Firms Not Complying with Law on Disabled

USA Today

A new federal study criticizes the Justice Department for failing to enforce laws that provide disabled students with special accommodations for taking the SAT, bar exam and other high-stakes tests.

In RTI Era, is Federal Special Education Law Out of Date?

On Special Education Blog, Education Week

Response-to-Intervention, an approach that involves using an escalating set of techniques to address skills a student is struggling with, got a boost in 2004, when the federal law changed to require states to let districts use it if they chose. The hope was that its use would help distinguish between children who truly have specific learning disabilities and students whose learning difficulties could be resolved with general education interventions. Sure enough, in the last few years, the number of students identified as having learning disabilities has dropped. But there are still lots of questions about how RTI is used, and whether it's being used correctly, considering the federal rules about identifying students with disabilities haven't changed.

SC Educators Want Special-Ed Reform

Post and Courier (SC)

Charleston County school leaders want their special-education students to be able to earn a high school diploma, but making that happen will require changes beyond their control, and they're asking for help.

New Film Tells Story of Torres's Struggles with ADHD

New York Times

Discerning a fastball from a changeup is difficult enough; imagine doing it with untethered focus, attention meandering. This was precisely the obstacle impeding Andres Torres, who stumbled for a decade through baseball's minor leagues, working for a break, always falling short.

Special Education in Seattle

KUOW (WA)

Federal law requires that public schools teach every student, regardless of that student's disabilities. That can be complicated, labor–intensive and expensive. How is Seattle Public Schools doing when it comes to special education? Special education students are placed in mainstream classrooms now. Is that working for teachers and students? KUOW talks with special education teachers and parents about the district's successes and challenges in special education.

Some Advice for Students with Disabilities Heading to College

On Special Education Blog, Education Week

Last week, I wrote about the growing number of opportunities to attend college for students with intellectual disabilities. Although these programs provide a lot of independence, they also monitor students closely. For students with other types of disabilities, navigating traditional college programs doesn't often come with the same attention to detail. And sometimes, that turns out to be a big surprise for students used to the protection provided by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act from birth through the end of high school.

Motivation, Inattention, and ADHD

The Scicurious Brain Blog, Scientific American

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children, and is becoming a big deal in adults as well. ADHD is a pile of related symptoms, most of them dealing with motivation, impulsivity, inattention, and, you know hyperactivity (they call it ADHD for a reason). Right now, we treat ADHD with stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, which in low doses and when they act over a long period of time can increase focus and help people with ADHD function better. But the question remains as to what causes ADHD, what abnormalities are going on in the brain that cause the symptoms. There are several hypotheses as to what's going on.

College Opportunities Emerge for People with Intellectual Disabilities

On Special Education Blog, Education Week

Doesn't Brock McDonald sound like a typical college kid? He will graduate from UCLA next June. He lives in an apartment with two roommates, a place he has to clean and maintain, and he manages his weekly budget, hoping to spend wisely on groceries and other needs each week so he has money left over. He works part-time at Fox Studios, and he has an internship maintaining computers. He is hoping all of his computer skills will help him one day get a job at Apple. But for Brock, 24, who has severe dysgrafia, a typical college program may have been out of reach. He attends Pathway at UCLA, which is designed just for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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