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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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Understanding My Head: My Alcoholism and My ADHD

ADHD & Addiction Blog, ADDitudeMag.com

I was nine months into sobriety and learning how to handle life without alcohol when my addiction-specialist counselor suggested that my disorganization, procrastination, lack of impulse control may stem from ADHD. He was right.

How to Define Disability

Inside Higher Ed Blog

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that George Washington University was within its rights in 2003 when its medical school kicked out Carolyn Singh, having determined that she was not meeting academic standards. Singh was diagnosed as having a learning disability shortly before she was dismissed, and she claimed that GW violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not accepting her diagnosis and approving adjustments she requested. The decision could be important not only for Singh and the medical school, but for others in higher education who are debating how to determine whether students have learning disabilities and, if so, what kinds of accommodations are appropriate for such students.

Concern Grows Over Special Education Vouchers in Florida

On Special Education Blog, Education Week

As the number of private school voucher and scholarship programs for students with disabilities across the country grow, meeting a variety of challenges along the way, one lawmaker in Florida is taking a hard look at that state's program.

Study: More Evidence Links Specific Genes to ADHD

USA Today

Variations in genes involved in brain signaling pathways appear to be linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new study. The findings suggest that drugs that act on these pathways may offer a new treatment option for ADHD patients with the gene variants, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia researchers said.

Disability Rights Advocates Warn of Special Education Cuts

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A statewide coalition of groups representing disabled people is trying to head off an effort by some Wisconsin school districts to gain more flexibility in spending for special education, warning that the move could reduce services to disabled students.

An Unlikely Path to Harvard

Harvard Crimson

When I began at Harvard this fall, I wasn't like a lot of the other freshmen. I wasn't my high school valedictorian. I hadn't invented anything, let alone Facebook, although I spend way too much time on it. I never aspired to be president but thought it would be cool to have a future president as my roommate. I hadn't spent the last 19 years dreaming about going to Harvard. In fact, all I really hoped for was to get through middle school.

Learning Disabled Students Make Movie Magic

KGET (CA)

"A Miracle on Christmas," is just one of the latest movies being filmed in Kern County. But on this set, it's young adults with disabilities who are making movie magic. Ted Coleman is the film's autistic assistant director and writer.

Rethinking Thinking

Seattle Times

There's something going on with our 9-year-old son, but it's hard to describe. We know that he's very smart — he reads at a high-school level, does the most amazing math calculations in his head, and is a wonderful artist. But only at home. At school, his grades are horrible, he gets in trouble a lot, is often called an underachiever, and has been diagnosed with ADHD and other learning disabilities. I always thought that being gifted and having learning disabilities were mutually exclusive. Is it possible for someone to have both?

Setbacks Only Slow Progress, They Don't Stop It

ADHD Acceptance Blog, ADDitudeMag.com

I am back on deployment again, and my ship has set sail for South America and the Caribbean. For the last three weeks, I have slowly been getting back in the swing of things back at sea. Other than a minor ADHD setback I had last night, things have been going really well. I have worked hard and have been able to get a lot done.

Student Writer Overcomes Dyslexia, Celebrates First Published Novel

Mahwah Patch (NJ)

A Ramapo College student says she wants her newly published fiction novel to act not only as a jumpstart to her writing career, but as an example for her peers. "I'm dyslexic, so when I was younger I had a lot of trouble reading," Lauren Santaniello, a senior literature major, said. "I struggled in school and got made fun of and I hated it."

Shortage of ADHD Drugs Has Parents, Doctors Scrambling

Shots Blog, National Public Radio

When it's time to renew her son's prescriptions for medicine to treat his ADHD, Roxanne Ryan prepares for another wild goose chase. It's hard enough to cope with ADHD without having to call around to find where his prescription can be filled, Ryan says. It's some sort of luck that she also suffers from the disorder. So she's been able to meet his needs so far by giving him some of her prescription — while she does without. The scarcity of ADHD medications is a problem faced by an untold number of children and adults with the disorder.

Making Words Rock

The Standard (Canada)

In September, Corey Lamothe, 13, joined Reading Rocks, a one-on-one program for kids six and up who struggle with literacy skills, offered through a partnership between the Learning Disabilities Association of Niagara Region (LDANR) and Brock University. Corey works with volunteer tutor Sara Giancola, for one hour, twice a week. It's funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and across Niagara, there are close to 50 kids in the program.

A Mother's Lesson Transformed into a Mission

Manhattan Times (NY)

When Dana Buchman, fashion designer and creator of the Dana Buchman fashion label, learned that her daughter Charlotte had a learning disability, she became, in her own words, "distraught." Buchman and her husband gathered together their resources and put their daughter through rigorous testing to determine what they could do to help her. Meanwhile, Buchman wondered what a parent would do if their child was experiencing a similar situation and had limited or no resources. She asked herself, "What happens to the parents who don't have the resources my husband and I did? What happens to the thousands of children who are struggling to learn, and don't know what's wrong?"

ADHD + Dyslexia = an IEP Struggle

ADHD Experts Blog, ADDitudemag.com

"My son was diagnosed with ADHD, but the IEP team ruled that he qualifies only for language impairment help. I recently had him evaluated, and he was diagnosed with dyslexia. How can I make sure he gets the help he needs?"

Scientists Probe Role of Brain in ADHD Cases

Wall Street Journal

A brain area that helps orchestrate mental activity works overtime in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, reflecting the internal struggle to hold more than one thing in mind at a time, neuroscientists reported Sunday.

Questions Remain about Oklahoma Special Ed. Vouchers

On Special Education Blog, Education Week

A group of Oklahoma parents has dropped a lawsuit against four school districts over private school tuition for their children, who have disabilities, leaving a court challenge over the constitutionality of the vouchers in question.

Lacrosse Star Paul Rabil, Writer Philip Schultz Advocate for Learning Disabled

Washington Post

The academics at Johns Hopkins University are tough for any student, but for Paul Rabil, they were a special hardship. Rabil, 25, Major League Lacrosse's 2011 Most Valuable Player, has a condition called auditory processing disorder that can make reading and writing an excruciating trial. Surviving the reading-intensive courses at Hopkins required accommodations available to students with learning disabilities, and time — lots of it — to read and reread material to absorb its meaning.

Part 4: Answers to Your Questions on Applying with a Learning Disability

The Choice Blog, New York Times

Marybeth Kravets is fielding questions this week on The Choice about applying to college with a learning disability, the subject of a column published in The Times's Education Life supplement. Ms. Kravets, the former president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, is the co-author of "The K & W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorder." In this fourth round, Ms. Kravets addresses the question of physical disabilities that impact learning capacity. This series will conclude Friday.

Answers to Your Questions on Applying With a Learning Disability

New York Times

The Choice Blog: The Choice has lined up Marybeth Kravets to field questions this week about applying to college with a learning disability, the subject of a column published over the weekend in The Times's Education Life supplement. In this first batch of answers, Ms. Kravets addresses questions on test scores and foreign language requirement waivers. Answers to additional questions will continue this week.

Are Dyslexia and IQ Related?

The Atlantic

Dyslexia is often diagnosed when a child or adult has more difficulty with reading than their IQ would suggest. New research adds to this discrepancy model by using fMRI patterns.

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