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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Sun Herald (MS)
Hal Malchow and his son Alex started out telling stories together when Alex was 4 years old as a learning exercise for Alex, who had dyslexia. That was 12 years ago and since then, the exercise has culminated in a fantasy novel titled "The Sword of Darrow" and penned by the father and son, to be released June 7 by BenBella Books.
On Special Education Blog, Education Week
A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute that looks at how special education students and the people who work with them have changed during the last decade concludes that the field needs to change dramatically.
Shots Blog, National Public Radio
Fifteen percent of American children have a developmental disability, including autism and ADHD, according to a new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's an increase of almost 2 percentage points from 1997 to 2008, or almost 2 million kids. But that number may be squishier than it sounds.
ADHD Dad Blog, ADDitude Magazine
On a recent visit to my parent's house, my father's alcoholism and other challenging family dynamics surface. Ten years sober, I put the lessons I've learned about overcoming substance-abuse problems and all of my ADHD and anxiety coping skills to the test.
When Trudie Styler the multi-talented actor, filmmaker, eco-activist, UNICEF ambassador, mother of four and Sting's partner for 29 years first started school in the English Midlands, she had trouble learning to read. School officials sent her to get her eyes tested. When it turned out that the problem wasn't with seeing the blackboard, the diagnosis was simple: She must be "backwards."
Something magical happens in the Jefferson School classroom on "Scouty day," because words suddenly come easier for autistic and special needs preschoolers and the air is filled with the joy of reunion. His thick tail slapping his own behind, Scout pranced into the room on Monday, handled by owner Nancy Jo Connell, a speech-language pathologist with the Missoula County Public Schools district. It's not show-and-tell that brings the 2-year-old English yellow Lab to this class or to the Head Start program once a week.
Evolving research on attention deficit disorders is going beyond the typical hyperactive, disruptive child to find ways to better identify the quietly drifting student, as new screening tools and cognitive therapies seek to help both types of students.
New York Times
Undiagnosed, ADHD can wreak havoc on relationships, finances and one's self-esteem. Adults with the disorder are twice as likely as those without it to be divorced, for instance, and four times as likely to have car accidents. More than 5 percent of adults have ADHD, but just 10 percent of those adults have a formal diagnosis.
Lights dimmed, a hush fell over the hallway as Nicole Porter, cradling Ava in her arms, walked gingerly toward the powerful imaging equipment that would allow researchers to peer into her baby's developing brain. Nothing was wrong with Ava; the 11-month-old from Boston was part of a study that uses brain imaging to see if early hallmarks of dyslexia can be seen years before children have trouble reading. Scientists believe that if they can identify nascent disorders such as dyslexia or autism earlier, and get a jump on therapy, they might eventually be able to prevent children from developing problems later.
Los Angeles Times
Fifteen years ago, Dr. Lawrence H. Diller, a pediatrician from Walnut Creek, ignited a national debate over the steep rise in children being diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and treated with stimulant medication. Diller's 1996 book, "Running on Ritalin," suggested that ADHD was being over-diagnosed, and that Ritalin, and the many formulations of amphetamine-like drugs that would follow, was being prescribed in many cases to children who would respond well to family therapy and tailored programs and routines at home and at school. Diller has released a new book on the progress of some of his patients over the years.
ADHD & LD Education Blog, ADDitude Magazine
In a world where ADD/ADHD kids are often criticized, parents of children with attention deficit and learning disabilities must remember that positive reinforcement and praise are often the things ADDers crave most.
Daily Republic (SD)
Alaina Bertsch would probably classify herself as a "glass is half-full" kind of person. Recently named Miss Teen South Dakota, the high school sophomore is headed to Chicago this July, where she will compete as South Dakota's representative in the Miss Teen International pageant. The pageant also gives her a broader platform as a spokeswoman for those who struggle with dyslexia, a learning disability she overcomes on a daily basis.
National Public Radio
As more children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, parents are discovering they have it too. In the U.S., women have become the fastest growing group to be prescribed ADHD medication. In this week's parenting segment, host Michel Martin speaks with Jennifer Brown and Michelle Suppers moms with ADHD and journalist Brigid Schulte, who recently covered the issue for The Washington Post Magazine.
On Special Education, Education Week
A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday would put more federal money into literacy programs, including response to interventionthe early identification of students' learning problems and the use of focused lessons, or interventions, to address those problems before they become nearly impossible to reverse.
New York Times
The mother had brought in a note from her son's elementary school teacher: Dear doctor, I think this child needs to be tested for attention deficit disorder. "She's worried about how he can't sit still in school and do his work," the mother said. "He's always getting into trouble." But then she brightened. "But he can't have attention deficit, I know that." Why? Her son could sit for hours concentrating on video games, it turned out, so she was certain there was nothing wrong with his attention span.
Daily Mail (UK)
Few could have been more nervous than Kate Middleton on the day of the Royal Wedding but she wasn't the only member of her family who was kept awake the night before worrying about their words in Westminster Abbey. It has emerged that James Middleton, Kate's younger brother, had to learn the reading he delivered in the church off by heart in an effort to overcome his dyslexia.
In a sun-drenched Rose Garden ceremony this morning, President Barack Obama presented Michelle Shearer, a chemistry teacher at Urbana High School in Ijamsville, Md., with the 2011 National Teacher of the Year award. The State Teachers of the Year, the pool from which Shearer was chosen, stood behind the president, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Shearer herself for the brief ceremony.
At a few minutes shy of 3 p.m., Michelle Suppers pulls her blue minivan into the parking lot at a Catholic school in Northern Virginia, where her son, Anthony, attends first grade. For most of the mothers already queued up in the pickup line, this is probably not a big deal. But for Suppers, who for as long as she can remember has always been late to just about everything, whose friends tell her to arrive at least a half-hour before the appointed meeting time, the effort required to plan her day, watch the clock and make it to the school on time is nothing short of Herculean.
How does the brain learn? Why do some children find learning so challenging? What can educators do to help those children? These are questions that neuroscientists have been grappling with over the past 10 years. By and large, they are beginning to find answers.
Courier Times (PA)
They're sometimes labeled as being lazy, klutzy or airheads. In reality, girls with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are as smart, creative and hard-working as other girls. They can grow up to be or do anything they wish, but their diagnosis can lead to feelings of isolation and low self-esteem, as it did for the 7-year-old daughter of Natalie Knochenhauer several years ago. She was worried that she was the only girl out there with ADHD.