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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The Globe and Mail (Canada)
It is not a typical math test. The elementary school students lie as still as they can in a brain scanner while they answer questions for University of Western Ontario neuroscientist Daniel Ansari. Dr. Ansari and his colleagues study neurological deficits that make it so hard for some children to learn arithmetic, the subtle differences between the brains of children who struggle with the most basic calculations and those who excel.
Savage-Guilford Patch (MD)
There isn't just tutoring for helping students with learning disabilities there is technology, too. A local Maryland educational program not only introduces this technology to students, but also helps them figure out how to learn, and subsequently, how to do better in school.
New York Daily News
Trips for disabled kids and their familes to playgrounds, parks and museums are often ruined by other kids and parents who stare and say cruel things, often unintentionally. Eliza Factor got so fed up with feeling like an outcast in public spaces that last year she decided to create a community center where families like hers could come together just for fun. She raised about $13,000 from friends and family and created a nonprofit called Extreme Kids and Crew. The goal: build a center specifically for kids with disabilities - ranging from the physical to autism, attention deficit disorder and other learning disabilities.
Educating students with disabilities — a federally mandated responsibility — is seen as one of the costliest services school districts must provide, and one of the last that can be cut. While states and school districts are encouraged to squeeze out every dime in other areas of spending, trying to save money in special education services is thought to be a third rail: Touch it, and you'll get shocked.
U.S. News and World Report
Adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a more than threefold increased risk of developing a common form of degenerative dementia called dementia with lewy bodies (DLB), according to a new study published in the European Journal of Neurology.
Moments after taking his oath of office, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy mused about the tough road that lies ahead for Connecticut and offered some details about his own life — being "different" — because he had learning disabilities and how his parents never let him believe this might limit his future success.
The Citizen of Laconia (NH)
Proposed school staffing, especially the number of teacher aides or para-educators employed by the Inter-Lakes School District, dominated much of the discussion during a day-long budget work session with the school board on Monday. Board member Jack Carty of Meredith said he believes there is a "layer of skepticism" among district residents concerning the number of para-educators Inter-Lakes employs. Inter-Lakes Elementary School Principal Dr. Steve Kelley said the number of aides depends on the mandates of Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for special education students and by the individual learning needs of regular education students.
New York Times
Rayne Nelson, a 21-year-old sophomore at Landmark College in Putney, Vt., does not let her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder throw her off track. Ms. Nelson is paying most of her own way at Landmark, a two-year college exclusively for students with learning disabilities and A.D.H.D. She wants to graduate on time this spring, and with tuition and fees alone at $48,000 a year more than any other college in the nation she cannot give in to distraction.
ADHD & LD Education Blog, Additude Magazine
Is your child returning to school after a long holiday break? Here's how parents and teachers can help students with ADHD and LD adjust to school again after vacation.
National Public Radio
You don't have to be a good speller to be a good writer. That's the message the Oregon Department of Education is sending its students. On Wednesday, students across the state will start taking their standardized writing exams, and for the first time, those doing their essays online will get to use spell check.
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles charter schools will receive more money to educate disabled students and more freedom from the Los Angeles Unified School District in the process, under an agreement approved Tuesday by the Board of Education. The board unanimously approved the pact, which will cost the cash-strapped school system millions of dollars because the district will now give charter schools state money that it previously kept for traditional schools' special education programs.
While teacher mentoring has become nearly ubiquitous as an education reform, new research suggests state and district mentoring policies may leave gaps in support for special education teachers.
Los Angeles Times
The metamorphosis is as quick as the turn of a page: John Zickefoose is a hyperactive goose, a laid-back bear, a monkey, a tiger. The children at the Corona Public Library squeal with laughter as the man whose name rhymes with Seuss becomes louder and more animated. There was a time when reading the simple words of a picture book would have proved impossible for Zickefoose. He was diagnosed as a young boy with dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and didn't learn to read and write until he was 35.
Deseret News (UT)
If you're the parent of a young Samoan boy with a reading disability, it may be difficult to find an acclaimed children's book with characters he can relate to. A new BYU study found that Newbery Award and Honor books from 1975 to 2009 feature a disproportionately smaller percentage of children with disabilities and ethic diversity than actual classroom numbers.
The District has made significant strides in serving special education students, but "lingering core problems" keep the city from meeting all the requirements of a 2006 agreement to improve the troubled system, according to a court-appointed evaluation team.
The widespread adoption of common-core academic standards is expected to accelerate a growing movement among educators to link individualized education programs for students with disabilities directly to grade-level standards. "Standards-based" IEPs allow individualized instruction in pursuit of a common goal: helping students with disabilities move toward meeting the same grade-level academic standards that general education students are supposed to meet.
Washington Examiner (DC)
Part of a lawsuit alleging the District mishandles its special education students was dismissed when the plaintiffs agreed that the school system had improved its intake process of identified students. The more substantive portion remains on the docket, though, charging the District with not providing adequate services to students with special needs.
Amy Quartaroli couldn't figure it out. On almost every level, her son, Paul, was bright and talented, excelling in sports while also possessing an uncanny ability to problem solve - always thinking outside of the box. But he was failing in school. Quartaroli attributed her son's learning deficiencies to earlier ear infections that caused hearing loss, but further testing also revealed an auditory processing disorder, a form of hearing dyslexia that often goes undetected.
Brain scans of dyslexic adolescents who were later able to compensate for their dyslexia showed a distinct pattern of brain activity when compared to scans of adolescents who were unable to compensate, reported researchers funded in part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The finding raises the possibility that, one day, imaging or other measures of brain activity could be used to predict which individuals with dyslexia would most readily benefit from various specific interventions.
Curriculum Matters Blog, Education Week
A new development in the assessment world could make tests more accessible to students with disabilities, and more portable, experts in the field said earlier this week. One of the experts that worked on the project likened it to the development of HTML coding, which created a common language for the Web.