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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Times Union (NY)
A local group wants to open the city's first charter school for special education students, a proposal that comes after years of criticism from opponents who accused school operators of shunning special needs students because of the higher cost to educate them.
You might be familiar with micro-sculptor Willard Wigan's amazing miniature art. But not many know that Wigan has a disability, and it forced him to escape to a microscopic fantasy world in order to survive. Although Wigan dealt with severe learning disabilities his entire life, his artwork enabled him to overcome academic challenges.
KCBD TV (TX)
Sunday afternoon at the Lubbock's Scottish Rite Learning Center 109 students across West Texas graduated from dyslexia programs and another 14 teachers graduated to be dyslexic therapists to help students overcome the learning disability.
NY1's Parenting correspondent Shelley Goldberg talks with Jill Lauren, a learning specialist who profiles role models who overcame learning disabilities in her new book "That's Like Me!"
Virginia education leaders moved this week to introduce a standardized test for students with disabilities and phase out a widely used alternative that many officials say is undermining the state's accountability system. The modified multiple-choice test is expected to be more objective than the flexible, portfolio-style exam that thousands of students in Northern Virginia are assessed with now. A small sample of schools will try it this spring.
Lawmakers in Massachusetts are poised to enact sweeping antibullying legislation after reaching agreement yesterday on a measure that would require school employees to report all instances of bullying and require principals to investigate them. Both the House and the Senate are expected to pass the bill today, and Governor Deval Patrick has voiced strong support for the measure, which gained momentum after the highly publicized deaths of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince and 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, who took their own lives after being bullied.
New York Times
The Bloomberg administration, struggling to address the needs of a growing number of students with learning disabilities, is overhauling special education by asking every principal to take in more of the students and giving them greater flexibility in deciding how to teach them. The shift echoes one of the central philosophies of the administration, giving principals more responsibility and control over their schools. It is also an effort to bring New York more in line with the nationwide trend of allowing special education students to benefit from regular classroom settings.
Children with dyslexia often struggle with reading, writing and spelling, despite getting an appropriate education and demonstrating intellectual ability in other areas. New neurological research from Vanderbilt University has found that these children's difficulties with written language may be linked to structural differences within an important information highway in the brain known to play a role in oral language.
Hundreds of volunteers across the country spent several hours last week turning books into audio recordings that will be used by the blind or dyslexic. The national Record-a-Thon, hosted by Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, marries a timeworn, labor-intensive practice - reading aloud for those who can't read for themselves - with 21st-century technology. Once the books are recorded users can either order CDs from RFB&D's library of 59,000 titles or download them and listen to Clinical Behavior Therapy or When Slavery Was Called Freedom on an iPod.
Well Blog, New York Times
Parents and teachers often tell children to pay attention to be a "good listener." But what if your child's brain doesn't know how to listen? That's the challenge for children with auditory processing disorder, a poorly understood syndrome that interferes with the brain's ability to recognize and interpret sounds. It's been estimated that 2 to 5 percent of children have the disorder, said Gail D. Chermak, an expert on speech and hearing sciences at Washington State University, and it's likely that many cases have gone undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Fort Worth Star Telegram (TX)
When McKenzie Hightower learned that her essay had won a national writing award, she wrote a jubilant note to her teacher that wrapped up her thoughts succinctly. "Omg." Hightower's e-mail read, short for "oh my gosh." But don't mistake the informality for a stunted vocabulary. Hightower's ability for expressive composition is earning her accolades. Her evocative account of growing up with dyslexia won a gold medal in the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition.
The Florida House passed a measure that will allow more students with learning disabilities to go to private schools on state funding.
Dallas Morning News
The Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children has been part of the advisory committee for the Dallas Children's Theater's world premiere of hard to spel dad, a play about teens struggling with dyslexia, which runs through April 25. Directed by Robyn Flatt, and aimed at ages 12 and above, the play examines a subject that Flatt, 72, says she has wanted to address onstage for more than a dozen years.
There was advice about how to get a job, find an apartment and get around town. At a seminar to help special education students make the transition to life after high school, speakers covered those big topics and then got down to the nitty gritty. The third annual Transitions Conference was created for students in Springfield Public Schools' Business Associated Student Education program.
Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder who are on medication react more like other children when faced with a task that tests their attention and focusing skills, researchers have found. The findings, published in the April 1 issue of Biological Psychiatry, suggest that the medication does what it's supposed to do: help children pay attention and control their impulses. But motivational incentives seemed to help, too.
Although lead paint has been banned since 1978, if disturbed, that paint can still cause reduced IQ, learning disabilities, and behavior problems in children. With that in mind, a new federal law aimed at protecting children from lead poisoning will take effect in less than two weeks.
New Hampshire Union Leader
Imagine your child has learning disabilities. Then try to imagine what it would be like if you couldn't talk to your child's teacher because you don't speak the language of the school system. If you are in New Hampshire's largest city, the one with families speaking 75 languages or dialects other than English, you have someone to help: Dr. Rosa Yuri Luna is the Manchester School District's Special Education/English Language Learners Parent Liaison.
ADDitude, ADDiva Blog
Adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD): If you haven't taken your medication, think twice before driving. Untreated symptoms can produce serious risks on the road -- even for an ADD/ADHD coach like me.
Chronicle Herald (Canada)
Some Nova Scotia students with learning disabilities will continue to get public funds to go to private schools, Education Minister Marilyn More said Wednesday. The tuition support program had been under review since a 2007 recommendation to end it this June. Under the program, school boards transfer the $6,600 per student they get from the province to the private school.
Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Serious problems with some Ohio school districts' special-education programs have gone unnoticed because of weak state oversight, a new federal audit says. The U.S. Department of Education visited in October to test how well the state Department of Education keeps tabs on schools' special-needs practices. Federal reviewers found that some of the school districts they spot-checked were blatantly violating the law and failing to properly educate disabled students.