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 & 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.
South Coast Today (MA)
William Baker III has struggled with dyslexia almost all of his 19 years he was diagnosed at 18 months as part of a Rutgers University study. But Baker never dreamed that a summer job selling Cutco knives $45,000 worth would enable him to pay for 50 educators to attend The Dyslexia Foundation's conference on dyslexia at Harvard Medical School in October.
On Special Education Blog, Education Week
A federal appeals court in San Francisco is set to hear a special education case on December 15 involving the use of seclusion in school. It's a case with powerful entities supporting each side.
New York Times
As recently as 2002, an international group of leading neuroscientists found it necessary to publish a statement arguing passionately that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was a real condition. In the face of "overwhelming" scientific evidence, they complained, A.D.H.D. was regularly portrayed in the media as "myth, fraud or benign condition" an artifact of too-strict teachers, perhaps, or too much television.
Before the age of 1, J.C. could hum Brahms' lullaby and the theme from "Jeopardy." At 2, he could name the U.S. presidents in order and recognize their faces. Though his grandparents insisted he was gifted, his parents knew that J.C.'s extraordinary talents co-existed with some serious deficits. After nearly 14 exhausting years of child study team meetings and psychological evaluations, J.C., now a 23-year-old student at a New Jersey college, was diagnosed with nonverbal learning disorder, a neurological condition that impairs the ability to process nonverbal information.
Westwood Press (MA)
All over the classroom at the Oak Hill Elementary School in 1956, hands shot up, but not Carol Rosengarten's. Hers darted up and down the wood-paneled desk, the only way she could grasp the multi-digit numbers everyone else seemed to breathe in. She had no way of knowing it wasn't her fault she didn't know the answer. Educators didn't know about learning disabilities neither did Rosengarten. It took the tidal wave of special education laws in the 1970s to lift her ailment to a place where she could see it. More than 50 years later, she's on the other side of the classroom.
New York Daily News
The New York City Department of Education spent $140 million last year on private school tuition for more than 3,000 special-education pupils most of them from the city's wealthiest neighborhoods. Such tuition payments for children with dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism have increased fourfold since 2005, school officials say, and the cost could approach $200 million by next year.
The Detroit News
This year, Detroit Public Schools is implementing a new full inclusion model for special education students and applying it districtwide. But the transitioning this year of at least 5,000 high-schoolers with learning disabilities and mild cognitive impairments has some parents, the state's special education chief, and teachers wondering whether the proper training and resources are in place.
Students in a fourth-grade classroom at Galindo Elementary School are taking turns reading from "Romeo and Juliet." It's difficult at first glance to tell the students in special education from those who are not. The South Austin school's principal, Donna Linn, said she has worked hard not just to develop an appreciation for the needs of individual students, but also to develop a schoolwide appreciation for including students receiving special education services in regular classes.