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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National Geographic News
Stimulating the brain with a non-painful electrical current can jump-start peoples' math skills, scientists say. The finding could lead to new, long-lasting treatments for people with moderate to severe math impairments such as dyscalculia, or "math dyslexia." This learning disability prevents a person from grasping even simple math concepts, according to study leader Roi Cohen Kadosh, a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford in the UK.
The number of U.S. children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder rose by about 1 million, reflecting more premature births and increased awareness among parents and doctors, researchers said.
Los Angeles Times
Like many parents of a challenging child, I was quietly thrilled the other day to read that a study in the prestigious medical journal the Lancet reported new evidence that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, my son's main diagnosis, may have something to do with genes.
KALW News (CA)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects about one out of 12 school-aged children, according to the Mayo Clinic. We're going to begin, today, by going into the minds of teenagers who live with ADHD. They're here in San Francisco part of SAFE Voices, a project by the Parents Education Network, which advocates for students with learning differences. These teens have chosen to mentor other young people who face similar challenges. And they've chosen to share their stories with you.
National Public Radio
In recent years, more people have been trying an alternative approach to ADHD called neurofeedback, a type of therapy intended to teach the brain to stay calm and focused. Neurofeedback is expensive, time consuming and still scientifically unproved. But, there's growing evidence that it can help.
Children with symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at increased risk for obesity in adulthood, a new study claims. Having three or more of any of the symptoms of ADHD such as inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity significantly increases the chances of being obese, according to researchers from Duke University Medical Center, who examined federal data on 15,197 adolescents followed from 1995 to 2009.
Ten special needs students have filed a class action lawsuit in federal court alleging that the New Orleans public schools are discriminating against them because of their disabilities. In July, the plaintiffs, who are represented by attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center and Loyola Law Clinic, initiated a complaint process against the Louisiana Department of Education. After mediation attempts failed, they sued in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, naming the Department of Education and state education officials as defendants.
Roughly a year after a lawsuit put the Office of Disability Services in the media spotlight, the University is conducting an internal review of the office. Meeting once a week for the duration of this academic year, the Advisory Committee on Disability Services for Undergraduates is examining, in particular, the academic accommodations and services the office extends to students with learning disabilities in light of an increased number of students nationwide who report these special needs.
Wicked Local Wayland (MA)
Michael Brian Murphy of Wayland, MA has published the second edition of his successful book, "NLD From the Inside Out: Talking to Parents, Teachers, and Teens about Growing Up with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities." Based on current neuroscientific findings and Murphy's latest research, the second edition provides more insight into NLD and successful coping strategies, as well as more stories of young adults with NLD.
Santa Barbara Independent (CA)
For my son, reading has been a nightmare with letters on a page assembled in apparently random patterns with no particular relationship to sound or meaning. I never appreciated the gift of easy reading or the pain, humiliation, embarrassment, and damage to self-esteem associated with reading difficulties until I woke up to the fact my smart little boy just wasn't catching on, no matter how hard he worked.
US News and World Report
School means seven classes with seven different teachers. Work means all day, five days a week, in a pressure-filled, deadline-oriented office. In either setting, there are assignments to juggle, time to manage, and priorities to organize. For someone with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, success in school or the workplace is a moving and elusive target.
Knowledge does not come a priori. It must be consumed and built upa book must be read, a lecture heard, or a topic debated. For some Harvard undergraduates that task comes with added obstacles, whether it's attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Asperger's syndrome, or dyslexia. A new student arrives at the FAS Accessible Education Office nearly every workday to report a disorder, according to Sheila B. Petruccelli, the office's interim director.
Jennifer Blair-Cockrum wanted to make a difference at her school, Fairmount Elementary. After watching her own son struggle to read, she wanted to make sure teachers at all levels can detect signs of dyslexia. Knowing that the Jefferson County School District didn't have the money for extra training, Blair-Cockrum took it upon herself to find the money for her school. She applied and won grants totaling around $22,000 to bring in instructors from the Dyslexia Center for the sake of her son and others.
Forest Park Review (IL)
Students at Garfield School learn rabbit words, bandit words and "gotta know" words. Though the monikers sound strange, this reading program works. In fact, in recognition of its reading strategies, Garfield was recently named the winner of the "It Takes a Village of Readers Award" by the Illinois Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. The award is handed out annually to only one school in the state that provides an "exemplary program for children struggling with learning to read."
The Age (Australia)
As a mother of three children with dyslexia, Liz Dunoon is used to dealing with the learning difficulty but she remembers how her first encounter with it broke her heart. Despite his best efforts and hard work, her elder son, then aged 6, struggled with reading, writing and spelling when he started school in 2004.
Educators seeking new ways to personalize instruction for students with dyslexia and other reading disabilities are turning more and more to e-readers such as Amazon's Kindle, Apple's iPad, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and the Intel Reader. But the jury is still out on just how effective those digital tools are in helping struggling readers. And that's largely because educators only recently began testing the tools with students with reading disabilities.
As a toddler, Shayan Afsharzanjani tackled Legos and puzzles with ease. He would memorize anything to do with fish, buildings or dinosaurs. But when it came to reading, he stumbled. The otherwise precocious child found it nearly impossible to make sense of words and letters.
Wall Street Journal
My sixteen-year-old son Haley recently came into my office and announced that he'd finished a six-hundred-page manuscript. I suppose that would be unusual coming from any sixteen-year-old, but given my son's background, it's especially stunning. Haley is ADHD and dyslexic. My novels about Percy Jackson began as bedtime stories for him a father's desperate attempt to keep his son interested in reading. That's also why I made Percy Jackson ADHD and dyslexic, and made those two conditions indicators of Olympian blood.
Petaluma Argus Courier (CA)
Children's book author Debra Cardone Warner was just 9 years old when she wrote her first poem. That's when she knew she wanted to become a writer. Warner took writing classes all through high school and college, even getting some of her work published during the '60s and '70s. Her talent and success came as a surprise to her because of a learning disability that made writing a challenge.
Moving documentaries about folks outside "the norm" turn up on HBO this month. Coming October 26, "I Can't Do This But I Can Do That" is about kids with learning difficulties, specifically turning the lens on Denver Academy. Endearing kids, teachers, and principals explain how, once different styles of learning and processing information are considered, kids can succeed.