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 Grand Rapids Press (MI)
Written by Lisa Loomer and presented off-Broadway in 2009, "Distracted" is the story of a family whose 9-year-old son is acting out, refuses to go to bed at night, and is disruptive at school. The parents are inundated with solutions from teachers, therapists, and friends ranging from pills to diet, biofeedback and homeopathic treatments. "It's told from the point of view of the mother," director Fred Sebulske said. "She knows the audience is there and uses them as a sounding board. She always has someone to talk to."
The Portland Press Herald (ME)
In this commentary, Gene J. Kucinkas Jr., past president of the Learning Disabilities Association of Maine and an eighth-grade special education teacher, writes, "There is no federal law that requires chemicals to be proven safe before they show up in products on store shelves. The laws currently in place are simply ineffective and outdated — our nation's chemical safety system is badly broken. For some chemicals, the scientific evidence of harm has become overwhelming."
US News and World Report
Most of the 3 percent or so of teens who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities struggle so much in their high school classes that they give up on hopes of college, setting back their job and career prospects, according to statistics compiled by the National Center for Learning Disabilities. But there are new reasons for hope for anyone with attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, or other common learning challenges. A growing number of colleges, services, and technologies are helping students earn admission to, and diplomas from, college, counselors say.
Dallas Morning News
Over 35 years, the Shelton School has grown from a small group of learning-disabled students whose parents asked a respected educator to start her own school to a full campus with 860 students. Among the many milestones, one that stands out for Betty Glasheen, the unofficial school historian, is when parents began to show pride in their Shelton affiliation.
The Guardian (UK)
I am dyspraxic. I've always excelled in literacy but struggled endlessly with maths, visual-spatial skills and co-ordination. When I once forgot to write my name on a geometry test paper, the teacher said she understood why I'd want to remain anonymous. At 20, when some numeracy crept into my degree, I sought help and was formally diagnosed. It was a relief to know there was a valid reason why, despite good teaching and hard work, I couldn't grasp certain skills. Except it wasn't a relief for long.
When Stephanie Mashburn walked into her fifth grade class after a visit to the doctor, she said she felt stupid. She had just been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. "You feel like something is wrong with you," Mashburn said. Mashburn, a senior marketing major, is one of more than 160 students assisted by Sam Houston State University who have a learning disability, ADD/ADHD or both, according to Services for Students with Disabilities.
Birmingham Science News Examiner (AL)
Robin Lester, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, presented research at Neuroscience 2010, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, held in San Diego on November 15, 2010 that identifies the neurobiological reasons why the children of women who smoke during pregnancy are at an increased risk of developing learning disabilities.
Los Angeles Times
Attention deficit-hyperactive disorder includes difficulty with mental focus. People describe it as daydreaming or mind-wandering instead of concentrating on the task at hand. Now researchers think they have identified a gene that is responsible for this specific characteristic of the disorder.
The secret of Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso's success may have been down to their dyslexia, scientists have claimed.
The Jackson Sun (TN)
West Tennessee educators learned about the use of assistive technology to help students with learning disabilities read books during a two-day seminar held on Lambuth University's campus.
Strictly Come Dancing star Kara Tointon has spoken publicly about her dyslexia for the first time. The former EastEnders actress was diagnosed when she was seven years old. The BBC's Sam Naz spoke to Kara about her experiences.
New genetic mapping of children with reading difficulties suggests that those who carry a particular gene mutation are particularly well-skilled in the use of their right hand. The apparent link between a specific variation of the so-called "PCSK6 gene" and hand-motor control among dyslexic children is the first hard evidence to suggest that there could be an association between "handedness" and language disorders, the researchers said.
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.