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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Abilene Reporter-News (TX)
Kendrick Meek and Francesca Yabraian are two fighters in a vast army that has been waging war against a common foe, for what seems like forever. They don't know each other he is a Florida congressman now running for a Senate seat; she is a researcher and a computer expert. But they shared a common struggle to learn and accomplish, because they are among the millions of Americans who have been diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability in makes it difficult to process letters and words.
New York Daily News
Spotting symptoms of dyslexia in children is key to treatment. As Director of the Learning and Development Center at Mount Sinai, Dr. David Marks conducts and supervises neuro-psychological and Psycho-educational evaluations of children, adolescents, and adults with suspected learning and developmental disabilities. Here he shares about the symptoms of dyslexia and what parents can do if they suspect their child has a learning disability.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Standing at the front of a darkened room in a Capitol Drive office building in late July, teacher-trainer Betty Menacher clicked through a presentation on a highly technical but essential topic - how to assess students' reading. Her audience was a group of career-switchers who within weeks would be using what they'd learned during the five-week Milwaukee Teacher Education Center crash course to tackle one of education's most difficult challenges: teaching special-education students.
Kansas City Star (MO)
Sharyl Kennedy loves seeing the changes in students after they've spent a few weeks at Horizon Academy in Roeland Park. Kennedy is executive director at the school for students in first through 12th grades who have average to above average intelligence but are struggling with learning disabilities. Horizon is the only fully accredited school of its kind in the Kansas City area, and one of only 210 nationwide.
While attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a real and pervasive condition, new research suggests there is a cluster of kids and adults who successfully fake the condition either to get drugs or gain special privileges in school.
The Washington Post
Increased awareness of learning challenges such as dyslexia and attention-deficit disorder, together with improved diagnosis and treatment, has helped millions of students improve their academic performance. But, as they enter their senior year of high school and begin the college admissions process, they face a whole new set of challenges. Now is the time to begin preparing to meet them.
In this blog post about read-aloud testing accommodations, Christina Samuels writes, "Hearing the words ultimately changes the test in a fundamental way, doesn't it? Now I know the answer, which is: it depends."
If your child is the youngest in the class and has a diagnosis of ADHD — attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, marked by inattention and impulsiveness — it may be a mistake, researchers say. What is actually immaturity may be mislabeled as ADHD, according to new studies published in the Journal of Health Economics.
Moncton This Week (Canada)
In this article, Priscilla Wilson, a retired teacher who now operates a reading center in New Brunswick, writes, "Being a teenager is tough. Try being a teenager who can't read! Not only are they regular teens with dyslexia, but most of them don't know they have dyslexia and so they are facing regular teen challenges and not succeeding in the classroom and they have no idea why."
Registering a child for school usually means showing up with a birth certificate, proof of residence and basic medical records. Five minutes, and you're done. But for kids who need special education, whether they have an attention disorder, fine motor delays or a more serious medical condition, that process is much more complicated and can begin as early as age 2. Something as simple as advancing to a new grade can mean an army of specialists performing hours of tests and parent interviews in the preceding months.
Special education students in Texas public schools are nearly twice as likely to be suspended as students in the general education population, according to a recent Texas Education Agency report to the Senate Committee on Education. The expulsion rate is also disproportionate: Though special education students make up just 10 percent of the enrollment in Texas public schools, they account for 21 percent of expulsions, according to the School-to-Prison Pipeline report published by Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit public interest law center.
Wall Street Journal
Families in the most affluent New York City school districts, including the Upper East and Upper West sides, file more claims than other parts of the city seeking reimbursement of their children's private-school tuition, according to Department of Education data.
Health News Blog, CBS
As an increasing number of children are diagnosed with ADHD, parents and doctors have been scrambling to understand why. The answer might be on their dinner plates. A new study suggests that exposure to pesticides often used in commercial farming may be pushing the trend.
A 2008 survey by the federal government showed that more than 200,000 college students nationwide have been diagnosed with a learning disability, such as dyslexia. Colleges and universities across the nation are increasingly offering programs such as Project Access to help prepare incoming students who have learning disabilities. Since 2001, the number of such programs has increased tenfold, says Debra Hart, the director of education and transition for the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.
When Dean College junior Peter Diabakerly began his school search a few years ago, he knew he had to be his own advocate. Though he has a learning disability, he wasn't going to let that stop him from finding success in college. Now, the business major is urging students who may be in a similar boat to become their own self-advocates to achieve success.
As a toddler, Ian Barrier got expelled from day care. According to his mother: "They said, 'We think he has ADD or ADHD' and I'm like, 'What is that?" Ian, now 11, and his 9-year-old brother Aidan are just two examples of some 5 million children in the United States who have received the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition marked by impulsive behavior and a lack of focus. But although this is a medical condition with medical treatments available, often doctors aren't the ones suggesting a diagnosis.
When I was six years old, my dad bought me a watch and fastened it to my left wrist. I loved that watch, not because it had glow-in-the-dark hands (although that helped) and not because it told the time (what does a six-year-old care about time?). I loved it because it was my fail-safe way of telling left from right, something I assume most people come, at some stage, to know instinctively, watch or no watch. More than 20 years later, if I take off my watch, I still get confused.
National Public Radio
The Vanderbilt researchers suspected that the dopamine thermostats of highly impulsive people are broken. To find out, they took 32 healthy volunteers with varying levels of impulsivity. They scanned their heads and found that on average, impulsive people had fewer thermostats. "I think that there is a circuitry of self-control that's fundamental to many, many aspects of living," says Edythe London, a psychiatrist at UCLA. London says that understanding the dopamine thermostat and others may eventually lead to treatments for addiction and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Kansas City Star
Even in today's multimedia world, the ability to read remains the linchpin for success in learning and life. Educators Warren H. Wheelock and his wife, Connie J. Campbell, have devoted much of their professional careers to studying the causes of reading disabilities and working to overcome them. The couple has made a gift of $1 million to the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education. The money will provide scholarships for students to study reading education, especially the diagnosis and correction of reading and learning disabilities.
Pop in on any Andres Torres interview and you will no doubt hear him describe the key to his storybook late-career success as "staying focused." Or "keeping focused." Or "getting focused." Thing is, Torres is not just speaking in clichés. It's a fact of life for him. Torres battles daily with attention deficit disorder and must fight twice as hard to maintain his focus in a game with the hardest task in sports, hitting a round ball with a round bat, squarely.