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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.
Julie Grice's 8-1/2-year-old girl can't read. She's dyslexic. Grice's decision to pull her daughter out of Wrightsville Beach Elementary was reaffirmed when Interim Superintendent Edwin West announced on Tuesday he decided against entering into a partnership with The Hill School of Wilmington, which specializes in teaching students with learning disabilities. The partnership would have allowed children with learning disabilities, including dyslexia, to attend school there for half a day to get specialized attention and training in reading, writing and math and then return to their home schools to finish the day.
St. Petersburg Times (FL)
One of the first people Sharon Platter met when she transferred her son to Center Academy, a private school that serves children with learning disabilities and other challenges, was Patricia Lambert, then the school's assistant principal. Platter got the feeling Mrs. Lambert cared about each student and was won over. Mrs. Lambert, who died July 25 at 65, was the school's driving force. A teacher at Center since 1984, she became principal a decade ago, shepherding and challenging its 100 or so students.
As the country marks the 20th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act this week, the Obama administration and Congress are taking steps to give the disabled greater access to federal jobs and technology. Under a new executive order from President Obama, federal agencies will step up efforts to hire 100,000 disabled employees over the next five years.
The Chart Blog, CNN
Teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) the most common childhood psychiatric condition in the United States are less likely to finish high school on time than students with other mental-health disorders that often are considered more serious, according to a national study. The study, conducted by researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine, found that nearly one third of students with ADHD, twice the proportion as students with no psychiatric disorder, either drop out or delay high school graduation.
A notice to private schools delaying payment of state special needs scholarships was met with criticism recently from lawmakers who said the move was a bureaucratic attempt to "kill" the voucher program. The state DOE has asked that campuses accepting Georgia Special Needs Scholarships now wait until Nov. 29 for their first tuition installment after services are rendered, as the statute requires. Some parents who have to pay up front for their tuition will be asked to foot a larger chunk of the bill and get reimbursed even later.
Portsmouth Herald (NH)
For most teenagers, it's easy to focus on activities they like video games, sports or watching television. But why do they lose that focus for more important things, like homework? Through a two-year, $399,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, University of New Hampshire Professor Jill McGaughy will look closely at why this occurs, diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and how its treatments affect normal adolescent brains.
New York Times
An ADHD marriage? It may sound like a punch line, but the idea that attention problems can take a toll on adult relationships is getting more attention from mental health experts. In a marriage, the common symptoms of the disorder distraction, disorganization, forgetfulness can easily be misinterpreted as laziness, selfishness, and a lack of love and concern.
Michael Murray witnessed firsthand how the Americans with Disabilities Act could change a life. Murray grew up and attended school in Greensboro in the years after the ADA's passage. In the second grade, he was given a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD, and told that he had a learning disability involving reading and writing.
Medication may be the most effective treatment for kids with ADHD but it's not a cure-all, a new Consumer Reports survey shows. Parents surveyed by the magazine reported using a variety of strategies to improve their kids' symptoms, such as hiring tutors, switching schools, modifying diets, and changing the way they spoke to their children. Consumer Reports interviewed 934 parents of children with ADHD, asking about a variety of topics, ranging from the impact of medications to the effect of complementary strategies, to which physicians provided the most help.
Heeding protests from parents and educators, District officials have put off implementation of a new rate structure for private schools that serve about 2,700 D.C. special education students at public expense. The District pays about $280 million a year in tuition and transportation for private schools. Parents of disabled children can pursue private placement if it is determined that public schools cannot provide a "free and appropriate" education as required by federal law.
For those who are blind, dyslexic or have diseases like multiple sclerosis and have difficulty turning book pages, reading the latest best seller just got easier. Brewster Kahle, a digital librarian and founder of a virtual library called the Internet Archive, has launched a worldwide campaign to double the number of books available for print-disabled people. The Internet Archive began scanning books in 2004 and now has more than 1 million available in DAISY format, or Digital Accessible Information System.
Districts across the nation have been slow to tap stimulus money that is targeted for specific programs particularly the money intended to bolster programs for students with disabilities or those who come from low-income households. On average, 39 percent of the $11.3 billion in special-education money for states has been claimed.