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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Culpepper Star-Exponent (VA)
Reading is one of the most fundamental skills, and being a good reader is directly related to getting good grades in school. In fact, it has been estimated that 80 percent of what we learn involves vision and reading. Although it is important for each eye to have clear vision, it is also equally important that both eyes work together as a team and stay aligned when reading. When the eyes don't work together well, reading can be difficult or nearly impossible.
The Kindle could be promising for the visually impaired because of its read-aloud feature, which utters text in a robotic-sounding voice. For blind students in particular, the Kindle could be an improvement over existing studying techniques. But activating the Kindle's audio feature probably requires a sighted helper because of the steps involved.
Sun Star Courier (OH)
Adults long ago embraced the new reading trend – audio books. Children are now catching up to this new technology. Audio book usage is on the rise for young readers at area libraries. Some school districts use this new technology to help with ESL students and students who are auditory learners.
The new Intel Reader isn't another thin tablet that displays text; instead it's more like a chunky digital camera that instantly captures the words on a printed page and pronounces them aloud. It's a potential godsend for those who struggle to read standard text because of dyslexia, other learning disabilities, or vision problems.
U.S. News and World Report
A new study found that students with developmental dyslexia may not be able to focus on the teacher's voice in noisy school settings that include banging lockers, scraping chairs and other auditory distractions.
Washington Post (DC)
Every school day, Anne Fogel draws on more than three decades of teaching experience to find what she calls that "light-bulb moment" in her students. Fogel, a special education teacher at Spring Ridge Middle School works with students one-on-one or in small groups to help them learn to read. She's Maryland's nominee for LDA's "Sam Kirk Educator of the Year" award.
Doctors say many parents are asking the question, "Does my child have attention deficit disorder?" Sometimes there's no simple answer. Whether or not kids are medicated, finding ways to cope and get into a routine takes time.
The Washington Times (DC)
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) last week released a report of their IDEA Task Force. The report provides specific recommendations about the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, which is up for consideration in Congress next year.
Baltimore's Kennedy Krieger Institute recently identified fine motor control as a root source of some of the problems categorized as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Now — before I get a lot of correction comments about autism and dyslexia being different things — let me assure you, I understand the difference. But the research about handwriting is intriguing enough, I think, that I wanted to share it here.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)
A third federal lawsuit has been filed to block Furlough Fridays, this one claiming that the decision to shut public schools for 17 days violates students' rights to due process under the U.S. Constitution. The suit was filed on behalf of eight disabled students, but the arguments would apply to any student. The case, naming Gov. Linda Lingle and Schools Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto as defendants, will be heard Monday in U.S. District Court before Judge Wallace Tashima, along with the other two lawsuits already filed over the furloughs.
Flint Journal (MI)
For Kristi Starnes, words like "has" were just too hard to spell. Simple math was overwhelming. Reading confused her. "I was told that I would never go to college," the Flint Township native said. But Starnes proved herself wrong. Now the University of Iowa graduate student is being recognized for overcoming her learning disability and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to achieve her dreams.
Perhaps the only thing better than escaping into a book is being captured by one. Children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) will find themselves captured by Houdini's Gift, a book about attention problems and responsibility.
The Guardian (UK)
Since winning the regional award for special needs teacher of the year in June, Elaine Loughran of County Antrim, Northern Ireland has put special needs back on the map. While Loughran applies every ounce of her imagination and energy to her teaching practice, it is the behind-the-scenes work for children who are genuinely struggling that is most commendable and has won her the UK award.
Master illustrator Jerry Pinkney grew up struggling with reading way before dyslexia became a household term. Until he discovered that while reading a highly detailed scene emerged in his mind, he had trouble focusing long enough to be able to read. Eventually, though reading came slow to him, he learned to bring out the intricate imagery within his mind by drawing and painting colorful and vibrant tales.
A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of special education students was amended yesterday to require the state to hold public hearings on the plan to furlough teachers on 17 Fridays. In addition, the families of special education students are asking the U.S. Department of Education to intervene so the students won't lose any more days of education.
BBC News (UK)
A West Yorkshire teacher who overcame dyslexia to achieve his career dream has been named the most outstanding new teacher England. Edward Vickerman, head of business at The Freeston Business and Enterprise College in Normanton, was given the title at the Teaching Awards in London. Because of his dyslexia, the 26-year-old said he was sidelined at school and not expected to achieve much.
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Bethany, WV resident David George has struggled with a learning disability most of his life, and was only recently diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. For most of his childhood, 39-year-old David George couldn't understand why he struggled with schoolwork and staying focused. George has now written a book on his struggles and educational experiences called "Be Unique Be You and LIVE!"
Daily News (WA)
Jonathan Mooney was labeled dyslexic in fourth grade and diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder the following year. He dropped out of school for a year in sixth grade and began plotting his suicide. He didn't learn to read until he was 12. And yet, Mooney graduated in 2000 from Brown University with a degree in English literature. He was a Rhodes Scholarship finalist and founded a nonprofit organization to help students with learning disabilities. How did he do it?
Columbus Dispatch (OH)
The parents of Ohio's 280,000 students with special needs should find it easier to ensure their children are receiving an appropriate education. A federal judge approved the partial settlement yesterday of an 18-year-old class-action lawsuit filed against the state by eight students with disabilities and their parents. "This is a huge victory for special-education students. It's as huge as DeRolph was," said Margaret Burley, executive director of the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities.
Before Ashley Bernard got her new iPod Touch, the Perkins School for the Blind student could not use an MP3 player without help. But thanks in part to school officials, who encouraged Apple Inc. to make an iPod that gives and responds to spoken commands - standard on the latest models - Bernard can listen to her music like any other 16-year-old. Such technological advances received a major boost Monday night with a $10 million donation from the Grousbeck Family Foundation.