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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Republican Herald (PA)
Students with learning disabilities sometimes find it difficult to get through high school and rely on help from programs designed to meet their needs, officials say. On Tuesday, students with learning difficulties who are interested in attending college were invited to experience campus life and find out what help is available during College Day at Penn State Schuylkill.
As the number of children with autism has ballooned nationwide, so has the population of children who are capable of grade-level academics but bewildered by the social code that governs every interaction from the classroom to the cafeteria. They often spend the bulk of their day in mainstream classes supported with a suite of special education services including life-skills groups and one-on-one aides. For some students, that arrangement works. But many parents of this growing group worry that including children in the mainstream this way fails to teach them what they need to navigate the world independently. Increasingly, Washington, DC area educators are offering alternatives.
Wellness Blog, Time Magazine
Prenatal exposure to tobacco, coupled with lead exposure in infancy and early childhood can dramatically increase the risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children, according to research published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
The Daily Texan
Jeffrey Weinthal has done a lot of growing up in the past six years. The 21-year-old moved from Michigan to Texas after graduating from high school, suffered the loss of a parent and started taking classes at a community college while living with Asperger Syndrome. Despite the challenges, Weinthal has found a home in Austin, TX in a program called College Living Experience, a postsecondary program for college students living with Asperger's, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other learning disabilities who require support with academic, social and independent living skills.
Witney Gazette (UK)
A dyslexic youngster has won first prize in a national poetry competition. Brigid Davidson, from Chipping Norton, won first place in the Charley Boorman Poetry Competition, organized by Dyslexia Action as part of Dyslexia Awareness Week. Children aged four to 14 were asked to write about what reading meant to them.
Cherokee Scout (NC)
When Murphy High School senior Shie Benisti was in the third grade, English was a language she could naturally speak. But if she was asked to read or write the language, it might as well have been Greek. To her eyes, letters appear doubled up and words are jumbled, backwards, upside down or sometimes a combination of all three. Despite the challenges that dyslexia has brought Benisti, she will graduate this June from high school with honors, thanks in part to the early intervention she received for her learning disability.
The vast majority of school-aged children can focus on the voice of a teacher amid the cacophony of the typical classroom thanks to a brain that automatically focuses on relevant, predictable and repeating auditory information, according to new research from Northwestern University.
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.