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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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School District and Parents at Odds over Special Ed Student

Roseville Press-Tribune (CA)

Patrick MacAuley is on his school's honor roll. The 13-year-old earns 100 percent on many of his assignments. There are few red marks on his homework and hardly any corrections or comments. That's precisely what concerns his mom. As a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia, Patrick was enrolled in what's known as a Special Day Class at Warren T. Eich Intermediate School in Roseville last year. But his mother Dodie MacAuley calls it "babysitting."

Payment Schedule Slow in Ga. Special Needs Voucher Plan

Gainesville Times (GA)

Georgia private schools are feeling a bit misunderstood. In 2007, the General Assembly passed a law establishing the Special Needs Scholarship, a voucher system that gives disabled students a way to attend a private school of their choice. Parents see notable academic improvement, and students actually like going to school again. But there are a few kinks.

Masons Bringing Help to Dyslexics in Wisconsin with Tutoring Center

Eau Claire Leader-Telegram (WI)

Tammy Tillotson was a bit surprised when she got a call from the Masons last October. Tillotson, who is on the board of directors for the Wisconsin branch of the International Dyslexia Association, had just been on a local television station promoting Dyslexia Awareness Month. Eau Claire Masons had been trying for years to bring a free tutoring center for dyslexia to Eau Claire.

Henry Winkler: 'I first read a novel when I was in my thirties. Now I'm a writer'

The Independent (United Kingdom)

Millions know him as "the Fonz", the slick-haired, leather-jacketed mechanic whom he played in the hit 1970s sitcom Happy Days. Now, Henry Winkler is reinventing himself as a best-selling children's author. He has written a set of 17 books featuring a young dyslexic child, Hank Zipzer, which have already sold 2.5 million copies in the US and are now being published in Britain.

Special-Ed Advocates Fear Children Will Suffer in Budget Crisis

Chicago Tribune

Special-education advocates fear that as the budget crisis in Illinois filters into classrooms, more school districts will skimp on services to children with disabilities — or take money from regular education programs to pay for them.

ADHD Drugs Have No Long-Term Growth Effects: Study

Reuters

Neither attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) nor medications used to treat it have a long-term impact on kids' growth, a new study published online in The Journal of Pediatrics suggests.

Iowa Man Takes On Fight Against Illiteracy

Clinton Herald (IA)

Bob Clausen, 61, was in his 30s when he learned to read. He had difficulty in school and could not grasp reading. Bob said now he knows part of his problem was that he simply needed glasses. He said another part of his problem is dyslexia. When Bob was 10, after he had failed first grade once and the second grade twice, the school system told his parents he could not be taught.

States Seek Federal Waivers to Cut Special Education

Education Week

At least three states have asked for permission to cut back on the money they provide districts for special education, under a built-in escape clause in the federal special education law that is aimed at financially struggling states.

NY: Special Ed Programs May Face City, State Budget Cuts

NY1

About 177,000 students are in the city's special education classes, in programs that were protected from possible budget cuts, but now city and state are looking to make cuts where they never did before.

Mentors Help Students See Eye-to-Eye

WLS-TV Chicago

Project Eye-to-Eye's mentoring program puts students together who share the same disability. At Golf Middle School in Morton Grove, 7th graders with learning disabilities are mentored by college students who also have learning disabilities.

Student Thrives After Getting Special Plan

Journal Times (WI)

Andrew Kittel expected seventh grade at Jerstad-Agerholm Middle School to be just as bad as sixth grade, or maybe even worse. For Andrew, who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, sixth grade was filled with peers that bullied, staff that didn't always understand and classes where he strayed off topic and off task, sometimes doing poorly.

What Leaving No Child Behind Really Means

Education Week

As the federal government seeks input on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, educators need to emphasize the critical importance of arming teachers not only with the freedom to support each child's individual learning style, but also with the knowledge to properly educate those with learning disabilities.

UK: Birth Impact on Learning Problems

BBC News

Babies born slightly early or two weeks late have a marginally raised risk of learning difficulties — from poor vision to autism, research suggests. The Glasgow University study of 400,000 schoolchildren found those born between 37 to 39 weeks were 16% more likely to develop problems than those born at 40. But the overall risk was still relatively low, at 5% of all children.

Chicago Public Schools Taps Principal to Fix Special Education

Chicago Breaking News Center

Longtime Chicago school principal Dick Smith has been given a mandate: take Chicago Public Schools' special education program, long subjected to withering criticism, and change it into a system focused on education and not simply compliance with federal laws, a system that responds rapidly and effectively to the needs of students and the concerns of parents.

High Expectations Set For Special Education Under National Academic Standards

Disability Scoop

A final set of national academic standards released Wednesday by groups representing the nation's governors and state schools chiefs calls for students with disabilities to be "challenged to excel within the general curriculum." Known as the Common Core State Standards, members of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers collaborated to establish national guidelines for English and math instruction in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Project Milwaukee: The Challenges of Special Education

WUWM- Milwaukee Public Radio

Project Milwaukee is underway this week on WUWM. We're examining the barriers that block some students in Milwaukee Public Schools from achieving at a higher level. Today, we report on the growing number of MPS children facing learning, behavioral and physical challenges. As Erin Toner reports, the district has been fighting a lawsuit that claims MPS has failed such students, while the district insists it is making progress.

Australia: Seeking a New Deal on Dyslexia

The Age (Australia)

A nation as self-confident as Australia doesn't expect to receive lessons in advanced education practices from such humble places as Irvinestown, a small village two hours west of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Yet that's what Nola Firth found this year when she visited the 250 students at the village's St Paul's Primary School, where sophisticated and effective strategies were being used to deal with dyslexia. St Paul's is one of many schools in the UK that have been awarded dyslexia friendly status by the British Dyslexia Association.

For Some Kids, Learning Is a Ball

Salt Lake Tribune

Since the beginning of time, adults have pleaded with kids to just sit still. But some, such as fourth-grade teacher Meredith Dyer, are trying a new tactic. In Dyer's Adelaide Elementary classroom, about one-third of the students sit on large, colorful fitness balls instead of chairs. The kids rock, roll and bounce slightly during lessons, and Dyer says it seems to actually help some of them focus. Dyer's not the only teacher who has traded small, stiff chairs for bright, bouncy balls. At least hundreds of other teachers nationwide have also made the switch, saying it helps their kids to shake off excess energy, focus and improve their posture.

Parochial Schools Begin to Embrace Special Ed

The Virginian-Pilot

Federal law requires public schools to enroll and instruct children with learning disabilities. But private schools don't have to provide special education or admit special-needs students. And they haven't, for a variety of reasons, Francesca Pellegrino, founder of the national Catholic Coalition for Special Education, said. According to Pellegrino, many Catholic parish schools operate on shoe-string budgets and their directors say they can't afford special education staff.

Special-Education Programs in 3 Central Jersey Schools Honored By State

Courier News (NJ)

Three Central New Jersey school programs focusing on different forms of team-building and personal development were among a dozen from around the state honored Monday during the eighth annual Innovations in Special Education program.

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