Sometimes, it seems like there are more questions about learning disabilities (LD) and ADHD than there are answers. While there’s a lot that we know (and compile for you on LD.org!), there are many remaining controversies in the LD field that researchers and educators are just beginning to answer. You can enrich your own LD knowledge by knowing what these questions are—and by adding your voice as a parent into the conversation. You know what’s worked (and what hasn’t) for your child…so why not share your perspective with others?
LD Insights is here to share articles that have piqued our interest this week because of the important questions they raise. Read the articles, learn more about the controversies, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation!
Attention Deficit Drugs Face New Campus Rules (The New York Times) For individuals with ADHD, medication can be a lifeline to success. Used responsibly and in combination with other types of supports, it keeps the person in the driver’s seat when it comes to activities that require focus, precision and perseverance. But like all prescription drugs, when used incorrectly, ADHD medication can be dangerous. Because misuse of ADHD medications is common among college students, some campuses are raising the barrier to getting a prescription from a school-affiliated physician. Read this article from The New York Times and consider the following controversial issues:
Can ADHD first appear in adolescence or early adulthood?
How important is proper diagnosis? Should full neuropsychological testing be required to begin a trial of ADHD medication?
Do these colleges' policies present too high of a barrier to ADHD treatment for students who need it, or are they playing an important role in stopping medication abuse?
Should Schools Require Students to Learn Cursive? (The New York Times) Say the word “handwriting” to a group of people with LD, and you’re sure to get plenty of groans. For people with dysgraphia, dyslexia, and related disorders of learning, attention, and behavior, the act of putting pencil to paper can be a major hurdle. Students get handwriting instruction in elementary school, but there is one familiar aspect that is less and less commonly being taught: cursive. In this “Room for Debate” series in The New York Times, experts grapple with the question of if cursive writing should be taught as a standard part of school curriculum. Absent from this discussion is any mention of students for whom the act of writing is compromised by LD—and this is an issue that clearly affects them. As you consider your opinion on if cursive should be taught, consider the following questions that the scientific jury is still out on:
Can the nature of cursive writing (minimizing the need to start and stop at each letter) be helpful for those with attention problems?
Could the act of cursive writing help students diminish confusion between similar-looking letters and numbers?
Dyslexia: it’s a common thread in the stories of scores of entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, actors, doctors, and more. In recent years, many public figures have opened up about their experiences with dyslexia, hoping to shift the public conversation on dyslexia to one that highlights the successes of people who struggle with it. While dyslexia undoubtedly causes a lot of pain for many, there are those who credit it with helping them gain ground in creative thinking, work ethic, and more. This article from The Wall Street Journal tells the story of several high-profile people with dyslexia and considers the following questions:
Is there a connection between dyslexia and creative, out-of-the-box thinking?
What differences exist in the brains of people with dyslexia?