LD in the News
July 21, 2014 | Huffington Post
I'm a Scientist With Learning Disabilities and That's Okay!
Collin Diedrich has a PhD in Molecular Virology and Microbiology. He also has learning disabilities and reads between a 6th and 9th grade level. But according to Collin, his life is not a “mental contradiction.” In an inspiring blog post for Huffington Post, Collin takes on the misperception that having a learning disability means you are unintelligent. Going deeper, he asks “What does it mean to be intelligent?” He describes how he’s able to read and retain scientific literature, even though he has a hard time remembering names and following directions. He writes that he can make connections between experiments and studies, but sometimes gets lost in everyday conversations. Collin’s story reminds us that people with learning and attention issues can achieve great success despite their challenges.
In his blog post, Collin cites our report The State of Learning Disabilities 2014. Make sure to take a look at the report for cutting-edge data and information about learning and attention issues.
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July 10, 2014 | Scholastic
Learning Disabilities: What We Know, Don’t Know and Think We Know
Education powerhouse Scholastic has featured NCLD's report The State of Learning Disabilities on their blog. Scholastic also spoke to the co-author of the report Dr. Sheldon Horowitz about what parents, the public and policymakers should know about the report. In the wide-ranging interview, Horowitz relates many of the alarming statistics around learning disabilities (LD). For example, half of students with LD experience a suspension or expulsion from school. Horowitz also touches on misperceptions that still exist about LD, as well as hot topics like Common Core and educational technology.
After you read the blog, go straight to the source by getting a copy of The State of Learning Disabilities.
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July 2, 2014 | Office of Representative Joyce Beatty
Sydney Crawford Resolution on Specific Learning Disabilities
The Sydney Crawford resolution, introduced by Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) in the U.S. House of Representatives, recognizes the importance of research, education and awareness related to specific learning disabilities (SLD). The resolution is named after Sydney Crawford, a student in Ohio who has dyslexia and impacted Representative Beatty profoundly when they spoke at an event earlier this year.
The resolution acknowledges the 1 in 20 public school students who are identified as having a SLD, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia. It calls for early identification so that students can receive evidence-based interventions and accommodations. Please write Congress to tell your Representative to support this important resolution.
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June 26, 2014 | KQED Mindshift
Predicting Dyslexia—Even Before Children Learn to Read
New research shows it may be possible to detect signs of dyslexia in children even before they learn to read. The research relies on fMRI technology to pinpoint specific areas and pathways in the brain related to dyslexia. According to MIT neuroscientist John Gabrieli, “[m]aybe the most surprising aspect of the research so far is how clear a signal we see in the brains of children who are likely to go on to be poor readers.”
One of the greatest challenges we face when it comes to treating dyslexia is one of timing. We know that the pre-K through grade 3 years are often the most effective times to provide targeted instruction and support in early literacy. In reality, however, many children experience several years of reading failure before they undergo evaluation to determine whether their difficulties in reading are signs of dyslexia. This new research may lead to new approaches for both parents and educators.
The use of brain scans to study dyslexia is an exciting development. However, parents should not be overly optimistic about scanning young children for signs of dyslexia anytime soon. Want to read more about brain scans and dyslexia? Read what activist Ben Foss says about what dyslexia looks like in his brain.
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June 24, 2014 | The New York Times
Shift in Law on Disability and Students Shows Lapses
The U.S. Department of Education has announced new standards for evaluating how well schools are serving students who receive special education. For years, the Department only looked at whether schools were complying with requirements like meeting timelines and filing paperwork. Based on those measures, most states were doing just fine. Now, the Department will also start looking at how students are performing academically and whether they are learning. Using a new balanced approach, states will be evaluated on both compliance and academic measures. With this change, only 18 states meet the new standards. Six states and territories—California, Delaware, Texas, the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Indian Education and the Virgin Islands—are designated as needing intervention.
Our executive director James H. Wendorf was quoted in The New York Times on the impact of the change: “It’s a huge step forward. The research base is clear that when [students with disabilities] are provided the right kind of instruction, supports and accommodations where needed, they can indeed perform at [the] same level [as their peers].”
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June 9, 2014 | NPR
More and More, Young Women Are Being Diagnosed With ADHD
ADHD affects both boys and girls. But boys are diagnosed with the condition twice as often as girls. According to experts, the reason for this difference may be that ADHD symptoms in boys are easier to notice. Boys with ADHD are more likely to act out in school and draw attention. Girls, on the other hand, seem to be able to cope better in school and attract less attention. However, a recent report shows that awareness of ADHD in adult females is rising. Between 2008 and 2012, the greatest increase in ADHD diagnoses occurred in women between 27 and 34. The number of such adult women using medication to treat ADHD rose 85 percent. Interestingly, young adult women appear to use ADHD medication at higher rates than younger girls. This is different from males, whose use of medication declines in adulthood.
Interested in learning more about how ADHD symptoms are different in boys and girls? Read an expert’s take on the differences.
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June 3, 2014 | The New York Times
What's Lost as Handwriting Fades
A new look at research suggests that children may learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand. In fact, the very act of handwriting appears to activate important areas of the brain. One possible explanation is that writing a word by hand is different each time. That variability may reinforce learning. Interestingly, researchers have found that typing or tracing letters doesn't activate the brain in the same way. However, not every expert agrees this is significant. Some question whether handwriting has long-term benefits for learning. This open question will continue to generate controversy as schools move away from teaching handwriting.
For parents, the importance of handwriting may depend on the child. Although the act of writing by hand may help some kids focus, for others it's a physical chore that interferes with expression. To learn more, read seven important facts about learning disabilities and written expression.
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May 29, 2014 | National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education
IDEA Dispute Resolution Parent Guides
The National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE) has created four parent-friendly guides for special education disputes. The guides cover mediation, due process, state complaints and resolution meetings. CADRE also has a webinar that explains how to use each guide. CADRE is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
NCLD Parent Advocate Myriam Alizo was part of the expert team that reviewed and gave input on the guides. We congratulate Myriam and everyone at CADRE for their excellent work on these helpful resources for parents.
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May 21, 2014 | Inside Higher Ed
No More LSAT 'Flagging'
The Law School Admissions Council will stop "flagging" the test scores of people with disabilities who get the accommodation of extra time on the LSAT, a test many law schools use for admissions. The council will also make it simpler and easier for students to get accommodations on the test.
These changes are part of a settlement of a lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department and others who said the council was discriminating against people with disabilities. The lawsuit argued that practices like flagging put a stigma on asking for accommodations and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. In a similar case, the College Board, which administers the SAT, agreed in 2002 to stop flagging test scores. But the MCAT, the admissions test for medical schools, still flags scores of people with disabilities who get accommodations.
For information on how to get accommodations on a test like the ACT or SAT, take a look at this helpful article.
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May 12, 2014 | Decoding Dyslexia Texas
Texas Dyslexia Law Under Review
In 1985, Texas passed one of the strongest dyslexia laws in the nation. Under the Texas law, schools must train teachers on dyslexia. They must also test for dyslexia in kindergarten and have a dyslexia expert available for parents. The Texas law gave birth to the Texas Dyslexia Handbook. The handbook is a comprehensive guide for parents on rights and services for children with dyslexia in Texas.
Now, Texas is discussing major updates to the dyslexia law. Parents in Texas have been organizing to ensure their concerns are heard. In July 2014, the Texas State Board of Education will meet to take up the issue. Decoding Dyslexia Texas has information on how to get involved.
Do you want to make a difference in your state? Download our LD Advocates Guide. This free guide has tips on how to work with laws, politicians and the media to create change in schools.
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May 8, 2014 | The Star Online
Scribble Artist Vince Low Makes Doodling an Artform
Vince Low’s art is making waves around the world. He’s a star on social media, and has been invited to show his work in Asia and throughout Europe. Vince invented his unique “scribble art” style six years ago while working for an advertising agency. The agency asked him to come up with an unusual technique for an awareness campaign on dyslexia. While illustrating for the campaign, he learned something that changed his life—he had dyslexia. “Up until then, I thought everyone saw words like that,” he says. “I just discovered myself that day.” Although wary of the discovery at first, Vince has since embraced his dyslexia: “My whole life, I’ve wondered why I couldn’t do what seemed so easy to everyone else, which was to read. Now that I understand my issue, I feel much more positive about myself.”
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May 3, 2014 | Science Daily
Lower Verbal Test Scores for Toddlers Who Play Non-Educational Games on Touch Screens
Do touch screen games and apps help infants and toddlers learn? A recent study tried to find out. The study surveyed 65 families with different kinds of touch screen use, including educational apps and shows. The result—kids who used touch screen educational apps and shows had the same developmental scores as kids who didn't use touch screen devices. However, kids who played non-educational games on touch screens had lower verbal test scores. Because this is a small study, broad conclusions can’t be drawn. But the result is more reason for parents to be wary about screen time for infants and toddlers.
Want to learn about how to help young children get a head start on learning? Take a look at the top 10 things to know about how kids learn to read.
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April 29, 2014 | SKIP of New York
SKIP Honors Sally Quinn and Quinn Bradlee
SKIP stands for Sick Kids [Need] Involved People. The nonprofit organization helps very sick and developmentally disabled kids return home from the hospital and be part of their schools and communities. Each year, 150 SKIP case managers ensure 3,000 children have the opportunity for the best childhood they can get. This year, SKIP is honoring our board member Sally Quinn and our colleague Quinn Bradlee for their leadership and contributions in this area. We’re proud of the work that Sally and Quinn have done to make the world a better place for kids.
Visit SKIP's website to learn more about the event honoring Sally and Quinn. Also be sure to check out Friends of Quinn, an online community that offers resources and support for young adults with learning and attention issues.
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April 17, 2014 | Science Daily
Impact of Childhood Bullying Still Evident After 40 Years
The psychological distress of childhood bullying is still felt by victims 40 years later, according to a new study. Researchers gathered data from 7,771 children who had been bullied between ages 7 and 11. The researchers then followed up with the children over time until the age of 50. They found that individuals who were bullied during childhood had a higher risk of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Victims of childhood bullying were also more likely to have lower levels of education, earn less and be unemployed as adults. They were also more likely to have poorer social relationships and report a lower quality of life. One of the researchers, Dr. Ryu Takizawa, said the study showed that "[t]he impact of bullying is persistent and pervasive, with health, social and economic consequences lasting well into adulthood."
Children with learning and attention issues are particularly susceptible to bullying. Want to know what you can do as a parent to stop bullying? Visit our suite of articles for resources and advice.
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April 9, 2014 | U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee
Roundtable With Early Education Advocates
This week, NCLD executive director James Wendorf and other education advocates met with Senate Democrats to talk about early education and learning opportunities. The discussion focused on ways to help young children get access to high quality learning. Several studies suggest that more than 25 percent of preschool children start school at a significant disadvantage. Everyone at the meeting agreed this needs to change.
Wendorf told the Senators that early screening for learning disabilities such as dyslexia must be part of the solution. He also made the case for more education funding in this area, echoing statements from his appearance last month on C-Span. Want to know more? Sign up for our email list and get updates on efforts to improve early education and screening for kids with learning and attention issues.
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March 25, 2014 | National Education Policy Center
In Memoriam: Janette K. Klinger
Janette K. Klinger, a friend of NCLD who devoted her life to special education research and teaching, passed away on March 20, 2014. She was Professor of Education at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Janette’s work focused on bilingual and cross-cultural special education. She was a special education teacher for ten years in California and Florida, before earning a Ph.D. in reading and learning disabilities from the University of Miami. She authored or co-authored more than 100 articles, books and book chapters. Her book with Beth Harry, Why are so many minority students in special education? Understanding race and disability in schools, is a Teachers College Press bestseller.
Over the years, she was responsible for federally funded grants totaling more than 27 million dollars. She conducted research into reading instruction, Response to Intervention, special education and teacher quality, often focusing on students with diverse language and cultural backgrounds. In 2004, Janette won the American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award for outstanding research. In 2010, she joined NCLD’s professional advisory board, and in November 2013, she became President-Elect of the Council for Exceptional Children. We honor Janette’s contributions as a teacher, researcher, leader and friend.
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March 17, 2014 | Science Daily
Who’s Afraid of Math? Study Finds Some Genetic Factors
A new study has determined that genetics can play a role in why some people have a greater fear of math. The study involved 216 identical twins and 298 same-sex fraternal twins. All twins were tested on assessments of math anxiety, general anxiety, math problem solving and reading comprehension. Researchers compared results for each set of the identical and fraternal twins. By looking at the relationships between anxiety and math and reading ability, the researchers were able to conclude that math anxiety could be the result of both genetic factors and a person's environment at home and in school.
Does your child struggle with math? Read six important facts about math learning disabilities.
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March 11, 2014 | Yale News
Levels of Key Brain Chemicals Predict Children’s Reading Ability
In the first study of its kind, researchers looking at the neurochemistry of children ages 6 to 10 found that levels of key brain chemicals were associated with reading ability. Children with higher levels of the metabolites glutamate and choline in their brains tended to have lower test scores for reading and language. When the researchers followed up with the children two years later, the same correlation existed for the initial glutamate levels. These two chemicals are also associated with hyperexcitability in children. Although there are no immediate implications for how we teach kids to read, this study is a step toward understanding the neurochemistry of reading development.
Want to find out more about reading difficulties? Learn about 12 important terms to know if your child struggles with reading issues or dyslexia.
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March 5, 2014 | Office of Representative Jared Huffman
Huffman, Van Hollen, McKinley, Walz, Gibson, Reichert Introduce Bipartisan IDEA Full Funding Act
A bipartisan group in representatives in Congress has introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act. In 1975, Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to guarantee every child with disabilities the right to educational opportunity. Although the federal government pledged to pay 40 percent of the per pupil expenditure for special education, it never lived up to that promise. Currently, IDEA is funded at only 15.3 percent. The IDEA Full Funding Act would increase spending each year to meet our nation’s commitment to children and schools.
We strongly support the IDEA Full Funding Act and have fought in Washington, D.C., for federal investment in education. Join our list of more than 56,000 parent advocates to help us push for the resources that children, teachers and schools need.