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December 23, 2013 | Washington Post
Have a Kid Who’s Out of Control? A New Therapy Offers Parental Empowerment
Nearly every young child tests boundaries. Some estimate the typical preschooler will disobey parents around 25 to 50 percent of the time. But when a child’s behavior starts to strain relationships with family, teachers and other children, parents often seek help. According to therapists, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a promising treatment for out-of-control preschoolers. Rather than having a child work with a therapist, PCIT focuses on coaching parents to work with their children. In a typical example, a parent has a wireless earpiece while she plays with her child; a therapist observes, giving the parent real-time coaching on how to encourage good behavior. Clinical trials show lasting improvements with PCIT.
If your child’s behavior creates issues in your family, the first step is to observe and record what’s happening. Download our free Antecedent Behavior Consequence chart to help pinpoint the source of problem behavior.
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December 18, 2013 | Quartz
Sesame Street Is Using Cookie Monster to Teach Kids to Become Executives
Executive function has been called the CEO of the human brain. Children with strong executive function skills are able to make better decisions and control their behavior. Some studies show that children who can regulate their behavior by delaying gratification are more likely to succeed in school and life. Enter Sesame Street and Cookie Monster. As part of Sesame Street’s curriculum on executive function, Cookie Monster shows kids how he resists the lure of cookies using various mental strategies. People are responding. One video with Cookie Monster has reached almost two million views. Experts on executive function are also taking note. This Quartz article quotes our resident expert Sheldon Horowitz on importance of helping kids develop self-regulation, planning and decision-making skills.
Want to learn more about how to help your child make better decisions and control behavior? Download our free Executive Function 101 E-Book and Infographic.
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December 15, 2013 | New York Times
The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder
Are ADHD medications overprescribed? This New York Times article reports that the number of ADHD diagnoses and prescriptions have soared over the last two decades. Today, 15 percent of high school-age children have a diagnosis of ADHD. The article connects this rise with a concerted marketing effort by drug companies to promote ADHD medication to doctors and patients. Using examples of brochures, quizzes, ads and celebrity endorsements, the article describes a marketing effort that sometimes skirted the boundaries of medical ethics and government regulation.
The question of whether ADHD is overdiagnosed is controversial. Many argue that the rise in diagnosis and medication reflects increased awareness. As the New York Times article acknowledges, ADHD medication has helped millions of children and adults lead more productive lives. We believe that public education about ADHD is not only beneficial, but also necessary to raise awareness and reduce stigma. At the same time, some drug advertising to parents has the potential to be misleading. For helpful guidance, parents should read about how ADHD is properly disagnosed.
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December 10, 2013 | USA Today
Learning-Disabled Students Pursue Degrees at Beacon
Students with learning disabilities (LD) often face a difficult path to college. Some “mainstream” universities like Curry College or the University of Arizona are known for their LD resources. But only a handful of colleges such as Beacon College are exclusively for students with LD. Beacon is a four-year university with 190 students in Leesburg, Florida. This article describes the experiences of students at Beacon. Our executive director James Wendorf is quoted extensively in the article about the challenges that students with LD face when colleges don’t have proper accommodations.
Is your child interested in a two or four-year degree program after high school? The Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships offer up to $10,000 in financial assistance. The deadline for applying is December 31, 2013.
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December 5, 2013 | Nature
Dyslexia Linked to Brain Communication Breakdown
According to a study published in Science, dyslexia may be caused by weaker connections between the auditory and speech areas of the brain. This is important because of an ongoing debate about the causes of dyslexia. People with dyslexia often have trouble connecting spoken sound to written symbols. One theory says that the representations of sounds are disrupted in the brain. Another says that sound representations are intact in the brain, but that people with dyslexia can’t connect or use those representations. Using brain scans, this study found that people with dyslexia had distinct brain signals for different sounds, but had reduced connective tissues between auditory and speech areas.
This research could have important implications for audio training therapy, which sometimes uses special devices like audio filters or amplifiers.
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November 25, 2013 | The Telegraph
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Apple’s Jony Ive
Jony Ive has dyslexia. He is also the genius behind many of Apple’s greatest products. As Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design, Ive has headed a design team that has been in place since the 1990s. Much of his design work is driven by the urge to encourage users to touch and handle products. (Caveat: The linked article from The Telegraph says that Steve Jobs and Leonardo Da Vinci had dyslexia, but that’s never been actually confirmed.)
If you are interested in other individuals with dyslexia who have succeeded in the world of technology, check out the story of Ben Foss, the creator of the Intel Reader.
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November 24, 2013 | Washington Post
Maryland Test Exclusion Rate Raises Questions
Maryland recently won praise for having above average scores on national reading tests. However, its performance is being scrutinized because the state excluded more than half of its English language learners and students with disabilities from taking the tests. In fact, Maryland’s exclusion rate of 62 percent was the highest in the nation and five times the national average, according to this Washington Post article.
Lindsay Jones, our public policy and advocacy director, is quoted in the article: “That number is a red flag [and is] a cause for further examination.”
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November 14, 2013 | Johns Hopkins University Arts & Sciences Magazine
Learning From My LD
At 5, Tess Thomas was diagnosed with dyslexia. Today, at 21, she is majoring in history at Johns Hopkins University and interning for Penguin Group USA, one of the world's leading publishers. In this very personal piece, she writes about her journey from a child who scored at the very bottom of reading tests to a confident young woman who has a promising start to a publishing career. She writes of her love of books: "One of the reasons I adore reading so much is because it was denied to me for so long."
People with dyslexia find success in all walks of life, even in world of books and publishing. For more inspiration, visit our suite of articles on success stories.
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November 14, 2013 | HuffPost Education
Special Education Budget Cuts, Sequestration, Hurt America's Most Vulnerable Students
The Huffington Post reported on our online budget survey of parents on LD.org, in which 52.7 percent of parents said that their child’s special education services had changed due to budget cuts. As Congress tries to reach a budget settlement this fall, we (and other education advocates) are pushing for the end of sequestration. Without some change, sequestration will continue for nine more years and the $579 million cut from special education this year may only be the beginning.
Have you spoken up for your child’s education? Please tell Congress to stop cutting education funding.
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November 7, 2013 | HuffPost Arts & Culture
Typography Book Explores What It Feels Like to Have Dyslexia
Sam Barclay, a designer in the United Kingdom, is on a mission to create a coffee table book that helps readers understand what it feels like to be dyslexic and struggle with reading. The book focuses on typography and page design to create this experience. Barclay is trying to raise about $24,000 on kickstarter.com for the book. He already has over 400 people who have pledged funding. It's important to point out that the book doesn't claim to show what a person with dyslexia actually sees, but rather only to recreate the feelings of frustration and anxiety that can occur.
Do you want to understand more about what dyslexia feels like? Check out eight videos that explain the experience.