The LD Source
Aug. 30, 2012

Toxic phthalates in school supplies used by kids
Medical News Today
High levels of toxic phthalates, which are banned in toys and are associated with birth defects, ADHD, obesity, behavioral problems and asthma, have been found in 75 percent of children's back-to-school supplies, a new report issued by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, the Empire State Consumer Project and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. School supplies were tested in a laboratory, and even seemingly harmless products, such as Dora, Spiderman and Disney branded lunchboxes, rainboots, raincoats, backpacks and 3-ring binders were found to have elevated levels of phthalates.More

Ohio vouchers meet special needs
Cincinnati.com
Hundreds of Ohio students who have special needs are getting help paying for private schooling for the first time this school year. Ohio's new Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship will initially help pay for the private education of 1,369 students, with more expected to apply this fall. The voucher program makes millions of dollars in state money available to special-needs students to pay tuition and fees at private schools or at special education providers other than their home public school district.More

1 step forward, 1 step back for students with disabilities?
Education Week
Thirteen years after a family sued the San Francisco school district over its lack of adherence with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the district has installed its last elevators, ramps and accessible toilets in its schools. The district spent $250 million to fix 50,000 violations, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The work entailed adding elevators, wheelchair ramps, new light switches, wider doorways, wheelchair lifts, Braille signs and water fountains accessible from wheelchairs, the Chronicle reported. In the process, the district spent another $550 million to upgrade schools in other ways, including replacing roofs, heating systems, windows, repainting, repaving playgrounds and so on.More

How to judge college learning disability programs
CBS MoneyWatch
If your teenager has learning disabilities, searching for the right college can become even more daunting. Along with the usual attributes young people typically look for in schools, students with special needs look for institutions that provide extra services aimed at putting them on a path to graduate. Yet some families stress about whether they should even divulge that their child has learning issues such as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.More

For educators, the importance of making meaningful connections
MindShift
It's Connected Educator Month. There's a flurry of activity among teachers and administrators looking to connect through Twitter and other social media to advance their learning, especially as a new school year looms. As schools gear up and prepare for a new school year with technology increasingly ubiquitous, now's the time to consider how schools can create a positive impact with technology.More

More parents of special-needs children opt out of public schools
Houston Chronicle
For thousands of Texas parents, the start of the school year has taken on a new meaning: an end to the conflicts, struggles and disappointment with the public school system. A growing number of parents of special-needs children are opting out of public schools, deciding instead to home school or to pay for pricey private schools. The number of secondary students who left public schools to home school increased 50 percent from 2003 to 2010, reaching 2,040 7th- through 12th-graders, according to the Texas Education Agency.More

Solutions to high suspension rate for students with special needs
The Huffington Post
A recent New York Times article reported that students with special needs are being suspended almost twice as often as their nondisabled peers. The Times cited a new analysis from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies: 13 percent of disabled students in kindergarten through 12th grade were suspended during the 2009-2010 school year, compared with 7 percent of students without disabilities. For a group of students already at-risk, these statistics are disheartening and alarming. Suspensions are a reactive punishment commonly used in situations where preventative measures are called for. Once the behavior incident has occurred teachers and administrators have far fewer strategies at their disposal. To achieve behavior change we need to focus on prevention so students don't have a reason to resort to inappropriate behavior.More

Psychiatrists prescribe remedies for school bullying
Chicago Tribune
VideoBrief Dr. Stuart W. Twemlow, a teacher-turned-surgeon-turned-psychoanalyst who has exhaustively researched anti-bullying programs, is the co-author of "Preventing Bullying and School Violence," released by the American Psychiatric Association's publishing arm. Twemlow gamely admits that virtually none of the hundreds of anti-bullying programs marketed briskly across the world has a record of consistent, well-documented success. And he thinks he knows why: because they are devised outside of the school system in which they're implemented and because they're imposed, usually from the top down, by well-meaning school committees or administrators without a wellspring of community support.More

No Child Left Behind 'not meant to last' forever, advocate says
Richmond Times-Dispatch
One of the architects of the No Child Left Behind policy and one of the people trying to tear it down are in fundamental agreement about the future of education in the United States, but they differ on how that future should unfold. "No Child Left Behind was not meant to last in perpetuity," former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings told a crowd of about 400 at Gov. Bob McDonnell’s education reform summit today in downtown Richmond. "We need a more nuanced approach to accountability." Across the street from the convention center, in the lobby of the Richmond Marriott, Deputy U.S. Secretary of Education Tony Miller explained his view of how that nuance is coming into focus. In the past year, his department has granted waivers to the federal policy to 33 states.More

ADHD symptoms 'present in most children who stutter'
The Medical News
Over half of school-age children who stutter have sufficient attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms to warrant referral for clinical evaluation, the results of a U.S. study of parental reports indicates. "From a clinical perspective, the identification of coexisting ADHD traits in CWS is vitally important because these subgroups of children will require a different type of intervention from those children who present with stuttering alone," explain Joseph Donaher, from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, and co-authors.More

As school year starts, states tackle teen cyberbullying
McClatchy Newspapers
Bullying used to be confrontations, starting rumors and making snide comments in person. Now it's as easy as posting a comment on Facebook or tweeting anonymously about a classmate. As educators and administrators prepare for another hectic school year, they're also getting ready to take a new stance against cyberbullying.More