The LD Source
Nov. 29, 2012

Court rules school districts must repay parents for independent evaluations
Education Week
A federal appeals court has upheld a longtime U.S. Department of Education regulation requiring school districts, under certain circumstances, to reimburse parents for independent educational evaluations of their children with disabilities. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled unanimously to uphold the regulation promulgated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the main federal special education law. The rule requires districts or other public agencies to pay for independent evaluations when parents disagree with the public agency's initial assessment of their child.More

Leading pediatricians' group recommends parents reduce pesticides at home
MyHealthNewsDaily via Fox News
Children are particularly vulnerable to the potentially toxic effects of pesticides, and steps should be taken to limit kids' exposure to these chemicals as much as possible, pediatricians say. Kids are exposed to pesticides everyday through the air, dust and soil, and their food, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which published a report about the topic. More

ADHD medication can lower risk of criminal behavior
Medical News Today
People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are significantly less likely to engage in criminal behavior when they are taking medication. The finding came from a large-scale registry study conducted at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Prior studies have indicated that individuals with ADHD have a higher chance of committing a crime. However, it is unknown how receiving treatment for the disorder may impact this risk.More

For gifted children with learning disabilities, homework can be torture
The Washington Post
The first clue Bonnie Beavers had of her daughter's learning disability came in the second grade. The girl scored at the 99th percentile in math on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, but when her teacher divided the class into groups for math, she was not in the highest one. Beavers showed the child's test results to the teacher, who was unmoved. "I caught her counting on her fingers," she said. Then she went over the top by insisting that none of her students knew that the groups were ranked by perceived ability. "My daughter never again liked math or thought she was a good math student," she said. The girl later received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and executive function disorder, as did her older brother. More

Charter schools study more positive than GAO report on enrollment of students with disabilities
Education Week
An analysis of charter schools in New York state, based on state data from the 2011-2012 school year, finds that on the one hand New York charter schools on average serve a smaller portion of special-needs students than regular, district-overseen schools. But it also concludes that those overall averages are in some ways misleading. When it comes to gauging charters' record in enrolling special needs students, "different levels of comparison — state level, school type, district level and authorizer level—yield different results," the report says.More

Congress to weigh federal response to autism
Disability Scoop
A congressional hearing on autism planned for later this week is being hailed as a once-in-a-decade milestone but it's not without controversy. Lawmakers plan to address the "federal response to the recent rise in autism spectrum disorders diagnoses," according to materials provided by committee staffers. In addition, the committee will also examine how government resources for autism are allocated and consider current research and treatment options.More

School's engaging 'hub' helps special needs students succeed
The Salt Lake Tribune
Whittier Elementary School in West Valley City, Utah, has all the usual fixtures, from desks to whiteboards to a playground, but it also has the unexpected — a climbing wall, a disco ball and a zipline. Its wing for special needs students includes a sensory room with multi-colored lights, a boom box with calming music, a vibrating mat and soft mats for jumping or resting. The nurse's office has three full-time nurses and a host of medical equipment. The physical therapy room is typically used by about 20 students a day, but it serves up to 60 on busy days. More

Behind-the-scenes Tom Cruise: Did Suri Cruise inherit Tom Cruise's dyslexia?
The Examiner
"Like his mother and three sisters, Cruise suffered from dyslexia." Did Suri Cruise inherit Tom Cruise's dyslexia? In front of the scenes, Tom Cruise just reconfirmed his international celebrity status on Nov. 25, by touching down in a RAF helicopter on London's closed off Trafalgar Square, according to The Telegraph report.More

Cap on special-needs education testing concerns schools
The Tennessean
The push for educational accountability is creating a delicate balancing act for advocates of children with disabilities, who want improvement measured but don't want children or schools punished for poor scores. Two issues are at the forefront. One is a federal limit on the percentage of students who can take alternative tests, regardless of how many children qualify for them. More

Survey: School bullying often victimizes children
The Huffington Post
More than 90 percent of British children have been bullied or have witnessed someone being bullied due to their intelligence or talent, a survey by the U.K.-based Anti-Bullying Alliance has found. The research indicates that more than a quarter of the 1,000 11-16 year-olds surveyed, or 27.3 percent, have quit an activity they enjoy for fear of being bullying. About half have downplayed a talent for the same reason — a number that rises to 53 percent among girls. More

Autism and air pollution: The link grows stronger
Children with autism are two to three times more likely than other children to have been exposed to car exhaust, smog, and other air pollutants during their earliest days, according to a new study. That new research adds to a mounting body of evidence that shows a link between early-life exposure to pollution and autism spectrum disorders.More