Archive for the 'Families' Category

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TZP is “Like Stars on Earth”

Darsheel Safary as Ishaan
Darsheel Safary as Ishaan

Those who remember Taare Zameen Par will find Like Stars on Earth very familiar. For others, who are familiar with the usual stories about children with disabilities who benefit from concern on the part of a
caring adult, the story will be familiar, too. I remark on it here as a reminder about Dyslexia Awareness Month and ’cause I’m sometimes a sucker for smaltzie uplifting stories.
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More on IQ and reading disabilities

Deficits in reading performance may differ in etiology depending on the IQ of the individuals who have the deficits. According to an article in Behavior Genetics, Professor Sally Wadsworth and colleagues confirmed previous research showing that there is a stronger genetic element in the reading deficits of children with higher IQs (mean = 108.97 ± 6.71) than those with lower IQ (mean = 82.85 ± 6.40). The heritability for the former group is 0.75 ± 0.12, but for the latter it is 0.50 ± 0.10.
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Promoting success in college

In “2-Year Colleges Help Learning-Disabled Students Break Into Math and Science,” Ashley Marchand reports about efforts to support students with Learning Disabilities succeed in post-secondary education settings. Ms. Marchand’s article appeared in the news source of record for higher education, the Chronicle of Higher Education.

For as long as he can remember, Robert T. Calloway has had a fascination with engineering and all things mechanical. He wanted to pursue an engineering career despite a diagnosis of dyslexia, which challenged both his confidence and his ability in the classroom.
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Too common a concern?

At the Greenwich (CT, US) Time site, Colin Gustafson described a meeting where parents of students with disabilities expressed concern about the special education services their children received from the local schools. Under the headline “Parents voice rage over special education in meeting with Freund, Board of Ed chairman,” Mr. Gustafson reported some of the concerns parents raised and some of the responses from school administrators.

Parents’ frustration with the district’s handling of their children’s special education needs boiled over several times during a meeting with the school board chairman and superintendent Wednesday morning.

Many attendees said the families who strongly advocate for their children — even wage legal battles on their behalf — are too often labeled as “problem parents” and have their concerns dismissed by district administrators.

I wonder how many of these sorts of meetings occur but are not reported in the press. Perhaps some of the parents who read this blog can comment on how common these concerns are.

Read Mr. Gustafson’s report, “Parents voice rage over special education in meeting with Freund, Board of Ed chairman.”

Liz Ditz talks sense

Reporter Valle Dwight quotes LD Blog pal Liz Ditz extensively in “Searching for the miracle: Parents, in a desperate quest to fix what they’ve been told is broken in their children, are willing to try (or pay) anything to help their kids” available on Great Schools. Check on it. The article is worth a read. It fits right in with the emphasis on evidence-based treatments here on LD Blog.

Canadian kid docs on chiropractic

Over on I Speak of Dreams, Liz Ditz posted an entry showing that the Canadian Pediatric Association understands the appropriate use of chiropractic procedures with children and youths. Jump to Liz’s post, read her entry, and follow her link to the statement: “Canadian Pediatric Society Position Statement: Chiropractic care for children: Controversies and issues.”

New Jersey task force on reading disabilities created

Seventh grader Samantha Ravelli, of Ocean City (NJ, US), is probably one of the youngest lobbyists who ever tasted success. According to Diane D’Amico of the Press of Atlantic City, Sammie (and her team, including her mother and sister) convinced their legislature to form the New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force.

Sammie has substantial reading problems, and her contacts with legislators inspired them to draft legislation creating the task force. Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Matt Milam and state Senator Jeff Van Drew collaborated to get it passed. It cleared the assembly in February and the senate in December 2009.

As a part of their efforts to promote awareness of dyslexia and to encourage legislators to create the task force, the Ravellis created Sammie’s Mission. Visit it and also read Ms. D’Amico’s blog post How Sammies’s dyslexia inspired a law and her news story, State Senate approves bill to form reading disabilities task force, about the events. Finally, snag a pdf of “An Act establishing the New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force.”

Is inclusion right for your child?

Over on LD Experience, Kathryn Burke posted an editorial recounting some of her experiences as a parent of children with Learning Disabilities who must weigh placement alternatives. She describes an encounter with another parent who disagreed with her decision to place her elder son in a specialized school.

A parent from my son’s school, who had not heard about the lecture from me, came to greet me and ask if I could put her name on the “special education distribution list.” Another woman overheard our discussion and asked about the list, how it had started, and if she could join. I told her that I had assembled the email list from the names of individuals who had been present at events organized by the Parent Council at my son’s school, of which I was a member of the executive. I explained that the school was a specialized site within the public system for students with learning disabilities. Upon hearing this, the woman looked at me with a level of disgust as if I had grown horns, and loudly said, “I will have absolutely nothing to do with people who believe that children with disabilities should be segregated!”

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Many dreams spoken

Yesterday was the anniversary of I Speak of Dreams, the blog that Liz Ditz maintains. Liz has used it to many sensible and helpful posts for parents, teachers, and others. She’s dug through mountains of information (including mis- and dysinformation) to make sense of issues and then reported about them clearly and thoroughly.

Liz, sorry I’m a day late, but Happy Blogiversary!

The gene DYX1C1 and reading and spelling

Paul Bates and colleagues have reported new findings about the gene DYX1C1, which has been a focal point for research on genetic contributions to dyslexia for at least six years. Writing for the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the research team revealed that their examination of the relationship between DYX1C1 and variations in reading ability points at certain variations in genes and reading ability. Specific differences in individual nucleotides (single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs), different from those reported previously, appear to be associated with ability and disability in reading and spelling.

The status of DYX1C1 (C15q21.3) as a susceptibility gene for dyslexia is unclear. We report the association of this gene with reading and spelling ability in a sample of adolescent twins and their siblings. Family-based association analyses were carried out on 13 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DYX1C1, typed in 790 families with up to 5 offspring and tested on 6 validated measures of lexical processing (irregular word) and grapheme–phoneme decoding (pseudo-word) reading- and spelling-based measures of dyslexia, as well as a short-term memory measure. Significant association was observed at the misssense mutation rs17819126 for all reading measures and for spelling of lexical processing words, and at rs3743204 for both irregular and nonword reading. Verbal short-term memory was associated with rs685935. Support for association was not found at rs3743205 and rs61761345 as previously reported by Taipale et al., but these SNPs had very low (0.002 for rs3743205) minor allele frequencies in this sample. These results suggest that DYX1C1 influences reading and spelling ability with additional effects on short-term information storage or rehearsal. Missense mutation rs17819126 is a potential functional basis for the association of DYX1C1 with dyslexia.

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