Tag Archive for 'Organizations'

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AAP and AAO on vision therapy

Interview with: Walter M. Fierson, MD,
Chair of Learning Disabilities Subcommittee
of Ophthalmology Section, American Academy
of Pediatrics

In “Groups Assail Vision Therapy as Remedy for Learning Disabilities,” Crystal Phend of MedPage Today reported that the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Ophthalmology jointly issued a statement calling the use of well-known vision therapies unfounded and ineffective.

SAN FRANCISCO, July 27 — Behavioral vision therapy, eye exercises, and colored lenses have no role in treatment of dyslexia and other learning disabilities, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The academy came down hard on these “scientifically unsupported” alternative treatments in a joint statement with the American Academy of Ophthalmology and other vision organizations.

The AAP, which has published many valuable statements about Learning Disabilities in the past, made unequivocal statements about the problems with these therapies. In the accompanying audio clip, Dr. Walter Frierson provides good explanation of the rationale for the recommendations.

Learning disabilities, including reading disabilities, are commonly diagnosed in children. Their etiologies are multifactorial, reflecting genetic influences and dysfunction of brain systems. Learning disabilities are complex problems that require complex solutions. Early recognition and referral to qualified educational professionals for evidence-based evaluations and treatments seem necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. Most experts believe that dyslexia is a language-based disorder. Vision problems can interfere with the process of learning; however, vision problems are not the cause of primary dyslexia or learning disabilities. Scientific evidence does not support the efficacy of eye exercises, behavioral vision therapy, or special tinted filters or lenses for improving the long-term educational performance in these complex pediatric neurocognitive conditions. Diagnostic and treatment approaches that lack scientific evidence of efficacy, including eye exercises, behavioral vision therapy, or special tinted filters or lenses, are not endorsed and should not be recommended.

Pediatrics 2009;124:837–844

Faithful readers of LD Blog will remember that there have been perhaps a half-dozen posts here on the mistaken (at best) therapies promoted to families of individuals with Learning Disabilities. It is valuable to have prestigious organizations such as the AAP and AAO issue statements that support the observations presented here.

Teachers, psychologists, and school administrators: Please advise the parents of your students with reading problems not to waste time and money on colored lenses, eye tracking and eye teaming, and other similar therapies.

Read Ms. Phend’s report. Download the full statement by the AAP. Visit the AAP Web site, especially its section on Learning Disabilities.

NCLD report

The National Center for Learning Disabilities, a US advocacy group, released a report entitled “The State of Learning Disabilities” today. The report presents broad-strokes data about Learning Disabilities (LD) across the life span, including (for example) data about not only school environments, but also work situations.

Highlights from the report include:

  • The identification rate of school-age students with LD has consistently declined for the past 10 years
  • Learning disabilities disproportionately affect people living in poverty
  • People of all races are identified with LD at about the same rate (except people of Asian descent), and,
  • The cost of educating a student with LD is 1.6 times higher than a regular education student (compared with 1.9 for all students with disabilities).

Link to the report.

NJCLD on adolescent literacy

The National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) held a symposium regarding the release of “Adolescent Literacy and Students with Learning Disabilities: Building Effective Programs and Partnerships Adolescent.” Invited guests representing various US agencies, organizations, and interest groups joined delegates from the organizations that are members of NJCLD the afternoon of Friday 5 June 2009 for the session.

Mary Beth Klotz, chair of the NJCLD, introduced the session and individual speakers. Froma Roth, a representative of the American Speach-Language-Hearing Association and one of the writing team that prepared the statement, began the session with a brief recapitulation of its contents. Brett Miller followed Professor Roth with an overview of current research supported by the Reading, Writing, and Related Learning Disabilities of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, US Department of Health and Human Services. Nancy Hennesy, of the Council for Learning Disabilities and also a member of the writing group, described the complex and challenging context for addressing deficits in adolescent literacy.

These are the folks who participated in the panel:

  • Mary Beth Klotz (National Association of School Psychologists);
  • Nancy Hennessy (International Dyslexia Association) ;
  • Amanda Karhuse (National Association of Secondary School Principals);
  • Brett Miller (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development);
  • Barbara J. Moore (Anaheim Union High School District, CA);
  • Patti Ralabate (National Education Association);
  • Froma P. Roth (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association); and
  • Kippi Sutphen (Parent Representative).

Link to the NJCLD Web site (maintained by LD Online). Watch for the slides and other materials from the symposium to be posted there. Meanwhile, download a copy of the NJCLD document.

DLD Elections

Every year, the past president of the Division for Learning Disabilities presents candidates for offices in the Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD). This year, Karen Rooney has assembled an outstanding slate of candidates for whom members of DLD can vote.

For secretary Erica Lembke
University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
June Szabo-Kifer
Bishop Garcia Diego High School, Santa Barbara, CA
For vice president Gary Troia
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Linda Siegel
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
For president-elect Anthony Van Reusen
California State University, Bakersfield, CA
Kenneth Kavale
Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA.

Members, jump to TeachingLD to vote.

If you’re a member of CEC but not a member of DLD, you can still join in time to vote. If you already belong to CEC, you can call CEC’s Constituent Services Center US toll free at (888) 232-7733 [TTY (703) 264-9446] and add DLD membership for just $20. If you’re not a member of CEC, it’s a bit more costly, but you can join CEC and DLD in time to vote; just call the same number.

Disclosure: I’m a former officer of DLD and currently serve as the organization’s executive director.

NJCLD Jan 08

Last weekend on behalf of the Division for Learning Disabilities, I attended the semi-annual meeting of the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD). The NJCLD has a long and distinguished history, one that I ought to describe in a page or post, but that’s the basis for another post, but not this one.

The basis for this post is to alert folks that NJCLD will soon publish new papers that discuss important topics about Learning Disabilities. One of them is the long-in-development treatment of adolescent literacy. Watch for it. It should appear in the summer of 2008.

Another is a very brief paper about the construct of Learning Disabilities. It also should appear in the summer (I hope), in time to be in the portfolios of people who will be discussing special education issues in the next US Congress and presidential administration.