Easing special needs students into the common core

by Amanda M. Fairbanks –  On a morning in late May, the pace was slow and deliberate as seven students formed a semicircle around their teacher to work on a lesson about finding the main idea in a story. “I have a surprise for you on my phone,” said Nicole Papa, before starting an audio […]

The nation’s largest district battles to deny private school placements

Dylan Randall, who died just after he had just been cleared to attend a private school.

By Al Baker – Dylan B. Randall could not speak or stand. He never tasted food because he was fed through a gastric tube in his belly. He breathed through a ventilator; his own saliva would choke him unless a nurse cleared his throat every few minutes. It was a daily struggle to keep Dylan […]

A parent in poverty struggles with her son’s ADHD

A Mississippi family unites around Lyric, 7, who has ADHD. Kids from low-income homes are diagnosed more often with the disorder, research shows. Lyric Shadoin, 7, is one of 6.4 million children in the U.S., or 11 percent of all school-aged kids, diagnosed with ADHD. About 6 percent of kids ages 4 to 17 take […]

In search of a biomarker for ADHD

by Tricia Brick – More than one in 10 American children have been diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a New York Times analysis of new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—an estimated 6.4 million kids, or 11 percent, up from 7.8 percent a decade ago. The figure soars […]

Study results point to genetic causes for autism

by Harmeet Kaur- Genetics plays more of a role in the development of autism than environmental causes, according to new research published Sunday in Nature Genetics. The study found that 52% of autism risk comes from common genes, while only 2.6% are attributed to spontaneous mutations caused by, among other things, environmental factors. “These genetic […]

How adults on the spectrum fare with employment

by Laura Shumaker – A few weeks ago I raised the topic of employment options for people with autism spectrum disorders, because wouldn’t it be great if the the intense interests of people with autism translated into jobs–even careers? I followed up by conducting an informal survey with followers of my Facebook Page–a reality check […]

High school kids caught in “immunization war”

by Eryn Brown – Every school day, students at Carlsbad High tune in their classroom televisions to a news show produced by its award-winning broadcast journalism program. Airing from a well-appointed studio on campus, the report covers topics ranging from final exams to nearby wildfires, delivered by a teenage staff that typically goofs around until […]

Farms as workplaces for individuals with autism

by Christina Scotti – In the middle of the English countryside, Lydia Otter has made it her life’s mission to work with people like Peter Griffin, a 26-year-old with severe autism. Griffin can hardly speak, but he has flourished at Pennyhooks Care Farm, a farm community focused on therapeutic agriculture, taking up woodworking and working […]

Without support, students with language-based learning disabilities crumble

by Christopher F. Herman M. Ed. – It is commonly understood that levels of support for students with language-based learning disabilities begin to wane after the completion of grade school. While public elementary programs may offer students a multisensory structured approach to language, many families live in fear of the transition to the middle grades. […]