The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
November 1, 2005

Issue - 327
ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue

1. Genes & Dyslexia: A Simple Test to Identify Dyslexic Children at Birth

2. Preventing Reading Difficulties & Failure: Early Intervention / Prevention

3. Answers to Questions about Research Based Instruction

4. Improving Children's Health: National Children's Study

5. Sports & Grades: Child with LD/ADD Not Allowed to Play Sports

6. Coming Up! Wrightslaw Programs FL, MI & FREE Bootcamp in OKC

7. Subscribe & Contact Info


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At Wrightslaw, our mission is to help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the changing world of special education.

In this issue, we report on where science is taking us.

Highlights: Genes and Dyslexia - simple test for dyslexia available within a year; preventing reading difficulties and failure - early intervention and prevention; answers to questions about research based instruction; improving children's health - the National Children's Study; sports and grades - child with LD/ADD not allowed to play sports; special ed law and advocacy training (and some is free).

Subscribers on November 1, 2005: 47,101

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter is free - we hope you will forward this issue or the subscription link to your friends and colleagues so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. We are grateful for your help!

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1. Genes & Dyslexia: A Simple Test to Identify Dyslexic Children at Birth is Less Than One Year Away

Reading is a learned skill, not a natural skill that develops as we mature. However, the ease with which we can learn to read is governed by our biological make-up.

Last week, scientists presented research at the 55th Annual Meeting of The American Society of Human Genetics about genetic links associated with dyslexia. According to the news release about this research:

"With an incidence as high as 5-10 percent in school age children, dyslexia is primarily genetically determined. Recently, several genes have been independently identified as causative for the disorder." News release.

A Simple Test to Identify Children with Dyslexia at Birth

According to an article by Sandra Blakeslee in The New York Times, a genetic test for dyslexia should be available within a year -- or less.

The test involves a simple cheek swab. Pediatricians will be able to accurately identify children with dyslexia at birth. Appropriate early intervention can eliminate or lessen the severity of dyslexia before these children reach the age when formal reading instruction usually takes place. Read article in The NY Times (registration required)

Read A Simple Test to Identify Dyslexic Children is Less Than One Year Away by Sue Heath, research editor of Wrightslaw.

2. Preventing Reading Difficulties and Reading Failure: Early Intervention and Prevention

Regardless of the child's "label," most children with disabilities have deficits in reading. Parents and teachers need to be knowledgeable about reading problems, appropriate interventions, and prevention. These publications and resources will help.

Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children by the Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children, National Research Council, published by the National Academies Press.

Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children examines reading problems and introduces concepts used by experts in the field. In a clear and readable narrative, you learn about word identification, comprehension, and other processes in normal reading development. You learn about the factors that put children at risk of poor reading. You learn how literacy can be fostered from birth through kindergarten and the primary grades. Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children includes an evaluation of philosophies, systems, and materials commonly used to teach reading.

You can order this publication as a hardback book, a PDF book, or both. You can also read this publication online for free. Learn more.

Preventing Early Reading Failure and Its Devastating Downward Spiral by Joseph K. Torgesen (published in the American Educator by the American Federation of Teachers. According to Dr. Torgesen:

"Children who are destined to be poor readers in fourth grade almost invariably have difficulties in kindergarten and first grade with critical phonological skills . . . These weak phonological skills, in turn, mean it is difficult for these children to identify (decode) unknown words, and their efforts to do so produce many errors. Naturally, these children find it difficult, even unpleasant, to read independently."

"Their problems then spiral." Read article

Intervention and Prevention from Reading Rockets.

"Early interventions are designed to help students before they begin to fail. Knowing which students are at risk for reading difficulty, and knowing what to do for those students are the first steps in providing effective early intervention. Find out how to use this knowledge to help prevent reading problems for struggling readers." Learn about Intervention and Prevention

Sources for Reading Research from Reading Rockets.

"Enormous amounts of reading and literacy research is available from the U.S. Department of Education, journals, associations, and other entities. These suggestions and links will help you find what you need." Learn about reading research.

Read the full text of this article in
Preventing Reading Difficulties and Reading Failure: Early Intervention and Prevention by Sue Heath

Learn more about reading.

3. Answers to Questions About Research Based Instruction (RBI)

Looking for research-based information to guide your work with children with disabilities?

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) was established by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to provide a central, trusted source of scientific evidence about what works in education.

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) collects, screens, and identifies studies on the effectiveness of educational interventions (programs, products, practices, and policies). WWC reports on programs with the strongest design and the strengths and weaknesses so you have the best scientific evidence.

Curious about the reading programs used in your school? The Florida Center for Reading Research has a section with reviews of reading programs and curricula. You will also find publications about the science of reading, reading assessments, recommended reading, and a special section for parents.

The Partnership for Reading
is a searchable database about effective research based reading programs for children, adolescents, and adults. On this site, you will learn about research, principles about reading instruction, and products for parents, teachers, administrators, and policymakers. (Sponsored by The National Institute for Literacy, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the U.S. Department of Education)

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities will connect you to the knowledge base that has accumulated over many years of investigation and study.

Learn more about Research Based Instruction

4. News: Improving Children's Health: the National Children's Study

The National Children's Study will examine the effects of environmental influences on the health and development of more than 100,000 children. Researchers will follow these children from before birth until age 21. The goal of the study is to improve the health and well-being of children.

The National Children's Study is the first large longitudinal study of children designed to capture exposures from pre-pregnancy and early pregnancy and to examine outcomes of exposures in the context of a child's genetic makeup.

The study includes a consortium of federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Learn about the National Children's Study

Learn How to Participate

Subscribe to e-mail updates about the Study

5. Ask the Advocate: My Child with LD/ADD is Not Allowed to Play Sports Because of Low Grades - What Can I Do?

"My son has learning disabilities and ADHD. He loves to play sports, but is often excluded because of his grades - he receives D's and F's in some subjects. According to his IEP, his work should be modified. What can I do?"

"If your son has average ability to learn but is getting D's and F's, it is quite possible that he is not receiving an appropriate education. You need answers to some questions." Read Pat's answer in My Child is Not Allowed to Play Sports Because of Low Grades - What Can I Do?

Read more articles by Pat Howey in Ask the Advocate.

As a member of the Wrightslaw Speaker's Bureau, Pat Howey presents special education advocacy training seminars.

6. Wrightslaw Programs: Sarasota FL, Macomb/St Clair Co MI, and a FREE Bootcamp in Oklahoma City

"Thank you for sharing so much incredible information, and for sharing yourselves. I enjoyed your complimentary styles of getting information to your audience. You truly seem to be a Ying and Yang combo." - Barb from CT

To learn when we are coming to your area, please check the Schedule.

Conferences are being booked for 2006 and 2007. To learn how you can bring a Wrightslaw program to your community, please visit Seminars and Training. Program Descriptions

7. Subscription & Contact Info

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Newsletter subscribers also receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books. Subscribe

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Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: https://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: webmaster@wrightslaw.com