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The Brain and Dyslexia

February 16, 2001 Web posted at: 11:40 AM EST (1640 GMT) SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) — Discovery of a deficit in key reading and visual centers of the brain could lead to early diagnosis and treatment for a disorder that affects about 15 percent of the population, researchers report. A study at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington suggests that people with dyslexia have a much lower level of activity in the brain’s left inferior parietal, an area that is important both in reading and in processing of visual images. Dr. Guinevere Eden and Dr. Thomas Zeffiro, a husband and wife team and co-directors of the Center for the Study of Learning at Georgetown, also found that the right inferior parietal can be taught to compensate for the weakness in the left side of the brain through a program of intense reading training. “These study results are further evidence that dyslexia has biological roots,” said Eden. She and Zeffiro discussed their study Thursday at the national meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dyslexia is generally diagnosed in elementary school children who have great difficulty learning to read. The core of this difficulty, said Eden, is the inability to link up visual symbols with sounds, an essential process in reading. A youngster with dyslexia, for instance, could not associate the sounds in the spoken word “cat” with the letters that make up the simple word, said Eden. It is estimated that 5 percent to 15 percent of the population suffers from some degree of dyslexia, she said. Some learn to compensate and eventually become good readers, but Eden...

The Rights of Students with Physical or Health Impairments

WHO DOES NEED SPECIAL EDUCATION? Some children with disabilities may need special accommodations in school, and yet not need formal “special education.” These children can include those with epilepsy, asthma, diabetes, muscular dystrophy or other health or physical impairments. These children have rights under a federal law known as “§504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,” and state regulations known as “Chapter 15.” 1. What rights does my child have under §504 and Chapter 15? Under most circumstances, the school district must provide the modifications, accommodations and services that a child with a health or other disability needs to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program. The district must make sure that the child has equal access to all school programs and activities, including extra-curricular clubs or programs, assemblies, lunch and field trips. For example, a district might be required to make changes in a child’s schedule to take account of a health need, dispense medication that the child needs during the school day, allow a child who uses a wheelchair to use the staff elevator, provide a desk or other equipment or material that is modified for the child’s use, or provide assistance to the child for toileting or for traveling around the school building. 2. How do I get the services my child needs? If you believe that your child needs this type of help to participate fully in school, you must write to your school district. In your letter, explain the type of assistance you believe is needed. If you have evaluations, records or prescriptions from a specialist that you are willing to...
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