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March 27, 2017

This week’s family-related news included tips on how to support average learners alongside students who have learning differences, highlights on an abundance of activity in education related news, introduction of a new character with autism on Sesame Street, a personal account of a father’s life parenting two sons with schizophrenia, a unanimous Supreme Court decision that support students with disabilities, research that concludes that a baby’s first touches can impact on how they will receive later physical contact, findings that physical activity for children is beneficial in many ways, introduction of an alternative to the existing college system, information that food insecurity in a child’s early years has detrimental effects on their social, emotional and cognitive skills, a look at the ever increasing role of the family pet in divorce matters, personal accounts regarding the difficulty of applying to college when one’s parents have not been through the process, and an essay by a mom who comes to understand her teen’s tattoos.

10 Ways to Help Kids with Learning Differences that Could Benefit All Students Deborah Farmer Kris, KQED, March 15, 2017 Estimates find that 5 to 20 percent of Americans have learning differences.Tips are shared that can help schools that aren’t specifically designed for kids with learning differences, better meet the needs of all learners. Education Budget Cuts, Student Aid Problems and More Sophia Alvarez Boyd and Anya Kamenetz, NPR, March 18, 2017 National K-12 and higher ed news came fast and furious this week. Here are our highlights to help you keep on top

Sesame Street Introduces First Character with Autism on 60 Minutes Kate Feldman, The NY Daily News, March 19, 2017 Sesame Street” writer Christine Ferraro on 60 Minutes: “It means that our kids (children with autism) are important enough to be seen in society. Having Julia on the show and seeing all of the characters treat her with compassion…it’s huge.”

Father of Two Sons With Schizophrenia Talks of His Struggle to Save Them Heard on Fresh Air, NPR, March 20, 2017 As the father of two sons with schizophrenia, author Ron Powers is familiar with the pain and frustration of dealing with a chronic, incurable disease of the brain. Powers’ new book, No One Cares About Crazy People, is both a memoir about his sons and a history of how the mentally ill have been treated medically, legally and socially.

Why a Baby’s First Touch May Set Their Sense of the World Nsikan Akpan, PBS Newshour, March 21, 2017 Findings from Vanderbilt University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital show that a baby’s earliest encounters with touch dictate how a child will later perceive caresses and other tactile stimulation. By establishing a clear pattern of brain activity for a regular response to touch, researchers created a benchmark for measuring the effectiveness of neonatal care.

Why Kids Shouldn’t Sit Still in Class Donna De La Cruz,The New York Times, March 21, 2017 A 2013 report from the Institute of Medicine concluded that children who are more active “show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active.” Further, a study released in January by Lund University in Sweden shows that students, especially boys, who had daily physical education, did better in school.

MissionU Partners with Lyft, Spotify to Help Young People Skip College and Land High-Paying Jobs Catherine Clifford, CNBC, March 21, 2017 Inspired by struggles of millions of smart, motivated young people, to pay back high student loans and not being able to find work after college, Braun set out to build an alternative to the current higher education system in the US. Instead of upfront costs, students agree to pay 15 percent of their salary for three years once they have graduated from the program and secured a job making at least $50,000 a year.

Supreme Court Sets Higher Bar for Education of Students with Disabilities Emma Brown & Ann E. Marimow, The Washington Post, March 22, 2017 The Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously raised the bar for the educational benefits owed to millions of children with disabilities in one of the most significant special-education cases­ to reach the high court in dec­ades. The Supreme Court’s decision changes­ the equation for schools, giving parents a “posture of greater strength” in negotiating for what they believe is best for their children.

Kids Who Suffer Hunger in First Years Lag Behind Their Peers in School Rhine Chatterjee, NPR, March 23, 2017 An estimated 13.1 million children live in homes with insufficient food, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The new study, published in the latest issue of the journal Child Development, suggests that such early experience of hunger in the family shows that kids who experienced food insecurity in their first five years of life are more likely to be lagging behind in social, emotional and to some degree, cognitive skills when they begin kindergarten.

When Couples Divorce, Who Gets to Keep the Dog? (Or Cat) Christopher Mele, The New York Times, March 23, 2017 Courts have traditionally treated pets as personal property…, but that is starting to shift as some state lawmakers and advocacy groups promote the notion that the legal system should act in the best interests of the animals.

College Is the Goal. The Problem? Getting There. Anemona Hartocollis, The New York Times, March 24, 2017 For young people with college-educated parents, the path to higher education may be stressful, but there is a road map. When parents are not college educated, many students simply lack the knowledge, support and tools to manage the increasingly complex college application process.

How I Came to Understand My Son’s Tattoos Patty Dann, The Boston Globe, March 24, 2017 When my 17-year-old son started wearing a T-shirt along with his boxers instead of strutting around the house bare-chested, I feared he was hiding a tattoo, but I couldn’t imagine what it depicted….I have come to understand that I write books while my son writes his story on his body.

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