It’s Almost Back-to-School Time for Children and Tees with Autism, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities. Here Are Some Useful Resources



Back to school can be stressful for most children. For children with a learning disability, ADHD, dyslexia, or autism, these worries are often more severe. Our latest blog piece offers parents tips to make this transition ritual much less stressful.

Last Friday, we posted a link to our latest blog piece for parents of anxious children (often those with a learning disability, ADHD, or autism).

We add another free resource, from Autism Parenting magazine. It was published last year, but it is still available:



Here is another helpful link for parents of a child with autism. This free resource has been around since last year, but it is still available for free. It contains much helpful material. Of course, we have advocacy services for parents in New Jersey.


The State of Learning Disabilities: A New Report

Advocacy report on learning disabilities - awareness

This report, from the National Center for Learning Disabilities, is now available for reading and can be downloaded.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities, a leading advocacy group, just came out with a report, The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5. That figure, one in five, or 20 percent, refers to the number of students who have a learning disability, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia. This population is very much misunderstood; all too often, these children are (mis)labeled as lazy or unmotivated or just not as smart as their peers. More often than not, these labels are untrue. Not only are these students at risk of failing school, but also they all too often struggle finding or keeping employment and are disproportionately represented in the prison population.

Despite one in five students having some sort of learning disability, according to this report, only one in 16 receive proper special-education services with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and only one in 50 receive services under Section 504.  This detailed report covers the following:

  • The neuroscience, stigma, and federal laws concerning these students
  • How to identify struggling students
  • Supporting academic success
  • The social, emotional, and behavioral challenges these students face and pose
  • Issues regarding the transitioning to life after high school
  • Recommended policies.

The report provides summaries for each state, with “key data points and comparisons to national averages in several areas such as inclusion in general education classrooms, disciplinary incidents and dropout rates for students with learning and attention issues.”

The bibliographic citation for this report is:

Horowitz, S. H., Rawe, J., & Whittaker, M. C. (2017). The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5. New York: National Center for Learning Disabilities.

College for Students with Disabilities: An Update



A forthcoming New Jersey conference, Sunday, October 23, will addresses strategies for learning with LD and ADHD.  A myriad of workshops are offered to help parents, professionals and students discover more about learning disabilities and attention issues.

This week also saw an excellent Huffington Post article: “Beyond IEPs: Learning Disabilities Go to College”


Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending June 17, 2016

At Advancing Opportunities, we excel in providing residential and respite services to people of with all disabilities, along with advocacy and education services for parents and guardians and assistive technology support.  As a leader in the field, we are pleased to share our experience, knowledge, and expertise with the disability community through our social media outlets: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  In our Disability and Ability Highlights of the Week column, we will select the best of what we found and shared and present them.  Please click on the titles with embedded links to find the full article.

Appalachian Trail Boardwalk

This is the perfect time to discover and enjoy one of New Jersey lesser-known treasures. This section of the Appalachian Trail comprises several boardwalks that travel a scenic and diverse landscape in the northern part of Sussex County, New Jersey. Photo: Daniel L. Berek 2016



Disability in the news (mostly in New Jersey, the population we serve)
A New Jersey mayor recommends centralizing all state supports for people living with disabilities under one state office.

Experts – professionals, academics, and parents – testify at the U.S. Senate on the importance of dyslexia in the workplace and society and the many talents people with dyslexia have.

The US Supreme Court is consulting with the Obama administration on a case involving the definition of a Free and Appropriate Public Education.

UN conference emphasizes the need for the proper diagnosis for people with autism.



For parents of a child with a disability (parenting, special needs):
Blog piece from an autistic writer and advocate:  Autistic behavior and consequences.

A recent study confirms what parents of children with ADHD have known all along:  these children take longer to fall asleep and sleep less.

Visually impaired young golfers have big dreams at New Jersey golf clinic.



Special education (including college for students with disability):
A primer on assistive technology in the classroom for students with special needs.  Digital devices and screen capability have helped countless students overcome communication hurdles and obstacles to class participation.

Using drama to boost social skills among students on the autism spectrum.



Inspirational and Informative (or Both!):
A former Rutgers football player paralyzed in 2010 game asks a friend with cerebral palsy to her prom.



Advocacy and self-advocacy:
Numerous people thought that Jocelyn, who has dyslexia, wasn’t smart.  Her mom knew better and took her story to the U.S. Senate.

A leading UK advocate for people with learning disabilities speaks out.



Assistive technology:
From the Ruderman Family Foundation:  When Mass Production Doesn’t Work: The Story of the Adaptive Design Association

The Apple Watch will enable wheelchair users to track their fitness goals.



People with a disability in the community (disability rights and acceptance):
What started out as therapy, has turned into a business for a young man with Down syndrome in Yukon OK.



Disability awareness:
A deaf person uses “the music of sign language” to express how sound is very much a part of her life.   She chooses to be empowered by embracing sound in her art and her life, leading to the music of ASL.  This is a fascinating and very positive TED Talk on how a person with a disability can use that very disability to explore and enlighten.

Medical news – research:
Research shows that having a first-degree relative with epilepsy significantly increases the risk of being diagnosed with autism; greater similarities in the brain have been identified.

A new study using fMRI finds that the brains of people with dyslexia work differently from those of people with dysgraphia.

A new look at sensory symptoms in autism: is it one or two?



People with disabilities in the arts:
An interesting conference on disability and the arts is scheduled to take place this September in Norway.

Celebrating the Power of Assistive Technology


It’s time to revisit a fine 2014 blog post from Edutopia on what assistive technology can do for students with learning disabilities, offering them access to the wonders and benefits of education.  This blog post is also notable for links to other informative and inspiring videos, well worth watching.

So, here it is:

5-Minute Film Festival: The Power of Assistive Technology


Knowing About and Living with Mental Illness

MHM 2016 Social Media Images-FB Share Image

It is hard to talk about most disabilities.  Talking about mental health is among the hardest.  Yet, nearly 44 million Americans – that’s one in five – suffers from some form of mental illness.  .  To foster an understanding of the importance of mental health and reduce the stigmas associated with mental illness, Mental Health America in 1949 named May as Mental Health Month.  This theme this year is Life with Mental Illness.  The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), an important advocacy group, is also helping spread the message.  And both organizations are asking people to share their experiences anonymously.

Mental illnesses include a wide range of conditions, including attention-deficit anxiety disorder (ADHD), anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorders, and phobias.  The family support and residential specialists at Advancing Opportunities know that some of these conditions occur together.  For example, people on the autism spectrum have difficulty in social situations; they may also exhibit depression, anxiety, OCD, or ADHD – or a combination of these conditions.  Many children with learning disabilities have ADHD and behavioral disorders.  In working with children with autism or a learning disability, it is important to have patience and understanding.  It is not uncommon for these children to act out, not out of defiance, but either in frustration because they are unable to express themselves in a more socially appropriate way.  Among children with autism, many are unable to communicate in words the frustrations they are experiencing, in addition to having a high degree of difficulty.



Good to Know!

  • One in five children ages 13-18 will experience a serious mental illness; 11% have a mood disorder, 10% a behavioral disorder, and 8% anxiety.
  • More than one-third (37%) of students who drop out of school have a mental illness.
  • Depression is the leading symptom and cause of disability worldwide.

Coming Our Way: An Important Conference and a Lecture Series

Two noteworthy New Jersey events are coming our way!

Facets of Dyslexia Conference

Saturday, April 16, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m

3rd Annual Facets of Dyslexia Conference

More information can be found here.

This is an important event on helping people with a learning disability in New Jersey. Advancing Opportunities is proud to be a sponsor of this conference!


Eden Autism Lecture Series

Saturday, April 16, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Eden Autism Princeton Lecture Series