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December 31, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, December 31, 2004

Learning disability talks set for next week Learning disability talks set for next week (December 31, 2004)

Noted doctor to speak to parents with ADHD kids

By Julie O'Shea

Dr. Sam Goldstein, a nationally-known neuropsychologist who has written extensively about learning disabilities, will be the keynote speaker during teacher in-service training days for several local school districts on Jan. 4 and Jan. 5.

Goldstein will be addressing teachers and administrators earlier in the day and then give evening talks that are open to the general public from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. This special speaking engagement, which will focus on learning strategies, accommodations and behavioral issues, was coordinated by parents who are members of the Committee for Education on AD/HD (Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder).

Eren Goknar, the mother of a Los Altos High School student with AD/HD, said when her son was diagnosed with the disorder when he was 5, teachers didn't know what to do about his hyperactivity; they classified it as a behavioral problem.

"I think there was a lot of ignorance," Goknar said. "It really varied. Some teachers were understanding, but there were teachers that just didn't get it."

Children with AD/HD often have trouble playing attention during class. Some have difficulty focusing on a task or activity, while others can be very active and act without thinking. This neurobehavioral disorder affects an estimated 4 to 12 percent of the school-age population, according to SchwabLearning.org.

Finding the Committee for Education on AD/HD came as a relief to Goknar. The group consists of parents from San Mateo to Sunnyvale who are dedicated to finding ways to draw attention to AD/HD, which is affecting an increasing number of students in local schools. according to Mountain View educators.

"The teachers' understanding of the problem is key to solving it," Goknar said. Having learning disability experts, like Goldstein, come to speak with local educators is one way the parent group hopes to shed light on the subject, Goknar added.

Such events also lend support to the parent community as well, noted RoseMary Roquero, a trustee with the Mountain View-Whisman School District, who is also a member of the committee.

Parents can learn what strategies they can use to help their children learn at home, Roquero said. They also learn how important it is to be their child's advocate, she added.

Roquero said the Mountain View-Whisman School District is a big supporter of this parent group, and many teachers are expected to attend Goldstein's talk next week.

Goknar said Los Altos High has been extremely accommodating to her son, who is now 16. Several of his teachers provide him with extra help and give him extra time on his tests.

Goknar said she wants other parents who are in her situation to know they are not alone and is encouraging them to attend one or two of next week's public talks.

On Jan. 4, the public is invited to hear Goldstein speak at the Gunn High School theater, located at 780 Arastradero Road in Palo Alto. And on Jan. 5, Goldstein will be at Fremont High School, located at 1279 Sunnyvale Saratoga Road in Sunnyvale. Both talks start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.
E-mail Julie O'Shea at [email protected]


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