A Call to Arms: Rethinking Learning Disability Education

Jun 25, 14 A Call to Arms: Rethinking Learning Disability Education

Posted by in Featured, Lifestyle

UK news media outlets have reported on the death of Connor Sparrowhawk, a learning disabilities student who was a resident of a small, highly staffed, specialist assessment and treatment facility. Although the unit was highly staffed, Connor, also known as Laughing Boy, was unsupervised and unnoticed when he had a sudden epileptic seizure and drowned to death. Learning disabilities activists have taken to Twitter with #justiceforLB and #107days handles in a campaign effort to change and elevate the status of those with learning disabilities and their families within society. Another way to ensure that those with learning disabilities receive proper education is to enroll them in montessori schools. In 1897, Maria Montessori, an Italian pediatrician and psychiatrist at the University of Rome, began to develop her philosophy and methods regarding assisted learning. A montessori education emphasizes independence, freedom within limits, and a respect for children’s development. Between birth and six years old, a child absorbs information almost effortlessly, and Dr. Montessori designed sensorial materials in order to develop a child’s five senses during these critical formative years. Montessori schools are private schools, meaning they are typically individually owned and operated while obtaining most of their funds through donations. These schools, unlike the unit Sparrowhawk was living in, provide freedom and movement within a multi-age classroom, which is always teacher guided. There are more than 3,000 learning disabled people in England that are part of similar units, as it is costing the UK government around £500 million a year. These people often stay for years, often away from their family and friends for long periods of time, and are subject to inferior treatment. Harmful tranquilizing drugs, self-harm, physical assaults, restraint, and seclusion are just a few issues those with learning disabilities face in the units. Unfortunately, more people are opting for these units than are transferring out. Those who are fighting for Sparrowhawk’s justice, and the many thousands of others subject to the same ill fate, demand those with learning disabilities and their families have access to four...

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Tempers are Heating Up as Central Air Conditioning Ordeal Continues

Jun 25, 14 Tempers are Heating Up as Central Air Conditioning Ordeal Continues

Posted by in Featured, Home Living

Conditions are boiling over at the Villa Oaks Townhomes in Houston, Texas this week as the entire complex is without air conditioning. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the heating and cooling industry will expand 21% from 2012 to 2022, mostly due to rising average temperatures throughout the United States and a higher demand for central air and heating. Residents of Villa Oaks Townhomes have contacted the owners of the building about the central air problem, but they are still awaiting any fixes. Promethius Hatches, whose mother lives in the complex, said “It’s a central unit. The residents don’t have control over it.” Heating and cooling costs account for more than 50% of American home energy bills every year, and most people fail to realize that improving the window treatments and insulation in homes can make a house more energy efficient and as a result will allow people to save money on their bills. Residents of the complex state that management is well aware of the problem — the owners have even sent a notice to all of the residents that they are working hard to fix the aid conditioning issue. Houston’s average daytime temperatures in June range between 89 and 91 degrees F, a temperature which, if you are living on any other floor but the first, is unbearable. “I get faint, real faint, my head starts hurting, and my leg swells up real bad, real bad. Because I can’t get comfortable,” resident Richard Dean said. During the summer months, its best to have a heating and cooling specialist evaluate your home for energy efficiency so you don’t run into the same issues these Texas residents face. Installing a programmable thermostat can save you up to 10% on heating and cooling bills, while installing hi-efficiency air conditioning systems help maintain more precise temperatures in your home. Plus, they dehumidify the air in your home more effectively, too. For now, many residents have been installing portable air conditioning units because there is still electricity. Others have resorted...

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The New York Times Struggles to Keep Traffic in the Digital Age

Jun 24, 14 The New York Times Struggles to Keep Traffic in the Digital Age

Posted by in Featured, Technology

The New York Times, one of America’s most iconic newspapers, has been struggling to keep up with the digital age. For example: when Nelson Mandela died, The New York Times published a full-length feature about Mandela’s life and various contributions. Soon after, the story was picked up and repackaged by The Huffington Post — who managed to get a lot more traffic did it than The Times did. “I’m not proud of this. But this is your competition,” said a Huffington Post executive, regarding the feature’s popularity. The Times has seen this happen again and again. The newspaper struggles to keep traffic coming to its site — even as other, more digital-savvy competitors continue to re-purpose their articles by creating content and headlines that are considered more user-friendly and clickable. The issues The Times has been experiencing were apparent after a leaked report, titled “Innovation,” laid out the problems that internal staffers saw with the paper’s move forward into the digital age. One big problem The Times encountered was understanding how to curate information for individuals. As Business2Community points out, “Curating a reader’s journey requires the right tagging. And that’s where the paper falls flat.” They note that it took The New York Times 15 years to begin tagging its recipes with the ingredients used — even though this improved search optimization by about 52% for these articles. It’s also worth pointing out that companies blogging 20 to 50 times a month receive about 45% more web traffic — beefing up blog sections that re-purpose existing content could be key for the company’s future. The New York Times doesn’t need to be Buzzfeed or The Huffington Post in order to be successful. However, it does need to learn how to adapt to a modern environment, and to a digital news world that caters to the needs and interests of the consumer, rather than the other way...

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Federal Government Grants $100 Million to Eastern States for Protection Against Future Storms

Jun 20, 14 Federal Government Grants $100 Million to Eastern States for Protection Against Future Storms

Posted by in Featured, Home Living

According to the U.S. Interior Department, 11 states in the eastern U.S. will receive approximately $102.7 million in grants for use in protecting against future storms. Much of the money will be going to New York and New Jersey, which were hit worst by several recent storms. “Climate change is going to make weather events more frequent and more severe,” says Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, emphasizing the need for eastern states to prepare accordingly. The majority of the grants are coming from a Sandy relief bill that was recently passed by Congress. As part of receiving the funding, recipients must be able to provide matching funds to cover part of the work being completed. Jewell says that natural infrastructure, such as dunes and wetlands, can usually offer the best protection against potentially disastrous storms. Consequently, the funding will be used to restore almost 7,000 acres of marshes and wetlands, 225 acres of beaches, 365 acres of tidal buggers, as well as 16 miles of streams. Restoring naturally-occurring landscape features can help reduce community vulnerability to storms such as Hurricane Sandy, which hit the coast in 2012, ended up killing 117 people, and was the second-most costly hurricane in the history of the U.S. In addition to flooding streets and subway lines and cutting off electricity to some residents for weeks, Sandy also caused millions of dollars worth of damage to hundreds of thousands of homes. Water damage alone can cause costly structural damage as well as encourage mold growth. Tim Dillingham, the executive director of the American Littoral Society, which is based in New Jersey, says that the upcoming projects are part of “reshaping our relationship with the coast in anticipation of the next storm.” New Jersey has the largest share of approved projects at 13. In addition to the coastal restoration work in New Jersey, New York will be receiving 11 projects in total, ranging from flood mitigation to wetlands restoration. According to the Interior Department, the projects will create 600 local jobs, and preference will be...

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New Book Aims to Help People Understand Ins and Outs of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Jun 20, 14 New Book Aims to Help People Understand Ins and Outs of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted by in Featured, Legal

Understanding the ins and outs of bankruptcy law can be a daunting task for the average citizen. This is why Fard and Company recently announced “Escape the Debt Trap,” a new book on Chapter 13 bankruptcy, according to a June 5 busbyway.com article. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is the second-most common form of bankruptcy in the U.S., allows individuals to reorganize and consolidate their debts into a manageable repayment plan. Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, one can hold on to their assets and possessions, unlike a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The debt trap, the book explains, is what happens when an individual has to resort to taking out more loans to be able to afford debt payments, or using a credit card to make one’s debt payments. This creates a cycle of increasing debt that is virtually impossible to escape unless one files for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. “Escape the Debt Trap” was written to educate people on the benefits of debt consolidation under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, according to the busybyway.com article. “Debt consolidation is an effective way to pay off all your heavy-interest credit card balances by combining all your debts into a single payment,” the article says. “Once that is done, the borrower just has to make a single monthly...

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