Monday, June 27, 2016

Overlooking Gifted Abilities, Parenting Teens, Podcasts, and More

A PSYCHOLOGIST from the Philadelphia area has a blog named "Gifted Challenges." A recent posting explores what happens when a gifted child's abilities are overlooked, say through mis-identification or through twice exceptionality. She offers five consequences of this situation. How many apply to your 2e kiddo? Find the blog. Another posting at the site is on how gifted advocacy parent groups can benefit parents and kiddos alike. (Thanks to NAGC for pointing us to this blog.)

JEN THE BLOGGER unleashes her magazine publishing aspirations. She writes, "Don't you wish there was a magazine all about parenting teenagers? Kinda like the mags you'd read in the middle of the night, nursing an infant? Fear not! I mocked one up for you!" Find it.

TiLT PODCASTS. The website TiLT has made its podcasts available in blog versions and in YouTube versions. For example, now you can find podcast episode 1, "Parenting the Child You Didn't Expect When You Were Expecting," as 1) the original podcast, 2) a transcribed blog posting, and 3) at TiLT's YouTube channel. The TiLT website is for parents of "differently-wired kids."

MORE PARENTING PODCASTS. The Washington Post offers a list of "11 parenting podcasts worth checking out." One podcast is a 10-part series hosted by Susan Cain, who wrote Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. The series focuses on parenting introverts. Find the entire list.

ADHD AND DISTRACTIBILITY. A psychologist ruminates in the Knoxville News Sentinel about how kids with ADHD experience the world, focusing on distractability. The article starts out: "'That clock is so loud!' said the 8-year-old boy in my office." Find the article.

MICROBIOME WONKS, check out a piece at the site of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation on how the gut affects the development of the prefrontal cortex.

GHF PRESS has released in print and electronic form a new book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, by Paula Prober. From the GHF site: "Like the rain forest, are you sometimes intense, multilayered, colorful, creative, overwhelming, highly sensitive, complex, and/or idealistic? And, like the rain forest, have you met too many chainsaws?" Find out more about the book.

DEPRESSION, AFRICAN AMERICANS. A researcher from Lehigh University contends that "Depression in African Americans... is expressed in ways that are inconsistent with symptoms of depression laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders." The researcher notes that if the way African Americans view and experience depression is different than in the larger society or in the mental health profession, depression in African Americans isn't going to be diagnosed and treated appropriately. Read more.

NEWS FLASH: Disability Scoop says that Special Ed's Brewery in Galt, California, will choose another name. Read more.

AND FINALLY THIS, from Google News via a site called Boing Boing: "Wise Ones, an Australian 'gifted' education programme, offers students who test into it vaccination exemption forms, and advises them to avoid wifi, because they say that 'gifted children' have 'extra neurological connections' that make them vulnerable to 'extra sensitivities to food or chemicals.'" It's doubtful that this has anything to do with the over-excitabilities postulated by some in the gifted community. Read more.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Google Glass and ASD, Summer, ADHD Stuff, and More

GOOGLE GLASS AND AUTISM. Stanford University has developed an experimental application for Google Glass, one that helps children with autism interpret what others' faces mean, in real time. The children involved in the project use the device and application for three 20-minute sessions each day when interacting with family members. Glass detects emotions on others' faces and flashes the word "happy" or "sad," etc, into the display. Find out more.

CHILD PSYCHIATRISTS. Remember how for the past decade or two there's been a dearth of child psychiatrists? Here's a news flash from NBC News: there still is. Find out why you might not be able to find a shrink for your 2e kiddo when you need one.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. As of last Monday, it is officially summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the Child Mind Institute has posted an article titled "Summer Success Kit for Kids with ADHD." Among the tips for success: keep a schedule; set goals; avoid surprises; and more. Find the article.

RESEARCH PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITY. The Stony Brook University Social Competence and Treatment Lab is now recruiting families to participate in a group social skills intervention study. The Long Island, New York lab, also called the Lerner Lab, seeks families with a child between 8 and 17 who has a diagnosis of ASD or for whom ASD is suspected. Social groups will take place for 1.5 hours in the lab, once per week for 10 consecutive weeks. Find out more.

SUMMER RESOURCE. An organization called "Playful Learning" offers, for a fee, online summer enrichment for kids and their families. For example, this week's lesson was "Backyard Science," described this way: "By sharing what we discover in our own backyards, our children will be able to experience firsthand how wildlife, climate, and geographic landscapes differ across the globe. Through this workshop we have the potential to create an eye-opening experience for our children that will have many lasting positive effects." Find out more.

HANDWRITING (NOT KEYBOARDING) is still essential for learning, according to the Well feature in The New York Times, which reviews research published in The Journal of Learning Disabilities along with testimony from a variety of experts. Handwriting apparently helps kids pay attention to written language, and also helps them master what is a fairly complex task. Also covered is a problem common in 2e kiddos, struggling with writing. Find the Well column.

PANDAS. Beth Maloney's book Saving Sammy is now available as a non-print book for a very low price through Amazon, $1.99 for Kindle or $4.99 for an audio version, some strings attached. Find out more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. This organization's June newsletter is out, packed full of dyslexia-related features. If dyslexia is an "e" at your house, check it out.

UNDERSTOOD is offering three chats with experts:

Separately, Understood also currently offers on its site a feature on how ADHD medication works; find it.

EXERCISE -- it's good for you.
  • Exercise can help adults better cope with ADHD symptoms; read more.
  • Exercise changes the brain in beneficial ways, perhaps in one way by boosting a "Miracle-Gro" for that organ; read more
  • Walking in nature changes the brain, according to a new study; read more
  • Exercise may help with depression. Commenting on a recent study showing the effects of exercise on depression, an MD at Journal Watch said: "...these results — together with this research group's earlier findings that exercise improved depressive symptoms, sleep, and cognition — strengthen the evidence for exercise as an effective augmentation treatment for nonremitted MDD. Clinicians should consider exercise as part of the treatment plan for patients with MDD." (Journal Watch is by subscription only.)
WRIGHTSLAW, in Special Ed Advocate, points out something many of us might not know: "A parent’s right to observe his or her child during the school day is supported by federal law." The current issue of Special Ed Advocate, according to Wrightslaw, provides "answers to questions about FERPA, student privacy and confidentiality, and parental rights to observe your child’s classroom." Find it.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Resources, Ear Infections and IQ, Exercise and ADHD, More

CENTER FOR TALENT DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE. Northwestern University's CTD is holding its annual summer family conference this coming Saturday on the university campus from 1 to 5 in the afternoon. In one workshop, titled "Straight A's and Stressed," professor Danielle Black will focus on anxiety. Another workshop will be presented by Kathleen Nilles of NAGC. Find out more.

FLEXSCHOOL, a relatively new school in New Jersey for gifted and 2e students, awarded high school diplomas to its first graduating class. An article describing the event notes how the graduates and their parents were pioneers by enrolling in a new alternative private school. Read more.

CANADIAN RESOURCES. A website called Our Kids offers a guide to gifted schools and programs in Canada, including a listing of schools with gifted programs. Also part of the gide is a section on special needs and gifted learners, needs such as LDs or ASD. Find the resource. (Thanks to our friend Bill D for pointing out this resource to us.)

EAR INFECTIONS, IQ. An article at the site of the Gifted Development Center in the Denver area covers how chronic ear infections can affect IQ scores. An example quoted in the article, based on GDCs testing of two siblings: "The girl, who achieved an IQ score of 185, had never had an ear infection, whereas her brother, who achieved an IQ score of 118, had suffered 32-48 bouts of otitis media." Find the article. Also of note from GDC: its new communications director is a young woman who was assessed by GDC as a child.

EXERCISE, ADHD. Exercise, even a small amount, can help alleviate symptoms of ADHD in adults, according to a new study. About 6 percent of American adults report symptoms consistent with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, which lead to anxiety, depression, low energy and motivation, poor performance at work or school and also increased traffic accidents. Read more.

ASD. Two items popped up over the past few days concerning autism:
  • Forbes describes a new wearable product for kids aimed at monitoring mood and predicting potential oncoming meltdowns. Find the article
  • Researchers at Baylor University demonstrated how modifying gut bacteria in mice that displayed autism-like behaviors could reverse some of the observed behavioral deficits. Mama mice were fed the equivalent of a fast-food diet; their pups had gut bacteria -- a microbiome -- that differed from pups of moms who were fed a normal diet. Altering the microbiome of the fast-food pups normalized much of the pups' behavior. Read more

AND FINALLY, THIS. Remember "Special Ed's" brewery from the news last week and the public reaction the name and some of its marketing language inspired? Apparently the brewery is considering a name change. Read more.

Friday, June 17, 2016

FAPE, Javits, Gifted Ed, Math Camp, and More

WHAT'S FAPE? According to Disability Scoop, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering hearing a FAPE case -- free and appropriate public education -- brought by the parents of a boy with autism. The parents removed the boy from public school in Colorado, enrolled him in a private school, and then sought reimbursement from the public school district. Two lower courts ruled the boy had received "some" educational benefit from the public school, but the parents kept appealing. This is potentially a big deal for the 2e community. Read more.

JAVITS FUNDING. NAGC has announced that Javits funding for 2017 has cleared one hurdle, approval by the Senate Appropriations Committee for the munificent (our word, not NAGC's) amount of $12 million. That's good news, but you know how we feel about the stinginess of the federal government when it comes to funding anything gifted ed related. Read NAGC's statement.

EDUCATION WEEK has posted an article titled "5 Ways Gifted Students Learn Differently." One example: becoming focused on particular topics. The article is directed at educators, but parents might find it interesting as well, if you can get access to it at the site of Education Week.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. This organization has posted two new articles. One is titled "Managing Social Media Stress with Mindfulness." By "stress," the article means comparing oneself to others, the fear of missing out, and the stirred-up emotions that come from online socializing in general. Find the article. The second article is titled "Is It ADHD or Immaturity?" and it concerns how to avoid a misdiagnosis when a child is younger than classmates. Find the article.

BRIGHT MATH CAMP is an Ottawa, Canada, non-profit that offers day camps for students of various ages in July on the campus of the University of Ottawa. Its mission, as the name implies, is the promotion of mathematics. In addition, BMC is holding on July 24 an event called "Mega Math Moment," with a master math class, exhibits by organizations, student displays, and more. Find out more about BMC and Mega Math Moment.

NEED "STUFF"? Like a $1000 botox appointment with a Manhattan doctor? A rug for your classroom? A large weighted blanket? Some parent coaching sessions? The Quad Foundation and its programs just concluded its third "Founder's Gala" but has some items still available for online bidding. See what's offered.

UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT. A business in the process of opening in Galt, California, was slated to be called Special Ed's Brewery. Our guess is that the business owners don't know any families whose kids receive special ed services, because some of the business' marketing language seemed sure to offend. For example: "Ride the short bus to special beer." For example: beer bottle labels reading "'tard tested, 'tard approved." We'll bet, based on reportage of public reaction, that the owners change their tack. Read more.

GOT MIGRAINES IN THE HOUSE? A recent study noted a pattern of low blood levels of certain vitamins and vitamin-like substances -- vitamin D, riboflavin, and coenzyme Q10 -- in child and adolescent patients who suffered from migraines. The findings were correlational, not causal, and point to more work to be done. Read more.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

ASD in College, False Claims on Treating ASD and ADHD, and More

ASD IN COLLEGE. "Richard was one of the brightest kids in his high school class," starts a story produced by the Hechinger Report and featured at the site of Disability Scoop. The story focuses on the challenges faced by college students on the spectrum, no matter how smart they are -- challenges such as potentially intense reactions to events in class; hearing "literally" (keep your mouth zipped); and general communication issues. Also included: what some colleges are doing to help such students. Find the story.

"CURES" FOR ASD, ADHD. The developers and marketers of the LearningRx “brain training” programs have agreed to stop making a range of false and unsubstantiated claims and pay $200,000 under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The company and its 80 franchised learning centers claimed their programs were clinically proven to permanently improve serious health conditions like ADHD, autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and concussions and that the training substantially improved school grades and college admission test scores, career earnings, and job and athletic performance. They also allegedly claimed that LearningRx brain training is 10 times more cost-effective than tutoring. Read more.

THIS IS GIFTED AWARENESS WEEK in New Zealand, and some advocates for gifted kiddos there don't think the government does enough to serve the gifted population. One advocate "believes the needs of gifted learners in New Zealand are largely ignored at government level," according to a press release from the New Zealand Center for Gifted Education. Read more.

A STRAIGHT-A STUDENT and star athlete in high school ponders her issues with anxiety and ADHD as an adult. She'd had lots of strategies to "succeed" as an adult, but one day her psychiatrist asked, “Do small noises distract you to the point of completely derailing you from work?” Her answer led to an evaluation for and diagnosis of ADHD, which led her to pull out old journals looking for evidence. Read more of her story.

SLEEP. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has issued guidelines for how much sleep children should get. For example, kids 6 to 12 should sleep 9 to 12 hours a day, according to the Academy, and teens 8 to 10 hours. Find out more.

FOR POLICY WONKS. The Hechinger Report offers information about how the legacy of NCLB will affect ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act that replaces NCLB. The article notes some of the strengths and weaknesses of NCLB and how ESSA has been positioned to obviate some of the weaknesses. Read more.

MORE ON EDUCATION. David Brooks, in The New York Times, ruminates on how education depends on "love" -- a secure home life, a respectful and attentive teacher, and a student brought up to be worthy of the attention given by teachers and to want to succeed. Brooks says that over the past generation our students' emotional foundation has collapsed, but that finally attention is turning to the social and emotional needs of all students. He concludes, "Today we have to fortify the heart if we’re going to educate the mind." Find the opinion piece.

ADULT MEET-UP. California's Summit Center is offering a free virtual meet-up for gifted adults on July 21 at 12 Pacific time. To be hosted by Paula Wilkes, the event is billed as a free online video conference to discuss, in an informal setting, concerns such as:
  • Having trouble concentrating at work 
  • A spouse, colleagues, or bosses who just don't seem to "get" you 
  • Having a child diagnosed with something that you might also have. 
Find out more.

NEW BLOG. Chicago-area parenting coach Kimberlee King has initiated a blog at the site of her business, Inspired Attention. Kimberlee is very much part of the 2e community, and in the first posts on her blog she offers her perspective on ADHD and giftedness, "underpaid and underappreciated" (the parent's position), the effectiveness of punishment on ADHD kiddos, and "low-hanging fruit." Find Kimberlee's blog.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Is beauty only skin deep? Children don't seem to think so; like adults and babies, children think the uglier you are, the less trustworthy you are. Find a write-up of the study confirming these findings.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Anxiety, Activity, ADHD, Depression, More

ANXIETY DISORDER. A meta-analysis by the University of Cambridge of 48 studies shows which cultures, genders, and age groups are most affected. The first two of 10 takeaways, according to the Huffington Post:
  • Women are almost twice as likely to have anxiety disorder.
  • Young people are more likely to be affected.
Find out more.

KIDS NEED MORE MOVEMENT? The Answer Sheet Column in The Washington Post notes the U.S. government's recommendation that kids get an hour of vigorous exercise per day, but a guest contributor to the column says that's much too little. Her basis? "...children today have symptoms of other alarming problems, such as weaker bones and muscles, emotional instability and anxiety, surprising episodes of aggression, the inability to focus and pay attention, and problems 'sitting still' compared to children of just two decades ago." Find the Answer Sheet.

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH. The Weinfeld Education Group has announced plans for this year's Diamonds in the Rough conference. The event is scheduled for September 23-24 at the Pooks Hill Marriott in Bethesda, Maryland. This year's theme is "Identifying and Developing Potential." Find out more.

ADHD NEWS.
  • Youth who take Ritalin, Adderall or other stimulant medications for ADHD over an extended period of time early in life are no more at risk for substance abuse in later adolescence than teens without ADHD, according to a new study. Find a write-up of the study.
  • Kids with ADHD don't sleep as well as others, which you might have known but is now supported by research. Read more
  • Sharpbrains notes that the U.S. FDA has approved a device to help clincians assess ADHD. From the article: ""QbCheck provides health care professionals with objective measurements of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention to aid in the clinical assessment of ADHD and in the evaluation of treatment interventions in patients with ADHD." Find out more
  • David Rabiner describes, also at Sharpbrains, how pediatricians may not be following guidelines for treating ADHD established by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Read it

POLICY. If you pay attention to education policy, know that this week a variety of clarifications and regulations were released:
  • The Education Department released drafts of guidelines for complying with ESSA; find out more
  • The U.S. Department of Education announced more than $13.4 million in grants to higher education institutions to fund quality personnel preparation programs to help improve services and results for students with disabilities. Find out more
  • The Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education released a report showing, in part, how race and disability are linked to factors such as absenteeism, discipline, and readiness for college and career. Find the report

DEPRESSION. A meta-analysis of previously published studies on the efficacy of antidepressants in young people who have major depression is, in a word, depressing. From a description of the analysis: "Scientists say most antidepressants don’t work for children or teenagers with major depression, some may be unsafe, and the quality of evidence about these drugs is so bad the researchers cannot be sure if any are truly effective or safe." Read more.

AUTISM. Autism spectrum disorders are generally thought to be caused by deficits in brain development, but a study in mice now suggests that at least some aspects of the disorder -- including how touch is perceived, anxiety, and social abnormalities -- are linked to defects in another area of the nervous system, the peripheral nerves found throughout the limbs, digits, and other parts of the body that communicate sensory information to the brain. Find the study write-up.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, Depression, More

SPD, WITH AND WITHOUT ASD. An article in The Atlantic explores sensory processing disorder, both in the context of autism and outside it. The article recounts the history of sensory processing disorder, noting that it's still not in the DSM. It also notes how recognition or acceptance of SPD by the mainstream medical establishment is hindered by a fact encapsulated in a quote from Lucy Jane Miller, founder of the SPD Foundation: “It’s very hard to get funding for research on something that doesn’t exist." Parents who have 2e kiddos with sensory issues will probably find this article interesting; find it.

MORE SPD. Understood at its site offers "Summertime Challenges for Kids with Sensory Processing Issues," tips for managing challenges during the summer break. Find the tips.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has a new article on its site about social challenges that can come with learning issues such as ASD or ADHD. It's not specifically a 2e article, but it describes the cognitive process that has to occur in social interactions and what can go wrong. Find the article.

EEG NEUROFEEDBACK: PLACEBO? Maybe so, according to research from McGill University. If you're a skeptic, read more at Science Daily.

NCLD FANS -- the annual report of the National Center for Learning Disabilities is online, highlighting achievements and providing financial and organizational information. Find the report.

FAST FOOD gets slammed a couple times this week in the media.

  • The Washington Post published an article including this paragraph: "Researchers at George Washington University have linked fast-food consumption to the presence of potentially harmful chemicals, a connection they argue could have 'great public health significance.' Specifically, the team found that people who eat fast food tend to have significantly higher levels of certain phthalates, which are commonly used in consumer products such as soap and makeup to make them less brittle but have been linked to a number of adverse health outcomes, including higher rates of infertility, especially among males." Find the article
  • And Reuters noted that music celebrities -- idols to teens -- tend to endorse foods and drinks that are sugary, low on nutrients, or high in fat. Read more

RECENT RESEARCH. Here's news on a few recent studies:
  • UK researchers have developed a blood test that can predict whether patients with depression will respond to common antidepressants, thereby potentially saving time in treating the symptoms of depression. Find the study write-up
  • Whole-body hyperthermia, or warming to about 101.3 F in just one session, lessened feelings of depression for about six weeks in a controlled study. According to Journal Watch, "Active treatment was associated with significantly greater decreases than sham treatment." (Journal Watch access is by subscription only.) 
  • Moving can be bad for you. According to a Danish study, moving to a new home during childhood increases the likelihood of multiple adverse outcomes later in life. This residential mobility study tracked 1.4 million people from their 15th birthdays until their early forties. Find the study write-up

FOLLOW-UP. We blogged on May 12 about "late-onset ADHD," where a young person is not diagnosed until adulthood, and then, Presto, you have ADHD. Journal Watch, in a review of the study, comments this way: "...editorialists note that many children have subthreshold ADHD symptoms without considerable impairment until compensatory factors (e.g., a supportive environment) no longer protect them from the complexity and demands of early adulthood."