Monday, January 23, 2017

ESSA, Parenting, ADHD, Depression, More

BORING STUFF FIRST. That would be ESSA, and to us it's potentially boring because it's law and policy and possibly gobbledygook. We have two resources that might tell us how ESSA will affect the 2e community. The first consists of postings at the site of American Institutes for Research (AIR), in particular its education policy center. There, in a posting titled "What ESSA Really Means for Students and Educators," is a series of topics, a couple of which might be relevant -- one concerning students with disabilities and one on social and emotional development. The first addresses three ways in which ESSA might help students with disabilities. The second also looks interesting, reading in part, "assessing students’ social and emotional skills can yield critical information about each child’s development. And that information can help teachers and parents discover the best in each child, and improvement in traditional subjects and test scores." Find the AIR posts. The second resource is from Education Week, a free webinar on February 1 titled "Key to ESSA Readiness." It's blurb reads, "This virtual event will outline the state of play on ESSA implementation, including new federal regulations and guidance, timelines, and the capacity lift for state and local officials. Education Week journalists and guests will staff discussion rooms dedicated to specific high-profile topics, including: testing and assessments; whole-child and non-academic factors in weighing school quality; federal regulation and oversight; teacher professional development; and states’ capacity and role in stakeholder engagement." Find out more.

ON TO OTHER STUFF -- like a parent's "aha" moment in dealing with a child's emotional needs. Debbie at TiLT Parenting describes a day she was not looking forward to in terms of behavior she anticipated from her son and provides three interesting take-aways for making things go smoothly with a "differently-wired" young person, should you know a kiddo like that. Find the posting.

SENG is presenting a webinar on January 26 on empowering kids to use creativity through challenge, to be presented by Joanne Foster. From the blurb: "This session has a dual focus: to better understand the power of creativity, and to help kids harness it for successful outcomes." Find out more.

KIMBERLY KING is a parent, speaker, and consultant with lots of personal and professional experience in the area of twice exceptionality. She has a blog at the site of her business, Inspired Attention. And she has also just published a book of which she says: "This book is about my journey towards becoming a better person and therefore a better parent. Parenting is a journey of self realization and our children are our greatest teachers." The book is called Parenting is Hard. Suffering is Optional. A Handbook for Parents on the Brink. You can find more information at Amazon.

ADHD AND ANXIETY. Medical News Today explores the interrelationship between ADHD and anxiety, which frequently co-occur in a child. The article covers the connection between the two, signs and symptoms, and treating both. Find it.

DEPRESSION. Researchers at the Academy of Finland have made a discovery revealing new molecular information on how the brain regulates depression and anxiety. In so doing, they identified a new molecule that alleviates anxiety and depressive behavior in rodents. Read more. Separately, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation has posted an article on a new form of non-invasive brain stimulation for the treatment of depression. It's a variant of transcranial magnetic stimulation that could relieve depression more quickly than similar methods. Read more, but remember not to try this at home. 😛

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ADHD, Picky Eaters, Homeschooler's Resource, and More

ADHD NEWS. Medical News Today has published four recent articles on ADHD.
  • A summary of research into the effects of neurofeedback as a treatment for ADHD. It explains what neurofeedback is and lists six studies over the past six years, describing the results of each -- which are mixed. The most recent study, from 2016, is one we wrote about recently and concluded that neurofeedback is not an effective treatment. Find the summary
  • Descriptions of natural remedies for ADHD. A variety of substances are listed, all with tentative wording such as "could reduce" or "may increase." Also covered: "combination therapy" involving several of the natural substances or natural substances along with prescription meds. Find the article
  • The effect of caffeine on people with ADHD. A couple studies are mentioned, along with conditions under which caffeine should probably be avoided (eg, if you have an anxiety disorder). The article also suggests, "Caffeine should only be used as an ADHD treatment in children and teenagers with a doctor's guidance." Find it
  • ADD VERSUS ADHD. Is there a difference? This article explores that question. 
PICKY EATERS. We often see this term in forums devoted to gifted and 2e kiddos. The New York Times covers picky eating "to the extreme" in an article this week, noting that a new disorder, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (Afrid) was added to the most recent edition of the DSM. Got a picky eater at your house? Find the article.

HECHINGER REPORT. This education-focused newsletter has published an article called "School of Me: Letting students study what they want, when they want is the latest education trend." That title should tell you whether or not you'll be interested in reading the article. Find it. NOTE: Be advised that the organization issuing the newsletter can have views some might call liberal.

HOMESCHOOLER'S RESOURCE. A blogger at GeekDad.com makes note of a book called Homeschooling High School with College in Mind. What's interesting is that the author of the book, Betsy Sproger, evidently homeschooled her twice-exceptional daughter and had good success when it came to entering college. Read more.

COUNCIL FOR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN publishes a journal, Exceptional Children, via SAGE Journals. Unlike most SAGE journals, this one is open access. Two articles in the current edition that might be of interest to readers here are:
  • "Writing Characteristics of Students With Learning Disabilities and Typically Achieving Peers"
  • "Which Procedural Parts of the IEP Process Are the Most Judicially Vulnerable?"
Find the articles in the journal's table of contents. 

TiLT PARENTING offers Episode 40 in its podcast series, "What to Do When Close or Extended Family Just Doesn't 'Get It.'" The podcast features parent coach Margaret Webb. Got this problem at your house? Find the podcast.
CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. This week's featured topic is a comparison of ADHD and bipolar disorder, covering the symptom overlap and treatment decisions. Find the article.

ARETE ACADEMY, a 2e-friendly school in the Minneapolis area, is holding a fundraiser on February 11. The event is to be held at the Minnesota Vikings Preview Center, and besides food, liquid refreshments, and auctions, it will feature current and former Vikings players. If you're in the area and in the mood to support a 2e-friendly school, check it out.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

More on Endrew F, 2e in New Zealand, Ability Grouping, and More

MORE ON THE ENDREW F CASE. Just after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the Colorado-based Endrew F case we pointed to new about the arguments in a few media outlets. Here are a few more:
  • Education Week, like other outlets, noted the "blizzard of words" statement by Justice Alito in describing the hour-long hearing. Find the coverage. (And remember Humpty Dumpty: "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
  • Disability Scoop seemed optimistic: "U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared ready Wednesday to clarify and strengthen the rights of the nation’s 6.7 million children with disabilities, perhaps by requiring public schools to offer a special education program that will ensure they can make significant progress." Find the coverage
  • In the Washington Post, Valerie Strauss had some rather withering words ("sickening" was one) for the current state of affairs, noting statistics showing that over the years federal funding for educating students with disabilities has actually dropped in terms of the percentage of the cost. From Strauss' column: "So is minimal educational benefit enough? You may not know exactly what 'minimal' is, but by definition, you wouldn’t want that to be the standard for your child. Is 'some' benefit — which courts have said means progress that is barely above trivial — enough for your child — or somebody else’s?... Or do students with disabilities deserve a standard requiring 'meaningful' benefit, and, if so, what does 'meaningful' mean?" Find her column
  • Finally, Wrightslaw also seems optimistic: "All the special ed lawyers we talked to felt positive about the tone and statements during oral argument. They thought the justices recognized the problems with the current de minimis standard and felt they would come up with a new improved standard." Read more about what special ed attorney Pete Wright has to say. 
2e IN NEW ZEALAND. At the site of Stuff.co.nz is a mom's wrenching account of her son's trials and successes over the years as he moved through the grades (and through different schools). Some of the difficulties make a reader think, "Oh, my." Some of the successes make the reader think, "There's justice in the world." We think this story will resonate with you, because you've almost certainly experienced some of the same things. Find it.

ABILILITY GROUPING, ACCELERATION -- USE THEM. That's what a study from the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University says. After examining a century of research on the topic, study co-author Paula Olszewski-Kubilius stated, “Although acceleration is widely supported by research as an effective strategy for meeting the needs of advanced learners, it’s still rarely used, and most schools do not systematically look for students who need it,” according to the university. Read more about the benefits and findings.

PARENT FOOTPRINT. Dan Peters hosts Dr. Stuart Shanker in a podcast on the topic of self-regulation. From the blurb: "Dr. Dan and Dr. Shanker discuss how self-regulation is the nervous system’s way of managing stress and the fact that before parents can teach their children self-regulation they must master it themselves. The moving discussion highlights the fact that there are no bad kids, and that when you see a child differently you see a different child." Find the podcast.

GIFTED CHALLENGES. "Making it safe to be smart" is the title of the latest blog offering from psychologist Gail Post. She give several reasons why gifted kids can sometimes be targets, for example anti-intellectualism. She concludes, "Ultimately, we might hold more appreciation toward the unique talents we all possess. And gifted children and adults might no longer weather the projections of others' bitterness and insecurity." Find the blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

FAPE and SCOTUS, IEPs and 2e Kiddos, and Lots More

THE SUPREME COURT on January 11 heard arguments in the Endrew F case concerning the benefits schools are required to provide for learners with disabilities -- minimal or meaningful. According to The New York Times, language and cost were concerns of the justices who asked questions or made comments -- whether the court would just come up with another word (like meaningful) that might then be interpreted differently across the country; and the cost of providing whatever required standard of benefits the court defines. Find out more in The New York Times and at CEC's Policy Insider.

IEPS AND THE TWICE EXCEPTIONAL. A writer in The Atlantic tells an unhappy tale of the family's experiences with the IEP process. The article begins, "I am in hell — or its equivalent. Specifically, I am in an IEP (Individual Educational Plan) meeting for my 14-year-old daughter...." The writer notes many things familiar to parents of 2e kiddos, for example teachers not trained to deal with twice exceptionality, or who simply figure a kid can be good in one area and lazy in another. Take your blood pressure meds and read the article. Separately, an article at the site of the AAP outlines the role pediatricians can take in helping parents and families obtain help from school in the form of IEPs or 504s by: being familiar with relevant special ed laws; acting as the medical expert on the IEP team; and clarifying developmental or medical issues. Find the article.

EXERCISE may help with behavior issues, according to research reported at HealthDay. The research focused on kids with issues such as ASD, ADHD, anxiety, and depression. (Sound familiar?) Given time on stationary "cybercycles," the kids were evidently half as likely to "act out in class" compared to times when they had only standard gym classes. Read more. Separately, a study from Norway reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that moderate to vigorous physical activity reduces the likelihood of depression in adolescents and adults. Read more.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has posted new material on how parents can promote self-esteem in their kiddos. At least one of the tips was one we'd never considered as a self-esteem builder, but it makes sense. Find the tips

TiLT PARENTING offers Episode 39 in its podcast series, this one on the topic of goal planning. Debbie Asher wrote a book on goal setting for teen girls, and in this podcast she and her 12yo son discuss goals in the context of the way the goal setter might be differently wired, along with appropriate planning, organizational, and time management skills. Find the podcast.

LD ONLINE, in its January newsletter, focuses on spelling and how it might be affected by dyslexia, ADHD, and various other disorders and conditions. Check it out if spelling is an issue in your house or your classroom.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. "Understanding Dyslexia" is the title of a new feature article at this site -- what it is, its prevalence, signs and indicators, effects, diagnosis, and how to help. Find the feature.

GIFTED ED WEBINARS. The University of California/Irvine is offering a series of free webinars in February on various topics in Gifted Ed. The final one, on February 22, features Lisa Reid, founder of The Reid Day School in Orange County, on "Characteristics of Twice-Exceptional Children." The intended audience for the series includes parents, teachers, and administrators. Educators may receive credit for completing all four webinars. Find out more.

SENG FANS may find the organization's 2016 Annual Report online. Members of the 2e community, BTW, are likely to find plenty of useful resources through SENG.

2e2: TEACHING THE TWICE EXCEPTIONAL. That's the title of the sequel to the movie "2e: Twice Exceptional," and producer Tom Ropelewski has posted a clip from the sequel online. Ropelewski writes, "'2e2' turns the lens on the teachers who face the challenges of engaging and educating these unique, 'outside the box” thinkers.'" Find the clip.

DON'T FORGET that ordering a complete set of 2e Newsletter's "Spotlight on 2e Series" booklets gets a big discount. A bundle of all 10 booklets costs $100, plus $10 shipping in the U.S. Find out more.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Patricia Polacco, Mental Health, Screen Time, and More

AUTHOR PATRICIA POLACCO has written books that have been featured in the column "Bob Seney On Books" in 2e Newsletter, notably Thank You, Mr. Falker and Bully. Polacco, who has dyslexia and didn't learn to read until age 14, was profiled last week in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. If you're a fan, check it out.

FEAR, ANXIETY: NEUROLOGICALLY DIFFERENT. Research discussed at the site of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation describes the differences between fear and anxiety in terms of circuitry in the brain. Hypothesizing that the two emotions are controlled by different circuits, the researches state that this understanding can lead to better treatments. Find the article.

MENTAL HEALTH AT SCHOOL. A writer who is a therapist describes in the Washington Post how schools can better support the 20 percent of students who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Emphasizing a team approach, the writer suggests three main things to improve the daily mental health of students: creating a culture of caring; using morning meetings to connect; and designating "calming corners." Read more.

MEDIA ADDICTION. An Australian writer in The Huffington Post takes on the topic of "addiction" to media, noting that while connectedness can be good for a child, the dopamine released by seeing a "like" can have a downside. The writer provides some guidelines for parents on controlling and monitoring screen time. Find the article. Separately, an M.D. writing in Psychology Today says that children with autism are vulnerable to negative effects from screen time, including hyperarousal and dysregulation as well as "technology addiction." Find the article.

LANDMARK COLLEGE has released two communiques, one from the college proper and the other from its Institute for Research and training. The first provides information that might be of interest to parents and students considering Landmark for college; find it. The second might be of interest for professional development opportunities for those engaged in educating bright young people who learn differently; find it.

GIFTED AND DISTRACTIBLE. Julie Skolnik's most recent newsletter edition is out, with news about a screening of "2e: Twice Exceptional" the movie and this summer's Camp Summit East. Also included: a listing of events in the Washington, D.C., area plus pointers to resources. Find the newsletter.

DEPRESSION, ANXIETY: There's an app for those? Science Daily reports on a suite of 13 mini-apps called IntelliCare which apparently significantly reduced depression and anxiety in study participants, who used the apps on their smartphones up to four times a day. The reductions of 50 percent in anxiety and depression are comparable to results expected in clinical practice using psychotherapy or with antidepressant medication, says the write-up. Find out more.

ONLINE EVENT. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation has scheduled a webinar for January 10 on bipolar disorder. Part of the organization's "Meet the Scientist Series," this webinar is to be presented by Fritz Hen, M.D. and Ph.D. Find out more.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

FAPE, OCR, ADHD in Girls, ASD and GI Issues, and More

WRIGHTSLAW reports that the Endrew F case, over the difference between "some" and "meaningful" educational benefits, is to be heard by the Supreme Court on January 11. Endrew's parents pulled him from public school, placed him in a private school, and requested reimbursement from the district. The case is expected to bring, hopefully, some nationwide uniformity to the criteria for FAPE. Read more.

MORE ON CIVIL RIGHTS. Earlier we posted on Education Week's coverage of the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights guidance for students with disabilities. CEC's Policy Insider has also reported on the issuance of that guidance, with pointers to the guidance documents. Find the CEC coverage.

ADHD IN GIRLS. Medical News Today has published an article on ADHD in girls, noting that they be undiagnosed because their symptoms can be different. The article covers signs and symptoms, differences from ADHD in boys, and treatment. Find the article.

ASD, GI ISSUES. Many children diagnosed with ASD also have significant gastrointestinal issues. New research suggests that those issues may be related to an increased cortisol reaction to stress. The researchers hope the finding could lead to better treatments, according to a write-up at Science Daily.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE currently features a piece on mindfulness on its website, which says "mindfulness is a meditation practice that begins with paying attention to breathing in order to focus on the here and now — not what might have been or what you’re worried could be. The ultimate goal is to give you enough distance from disturbing thoughts and emotions to be able to observe them without immediately reacting to them." The article covers topics such how to introduce it to your child, among other things. Find it.

ASSISTIVE TECH. The publication District Administrator has published a roundup of education assistive technology, some of which you might not have heard of. How about "blended curriculum [that] is designed for students ages 3 and up who have language delays"? Or a new app from Learning Ally, which helps students who learn through listening? Or WordQ, "a new, simple text-editing app that features word prediction and speech feedback"? Find out more.

ANXIETY, DEPRESSION IN COLLEGE. According to Rhode Island Public Radio, college counseling centers can struggle to keep up with the needs of students because of the increase in the incidence of anxiety, depression, and similar conditions in the student "body." The number of students seeking help is growing much faster than enrollments. If you've got a 2e kiddo in or one the way to college, perhaps check out the article.

GETTING INTO COLLEGE. Another NPR feature has the tabloid-tilted title, "What the People Who Read Your College Application Really Think," and it provides a behind-the-scenes look at how admissions committee members evaluate prospective students. But it also provides three good tips for applicants. Find the feature.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2e Conference, Civil Rights, ADHD, Depression, and More

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We hope it's a good one for you and that 2e kiddo you raise, educate, or counsel. 
Greeting courtesy of Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory, pennies in a pond.

GOING TO "BREAKTHROUGHS"? The annual "Breakthroughs in Twice-Exceptional Education" conference in New York City is scheduled for March 15-16 this year. Conference co-presenters Quad Prep and AEGUS are offering an early-bird registration special -- but the offer's only good through January 15. Find out more about the conference and the offer.

PERSONALIZED LEARNING can be a huge advantage for a gifted or twice-exceptional learner. For a primer on the concept, and to see what might be needed to actually implement the concept, see a recent story in Forbes.

CIVIL RIGHTS apply to your 2e child if he or she has an exceptionality that qualifies as a disability. Education Week provides a nice wrap-up of where we stand after the release of new guidance documents from the U.S. Department of Education. Those documents, explained and linked to, are:

  • A parent and educator guide to Section 504
  • Guidelines for restraint and seclusion
  • Notice that charter school students have the same protections as traditional public school students.
Find the article.

PEDIATRICIANS AND MENTAL HEALTH. Want to know what the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests for pediatricians in terms of providing mental health services while at the same time reducing attendant legal risks? With pediatricians assuming some of the duties of those scarce child psychiatrists, it might be worthwhile to know the challenges pediatricians can face in providing mental health care -- if for nothing else to understand the limits of what your pediatrician might be able and willing to do. Find the guidance.

ADHD AND DEPRESSION. Medical News Today has posted an article on the connection of ADHD to depression, noting that up to 70 percent of those with ADHD will have symptoms of depression at some time or another. The article deals with symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and support of the child with ADHD. Find the article.

TREATMENT FOR PEDIATRIC DEPRESSION. A study published last November compared three therapies for young people 11-17 diagnosed with major depression. The therapies were CBT, psychoanalytic therapy, or psychosocial intervention. About 50 percent of the participants improved, regardless of the therapy. Journal Watch commented this way on the study: "The finding that six sessions of a psychosocial intervention, administered by trained clinicians, was as effective as specialized therapies should help to strongly encourage its implementation."

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has posted an "Ask the Experts" column dealing with how the diagnosis of LD in one child might affect other children in the family -- and what to do about it. Find the column.

DON'T FORGET that on our website you can find a variety of 2e-related resources. For example, if you're looking for something to help you explain to others (grandparents, teachers, administrators, pediatricians, etc) what twice exceptionality is all about, there are several articles available, including a comprehensive primer by ex-journalist Micaela Bracamonte, founder of The Lang School. Find the articles.