Tuesday, October 25, 2016

David Flink Interview, Parenting, Boredom, Screen Time, and More

FOR YOU -- AND YOUR 2e KIDDO. David Flink, while still in college, founded the mentoring organization Eye to Eye, which matches college students who have LDs with younger, similar students who can use mentoring. In a TiLT podcast, David is interviewed by 12-year-old Asher, the son of TiLT's founder. (TiLT is for parents of "differently wired" kids -- probably like yours, if you're reading here regularly.) We suggest that the 2e kiddo you raise or teach might enjoy listening to this podcast for several reasons. One, Asher is obviously a very bright young person with a sense of humor who speaks frankly and with wit about his own ADHD. Two, David relates remarkably well to kids like Asher, and the conversation is interesting and substantive as he shares his early experiences as well as his current work. Near the end of the podcast Asher asks what advice David would give to kids like Asher, and David give three key and inspiring points:
  1. Be proud of who you are.
  2. Know that you are learning-enabled.
  3. Get your community in line. Find your people, you're not alone.
Listen to the podcast. Separately, TiLT's newest podcast is titled "The Unique Challenges of Raising a Differently-Wired Child of Color." Find it.

STRESS. Our friends at the Belin-Blank Center have posted tips for recognizing and helping manage stress in students. Find it.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has just published an article in which a young college graduate recounts ways her mother helped as daughter grew up with dyslexia. Mom found ways to help daughter keep up with books friends were talking about; learn math and spelling skills; engage in activities that fostered self-efficacy; and more. Find the artlcle.

THE GIFTED SIDE OF 2e is what psychologist Gail Post writes about in her most recent blog posting, titled "Boredom, school, and the gifted child." She lists four things that must change to eliminate boredom in the classroom for the gifted kid:

  1. Recognizing that gifted kids are different
  2. Providing appropriate services
  3. Eliminating certain misconceptions concerning giftedness
  4. Adopting legal provisions for gifted services. 
If your kiddo is bored, see what Gail Post wants to do.

SPECIAL FONTS FOR DYSLEXIA? There are differences of opinion on whether they help. Find out more.

SCREEN TIME FOR KIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidelines for the amount of and kind of screen time kids should be exposed to. According to USA Today, one of the guideline's authors says screen time, “is not evil, it does not need to be avoided. It just needs to be balanced with all the other things kids need.” Find out more in USA Today, The Washington Post, or the LA Times.

POSTING ABOUT KIDS. Parents who post online about their children create a digital footprint, often starting shortly after birth. A presenter at the AAP's annual conference in San Francisco discusses the risks involved in disclosing information about children and offers guidelines for parents about sharing. He notes that the first kids to be spotlighted on social media by their parents are now entering adulthood. From a write-up of the presentation: "The authors propose public health based, best-practice guidelines that include encouraging parents to familiarize themselves with the privacy policies of the sites they use, to post anonymously if they choose to share about their children's behavioral struggles, and to give their child 'veto power' over online disclosures, including images, quotes, accomplishments, and challenges. They also advise never to share pictures that show their children in any state of undress or share their child's actual location in a post." Too strict? Just right? Read more.

ADHD INTO ADULTHOOD. Sixty percent of children with ADHD in a recent study demonstrated persistence of symptoms into their mid-20's, and 41 percent had both symptoms and impairment as young adults, according to a new study. One key in the research: asking family members about an adult's potential ADHD behaviors. Read more.

THE BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION has recently published two articles on the topic of depression:

  • One is about efforts to develop a fast-acting drug that can alleviate treatment-resistant depression, based on research indicating that the drug ketamine's antidepressant effects are actually caused by a metabolite of the drug and not the drug itself, which is addictive and has undesirable side effects. Find the article
  • The other article is about a mouse study of SSRI antidepressants indicating that the drugs can decrease bone density. More research needs to be done, and the article states, "The [research] team is not able to say whether the mechanisms observed in the mice are the same as those operating in humans." But this could be a heads-up for any family with a member who takes an SSRI. Find the article.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mental Health in Kids, Grade-skipping, "Gifted," and More

MENTAL HEALTH is an important component of twice exceptionality. Some of our 2e kiddos have a disorder by definition, with conditions such as ADHD. Now Atlantic Online says that in the U.S. there are "more than 17 million young people who meet criteria for disorders that affect their ability to learn, behave, and express their emotions." Putting it that way makes mental health even more important. The article stresses the importance of getting access to mental health resources as early as possible to mitigate later problems. Find the article.

GRADE-SKIPPING is the topic of an article at the site of the Huffington Post, and the article is co-authored by a member of 2e Newsletter's Editorial Advisory Board, Susan Assouline. The article notes that that age-based grade assignment leads some students to boredom, and that grade-skipping, with a presumed increase in intellectual stimulation, could be an answer. The article describes short- and long-term benefits, but also covers the caveat of whether the prospective grade-skipper is mature enough. A link in the article points to a scale to help parents decide about grade-skipping. Find the article.

THE GIFTED LABEL is the subject of constant debate among parents and educators. On the pro side, Lisa van Gemert offers "8 Reasons You Should Label Kids as Gifted." Two of the reasons deal with getting support. Find the reasons.

PARENT FOOTPRINT PODCAST is a resource developed by psychologist Dan Peters, aka Dr. Dan. According to its website, it is "a podcast and interactive online community where our mission is to make the world a better place — one parent and one child at a time. New shows air every first and third Thursday of the month." Currently available -- podcasts by experts on the topics of discipline, the dyslexic advantage (by you-know-who), creativity, social learning, and more. Find the podcasts. NOTE: The site also offers the new "Parent Footprint Awareness Training, a fee-based, online path to "discover a new vision of successful parenting."

ANXIETY "is the birthright of the gifted," write Linda Silverman and Linda Powers Leviton at the site of the Gifted Development Center. They continue: "You don't have to be gifted to be anxious, but it helps." Read more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE NEWSLETTER for October is out. Not sure how the publishers cram so much information into one issue, but here's what's in it: "How to Be Invincible, Dean Kamen, Inventor, October is Dyslexia Awareness Month - What Will YOU Do?, Can People with Dyslexia Learn Speed Reading? How Can My Student Be Tested for Dyscalculia? Karina Eide Young Writers Awards and College Scholarships, How to Read to Kids with Dyslexia, Choosing the Right Reading Level Books for Students with Dyslexia, Math Strategies for Arithmetic - Number Flexiblity, Research: Brain Changes During Literacy Development, News from Our Community: Museum Exhibit Creator Michael Graham and Davis Graham (no relation to Michael), an adult learner graduates from Brandeis, Maelee's Dyslexia Presentation at School, Great Apps - Spelling, Math, and Organization, and Dyslexia in the News." Find the newsletter.

LANDMARK COLLEGE, which focuses on students with learning differences, has distributed the latest issue of its "Insider" newsletter. If you're interested in "points of entry" to the college for that 2e kiddo you know, of if you're interested in Landmark's contributions to the practice of educating students who learn differently, check out the newsletter.

SENG WEBINAR. On October 27th the organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted offers a webinar titled "How to Help the Gifted become a Social-Emotional ACE: Ten Steps to Building Social-Emotional Resilience & Empowerment." A fee applies. Find out more.

2e RESOURCES. The website of the Indiana Association for the Gifted has a section containing resources for the 2e community -- parents, professionals, kids, and teens. Find it, and way to go IAG!

WRIGHTSLAW offers more information about evaluations in its most recent Special Ed Advocate. If an evaluation is in your game plan, check out the issue.

LEARNING RIGHTS is an interesting term, and it's also a movement. One advocate is David Flink, of Eye to Eye. In a TiLT podcast Mr. Flink is interviewed by 12-year-old Asher, the son of TiLT's founder. Find the podcast.

ADHD -- SOMETHING TO KNOW. There's some evidence that bone density is lower among young people who take stimulant medications for ADHD. Find out more.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Portland Followup, OCD, Scholarship, Advocacy, More

PORTLAND FOLLOW-UP. Officials in the Portland, Oregon, public school district have acknowledged the "appearance of an impermissible reliance on consideration of a disabling condition" in considering students for entry to its gifted program." As you might remember, district personnel were caught annotating program applications with comments such as "Asperger's." The parents of 2e students in the district filed complaints. The story has been reported by OregonLive.com. Find the latest story.

LAST WEEK WAS OCD AWARENESS WEEK, and The Washington Post published a couple articles on the topic. In one, columnist Valerie Strauss provided some background on the incidence and onset of OCD as an introduction to an account of of "what OCD does to a young mind when it grows unchecked." Find the article. In the second article, Strauss provided information on what OCD looks like in school children. Find the article.

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY. Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities has opened the application process for the 2017 Fred J.Epstein Youth Achievement Award. According to the organization, the awards "celebrate outstanding accomplishments of young people with LD and ADHD who have already done amazing things, leaving an indelible mark on their schools and communities." Entry deadline: December 31. Find out more.

AUTISM SPEAKS, an 11-year-old non-profit advocacy organization, has changed its charter. It no longer includes seeking a cure for ASD. Disability Scoop reports on the revised mission statement of the organization; read more.

DYSLEXIA. A special educator writing at SmartBrief.com describes how she discovered that her husband was dyslexic, and how she wound up with two dyslexic children. She offers some information on what dyslexia is and isn't. Of special note is her participation in Utah's Decoding Dyslexia movement which was instrumental in enacting state legislation to improve screening and intervention for students with dyslexia. Find the article (and see how her husband's reading skills turned out).

THE NEUROSCIENCE OF PHOBIAS is the title of a webinar on October 18 from 5:30 to 8 Eastern Time. Registration by midnight tonight (the 17th) is required. Find out more. (We think this is a webinar and not a live event; the description is not clear. Hopefully registrants are told whether to show up online or in person in Washington, DC.)

UNDERSTOOD WEBINAR. On October 20, Understood is offering a webinar titled "Talking to Your Child About ADHD and Dyslexia." Understood says the webinar will offer tips for discussing your child's issues. Find out more.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT. We pointed to an article recently that emphasized the importance of really listening to what your child tells you, something many of us probably can use periodic reminders about. A discerning reader (thanks, Diane) noticed something we didn't -- that the article also mentioned the writer's use of spanking as a punishment. We want to state that we do not condone spanking or other forms of corporal punishment. And, by coincidence, Education Week is offering a free webinar on the topic; find out more.

PARENT MEET-UP. Parents of 2e kiddos in the San Luis Obispo, California, area are invited to meet with others on October 25 at 6:30 p.m. Find out more.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Mental Health, Little Blue Pills, High-Stakes Testing, and More

A CAUTIONARY TALE OF ADDERALL appears in The New York Times Magazine. A young adult weaves her own experiences with the drug together with research on Adderall's effects and a history of its development and marketing. The writer describes the effects on her life of unprescribed and prescribed little blue pills -- the seeming ability to concentrate and accomplish school work, days without real sleep, changes in behavior patterns, a drug-induced anxiety attack, and more. If you have a young person who takes stimulant meds for ADHD, you might want to read this article.

DYSLEXIA AWARENESS MONTH. That's October, and a writer at Education Dive writes about dyslexia with words that can apply to any of the "e's": “The idea of unmotivated kids is a myth. If you see a kid who doesn’t want to learn, there’s a reason for it. Let’s find out what that is.” Among the points in the article: strategies for helping dyslexic students learn to read are well established; identification should happen early; and teachers might need extra training. Find the article.

2e MOVIE PROTAGONIST? There's a new movie out, "The Accountant," a pretty mundane title. Disability Scoop describes the movie this way: "an action thriller set in the world of corporate finance featuring a CPA with autism and savant-level math abilities and the deadly skills of a Jason Bourne-style assassin." Interested? Read more.

MENTAL HEALTH PARITY is the topic of a couple items in the news this week. One is in Forbes, where a psychiatrist describes what he sees as a major flaw in our health system: "the need for behavioral health care far outweighs its availability, in part because our system does not value or pay for it on par with medical and surgical care." He notes that this flaw has "devastating" consequences. Find the article. The second item was in conjunction with a series of articles to mark National Mental Health Awareness week, this week. The Press of Atlantic City noted Patrick Kennedy's advocacy for better mental health care, and quoted him as saying, "We have to flood the system with more money to build it up with more counselors, to build more facilities, get reimbursement for therapies, for treatment in schools, the criminal justice system and the workforce." Any parent who's had to find and pay for effective mental health care for a 2e kiddo will agree with that statement, we believe. Find the article.


  • Newswise presents a piece called "Fact or Fiction: ADHD" to dispel myths and misconceptions about the condition. Find it
  • Science Daily reports on research indicating that children of mothers who took vitamin D during pregnancy with resultant high levels of the vitamin in the umbilical blood have fewer symptoms of ADHD at the age of 2½ years. Find it
HIGH STAKES TESTING. The dean of admissions at Worcester Polytechnic Institute explains why the school no longer will require prospective students to supply PSAT scores. The explanation notes biases in the test that are based on family income, race/ethnicity, and gender. If you're wondering how high-stakes testing might affect that 2e kiddo you raise or teach, check out this article.

COUNTERPOINT. Recently we pointed to a news item, a research write-up, that seemed to indicate that brain training games weren't effective. Last Friday, Education Week published an article titled "Yes, Brain Training Actually Can Work When Done Correctly." Find it, but rest assured that we haven't heard or read the last of this issue.

TiLT PARENTING has issued Podcast 29, "What It Takes to Live a Healthy, Fulfilled Life as Mother to a Differently-Wired Kid." (Is that a challenge? :-) ) Find it.

WRIGHTSLAW tells, in Special Ed Advocate, what to do when you need to obtain an assessment/evaluation for your child: what the law requires, benefits, and how to find an independent evaluator. An effective evaluation will be the foundation for planning and obtaining services for a child who struggles academically. Find Special Ed Advocate.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Scott Barry Kaufman on 2e, Black & 2e Achiever, Advocacy, More

THE IQ TEST. Scott Barry Kaufman, in a four-minute video at Big Think, discusses the need for new ways to assess intelligence, ways that will better evaluate twice-exceptional students. The video is engagingly titled "The Search for Intelligent Life? Start by Re-Designing the IQ Test." He urges parents and educators to keep keep an eye out for as many indicators of creativity and intelligence as possible, and suggests that besides tests evaluators ask parents and teachers for their input on a child's strengths. He notes how averaging the subtests in an IQ instrument can do a disservice to 2e kiddos. Find the video. Way to go, Scott Barry Kaufman!

IT'S COLUMBUS DAY in the U.S. Issues of imperialism aside, for your bright kiddo who has a sense of humor (or for you) we recommend Stan Freberg's audio version of the discovery of the "New World," a fanciful version of history. There's a two-minute "overture" to the entire album, but then we get to Ferdinand, Isabella, Chris, and the adventure. Listen to "Columbus Discovers America." (Or do the indigenous people discover him?)

SPECIAL ED WAREHOUSE TO PhD. Shawn Anthony Robinson is dyslexic. At the site of Inside Higher Ed he tells the story, in prose and poetry, of his journey as a twice-exceptional black man through years of academe to his goal. Read the story.

FOLLOW-UP. In the September/October issue of 2e Newsletter we noted the advocacy efforts of a group of parents working under the auspices of Decoding Dyslexia/Virginia to enact state legislation to help dyslexic students, specifically by requiring that teachers be giving a certain amount of training in identifying and intervening in cases of dyslexia. You can read more about that advocacy effort in Richmond Family Life.

THE WASHINGTON POST, in its "Parenting" and "Education" sections, often offers thoughtful opinion or observations relevant to the 2e community. Recently the Post ran:

  • A first-person account of "private school guilt" stemming from withdrawing a child from the public school system. Find it
  • How a mother helped her child pay attention in class by changing her (the mom's) listening habits. Find the story
  • The third in a series of interviews with experts on education on what they'd do if they ran the U.S. Department of Education. This interview is with Howard "Multiple Intelligences" Gardner. He'd emphasize liberal arts and sciences. He foresees the states regaining "the principle agency" of education. He doesn't talk about multiple intelligences, but rather broader issues. Read more
BRAIN TRAINING GAMES. A systematic review of the scientific studies cited by brain-training companies as evidence that their products improve cognition in daily life finds no convincing evidence to support those claims. While people tend to improve on the specific tasks they practice, the researchers report, the conclusion that computerized brain-training programs yield broader cognitive benefits or improve real-world outcomes for their users is premature at best. Read more.

DEALING WITH CONFLICT. Parents of 2e kiddos sometimes find themselves in conflict with school authorities. Given that, it's of interest to read what one school principal writes, at TED.com, on ways to deal with conflict. Her writing is from the principal's point of view, but the tips -- involving "centering," rules of engagement, listening, and acknowledging -- can also be useful to counter-parties. Find the tips.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Special Ed, Cursive, ADHD, and More

TEXAS, THE FEDS, & SPECIAL ED. The U.S. Department of Education is coming down on the state of Texas for its alleged capping of special ed services at a percentage of students significantly less than other states serve -- 8.5 percent versus a national average of about 13 percent. “It appears that the state’s approach... may be resulting in districts’ failure to identify and evaluate all students suspected of having a disability and who need special education," wrote a D.O.E. official, according to Disability Scoop. Read more.

HANDWRITING WARS. We have the feeling that for lots of families with 2e kiddos handwriting is an issue -- and that the issue can be compounded by the *style* of handwriting required by the teacher or the school. We're talking about cursive. Thanks to a reader who has a son with dysgraphia and bad experiences with cursive, we point you to an article titled "Cursive Handwriting and Other Education Myths," written by a (left-handed) writer/author. Find the article, and thanks, Nancy!

ADHD AND THE LAW. Wrightslaw devotes an issue of Special Ed Advocate to students with ADHD, covering the recent U.S. D.O.E. guidance for schools concerning those students; how students with ADHD are entitled to special ed services; and legal resources and information concerning ADHD students. Find Special Ed Advocate.

A CHICAGO-AREA FILM-MAKER wants to create a documentary titled "Behind the Silence" about a young couple with a son whose diagnosis of autism is affecting their marriage. The topic is likely to resonate with families in the 2e community. If you'd like to find out more about the film and consider "crowd-funding" it, go to this page. Find out more about the filmmaker here.

TiLT's most recent podcast is titled "Understanding and Combating Negative Stigmas Associated with Neurological Differences." TiLT's founder interviews Ann Douglas, author of Parenting Through the Storm. Find the podcast.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has posted about low-tech assistive technology, noting that there's a lot more to A.T. than "the latest and greatest high-tech gadgetry." For example, don't neglect the old yellow highlighter. Find out more.

SLOW PROCESSING SPEED, a topic of interest to many in the 2e community, is to be addressed in a event put on by Transdisciplinary Workshops on November 29 in Maine. The full title: "Bright Kids Who Can't Keep Up: Helping Your Child Overcome Slow Processing Speed, and Succeed in a Fast-Paced World." Find out more.
DEPRESSION is the topic of several recent studies or articles.
  • GoodTherapy.org writes how collaborative care, involving doctors, family support, and a depression case manager -- can be an effective approach for adolescent depression. Find the article
  • A press release notes that Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered a new pathway in the brain that can be manipulated to alleviate depression. The pathway offers a promising new target for developing a drug that could be effective in individuals for whom other antidepressants have failed. Find the release
  • And an article at The Huffington Post is titled "9 Things People with High-Functioning Depression Want You to Know." Find the article
HORMONES AND THERAPY. If your bright kiddo gets counseling for anxiety, fears, or phobia, it might serve that kiddo best if you schedule counseling sessions for the morning, if new research is to be believed. That's because levels of cortisol are highest in the morning, and that hormone "is thought to facilitate fear extinction in certain therapeutic situations," according to a press release. Read more.
ADHD, DOGS, AND BLOOD MARKERS. Apparently mechanisms of ADHD in dogs are similar to those in humans, and scientists have found markers in the blood of dogs who are hyperactive. One of the researchers says, according to Medical News Today, "Our discovery supports the existing belief that human and canine diseases are similar, which suggests dogs can serve as excellent models for human illnesses." Read more.

Monday, October 3, 2016

IDEA and FAPE, Hypertension and Cognition, ADHD, and More

SCOTUS, IDEA, AND FAPE. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case where the issue is how much of an educational benefit schools must confer for students protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. What is a free and appropriate public education for these students? The case was filed in Colorado by the parents of a boy with ASD who had pulled their son from public school, placed him in a private school, and sought reimbursement from the public school district. In spite of defeats in the hearing process, district court, and the court of appeals, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, possibly to resolve differing standards across the U.S. Find more at Disability Scoop; at Education Week; or in the Denver Post. This will be a big deal for the 2e community, as for all students covered by IDEA.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE IN KIDS. Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, has increased significantly in children, paralleling the current childhood obesity epidemic. Researchers have now found that hypertension is associated with cognitive issues in children and adolescents. Read a study write-up; read more in The New York Times.

THE CHANGING FACE OF ADHD. Is it bad behavior? Should kids with ADHD be stigmatized? How should it be treated? What effect do different learning styles play? An article at "LifeZette" covers recent history and current thinking on the condition, from what looks like a perspective that prefers to avoid meds. Find the article.

GIFTED AND DISTRACTIBLE. Julie Skolnick shares lots of resources in her most recent newsletter, including blogs, articles, event coverage, a book review, and some upcoming events in the Washington, DC, area. Find the newsletter.

PERSPECTIVE ON ACCELERATION. If your kiddo could use acceleration but doesn't get it, you might be interested in a psychologist blogger's interpretation of the reasons why it's not more available. "Elitism" is one reason. Find the blog.

UNDERSTOOD. Don't forget that this organization offers a Tech Finder listing "expert-approved apps and games" for kids with learning and attention issues. Find it.

PARENT SUPPORT GROUP. The organization Twice Exceptional Children's Advocacy (TECA) offers, among other resources, online parent support groups. The next one is Wednesday, October 5, at 8pm E.T. Find out more about TECA and its support groups.

PEDIATRICIANS SPOTTING DEPRESSION. According to Newswise, new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics encourage pediatricians to screen patients for depression and tendencies to suicide. The article states, "The new guidelines would make questioning about mental health a routine part of every pediatric visit." Read more.