Friday, March 27, 2015

Another Step Forward, Common Core, ADHD, and Name that Book!

ONE MORE STEP FORWARD. Every news article about twice exceptionality is a step forward for the 2e community, and the latest article appears at the site Science 2.0, explaining to readers that yes, you can be gifted and LD at the same time. The article says "current U.S. research suggests that 14 percent who are identified as being intellectually gifted may also have a learning disability." Interestingly, the article seems to imply that only 4 percent of kids in the general population have an LD, a figure we think is probably way low. The article covers identifying 2e students, the consequences of not being recognized, and what needs to be done. Find the article

COMMON CORE. U.S. News points out some of the disparity between fact and rhetoric when it comes to political statements about Common Core. For example: do we need to "repeal every word of Common Core"? Is it really a federal law? If you're confused about -- or just tired of -- politically-inspired assertions about Common Core, check out the article. Disclaimer: the politicians whose assertions are fact-checked in this article are Republican presidential aspirants; if there was more than one Democratic aspirant, we'd probably be reading fact-checks on those as well. 

2e: TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL, the movie -- the world tour continues. Filmmaker Tom Ropelewski notes that the documentary will be screened at the Silver Springs International Film Festival in Ocala, Florida, on April 9th; find out more. The next screening currently scheduled after that is at Arete Academy, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, on June 6th; find out more

JACK KENT COOKE GRANTS. In recognition of the many barriers facing high-performing, low-income students interested science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has awarded $1,632,598 in STEM-focused educational grants. Recipients include the New York Academy of Sciences, Duke University TIP, Purdue University, the College of William and Mary,and others. Read more

ADHD CARE should be collaborative and "family centered," according to researchers. Collaborative care may vary depending on the amount of time care managers spend training parents and interacting with families. One goal is to reduce "coercive parenting," something none of us in the 2e community surely have never been guilty of. :-(  Read more about collaborative ADHD care. 

ANXIETY AND MINDFULNESS are the topics of a new interview at the site of the Child Mind Institute -- how being in the present can reduce anxiety that comes from thinking of the past and future, how mindfulness is not so much a ritual but a habit incorporated into daily life, and how you can model mindfulness to your children. The interviewee points out, by the way, that children are by their very nature focused on the moment and "mindful," and how "we sort of beat that out of them" as they get older. Find the interview

THE RISE IN IQ. We wrote recently about how aggregate IQ scores tend to increase over time, which some call the "Flynn Effect." Now researchers say that it might be simply more schooling and more rigorous curricula that cause the change. This would contradict what's been called the "dumbing down" of American schools. Wondering about this? Check out a write-up of the research. 

BRAINWORKS, the Carrolton, Texas, educational center that has been working with twice-exceptional kids since before there was a term "twice exceptional," is holding its 30th summer camp for 2e kids, with sessions in June, July, and August. In the geographic area? Check it out. In addition, Brainworks founder Carla Crutsinger has posted a video on twice-exceptionality and the work that Brainworks does; find it.

STUDIES ON ADHD, WORKING MEMORY. The journal PLOS One has three studies right now relating to ADHD or working memory for you to peruse:
  • Baseline Omega-3 Index Correlates with Aggressive and Attention Deficit Disorder Behaviours in Adult Prisoners; find it
  • Benefits of a Working Memory Training Program for Inattention in Daily Life: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis; find it
  • Measurement of the Effect of Physical Exercise on the Concentration of Individuals with ADHD; find it.
PLUS MORE ITEMS that we're out of time for right now. Read them in next week's briefing!

AND FINALLY, THIS. Gifted Potential Press is publishing a book about gifted adults, and James Webb is soliciting input on the book's title. You can choose from one of the prospective titles listed at GPP's site or suggest one of your own. So, O Gifted Adult, what would you call a book about yourself? Participate.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Growing Up Gifted, Fish Oil, Antipsychotics, More

HORRIBLE TO GROW UP GIFTED? Some people think so, evidently. The site Business Insider collected comments from a Reddit thread on whether being labeled gifted helped or harmed. Business Insider lists 20 reasons thread contributors were not pleased with the label. Find the reasons, and see if they apply to that gifted kid you know (or to you). Note: the thread attracted over 6500 comments.

NCLB is being debated and probably rewritten. For an overview of the law, stakeholders' issues with it, and possible changes, see a New York Times article from last Sunday.

FISH OIL AND ADHD. Another study has shown that omega-3 fatty acids of the type found in fish oil might, to a degree, ameliorate symptoms of ADHD. This study was on boys and was conducted in the Netherlands. Read more.

AUTISTIC BRAIN DIFFERENCES. A new way of analyzing MRI images has highlighted certain areas of the brain involved in autistic symptoms. A press release on the study said that the identified differences include key systems involved with brain functions relating to autism. The researchers think that the new methodology could also be useful for studying ADHD and OCD, among other disorders. Read more.

ANTIPSYCHOTICS: FOLLOWUP. A few weeks ago we blogged about the use of antipsychotic meds (in kids) for conditions such as autism and ADHD. An article at TheConversation.com by a psychiatrist provides more context on prescribing these medicines to children. If any medical professional has ever mentioned Risperdal, Seroquel, or Abilify to you, perhaps check out this article.

WRIGHTSLAW visits the topic of IEP changes -- who reviews, how often, and how they get revised. Got one in your family? Check out Special Ed Advocate.

Friday, March 20, 2015

2e Myths, Brain Scans, Medical Education for All, and More

2e LEARNERS is the name of a website for parents and educators in the Baltimore, Maryland, area. The organizer of the site has posted a number of articles recently that are of interest to the 2e community in general, not just to those crabcake-loving Easterners. For example, education consultant Mike Postma wrote on myths connected with twice-exceptional students; find his article. And Elizabeth Bodnar, Ph.D., wrote about testing and assessment specific to twice-exceptional students; find her article. And early on in the website's existence, way last year, GT/LD advocate Ken Dickson (from Baltimore) was profiled; find it.

25 YEARS OF BRAIN SCANS are the subject of a study published recently in the journal Neuropsychopharmachology (whew!), with several notable findings. First, scans 
evidently cannot as yet be used for diagnosis. That said, the scans revealed that in children with ADHD several brain structures are smaller, and that certain developmental processes (eg, cortical thinning/pruning) occurs later than in typically developing children. And the brain structure and development of children with childhood-onset schizophrenia also showed "dramatic" differences compared to typically developing children. Read more.

WEBINAR TODAY. Understood offers a webinar today (Friday) titled "Tips to Help Kids with Sensory Processing Issues." To be presented by Amanda Morin, the event is scheduled at 3pm ET. Find out more.

MEDS IN COLLEGE. If you have a child taking meds for ADHD or some other "e," chances are he or she might still be taking those meds in college -- without oversight. An article at the site of the Child Mind Institute offers advice for helping your child learn how to manage meds independently. Find the article.

BREASTFEEDING BENEFITS include higher adult IQ and earning ability. There's not much you can do now for that 5- or 10- or 15-year-old, but that's what a newly published study tells us, at any rate. Find out more. Separately, another study of happenings slightly later than infancy shows that dad's mood -- as well as mom's -- can affect the behavior of toddlers. The study author notes, "New father should be screened and treated for post-partum depression, just as we do for mothers." Read more at HealthDay. Still a little later in a child's life span -- and also from HealthDay -- a study of the diets of kids 2-11 indicates that bad diets early can presage health problems later on, as adults. Find out more.

KATHERINE ELLISON. The author of Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention has lots of feature articles posted at the site of ADDitude. Find them.

FROM THE UNIVERSITIES. Today we encountered a string of press releases from universities on items of possible interest to parents and educators of twice-exceptional children.
  • A Penn State "Medical Minute" gives a refresher on the use of the ever-popular time-out technique, telling when other techniques might be used first to good effect. Find it
  • Northwestern University's Family Institute is offering a North Shore event on April 10th titled "Straight A's and Stressed: Navigating Childhood, Teen, and Young Adult Anxiety." Find out more
  • The University of Louisville has launched a free, open-access medical education series. Using lectures and grand rounds, the series was inspired by open source and open content trends on the Internet. “Our goal is to teach the world medicine," says one of the program's leaders. Read more. (Chances are a lecture on "Emergency Stroke Care" won't help you much with your 2e child, but there is a lecture on "Mood Disorders" and another on "Psychiatry" at the YouTube channel for this program.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Teaching the Twice Exceptional, Some Newsletters, Free Webinar, More

IT'S BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK, March 16-22, and you can find your gateway to events highlighting brain research at the site of the Dana Foundation. Go there.

READING ROCKETS, a few years ago, produced a program called "A Chance to Read: Twice Exceptional." About 10 minutes of that show is posted on YouTube, and the first "story" in that 10 minutes is about Dennis Higgins teaching in a self-contained classroom for elementary twice-exceptional students in New Mexico. Before his retirement from teaching, Dennis was a very active contributor to the 2e community through research, writing, teaching, and presentation; he continues to provide moral support. Also shown in Dennis' segment -- his wife, Professor Elizabeth Nielsen; and Mary Ruth Coleman of the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina. Watch the video.

THE DAVIDSON INSTITUTE eNews-Update for March is out. In it you'll find an update on the Intel Science Talent Search; a pointer to information how Common Core State Standards will affect gifted education; Davidson news; legislative and policy news; and a variety of web-based resources. And if you want to see what kind of young person graduates from Davidson Academy, check out the profile in the newsletter of a 2010 alumna. Find the newsletter.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE has issued its March newsletter. If you'd like to keep up with what this fast-moving organization is up to, check out the newsletter for information on the "Because I'm Dyslexic" contest; an upcoming webinar by a top science teacher who is dyslexic; the results of the Karina Eide awards; and much more.

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. On March 19, ADDitude is hosting a free webinar by the authors of the book Bright Not Broken. The webinar is titled "ADHD and Gifted? Helping Twice-Exceptional Kids Succeed." Find out more.

SSRIs AND PEDIATRIC ANXIETY. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), commonly used to treat depression, have been called safe for treating anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. The pronouncement, according to Medscape, was made in a study write-up in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Find out more.

ART AND WRITING COMPETITION. The nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers has announced the national winners of the 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12. More than 300,000 works of art and writing were submitted for adjudication at the regional level in the Awards' 28 categories, which include poetry, painting, architecture, short story, fashion design, and more. Sixteen high school seniors received the program's highest national honor, the Portfolio Gold Medal, which includes a $10,000 cash scholarship. Find out more about the winners and the competition.

AND FINALLY, THIS. According to a new study, listening to classical music can enhance the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic neurotransmission, learning and memory; and down-regulate the genes mediating neurodegeneration, implying a neuroprotective effect. Several of the up-regulated genes were known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds, suggesting a common evolutionary background of sound perception across species. Read more.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Aspie Enterpreneur, Overvalued Kids, Severe Media Control

"COMING OUT" WITH ASPERGER'S. A California entrepreneur, already wealthy, was first diagnosed at age 38 with Asperger's by a therapist who evidently took all of 30 minutes to make the diagnosis. He knew he was unusual; so did his friends. But after he got the label he said, "It was like I was born again," according to Disability Scoop. His is an interesting story, especially for those who think that things like money, an ocean-front house in Malibu, and surfing automatically would make you happy. Find the story.

OVERVALUED KIDS. A new study kicked off a slew of articles in publications like The Washington Post and The New York Times on the topic of parenting, specifically on the topic of how parents who overvalue their children tend to get narcissistic kids in return. This, says one of the study authors says, "may not be good for [the kids] or society." This comes back to the issue of praise and its overuse, something we've covered here before. A writer in The Washington Post discusses the study and then offers ways to "keep narcissism at bay"; read more. The "Motherlode" blog at the NY Times site also addresses the problem and has a pointer to an online test where you can see whether you overvalue your kid; find it.

A COUNTERPOINT to the item above: "grit" seems to be the key to success and happiness. Protection from failure evidently makes kids less likely to persevere and more likely to feel overwhelmed. One subject matter expert says, "This is not a gritty generation." An article in The Washington Post "On Parenting" section offers suggestions for imparting grit; find it.

AUTISM RISK GENES are also linked to higher intelligence, according to a new study. The research team notes that while most autistic people have an intellectual disability, some on the spectrum have "relatively well-preserved, or even higher than average, non-verbal intelligence." Read more.

TOURETTE'S AND CO-MORBIDITIES. Nearly 86 percent of patients who seek treatment for Tourette Syndrome will be diagnosed with a second psychiatric disorder during their lifetimes, and nearly 58 percent will receive two or more such diagnoses. This according to research at the University of California/San Francisco and Massachusetts General Hospital. The researchers noted that mood orders appear earlier in patients with Tourette's, and that the co-morbidities share some genetic relationships. Find the press release from UCSF.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. New at this site is an article on "what ADHD looks like in the classroom, and how it might be confused with other things that could be influencing a child's behavior." The article covers ADHD symptoms, which we're all expert at; age, prospective "other factors," and gender; and other red flags. Find the article.

SENG has an upcoming SENGinar on how marriage difficulties can affect gifted children. Find out more. SENG has also posted some information about this summer's annual conference, to be held in Denver on July 24-26 -- this time with pre-conference continuing education workshops on a variety of topics. See the conference page.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- MEDIA CONTROL, funny and not so funny. Ever gotten so frustrated with TV content that you wanted to throw something at the TV? Ever gotten exasperated with the programs your kids watch? A mom in Algonquin, Illinois, really didn't like a program her kids watch -- so she took a 22-caliber rifle and fired three bullets into the TV. That's the funny part. The not-so-funny part is that the kids were watching at the time. She is charged with a variety of offenses, including child endangerment. Read more.


LOTS MORE ITEMS aren't included here. Check the mid-March E2e Briefing for those -- mis-use of ADHD meds in college, more autism items, several seratonin-related items, more. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Lots of Items -- ASD, UDL, ADHD, Depression, More

THE CARE AND NURTURING OF THE GIFTED CHILD is the title of an article at the Huffington Post. The author, an arts critic, uses a variety of media works to illustrate and comment on issues such as living up to expectations; the discipline needed to develop gifts; parental pressure; and more. For example, he refers to a documentary called Alphabet about the differences between what adults expect and the directions children would develop on their own. The author says that the filmmaker's thesis is, "Too much of our educational system is based on an 'alphabet' that steers young minds down a path designed to support capitalism rather than creativity." Find the article, and think about governor Scott Walker.

UDL AND BEYOND. Universal Design for Learning is a framework for adapting education in ways that fit all students. Now a group of UDL pioneers is trying to tackle issues besides cognitive or physical impediments to learning -- they're going after emotional impediments, the things that de-motivate learners. Focusing on struggling middle-school readers, the researchers are developing ways to present materials that engage in a mode/medium that's accessible and to keep learners engaged using social and interactive techniques -- showing what classmates thought about given articles, for example. Into UDL? Read more.

LOVE ON THE SPECTRUM is the subject of a documentary having its premiere at New York's Tribeca Film Festival this April. "Autism in Love" examines the reality of autistic adulthood... [and] the challenge of keeping romance alive," according to festival officials quoted at Disability Scoop. Read more -- but not much more -- at Disability Scoop.

COLLEGE WITH A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE can be a big challenge. The Detroit Free Press points out the challenges of leaving home and support, what the Americans with Disabilities Act requires of colleges, and provides pointers to more resources. Find the article.

EXECUTIVE FUNCTION INTERVENTIONS might not work. Or, at least, there's not much evidence that they boost student achievement, according to research published in the journal Review of Educational Research. The research consisted of a meta-analysis of 67 other studies. The authors get into causal versus correlative and all that, but conclude, “Although investing in executive function interventions has strong intuitive appeal, we should be wary of investing in these often expensive programs before we have a strong research base behind them.” Read more.

EXERCISE, THE BODY, AND THE MIND. A twins study in Finland reveals that when one sibling stops exercising it can lead to big differences in not only the body but in the brain. Active twins had more "significantly more grey matter than the sedentary twins, especially in areas of the brain involved in motor control and coordination." Use this study to motivate that sedentary, video-game-playing teen you know.

DEPRESSION THERAPY for pre-adolescents is more effective when it's family based, says a study write-up at Science Daily. Is depression an issue with your young person? Find out more.

DEPRESSION shares some underlying mechanisms with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, evidently, and these seem to tie back to a brain receptor for glutamate. If you're into the mechanics of neurotransmitters, check out this article.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Apparently a surprising -- to us, anyway -- proportion of toddlers get coffee to drink. Caffeinated coffee. A study in Boston found that 14 percent of 2-year-olds got coffee, usually just an ounce but up to four ounces, and 2.5 percent of 1-year-olds imbibed. Read more.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

2e Explosion, ADHD, Anxiety, Testing, More

COMING OUT OF THE WOODWORK is how Mike Postma describes the increase in the number of 2e kids in the 21st century. Writing in the SENG Vine Newsletter, Postma provides his own several-decade perspective as GT educator and offers several possible reasons for the apparent population explosion. He concludes, "[I]t is our duty to defend their rights to a free and appropriate education despite the necessity for additional efforts, resources, and understanding." Read more.

ANTIPSYCHOTICS can sometimes be part of the brew prescribed to twice-exceptional children. A new study from the University of Vermont indicates that while most clinicians prescribed the drugs properly, many did not follow guidelines for also administering lab tests to monitor blood glucose levels and cholesterol. Properly prescribed, antipsychotics are used only when other drugs or non-pharma treatments fail. Read more.

ANXIETY: PASSING IT ON. 2e kids can tend to be anxious, and a new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute points out how parents can sometimes pass on their own anxiety to their children. The article offers tips for parent to manage stress in a healthy way and avoid "infecting" that child you raise. Find the article.

ADHD. DailyRX.com "sets the record straight" on ADHD prevalence. An article at the site notes a variety of factors that can influence prevalence, including which edition of the DSM is used by the diagnosing clinician. Also affecting diagnoses: who made or influenced the diagnosis (doctor, educator); and where in the world the child resides. Find the article. Separately, a study write-up with the imposing title "Effect of Treatment Modality on Long-Term Outcomes in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review" indicates that a combination approach -- meds and behavior modification training -- is the most effective treatment method for ADHD. Is ADHD the second "e" at your house? Find the write-up.

UNDERSTOOD focuses this week on dyslexia, with an article on playing to your child's strengths; another titled "5 Things not to Say to your Child about Dyslexia"; and a parent's perspective piece where a mom tries to put herself in her dyslexic daughter's shoes. Separately, if you're looking to connect with experts and other parents on specific LD-related topics, it seems that Understood offers "Expert Chats" daily. Find a list of dates and topics.

CREATIVITY AND SENSORY OVERLOAD. New research from Northwestern University suggests why the inability to shut out competing sensory information while focusing on the creative project at hand might have been so acute for geniuses such as Proust, Franz Kafka, Charles Darwin, Anton Chekhov and many others. The study's lead author says that "leaky" sensory gating, the propensity to filter out "irrelevant" sensory information, happens early, and involuntarily, in brain processing and may help people integrate ideas that are outside of the focus of attention, leading to creativity in the real world. Read more.

BPA, ASD. A newly published study is the first to report an association between bisphenol-A (BPA), a common plasticizer used in a variety of consumer food and beverage containers, with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children. Why are we not surprised? And why are we still using this stuff? Read more.

SMARTER? OR BETTER TEST TAKERS? Rising student test scores might not mean smarter kids, just that kids are getting better at test taking. Read about the "Flynn Effect" and how, for example, student test scores rose 20 points over the last six decades.

BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK is this month. Gear up for it by watching a video from the Dana Foundation. Find the video.

TESTING and test score interpretation is the topic of the current Special Ed Advocate from Wrightslaw, which promises "In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate you will learn how to use psychological and educational achievement test scores to measure your child's educational growth." Find Special Ed Advocate.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- about headphones, earbuds, and hearing loss. The World Health Organization says that over a billion teens and young adults are at risk for hearing loss because of unsafe levels of sound from personal audio devices and loud concert venues. Read more. And just because going to all of those Grateful Dead concerts didn't hurt your ears doesn't mean -- hey, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?