Friday, April 17, 2015

Mental Health Advice, ADHD Stuff, Parenting, and Late Blooming

ADVICE FOR PARENTS: That's what the Chief of the Child Psychiatry Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health recently provided on the topic of kids with behavioral and psychiatric disorders. Those of us in the 2e community often have some experience with when and how to find help in this area, but Dr. Judith Rapoport gives some good, sensible-sounding, and often reassuring advice on when there's actually a problem; where to get help; medications; depression in kids; and more serious disorders such as bipolar disorder, autism, or psychosis. Find the advice.

NCLB/ESEA REWRITE. The Council for Exceptional Children has been monitoring this process and thinks that it doesn't go far enough, that "high ability students and preschool children are ignored in the bill." Find what the CEC thinks. Separately, The Washington Post reports on the rewrite, and painting a generally positive picture of the progress but including notes of dissent from Senator Elizabeth Warren; read the article.

LINKS BETWEEN ADHD, ASD. Some researchers focus on the mechanisms underlying each and see similarities, which would, in theory, lead to ways to develop effective behavioral therapies for those with the disorders. One particular researcher at the University of California has identified a genetic trait common to both ADHD and ASD which might be related to risky behaviors such as smoking or substance abuse. Read more.

ADHD MEDS is the topic of a communique from ADDitude, with several articles on the topic. Find it.

MAYBE BE CAREFUL WITH THAT TEEN -- he or she can be vulnerable to somatic symptoms caused by parental criticism, according to a new study reported at One part of "parent management teaching" for this problem is focusing on the child's strengths. Sound familiar? Find out more.

MEET THE SCIENTIST. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation has frequent webinars. On May 12, one is on "Mechanisms of Antidepressant Effects." Not sure what prerequisite knowledge is necessary, but the webinar is free. Find out more.

SENGINAR. The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted has scheduled a webinar on developing talent and advocacy in the families of gifted children, with special emphasis on culturally diverse families. It's in the evening of April 30th at a cost of $40. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS: The "On Parenting" feature in The Washington Post on April 15th was titled "Why I'm not worried about my late-blooming teen." Said teen is allegedly "whip smart" but solidly average in many areas, according to mom, who was herself a late bloomer. Read more and take comfort.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Anti-gifted Bias, NCLB, Bidding on Goodies for 2e, and More

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, has won another top festival honor. On Saturday, April 11, the documentary won the award "Audience Choice -- Best Feature" at the Silver Springs International Film Festival. Find out more about the film.

NCLB UPDATE 1. The Washington Post has published an update on the current status of the re-authorization of this law. Apparently the National Education Association is pushing to make it go farther to serve less affluent children and to reduce inequities between rich schools and others. The article also provides some interesting perspective on the law's origins. Find the article.

NCLB UPDATE 2. The National Center for Learning Disabilities is encouraging support for the "Cassidy Amendment" to NCLB. This amendment, according to NCLD, "will allow schools to spend federal funds on training educators to understand, identify and address the early indicators of learning disabilities, like dyslexia." Get more information at the site of NCLD, and then find out more about taking action. 

FOLLOWUP. Recently, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation noted that gifted kids, especially economically disadvantaged ones, don't get the support they need. An opinion piece called "Gifted Students Are Still Stepchildren" takes up the theme. The writer says, "I detect a bias against gifted students that if directed toward any other group would be the cause of outrage and litigation." Pretty strong words. Read more.
BRIDGES ACADEMY, one of the few schools devoted to twice-exceptional students, is holding a fundraiser that doesn't require in-person participation. If you like "silent" auctions, check out the goodies at the school's auction page. Maybe you want to spend this Fourth of July on Nantucket? How about obtaining a "Women's Swag Bag" from the 2015 Golden Globes? It's there for the bidding. Let us know if you succeed in getting something good.
CO-LOCATION. A pediatrician and a mental health provider in one office? What a concept! Such an arrangement allows an office to better serve the 20 percent or so of children who will at one point need mental health problems addressed, according to a story at Read more.
NAGC 2015. Want an early peek at what the National Association for Gifted Children will be serving up in Phoenix this November? The organization is offering a preliminary schedule with information about general sessions, pre-convention sessions, and "Signature Sessions" that address the "whole gifted child." Find the preliminary program.
LTYM stands for "Listen to Your Mother," and it's a nationwide (39 cities this year) opportunity for women and men to get up on stage and read something they're written about mothering, and for others an opportunity to hear and appreciate those stories as audience members. A writer at The Washington Post tells more and provides a sample (very funny) story. Read more, then get inspired to bring something about twice-exceptionality to this forum!
DON'T FORGET that Judy Willis offers lots of resources at her web page. Willis is a neurologist turned middle school teacher turned professor of education. See her website for info on the neurology of learning.

Friday, April 10, 2015

New Belin-Blank Report, CCSS, NCLB, ADHD, More

"TOO SMART FOR THEIR SCHOOL'S OWN GOOD"? That's one take on how schools underserve five million bright students in the United States, and it's part of the debate stirred up by the publication of the Belin-Blank Center's new report, a sequel to A Nation Deceived from 2004. The update, titled A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America's Brightest Students, is a call for the increased use of acceleration options. The Des Moines Register has an article on the new report. Or, you can find out more and sign up for a copy of the report at the Belin-Blank website.

According to the American Institutes for Research, Kentucky adopted the Common Core in 2010, overcame challenges during the transition, and subsequently has students who have "made faster progress in learning" than under older standards. If you're following the debate on this topic, find out more.

REVISION TO NCLB. If you follow this topic, Education Week published a status report about a week ago on how negotiations look; find it.

REDUCING ADHD: MOVE UP IN THE WORLD? And not financially -- geographically. Evidently the prevalence of ADHD decreases as the altitude increases. Researchers note that breathing air with less oxygen can make the body produce higher levels of dopamine. They also point out that other factors could influence their findings. Read more.

CHILDHOOD PASSION. Seems it's the chic thing to have, as a kid. But a writer at the Motherlode blog takes issue; find the blog.

"LAZY" STUDENT? Could be your fault -- specifically, in the genes inherited from you. A twins study says that almost half of the differences in children's motivation to learn is explained by genes. This study could serve to take kids and even teachers off the hook -- at least somewhat. Read more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Do your adolescents consume energy drinks? Caffeine overdose is a real thing, and it can even affect cardiac functioning. We know this falls into the category of "one more thing to worry about," but check out a write-up of research published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Gifted Ed in Your State, The "Normal" Brain, More

STATES NOT "ACING" GIFTED ED. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has released a report on how the various states handle gifted ed -- whether the states monitor or report on GT programs, for example; whether schools are held accountable for increasing gifted student performance; or whether GT services are even required in a state. In its "report card," the foundation gave no A's, according to the Washington Post -- but lots of D's and some F's. The foundation's focus in general is on lower-income students, and the report faults states for the support given -- or not given -- to families of those students. Find the Washington Post article. Find the report at a new site called -- and see how your state ranks. (Ours? D-.)

NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT NAGC. The National Association for Gifted Children has announced its new executive director, Rene Islas, ex consultant and ex US Department of Education. Find out more at NAGC.

PRESCHOOLERS AND ADHD MEDS. Lots of preschoolers are already on meds for ADHD, according to a new report in the Journal of Pediatrics. You may read about this national survey at the Washington Post site; or read the journal report itself.

THE RELEVANCE OF PARENTING TIME has been under discussion recently because of the release of a study that said parenting time doesn't matter. We mentioned that study in our April 1 briefing. Many observers took that study as no joke. A writer at The New York Times dissected the methodology; find that. The Washington Post submitted some reader questions about the study to study authors and published the responses; find it. And the Motherlode blogger at the NY Times also commented on the study; read it. So: does the time you spend parenting matter? We think it does.

GIFTED RESOURCES NEWSLETTER. Jo Freitag's epistle tells us that there is a Kids Like Us fundraiser in Black Rock, Australia, on May 2. Kids Like Us is a support structure for 2e kids. Find out more about the fundraiser. Find out more about Kids Like Us. In Gifted Resources Newsletter you can also find an update on the Columbus Group symposium to be held this month in New Zealand. If you're a member of the 2e community Down Under, check out Gifted Resources Newsletter.

THE NORMAL BRAIN. Do you have one? Does that twice-exceptional child you raise or teach? There is no such thing as a normal brain, according to an essay in the AMA's Journal of Ethics. The essay notes how some conditions termed "disorders" may carry concomitant strengths. (Think, "Dyslexic Advantage.") The author espouses the concept of neurodiversity, saying "a more judicious approach to treating mental disorders would be to replace a 'disability' or 'illness' paradigm with a 'diversity' perspective that takes into account both strengths and weaknesses and the idea that variation can be positive in and of itself." Find the essay.

ADDITUDE is hosting a free webinar on April 8 titled "The Truth About OCD: Recognize Symptoms and Get the Best Treatment." Find out more.

SMART IEPS is a topic that Wrightslaw returns to periodically. The current and most recent issues of Special Ed Advocate give a primer on what a SMART IEP is. If you're involved in IEPs but haven't read Wrightslaw's suggestions, check them out.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Aspie Seeks Love, Drugs 2 You, NVLD, More

ASPIE SEEKS LOVE is the title of a documentary about a young man with Asperger's who is interested in finding a meaningful relationship. A respectful filmmaker captures about 100 hours of the young man's efforts over the course of three years. The resulting film is a prize winner. The filmmaker describes what the film came to be: "It’s a story about…his quest to learn about his own identity and to learn to be in the world with other people, to not sacrifice who he is to connect and find love.” Read more at Disability Scoop.

WHY YOUR KID MIGHT BE PRESCRIBED CERTAIN DRUGS. Publication bias. Apparently studies with positive outcomes -- eg, this drug seems to work -- are more than five times more likely to be published than studies with negative outcomes. "Outcome bias" and "spin" are also involved in the process that lets doctors know what drugs are out there that might -- or might not -- be useful to treat conditions such as your child's anxiety. Read more.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has a new article at its site on nonverbal learning disorders, describing how one apparently successful preparatory school approaches the problem. Covered are: assessing deficits; teaching the missing skills; using scripts; social learning; and more. Find the article.

GIFTED, THE GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS. A blogger at wonders what the future holds for her precocious son. He gets enrichment. Seems well-rounded. Find out what she worries about.

OCD AND BRAIN NETWORKS. Using brain imaging, researches have found that communication between some of the brain's most important centers is altered in children with obsessive-compulsive disorder. A researcher is quoted: "Children with OCD are beset by preoccupations and can't easily move on from certain tasks and behaviors. As all complex behavior arises from brain networks, being trapped in this mode must arise from impaired brain network interactions in OCD." Read more.

DONT FORGET the Davidson Institutes database of articles and resources on gifted (and 2e) topics. Find the database.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Another 2e Article, Australian Presentation, Homework, More

YET ANOTHER ARTICLE written to inform the general public that yes, gifted kids can have LDs, this one at the site of This article points out the importance of identification and of acknowledgement and encouragement. That's two such articles this week! Find it.

ALSO FROM AUSTRALIA are the "slides" from a presentation at the recently concluded international conference on giftedness that took place in Brisbane. The slides were evidently used by presenter Michelle Ronksley-Pavia in her presentation "An Exploration of Ability in Dis-Ability: Narrative Tapestries of Twice-exceptional Children." The presentation stemmed from a study of eight 2e kids that involved interviews with both kids and parents. The aim of the study was basically to illuminate the experiences of these kids. Find the slides. (And consider how much airfare you saved by reading the content online rather than by flying to Australia, although that is certainly on the bucket list here.)

APRIL 2 IS "LIGHT IT UP BLUE" day, and World Autism Awareness Day. The United Nations sponsors World Autism Awareness Day. Autism Speaks sponsors Light It Up Blue. What can you do? Find out more.

THE JOURNAL OF COUNSELING AND DEVELOPMENT, we find out through a LinkedIn post, has devoted most of its current issue to the topic of counseling the gifted individual. There's even an article by Megan Foley Nicpon and Susan Assouline of the Belin-Blank Center on counseling the twice-exceptional. That's the good news. The bad news is that unless you're a subscriber or have access to the journal some other way, you can look at the table of contents and read abstracts, but don't touch! (Actually, you can read the first pages of the articles, but subsequent pages are blurred out.) Find the journal issue.

HOMEWORK evidently has an optimal duration, according to a new study, and for 13-year-olds that duration is about an hour a day. If your child or students seem not to get results from hours of nightly studying, maybe there's a real reason why. (Be advised, however, that the study group most likely consisted on typically developing children.) Find out more.

LEARNING AND THE BRAIN is presenting several week-long summer institutes on topics centering on neuroscience and learning. Dr. Judy Willis is scheduled to present two of them. Three are in Massachusetts, two in California. Find out more.

STUDY PARTICIPANTS ARE NEEDED for research on language and communication development. A doctoral student from the University of Illinois is looking for families with a child age 5 or younger who has delays in language and communication, or a disability affecting the development of language. The researcher is looking for a wide range of conditions that include not only Asperger's but speech impairments, Down Syndrome, and more. If contributing to research such as this is of interest to you, find out more.

DON'T FORGET that until April 15 all of the Spotlight on 2e Series booklets from Glen Ellyn Media -- that's us -- are on sale for $11. Check your inbox to see if you got an email or go to our site.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- what happens when you mix a field trip with politics. Fourth-graders in New Hampshire went to watch their state legislators debate a bill the kids had proposed to name the red-tailed hawk the state raptor. With the kids in the gallery, the discussion by some of the legislators about the bill took a less-than-positive turn, leading a New York Times blogger to comment on the whole situation. Read more.

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.