Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2e Household Issues, Male Idiocy, More

2e NEWS. There is none today. Do you know how hard it is to find good news about twice-exceptionalities? Here are the results of a search via Google for news relating to "twice exceptional." That said, here are some items on parenting, exceptionalities, and other issues that can pop up in 2e households...

UNDERSTOOD has on its website a "Parenting Coach" that offers ideas for dealing with challenges in the social, emotional, and behavioral domains. For example, you can select the category "Dealing with Anxiety and Fear," select the child's grade, and click on "get ideas" to see tips on what to do. Find the Coach.

DON'T HAVE ISSUES AT YOUR HOUSE in the social, emotional, or behavioral domain? Then find out how you might get them through the interaction of your child's experiences and genetics. Here's what the researchers concluded: "...variants of three common genes, MAOA, BDNF, and 5-HTTLPR, interacted with each other and with negative environmental factors to increase the risk of delinquency and with a positive environmental factor to decrease the risk of delinquency in a large sample of teenagers." Actually, the journal article title says it better: "Genotypes do not confer risk for delinquency but rather alter susceptibility to positive and negative environmental factors." Find out more


HOW ABOUT ISSUES WITH SLEEP? HealthDay reports that "almost all" teens in the United States are sleep deprived. with potential negative effects on health and academic performance. Is your teen getting 9-10 hours of sleep a night? Didn't think so. Find out more about the problem.

WANT VIRTUAL THERAPY FOR YOUR KID'S ISSUES? It's coming. An article at VB News describes a telemedicine company called Doctors on Demand that is enabling virtual visits with mental health professionals. A prospective counselee can find a licensed therapist, make an appointment, and have a 25- or 50-minute online session for $50 or $95. Find out more. Separately, Medscape included telemedicine as one of their 35 items that made a difference in medicine in 2014; read more.

THE ASSAULT OF PARENTING ADVICE. Andrew Solomon, who has been the subject of blog mentions in the past, has written a long review of a new book on parenting -- or rather on childhood and its "innate nobility." The book is A Country Called Childhood, by Jay Griffiths, an anthropologist, "radical thinker," and, apparently, a rather poetic writer. Solomon concludes, "With bracing purity of intent and spectacular reach, she questions the way we think of and treat children. Her musings might help build a kinder world." Read the review.

LOOKING AHEAD. The publication District Administration has posted a feature on educational advancements to look for in 2015. Among those mentioned are two that would be beneficial to twice-exceptional students -- student-driven learning and greater individual attention. Read the article to find out how that can happen.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- a tongue-in-cheek (we hope) article titled "Study Supports the Theory that Men Are Idiots." This item is based on an article published in the British Medical Journal describing research in England, "an analysis of sex differences in idiotic behavior." Hint: the study involves the Darwin Awards. Read more. Actually, that article title should be, more accurately, "Study Supports the Theory that Most Idiots Are Men."

Friday, December 12, 2014

2e & Reading, Depression, NVLD, More

A NICE PORTRAIT of a twice-exceptional middle-schooler is presented at Reading Today Online. A piece written by an expert in reading and dyslexia shows how much effort it takes for the student to appear average or above average -- and how parents or teachers can spot at least one indicator of reading problems. Also in the article, a list of assistive technology accommodations for such readers. Find the article.

DEPRESSION. Two new potential treatments for depression, one scourge for the twice-exceptional, are laughing gas (nitrous oxide) and ketamine ("special K"). We've blogged about ketamine before, how it seems to help some people for whom usual antidepressants don't work. A new article in The New York Times points out some concerns about this use. And a new study reported at MedicalNewsToday.com indicates that nitrous oxide can also be effective in providing fast relief for treatment-resistant depression.

NON-VERBAL LEARNING DISORDERS are the topic of a new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. These disorders, according to the article concern "All the stuff that involves understanding information—relationships, concepts, ideas, patterns." The article, the first in a series, describes five types of NVLD and how to spot them. Find the article.

GRANDIN AT BRIDGES. Bridges Academy, a preparatory school for the twice-exceptional, is presenting an event titled "A Morning with Temple Grandin" on January 16th in Pasadena, California. Find out more.

SENG offers information about current and upcoming training and education opportunities, including a webinar on January 15th titled "Eleven Key Parenting Issues" with psychologist James Webb. Find out more.

ADDITUDE, on its site, has a slide-show identifying six types of anxiety and the treatment for each. Examples: phobia, social anxiety, panic attacks, and more. Find the slide-show.

EDUCATION WEEK WEBINAR. Education Week hosted a webinar on personalized learning on December 11th, the content of which will be available online shortly. From the event blurb: "This webinar will examine what a growing number of school and technology advocates have identified as the core elements of personalized learning." Find out more, including how to access the transcript.

SOMETHING ELSE TO WORRY ABOUT. Some common household chemicals -- phthalates -- can apparently lower IQ in children by more that six points when the children are exposed to the chemicals in utero. If you're expecting -- or expecting to expect -- or just irate -- find out what to avoid

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

OCD, Dopamine, Dyslexia, and 2e on Pinterest

WHEN YOUR KIDDO IS DIFFERENT -- than you. Different in temperament or in how he or she reacts to the world, or to the educational experience. Sometimes parents, after a diagnosis on one of their children, realize that they, too, are 2e, or gifted, or have an LD. But sometimes parents might find it harder to "identify" with their own child. That's the topic of a post by a psychologist blogger at PositivelyAtypical.com. Find it.

2e ON PINTEREST. A search for "twice-exceptional" on Pinterest turns up many "boards" related to our topic; find them. Some of the pinners' names will be familiar to readers of 2e Newsletter.

DOPAMINE: FOOD FOR ABSTRACT THOUGHT? Researchers trained monkeys to do math problems involving "greater than" and "less than," which involve the prefrontal cortex. Stimulation of the dopamine neurotransmitters in that area enhanced the monkeys' ability to solve the problems. Practical implications? Not many, but the study shows, evidently, how little we know about how and why dopamine affects our brains. Read more.

ULTRASOUND AND OCD. A proof-of-concept study used focused ultrasound to ablate (scientific meaning: to zap) specific brain areas in "certain subjects" (qualification not defined in the write-up) with obsessive compulsive disorder. The ablation reduced OCD thoughts and behaviors as well as improving symptoms of anxiety and depression in the treated patients. It was a small study -- four subjects -- but all reportedly showed improvement. Read more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. The December newsletter from this organization is out. In it, a reminder of a December 15th webinar with inventor Howard Wexler on dyslexic gifts; an article on teaching creative writing to dyslexic students; a pointer to an article on dyslexia and Common Core State Standards; a profile of a dyslexic artist who has won a Caldecott award; and more. Find the newsletter.  And if you're feeling generous and want to support the work of this non-profit, you'll find an opportunity to contribute. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

fMRI, UDL, 2e, PE...

BRAIN IMAGING IDENTIFIES AUTISM. A group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University combined brain imaging with "machine learning techniques" to accurately differentiate subjects with high-functioning autism from a control group. The differentiation depended on the degree of activation of a certain brain area when the subjects thought about concepts related to social interactions, such as "adore" or "hug." Read more.

UDL. We've blogged before about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a possible teaching method to help not only twice-exceptional students but all students. An article in THE Journal offers tips for teachers who want to implement UDL in their classrooms. Find the article.

"GIFTED" IN THE CLASSROOM. An educator writing at the site of Reading.org muses on two forms of "gifted" readers he has observed in his classrooms. One is the the concrete thinker (close to what we traditionally consider gifted) and the other is an abstract thinker who can "think outside the four corners of the text" to gain understanding. Find the article.

2e VIDEOS ON FACEBOOK. We've posted a couple of our 2e videos on our Facebook page; they had been solely at YouTube. If you're interested, check them out at www.facebook.com/2eNewsletter. (They've got thousands of "reaches" in a short period of time.)

PE AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE. They're linked, as you probably know. An issue of the journal Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development contained articles documenting the positive effect of exercise and activity on school achievement. Read about the issue is you want evidence to bring back PE. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giftedness, Genetics & Interventions, and a Few Resources

RESILIENCE, ENVIRONMENT, AND GENES. Apparently genetic predisposition can determine which kids will benefit from attention and interventions. And some of these genes are also linked to depression or ADHD. From a New York Times opinion piece: "One might even imagine a day when we could genotype all the children in an elementary school to ensure that those who could most benefit from help got the best teachers. Not only because they would improve the most, but also because they would suffer the most from lower quality instruction. The less susceptible — and more resilient — children are more likely to do O.K. no matter what." This is an interesting piece that addresses both practical and ethical issues with such genotyping, but also explains why some kids are less affected by environmental experiences. Find it.

GIFTEDNESS, CREATIVITY, POTENTIAL... are all topics of a GT Chat interview with Scott Barry Kaufman that can serve as a touch-stone for readers regarding their own thoughts on those things. He says he prefers "intelligent testing" to "intellligence testing" and also doesn't think of potential as something that's set in stone. Kaufman is a keynoter at TAGT 2014, coming up shortly in Texas. Read the interview.

GIFTEDNESS alone is the topic of a piece at CrushingTallPoppies.com, which name belies its point of view. In this particular piece the author wonders "why are there people who believe every child is gifted or no child is gifted?" If you've wondered the same thing, find the post.

UNDERSTOOD has a couple new resources on its site. One is "10 Tips to Help Get Your Child Organized," which addresses an issue faced by many 2e households; find it. And the organization is sponsoring a webinar called "IEP in the Trenches," scheduled for December 5 at noon ET; find out more.

FORBES CALLS THIS RESOURCE "Yelp for services aimed at children with special needs." It's a site called "Love My Provider," It's a little like our 2edb.info site -- but with 30,000 provider profiles. We assume that members of the 2e community would need to do due diligence to ascertain provider credentials regarding 2e kids, but 30,000 is a nice pool to start from. On the other hand, be advised that some of the stalwart providers to the 2e community are not included at the moment. In fact, we couldn't even find a listing for attorney Peter Wright of Wrightslaw.com. But find the Forbes article or check out Love My Provider. (If you try this site for real, share with us how it works for you, please.)

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. On December 3rd, ADDitude is hosting a free webinar titled "Signs of Anxiety in ADHD Adults and Kids -- and How to Get Help." It's at 1 ET and features Thomas E Brown, clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. Find out more.

ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, GUILT -- they all harm the brain. We've pointed previously to one of two recent studies described in an article at the site biosciencetechnology.com, but the article describes how those conditions can affect the brain from preschool on. Read more.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Depression, Brain Training, Un-named Twice-exceptionality, More

'TIS THE SEASON TO BE -- depressed, at least for some people, especially those sensitive to the change of seasons. (Readers Down Under can ignore this item.) ADDitude offers tips for dealing with winter depression when ADHD is part of one's neurological mix. And an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute points out that the Thanksgiving holiday can be a good time for parents to check on the mood of their college freshmen, home after being on their own for a few months and maybe showing signs of depression; find the article. The site of Brain & Behavior has a new article titled "New Brain Biomarker Found for Depression Risk in Young Children." A part of the brain called the anterior insula is apparently smaller in volume in kids with predisposition to depression; read more. And three items at Science Daily deal with depression, telling us that:
  • Teens who mature early are at greater risk of depression.
  • When adolescent (animals) consume a diet high in fructose, it can worsen depressive- and anxiety-like behavior and alter how the brain responds to stress. Fructose is a sugar commonly added to foods and beverages.
  • Group mindfulness treatment is as effective as individual cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in patients with depression and anxiety.
So how do you feel after reading all these items on depression?

BRAIN TRAINING. The Child Mind Institute has a new article on its site about computer-based brain training for kids, how it works, and whether it's effective or worth the time and money. Brain training can be used to help kids pay attention, process information faster, remember more, and be "cognitively flexible." If you've been considering it for your child, check out the article.

BRIGHT AND LAZY? Jay Matthews, in the Washington Post, wrote an article titled "For Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities, Homework Can Be Torture," in which he tells of a family's frustration with school because a child who scored in the 99th percentile in math couldn't get into a top math group in class. The reasons? ADHD and executive function issues. Even at a private school, the child couldn't get an accommodation such as less repetitive homework. The article doesn't use the word twice-exceptional, nor is the word in any of the 182 comments on the article (assuming our browser's search function works correctly). 2e, the condition that must not be named.  Find the article.

SPECIAL ED ATTORNEY MATT COHEN, in his November e-newsletter, covers several topics that might be of interest to parents or educators of twice-exceptional students. One item concerns Office of Civil Rights guidance for schools regarding bullying of students with disabilities, which includes 2e students. Another item implies that, in at least one US Circuit Court district, schools have an obligation to disclose RTI data to parents as part of efforts to determine whether a learning disability is present. Find the newsletter.

WRIGHTSLAW, in the current issue of Special Ed Advocate, points out that IEPs are not cast in stone, and that you (parents) can ask to revise an IEP. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. We learn all kinds of things as we look for items for this blog. For example, we just learned that habitual napping is common among first-year university students in Australia, and that such napping "may be used in an attempt to compensate for the detrimental effects of excessive sleepiness." Find out more.

Monday, November 24, 2014

ADHD, Homeschooling, ASD, and Winnie the Pooh

SHARPBRAINS.COM, in its November 24th Update, provides lots of articles that might be of interest to those in the 2e community, including pieces on whether cognitive therapy should be the first-line treatment for depression; whether there's a link between ADHD and creativity; mindfulness in education; and ADHD in high school. (For those of us who are older, there's also a piece on vitamin B12 and dementia (maybe no benefits).) Find the Update.

HOW AUTISM FREED ME to be myself is the title of a TED talk by a 16-year-old young woman, who tries to dispel stereotypes and celebrate uniqueness. (She has two siblings with autism who are non-verbal.) She calls autism an ability, not a disability. See the talk or read the transcript.

BLOGS. At the site of SENG, Amy Golden Harrington reviews three blogs with a 2e connection. One is by a 2e adult; another is on OEs and homeschooling; and another is from a mom of two gifted, intense, rivalrous, homeschooled boys. Find the reviews.

EXPLAINING OUR KIDS TO OTHERS is usually a challenge for the parent of a twice-exceptional child. Maintaining composure while hearing others react to our situations can also be a challenge. At ADDitude.com, read 21 comments by others that readers submitted, top picks in the category of "hurtful things said by people who just don't understand." Find the comments.

FOLLOW-UP. The article "One Drug or Two" in The New York Times, which we mentioned last week, generated a good deal of response by well-credentialed readers of The Times. Find that feedback. (Find the original article.)

UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPTS? If you have a few minutes to be confused, or indignant, or dismayed, check out two recent columns in venerable Parade Magazine. In one column, the columnist responds to a parent complaining that he/she is homeschooling a gifted child because the child wouldn't get the attention he needs in public school. In the other, a follow-on, the columnist responds to a parent asserting that gifted kids might be "special needs" in social areas.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Winnie the Pooh was reportedly nixed as the mascot for a town playground because he is inappropriately dressed and of dubious sexuality. Reporting on the town's decision, NBC News said, "Sure, Winnie is a honey junkie who spends most of his time with a chronically depressed donkey and a suspiciously energetic tiger, and if you don't want your kids hanging with that sort of crew, then fine. But if you don't want Winnie at playgrounds because he doesn't wear pants and has no external genitalia, you're living in the past, my friend." Read more.