Friday, April 18, 2014

Resources, News Items from 2e Newsletter

FAIRFAX COUNTY, in Virginia, is making efforts to close an "excellence gap" by identifying and supporting students in groups generally under-represented in gifted programs -- low-income and minority children. The Washington Post tells the story of one of these gifted young people and what she's accomplished. Read more

ASD IN COLLEGE. A publication called eCampus News has an article on the current state of assistance for college students on the spectrum as well as tips for educators on how to best work with these young people. Also in the article: the suggestion that a college campus "may be just the place for students with autism." Find the article

"GIFTED": DITCH THE LABEL? An article in Education Week argues that the gifted label is irrelevant and that the focus should be, instead, on challenging all learners. The authors suggest an alternative to the traditional gifted ed process. They conclude, "By focusing less on the child's label and more on the child's needs, we will better serve those students in our schools who are ready and hungry for greater academic challenges." Read more

PARENTS OF 2e COLLEGE KIDS: A graduate student in Special Education and Transition at The George Washington University would greatly appreciate survey participation from parents of 2e children currently enrolled in college. The researcher is focusing on the utilization and impact of access to tutoring services by college students with learning disabilities. All responses will remain confidential. Since this is a time-sensitive project, surveys should be completed by April 22. The survey consists of 9 questions which will not require more than 7-8 minutes of time. See the survey

ANTIDEPRESSANTS. We know that anxiety and depression are causes of concern for those who raise twice-exceptional children. In an article in The New York Times, a psychiatrist discusses coming off antidepressants -- and how many young people may stay on them for years. Find the article

NCLD. The April newsletter from this organization is out, featuring articles on risky behaviour in teens -- causes, manifestations, and how parents can deal with it. Find the newsletter

GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER. Linda Silverman reflects on how a word choice -- "and" versus "or" -- can make a difference in perceiving and intervening with twice-exceptional children. Read more.

Monday, April 14, 2014

News, Resources from 2e newsletter

"NEW" KIND OF ADHD? A recent NY Times article covered how some are pushing for "sluggish cognitive tempo" as another ADHD subtype. The subtype seems to share some characteristics with inattentive: “They’re the daydreamy ones, the ones with work that’s not turned in, leaving names off of papers or skipping questions, things like that..." The article presents both sides of the argument for a new subtype. Read it -- besides the science, there's also a "follow the money" aspect.

AUTISM INCIDENCE. A Washington Post article is titled "We Need a Better Explanation for the Surge in Autism," the increased incidence we noted in a blog post a week or so ago. "There’s something wrong in the way that we measure the data or there’s something extraordinary going on," writes the author -- who then goes on to explore some options, genetic changes included. Find the article. Separately, SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy might be causing a tiny bit of the increased incidence. Mothers taking SSRIs in the first trimester were 3.2 times more likely to have boys with autism. Read more.

AN ARTICLE ABOUT POPULAR COLLEGE COURSES had a slightly 2e twist to it. The article listed 10 courses which were "not just a credit but an event." Among the 10 was a course on livestock handling taught by Temple Grandin at Colorado State University, and one titled "Self-theories" at Stanford taught by Carol Dweck, which focuses on helping freshmen change a fixed mindset. Find the article. Separately, Ms. Grandin is to speak and be honored at Columbia University Teachers College convocations in May; read more.

TBIs AND SOCIAL COMPETENCE. Head injuries can make children more prone to being loners, according to research. Injury to the right frontal lobe affects such factors as participation in groups and the number of friends. Interestingly, the researchers feel that working memory training might be able to treat the deficit. Find out more.

SENG WEBINAR. The next SENG webinar is titled "Beyond Academics: Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Students." From the blurb: "The gifted child’s asynchronous development is not just academic. But their needs are not so different: gifted kids need to be accepted for who and what they are, and to have the same social/emotional experiences as other kids. How can we accomplish this both at home and in school?" Find out more

MIND PRESENTATION. When we checked to see what was going on at the MIND Institute at UC/Davis, we noticed that a presentation from last fall has been posted (along with others); it's on ADHD. The synopsis says: "The latest findings in research and treatment, as well as perspectives from a parent and an adult recently diagnosed with ADHD." The presentation is over an hour in length. Find out more

DON'T FORGET that we have two brief videos posted on YouTube. One features Susan Baum on twice-exceptionality, the other features Matt Wanzenberg on the transition to college for 2e kids. Find them

AND FINALLY, THIS. Soon you might be able to see what your child will look like when he or she grows up, thanks to software under development at the University of Washington. Can't wait for the child to grow up to find out? Read more.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

GIFTS, GRADES, GROWTH MINDSET. A teacher blogs about a "brilliant thinker" in her class, a young man who often suffers meltdowns because of the gap between a "growth mindset" and a grade, a "number that define[s] who are students are." The fixed mindset that students may feel from teachers and parents gives the wrong message, says the blogger. "We must focus on the process." Find the blog.

HOW TO TAKE KIDS OFF MEDS is the topic of an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. The article covers reasons to take a child off meds; things to keep in mind in making your decision; and what to expect during the transition period. Read the article. Separately, the Child Mind Institute is offering three goal-oriented summer programs -- one directed at writing abilities, one for selective mutism, and one dealing with anxiety. Find out more.

DISORDER AND THE PRENATAL BRAIN. Researchers have created a map of the fetal brain in mid-pregnancy that indicates where genes are on or off in specific parts of the brain. One finding: disorders might have their origins very early in development. It also points researchers to certain parts of the brain for given disorders. Read more.

OCD FOR EVERYONE? People who check whether their hands are clean or imagine their house might be on fire are not alone. New global research shows that 94 percent of people experience unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images and/or impulses. The study examined people on six continents, and found that the thoughts, images and impulses symptomatic of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are widespread, according to a study reported in Science Daily. Find the write-up. (Note: We offer this item not to downplay the seriousness of the symptoms that sometimes hinder twice-exceptional children, but to suggest that the findings mean that OCD is perhaps a spectrum disorder.)

ANTIDEPRESSANT: SNIFFING SPECIAL K? Researchers have published what they say is the first controlled evidence showing that an intranasal ketamine (street name: "special K") spray conferred an unusually rapid antidepressant effect -- within 24 hours -- and was well tolerated in patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. About half of patients treated showed improvement. Ketamine proved safe with minimal dissociative effects or changes in hemodynamic dimensions. Read a press release about the study.

BEING GIFTED IS NOT A GIFT -- that's the assertion of DutchAlien, the pen name of the mom in a highly gifted family that moved from the Netherlands to the U.S. a year ago. She laments on the burdens of being highly gifted in an "average" world, both for her and for her children -- especially as "aliens" in their new world. She also makes an interesting international comparison about expenses for summer camps and colleges costs here and in the Netherlands. Find the article.

CAMP SUMMIT, in northern California, is now accepting registrants for its summer program that runs from June 22-28. Located in the Marin Headlands, the camp is billed as being for the "gifted, talented, and creative" -- but is also known for being 2e-friendly. Find out more.

WEINFELD EDUCATION GROUP. The Weinfeld Education Group has appointed Dr. Christine Golden to be Director of Assessment and Behavioral Services. According to the organization, Dr. Golden will personally conduct intakes to match potential clients with appropriate providers and services, manage all aspects of the assessment and behavioral services division, and continue to provide assessments herself. She will oversee WEG's 16 neuropsychologists and psychologists. Read more.

BELIN-BLANK CENTER RESOURCE. A 54-page book titled Packet of Information for Professionals: The Paradox of Twice-exceptionality, by Susan Assouline and other authors, is available free of charge at iTunes. Note that the book as downloaded from iTunes requires an iPad or Mac plus iBooks. Find out more. (The book is also available as a PDF; find it.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

News, Resources from 2e Newsletter

MENTAL HEALTH ON CAMPUS. According to USA Today, about one in ten college students take advantage of on-campus mental health counseling. Once counselor noted that anxiety is the most common issue for the current generation of students, as opposed to depression in previous generations. Find the article

THE TWICE-BAKED POTATO is the name of a blog by the parent of a twice-exceptional child. A recent post explores "stages of grief" in having to accept that homeschooling is the best alternative for a son who had a "horrendous" year at school. For example: "Today, I am mad. I am mad that a group of supposed 'professionals' couldn’t focus on his strengths or interests. They were determined to make his difficulties and learning differences the target." Sound familiar? Find the blog

NCLD has posted a page explaining four ways in which dysgraphia can affect a child's social life. Is dysgraphia in the picture at your house? Check out the NCLD page

CHICAGO-AREA EVENT. On April 24, author and blogger Jen Merril will present a seminar titled "Finding Humor: Parenting the Twice-exceptional Child." The event is sponsored by the Chicago Gifted Community Center and will be held in the evening in the west suburb of Hinsdale. Find out more

SENG WEBINAR. On April 8 SENG will present an evening "SENGinar" titled "Social-emotional Development of Asian-American Gifted Students." Find out more

DAVIDSON THINK DEADLINE CHANGE. The registration for the Davidson THINK Summer Institute has been extended to April 30. Of the event, Davidson says, "This intense three-week residential summer program offers exceptionally gifted 13- to 16-year-old students the opportunity to earn up to six transferable college credits." Find out more.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A YOUNG SCIENTIST WITH LD is competing in the Intel Science and Engineering Fair for the second straight year, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Her research topic: autism, for which she has compiled a comprehensive survey that parents complete, with the goal of better identifying causes and symptoms of autism. The young scientist's own challenges are in the area of reading comprehension and sensory processing. Find the article.

SCREEN TIME FOR KIDS. A science writer at the Washington Post reviews AAP-recommended limits on media time for kids (none for 2 or younger, two hours for 3 to 18) and offers tips for ensuring "a healthy media diet." Is this an issue at your house? Find the article.

ADHD MEDS. A video at the site of thc Child Mind Institute covers options for ADHD meds. From the blurb: "Jeffrey Newcorn, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center talks about how every individual responds differently to treatment and has different circumstances, making close consultation with a doctor and commitment to the process keys to success." Find the video.

GENDER AND THE BRAIN is the topic of an article at Cerebrum, sponsored by the Dana Foundation. Some of the article deals with what is apparently a long-running battle between those who believe gender differences exist and those who deny it. Find the article.

AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH. A member of the board of education in Paterson, New Jersey, evidently decided to do what he could to increase awareness of autism with an open letter published at news. In it, he says, "I want to get the message out that children who are classified into the Autism Spectrum can learn just as well as children who were never classified." He covers stigma, the right to an IEP, and his reason for running for the school board -- his own son with ASD. His final words: "Educators should not limit a child's ability to learn because of an inability. Our children represent our future. If we fail to provide an efficient education to all our children, we will essentially destroy our future." Find the letter.

AN ARTICLE BY DEIRDRE LOVECKY, member of the Editorial Advisory Board of 2e Newsletter, appears in this month's newsletter from the Gifted Development Center. Her title: "Are Gifted Children Frequently Misdiagnosed?" She touches on misdiagnosis involving ADHD, eating disorders, OCD, and depression. Find the article.

WEBINAR ON 2e. NAGC is sponsoring a webinar by Megan Foley Nicpon and Dan Peters titled "A Twice-exceptional Discussion to Help Teachers and Parents Better Advocate for Services." It's on April 9, 12-1 pm, free to NAGC members. Find out more.

LEARNING AND THE BRAIN is presenting Dr. Judy Willis in two different summer institutes. One is titled "Neuroscience and Classroom Engagement"; the other is "Neuroscience and Executive Skills." Other institutes deal with mindsets and the neuroscience of reading. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Color blindness is not something we think of as an LD, but it can affect school performance. It turns out that 1 in 20 Caucasian boys have some type of color blindness, along with 3 percent of Asian boys, 2.6 percent of Hispanic boys, and 1.4 percent of African-American boys. One of the researchers who compiled these statistics spoke of the importance of identifying and accommodating color blindness: "That needs to start early on because labeling a child as not smart or bright enough is a huge stigma for the child and causes significant anxiety for the parents and family." Read more.

Monday, March 31, 2014

News and Resources from the Past Few Days

AUTISM: YET MORE PREVALENT. The Centers for Disease Control have released information about the prevalence of autism based on numbers from 2010. Overall, the prevalence is now 1 in 68 children, with variation across different parts of the country. Boys are about 5 times more likely to be diagnosed. Find out more.

YOUR CHANCE TO ADVOCATE FOR JAVITS FUNDING ends soon. At the site of NAGC you can find out how to urge US senators to continue funding the Javits program for research on gifted education. If you feel in an advocating kind of mood, go to NAGC's site and do this by April 1.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. A week or so ago, the Eides held several events in the San Francisco area to raise awareness of dyslexia, support kids who have it, raise funds, and further the cause of their organization, Dyslexic Advantage. If you're interested in see photos of the events (and seeing who was there) check out their photos at Flickr

DYSLEXIA RESOURCE. A page at (we didn't know what that is either) is titled "NYC Dyslexia Daily." It's an "aggregation" site with pointers to all sorts of news about dyslexia. Find it.

SENG CONFERENCE. SENG's annual conference is in July, but you can see now the sessions the organization has scheduled for attendees. Lots of sessions are 2e-related. Find the schedule.

NCLD has summarized some recent data from the US Department of education relating to the participation of kids with LDs (and who are learning English) in gifted/talented programs. The comments from readers and parents at the end of the article will be particularly resonant with parents of 2e kids (some of the comments are from parents of 2e kids). Read more.

MINERVA SCHOOLS, affiliated with the Keck Graduate Institute in Southern California, has solicited applications from "the brightest and most motivated students around the world" for its inaugural undergraduate class, according to materials supplied by the schools. Students outside of the U.S. make up the majority of students offered admission with 10 countries and five continents represented. Minerva says that the admitted students are extraordinarily gifted and driven individuals with major accomplishments that span intellectual, social, business, and artistic endeavors. Three students are entrepreneurs with thriving businesses, two hold patents, one is the co-founder of an NGO, eight have written and published books, plays, articles, or scientific papers, six are leaders in student publications or broadcast stations, five lead high school sports teams, and four are heads of student government. Find out more at the site of the school.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

From 2e Newsletter: News Items, Resources

WHEN AN LD HITS THE FAMILY. Many in the LD, gifted, and 2e communities are involved personally or professionally because of family circumstances. Not many of us are accomplished researchers in cell biology and biochemistry, but when biochemist Ricardo Dolmetch's son was diagnosed with autism, he shifted the focus of his research to the biochemistry of autism. He gives a very interesting interview to a New York Times reporter -- find it.

TOO MUCH INFORMATION? We don't generally point to "long form" articles from this blog, but apparently American parents have had it with extended-length articles about parenting -- this according to a humorous piece in the New Yorker. Here's the kind of article the writer means: "...articles that begin with a wryly affectionate parenting anecdote, segue into a dry cataloguing of sociological research enlivened with alternately sarcastic and tender asides, and end with another wryly affectionate anecdote that aims to add a touch of irony or, failing at that, sentimentality." If you sometimes feel overwhelmed as you try to research the best parenting techniques for your children, find this article. (Caution: mild profanity in the article, but it's the New Yorker, you know?) Thanks to Greg for pointing us to this piece.

ALSO VIA GREG: A piece in the Onion titled "Intrepid Middle-Class Parents Embark on Daring Search for Mythical Perfect School District." If you've got a 2e child, you'll probably appreciate the humor here. Find the article.

AUTISM is the topic of several news items this week. A piece at Science Daily says that increasing awareness might explain the increase in autism diagnoses, for example that doctors are discovering more girls, teens, and adults with autism recently; find the piece. Another Science Daily article is on a study that suggests girls are protected from autism because females require larger genomic disruptions than males for autism to be expressed; find the article. And the Child Mind Institute points to several resources concerning autism and sensory overload; go there.

ALSO AT CHILD MIND INSTITUTE, an article on dealing with explosive behavior in children. (We know there are none of those in the 2e community but thought we'd pass this on anyway.) The article offers tips for dealing with the behavior while it's happening as well as for figuring out causes and for getting professional help. Read more. Separately, a piece in Science Daily contends that children learn "aggressive ways of thinking and behaving from violent video games" -- kind of like learning to play the piano. Find the piece.

ADHD: REALLY A DISEASE? That's the questions addressed by an article at the site of ADDitude. The writer defines disease, discusses "deviation from the norm," and concludes that the real question should be "whether the adult or child will be better off... undergoing treatment that reduces the normalcy gap." Read more.

DAVID BOIES is, apparently, "possibly our country's most famous lawyer" -- something we were not aware of -- but he has dyslexia, which makes this interesting. In an interview with NCLD, the lawyer describes how compensating for his poor reading ability gave him certain strengths. In the interview, he offers advice to kids diagnosed with dyslexia and to their parents. Find the interview.

NEUROTRANSMITTERS AND READING. Higher levels of glutamate and choline in the brain are associated with lower reading proficiency in young children, according to a Yale University study. Read more.