Thursday, April 27, 2017

Neurotypical and Not, Test Stress, Julia, Teaching the Gifted, and More

MORE ON ENDREW F. Writing at Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, an education advocate takes a different view of the recent Supreme Court decision that a FAPE must be more than "de minimis." The advocate writes, "Under the de minimis standard, there was almost nowhere to go but up, and the Court went up only a very little. An 8-0 vote by a Court that is usually sharply divided is a sign that the decision may lack clarity or bite." Read more. Also at the site of Smart Kids, psychologist Devon MacEachron makes the case for getting a private evaluation rather than using a school-supplied evaluation. Find out what she says.

JEN THE BLOGGER, as part of a blog hop called "Revisiting 2e," tells of recent interactions with a neurotypical teen and compares those to life in her house of chaos. Jen mentored the teen through a project, compared it to her experiences with similar projects involving her sons, and decided "the dichotomy stings." But she concludes: "this wildly different is perfectly normal life is all mine, and after twelve years I’m finally embracing the weird it has brought to my life." Read the post.

TEST STRESS. Neurologist and educator Judy Willis offers tips and techniques for getting the better of test stress. She tells how to build a positive mindset in the test-taker, and lists five things a parent can do on test day to help. Go to Edutopia to read more.

JULIA ON SESAME STREET is a new character on the spectrum, and a writer from The Washington Post gives the show high marks for the way Julia is portrayed and for the way the show's other characters respect and understand her. From the review: "Little kids are funny creatures, but they’re also perceptive and can be incredibly accepting of differences, once they understand them... [T]he Muppets model for kids how to reach out to people who don’t always respond in expected ways." Read more.

HOW SHOULD THE GIFTED BE TAUGHT? For example, how are they like non-gifted learners and how are they different? According to The High Flyer, a new publication offers 20 research-based guidelines for teaching the gifted. The guidelines cover how the students think and learn, motivation, the importance of social context, classroom management, and assessment. The High Flyer says, "Each principle is described based on evidence from research with gifted populations. The brief description is followed by practical suggestions for the classroom and references from both the regular and gifted education literature." Read more.

TiLT PARENTING offers a podcast on ADHD and nutrition, a topic evidently much requested by TiLT fans. The podcast features a childhood nutrition expert and covers applicable research, nutritional challenges in ADHD, and dealing with those challenges. Find the podcast.

GIFTED HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM. This organization offers online summer classes, for which registration is now open, and school-year classes, for which registration opens May 1st. GHF says, "GHF Online is 2e-friendly and willing to work with you to make reasonable accommodations for your child's individual needs." Find out more.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS DURING PREGNANCY do not evidently increase the risk of ASD or ADHD in offspring, according to new research, although there is a slight risk for premature birth. Read a study write-up.

TOURETTE'S. A new computer-based brain simulation shows that motor tics in Tourette syndrome may arise from interactions between multiple areas of the brain, rather than a single malfunctioning area. Find a study write-up.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

More Endrew F, Sit Still, Gifted Funding, More

WRIGHTSLAW REACTION TO ENDREW F. As expected, Wrightslaw has released information about the recent SCOTUS decision the Endrew F case involving the benefit that schools must provide with IEPs. Included in that information is Pete Wright's analysis of the decision. Go to Wrightslaw.

"GIFTED" VERSUS "HIGH ACHIEVING" is the topic of an article at LoudounNow.com, from Virginia. The author writes, "Some gifted students are also high achievers but many are not. What other parents and teachers often don’t see are the hidden components of being gifted, including emotional overexcitability, crippling anxiety, existential angst and other social and emotional issues resulting from asynchronous brain development." Find the article.

SIT STILL AND FAIL TO PAY ATTENTION. The need for activity and exercise during the school day is the subject of an article at The Washington Post's "Answer Sheet" feature. It details the disadvantages to just "sitting still" -- and offers ways to "defend our children's right to move." Find the article. Separately, The New York Times just ran an article on that same subject, "Why Kids Shouldn't Sit Still in Class." One expert is quoted this way: “Activity stimulates more blood vessels in the brain to support more brain cells. And there is evidence that active kids do better on standardized tests and pay attention more in school.” Find the article.

NAGC offers two items of possible interest to the 2e community. One is on planning for summer, with guidelines for checking out camps and programs. (Of course, an additional guideline would be to disclose your child's twice-exceptionality and ask how the camp or program is structured to handle that.) Find the guidelines. The second item sounds hopeful: "At a gathering of gifted learning community leaders... in the nation’s capitol, a first-of-its-kind poll was released by the Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA), that finds overwhelming bipartisan public support for increased funding for programs and resources for gifted students." The trick is, as always, in translating words into actions. Find the item.

SCHOOL POLICY AND LAW. Education Week has published an article outlining some of the pros and cons of school choice when it comes to children with disabilities. Find it.

PRESENT AT CEC? The Council for Exceptional Children hasn't yet held its 2017 conference, but it's calling for proposals for 2018. If you've got a topic to share with CEC attendees, get a move on -- the 2018 deadline is March 31, 2017. Find out more.

MEET THE SCIENTIST. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is offering a free webinar on April 11 on the topic of depression. According to BBRF, these
"Meet the Scientist" webinars allow you to "hear mental health experts present the latest research in new technologies, diagnostic tools, early intervention strategies and next-generation therapies." Find out more.

RESTLESS IN LA is the title of a recently-published novel. The author, Robin Finn, evidently has a child with severe ADHD and went through experiences many readers here have likely been through in terms of research, advocacy, and feeling like a failed parent. According to one book review, Finn "is an ADHD warrior, spiritual seeker, mother of three, author, essayist, advocate, and coach. She spent years advocating for a twice-exceptional child before she began writing about it." In the Los Angeles Times, Finn writes about how the novel came to be: "I didn’t want to write about parenting and ADHD. I thought people might get angry or judgey. I thought I didn’t have time. I thought it was too private. But something desperately wanted to be expressed, even though I had an opposite and equally powerful desire to hold the creativity in." Find the LA Times piece. We haven't read this book, just want to point it out, and we have a feeling that "twice exceptional" is not its focus so much as some of the heroine's "extracurricular" activities. Lots of reviews on Amazon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SCOTUS and IEPs, Unemployed with ASD, Policy, and More

ENDREW F DECIDED. The Supreme Court has handed down a decision in the case of Endrew F affirming that an IEP must enable a covered child to make progress under IDEA. Special ed attorney Matt Cohen calls it a "huge win" for parents and advocates, and says, "Although it will likely require years of litigation to fully understand what the new rule means, it can only mean that the schools must do much more than the minimum required by standards that have been used in the past." Find our more at the Supreme Court blog; Education Week; or via the AP. Wrightslaw has some material on its site and is likely to add more.

SMART, ASD, UNEMPLOYED. Crain's Detroit Business profiled Steven Glowacki, a man with an IQ of 150 and three degrees but who is apparently unable to hold jobs because employers don't understand the needs of employees with autism. Quoted in the article, the president of the Autism Alliance of Michigan says, "Steven is wasting away. He's brilliant, but employers can't see past his disorder — and he's not alone. We're inducing poverty and a poor quality of life for people that can contribute ... in big ways." Find the article, and thanks to Nancy M for pointing us to it.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. This organization's March eNews Update is out, featuring news of the various Institute programs, information on the Regeneron Science Talent Search, books on gifted ed, pointers to legislative news, and pointers to web-based resources of interest to members of the gifted community. Find the newsletter.

LANDMARK COLLEGE offers professional certificates and individual courses as professional development for those who educate students who learn differently. The registration deadline for a course titled "Self-regulation, Motivation, and Student Engagement" is coming up on April 9. Find out more.

TECA has announced the date of its fall conference, October 13 at Molloy College in New York. "More information coming soon," says TECA.

TiLT PARENTING has released Episode 49 in its podcast series, "Setting Up Your Home to Support Your Child's Growth," with Simone Davies, a Montessori teacher/consultant. Of the podcast, TiLT founder Debbie Reber says, "Today Simone and I are talking about the 'spaces' in our home—specifically how we can best design and set them up to support our differently-wired kids." Find the podcast.

POLICY 1. NAGC has released a statement on the U.S. federal government administration's proposed budget insofar as it affects the Department of Education. From the statement: "Voters overwhelmingly support providing federal funding for gifted and talented education," said M. René Islas, Executive Director of the National Association for Gifted Children... "It is our hope that the Administration's final detailed budget maintains funding for the Javits program and reflects the will of the voters. Supporting gifted and talented children, particularly those from underserved backgrounds, is part of the transformational change needed to ensure all students have the opportunity to fulfill their highest potential and personal best." Find the statement.

POLICY 2. The organization Understood has also issued a response to the administration's budget proposal, focusing on $9 billion it would "take away from our students and teachers." Understood urges readers to tell Congress to reject the budget. Find the missive.

Friday, March 17, 2017

ASD, Asperger's, Summer Camp, Parenting, ADHD, More

AUTISM DOCUMENTARY. Starting on April 4, U.S. PBS television stations will show a documentary seeking to describe the sensory experiences of those with autism, according to Disability Scoop. Find out more. Separately, The New York Times also describes a documentary about a man with Asperger's in which a high point is a "rare filmic experience of the sensory overload of autism." Find a description of this film.

BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK is just about over, but you can find out more about its origins, what it has accomplished, and what's next for the observation at the site of the Dana Foundation.

SUMMER CAMP. Registration for Camp Summit West in California is now open. This camp, scheduled for June 18-24, is for gifted and twice-exceptional children. Find out more. Camp Summit East, in Maryland, is scheduled for August 20-26. Find out more.

TiLT PARENTING. Podcast Episode 48 is out, a conversation with TiLT founder Debbie Reber about surviving the first year of homeschooling. If homeschooling is something you're considering for your differently wired kiddo, perhaps check it out.

LONG-TERM ADHD MEDS. In a study that followed more than 500 children with ADHD into adulthood, extended use of stimulant medication was linked with suppressed adult height but not with reduced symptoms of ADHD. Remember, this is just one study and parents should rely on advice from a licensed professional, but we pass this on FYI. Find the study write-up.

CAUSE OF OCD DISCOVERED? An overactive molecular signal pathway in the brain region of the amygdala can lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder. A research team has now established this connection.Find a study write-up.

2e MOVING SCREENING. The documentary "2e: Twice Exceptional" is scheduled for a screening and panel discussion on March 30 at 6pm on March 30 at SUNY Old Westbury. (And if you know what that means, you're probably close enough to attend.) Find out more.

EDUCATION POLICY AND LAW. The following headlines should tell you whether the articles will be of interest to you.
  • NEA Criticizes Supreme Court Nominee's Judicial Record on Special Education. Find the article
  • Trump Education Dept. Releases New ESSA Guidelines. Find the article
  • No, Congress Didn't Vote to Scrap ESSA: Answers to Your FAQs. Find the article
  • The senate just blocked ESSA accountability rules — here are three ways states, districts can carry on without federal regulations. Find the article

Monday, March 13, 2017

Breakthroughs Conference, Processing Speed, 2e Achievers, and More

ACCORDING TO QUAD PREP, the "Breakthroughs" 2e conference on Wednesday and Thursday of this week in New York City is on, snow or no snow. Quad Prep says, "Our speakers are here and ready to go!" (The subject line of their email announcement was "Breakthrough the SNOW!" The NYC area is supposed to receive possibly 12-18 inches of snow tonight and Tuesday.) 2e Newsletter, unfortunately, will not be there. Southwest Airlines cancelled our flight to NYC. We hope that the conference draws many hardy and curious members of the 2e community. More about the conference.

PROCESSING SPEED -- more specifically, slow processing speed, is a topic of interest to many parents and teachers of the twice-exceptional. A blog at the site of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds provides an introduction to processing speed, with a sequel promised soon on coping with the condition. The blog describes processing speed deficits as potentially occurring during reception of stimuli, processing, or in responding.. The author provides results from several studies -- eg, that boys are more affected than girls -- and points out the importance of acceptance, accommodation, and advocacy. Find the blog.

2e ACHIEVERS are the topic of a book called The Power of Different, reviewed by CNN. The term twice-exceptional is not mentioned in the review, but the message in the book "is that those same brain differences that cause disorders such as dyslexia, depression and autism can lead to more creativity and artistic abilities, more empathy and an ability to visualize things in a different way." One takeaway from the review: the book's author firmly believes in addressing strengths as a priority. Read more.

BIOMARKER FOR ADHD? A recent study found that reported symptoms of ADHD were correlated with reduced gray matter in part of tahe prefrontal cortex. According to Medical News Today, "This relationship was particularly true for symptoms of inattention." Read more. Separately, the symptoms of ADHD foster important traits associated with entrepreneurship, according to researchers who found that entrepreneurs with ADHD embrace new experiences and demonstrate passion and persistence. Their intuitive decision making in situations involving uncertainty was seen by the researchers as a reason for reassessing existing economic models. Find a study write-up.

LANDMARK COLLEGE WEBINARS. Landmark College is dedicated to students who learn differently, and the college presents occasional professional development opportunities for educators. Coming up on March 31 is a webinar titled "How to Use the Science of Emotion Regulation to Facilitate Successful Learning." A fee applies. Find out more.

SUMMER CAMP. Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities offers tips for finding the right camp when the 2e kiddo in question is a first-time camper. To help find a good fit, the article offers seven questions to ask. Find the tips.

JEN THE BLOGGER muses on the nature of giftedness -- what others might see versus what the holder of the "gift" might see and experience. Find out how she describes what's inside the "gift box."

RAISING A 2e GIRL? A talk on this week's TED playlist might be of interest to you. It's titled, "To raise brave girls, encourage adventure." From the blurb: "Learn how to spark a little productive risk-taking and raise confident girls with stories and advice from firefighter, paraglider and all-around adventurer Caroline Paul." Find the talk.

DON'T FORGET that our recent special offer for the second editions of the parent's and teacher's booklets from the Spotlight on 2e Series is still in effect -- for a few more days, anyway. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- something else to worry about. A recent pilot study from Oregon State indicates that some chemicals added to furniture, electronics and numerous other goods to prevent fires may have unintended developmental consequences for young children. According to one of the study's authors, "When we analyzed behavior assessments and exposure levels, we observed that the children who had more exposure to certain types of the flame retardant were more likely to exhibit externalizing behaviors such as aggression, defiance, hyperactivity, inattention and bullying," Find a study write-up.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Ability Grouping, Creativity & Neurodiversity, Imaginational OEs, and More

GIFTED CHALLENGES. This blog, in a recent posting, takes on the topic of ability grouping, contending that it works and that it's essential once a student gets to middle school. Psychologist Gail Post debunks the rationale for the mixed-ability classes and points out why middle school is an important time. Find the blog.

TiLT PARENTING presents a podcast with Kathryn Haydon on the connection between creativity and neurodiversity, especially giftedness. According to podcast host Debbie Reber, "Kathryn’s passion for gifted and creative education are incredibly inspiring, and her vision for helping schools and parents use a “strengths-based” approach in the way they teach and parent is one we can absolutely get behind!" "Strengths-based" is certainly a term readers of 2e Newsletter have heard over the years. Find the podcast.

HOW'S YOUR IMAGINATIONAL OE? Yes, you, the gifted adult reader here. If you've got one and you're a gifted adult, you're invited to participate in an online survey from the University of Denver on fandoms, a community dedicated to the love of a particular person, team, fictional series or a character, etc. Find out more.

LD DOCUMENTATION can be important when it comes time for the transition to college, points out an article from Landmark College. According to the article, there is a "disconnect between the disability documentation available to students when they graduate from high school and the type of documentation expected by postsecondary service providers." The article discusses the legal underpinnings of required disability documentation, and describes how "disability documentation is now morphing into a portfolio of evidence." Find out more. Separately, Landmark now offers an online dual enrollment program for high school students who learn differently. Find out more.

AUTISM PREVALENCE is potentially determined by several factors besides the "real" incidence -- for example, diagnostic criteria and rising awareness. An article at Scientific American explains how these factors and and others have contributed to the decades-old rise in the incidence of autism diagnosis. Find the article.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has posted a first-person piece on self-acceptance. Written by an intelligent young woman with dyslexia, it recounts the shame of not knowing why one is not achieving like one's friends are, the relief of a diagnosis, and a special "aha moment" you'll have to read about for yourself. Find the piece.

HEAD INJURIES can adversely affect hundreds of genes in the brain that put people at high risk for diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, post-traumatic stress disorder, stroke, ADHD, autism, depression, and schizophrenia, life scientists report. The researchers have identified for the first time potential master genes which they believe control hundreds of other genes that are linked to many neurological and psychiatric disorders. Scary? Find the study write-up.

U.S. EDUCATIONAL POLICY AND LAW. Anyone interested in how proposed or enacted changes to educational policy and law might affect twice-exceptional students can check these recent articles:

Monday, March 6, 2017

Parenting, Advocacy, Resources, Policy & Politics

ADVOCACY. Parents with a purpose can make a difference, as an article at the Washington Post explains. A mom, Katherine Spurlock, "wanted to make sure that her daughter, who has dyslexia, received appropriate interventions and placement in school but learned that Montgomery County — nor any other county in Maryland and perhaps across the United States — did not compile data about how much money was being spent on early academic or behavioral interventions for students who need them." What did she do? Got state legislators to introduce legislation to address that problem. Read more.

SCREEN TIME FOR KIDS is something we often write about, but it seems that research on the topic is often contradictory. Two recent studies are no exception. According to a write-up at Science Daily, "Chances are that your children will turn out OK even though they spend hours playing video games or watching TV, according to a new study that found that there is only a negligibly small association between excessive screen time and higher levels of depression and delinquency among teenagers." Find the write-up.On the other hand, HealthDay reports on a study indicating that too much TV can make kids less ready for kindergarten -- especially lower-income kiddos. Read more.

WEBINAR FOR EDUCATORS. The CEC is holding a webinar titled "Multi-sensory Math Methodologies for Students with Learning Difficulties" on Wednesday, March 8. A fee applies. Find out more.

THE INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATIONAL ADVANCEMENT offers a couple programs for which registration deadlines are coming up. One is the Catherine D. Bradley Scholarship, which the organization calls "the only merit-based, need-blind high school scholarship to highly gifted students across the United States" The deadline is April 11. Find out more. The other program is Explore, which, according to IEA, "matches high-potential and gifted high school students with distinguished mentors, hands-on research opportunities, and professional experience in their field of interest. With the support and guidance of volunteer mentors and IEA staff, students learn about working in a variety of professional settings and advance their skills through the pursuit of knowledge and exposure to optimally challenging learning experiences." The deadline is April 10. Find out more.

TED offers two talks on this week's playlist that might appeal to you or that 2e kiddo you know. One is called "Math is forever," and TED says of the talk, "With humor and charm, mathematician Eduardo Sáenz de Cabezón answers a question that’s wracked the brains of bored students the world over: What is math for?" Find the talk. The other is titled "A science award that makes you laugh, then think," and the description of it is: "As founder of the Ig Nobel awards, Marc Abrahams explores the world's most improbable research. In this thought-provoking (and occasionally side-splitting) talk, he tells stories of truly weird science — and makes the case that silliness is critical to boosting public interest in science." Find it.

JEN THE BLOGGER IS BACK with her first new post in months. After her hiatus, she writes that she's re-imagining chaos ("Laughing at Chaos" is the name of her blog), and she seems to have come up against -- or with, hard to tell -- a new self-concept. Future blogs will evidently not feature the goings-on of her now teenage sons whose stories used to resonate with the parents of twice-exceptional children. Find the blog post, and the usual language warnings apply.

POLICY AND POLITICS.
  • Education Week has an article raising the possibility that federal education funding would follow the student instead of flowing to the state. For kiddos needing special ed services, that's an intriguing idea. Read more
  • The Washington Post warns that civil rights enforcement in education could be rolled back in the new administration. What does that matter to the 2e community? For one, the DOE Office of Civil Rights has intervened in the past when 2e kiddos were treated inequitably. Read more
  • ESSA OVERTURN. The Council for Exceptional Children notes this: "The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to overturn the U.S. Department of Education’s regulation implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) core requirement that schools be held accountable for the performance of historically marginalized students, including students with disabilities." CEC urges its members and others to write their senators against this repeal. Read more.