Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

GOLD VIDEO. We've mentioned the Vancouver, BC, GOLD program for gifted/LD students at the high school level. On YouTube you can see three short videos providing perspectives of parents, student participants, teachers, and counselors about the program. What also comes out is the 2e dilemma -- wanting to succeed, finding barriers to success, and then (with luck or a program like GOLD) being able to succeed. If you watch the videos, be sure to check out the body language of the young man in the second video as he's put on the spot by his parents and a teacher -- and give him credit for being willing to open up as he did. Find the videos.

THE "RAIN MAN" DIES. Kim Peek, the model for the savant main character of the 1988 film "Rain Man" has died, and a New York Times obituary provides insights into his life, his talents, and his limitations. Peek could read books two pages at a time, one page with each eye, and was "the Mount Everest of memory," according to the obituary; by the time he was six, he had read and memorized the first eight volumes of the family encyclopedia. Peek was not autistic, but had abnormalities in the structure of his brain. His social skills and physical coordination were poor, and he required help to dress or brush his teach. Read more about Peek's life, including his amazing talents.

LEARNING STYLES: AT IT AGAIN. Daniel Willingham continues defending his position that "there is no evidence supporting any of the many learning style theories that have been proposed." He responds to the most common complaints about his position, and takes a swipe at teacher training. Find it.

2e CRIMINAL HACKER. A 28-year-old college dropout (and, we assume, highly gifted individual), has, according to The New York Times, pleaded guilty to breaking into corporate computer systems to steal credit card data. The hacker's psychiatrist says that the behavior was "consistent with the description of Asperger's disorder." The hacker's lawyer says the hacker suffers from Internet addiction and drug abuse. Read more.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gifted/2e Education, and More

GIFTED/2e SCHOOL IN COLORADO SPRINGS. According to a member of its steering committee, the Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning has received approval to open for the 2010-2011 school year. The charter school is to be K-8, tuition-free, and specializing in gifted and twice-exceptional children. Every child will have a personalized learning plan, and instruction will be delivered using thematic units and hands-on learning. Find out more.

DITD UPDATES "STATE MAP." The Davidson Institute for Talent Development maintains a clickable map of the United States; site visitors can use the map to view a state's gifted education policies. The map has been updated based on data from NAGC's The State of the States report. Find the map. The DITD site also has a listing of summer programs for talent development for gifted young people, residential and day programs. Find the listing.

IMAGINATION AND FANTASY. The Wall Street Journal published an article on research into make-believe in child development. According to the article, "...child-development experts are recognizing the importance of imagination and the role it plays in understanding reality. Imagination is necessary for learning about people and events we don't directly experience, such as history or events on the other side of the world." The experts suggest that parents encourage fantasy play in their children, noting in particular imaginary friends. Preschoolers who have such friends are supposedly more creative and better at seeing others' perspectives. Read the article.

READING MINDS WITH fMRI. Scientific American recently published an article titled "The Mechanics of Mind Reading." The author describes how researchers use brain imaging to try to determine mental states. For example, it's possible for a researcher to ask a subject to think either about playing tennis or roaming through the house -- and then correctly determine which mental activity the subject chose, based on brain regions activated. For those interested in this kind of mind-machine telepathy, the article covers advances in the ways researchers are interpreting the data captured by functional magnetic resonance imaging scanners.

GIFTED ED BACKLASH? Community Consolidated School District 181 serves about 4,000 students in one of the wealthiest suburban areas of Chicago. The district's vision: "To be a school district where all children experience success and exhibit excellence." Yet a local news organization reports that some district residents are calling for a reduction in the gifted education program, which costs about $1 million a year ($887,015, according to the district's website, compared to almost $6 million for special education, out of a total budget of about $50 million). The article quotes one parent as saying, “Why does such a small part of our student population get this program’s benefits? I have had children in the program, but I don’t agree with the labeling that comes with participating in the program.” Another parent thought the money could be used to reduce class sizes overall. While the number of children in the gifted program is unclear, it could be higher than 20 percent. Read the news article, and be aware that the average home price in Hinsdale, one of the suburbs in the district, is $949,610, according to Money Magazine, and the average family in Hinsdale spends over $9,000 a year on vacations. Is this protest a move for equity? Or inequity?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Contest for Gifted Kids; Neuroeducation; and More

GOT A PASSION and the urge to communicate it to educators or parents in the gifted or twice-exceptional field? The National Association for Gifted Children has opened up proposal submissions for its 2010 conference, to be held in Atlanta next November. Find out more and register to submit a proposal.

FILM CONTEST FOR GIFTED YOUTH. The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) is inviting kids to "creatively share what it feels like to be gifted -- in two minutes or less." Gifted kids under 18 may submit a video by posting it on YouTube and submitting an entry form to SENG. Deadline: Midnight, March 1st. Find out more.

MORE ON NEUROEDUCATION. Lately we've posted a few times on the topic of neuroeducation, using the findings of neuroscience to guide teaching methods in the ordinary, everyday classroom. An article in The New York Times from December 20th gave examples of how neuroeducation works with math in the classroom. For example, pre-schoolers can learn cardinality, and are able to do simple division when the concept is delivered appropriately. For example, one expert quoted in the article said, “If children have games and activities that demonstrate the relationship between numbers, then quantity becomes a physical experience.” Neuroeducation builds on innate abilities such as subitizing, using parts of the brain that instinctively judge quantity. If you're looking for an article that makes neuroeducation concrete, try this one.

BRIGHT, INTELLIGENT, AND STRUGGLING TO READ. A study to be published in January shows that IQ and reading ability in dyslexics are not linked over time and do not influence each other, as opposed to typical readers, whose IQ and reading ability track together and influence each other. The study's lead author, Dr. Sally Shaywitz, says in a Science Daily article that "I've seen so many children who are struggling to read but have a high IQ. Our findings of an uncoupling between IQ and reading, and the influence of this uncoupling on the developmental trajectory of reading, provide evidence to support the concept that dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty with reading in children who otherwise have the intelligence to learn to read." Read more.

OMEGA-3 AND SENSORY OVERLOAD. Also from Science Daily, research indicating that omega-3 fatty acids help animals avoid sensory overload. From the article: "The finding connects low omega-3s to the information-processing problems found in people with schizophrenia; bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders; Huntington's disease; and other afflictions of the nervous system." The study examined the role of DHA fatty acid in sensorimotor gating, which helps animals respond to stimuli, and suggests that the proper fatty acids might have therapeutic potential. Read the article.

VIDEO GAMES IN THE CLASSROOM. The Sunday supplement Parade Magazine describes a classroom in New York City in which educators use a curriculum entirely focused on video games. According to the article, students "study and explore subjects through role-playing activities and computer-driven interactive quests... They work together on game-like 'missions,' solving puzzles and completing challenges as teams. Their courses have been combined into multidisciplinary “domains...” And at semester's end? They reach the "next level." Find the article.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND. The January issue has been mailed and contents are online. Although the "meaty" articles are reserved for subscribers or those willing to buy the digital issue online, interested readers may find some "public" features of interest: "How Birth Order Affects Your Personality"; "Should Parents Spank Their Kids?"; book reviews; and other items. Go to the table of contents to see what interests you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Are Learning Styles Passe'?

ANOTHER BAD RAP FOR LEARNING STYLES. A "team of eminent researchers in the psychology of learning" has reviewed the literature on learning styles and concludes that the studies used to differentiate learners as auditory or visual, et cetera, were not properly designed and conducted to be scientifically valid. "Given the lack of scientific evidence, the authors argue that the currently widespread use of learning-style tests and teaching tools is a wasteful use of limited educational resources." Read more.

1 IN 300, 1 IN 150, 1 IN 100. That's the progression of the incidence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in eight-year olds, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. According to The New York Times, ASD includes Asperger's as well as "pervasive developmental disorder," covering children with social difficulties or some learning and sensory issues. The article notes that the incidence rate is similar to that in a study published in October; in that study, almost 40 percent of those with an ASD diagnosis later grew out of it or no longer had it. Read the article.

GIFTED TIMES FOUR. A New York Times article on December 19th noted that all four quadruplets from a Connecticut family received acceptances to Yale University, based on their stellar academic and non-academic accomplishments. Will they attend? Read the article.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY. If you have a gifted or twice-exceptional child who might benefit from assistive technology for listening, math, organization, reading, or writing, check out a primer on the topic at LD OnLine.

IT'S THE LEFT FUSIFORM GYRUS -- that's the part of the brain recently determined to be essential for normal, rapid understanding of the meaning of written text and word spelling, and we thought you'd want to know that. The findings, unfortunately, came about when a patient with above-normal reading and spelling abilities had to have part of the brain removed because of a tumor. For those of you who do not read the Journal Cortex (us included), you may read about the findings at Science Daily. Separately, another report in Science Daily links psychological trauma to poor functioning of the hippocampus, a brain structure that stores and retrieves memories. The research helps explain why traumatized children behave as they do and could improve treatments, according to the report. Find it.

TREATMENT FOR MENTAL DISORDERS IN KIDS. Got a gifted kid with AD/HD? Depression? Conduct disorder? Anxiety? A combination? Overall, only 55 percent of children with those disorders receive professional treatment, according to the Los Angeles Times. Contributing factors: socio-economic status and race. Find the article.

DOES NEUROFEEDBACK WORK? An article in the Washington Post covers pro and con positions regarding the effectiveness of biofeedback for conditions as varied as AD/HD, depression, anxiety, autism, and brain injuries. The article notes that the National Institute of Mental Health is sponsoring the first government-funded study on neurofeedback. The article provides several case studies -- one where an out-of-control child having difficulty with his classes turned into an AP, 3.5-average student -- and reveals that the author has also had positive experiences with neurofeedback. Read more.

RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION. Among the subscribers to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter are parents whose gifted children, because of behavior stemming from exceptionalities such as Asperger's, may be potential candidates for restraint or seclusion in school. If this is of concern to you, check out Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate for this week; it deals with new federal (U.S.) legislation that will regulate restraint and seclusion in schools. Find it.

KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH THAT YOUNG GENERATION. Here's the start of the current issue of "Trends & Tudes," an e-newsletter from Harris Interactive and containing results of recent surveys of youth: "It's 2009; do you know what kids today are saying, thinking, and doing? Well for starters... they are shopping, maintaining relationships, absorbing technology, worrying about the future, aspiring to greatness, and going online and going online and going online." The newsletter covers how teens and pre-teens shop and spend, their attitudes toward new technology, and their relationships with friends and family. For example, when asked who they most like to spend time with, kids 8-12 list Mom as #1; by 18-24, the top two choices are friends and boy/girl friend. Or, find out which age group most wants to be in the Guinness Book of World Records. Anyway, if you feel out of touch based on your at-home sample of 1, 2, or 3, check out the survey results.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER ISSUE OF 2e NEWSLETTER PUBLISHED. A few weeks ago we published the most recent issue of 2e Newsletter, for those who raise, educate, and counsel gifted children with learning challenges. Subscribers can also find the content of the issue in the subscriber-only area of 2eNewsletter.com, along with content from all past issues. Non-subscribers can access "Dear Dr. Sylvia," an advice column, and "Bob Seney on Books," recommendations for literature likely to appeal to young people who are gifted and 2e. Find those columns. Find other "public" content on the site.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Brain and Reading, ASD, and Promises

NEUROSCIENCE AND READING. The Dana Foundation has posted an excerpt from the book Reading in the Brain, by Stanislas Dehaene. The chapter is titled, "Brain-based Suggestions for Teaching Reading." After the caveat that "neuroscience is still far from being prescriptive," the author describes what neuroscientists know about the process of reading and offers tips on effectively guiding children to achieve their reading skills. An example of classroom advice: "At each step, the words and sentences introduced in class must only include graphemes and phonemes that have already been explicitly taught. Reading lessons provide little room for improvisation." (The author also notes the difficulty of the English alphabetic writing system in terms of learning to read.) Read more.

SOCIAL DIFFICULTIES IN ASD.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered that the brains of individuals with autism are less active when engaged in self-reflective thought. Using brain imaging techniques, the researchers examined activity in an area of the brain known to be active when people think about themselves. Says the lead researcher: "This new study shows that within the autistic brain, regions that typically prefer self-relevant information make no distinction between thinking about the self or another person. This is strong evidence that in the autistic brain, processing information about the self is atypical." Find out more.

EQUITY IN GIFTED EDUCATION. Education columnist Jay Matthews uses billionaire Warren Buffett's early disenchantment with school to opine on equity in gifted education -- who should get it -- and also on dumping gifted education in favor of simply letting students find their talents. From the column: "I have interviewed many successful scientists, educators and entrepreneurs, and few of them were slotted into gifted programs based on a second-grade test. Our schools try to help kids like these, but many of their parents tell me they do better if they are home-schooled or, like the restless teenage Buffett, given as much time as possible to pursue their own interests..." Read it.

FOR YOUR CLEVER BUT DEVIOUS 2e CHILD? Science Daily reports that scientists have discovered the physiological mechanisms in the brain that underlie broken promises. Patterns of brain activity even enable predicting whether someone will break a promise. This begs the question: Will parents someday have available portable brain imaging devices to help them tell when a child's promise is real -- or bound to be broken? Find out more, and dream on.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Brain and...

THE BRAIN AND AUTISM. An article and video on a Philadelphia TV station's website explains recent findings about how the brains of Aspie and autistic children work. One study has found that autistic brains respond in a delayed fashion to sounds or speech, which can lead to difficulties in recognizing the sound. Another study shows underactivation in areas of the brain that understand faces and expressions. Go to the site.

BRAIN-MACHINE INTERFACE. Researchers using electrocorticography (monitoring signals from the surface of the brain) have allowed patients to "communicate" a letter to a computer via brainwaves. The computer first recorded the patients' responses to
viewing particular letters. Then, when patients concentrated in their mind on a particular letter, the computer could read their pattern of brain waves and bring up the letter on the computer screen. Read more.

THE BRAIN AND READING. Carnegie Mellon University scientists Timothy Keller and Marcel Just have uncovered the first evidence that intensive instruction to improve reading skills in young children causes the brain to physically rewire itself, creating new white matter that improves communication within the brain. As the researchers reported in the journal
Neuron, brain imaging of children between the ages of 8 and 10 showed that the quality of white matter -- the brain tissue that carries signals between areas of grey matter, where information is processed -- improved substantially after the children received 100 hours of remedial training. After the training, imaging indicated that the capability of the white matter to transmit signals efficiently had increased, and testing showed the children could read better. Read more from the Carnegie Mellon article/press release. Or, listen to an NPR program about the research findings.

BRAINY HIGH SCHOOLS. We see that
US News has released its third annual report on "America's Best High Schools." You can find that report, along with other lists such as "Top IB Programs," here.

YOUR BRAIN ON LEAD.
Science Daily reports that young adults with higher blood lead levels appear more likely to have major depression and panic disorders, even if they have exposure to lead levels generally considered safe. Cigarette smoking affects blood lead levels, and smoking elevated the risks even further, 2.5 times for depressive disorder and 8.2 times for panic disorder. The article explains that lead may disrupt brain processes involving the neurotransmitters catecholamine and serotonin. Read the article. (Note that the most recent issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter contains three articles on the biomedical/biochemical view of certain 2e conditions and treatment.)

HEALTHY BRAINS. Well, actually, this is about a new resource for healthy children in general, although we notice that the site
does include dozens of articles about brain-related topics. The American Academy of Pediatrics has just launched -- just, as in today, December 10th -- a site providing pediatrician-approved health information for parents. According to the Academy, parents may browse sections such as:
  • Ages & Stages: Information on the health issues of infants through adolescents, including interactive content on developmental milestones
  • Healthy Living: Up-to-date guidance on fitness, sports, oral health, emotional wellness and nutrition
  • Safety & Prevention: Preparing for health scenarios that occur at home, school and on the go, as well as in-depth information on the immunizations children need to stay healthy
  • Health Issues: An exhaustive, A-to-Z list of more than 300 health care topics.
Parents may customize information based on their children’s ages and health topics, or, by using the “Ask the Pediatrician” tool, browse a list of frequently asked questions or pose their own questions. Find the site.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Clues about a Gifted Detective... and More

SHERLOCK HOLMES, 2e ASPIE? An MD columnist for The New York Times lays out the evidence that Conan Doyle's creation might have been modeled on someone with Asperger's. The columnist notes Doyle's attention to medical detail (he trained as a physician). In the matter of Holmes' character, the columnist wonders first if he was bipolar, but then moves on to another "diagnosis," explaining the clues along the way. Review the diagnosis.

MENSA BOOKS FOR PARENTS. The website of the American Mensa Association provides a book list for parents of gifted children. Readers of 2e Newsletter will find familiar authors in the list. Find it.

LIVE CHAT ON RTI. If you'd like to know more about Response to Intervention to help that gifted or twice-exceptional child you know, check out a free online Education Week chat on Thursday afternoon, December 8th.

MIND OF AN ASPIE. A 12-year-old Michigan boy has published a book, "Super Senses: A child's descriptions of the challenges and rewards of living with Autism/Asperger." His efforts won a school district award. Read more.

FROZEN IN HIGH SCHOOL VERSUS GROWING UP. A prospective college student applying to some fairly prestigious colleges writes how, as she visits campuses, comparisons to Hogwarts abound. Her conclusion: while her peers have grown up on Harry Potter, the colleges are "selling the wrong thing. And my friends and I won’t be fooled. After all, Harry Potter is frozen in high school, and we’re growing up." Read the article.

OFF THE WALL: HOLIDAY WARNING. From Science Daily: "According to a poll of Pennsylvania adults, about 17 percent of Pennsylvanians experienced an injury or knows someone who was injured while opening gifts during past seasons." Further, according to the article, the American Dialect Society defines "wrap rage" as "anger brought on by the frustration of trying to open a factory-sealed purchase." Read safety tips here. And be careful out there this holiday season.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Offerings for Saturday, December 5th, 2009

IF YOU LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY, you might be interested in The Lang School, a "progressive K-8 independent school for high potential and gifted children with AD/HD, language-based learning differences, anxiety, [and] organizational challenges," according to the founder. The school will open in September of 2010 with a combination-age class of 5th-graders. You may find out more about the school at an information session for parents to be held on December 17th at 6:30pm at The New York Open Center, 22 East 30th St., Room 3B, NYC (between Madison and 5th Avenue). Find out more.

INTERESTED IN SCHOOL REFORM? Washington Post columnist Jay Matthews wrote excitedly about a recent report defining 21st-century education, by education analyst Craig Jerald. Find out about the report -- and Matthews' own opinions on future education -- in the column.

BRAIN-BASED EDUCATION. A recent article in the journal of a professional education association provided a thorough tutorial on brain-based education,
"the active engagement of practical strategies based on principles derived from brain-related sciences." The article provides a history and background of the movement and contends that the movement is now a legitimate force in education. Find the article.


RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION. If you haven't yet read a cogent description of what RTI is and why it's important, check out an article in the Harvard Education Letter. The article also describes why it's so important to find struggling readers early, before they've had a chance to fail. Find it.

CHILD RAISING. Reacting negatively and automatically to a child's misbehavior is certainly less desirable than taking time to think about the best way to react, but most of us -- at least some of the time -- fall into that trap. Reacting well is especially important with children who misbehave in creative and persistent ways, two traits often found in 2e children. A recent study reported in Science Daily indicates that poor working memory in the parent leads to more negative reactions to misbehavior, and suggests that parenting skills may be improved by working memory training in the adult, not the child. Read the report.

TESTING AND ASSESSMENT OF GIFTED CHILDREN. Carolyn K has posted the PowerPoints from her recent NAGC presentation. The presentation covers types of testing, terminology, grade-level tests versus out-of-level tests, achievement and ability tests, and IQ testing, among other topics. Also included -- several slides on how to use testing and assessment to identify gifted/LD children. Find the presentation.

2e IN VANCOUVER. Parents in Vancouver, Canada, have formed an organization called GOLD, for "Gifted Learning Disabled Program." It's an academic program for grades 8 and 9. According to the group's page on the Vancouver School Board's website, "The goal of the program is to improve the students' self-concept by helping them understand their own strengths and difficulties, while they learn effective strategies and skills to be successful at school." Also at the site is a PDF titled Gifted and Learning Disabled: A Handbook, 4th edition, which defines gifted/LD, provides curricular needs and strategies, lists local British Columbia services for G/LD students, and provides resources and readings for those interested in G/LD-2e children.

NEW GIFTED BLOG. A parent of gifted children has created a blog/site for gifted children and their parents can find information, resources, and support. The parent, Christine Fonseca, is in the process of writing a book called Emotionally Intense! that will be published by Prufrock Press. In conjunction with the book project, she is looking for input from children and parents on topics such as what it means to be gifted, what's hard about it, and favorite and most difficult school experiences. (The request is in a post from November 16th.) Find the blog.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Resources and News from 3 Newsletters and Other Media

REMEMBER HOAGIES' as a resource when you're looking for information about your gifted or twice-exceptional child. For those of you interested in the brain's impact on the gifted and the LD, check out Carolyn K's "Brain Research and Learning Theories" page. And if you raise or teach a twice-exceptional child who will be going to college, read the "Twice Exceptional Students in College" page. Or, you may nominate a favorite teacher or administrator for Hoagies' "Gifted Teacher and Administrator of the Year Contest." Or, you can just start at the Hoagies' home page and spend a year or two following your interests...

ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. David Rabiner wondered what happens when a child's core AD/HD symptoms are normalized -- will areas such as peer relations and academic performance improve as well? In the current issue of his newsletter, Rabiner reviews a study examining that question. Find the review and Rabiner's conclusions.

WRIGHTSLAW SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE. This newsletter for the first week of December covered reading programs that are effective and research based, as required by NCLB. If your bright but reading-challenged student could use help, check out Special Ed Advocate for this week.

SOCIAL SKILLS FOR ASPIES and kids with mild autism is the topic of an article in the Washington Post. The article examines what various schools in the Washington, DC, area are doing to help these young people navigate independently and fit in. Read it.

TEENAGERS -- DIFFERENT. We know that, and a developmental psychologist explains, in an interview in The New York Times, why teenagers often don't plan, anticipate consequences, or make the right decisions. The perspective is from a criminal justice perspective -- should a teenager be held as accountable for his or her crime as an adult would be? -- but the insights apply to everyday life. Find it.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY'S winter issue has been published. In it, you can find articles on: science education for gifted minority students; ways to encourage and nurture reading in gifted children; and using Turner Classic movies to stimulate gifted students' sensibilities in both cognitive and affective areas. There is also a brief critique of the current state of gifted education by Alexis I. du Pont de Bie, who is "appalled by the horrific, stomach churning of our current local and national education for the gifted"; du Pont de Bie also expresses a concern with the way NAGC addresses gifted education. Find the newsletter.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Neurosurgery, a Weighty Tome on Giftedness, Neuroeducation, and Outdoor Kindergarten

SURGERY FOR OCD, TOURETTE'S. An article in The New York Times covered the use of brain surgery to treat conditions such as OCD, Tourette's, and depression. The surgery may involve destroying tissue using implanted wires, modulating brain circuits using deep brain stimulation, or destroying tissue using radiation from a "gamma knife." The surgeries are relatively infrequent -- about 500 over the last decade, and only on patients with severely disabling disorders which no other treatment had resolved. The article describes the plights and treatments of two patients, one who was helped and one who wasn't. Find the article.

interviewed the editor of a volume by that title, Larisa INTERNATIONAL HANDBOOK ON GIFTEDNESS. EdNews.org's Michael ShaughnessyShavinia, who describes the work and why she decided to create it. The Handbook consists of 78 chapters by 118 authors in over 1500 pages. Also impressive: the price tag, at $479. Out of the 78 chapters, only three apparently deal with 2e; those are in a section called "Twice-Exceptional Gifted Individuals and Suicide-Related Issues." Read the interview. See the table of contents.

NEUROEDUCATION: LEARNING, ARTS, AND THE BRAIN. Earlier this year, Johns Hopkins University held a summit of that title for researchers and educators exploring the convergence of neuroscientific research, teaching, and learning, with emphasis on the arts. The Dana Foundation has made available a document that contains the keynote address by Jerome Kagan, an executive summary of the summit, and transcripts of panel discussions. You may order a print copy from the Foundation, or you may download a 120-page PDF of the document.

A WALDORF FOREST KINDERGARTEN. Ever think your young, bright, inquisitive child wasn't getting enough time outdoors? Check out a New York Waldorf School that offers a "forest kindergarten," where children 3 1/2 to 6 years old spend three hours outside every school day. Read The New York Times article for a nice look at what teachers and students think of the venture.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rhodes Scholars, Autism Treatments, IEPs, and Pasta

GIFTED AND ACHIEVING. An article published by MSNBC highlights winners of 2010 Rhodes Scholarships, announced Sunday. From 805 applicants, 32 scholarships were awarded for up to three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. The article says the scholarships "are awarded for attributes that include high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor." Find out more about some of the winners. And read another article, this one in the Washington Post, about the scholars and what they tend to do after Oxford.

THERAPIES FOR AUTISM. The Chicago Tribune ran an article on the front page of its November 22nd Sunday paper about autism treatments. The headline and subhead give the paper's take on the topic and foreshadow the content of the article -- "Autism treatments: Risky alternative therapies have little basis in science" and "Alternative therapies amount to uncontrolled experimentation on children, investigation finds." Among the treatments covered by the article are chelation therapy, vitamin therapy, and hyperbaric chambers. The Tribune also contends that certain lab tests -- for example, on levels of toxic metals -- can be misleading. Read the article.

WRIGHTSLAW. Special Ed Advocate for the week of November 22nd offered this invitation: "
learn how parents, as participants in developing their child’s IEP, benefit by having input into the instructional methods used to teach their children." Find the newsletter.

LIKE PASTA? LOVE A TEACHER? Enter the restaurant chain Olive Garden's "Pasta Tales" contest where students write essays about a teacher who has inspired them in school and how the teacher has affected their lives. Prizes include savings bonds and -- naturally -- dinners at Olive Garden restaurants. If there's a teacher who your gifted or GT/LD learner admires, find out more.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Reading, Hearing, Educational Videos, and a School for 2e Children

READING AND THE MIND. On the Scientific American website, you can read an interesting interview with neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene on how the mind makes sense of written language. In his research, Dehaene wondered how the brain and culture interact, and he's come to the conclusion that "the brain did not evolve for culture, but culture evolved to be learnable by the brain." He hypothesizes that the elements of written language stem from shapes that the brain was already "wired" to see in primates. He contends, for example, that monkey brains already contain neurons that preferentially respond to shapes in nature such as T, L, and Y, and that we with our human culture have recycled these shapes for use in language. He describes his findings about the left-hemisphere region of the brain that activates when we read, which he calls the "letterbox." He also suggests that dyslexia is a failure to properly interconnect letter with speech sounds. (He does acknowledge, however, that dyslexia is a very heterogeneous condition.) Read the interview.

EDUCATION VIDEOS, ORGANIZED. According to Education Week, one of the founders of Wikipedia has launched a website to provide free access to over 10,000 educational videos for students up to 18 years old. In the article, the organizer describes his site as "YouTube meets Wikipedia." Find the article. Find the site.

CAN'T HEAR, CAN'T LEARN. Education Week also pointed us to a podcast on the topic of hearing screenings for students. According to the article, The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association says that 2.5 million U.S. students have mild hearing loss, which can cause them to miss much of what transpires in the classroom. The Association's podcast is about 22 minutes long and explains how parents can ensure their children are screened. Find it. Other podcasts on the site deal with care tips for young athletes with concussions; protecting the hearing of the young; language delay; and aphasia (discussed by the creator of the comic strip For Better or For Worse).

2e SCHOOL IN SCOTTSDALE. In a recent issue of 2e Newsletter, we wrote about a soon-to-be opened school for young, twice-exceptional students in Scottsdale, Arizona. We hear from co-founder Kelly Rostan that the opening of the Open Doors Learning Center has been moved to January, 2010. Rostan says that the school is still accepting applications from families looking for alternative education for their 2e children. For more information, visit http://www.opendoorscenter.org/
.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On Praise, Thanks, At-Risk Labels, and the Amygdala

DON'T PRAISE INTELLIGENCE in your gifted, high-ability kids. It makes kids want to protect the idea that they're smart, and that can lead to lost confidence, lost interest in challenging tasks, and plummeting performance. So says psychologist Carol Dweck in an interview published in a University of Illinois publication. In the article, Dweck also discusses the fixed mindset versus the growth mindset and how they apply to children and students, among other areas. Find the article.

THANK THAT EDUCATOR OF 2e STUDENTS. The website MyTeacherMyHero.com is offering a way to fund school projects and supplies by posting a video thanking your favorite teacher. By thanking your favorite teacher in a video at the site, you can earn a $25 "Giving Card" from DonorsChoose.org. You can then donate the Giving Card to a project, school, or teacher you want to help -- and multiple videos from friends and colleagues can increase the funding for the project you choose. Find details.

FUNDRAISING IDEA FOR YOUR GIFTED SCHOOL. A private school in Vail, Colorado, is raising money by raffling off a $1.3 million ski home plus cash to pay the income tax on it. And you thought the fruit basket you gave to your school's last silent auction was something -- next time, donate your home. Read more, or enter.

BRAIN SCIENCE, STRESS, AND DISCIPLINE. An article in the Providence Journal tells how a consultant teaches educators how to apply brain science to reduce stress in schools and to help discipline. The article recounts the disruptive effects of stress on education, describes the importance a nurturing relationship with a non-parent adult (eg, a teacher) can have for a child, and describes how ritualized actions and nonverbal gestures can speak directly to the amygdala, calming kids when used properly. Read the article.

DUMPING THE ASPIE LABEL. An opinion piece in The New York Times about eliminating Asperger's as a separate condition in the next DSM and lumping it with ASDs generated lots of letters to the editor. If this issue interests you, check out the letters.

AT-RISK VERSUS AT-PROMISE. Washington Post columnist Jay Matthews writes about how some schools are changing the "at-risk" label to "at-promise." The rationale? Intimations of deficit model versus strength model. Silly? Read the column.

TEEN BRAINS. Are they wired differently? A recent study indicates they might be. From the study: “Our work on the amygdala revealed that the neuronal pathways that carry sensory information to the amygdala directly, bypassing cortex, are more plastic in the juvenile than in adult mice...” This could mean that teens are driven more by subcortical, less rational parts of the brain. Find out more.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

WE MISSED PART OF NAGC'S recent report on gifted education in the United States. In our most recent posting, we pointed to a summary of the report -- "State of the Nation" -- but did not point to the "State of the States" document, the full report; we assumed it was a for-fee publication, our bad. You may find links to the various components of the biannual report at the NAGC site. Be advised that the full "State of the States" report is 293 pages long and covers topics such as state education agencies, GT funding and mandates, identification of GT students, programs, personnel preparation, related policies and practices, and lots of tables. One table consists of state report cards. Another is a three-part, state-by-state assessment of areas needing attention. For example, in our home state of Illinois, funding for gifted education is assessed as "most in need," while the representation of minority students in GT education is assessed as "in need." You may also find the way your state defines giftedness in Table 11.

TECHNOLOGY AND READING. In past posts, we've pointed to articles about Kindle and how it might affect all students, not just GT/LD learners. An article in Education Week explores "the risks and rewards of electronic reading devices" in general. And at CNN Money, you may read about a camera that reads text aloud, the Intel Reader, a device the article calls "profoundly different" from other readers. Instead of using electronically packaged and transmitted text, as the Kindle does, the Intel Reader captures text on a printed page and pronounces it aloud. The article calls the device "a potential godsend for those who struggle to read standard text because of learning disabilities or vision problems." One drawback: the just-released reader costs $1500. Find out more from the article or from Intel.

ASD AND FINE MOTOR SKILLS. Researchers have found that fine motor control, as manifested in handwriting, is different in children with ASD than in typically developing children. According to an article in Psychology Today, the researchers feel that the difference may provide clues about problems with socialization and communication in children on the autism spectrum. Find the article.

DYSLEXIC DIFFICULTY FOCUSING ON RELEVANT AUDITORY INPUT. A Northwestern University study reported in Yahoo News and Science Daily finds that dyslexic children have difficulty focusing on "relevant, predictable, and repeating auditory information," instead becoming distracted by sounds such as banging lockers or scraping chairs. According to the Science Daily piece, "The study suggests that in addition to conventional reading and spelling based interventions, poor readers who have difficulties processing information in noisy backgrounds could benefit from the employment of relatively simple strategies, such as placing the child in front of the teacher or using wireless technologies to enhance the sound of a teacher's voice for an individual student."

IF YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT WIRELESS PHONE USAGE by your child, check out an article in Science Daily about a Swedish study that found links between wireless phone usage and biological changes in the brain as well as to overall health. Find it.

FINALLY, RESEARCH RESULTS YOU WANT TO HEAR -- from the American Chemical Society and the Journal of Proteome Research, no less. A clinical trial has shown that eating an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduces the levels of stress hormones in highly stressed people. While the study did not specifically mention those who raise and teach twice-exceptional children as being highly stressed, this may be the first study to explain how chocolate has those, mmmm, comforting effects. Read about the study. Or, if you're brave and scientifically inclined, read the study.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

IN THIS POST: JONATHAN MOONEY, NEUROEDUCATION, DSM-V, and GIFTED EDUCATION

JONATHAN MOONEY FANS will be interested to know that he has been selected to receive the "Outstanding Learning Disabled Achiever Award" from The Lab School of Washington, DC. Mooney is accepting the award today, November 11th, at an event keynoted by Vice President Joseph Biden. In an email, Mooney says that prior recipients have included Cher, Billy Bob Thornton, Richard Avedon, Magic Johnson and James Carville. Find more information about Mooney. Find more on The Lab School.

CEREBRUM has posted an article titled "The Science of Education: Informing Teaching and Learning through the Brain Sciences." The authors suggest ways that neuroeducation, the combination of education and neuroscience, will provide tools and guidelines for tomorrow's teachers. They note how a teacher's view of brain plasticity, for example, affects how the teacher views the learner, as does the teacher's understanding of effect of emotions on learning. The article notes obstacles to uniting science and education, but contends that collaboration between scientists and educators will be key for extending the effects of brain science into education. Find the article.

ASPERGER'S AND THE DSM. News reports indicate that the committee in charge of revising the DSM may remove Asperger Syndrome as a separate condition, instead considering it to be part of the autism spectrum disorder. In a New York Times opinion piece, an autism expert suggests caution in the revision, noting consequences to those diagnosed with Asperger's and on their families. Read the article.

BEYOND PULL-OUT. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune describes how a local elementary school has created a "school within a school" for its gifted students. The high-ability students have classes together that provide enrichment and faster-paced lessons. Read about it.

ACCELERATION GUIDELINES. On its website, NAGC offers a 46-page document called "Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy," developed in conjunction with the Belin-Blank Institute and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted. The document covers types of acceleration, research support for acceleration, recommended elements of an acceleration policy, and a checklist for developing such a policy. Also included is sample language from state acceleration policies. Find the guidelines.

THE STATE OF GIFTED EDUCATION in the United States can be characterized as "sorry," if we correctly interpret a report from NAGC called "State of the Nation in Gifted Education." The report calls our commitment to gifted an talented children "inadequate;" it goes on to call investment "scarce," teachers "unprepared," and services a "patchwork." If you have a gifted child, read the report and be depressed -- or be spurred to advocate on behalf of gifted education for students in the United States.

Monday, November 9, 2009

POST-NAGC ITEMS

WE WERE IN ST. LOUIS for a few days attending the convention of the National Association for Gifted Children. The association is becoming more and more involved in GT/LD, and this year's meeting included at least a dozen sessions on twice-exceptionality and/or gifted underachievement. Find coverage of some of the most compelling sessions in the November/December issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, out soon.

ABC's PERSON OF THE WEEK in mid February, 2008, was an artist named Stephen Wiltshire, who can observe a cityscape for a short period of time and then draw it in great detail from memory. Wiltshire has expressive issues (orally, not artistically), and some of our friends in the 2e community call him "the ultimate visual-spatial learner." See more, including video.

GIFTED AND SENSITIVE. Is that the stereotype? A new study indicates that gifted children "often display sensitivities to their environment that vary from those of the general population." You can read an abstract of the study here.

GIFTED CHILD QUARTERLY dispels 19 myths about giftedness in its current issue, available for a short time to all of us who do not subscribe to the magazine from NAGC. Some of the myths are "straw men" (example: There is a single curriculum for the gifted), but others are more genuinely "mythical" -- for example, the assertion that the gifted comprise 3-5% of the population, and that giftedness equals high IQ. Find the articles.

KNOW SOMEONE WHO NEEDS FRIENDS? Brainworks offers tips for your gifted child in an article called "Learn How to Make and Keep Friends." The article covers why friendships are important, offers six steps to establish new friendships, and provides "10 basic courtesies of relationships." Brainworks is a Texas organization that helps clients with learning problems. It was founded by
Carla Crutsigner,
a parent frustrated in her search for a facility to help her gifted, AD/HD son.

GIFTED EDUCATION IN VIRGINIA must be pretty good, inferring from an article in the Daily Press, presumably published somewhere in that state. The article notes Virginia's "Governor's Schools," tailored to specific areas of studies, and initiatives such as measuring progress for all students, including the gifted. Read the article
, but know that today's big news on the site is about a beached whale in the area.

LD ACHIEVER. Well, this gifted young woman had a tough time -- issues with reading, math, and spelling. AD/HD. Anxiety. Frustration with school that triggered depression. A teacher who said that college was not for her. But some teachers encouraged her, and The Flint (Michigan) News says that Kristi Starnes, a graduate of the University of Michigan, is now earning a master's degree in fine arts at the University of Iowa. Read more.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Benefits from Video Games?

WE BASH VIDEO GAMES, sometimes, but an article in the Boston Globe describes research about the positive side of the games. From the article: "Most games involve a huge number of mental tasks, and playing can boost any one of them. Fast-paced, action-packed video games have been shown, in separate studies, to boost visual acuity, spatial perception, and the ability to pick out objects in a scene. Complex, strategy-based games can improve other cognitive skills, including working memory and reasoning." The article also notes that video games are just a medium, and, as such, neither inherently good nor bad. Find the article.

THE EIDES ON VIDEO GAMES. Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide, in their Neurolearning blog, note that action-based video games can improve contrast sensitivity in players -- the ability to discern close shades of gray. The ability to train this sensitivity may help kids with lazy eye, or older adults who are losing their night vision. The Eides also weigh in with their opinion on "Anti-learning Style" proponents such as Daniel Willingham, the subject of two recent items in this blog. Find the Eide's blog.

NAGC'S ANNUAL CONFERENCE is November 5th through 8th. We will have a presence at the conference, and we look forward to meeting friends of 2e Newsletter. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October 28, 2009 -- An Event, Resources, and "Dysrationalia"

GIFTED ONLINE CONFERENCE PRESENTATION. On November 11, 6pm to 8pm, Judy Galbraith will present a webinar through Our Gifted and Talented Online Conferences, OGTOC. Galbraith is the founder of Free Spirit Publishing, which caters to gifted young people. The topic: recognizing and meeting the social and emotional needs of the gifted. A donation is requested. More information about the webinar. More information about Judy Galbraith.

PARENT GUIDE TO RTI -- that's what Wrightlaw's Special Ed Advocate is offering in the current edition of the newsletter. If you have a child who learns differently, chances are you should know about Response to Intervention. Find the newsletter.

ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. David Rabiner's latest newsletter is now posted on his site HelpForADD.com, and in it he reviews a study in which he was involved, one that evaluated the effectiveness of computerized interventions in attention training. The study compared Computerized Attention Training and Computer-Assisted Instruction. The results showed mild improvement in classroom attention immediately following the training, no long-term benefits, and limited effects on academic achievement. Read the report.

HEAD TO THE LIBRARY and check out the November issue of Scientific American Mind for a couple of good articles, neither of which is currently available on the publication's website. One article is called "What Does a Smart Brain Look Like?" and it addresses how the brain's structure influences intelligence and abilities. Seems that an individual pattern of gray and white matter affects specific cognitive skills. For example, more gray matter in a particular brain area might boost spatial intelligence; in another area, it might boost the ability to retain factual information. Males and females have different architectures of these specific areas. The tissues in these specific brain areas may, according to the article, "predict a person's unique pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses across a range of mental abilities." Neuroimaging could conceivably help tailor learning programs based on students' individual brain characteristics... The second article in this issue of Mind is about rational and irrational thought, "The Thinking that IQ Tests Miss." The author uses the term "dysrationalia" for the condition of having "the inability to think and behave rationally despite having adequate intelligence." (Sounds familiar.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October 24, 2009 -- Baby Media, Reader Reaction, and More

BABY MEDIA. Seems that the Disney Company, which acquired Baby Einstein, a producer of electronic media for infants, is now offering refunds to purchasers of "Baby Einstein" videos marketed as "educational." The offer comes after pressure from public advocates and public health attorneys who threatened a class-action lawsuit. The advocate, Susan Linn, notes in The New York Times article about the matter that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 not watch video. So if you don't think your Baby Einstein videos truly benefited your young, high-ability child, here's your chance to get your money back. Read the article.

IT'S NATIONAL DYSLEXIA AWARENESS MONTH, and the executive director of The Bodine School, in Germantown, Tennesee, seeks to heighten awareness of the condition in an article in the Commercial Appeal of Memphis. In the article, brought to our attention by CEC's SmartBrief, the director points out some of the features of dyslexia that differentiate it from an LD, and stresses how early intervention -- by first grade or earlier -- can allow dyslexic children to read normally. Read the article.

READER REACTION TO DANIEL WILLINGSHAM, who disbelieves different learning styles. (See our September blog posts.) Nancy Mathias took issue with Mr. Willingsham's views that "There just doesn’t seem to be much evidence that kids learn in fundamentally different ways. This is not to say," continued Willingsham, "that all kids are the same, or that all kids should be taught the same way." Ms. Mathias says: "If the idea behind learning styles is to get teachers to approach teaching in multiple ways, then Mr. Williangsham's views actually agree with the outcomes of teaching to different learning styles. What I find fascinating is I have a 2e kid who could do algebra in his head (he is a visual-spatial kid who thinks in 3d and is currently studying mechanical engineering/robotics in college), yet had difficulty showing step by step on paper how to solve problems. The teacher's solution was for him to do many algebra problems (written) because the more you do, the more you learn (this wasn't at a public school but a school for the gifted!). It was generally the drill-to-kill method of teaching. In this case, my n=1 study would indicate that teaching to any one style doesn't work. By the way, I call teaching one way 'vanilla'; it may smell good while you use it, but if you use too much it becomes bitter..." Well said.

FROM BRAIN IN THE NEWS. The Dana Foundation's print newsletter from October contained articles that might be of interest to parents and educators of high-ability children with LDs. Some of the articles were reprints of other media stories from September dealing with TBI, which we've been harping on a lot recently. Another article, reprinted from the Washington Post, is a Post staff writer's personal account of how long walks and running helped her deal with severe depression. "One day [in adolescence], particularly agitated, I fled my house and began walking toward a nearby mountain. I walked for a long while that first day, discovering some old dirt tram roads that seemed to snake all over the mountain. When I got home I was excited about my discovery--and happy. My mother was curious about how far I'd walked, so we got in the car and tracked it. I had walked 27 miles, and it did more for my emotional state than all the therapy and pills." The writer credits walking and, later, running with saving her life. Read the article.

MISSED IN THE ACTION. We missed an October 4th article in The New York Times titled "Understanding the Anxious Mind." In it, you can read how researchers have come to believe that some babies are born wired to be anxious, reacting strongly to unfamiliar stimuli, and that "strongly reactive babies are more likely to grow up to be anxious." These results are fostered by at least four major longitudinal studies, beginning in babyhood and following hundreds of young people. The article features a study by psychologist Jerome Kagan. Read it (be advised that it's long), and know that the article generated lots of reader comments.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 22, 2009

PERIPATETIC MOONEY. If you enjoy reading about the tireless Jonathan Mooney's presentations to groups across the country, here's another one for you. Find the reportage in The Daily News Online from Washington state.

IF YOU LOVE TO HATE NCLB, an opinion piece in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune will raise your blood pressure. The article reiterates the lack of support in NCLB for gifted students and makes the case that the achievement gap "is being narrowed by the wholesale neglect of our gifted students." Read more.

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY has gotten lots of press lately; today, for example, The New York Times wrote about the devastating effects of TBI not only on professional football players but on contact-sport competitors at all levels. Michael Shaughnessey of EdNews.org recently interviewed the producer of a set of DVDs on the topic, one of which is entitled "Traumatic Brain Injury in Young Children." If TBI is an issue of concern at your house or on your playground, you might want to check out the interview.

YOUR GIFTED, AD/HD CHILD, THE CRIMINAL? HealthDay reports on a study that indicates that children with AD/HD are more likely than other children to engage in criminal activity as adults. You probably don't want to read about this, but if you do, go here.

WRIGHTSLAW provides a second batch of information about tests and evaluations useful to parents of children with LDs. This issue of the Special Ed Advocate focuses on psychological and educational achievement test scores. Read it.

TOO COOL NOT TO SHARE. This news item has nothing to do with giftedness or education or child development. Science Daily reported on a study indicating that "Young men who voted for Republican John McCain or Libertarian candidate Robert Barr in the 2008 presidential election suffered an immediate drop in testosterone when the election results were announced." The effect didn't apply to young men who voted for Obama. The conclusion? "Voters are physiologically affected by having their candidate win or lose an election." Read more and ponder.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October 18, 2009

LD AWARENESS MONTH is October in the US and Canada, points out the LD Online Newsletter. Find out more.

CHINESE DYSLEXIA IS DIFFERENT than dyslexia in English speakers, contend two researchers at the University of Hong Kong. The researchers explain English dyslexia as a "phonological disorder" only, a problem mapping speech sounds onto letters. Chinese dyslexia, they say, combines a visuospatial deficit and a phonological disorder. The difference is related to the characteristics of the two languages. Read more.

VIDEO GAMES AND ATTENTION. Science Daily reported on a study showing that video game experience has a negative impact on the player's "proactive attention," which is defined as "gearing up" or planning moves in games. It contrasts with "reactive attention," which is "just in time" attention manifested in reaction to events such as dealing with a monster that suddenly appears in one's path. The researchers say their findings are in line with other studies showing a relation between frequent gaming and AD/HD. However, the report goes on to say, "This negative relationship between action games and proactive attention can be contrasted with the beneficial effects of these games on other aspects of visual processing." Find the report.

THE DUKE GIFTED LETTER, Fall edition, has been emailed, and one article in it is "Overexcitabilities and the Gifted Child," which describes overexcitabilities and offers ways to support a gifted child with overexcitabilities. Find it. Also in the issue, an article about praise and gifted children -- benefits and pitfalls.

KIDS' SCIENCE CHALLENGE is an NSF-funded competition, now in its second year, for students in grades 3 through 6. According to "Science Friday," a program on NPR, "Teams this year will focus on topics including bio-inspired designs, sports that would be suitable for play on Mars, and forensic science." You can find out more and listen to the program at NPR.

THE ONLINE BARGAIN BASEMENT is the title of a webinar to be presented by Gifted Online Conferences and featuring Carolyn K, webmistress of Hoagies' Gifted Education Page. Here's what the Gifted Online Conferences page says about the webinar: "The online bargain basement with classes, curriculum units and enrichment materials for all grades K-12, all totally accessed on the Internet for free. Curriculum libraries, containing units from English to Social Studies, Science to Math, even the Arts, all organized and including the instructional
standards met for each grade level. Interactive enrichment materials supplement any subject, and free textbooks and classroom materials round out the Bargain Basement offerings."
Register ($10) or find out more.


WONDERING ABOUT KINDLE and whether it will play a part in your gifted student's learning? Some of the 200-plus college students using the devices tell what they think about Amazon's e-reader. Read their reactions.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009 -- Of Pulitzers and Nobel Prizes

Today's media brought two great stories about high-achievers who achieved despite -- or because of -- conditions that many of our 2e children face, dyslexia and Asperger's. Those stories are capsulized in the first two items below.

DYSLEXIC LAUREATE. We mentioned last Friday that the newly-awarded Nobel laureate in medicine was dyslexic. In today's New York Times is a delightful interview with the laureate, Dr. Carol Greider of Johns Hopkins University. Of her childhood, she remembered "I had a lot of trouble in school and was put into remedial classes. I thought that I was stupid." She recounts her reaction to winning the Nobel Prize, how she became involved in science, and gets in a few digs at gender issues among scientists. Read the interview.

THE NPR LISTENER IN OUR HOUSE heard Fresh Air's Terry Gross interview Professor Tim Page this morning. Page had been music critic at The New York Times and, later, at the Washington Post, where he won the Pulitzer for his work. Gross interviewed Page about his new memoir Parallel Play: Life as an Outsider, which is about how having Asperger's affected his life and his relationship with music. Like some parents of 2e children, Page got his own label when an offspring was diagnosed with Asperger's. Find Fresh Air.

ONLINE EDUCATION FOR THE GIFTED. Stanford University runs "the best high school you've never heard of," according to ABC News, and "is playing a key role in what may be the wave of the future when it comes to educating gifted high school students." Read more.

NEED TO KNOW ABOUT READING TESTS to help or advocate for your twice-exceptional child? Check out this week's edition of the Wrightslaw Special Ed Advocate for articles on the different types of tests, what they measure, and what a reading evaluation should include. Find it.

DSM-V. The next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is due out in 2012. At the Dana Foundation website, those with a stake in labels and treatment for their high-ability kids with conditions such as AD/HD, dyslexia, Aspergers, etc, can find out from two articles what, in general, they might expect in the future. One article urges the publishers to "bring both more certainty and flexibility to psychiatric diagnosis"; the other urges a focus on the causes of diseases and disease processes. Find the articles.

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12, 2009

YOUTUBE RESOURCES ON 2e. Dr. Jerald Grobman, a psychiatrist and member of the professional advisory committee for the organization SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted), takes on anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and underachievement in gifted young people -- all in 7 minutes. You can hear Dr. Grobman and see what we assume are his PowerPoint slides on the topic at YouTube. Go there. (So far, 66 views and no ratings -- share your opinion.) Also at the site: "What does Dyslexia Look Like in a Gifted Child" and "Dyslexia in Gifted Children," both posted by the Drs. Eide. Thanks to these experts for providing these resources for the parents and educators of 2e children.

DANGER IN THE SCHOOLS. According to The New York Times, student Zachary Christie is facing 45 days in the reform school of Christina School District, in Delaware. Seems that Christie, age 6, was excited about the camping utensil he received from Cub Scouts and took it to school to use at lunch. (The utensil is a combination fork, spoon, and -- unfortunately for Christie -- knife.) So young Christie falls into the "zero tolerance" rules still in effect at many schools. But maybe he'll become the poster child for the inflexibility of t hose rules. Forty-five days in reform school at age 6? And we doubt there's a Cub Scout den there. (An NFL football player recently received just 30 days in jail for DUI manslaughter.) Read more about Zachary's plight.

COMING UP: THE NACG CONFERENCE. It's in St. Louis at the beginning of November, but there's an alternative to attending in person. This year, Joel McIntosh's Prufrock Press is sponsoring a "virtual convention" at a fraction of the cost of regular registration. Find out more. Way to go, Joel.

MORE ON NAGC. 2e Newsletter will be represented at NAGC's confeence, so if you'll be attending we look forward to seeing you.