Monday, March 29, 2010

OF MICE AND... Working memory is improvable -- at least in mice, according to a study reported in ScienceDaily. Researchers put mice through exercises to improve the rodents' working memory and found that "mice that underwent this working memory 'exercise' exhibited improved proficiency on a wide range of cognitive tests." And your gifted, young AD/HD child? Read more.

OF BOYS AND GIRLS. Boys lose... again. Male students lag females in reading, and girls' scores in math are matching boys', according to an an article in Education Week. Differences vary by state. One educator says, “We’ve been talking about closing the achievement gap in so many different ways... but we have not focused on the gender gap, which is very clear and startling in this report.” Find out more.

YOU'RE SMART? Your kids might think they're genetic nerds. That's the conclusion from a recent "Baby Blues" comic strip. Did you get A's in high school? Read the strip.

WALLACE SYMPOSIUM. According to the Belin-Blank website, the early registration deadline has been extended until March 31. You'll have to judge whether attendance at this research-oriented event will be of use to you, but mid May in cozy Iowa City could be pleasant. Here's the B-B skinny on the event: "The Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development is internationally renowned for being one of the premiere scholarly conferences where the latest in gifted education research is presented." Find out more.

NEW BOOKLETS FROM GLEN ELLYN MEDIA. We've added two booklets to our "Spotlight on 2e Series." The two titles are Understanding the Gifted Child with Attention Deficit and The Mythology of Learning, the latter authored by the highly capable staff at Bridges Academy. As publishers, we think the booklets are pretty good, but -- more importantly -- so did those who purchased the booklets when we exhibited at Rich Weinfeld's "Diamonds in the Rough" conference earlier this month. You can see tables of contents and ordering information at our site.

SUBSCRIBERS! The March/April issue is still coming. We've delayed it to include coverage of the aforementioned conference. Look for your issue of 2e Newsletter within the next week or so.

Friday, March 26, 2010

MUSIC AS THERAPY. An article at the Dana Foundation website offers a look at the current state of music therapy as a rehabilitative tool in cases of brain injury, with applications in motor, speech and language, and cognitive rehabilitation. In looking ahead, the article states, "Scientists need to better understand what dosages work best, to pay more attention to research that will benefit children, and to focus on disorders in which neurologic music therapy lacks rigorous study so far, such as autism, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis." Read the article.

RECENT COURT RULING ON LDs AND FAPE. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a federal court decision on March 22nd is "
one of the first in the nation on a parent's ability to enforce a federal law that requires schools to identify all children with disabilities and provide them with an appropriate education." According to the ruling, parents may demand a hearing or file suit if a school ignores a student's disabilities. When we find out how this case may relate to twice-exceptional students (as in the case of the Hovem family of Texas, reported in 2e Newsletter last year), we'll let you know. Read the Chronicle article.

TELETHERAPY. A recent study found that therapy via video teleconference was as effective as face-to-face therapy -- and possibly even preferred by patients. The particular study focused on PTSD, but apparently previous studies have also validated the effectiveness of teletherapy. Whether it comes to the point where it can be done via webcam and your PC rather than a formal teleconference setting remains to be seen. Read about the study.

ASPIE COMPUTER GENIUS SENTENCED. Crime paid -- for awhile, anyway, for a Florida computer hacker who was able to break into computer systems of major retailers. He "earned" $2.8 million illegally, but will spend up to 20 years in prison for his efforts. From The New York Times article about the case: "A defense psychiatrist’s report described Mr. Gonzalez as a socially awkward Internet addict with an 'idiot savantlike genius for computers and information technology.'” Read more.

AEGUS has revamped its website, and you might want to check it out, including the section on articles, books, and links for parents and educators interested in gifted underachievers. Find it.

THE ASPIE PARENT is the name of a new blog by "lizpf." In her initial post she points out that the dual meanings of the blog title are intentional and tells why; in her second post she lays the groundwork for future posts by defining terms, including "twice-exceptional." Find the blog.

ABOUT NORMAL. On a listserv we read, a mom wrote of her gifted daughter, "My heart broke for her last night when she said, 'I just want to be normal.'" Another listserv member offered a consoling quote: "Normal is a setting on the dryer." We like that. Until the next post here, let's all go about our business being our own unique, un-normal selves.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

EDUCATION WEEK OPEN HOUSE. On its website, Education Week is holding an "open house" through tomorrow where non-subscribers can see content that's normally available only to subscribers. If you're an educator who is considering subscribing -- or a parent interested in what this publication has been saying about US education reform lately -- check out the site.

LD AND COLLEGE. In the March 16th edition of Special Ed Advocate, Wrightslaw provides
"information to help you plan ahead, choose a post-secondary school, find ways to finance continuing education, and advice about challenges students with disabilities will encounter as they make the transition from high school to post-secondary education." Find it.

GLD/2e IN NEW SOUTH WALES. Part of the website of the New South Wales Association for Gifted and Talented Children is devoted to the gifted/learning disabled. The organization calls it "
a regular forum where parents, teachers, counselors, and others concerned about GLD children can get information, support, and advice on assisting, motivating, and advocating for GLD children. " Go there.

RTI AND GIFTED. Tamara Fisher blogged about this topic awhile ago, and in her most recent posting she provides updates on the topic and also points to an interview she did on the topic with ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development but now apparently just ASCD.") Find out more.

OFF THE TOPIC. In a New York Times opinion piece, a mother described the use in a homework assignment of Japanese four-character idioms. For example, the four characters different, mouth, same, and sound combine to signify many people in agreement. Find out how this mother completed her part of the assignment, which was to choose an idiom characterizing her child.



Monday, March 15, 2010

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH, held last week in the Washington, DC, area, turned out to be an excellent conference. We exhibited and also attended sessions, some of which will be covered in the upcoming issue of 2e Newsletter. We were gratified by the number of subscriber-attendees who stopped by our table to compliment us on the newsletter, and we enjoyed meeting subscribers and contributors. Organizer Rich Weinfeld says he'll do it again -- but maybe not for two years.

LD AND COLLEGE. An article in the Cincinnati Enquirer describes a bright young man with LDs who managed, with support, to rack up a 3.5 average in high school and, as a college junior, achieved a
4.0 grade-point average. In college, he found that he could get accommodations, but said "You have to go out and get them; they're not going to ask you. You have to be on top of things." Read more.

OVERHAULING NCLB. On Saturday, the administration announced proposed changes to the No Child Left Behind law; The New York Times, among other media outlets, provided coverage.

BEHAVIORAL OPTOMETRY. The New York Times ran a lengthy article on vision therapy for a variety of conditions that affect a child's ability to perform in school, such as reading problems, learning problems, spelling problems, attention problems, hyperactivity, and coordination problems. The article includes success stories, but also provides a counterbalancing point of view of vision therapy as "a practice that many doctors say lacks a solid grounding in good science." If you are considering vision therapy for that gifted child you raise, check out the article.

TOURING AUSTRALIA. Psychologist and author Deborah Ruf spent a month or so speaking and touring in Australia, according to her newsletter. She was interviewed there on the topic of highly gifted children, and interested fans of Ruf may hear the radio interview online.

THE TIMELESSNESS OF "PEANUTS." In one of the strips from Charles Schultz' extensive body of work, Linus feels doomed because he didn't make the honor roll one period. Find out what Linus thinks will happen as a result in this strip from 1963, republished today. (If you're an educator, the result may be all too familiar.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

NASA/FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION. NASA, in cooperation with local technology firms and sponsors, has launched a nationwide series of high school robotics competitions. The student competition is called "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology," or FIRST. For the next several weeks, 44 regional competitions will be held in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The FIRST Championship competitions will take place in Atlanta in April. Find out more.

BUDGET CUTS, GATE, HONORS. In Santa Barbara, California, a proposal to fold the gifted and talented education program into an honors program has stirred debate over semantics, racial equality, and academic rigor. Read more.

GET'EM OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL EARLY. Those pesky gifted students, that is. Idaho is considering a plan to encourage gifted students to enroll early in college -- by awarding scholarships to such kids. The plan would allow students to graduate up to three years early and to receive scholarships at a state university or community college. Read about it.

IT'S SUMMER PROGRAM TIME -- at least, time to start planning. Brainworks, in Carrollton, Texas, offers a summer camp designed for 2e kids. Find out more.

IN THE CURRENT ISSUE OF DEUTCHES ARZTEBLATT INTERNATIONAL, encouraging results about using deep-brain stimulation on OCD and Tourette's. Researchers found improvement rates of between 35% and 70% in treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and Tourette syndrome. Read about it in ScienceDaily, in English, not German.

AN ASPIE CRIME NOVEL. The Boston Globe brings us a review of House Rules, a novel featuring Jacob, an 18-year-old Aspie who can analyze a crime scene with "remarkable accuracy and speed." The reviewer says, "the beauty of [Jodi] Picoult’s book, as in most of her topical bestsellers, is that it brings to vivid life not just Jacob’s condition, but the impact it has on those around him." Find out more.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK IS MARCH 15-21. According to its sponsor, the Dana Foundation, "Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is the global campaign to increase public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. Every March BAW unites the efforts of universities, hospitals, patient groups, government agencies, schools, service organizations, and professional associations worldwide in a week-long celebration of the brain." Find out more at the Dana Foundation site.

SCIENCE VIDEO CONTEST. If your bright young student is engaged by science -- especially by nuclear and other energy sources -- Westinghouse offers a contest for middle- and high-schoolers. The press release announcing the contest says this: "To be eligible, each video must outline three key advantages of nuclear power and two other forms of energy. The video can be staged as a short play, commercial, news broadcast, talk show, music video, documentary, etc. Students are encouraged to be creative, yet informative." Find out more.

SELF-ADVOCACY. Wrightlaw's Special Ed Advocate for March 2nd focuses on ways to allow a child with an LD to advocate for him- or herself -- so that "
a student understands her strengths and needs, has knowledge about her legal rights and responsibilities, can identify personal goals, and has the chance to participate in decisions that are being made about her life." Find this issue.

SPD AND DSM? We've posted about AD/HD and the new DSM, as well as Asperger's. An article in the Boston Globe points out how "
a group of researchers, families, and occupational therapists is aggressively lobbying to get sensory processing disorder included in the next edition of the association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders." The article covers both sides of the issue of SPD's inclusion in the next DSM. Read it.