Friday, January 28, 2011

DAVIDSON ACADEMY. EducationNext published an article profiling the Davidson Academy, the Reno public school for kids with IQs of 145 and higher. In the article, you can meet a couple of students, get background on the academy, and read about issues in educating the highly gifted. Find it. Separately, the Davidson Institute eNews Update is out, featuring information about summer programs for gifted students. DITD maintains a database of summer programs. Find the newsletter.
NYC 2e ONLINE PARENT GROUP. The Yahoo group Twice_Exceptional_Kids_NYC is for parents of 2e children in the New York City area. Find the main page here.
COMPETITION. Google has launched a Science Fair YouTube Channel and will host a global online science competition, in partnership with CERN, LEGO, National Geographic, and Scientific American. Read about it, or visit Google's home page for the fair. 
PRUFROCK PRESS has announced its acquisition of Cottonwood Press, developer of products for teaching gifted and creative young people. See the announcement.
EDUCATOR'S AUTISM WEBINAR. The organization Rethink Autism is offering a free webinar for educators in early February. According to the organization: "This webinar will hone in on seven key structural components that research and practitioners have identified as necessary to effectively support students with autism. It will provide a framework for district leaders to allocate resources, for teachers to coordinate direct services, and for parents to advocate, all in an effort to improve supports for students on the autism spectrum." Find out more
STRESSED COLLEGE FRESHMEN. Want more to worry about as you send that gifted or twice-exceptional kid off to college? Read this article about the record-low level of emotional health in today's college freshmen.   
TEACHING CHILDREN PHILOSOPHY. We missed this when it was published last week, but The New York Times' obituary of philosopher and educator Matthew Lipman noted how in 1974 he began a program to encourage critical thinking in young school children. According to the article, "more than 3,000 middle-school students in New Jersey who took the course demonstrated almost twice as much academic progress in a year as the students who did not take the course." Find out more.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

EARLY SELF-CONTROL. The results of a long-term study published yesterday indicate that "Children with the most self-control at 3 years old become the healthiest, wealthiest and most successful adults," according to US News and World Report. The study followed about 1,000 children until they were 32, measuring self-control at various points. Who had the greatest self-control? Kids with high IQs from well-off families. The article also addresses what constitutes poor self-control. We remember one of our children as an-out-of control toddler in the check-out line of the supermarket, loudly declaring one of his parents to be a "butt-head."  You can find out from the article if that single incident doomed our child to dropping out of school, breaking the law, and financial ruin.
HANDWRITING VERSUS TYPING. There is some evidence that the physical act of handwriting may strengthen the learning process, when compared to keyboarding. According to a report of a study, "different parts of the brain are activated when we read letters we have learned by handwriting, from those activated when we recognise letters we have learned through typing on a keyboard..." The research is in the field of haptics, the part touch plays in our communications and perceptions. Find out more.
EXERCISE AS A TREATMENT FOR AD/HD is the title of David Rabiner's December, 2010, Attention Research Update, now posted. The study he reviewed indicates that exercise may be beneficial for behavior and neuropsychological functioning -- and, of course, for fitness. Find Rabiner's review.
WRIGHTSLAW treats the topic of advocacy in its current edition of Special Ed Advocate. The issue includes "10 Tips for Good Advocates" and "What Parent Advocates Should and Should Not Do." Read the issue.
THE NATION'S REPORT CARD has been updated, and education wonks can read about results and trends in a variety of academic areas. Also available: state profiles, state-to-state comparisons, and some district summaries for large cities. Find out more.
AND FINALLY, THIS. Are you a procrastinator? Do you have one in your house? Wisconsin Public Radio's program "To the Best of Our Knowledge" recently did an in-depth examination of the topic. The program is not available for download, but you can order a copy. Plus, there is a free procrastination survey for you to take to find out if you procrastinate -- but don't put it off too long!

Friday, January 21, 2011

2e ACHIEVER. The newly-elected governor of Connecticut, Dannel Malloy, recalls that he was a "floppy kid," with developmental delays in gross and fine motor skills, coordination issues, and reading problems. Although he was able to move beyond most of those issues, reading is still hard because of his dyslexia, according to an article in the Connecticut Post. He spoke of his LDs during his inauguration speech. Read more.
KNOW A DESERVING TEACHER for that 2e child? Students in grades 1-12 can write an essay nominating a teacher for a Disney vacation in Orlando through the "A+ for Teachers at Downtown Disney" contest, which runs until April 15. The essay should explain how the teacher has made a difference in the student's life and will be judged on its relevance to theme, creativity, originality, and the merit of the teacher's accomplishments as outlined in the essay. Find out more.
TIGER MOTHERING. Scientific American weighs in on the currently raging discussion of rigor in bringing up children. The magazine interviews developmental psychologist Laurence Steinberg, who has written about ethnic differences in parenting in the US. Find it
EDUCATORS GUILD NEWSLETTER. The January issue is out, focusing on acceleration. The Guild is sponsored by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Find the issue.
TESTING HELPS LEARNING, according to research described today in The New York Times. Immediate testing led students to recall more information than two other learning methods -- repeated studying, and diagramming what is being learned. The article says that the latter two methods "give students the illusion that they know the material better than they do." The more successful learning method is called "retrieval testing." Find out more.
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES. Deborah Ruf, in her "Talent Igniter" newsletter, shares a variety of resources for enhancing the education of that gifted learner you know. The resources include The Bard Online, online lessons from the Khan Academy, and others. Find it.
TREATMENT RATES FOR MENTAL DISORDERS. A study reported by Science Daily found that only half of adolescents with severely impairing mental disorders ever receive treatment. The treatment rate is highest for AD/HD -- 60% -- lower for ODD and conduct disorders -- 45% -- and lower still for other disorders like anxiety, eating, or substance abuse. Read about the study. Separately, an NPR report indicates that depression is "on the rise" in college students. Find the report.
AND FINALLY, THIS. Do you know a kid with a pierced tongue? A study indicates that plastic studs are a better choice than metal because they reduce the risk of infection. Chipped teeth and receding gums are also more of a problem with metal studs, according to the article. Read it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

AD/HD ONLINE CHAT. CHADD's "Ask the Expert" online chat at 3:30 EST Thursday, January 20, will feature Russell Barkley. The topic: The importance of executive function in understanding and managing AD/HD. Find more information.
BRAIN-MAPPING DYSCALCULIA. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, an Ontario neuroscientist is using MRI testing to try to find differences in the brains of those who have dyscalculia, difficulty with math. The study focuses on "the seemingly simple ability to understand what numbers mean." An estimated five percent of the population has this learning disability, according to the article. Read more.
AD/HD COACHING. If the article in the most recent 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter on AD/HD coaching caught your interest, you might want to check out articles on the topic at About.com, including a request to share how AD/HD coaching has helped. Find it.
GAMING, INTERNET, AND KIDS. Two recently-published studies deal with the effects of media use. One study, conducted on elementary and middle-school children in Singapore, found that that excessive gaming could cause depression and bad grades; "excessive" was defined as more than 31 hours a week. The article noted the AAP's recommendation that elementary-school children get no more than one hour of screen time a day, and high schoolers no more than two hours. (The Entertainment Software Association responded, sorry, there's no concrete evidence.) Another study found that too much Internet use (and even too little!) can be related to depression in teenagers. This study categorized up to two hours per day of online time as "normal."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

BRIDGES ACADEMY, a school for the twice-exceptional in Studio City, California, is seeking teachers and administrators for the 2011-2012 year for the following positions: curriculum specialist; science teacher for grades 5-12; technology; high school math instructor; assistant middle school teachers; robotics and engineering teacher; and administrators. Send resumes and cover letters to the head of school, Carl Sabatino, who requests "no phone inquiries, please." Find out more about bridges at www.bridges.edu.

2e NEWSLETTER. The January/February issue was distributed to subscribers a few days ago; if you did not get your issue, please let us know. The issue included an article on the brain and AD/HD; a new feature called "What's Your Take?" where three professionals reacted to a 2e scenario; a profile of an adult 2e achiever; and articles about neurofeedback a life coaching for 2e children.  Not yet a subscriber? Find out more at the 2e Newsletter website.

AUTISM SPEAKS has published its "Top 10 Science Autism Research Achievements of 2010. They include advances in measuring language development; teaching joint engagement skills; discovery of pathways for autism genetics; and others.  Find out more.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

LANDMARK COLLEGE. Readers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter have heard about Landmark College, a two-year institution in Vermont that caters to students with learning disabilities. The New York Times just published a profile of the college, which also mentions other colleges that focus on LD students. A quote from the article: “We’re dealing with really bright students here,” says Michael Nieckoski, Landmark’s director of educational technology services. “In some ways they may be even smarter than your average undergraduate, because they’ve spent most of their lives trying to either overcome their diagnosis or outsmart everyone.” Find the article
AD/HD AND WHAC-A-MOLE. Researchers in the UK used the Whac-a-Mole game to show why kids with AD/HD may have trouble concentrating unless they're doing something that interests them. Evidently these kids have trouble switching off what's called the brain's "default-mode network" (DMM), brain regions involved in mind wandering. However, with either increased incentives or with AD/HD medications, the children were able to switch attention as readily as typically developing kids. Find out more.
ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY. Do you raise or teach a gifted child with dyslexia, dysgraphia, or AD/HD? Assistive technology might help that child comprehend written materials, express  him- or herself, and take tests. The New York Times just published an article on the text-to-speech and speech-to-text technologies. Find it. Separately, a press release made us aware of DynaVox Mayer-Johnson, which provides speech generating devices and symbol-adapted special education software used to assist individuals in overcoming speech, language and learning challenges. The company offers products that let educators create accessible lessons and activities, and products allowing learners to access those lessons on a PC. Find out more.
DEVELOPMENTAL OPTOMETRY BLOG. If vision issues are of concern to you, check out the VisionHelp Blog, with contributors who specialize in the optometric specialty called behavioral/developmental/rehabilitative optometry. Find the blog, where you may also subscribe to it.
WRIGHTSLAW lists their top 10 articles from 2010, along with top 10 topics, top 10 cases, and top 10 blog posts. Find the lists
QUALITY COUNTS is the name of the annual Education Week report on the state of education in the United States, and it's just been released. Topics include state report cards, state highlights, how to grade your state using your own rating scheme, trending charts, economic snapshots, and more. Find the report.
AUTISM RESOURCE. The Autism Support Network has posted a worldwide database of resources for those looking for professionals or services to deal with autism-related issues. You may search by country and then by province or state. (2e Newsletter is listed in Illinois.) Find the database.
AND FINALLY, THIS. Not sure if this is cause and effect, but it appears that those with more friends on Facebook have larger amygdalas. And, of course, you know from reading brain articles in 2e Newsletter that the amygdala is involved in the brain's emotional response to stimuli good or bad. Find out more.

Friday, January 7, 2011

AP COURSE: FACE-TO-FACE OR ONLINE? An article in Education Week examines when it's appropriate for high-ability students to take advanced placement courses online instead of in person. On the one hand, being able to take a course online makes it accessible to anyone in the country. But are there courses for which the online format is not appropriate? Read the article.
ILLITERACY TO SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERSHIP. The Los Angeles Times tells the story of a man who was functionally illiterate until 35 because of dyslexia and AD/HD. He couldn't understand his 7-year-old son's homework assignments. Six months after he began an adult literacy course, he was reading novels. Now, at 52, he serves on a district's board of education. Read more.
UNSTRUCTURED PLAY. There is evidently "a growing movement to restore the sometimes untidy business of play in the lives of children," according to The New York Times. This in reaction to fears that the culture of play is vanishing, partly because of media. If you share that concern, check out the article.
VACCINES AND AUTISM. A new report that got a lot of media play this week describes how researchers "doctored" information on children to suggest the link between the MMR vaccine and the development of autism. Among other problems, five of the 12 children described as "normal" before the getting the vaccine were found to have previously documented developmental problems. Read more.
EDUCATIONAL EQUITY. Does giving gifted students a separate classroom and teacher create a "two-tiered" educational system? What if a school that does that also has LD students whose parents don't feel their children are receiving the proper support? Should the school stick with an integrated model? How do you provide educational equity? An article in the Toronto Star raises all of those questions -- and readers chime in with dozens of their own opinions and answers. (And at least one responder brought up twice-exceptionalities.) We don't have answers to those questions -- and we suspect that educational budget stress in the US will prevent implementing any kind of equitable solution soon. (But that doesn't mean you should keep your opinions about educational equity to yourself.)

AD/HD RESOURCE. Author/speaker/consultant Chris Dendy says that the completion of her new DVD, Real Life ADHD!, is very near. The video features 30 teens from across the US who have AD/HD. Billed as a "survival guide" for children and teens with AD/HD, the DVD is intended to educate its audience about AD/HD challenges, meds, and resources. If you have an interest, notify Chris by email. The video will be shipped on a first come first serve basis. The cost of the DVD is $34.95 plus $3 shipping.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

SENG WEBINAR. The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted offers a webinar on the topic of understanding overexcitabilities, to be presented by Susan Daniels of the Summit Center. The webinar is scheduled for January 31 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. Find more information.
WRIGHTSLAW, in the current edition of Special Ed Advocate, focuses on success stories in advocacy. Read it.
ADVOCACY SKILLS. The Washington, D.C.-based Weinfeld Education Group has scheduled several events concerning special education law and advocacy. The events are to be held in January, February, and March. Find out more at the organization's website.
GIFTED HOMESCHOOLER? We just received "A Word from GHF," the email newsletter from the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. While it doesn't look as if they post the newsletter at their website, there's plenty of activity on their FaceBook page -- so if you homeschool that gifted or 2e child, check out GHF.
PEDIATRIC ADVICE ON VIDEO GAMES. If video game time is an issue with your gifted or 2e kid, you might be interested in the recommendations of  "Dr. Chuck," a New Hampshire pediatrician who offers advice to parents on the matter, as well as on nutrition and physical activity. He espouses a 5210 rule, which, according to an article about the doctor, stands for "stands for five fruits and vegetables, two hours of video games, one hour of physical activity and zero sweets." Read more.  
THE WORLD GIFTED CONFERENCE has been moved from South Korea to Prague, we've discovered from Jo Freitag's Gifted Resources News. It will take place August 8-12. (We'd better change our events listings.)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We wish subscribers and friends of 2e: Twice-exceptional Newsletter a fulfilling 2011 as you raise, educate, and counsel gifted kids with learning challenges. Our best to you!
GRADUATION COACH? HOW ABOUT "GIFTED COACH." A recent article in the Houston Chronicle profiled a high school "graduation coach" employed by the Houston Independent School District. His job: to help keep at-risk kids from dropping out. There are graduation coaches at every comprehensive HISD high school. The district also has a "manager of student engagement." All of this is very neat. And it begs the question, why not have "gifted coaches" or "managers of student engagement" for gifted kids as well -- or for any student in danger of not having his or her needs met by the school?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT? An article published in a number of news outlets describes how fast-food restaurants are piling on the calories to "deploy a potent new aresenal of greasy goodness for Americans who have grown numb to mere burgers." For example: Burger King is offering the Ultimate Breakfast Platter that totals 1,310 calories (over half the daily allowance of calories for most people) along with 2,490 milligrams of salt (one gram over the daily maximum recommended  by the American Heart Association), and 72 grams of fat (possibly a day's total allowance). The staff at 2e Newsletter had a spirited discussion about who's to blame here. Are fast-food chains simply catering to the wishes of the American public and keeping up with the competition in terms of meeting those wishes? Or does the industry create the need for such excess? The article we read states, "The new items flout principles of healthful eating and instead celebrate a spirit of wanton gluttony." Read it and wonder  how fast food affects the development of that gifted child you know.
SEA CHANGE IN PSYCHIATRY? An article in Wired Magazine describes an "insurgency" against the DSM-5, under development by the American Psychiatric Association, and the effects that the DSM can and does have in our society. For example, the lead editor of the DSM-IV says the way that edition was written had serious consequences. "Diagnoses of autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder skyrocketed, and [the author] thinks his manual inadvertently facilitated these epidemics—and, in the bargain, fostered an increasing tendency to chalk up life’s difficulties to mental illness and then treat them with psychiatric drugs." This is not an easy, USA Today-length article -- but read it.