Thursday, June 30, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU'RE A POSTER CHILD for "female AD/HD" and you realize that all of that fame will be with you forever as Internet baggage. A young woman, now working at the National Institutes of Health, recounts her prominence and how she feels about it going forward. Read more.

FATTY ACIDS AND AD/HD. Do they help? David Rabiner reviews a study on the question (the study's answer was "no") but offers suggestions on when fatty acids might be useful for the treatment of AD/HD. Find the study.

AD/HD AND STIMULANT MEDS. If you've ever wondered how stimulant medications help children with AD/HD by affecting the brain, check out an article at About.com on the topic. Find it.

READING, WRITING, AND...  RHYTHM. A study has shown that children with dyslexia may have difficulty perceiving patterns of rhythm in music, and that musical games may be a way to intervene early and forestall or ameliorate later reading problems. Read more.

Monday, June 27, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

SHYNESS? ILLNESS? An article in Sunday's New York Times considers the differences between shy people (and animals) compared with more extroverted individuals, and asks whether shyness might be an evolutionary tactic. In children, the article describes the differences between "rovers" and "sitters" and what those differences might mean. Find the article.
THE SENG VINE, the organization's newsletter, is out in its June edition. Among the features is an article "What SENG Means to Me," by Amy Price, SENG's first executive director. Find the newsletter.
COLLEGE NOT THE ANSWER? An article at the site Issues in Science and Technology reminds readers that college might not be for everyone, and that apprenticeships might better prepare some students for high-skilled jobs and professions. The article describes some advantages, such as the participant's ability to quickly connect theoretical and practical learning; have role models and get a good view of the future profession; and combine work and school. The article describes apprenticeship programs in the U.S. and in other countries. Find it
NEUROEDUCATION applies the findings of neuroscience to education, and a keynote speaker at the conference of the Insternational Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) provided "Brain Rules for Education," noting how current learning environments may be in opposition to the best functioning of the brain. The keynote is available online at the organization's YouTube channel.
AND FINALLY, THIS. Every summer, the U.S. Census Bureau sends out a ton of facts relating to the next school year. This year's barrage includes items such as these:
  • The percentage of 12- to 17-year olds who reported being highly engaged in a recent year was 52 percent, up 5 points from the previous polling. (What's the percentage in your family?)
  • The average starting salary offered to bachelor's degree candidates in petroleum engineering in 2009 was $85,417, among the highest of any field of study. At the other end of the spectrum were those majoring in a social science, who were offered an average of $36,217. (Go, STEM!)
  • The average tuition, room and board at the nation's four-year private colleges and universities for one academic year (2008-09) was $40,633. That was more than double the cost in 1990, according to the report. (See the article on apprenticeships above.)
Read more facts and figures at the Census Bureau site


Thursday, June 23, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

HOW TO LAND YOUR KID IN THERAPY is the title of an article in the July/August issue of Atlantic. It's written by a psychologist and parent, and it's about parenting, with lots of input from other mental health professionals. The impetus for the article was the number of patients she was seeing who felt empty, or anxious, or unhappy -- and who seemed to have no reason to feel that way, who claimed to have had good parents and a good upbringing.  The author's thesis is clarified near the end of the article: ".. by trying so hard to provide the perfectly happy childhood, we’re just making it harder for our kids to actually grow up." But along the way the author offers many things for today's parents to think about, including:
  • How much effort to make to protect a child from "reality"
  • The amount of choice a child is entitled to
  • How and how much to try to build a child's self-esteem.
AUTISM AND AUTHORITY. We once wrote about a gifted young boy with Asperger's who got into trouble at school because those in authority did not know how to deal with an Asperger's child who has trouble with authority and authoritarian ways. Now, according to the Akron, Ohio, Beacon Journal, a police officer with an Aspie son is teaching other law enforcement officers about those on the spectrum -- how to identify them and how to deal with them in various law enforcement situations. Read the article.
AUSTISM AND GIFTED ED. A Berwyn, Illinois school is making an effort to include bright Aspie kids in gifted ed classes instead of placing them in special ed, playing to their strengths rather than their challenges. Read about how the school adapted to these kids and how the kids responded. 
TEACHER-PARENT COMMUNICATION is the topic of an article in Education Week's Teacher. The article offers tips such as being proactive, how to deal with angry or abusive communications, and more. Parents would probably be well-served to read this article to see things from the teacher's point of view; after all, effective communication is especially important when parents and educators must discuss disabilities, accommodations, and challenges as well as gifts. Find it.
THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON THE INTERNET. It's different, perhaps rewired. That's the conclusion of a recent study reported in Scientific American. Does your gifted young person spend too much time online?  Find out more
AND FINALLY, THIS. Got a near-sighted kid? It could be the result of too much time spent indoors in artificial light. At least, that's the thesis of an article in Scientific American. Read more.

Monday, June 20, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

A BELATED HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all you dads of twice-exceptional children. You get the chance to spend extra time, effort, money, and loving care on your kids because they're gifted and learning challenged. Go for it!
DYSCALCULIA. A study published last Friday may point to a marker of dyscalculia versus just having a bad time with math. The study was longitudinal, tracking kids from kindergarten through 9th grade. It turns out that a test of estimating the magnitude of numbers showed significantly different results for those in the lowest 10 percent of math achievers. Researchers have also identified a part of the brain that is less active during basic number processing. Read more at Education Week or in Science Daily.
LD ONLINE has an area of the website called "Gifted & LD," which addresses "how teachers and parents of gifted children with LD can implement the itnerventions necessary for the learning disability while still providing opportunities for enrichment." Go there.
BRAINWORKS. Carla Crutsinger's latest newsletter addresses the issue of AD/HD and cyber-addiction in high-ability kids. Read more
ASD AND IT. A British study has found that autism diagnoses are more common in geographic regions rich in information technology (and, therefore, information technologists). From an article on the Cambridge University site: "The researchers predicted that autism spectrum conditions (ASC) would be more common in populations enriched for ‘systemizing’, which is the drive to analyse how systems work, and to predict, control and build systems." Read more.
AND FINALLY, THIS. A New York Times book reviewer looked at one book on psychopathy and one titled The Science of Evil. The first offers a self-administered checklist  where you can rate yourself on psychopathic traits; the second offers an Empathy Quotient checklist, where you can rate yourself on the personality dimension the author hypothesizes is absent in those who are evil. Read more.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

LD IN COLLEGE: ADVANTAGE? That's the thesis put forth by a writer for U.S. News. The rationale:
  • Colleges look for diversity. [And 2e kids are certainly diverse!]
  • Knowing about an LD may help the college put other application factors in perspective.
The author offers advice on how to present the learning disability during the admissions process, and offers questions to help ascertain whether the school can properly accommodate an LD. Parents of college-bound 2e kids will be interested in this article. Read it
2e FRANCISCANS? The New York Times' Dan Barry profiled identical twins who, long ago, became Franciscan brothers and were inseparable for most of their lives; they died recently, on the same day, at age 92. According to Barry, the brothers were workers, not scholars, at St. Bonaventure University in New York, and considered shy, obedient, and guileless. Apparently bright and observant as youngsters, says Barry, the brothers did not do well in school and may have been dyslexic. Read the article to find out, however, what the twins were able to teach their better-educated superiors as the years went on. 
A CANADIAN COMEDIAN recently discussed his mental health issues (AD/HD and OCD) at the Banff World Media Festival. Howie Mandel described what it was like growing up with the disorders and how they have affected his career. Read the article
AUTISM AND GENETICS. Scientific American has pubished an article titled "Autism's Tangled Genetics Full of Rare and Varied Mutations." The article describes recent studies and the complexity of the genetic component of autism. Read more
THE GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER has issued its June newsletter, featuring its Director of Research Frank Falk, a speech by Annemarie Roeper, and reflections on the 1st International Symposium on Adult Giftedness. Read it
GOT A GIFTED KID WHO LIKES TO WRITE? Maybe he or she should be a member of the Scholastic Kid Press Corp, kids 10 to 14. Read about one such reporter. 
WORKING MEMORY TRAINING may help kids who need it, facilitating problem-solving skills and abstract reasoning. Read more
AND FINALLY, THIS. June 13-19 is Gifted Awareness Week in New Zealand. Find out more at the website of the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY BLOG. A gifted young man who has dyslexia has established a blog to inform others about technology which may assist in reading and writing. Included are reviews of hardware and software. Begun last week, the blog already has 18 informative posts. Check it out
EXERCISE AND ADDERALL -- those are the two things that 674 people at CureTogether say are most popular and most effective as treatments. Apparently least effective for this group: Strattera and Wellbutrin. Find the report. CureTogether is a site where patients with any of 500 conditions may share with others information on their particular condition and treatment.
2e RESOURCES. The Lang School has posted on Facebook a list of resources for those in the 2e community. Check it out to see if they offer resources you might find useful.(Thanks, Micaela!)
SHOULD YOU SCREEN YOUR TODDLER FOR AUTISM? A new report suggests a couple downsides to early screening. The tests might not  be that accurate, for starters. And they apparently may lead to false positives up to 25 percent of the time, leading parents to believe their child has autism when that's not the case. Read more.
BOOKS AND BOYS. Reading is good for boys, in the sense that it can help develop reading skills, an area where boys may lag girls. But reading may not be perceived as "cool," according to an article in the Chicago Tribune, and may compete poorly with other activities more favored by boys, especially during the summer. The article offers ways to encourage summertime reading by boys. Find the article.
THE LEAD SAYS IT ALL: "Some 2 million Americans adolescents experienced a bout of major depression last year, but only about a third of them got any help in dealing with the sadness, irritability,  anxiety, guilt and loss of interest and energy that are the hallmarks of such episodes, a report says." If you have a teen at risk for depression, read the article.
SUMMERTIME BOREDOM can be an opportunity for creativity, says the author of a book on "dialed-down parenting" who recommends that a child's life be one-third busy time, one-third creative time, and one-third down-time. The author suggests that allowing a child to "dwell in the Land of What-to-Do" will soon result in self-generated, imaginative activity. Seems that this advice should surely apply to those gifted kids you know.  Read more.
EIDE BLOG POST REVISTED. A printout of an Eide Neurolearning Blog posting from January of 2009 somehow resurfaced on our desk, and it's titled in part "A Brain-based Framework for Understanding Twice Exceptional People." The post covers general characteristics of 2e students (intellectual strengths and deficits, along with social-emotional concerns), notes familial influences on the development of 2e traits, and points to research on asynchronous development (eg in prefrontal cortical thickness) in high-IQ youngsters. Read this blog post.
AND FINALLY, THIS. The U.S. government has released figures on the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18. A child born in 2010 to a middle-income family will cost $226,920 -- and that's without college. Expenses vary by geographic region, family type, and family income. And how might the child-rearing budget be different for families in the 2e community? Think "medications," "counseling," "private schools," and so forth; you know the affected household budget categories. Read more; if  you're interested in the details, find the government report.

Friday, June 10, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

JAY MATHEWS, education writer for the Washington Post, profiles a Loudoun County, Virginia, public magnet school for science. Serving gifted high-school students, the Loudoun Academy of Science uses innovative curricula and top-notch faculty to deliver an outstanding educational experience. Read more
NPR ON AUTISM. The program Science Friday for today included a segment titled "Gene Mutations Offer Clues on the Austistic Brain," in which program guests discussed some of the latest science on autism and its treatment. Find the program.
AD/HD AND THE BRAIN. Recent research has shown structural brain differences in preschoolers with AD/HD. Evidently the caudate nucleus, associated with cognitive and motor control, is smaller in children with AD/HD than in children without. Find out more.
VSL WEBINAR. StarJump and the Australian Gifted Support Center have scheduled a one-hour webinar on June 22 titled "An Introducation to Visual Spatial Thinking and Learning." Directed at parents of bright children who may not learn conventionally or who may be having difficulties at school, the webinar costs AUS$30 and begins at 7:30pm NSW time. Find out more
EDUCATIONAL CHATS ON TWITTER. There are lots of them, and "Cybrary Man," evidently a New York City educator, has compiled a listing of the chats, their hashtags, and descriptions. Find it. (We found this referenced in Jo Freitag's list of "interesting websites" in her latest Gifted Resources newsletter.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

EDUCATION WEEK has made available a special report called "Diplomas Count: Before High School, Before Baccalaureate" that explores alternatives to the standard four-year degree. Among the parts of the report is one called "College for All Reconsidered." Find the report.
WRIGHTSLAW offers strategies for finding summer programs and camps in its current edition of Special Ed Advocate. One article is on a social skills boot camp for teens with ASD. Find the newsletter.
LEARNING: TOP-D0WN VERSUS BOTTOM-UP. Education in school traditionally is based on learning rules, then applying them. Researchers are looking into the effectiveness of a method called "perceptual learning," which uses the brain's pattern-recognition skills to provide an intuitive grasp of a principle. From an article on the topic: "...there is growing evidence that a certain kind of training — visual, fast-paced, often focused on classifying problems rather then solving them — can build intuition quickly." Read the article and see if you think it might benefit your twice-exceptional student.  
THE HEADLINE TELLS SOME OF THE STORY: "Push for A's at Private Schools is Keeping Costly Tutors Busy." But you have to read the article to find out how much some parents are willing to spend for grades and academic achievement -- and it's a lotRead more.
OUTLET FOR CREATIVITY. We recently became aware of a website called Xtranormal.com, where visitors can create their own animated video by choosing characters, entering text to be spoken by those characters, and controlling other aspects of the animation. Some users have had videos "go viral" on YouTube. Find the site. (A caveat; this site is for teens. The site wants no users under 14 and asks minors to have their parents give permission. Furthermore, a sample video there was slightly risque, so check it out first and then use your best judgement. If you don't think it's suitable for your kid, maybe you'll have a good time creating your own animations.)
EDUCATION REFORM. If you're interested in this topic, check out an article in Fast Company magazine from a while back. The mag solicited 13 radical ideas on how to use $100 million "to really save education." The article isn't about gifted ed or education for 2e students, just education in general. Find it

Monday, June 6, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ANXIETY IN KIDS was the topic of two articles in the last few days. One article, from Australia, noted  how social networking sites supposedly cause anxiety in children as young as eight, which leads them into treatment by psychologists. According to one psychologist, "children [are] using social networking sites such as Facebook to determine their identity and form a view about what society thought of them." The other article, in The New York Times, profiled a child psychiatrist in New York City whose  mission is to remove the stigma of mental illness in children; he charges as much as $1000 per hour for  his services -- but seems to be much in demand.

DEPRESSION IN PRESCHOOLERS. Sadness and irritability in very young children can be a sign of depression, and researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found that brain activity in young, depressed patients is similar to activity in adult depressives. Mentioned in the article is a longitudinal study of 600 families to try to identify early factors that influence chronic depression. Read more.

DR. RUSSELL BARKLEY is presenting on various aspects of AD/HD in two September workshops to be held in Shady Grove, Maryland. The workshops are sponsored by Alvord, Baker & Associates along with the Weinfeld Education Group. Find out more

AD/HD AROUND THE WORLD. Depending on where you are in the world, the diagnosis and treatment of AD/HD differs, according to a new study. Among the findings: "..although the prevalence of AD/HD varies across nations, largely due to disparate diagnostic practices and algorithms, far larger international variability exists with respect to treated prevalence and treatment procedures" Find out more

THE "AUSTISM ADVANTAGE" in prehistoric times is the topic of a scholarly paper. Researchers posit that certain autistic traits, including spatial skills, concentration, and memory, might have proved beneficial in a hunter/gatherer society. Read more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Need more ammunition to clamp down on video gaming at  your house? Check out the message delivered at a recent presentation by child and adolescent psychiatrist Paul Weigle. He's a hard-liner when it comes to  the effect of gaming and violence on our sweet, innocent young children. Go there.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

BRAIN RESOURCES from SharpBrains. The organization has released its May eNewsletter. In it are two articles that might be of interest to those who raise, educate, and counsel gifted kids with learning challenges:
  • "AD/HD: Brain training Neurofeedback, Diet, and More"
  • "Neuroplasticity in the Brain of Children with Neurological Disorders," dealing with Tourette's
EDUCATIONAL OPTIONS NEWSLETTER. Deborah Ruf has issued her June newsletter. In it are a number of pointers to useful things: an article on why gifted girls may not be as confident as they should; a list of top-10 gifted education blogs; a list of top-10 open education resources; and more. Find the newsletter
EDUCATOR RESOURCE FOR SUMMER. If you're a teacher of the gifted or twice-exceptional, you might be interested in Edutopia's current issue, which contains ideas for summer relaxation and learning. We notice, however, that one of the articles is titled "The Myth of Summers Off." Go to Edutopia
SCHOLARSHIP FOR KIDS WITH AN LD. An Alabama Internet consulting company, Lumin, has established a $2000 scholarship for a young person with an LD who is going to college. The company's founder says her mom suggested the idea and also suggested that "the scholarship be made available to students with learning disabilities. This came as no surprise since she and I spent countless hours looking for available scholarships when I was in college. (Yes…I have a learning disability…two in fact.)" Find out more, and good for Lumin Consulting!
SENG SUMMIT EARLYBIRD DISCOUNT EXTENDED. You can still save money with an earlybird discount to the July SENG conference in Seattle, but only through June 10th. Thinking of going? Check it out.
COMPETITIONS FOR GIFTED MIDDLE-SCHOOLERS. A discussion on LinkedIn has elicited opinions on the most valuable competitions for gifted middle-school students. Responses include Destination Imagination, Odyssey of the Mind, Science Olympiad, Lego Robotics Challenge, National History Day, and more. Join in -- free registration is required, and then you can continue to participate in the group, Gifted Talented Network. 
FILE THIS UNDER "NEXT YEAR." PBS and Adobe have sponsored a competition whereby selected teen documentary filmmakers receive grands for their projects, along with mentoring. This year the competition received 250 applications and awarded 15 grants. Read more at Yahoo
DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. Don't forget the DITD "Tips" section, which offers collections of tips on various gifted-related topics such as acceleration, AD/HD, advocacy, depression,  and lots more. Find it.
AD/HD: THE BAD NEWS. "Analysis of data from two long-term studies of the impact of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) on the development of psychiatric disorders in young adults confirms that AD/HD alone significantly increases the risk of cigarette smoking and substance abuse in both boys and girls." Read more from this report.
AND FINALLY, THIS. A father and his dyslexic son collaborated on a fantasy novel that will be published next week. According to the Biloxi, Mississippi, Sun-Herald, "The story involves a young, idealistic, inspirational kid who decides he’s going to save his kingdom, which has been taken over by goblins. There’s a princess who escaped by chance the night the palace fell and learned magic. She watches what is going on and makes him a magic sword, which completely transforms him. He becomes a great a hero." Read more.