Thursday, July 28, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

AD/HD: PARENTING TOLL. The site LiveScience has posted an article about the toll paid by parents of children with AD/HD. The particular young person profiled is gifted, and the article quotes the mother as saying, "He has a really high IQ and he's really gifted, and he comes home from school and says how stupid he is." (Sound familiar?) The article describes some research into the stress involved in parenting an AD/HD child. Find the article.
NCLD REPORT. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has published a report on the prevalence and effects of learning disabilities in the United States, as well as clarifying what an LD is. From the report: about 4.7 million Americans 6 and older are reported to have LDs; and about 11 percent of college undergraduates reported having an LD. Find out more.
ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. The July issue of this newsletter has been posted. In it, David Rabiner described a study examining the question, "Does AD/HD medication treatment in childhood increase adult employment?" While in general the study indicated that "adults with ADHD have poorer educational outcomes, report more psychiatric difficulties, and are more likely to be unemployed than other adults," it also found a correlation between treatment with medication in childhood and higher likelihood of employment in adulthood. Read Rabiner's interpretation of the study.
THE GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER has released its July newsletter. It offers a discount for GDC services for families who are homeschooling, and the "Ask Kimmy" column addresses the question "Why should I have my gifted child assessed at the GDC if I am homeschooling?" Find out why.
THE DAVIDSON INSTITUTE has issued its July eNews Update. This issue offers news of DITD programs, legislative and policy news from around the U.S., web-based resources, and pointers to recent gifted-related articles you (and we) might have missed. Read the newsletter.
UNWRAPPING THE GIFTED.  Tamara Fisher reports from Edufest, a yearly gifted ed conference held in Boise, Idaho. She shares responses to three questions she asked fellow conference-goers:
  • What do you wish the people back home knew or understood about gifted education and/or gifted students? 
  • What is an "a-ha!" moment you've had here so far this week?
  • What is something you have learned or gained that you will be taking back with you?
AD/HD AND DSM. About.com reports that the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders may include changes in the way AD/HD is diagnosed. The changes include:
  • Restructuring the subtypes
  • Adding symptoms
  • Providing more detailed symptom descriptions. 
FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISTICS. This fall, the Monarch Academy in Daytona Beach will open to serve K-12 ASD kids who are ready for the classroom. Find out more.
AD/HD RESOURCES. A web-based community called ADDConnect offers groups centered around particular AD/HD issues; the group is for parents of kids with AD/HD and for adults with AD/HD, and is sponsored by ADDitude Magazine. Find it.
ACTING OUT can be good, find researchers, when it means physically acting out text in word problems. Students who did so solved the problems more accurately and with less distraction. The reason? Something called embodied cognition, which "posits that meaning in language comes when words or phrases are mentally mapped onto memories of real experiences and perceptions." Find out more.



Monday, July 25, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ANOTHER AD/HD DANGER. With our kids in the car one day, we almost ran over a boy whose family we knew to be a hotbed of AD/HD; the boy, on his bicycle, simply rode into the street to cross it without looking for traffic -- or else seriously misjudged traffic. Had we not braked quickly, the results would have not been pretty. Now a study reported in Pediatrics shows that children with AD/HD, compared to normally developing children, do not process the information necessary to safely cross the street. In the study, children with AD/HD chose smaller gaps in traffic to cross within, and had considerably less time to reach the end of the crosswalk before the next car approached, resulting in a more dangerous crossing environment. Read more at US News/HealthDay
BOOK DEAL FROM PRUFROCK. In honor of of National Parenting Gifted Children Week (last week), Prufrock is offering an e-book version of their title Parenting Gifted Kids, by Jim Delisle, for $2.99. Sounds like the offer expires soon. Find out more
ARE YOU A WORKING MOM? A study indicates that your children are no more likely to have behavioral or emotional problems than kids in families with stay-at-home moms. Read more
FEDERAL FUNDING FOR SPECIAL ED. Apparently, long ago, the U.S. government pledged to pay 40 percent of the cost of educating students with disabilities, but the current federal spending is around 16 percent. Now a senator has introduced a bill to make up the gap. No word on how the bill, if passed, would affect 2e students. Read more at Education Week or the site of CEC
BOOKS BEGONE. South Korea will replace paper textbooks with tablet PCs, according to recent media reports. The move will allow learners to take more advantage of media-based materials and provide fast access to lots of online information. (In theory, tablets would also offer alternative ways for learners to take in the same information, accommodating those who do better with visually-based or audio-based materials.) Read more
HAPPY MONDAY! More blog posts soon.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

SENG GIFT. In honor of National Parenting Gifted Children Week (this week), SENG has released a free e-book called The Joy and the Challenge: Parenting Gifted Children. Among the authors of the various sections of the book you'll find some familiar to readers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, including publisher Linda Neumann. Her contribution: "Don't Get Caught in the Lazy Trap." Find the book to  read online or to download.

AD/HD IN GIRLS AND WOMEN. Katherine Ellison, author of Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention, has an article at ADDitude on the way AD/HD is different in girls and women than in men. She discusses her own encounter with AD/HD and brings up studies of AD/HD in women along with individual "case studies." She also includes a checklist, constructed by Kathleen Nadeau, to use in trying to determine the presence of AD/HD.  Find the article.

POSITIVE TEENS, HEALTHY YOUNG ADULTS. That's the word from a Northwestern University researcher, who found that "teens with high positive well-being had a reduced risk of engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, binge drinking, using drugs and eating unhealthy foods as they transitioned into young adulthood. " This according to an NU press release about the research. Find out more. The pressure's on, parents. (And don't think we at 2e Newsletter don't know about that pressure.)

AND FINALLY THIS. Go a kid who has what's sometimes called "a fluid relationship with truth"? A study reveals what you might already know -- that although people not telling the truth can suppress some tell-tale facial actions, they can't suppress them all. Now, you might need a video camera and a frame-by-frame analysis of facial movements on your favorite fib-teller, but at least now you know that non-verbal communication may be working in your favor. Find out more.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

RED FLAG. Adolescent rats given Ritalin and Prozac together may undergo brain changes that make them, as adults, "more sensitive to reward as well as to stress, and more likely to exhibit the pessimism and hopelessness seen in depression." This according to a rat-based study newly published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers compared the actions of the combo to those of cocaine. An article in the Los Angeles Times noted lots of "ifs" in transposing the study results to humans; for example the rats that received the drugs were normally developing and not AD/HD or depressed. But according to the article, 40 percent of kids diagnosed as either depressed or AD/HD may end up with both diagnoses. Got a kid in that situation? Maybe it's time to talk to your psychiatrist. Read the article.
SCREENING FOR LDs. An Australian psychologist recommends that toddlers be screened for LDs as well as mental health issues. Next year, a new mental-health screening program goes into effect for three-year-olds in Australia. Noting that up to 10 percent of children might have an LD, the psychologist said, "If untreated they can affect their academic skills and success in school and increase the risk of the child developing behavioural problems." Read more
THE GOOGLE SCIENCE FAIR was dominated in each age category by American young women. The winner discovered a way to make a drug for treating cancer more effective as cancer cells grew resistant to it. More than 10,000 young people from 91 countries entered. Find out more about these gifted young people.
THE SENG VINE, the e-newsletter of the organization, is out for July. Included: an observation of National Parenting Gifted Children Week and interviews with SENG directors on "childhood, parenting, and life." Find it.
FEEDBACK ON ANTIDEPRESSANTS. The recent New York Times article "In Defense of Antidepressants" (which we noted in this blog) drew at least a dozen responses from well-credentialed individuals. If you read the article, you might be interested in the responses.
COVD REMINDER. The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (which you have seen represented in the pages of 2e Newsletter for their stance on the role of vision in learning difficulties) has issued a back-to-school call for vision assessment. For children who have "any learning difference," the College suggests evaluation of the following items:
  • Visual acuity
  • Focusing near to far – speed and ability
  • Convergence
  • Stereopsis – depth perception
  • Tracking – fixation skills, pursuit and saccadic skills
  • Visual discrimination
  • Visualization
  • Visual memory and recall
  • Visual motor integration – eye-hand coordination
  • Laterality and directionality
If you knew what all of those things meant, good for you. The site of the College is www.covd.org.
AND FINALLY, THIS -- something else to worry about if your child is of a certain age and the adventuresome or naive type. Recreational stimulant drugs sold as "bath salts"are being implicated in lots of ugly emergency room scenes. The director of the Louisiana Poison Center says, according to The New York Times, “If you take the worst attributes of meth, coke, PCP, LSD and ecstasy and put them together, that’s what we’re seeing sometimes.” Read more.

Friday, July 15, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

PREPARING FOR COLLEGE WITH A LEARNING DISABILITY is the title of a guest blog recently at the Washington Post's "Campus Overload" feature.A young woman who recently earned an associate's degree from Landmark College, a school that focuses on students with LDs, offered a recap of her experiences there plus five tips for those with LDs who plan to attend college. Find the blog.
NEGATIVE THINKING AND TEEN ANXIETY. A person's  outlook on an ambiguous situation may determine whether the situation induces anxiety, according to a new study. An approach called "cognitive bias modification of interpretations" may help those subject to anxiety interpret unclear situations in a more positive light, averting unnecessary anxiety. Got an anxious gifted or 2e teen? Check out the study. Separately, Psych Central offers the tip that routine high-level exercise may reduce anxiety in persons predisposed to panic attacks. Find out more
MATT COHEN answers questions each month at LD Online. Among the topics he addresses for July are: getting a teacher to find ways to help a student with an LD learn best; whether it's appropriate for a teacher to  recommend that a child be medicated for an LD; what to do when a school denies an IEP because of a student's success; and how to get accommodations for the LSAT, among others. Find it
AD/HD ENTREPRENEURS. Smart Money tells the stories of four entrepreneurs who succeeded on their own in spite of AD/HD and because of it. The article covers both the energy and the challenges; one entrepreneur once booked two different dinners for the same night -- on different continents. Read more about these achievers. 
NEUROSCIENCE AND EDUCATION. Education Week, in a feature on special ed, covers some of the ways neuroscience can help not just special ed but education in general. Among the topics: the ability to differentiate LDs based on brain imaging; and early identification of LDs through biomarkers. Find the article.
DYSGRAPHIA IN THE "REAL WORLD" is the featured topic in Carla Crutsinger's most recent Brainworks e-newsletter. Crutsinger offers four solid strategies for achieving success at work with an impediment such as dysgraphia. Find the newsletter.
RESOURCES. For information or support, don't forget a couple resources we've mentioned in the past. One is #gtchat, a weekly, international, Twitter-based discussion on a specific gifted topic, sometimes on 2e topics. For example, on June 24 the topic was AD/HD in gifted kids; and on May 27 it was "Understanding and Supporting Twice-Exceptional Learners." If you can't participate in the hour-long chats, transcripts are available at the #gtchat site.  Another resource available on an ongoing basis is About.com: ADD-AD/HD. About.com is operated by The New York Times, which makes us assume the information is reliable. You can sign up for periodic updates on the topic of AD/HD or any other topic at About.com -- topics relevant to the 2e community include anxiety disorders, ASD, gifted children, and more. (But no dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia!?) Find About.com.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

COLLEGE ON THE SPECTRUM is the title of a presentation by a recent graduate of Seton Hall University. In an article in the Orlando Sentinel, the graduate described some of his tactics for getting through college, such as distributing cards to professors on the first days of class explaining he has autism. The article highlights some of the challenges to ASD college students -- but also gives hints of how to overcome those challenges. At the end of the article the Seton Hall graduate is quoted: "Autism doesn't define me — I define autism." Read the article.
HEALTH CARE PRIVACY AND YOUR CHILD. An article in Monday's New York Times covers some of the trickiness involved in balancing an adolescent's privacy rights with parental concern, or even with concerns of other adults (such as college professors) who become involved in a student's emotional or mental health issues. If you've got a child in that nether zone, check out the article -- because you're likely to be affected as the child receives mental or physical health care for those other exceptionalities.
DEPRESSION. Also in The New York Times, a piece on what is apparently a recent public discussion about the effectiveness of antidepressants. We point out this article because we know that parents of 2e children are very interested in depression (along with anxiety) that may stem from the challenges those kids face. The article is authored by a clinical professor of psychiatry who is concerned about recent "debunking" of antidepressants. Find it.
SECONDHAND SMOKE may be linked to an increased incidence of AD/HD or other disorders, according to a new study. According to CNN Health, the study "found that children exposed to secondhand smoke in the home had a 50% increased risk of developing two or more childhood neurobehavioral disorders compared with children who were not exposed at home." Read more.
AUTISM CAUSES, DIAGNOSIS. A recent news item covered a study on "birth factors" as they relate to autism -- factors such as birth weight, fetal distress, etc. One conclusion: parents should not worry about the occurrence of any single factor, but that some factors in combination with genetics might cause ASD. Find the article. In another study, researchers at the University of Cambridge say that siblings of people with autism show a similar pattern of brain activity to that seen in people with autism when looking at emotional facial expressions. The researchers identified the reduced activity in a part of the brain associated with empathy and argue it may be a ‘biomarker’ for a familial risk of autism. Read University's the press release.
GIFTED EDUCATION IN VICTORIA. An item in Jo Freitag's Gifted Resources newsletter pointed us to an inquiry being held by the Australian state of Victoria into the education of gifted students. The committee on Education and Training has solicited input from the gifted community, and much of what has been submitted is on the site of the Victoria Parliament -- responses from educators, parents, and gifted organizations, more than 100 posted at this time. A quick look didn't reveal any 2e-related postings; we'll keep looking. Find the inquiry.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ACCEPTING AUTISM. A Maryland mother writes in the Washington Times about how she came to understand what it was like to have a child with autism and how she accepts it. Now, she writes, "It is hard to imagine Jack without autism. If he were typical, would he still be so gentle and kindhearted? Would he still find so much joy in very small things? Would he still come up with the delightful and quirky thoughts he manages to articulate?" Read the article.  
CHILDHOOD BIPOLAR DISORDER. In Newsweek, a psychiatrist contends that "hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. have been wrongly diagnosed with the trendy disorder."  He calls it a "diagnostic fad" and cites differences between bipolar disorder in adults and in children. His opinion is that cases of severe AD/HD combined with severe ODD are being diagnosed, wrongly, as childhood bipolar disorder, resulting in unwarranted and even dangerous medications. Find the article.
PERSONALITY DISORDERS: A MATTER OF DEGREE. The chairman of the DSM work group on personality disorders has noted a shift in perception of those disorders: that they're not binary but a matter of degree. Some personality disorders might disappear from the DSM-5, leaving antisocial, avoidant, borderline, narcissistic, obsessive/compulsive, and schizotypal. Read more.
A NEW BOOK ON AD/HD takes a strength-based approach to the disorder, noting that many kids with AD/HD "have tremendous passion, creativity and are often outstanding individuals." Along with his approach, the author titled the book Attention Difference Disorder. Read an interview with the author, and be sure to make it to the final paragraph.
VIDEO RESOURCES. A video on the Scientific American website treats the topic of how motherhood changes the brain. A video on the website of TECCA, a technology-following organization, features a new Dutch-designed font that supposedly helps dyslexics differentiate similar letters such as v and w. And from Deborah Ruf's newsletter we learned that the American Psychological Association will be publishing videos about recent psychological research, such as a recent video about children's mental health; find it.
AND FINALLY, THIS. If your bright child is interested in outer space, note that Scientific American has posted a collection of in-depth reports on the U.S. space shuttle programs, including a visual history, the final mission, and close calls experienced by those manning the spacecraft. Find it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

PORTLAND SCHOOL FOR BEHAVIORAL ISSUES. A school in Portland, Oregon, is often an interim stop for K-12 students who have behavioral problems that may include AD/HD or ODD. The school's goal is to reintegrate its clients with mainstream schools, but some students stay until graduation from high school. Some of the students at the school are at the AP and honors level academically. Read more
DYSLEXIA AND JAPANESE. Some students with dyslexia do much better writing in Japanese or Chinese than they do in their native English. In Japanese and Chinese, according to an article on the topic, "characters represent complete words or ideas," as opposed to languages like English, "which use separate letters and sounds to form words."  Evidently dyslexics use different parts of their brains when reading in Japanese than in English. Find out more.
WAS YOUR KID A LATE TALKER? No worries, according to a study published in Pediatrics. Even if issues were present at age 2, the children in the study appeared not to be at increased risk for AD/HD or other issues as they grew up. As many as 18 percent of children are apparently late talkers. Read more.
THE ENVIRONMENT AND AUTISM. A newly-published study indicates that some environmental factors might be at least as important as genetic factors in the development of autism. The twin-based study included kids with Asperger's as well as "classic" autism. Some of the environmental factors -- which were not specifically listed -- occur prenatally. Read about the study.
NEW GIFTED SCHOOL IN ARIZONA. Arizona State University will open an on-campus school for gifted students who have completed at least a sixth-grade curriculum. Herberger Academy will accept up to 40 students per year for "an accelerated, five-year program that is not for the faint of heart." Find out more.