Tuesday, August 30, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

THE LEARNING STYLE DEBUNKERS are at it again. NPR's health blog "Shots" quotes psychologist Dan Willingham, whom you've read about before in this blog, in saying that teachers should not "tailor instruction to different kinds of learners." This seems counter-intuitive to many of us parents and educators, but the blog also mentions another psychologist who, in reviewing studies of learning styles, "found no scientific evidence backing up the idea." So the debate goes on... Read "Shots."
KNOW AN ASPIE KID? Read a great article about Noah Egler, 13, who  because of his intelligence and interests recently got a chance to participate in a med school seminar on prosthetic limbs, bonding with his 23-year-old lab partner in the process. In Noah's mind, "Asperger's is what makes him him," according to the article. Read it.

YOU KNOW YOU'RE A BAD MOTHER WHEN you don't get you son a birthday card he really appreciates -- and you don't include money in it. At least, that's what an 18-year-old son of an attorney, divorced from the boy's mother, thought when he and his sister filed a lawsuit (through the father) against his mom for bad mothering. Two  years into the suit, a judge dismissed it. Read more and marvel.
ONLINE DEGREE FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM. Sage Colleges in Albany, New York, will in January initiate an all-online bachelor's program for students with autism or LDs. The school promises individualization and flexibility. Find out more.
LAUGHING AT CHAOS is the name of a blog by the mother of two, one apparently 2e. Last month she blogged about the family move from Colorado to Illinois: "For the record, you haven’t lived until you’ve driven across Nebraska in July with a flatulent dog. We’ve been playing a New!Awesome!Game! 'Where’s the feedlot or was that Rosie?'" This is obviously an astute and discriminating person, because yesterday she picked up on Monday's quote of the week on the 2e Newsletter Facebook page and riffed on that for awhile. Find the blog.
"DUH!" OF THE WEEK. The Canadian Paediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics (not Paediatrics) are against boxing, saying that "Boxing is not an appropriate sport for children and teens." We agree; save young brains. Read more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

CALL FOR IMPROVED GIFTED ED. The president of the North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented and the president of NAGC jointly call for more opportunities for gifted students to excel. From the plea: "Contrary to the belief of some, high-ability students do not materialize out of thin air, and they certainly do not retain their capabilities absent ongoing support provided by appropriately trained teachers. They must be identified at the earliest stages possible and developed throughout their academic careers." Find out what they recommend.
E-LEARNING FOR GIFTED STUDENTS. One opportunity gifted students do have is that of e-learning. An article in Education Week describes some of the available opportunities.
ASPIE CHALLENGES. "He had all the state capitals memorized as a toddler, shortly before he read the entire dictionary." Now 23, Spencer, who has Asperger's, faces challenges at college, for example professors who don't understand how the seemingly brilliant young man can have trouble with logistics and procedure. An article in the Sacramento Bee tells more about Spencer and also about a support group, Asperger's Support for Adolescents Plus (ASAP), teens and young adults. Read more.
GIFTED AND DYSLEXIC. A young man with dyslexia who made it through the Stanford JD/MBA program tells how he did it, why he invented the Intel Reader, and why he's passionate about advocating for those with disabilities. Read the blog on CNN, and see a segment from "The Human Factor," which profiles Ben Foss.
SPEAKING OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY, Education Week describes how the the acceptance of universal design for learning -- with its emphasis on accessibility to content by all -- has affected assistive technology. The article provides examples along with guidelines for how schools can acquire such technology. Read the article.
CONFESSIONS OF AN ADDIVA is the title of a book reviewed at About.com. The book is written by a woman with AD/HD. From the review: "In Confessions of an ADDiva, Roggli shares about her journey living with undiagnosed ADHD for more than 40 years and the changes that took place in her life following diagnosis" Read more.  
GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. The Fall edition of this newsletter is out. You may find it here
IEP PROCESS. Autism Speaks has released a 26-page guide for parents about IEPs. Visit Autism Speaks to find out more or download the guide.
AD/HD AND WRITING. A recent study from the Mayo Clinic indicates that kids with AD/HD are much more likely to show writing problems -- 66 percent of boys with AD/HD and 57 percent of girls exhibited problems. Read about the study.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

2011 DAVIDSON FELLOWS ANNOUNCED. Eighteen gifted high achievers have been awarded scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 for their work in a variety of fields. The Davidson Fellows Scholarship program has provided nearly $4.5 million in scholarship funds to 184 Fellows since its inception, according to the Davidson Institute.  Founded by Bob and Jan Davidson in 1999, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development recognizes, nurtures, and supports profoundly intelligent young people, and provides opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference. The Institute offers support through a number of programs and services, including the Davidson Fellows program and The Davidson Academy. For more information about the 2011 Davidson Fellows, visit www.DavidsonGifted.org/Fellows.
ONLINE EDUCATION FOR AUTISM. An Education Week article explores the value of online education for students with high-functioning autism, noting that it can  alleviate sensory overload, bullying, and other hazards of the real-world classroom. In the article covers pluses and minuses, and quotes 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter contributor Katherine Boser on considerations for when virtual education might be appropriate for a student with high-functioning autism. Find the article.
DBS FOR TOURTETTE'S. Fox News reported on a young man in New York for whom symptoms of severe Tourette's Syndrome were relieved by deep brain stimulation, which involves implanting electrodes to stimulate parts of the brain that are malfunctioning. Read more.
AD/HD ON THE RISE. The Wall Street Journal, reporting on a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, notes that the percentage of children between 5 and 17 diagnosed with AD/HD has risen to 9 percent, a two-point change from the last measurement over a decade ago. The article also contained an estimate of the costs of such AD/HD to society -- over $42 billion per year when factoring in "health care, education, parental work loss and juvenile-justice costs." Read more.
PARENTS, TEACHERS, COUNSELORS: TAKE HEED. Although you may have already realized this, a new study indicates that boys think discussing problems is a waste of time. This is compared to girls, who researchers found "had positive expectations for how talking about problems would make them feel, such as expecting to feel cared for, understood and less alone." Read more about the study.
A BACK TO SCHOOL HEALTH QUIZ for parents about kids' health showed us that we didn't know lots of things we should have -- such as the maximum weight for a kid's backpack, or which common medicine the FDA has warned against for kids under 2. If you want to find out how much you know -- or don't know -- take the quiz.
AND FINALLY, THIS. Sometimes, after dinner and with the mom out of the house at her aerobics class, the dad and two young boys at our house used to play a game called "Daddy Monster." It was a combination of hide-and-seek, Nerf shoot-em-up, and roughhousing, where the hiding daddy would leap out of closets when the seeking sons approached, then either chase them or be chased and fired upon with Nerf weapons, each round culminating in either daddy being tackled and "dying" on the living room rug, or sons being tossed onto the couch while the monster escaped again. We miss it. Now we find and article in the Chicago Tribune giving parents guidelines for roughhousing with kids and espousing the benefits. Read it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

GIFTED PRESS QUARTERLY. The summer issue of this electronic newsletter is out, and it features an article on giftedness combined with AD/HD. The author points out "masking," commonalities among giftedness and AD/HD that can confound diagnosis, and AD/HD risk factors. The author, an Israeli, also includes two case studies. And, if you like, you can follow a link to the article as it appeared in Hebrew. Find Gifted Press Quarterly.

YES I CAN! Nominations are open for CEC's 2012 "Yes I Can!" awards, which honor young people with disabilities who excel in areas ranging from academics to arts to technology. Nominations close October 21 of this year. Find out more.

ASD IN COLLEGE. The Salt Lake City Deseret News noted an increase in students on the spectrum at the Utah universities. The article profiles one of those students and also explains what the universities do to help them. Read the article.

SOUTH JERSEY SCHOOL. A Quaker school in Riverton, New Jersey, offers appropriate education to 24 kids at varying grade levels who have sensory issues and language-based learning issues. The tuition is $35,000, according to a news article on the school, but home public school districts may pay some of that. The goal: to get the kids back to their original schools or into college. Find out more.

DIFFERENT GENES, DIFFERENT AD/HD TREATMENT. Researchers have discovered how various AD/HD-related gene variants affect dopamine reception in the brain, and that certain variants allow effective treatment with stimulants while others do not. Read about the study.

MEDIA BASHING. Research indicates that those who watch television an average of six hours a day (!) may be shortening their lives by as much as five years because of the effects of that sedentary behavior. Now, kids think they're immortal and wouldn't likely care about this research -- but responsible adults should care for them (and for themselves). Read more. (The research was done on adults 25 and older, but habits take hold early, right?)

AND FINALLY, THIS. From the U.S. Census Bureau's back-to-school press release of facts and figures: 52 percent of students 12 to 17 "were highly engaged in school (children reported as liking school, being interested in school and working hard in school) in 2006, up 5 percentage points from 1998. For 6- to 11-year-olds, the respective increase was from 56 percent to 59 percent." These stats beg the question, what about all those other students? Read more statistics.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

TRAINS AND AUTISM. The New York Times explored the fascination that many kids on the spectrum have for trains. In particular, the New York Transit Museum is using this fascination to develop kid-friendly programs that allows kids to "connect with other people -- and the world." Anyone who knows an Aspie will probably find something to smile at in this article. Find it.

MULTITASKING AND AUTISM. A recent study suggests that young people with ASD find multitasking difficult. The reason? In performing a series of tasks, they apparently adhere rigidly to the order in which they were given the tasks.  Read more.

AD/HD THROUGH THE SCHOOL YEARS. An article in the Los Angeles Times examines how the challenges of AD/HD become apparent at the beginning of each school year, and how in later years kids might reach the breaking point, unable to cope or develop compensatory strategies. The article also points out,  however, that with earlier introduction of rules and structure even before kindergarten kids are being labeled at ages 3, 4, and 5. Find the article. 

FAMILY HAPPINESS AND THE OVERBOOKED CHILD is the title of an article on parental sacrifice for kids' activities -- and whether that sacrifice is necessarily good.  Besides financial and physical exhaustion,, there is apparently no evidence that lots of activities lead to later academic success, at least. Read more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. If worrying about whether you're giving your child the right amount of enrichment activity isn't enough, here's more fodder. A survey of adults on health concerns for children yielded this ranking for the top five concerns: childhood obesity, drug abuse, smoking, teen pregnancy, and bullying. Need even more to worry about? The next five concerns were Internet safety, stress, alcohol abuse, driving accidents, and sexting. So there -- take your pick and start worrying. Find the survey.

Friday, August 12, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

AD/HD, ASD: SHARED GENETIC RISK. A new study has found that some genetic variants may be common between AD/HD and autism spectrum disorders. This could explain why some traits seem common in both conditions. Furthermore: "The research results could be reassuring for clinicians who may see characteristics of different neuropsychiatric conditions in their patients -- such as ASD-like social problems in a child with AD/HD -- but are concerned that they are over-interpreting these traits." Read more.
KIDS AND FACEBOOK. Time Magazine reports that kids who use Facebook frequently may earn lower grades, be more narcissistic, and be more prone to anxiety and depression. On the other hand, researchers have also noted beneficial effects on self-identity and empathy. Find out more.
RTI WORKING? A study indicates that response to intervention is widely used and can be effective in identifying -- and ameliorating -- LDs early. Read more, and find a link to the report "National Assessment of IDEA."
FINDING GIFTED UNDERACHIEVERS. The Victorian Association for the Gifted and Talented Children is holding its biennial conference in Melbourne on September 8-0. The theme: "Unmasking the possibilities." Find out more
SHYNESS. Got a shy and gifted kid? NPR recently aired a program dealing with shyness. From the blurb for the program:  "Medical treatment and therapy is widely available for social anxiety, but some argue that shyness is not a sickness. They say shy people listen better and have higher levels of empathy. A look at shyness, its evolutionary basis, and why it might be an asset." Find the program.
AND FINALLY, THIS. As the parent or educator of a gifted kid, you're probably interested in out-of-the-box thinking, perhaps because of the way you've been exposed to it by that child. Technology columnist David Poque writes about an assignment he gave to a business school class: invent a better, more usable digital watch. You might enjoy some of the creations. Read the column.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

COLLEGES WITH GOOD LD PROGRAMS. A 2010 article from the Huffington Post, newly discovered on our computer, profiles 11 universities that go out of their way to support students with LDs. Find the profiles.
THE CAUSES OF AUTISM aren't simple, says an article by a pediatrician who covers the relative roles of genetics and environment. Find out more about inquiries involving twin studies and find out what kind of environmental influences might play a part.
GOT AN IEP? Or, rather, a kid with an IEP? Wrightslaw, in its most recent edition of Special Ed Advocate, covers the importance of writing follow-up letters after IEP meetings. Why? Because a well-written letter can be of great use in a due process hearing, should your situation ever devolve into such a thing. Find Special Ed Advocate.
THE BRAIN SCIENCE OF ATTENTION is part of the lengthy title of a book to be released this month: Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. The author, an academic, is dyslexic. Her premise: kids are wired differently. (You knew that.) A quote  from the book: "If you are a successful entrepreneur in the United States, you are three times more likely to be than the general public to have been diagnosed with a learning or attention deficit disorder." Find out more at a Huffington Post blog.
FILE UNDER "C" FOR "CYNICAL." Or maybe "P" for "practical." Kids are now planning experiences that will give them fodder for a "standout" college application essay. From an article on this: “Students are planning their summer experiences to augment who they are and discover who they are, and that absolutely helps the college process.” Read the article to find out what kinds of experiences kids are cultivating.
AND FINALLY, THIS. The words "back to school" figured prominently in many of the press releases and articles we read as we prepared this posting, but the best back-to-school story was in an article in the Chicago Tribune about dropping off kids on the college campus. A college counselor related an incident where, as the parents were driving off, the father "rolled down the window of his car and shouted out to his son, 'By the way, you have a learning disability and Asperger's syndrome.'" Cool move, dad, to wait until such a moment to bring up those issues. Read more about how to act (and not act) during the big moment.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

2e STORY. As an 11-year-old, broadcaster and author Nelson Lauver was evaluated by the family doctor, who concluded that Lauver "had limited intelligence and lacked serious motivation," according to an article at PennLive.com. Social promotions kept him going from grade to grade until he graduated at the bottom of his class. At age 29, Lauver discovered that he had dyslexia. He has authored a memoir, Most Unlikely to Succeed, The Trials, Travels and Ultimate Triumphs of a ‘Throwaway’ Kid. Find out more
HEARING AND ACADEMICS. An article in THE Journal states, "a growing body of research indicates hearing loss--even a minimal amount--can have a dramatic effect on everything from attention and behavior to academic performance." According to the article, about 20 percent of K-12 students might have some type of hearing difficulties. Read the article.
UNWRAPPING THE GIFTED. Still sharing her experiences from Edufest, Tamara Fisher related four "epiphanies" shared with her by teachers at the conference. One started out this way:
  • Fisher: What did you used to think and believe about gifted students and gifted education? 
  • Teacher: I used to believe that gifted ed starts in 3rd grade and that students who are gifted always do well academically unless they are lazy.
Can you guess where that leads? Find Fisher's blog and the rest of the teacher's insight.  
BRAINWORKS. Carla Crutsinger continues on the topic of handwriting and dysgraphia in a Q&A titled "Is It Laziness or Is It a Handwriting Problem." Got a kid with bad handwriting? Check out the newsletter. (And be sure to read the introductory "dialog" between teacher and pupil.)
FISH OIL AND BRAIN POWER. Thinking about using fish oil (DHA) supplements to improve focus in that 2e kid you know? Check out an article in the Los Angeles Times that covers the claims and the evidence for the effectiveness of the supplement.
AUTISM AND PRONOUNS. Children with autism may refer to themselves as "you," an error reflecting "a disordered neural representation of the self," according to a new study. Brain imaging showed "diminished synchronization" in two brain areas during pronoun use. The error may also be connected with an inability to shift viewpoints. Read about the study.
WISC-IV DISCREPANCIES. A thread at the "Gifted Issues Discussion Forum" at the Davidson Institute website concerns big gaps between processing speed and working memory scores, on the one hand, and perceptual reasoning and verbal comprehension on the other. You might know that such gaps can be markers of twice exceptionality. Find the thread.
AND FINALLY, THIS. A University of Essex study of video gamers indicates that rather than running away from something during play, the gamers are actually trying on new traits or characteristics -- in effect, according to the researchers, "running towards their ideals. They are not escaping to nowhere, they are escaping to somewhere." Read more to understand that gamer in your household.

Monday, August 1, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

AD/HD: A SUPERPOWER? Smart Money Magazine profiles a few small-business owners who attribute some of  their success to the traits of AD/HD -- energy, and the ability to creatively think outside the box, for example. The article also explores ways the entrepreneurs have found to cope with weaknesses such as disorganization and inattention to detail. Find the article.

AD/HD AND QUALITY OF LIFE. It could be that having a child's AD/HD treated by a pediatrician can lead to "better overall health-related quality of life and family functioning" than having such a child treated at a psychiatric clinic, according to a new study reported by UPI. Find out more.

THE AUGUST BRIEFING from 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter will be out late today or tomorrow. Find it at our website, where you may also sign up for it if you don't already receive it.