Friday, September 30, 2011

DYSLEXIA GOES TO COLLEGE. An event at Stanford University for college admission deans was intended to help colleges appreciate dyslexic applicants. Organized in part by expert Sally Shaywitz, the event featured speakers who shared their experiences with dyslexia -- Charles Schwab was among those. Also covered: topics such as the effect of dyslexia on the testing and admissions process; accommodations in college; and tips for dyslexic students on choosing the right college. Read more.
COMPOUNDING THE PROBLEM. Research by Autism Speaks notes that more than half of the young people in their registry also show symptoms of either attention problems or of hyperactivity. Researchers noted that the AD/HD symptoms further burden children with autism, and stressed the importance of identifying AD/HD symptoms so that they could be addressed. Read more.
TREATING OCD. An article in Time Magazine noted the effectiveness of a therapy called exposure and response prevention (ERP) in reducing OCD symptoms, especially when used in combination with medication. Among kids in a JAMA-reported study, about 67 percent of kids treated with a combination of medicine and ERP reduced their OCD symptoms by a 30 percent benchmark. Find out more.
GIFTED STUDENTS AND ONLINE LEARNING was the topic of an Education Week online chat this week. Interested persons may find the chat at the Education Week website.
GIFTED ISSUES DISCUSSION FORUM. The Davidson Institute maintains a free public forum for the discussion of gifted issues at http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/. Some of the threads deal with twice-exceptional topics, such as giftedness and AD/HD, or low working memory, or visual processing  issues.
AD/HD AND STIMULANTS. About 2.8 million children  in the United States were prescribed stimulant medicine for AD/HD in 2008, up from previous years. The study covered the years from 1996 to 2008. Usage is higher in boys and children not of color; usage is lower in Western states. Find out more.
BEST STEM HIGH SCHOOLS. Want to find out which high schools rank highest in the teaching of science and math? US News can tell you.
SMARTS AND PROCESSING SPEED. Adolescents become smarter (as measured on intelligence tests) because their processing speed increases, according to a new study. Read more.
BRAIN RESOURCE. Healthline has a cool interactive tool for visualizing the brain. You can turn it, split it, see different layers, identify components, and read about them. Find it.
AND FINALLY, THIS. You can buy your child a pair of $40 sunglasses with a hidden video camera inside. According to a reviewer, the set-up includes  a battery, 128MB of RAM, and a USB port for downloading the video to a computer for viewing and editing. Read the review or go to the vendor's website.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

EIDES IN WIRED. Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide have a Q&A in Wired Science centering on their new book The Dyslexic Advantage. In the Q&A, the Eides provide their definition of dyslexia, cover various misconceptions of the condition, and get into the strengths that may be associated with dyslexia. At the Q&A page you may also read an excerpt from the new book. Go there.
HIGH PERFORMERS: LOSING IT. Education Week reports on a Fordham Institute study showing that "many high-performing students lose ground from elementary to middle school and from middle school to  high school." The study raises the issue of whether programs such as NCLB impose a trade-off, helping kids at the bottom but hurting those at the top. Find the EdWeek article.
METHYLPHENIDATE: LATER PUBERTY -- in monkeys, at least. The active ingredient in Ritalin delayed puberty in young male monkeys, although the treated monkeys later caught up in development. Read more.
APPS FOR AUTISM is the goal of a partnership between Hewlett-Packard and two autism-focused organizations. HP will bring together developers to build free apps addressing areas such as communication and scheduling. Find out more.
2e  SOLUTION IN VANCOUVER. The Vancouver Observer published an article about a gifted young man with learning challenges for whom "school never quite fit." [Sound familiar?] The young man and his family found a solution through a company called BrainBoost Education, which tailored a curriculum for him based on online learning courses. The results: a more engaged, confident, and achieving young man. Read more.
AD/HD RELIEF. A study has indicated that playing outside in green areas may ameliorate symptoms of AD/HD, compared to playing in other settings. Find out more.
JUNK FOOD, DEPRESSION, AND ANXIETY. Adolescents eating diets of junk or processed foods are more prone to depression and anxiety, according to a new Australian study. While the results are consistent with what's been seen in adults, the researchers had this to say about the results: "[W]e think it could be more important because three quarters of psychiatric illnesses start before adulthood, and once someone has depression they are likely to get it again." So serve up those fruits and veggies. Read more.
THE THINKING PERSON'S GUIDE TO AUTISM is a book and website with the following mission: "to help people with autism and their families make sense of the bewildering array of available autism treatments and options, and determine which are worth their time, money, and energy." As part of that mission, TPGA accepts submissions on the topic of autism from writers 13 and over. Find out more.
EARLY-LIFE STRESS. Twice-exceptional kids can suffer more stress than other children for a variety of reasons. To find out how stress may affect children, check out a new article at Cerebrum on the Dana Foundation website. 
DON'T FORGET our stash of categorized article links at http://www.delicious.com/2eNewsletter. The articles cover 2e, giftedness, various exceptionalities, child development, parenting, education, and more.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

YOUR CHILD'S BRAIN was the topic of an interview with two neuroscientists recently aired on NPR. Authors of a new book (naturally) called Welcome to Your Child's Brain, the interview covered things such as language development, self-control, and reward and punishment. Find the interview.  
MEDIA BASHING is something we occasionally do in this blog. The American Academy of Pediatrics has released the results of a study showing that some TV s hows may be worse than others when it comes to a their effect on a four-year-old's  attention, problem solving, self regulation and other executive function abilities. While the researchers could not determine exactly which features had a negative impact on kids, a fast-paced animated "SpongeBob" cartoon resulted in poorer test results. Find out more, and note that the creators of SpongeBob refute the findings
PESTICIDES AND AD/HD. Rodale Press reports on the apparent association of certain pesticides and symptoms of AD/HD, based on a Canadian study involving organophosphate pesiticide byproducts excreted in urine. From the article: "Children with substantially higher levels of a breakdown product of neurotoxic organophosphate pesticides were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD." Read the article for more scary stuff and what you can do about it.
AND THAT'S IT --  unless the topic of the complexities of children's naps is of interest to you ("a mix of individual biology, including neurologic and hormonal development, cultural expectations and family dynamics"). Seems like there's a dearth of items on giftedness and twice-exceptionalities this week, sorry.



Friday, September 9, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ASPERGER'S AND GEOGRAPHY. A local television station in the Chicago area profiled a 15-year-old boy with Asperger's whose love of geography allows him to do quite well in the National Geographic Geography Bee. But geography isn't a long-term goal, according the the report: " I want to possibly go into a career of broadcasting because I'm an actor and I love baseball and I just think the two would come together." Read the article
HOMESCHOOLING BENEFITS.  A Concordia University study indicates that structured, curriculum-based homeschooling can provide an academic edge when compared to either unstructured homeschooling or traditional education. One of the advantages of homeschooling mentioned by the study's lead author was the opportunity to accelerate a child's learning process. Read more
GLOBAL VIRTUAL MEETING FOR GIFTED EDUCATION, the next edition, is scheduled for September 24th. The topic: engaging gifted students in critical and divergent thinking, presented by Dr. Mary Bruck in the virtual world of Second Life. Find out more
BIPOLAR DISORDER IN CHILDREN. If this is of concern to you, a somewhat lengthy article (for Science Daily, anyway) discusses its diagnosis and treatment. Find it
SAFETY VERSUS EXERCISE. Helicopter parents may impede kids from getting higher levels of physical activity, according to a recent study of physical activity in public parks. The goal of the study: better design of public parks. Find out more
BRAIN SCANS may allow the diagnosis of autism. In MRI scans in children 8 to 18, researchers found differences between those with autism and those without. The method was accurate, but not likely to replace current diagnostic practice, according to Disability Scoop. Find out more.
AND FINALLY, THIS. On Facebook? Stop by and contribute:  http://www.facebook.com/2eNewsletter.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

THE GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER, in its latest newsletter, brings the news that Center stalwart Betty Maxwell has retired, and features an interview with Maxwell, who assessed and worked with gifted learners and was particularly interested in visual/spatial learners. Find the newsletter.
AIMEE YERMISIH ONLINE. Aimee is offering two no-cost online events this month on the topic of "Cleared for Launch -- What's After High School" for gifted or 2e kids. Dates: 9/11 and 9/25. Find more information. Aimee also writes a blog at WordPress on "intelligence, creativity, psychology, education, and whatever else comes to mind" -- find it
FROM DUMMY CLASS TO PULITZER. The opinion piece starts out this way: "I was well into middle age when one of my children, then in the second grade, was found to be dyslexic. I had never known the name for it, but I recognized immediately that the symptoms were also mine." In the opinion piece, the writer describes his difficulties with words as a child, including his difficulties in reading and in processing spoken language. But he willed himself to read, found that he had a "voice," and later won a Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Read more
DOES TECHNOLOGY HELP IN THE CLASSROOM? An article in The New York Times gives plenty of information about how technology is used in one tech-savvy school district, but notes that test scores in the district have not risen. Find the article. (Whatever the outcome in "ordinary" classrooms, we could contend that the right assistive technology can greatly help the right 2e and LD kids.)
AND FINALLY, THIS. A survey by VTech, a maker of "play experiences" for kids, found this: "Equality in parenting is still a pipe dream. Nearly half (48%) of working moms say they spend more time each day parenting than on their careers, more than double that of working dads (19%)... Because moms are picking up so much slack at home AND at work, most moms agree 'me time' is nearly extinct. Nearly 70% of working moms have an hour or less to themselves each day. And more than 20% report that they have less than fifteen minutes.When parents were asked to add up how many hours they spend parenting each day, moms beat dads hands down. Moms average nearly 7.5 hours per day spent on parenting tasks, while dads clock an average of 4.3 hours per day. Over a year, that difference adds up to an extra 1150 hours of parenting duty for moms!" We say, remember this next Mother's Day (or next Father's Day).

Friday, September 2, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

DAVIDSON ACADEMY AND GIFTED EDUCATION. The cover story of the August 29th edition of the Christian Science Monitor featured the Davidson Academy as the apex of gifted education in the United States, and then used the Academy as a counterpoint to discuss the "class ceiling," limits on education for most gifted students. From the article: "...how many more American students share their experience of idling in their classrooms, unaware of their potential, or bursting with frustration because only a fraction of their curiosity and capability is tapped?" Read the article.
DYSLEXIC ACHIEVER. A young woman, her dyslexia undiagnosed as a child, who used to be angry and resentful at people not seeing who she really was, now sees dyslexia as "the best thing that ever happened to me." A successful adult, she found it refreshing that those in the business world "weren't looking for what was wrong, but saw what was right, and beyond that, wanted to use it constructively toward a common goal." Read more.
LEARNING STYLES. We recently posted on another debunking of learning styles. That article started a good discussion at Edweek.org. If this topic interests you, find the discussion and join in!
BRAINWORKS. In her latest newsletter, Carla Crutsinger addresses the importance of sleep in attaining "stress-free mornings" during the school year. She notes that AD/HD kids take a long time to fall asleep, probably depriving them of the necessary 9 to 11 hours of sleep. She offers tips for avoiding sleep problems; find them. Separately, a study of the sleep habits of college students finds that many are "undermining their own education" because of poor sleep habits. Read more and find additional tips for "sleep hygiene."
ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. David Rabiner's August edition of this newsletter concerned a study about how children's symptoms of AD/HD affect parents' feelings and behavior. The short answer: adversely. The lesson: "Clearly understanding that getting children to change core ADHD symptoms is difficult... may protect parents from feeling increasingly powerless about exerting positive influence on their child and help them remain engaged with their child in ways that children experience as warm, nurturing and supportive." Read more about the study
MORE ON AD/HD. Inattention is a bigger problem than hyperactivity when it comes to finishing high school, according to a Canadian study. Find out more
FLU SHOTS. The American Association of Pediatrics has issued a statement urging parents to vaccinate family members and caregivers. The AAP recommends everyone 6 months or older receive influenza vaccine. According to the AAP, the 2011-2012 flu vaccine protects against the same three influenza strains as last year’s vaccine. But because a person’s immunity drops by as much as 50 percent 6-12 months after vaccination, it’s important to receive another dose this year to maintain optimal protection. Read more at www.healthychildren.org/flu
THE DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION BOOK OF LISTS has Whitney Hoffman as co-author. Hoffman, who for awhile pubished podcasts on LDs and occasionally on twice-exceptionality, describes the book at this website.
AND FINALLY, THIS. Japanese researchers have developed a  chemical that turns biological tissue transparent, allowing "a revolution in optical imaging." The researchers are using the chemical to study non-living mouse brains but are on the track of another chemical which might allow the study of live tissue. All of this sheds new "light" on the question, "What do you have in mind?" Read more.