Wednesday, December 28, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

TWO ASPIES IN LOVE were featured in a lengthy article in The New York Times this week that examined the complexities -- and advantages -- of such a relationship. The writer obviously spent a lot of time with the young people, one of whom is the son of John Elder Robison, author of Look Me In the Eye: My Life with Asperger's. Read more.
ASPERGIRLS is the title of a book by woman who, in her 40s, discovered she was on the spectrum. She interviewed women formally diagnosed with Asperger's to fill "a gap in the literature on females on the spectrum." A Time "Healthland" interview reveals her findings from the interviews and gives a preview of the contents of the book. In the interview the author, Rudy Simone, addresses differences between girls with Asperger's and typical girls; challenges; advantages; possible connections to anorexia or sensory issues; socializing; and support. Find the interview
MIDDLE CHILDHOOD. Got a kid between 5 and perhaps 12? You might be interested in an article explaining the physical and mental changes that take place during those years, set in the context of other species and other cultures. An excerpt: "Middle childhood is when the parts of the brain most closely associated with being human finally come online: our ability to control our impulses, to reason, to focus, to plan for the future." Find the article
PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPS are important in shaping the relationships that kids have with their peers. According to Time "Healthland, "New research shows that adolescents who quickly backed down during an argument with their mother had a harder time resisting peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol than teens who were able to calmly, persuasively, and persistently argue their point with Mom." Evidently, the right kinds of arguments are beneficial. Read more
PREMATURE BIRTH RISKS. A study of babies born three to seven weeks early showed sleep and attention problems in such children by age four. According to a write-up of the study, "Preterm boys suffered more sleep and attention troubles than their full-term peers, but the effect in girls was more dramatic. Preterm girls were significantly more emotionally reactive, depressed and withdrawn than full-term girls, and over all they had about 20 percent more sleep problems, attention problems and aggressive behaviors." Read more
WE WISH "HAPPY NEW YEAR" to our friends and subscribers all over the world!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

GIFTED ATHLETE, AD/HD. We believe in Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, so a recent sports story was of interest to us. It's about a New York Mets baseball player who played in the minor leagues for decade before accepting a diagnosis of AD/HD and beginning to take AD/HD medications. After that, he blossomed and made it back to the majors. Read more.

PARENTING  MATTERS -- especially if the kid has a short allele of gene 5-HTTLPR,  a gene associated with a predisposition to depression. Dutch researchers have found that as far as parenting quality was concerned, “If the environment is bad, these children have worse outcomes, but if it is good, they have much better outcomes.” They called these susceptible kids "orchids" because they need a good environment to flourish, as opposed to weeds that will flourish anywhere. Read more.

PARENTING RESOURCE. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a site called HealthyChildren.org. Included on the site is a feature called "Sound Advice on Mental Health," a collection of audios by pediatricians on behavior, mental health, and emotions. Sample audio topics: adolescent mental health; how to recognize anxiety and depression; and AD/HD in children and adolescents. The site also offers transcripts of the audios for those who read faster than they listen. Find the site.

ABOUT.COM has a page called "Understanding Learning Differences" that's based on a presentation by Jonathan Mooney. Find out what he said.

AUTISM SPEAKS has issued its "Top 10 Science Autism Research Achievements of 2011." Find them.

SAYING THANK YOU is the topics of WrightsLaw's Special Ed Advocate this month. The organization offers to "learn how and why to say thank you to those who have helped your child succeed." Read more.

AT SENG. The organization Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted has posted an article by Melissa Sornik, a contributor to 2e Newsletter. The article is a primer on twice-exceptionalilty and is titled "Gifted and Underachieving: The Twice-Exceptional Learner." Find this and other SENG resources.

WE WISH YOU the best of the holiday season as you raise, educate, or counsel the twice-exceptional children in your life.

Friday, December 16, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION in their children are very common concerns among parents in the 2e community. The Wall Street Journal ran an article about mental health issues in college students and how educators should accommodate them. According to the article, a rising number of students are registering psychological problems with college disability offices. Read the article.
LDs, THE ADA, AND COLLEGE. A woman student was dismissed in 2003 from George Washington University Medical School after repeated warnings that she was not meeting academic standards. Shortly before the dismissal, she sought to establish that her academic performance was related to learning disabilities, undergoing evaluation and receiving a diagnosis of dyslexia and a mild processing speed disorder. She contended the dismissal violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Recently, as U.S. district court ruled in the the university's favor, deciding that the student had failed to demonstrate that her difficulties were from her LD as opposed to study habits and a heavy schedule of extracurricular activities. Read the article.
DOPAMINE, AD/HD, AND MOTIVATION. Scientific American reviewed a study where researchers established a positive correlation between positive dopamine function in the brain and motivation trait scores on a personality test. They also showed a correlation between the CAARS AD/HD symptom test and the motivation score (i.e, fewer symptoms, more  motivation. The conclusion: a disrupted dopamine pathway is associated with lower motivation and with AD/HD. The review does not mention that there are several types of AD/HD, but insofar as the study applies to at least one type it might be of interest to parents, educators, and clinicians who deal with AD/HD children. Find the article.
AN ASPIE'S MEMORY helps him connect with other people now that he's in his teens, according to an essay in the Washington Post. At first it was remembering birthdays... then addresses... then movie release dates... and then being able to connect names, birthdates, and movie releases to amaze family and friends.  Read more
THAT'S IT! More next week...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A HARVARD STUDENT diagnosed as a child with dyslexia, AD/HD, and an expressive language disorder has written a wry and insightful account of the challenges he faced growing up and the key (for him) to overcoming those challenges. "Unlike my classmates and teammates who may have spent much of their youth trying to stand out, I spent most of mine trying to fit in," writes the young man. Through sports he gained confidence, and he is now an aspiring Olympic diver. Find the article.
LD IN COLLEGE. Education Week published an article on the expansion of college options for those with LDs, describing a variety of students and their situations along with the programs they chose. Read more.
SAVE THE BRAIN. If you've got a gifted child who plays contact sports, or even soccer, you might be interested in an online library about sports concussions. There's an article about the site at The New York Times site, which not coincidentally just published a chilling, lengthy three-part series about the life and brain of the 28-year-old professional hockey player who recently died and was shown to have severe brain damage. Or, you may go directly to the Sports Concussion Library.
AUSTISM RESOURCE. A new webite, MyAutismTeam, according to Time Magazine, "is more than just a repository of recommendations about local therapists and accommodating Taekwondo studios and barbers; it's also a social-media destination. But unlike Facebook, it's intended as a place where parents of children whose developmental trajectory has taken a different turn from most of their peers can feel understood." Nothing more to say. Read about it in Time. Or, go to MyAutismTeam
ACCESSIBLE LEARNING MATERIALS. If the accessibility of learning materials is a concern for that twice-exceptional child  you raise or teach, you might be interested in a a report by the U.S. Department of Education on the topic. The report concerns post-secondary education. You may read about the report at  the CEC site.
LD ONLINE. The current edition of this newsletter focuses on tips for study skills: technology tips, resources for dyslexics, and more. Find the newsletter.
THE WEINFELD EDUCATION GROUP has announced the publication of its book Take Control of Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties by Prufrock Press. Find more information.
SENG has issued its December edition of the SENGVine newsletter. In it, Rosina Gallagher announces the end of her tenure on the SENG Board; Melissa Sornik offers an article on the twice-exceptional learner; and more. Find the newsletter.
THE GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER'S December newsletter is also out. It features an article on "the visual-spatial identifier"; observations about visual-spacial abilities, including that "twice-exceptional children are usually visual-spatial learners"; and observations from the TAGT conference earlier this month. Read more.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

AUSTRALIAN GIFTED CONFERENCE. The 13th National Conference on Giftedness is scheduled for July 12-15, 2012, in Adelaide, South Australia. According to conference organizers, "This conference will bring together experts in the field of giftedness and talent and combine these with the latest research from around the world." Find out more.
MEDSCAPE ON AUTISM. In a series called "Game Changers in Pediatrics 2011," Medscape pointed to key findings from research  in the area of ASDs. Some of the findings show how much more there is to learn about ASD, some point out things that don't work in treating ASD. Find the Medscape article
PANDAS. The Los Angeles Times published an article about pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcus (PANDAS), a sudden-onset mental disorder marked by OCD-type behaviors. The article also mentions the possibility that other disorders, including cases of autism, might be linked to improper immune system response. Find out more.
GIFTED AND DIFFICULT. A small school in Torrance, California, takes talented students who have difficulties in the normal classroom. For many of the 21 students at the school, The Center for Learning Unlimited, the issue is Asperger's. One "graduate" of the school is at the top of his class in middle school. Read more.
BIOCHEMICAL IMBALANCE IN AD/HD. A recent study has unveiled a new suspect in the biochemistry of AD/HD, this one the receptor protein for the transmitter acetylcholine. Children with AD/HD have about half the protein that typical subjects do. According to a study author, "This indicates that several signal substances are implicated in ADHD and that in the future this could pave the way for other drugs than those in use today." Read more.
AND FINALLY THIS. Researchers in Finland monitored subjects' brains by MRI as the subjects listened to tango music. The results indicate that music affects many areas of the brain. From a write-up of the research: "The researchers found that music listening recruits not only the auditory areas of the brain, but also employs large-scale neural networks. For instance, they discovered that the processing of musical pulse recruits motor areas in the brain, supporting the idea that music and movement are closely intertwined. Limbic areas of the brain, known to be associated with emotions, were found to be involved in rhythm and tonality processing. Processing of timbre was associated with activations in the so-called default mode network, which is assumed to be associated with mind-wandering and creativity." So much for just "listening" to music. Find the write-up.

Friday, December 2, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

GIFTED AND CHALLENGING. An article at the Washington Post website starts out, "What do Woody Allen and Steve Jobs have in common? Among other things (including brilliant, creative minds), they both hated school and were discipline problems." The article then goes on to cover a school in Colorado, Eagle Rock, that caters to "difficult" but bright students. Read the article.
ACCELERATION. Miraca Gross, director of a center for gifted education research in Australia, advocates accelerating children who would benefit from more intellectual stimulation, contending that "Kids who are intellectually in advance of their years have social and emotional abilities beyond their age and they tend to gravitate towards older kids for their friendships.'' Gross also addresses the issue of support for gifted children, saying "any child should be assisted to learn to his maximum potential." Read more.
UNWRAPPING THE GIFTED. Tamara Fisher takes note of NAGC's current "State of the Nation in Gifted Education" report, highlighting certain of the findings. See what caught her eye.
MORE ON AUTISTIC INTELLIGENCE. We posted a while ago about the use of the Raven test (rather than WISC) to evaluate intelligence in autistic people. A writer for Scientific American has done an article called "The Hidden Potential of Autistic Kids," mentioning the Raven test but going beyond that in terms of recognizing the strengths of autistics. In the process she relates her experience with her own two autistic brothers, one of whom used to correct her fifth-grade homework for her -- when he was in kindergarten. Find the article
COMPETITION. The Dana Foundation is sponsoring a contest in the design of a brain-related experiment. Entrants don't have to do the experiment, just design it. The competition is for high school science classrooms. Find out more.  
AND FINALLY, THIS. "Sustained changes in the region of the brain associated with cognitive function and emotional control were found in young adult men after one week of playing violent video games." Does that worry you? Read about the study that came to that conclusion.