Friday, February 24, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

iPADS TO ENGAGE. A Las Vegas charter school provides each of its students with an iPad to help foster the school''s project-based learning approach, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Teachers seem impressed by the kids' rapid pick-up on the technology, by the engagement the technology seems to bring, and by the opportunity for students to learn at their own pace. The article says, "Students use the iPads to access educational websites and applications as well as electronic textbooks. They use the iPad to take notes and the tablet’s camera to photograph whiteboards filled with teacher’s lessons and chemistry formulas. Some even record lectures using the iPad’s digital voice recorder or video camera, referring to them when they review for tests." Find the article. Separately, a 40-year study of the use of technology in the classroom found a small to moderate positive effect on learning and attitude, according to an article about the study. Read more.
REBUTTAL. The Child Mind Institute carried a rebuttal to a New York Times article extolling the distraction of AD/HD and conflating it with creativity. The rebuttal accused the Times' article's author, who has AD/HD, of romanticizing his childhood, and linked the article to two other recent Times pieces, one on Asperger's and one on dyslexia, which you might have read about in this blog. Read more. Separately, the Child Mind Institute also carried an excerpt from a new book called Pride and Joy; the excerpt takes issue with the "dangers of praise," focusing instead on the ill effects of criticism. Read the excerpt.
THE IEP PROCESS. Need an overview of the IEP process? An attorney provides one at SpecialNeeds.com.
DIY DUE PROCESS. Attorney Dorene Philpot, who has written for 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter and who was involved in the case we described in our article "Fighting for FAPE," has written a book titled Do-It-Yourself Special Education Due Process, published this year by Learning Enabled Publications. According to the publisher, the book offers tips on representing yourself and your child at a due process hearing with a school district. Find out more.
GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. The Spring edition of this newsletter is out. In it, Maurice Fisher reviews a book by Joan Franklin Smutny and S.E. von Fremd, Teaching Advanced Learners in the General Education Classroom: Doing More with Less. Other articles in the newsletter focus on teaching the arts and humanities (to the gifted, of course). Find the newsletter.
SENG WEBINAR. Paul Beljan will present a webinar (SENG calls it a SENGinar) titled"Giftedness and  Learning Disabilities: Unearthing the Missed Diagnosis." The aim of the event is to empower parents, teachers, and counselors to spot and act on LDs in gifted children. The webinar is to be held during the evening of March 15. Find out more.
AND FINALLY, THIS. A new paper at the Dana Foundation site is called "Musical Creativity and the Brain" and examines what happens during improvisation, covering:
  • Creativity and prefrontal cortex function
  • Creative processes and underlying brain mechanisms
  • Perception and communication of improvised material
The authors also speculate on the future of the neuroscience of artistic creativity. Find the article.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ELIGIBILITY FOR SPECIAL SERVICES. In raising or teaching a twice-exceptional child, one basic consideration is whether the child is eligible for special services, for example under IDEA. The current edition of Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate provides answers to three questions regarding eligibility: who determines it; what the law says; and what the school must do before determining a child is not eligible. Read the newsletter
AUTISM SPEAKS now has over a million fans for its Facebook page; check it out
SPOTTING AUTISM DEVELOPMENT. Researchers have found significant differences in brain development in infants as young as six months old who later develop autism, compared with babies who don’t develop the disorder. The imaging study, by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the University of North Carolina, and other centers suggests autism doesn’t appear abruptly, but instead develops over time during infancy. Read more. (From materials provided by Washington University.) 
GAME ADDICTION can be real, according to a researcher who studied more than 1,000 8- to 18-year-olds and compared their behaviors to those common to any addiction. The behaviors are: "excessive use that impedes other aspects of life, increasing tolerance in order to obtain the 'high,' withdrawal symptoms, and a willingness to sustain negative consequences in order to maintain the habit." Got a bright gamer kid? Read more
TEXTING AND LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT. Text more, lose some linguistic ability. That's the conclusion of a study comparing university students who text more or less frequently. The study author suggests that "reading traditional print media exposes people to variety and creativity in language that is not found in the colloquial peer-to-peer text messaging used among youth or 'generation text.' She says reading encourages flexibility in language use and tolerance of different words. It helps readers to develop skills that allow them to generate interpretable readings of new or unusual words." Find out more.  
MORE TO WORRY ABOUT. Mice genetically engineered to be susceptible to autism-like behaviors that were exposed to a common flame retardant were less fertile and their offspring were smaller, less sociable and demonstrated marked deficits in learning and long-term memory when compared with the offspring of normal unexposed mice, a study by researchers at UC Davis has found. The researchers said the study is the first to link genetics and epigenetics with exposure to a flame retardant chemical. Read more at the UC Davis press release, from which this item was taken.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

TO MEDICATE OR NOT -- that's often an issue in a family with 2e children, and an Indiana news outlet takes a look, citing scary stories as well as successes. One success was a young man with behavior issues, who, with the right meds, went from getting Ds and Fs to As and Bs. The report also notes a shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists. Find the report
BROCK EIDE ON NPR. The co-author of The Dyslexic Advantage was a guest on NPR's Diane Rehm Show on February 15 for a discussion of "The Dyslexic Brain." Also on the show, Jeffrey Gilger, whose work has been featured in 2e Newsletter. Find the show.
"YES I CAN" AWARD. A young man in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, has won a self-advocacy award in CEC's "Yes I Can" recognition. Eleven-year-old Cade Gardner has LDs and was born with a cleft palate, but speaks to groups about overcoming obstacles, according to news reports. Find out more.
CEC, THE PREZ, AND EDUCATION. The Council for Exceptional Children has released a statement in response to President Obama's education budget request for fiscal year 2013. The president gets praise for a couple things and disappointment for a couple. CEC charts out the request for FY 2012 compared to 2012; in the chart, we see that funding for the category "Gifted and Talented" is... still... zero. Find the statement.
A.T. BOOK ON SALE. In the January/February issue of 2e Newsletter we profiled Joan Green, author of the Prufrock book The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology in Special Education. Prufrock has put the book on sale for 40 percent off for the remainder of this month. Find out more.
DSM DISCUSSION. Following the discussion over the upcoming DSM-5? A University of Michigan psychiatrist has weighed in with his opinions, prefaced by the statement "Almost no one likes the DSM, but no one knows what to do about it." Read more.
DC-AREA EVENT. Don't forget the third annual "Diamonds in the Rough" event in Shady Grove, Maryland, on Sunday, March 16. Early-bird registration -- $25 -- ends February 29. Find out more.
HORMEL G-T ED SYMPOSIUM. Registration is now open fo the 4th Annual Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Education Symposium, scheduled for June 11-14, 2012, in Austin, Minnesota. Readers of 2e Newsletter will be familiar with some of the presenters. (Austin is also home to the SPAM Museum, a tour of which is one of the optional events at the symposium.) Find out more.
SENG. The SENG Vine Newsletter for February is out, including news that registration is now open for the summer SENG conference in Milwaukee. Find the newsletter.
ANTI-BULLYING. The entertainer known as Lady Gaga is establishing a foundation focusing on anti-bullying and self-esteem for youth. The organization, Born This Way Foundation, is to be officially launched with an event at Harvard University on February 29th. Guests at the launch will include Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, US Secretary of Heath and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Professor Charles Ogletree. Find the pre-launch website for the foundation at http://www.bornthiswayfoundation.org/.
AND FINALLY, THIS. The US Census Bureau reminds us that February is the anniversary of America's first public school. The Boston Latin School opened in 1635, presumably in Boston, Massachusetts.

Monday, February 13, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

SPECTRUM U. A blog devoted to college choices for those on the spectrum offers information on what's offered at over 200 schools, plus tips on choosing a school, connecting with others, and how to thrive at college. It looks as if information is updated frequently. Find the blog. (Thanks, Liz!)
REACTION to the article "The Upside of Dyslexia" has been posted at the New York Times site; we blogged about the article last week. Two readers who respond remind us of "the down side" of dyslexia. Another says, "It is imperative that we keep these learning advantages in mind, and provide students with a flexible and multisensory education that highlights both their strengths and weaknesses." And a fourth respondent suggests "It is time for the federal Department of Education to recognize dyslexia as a specific diagnosis instead of using the broad and misleading diagnosis of learning disabled." Find the reactions.  
TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION. Our January/February issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter focused on A.T. for 2e kids. An article in the news today about a school in North Carolina that issues Apple laptops to all students in grades 4-12 portrays the school as a leader in increasing test scores, boosting attendance, and lowering the drop-out rate. Read the article
SUMMER PROGRAMS. NAGC offers resources for those looking for a summer program for their gifted children. One resource is the NAGC Resource Directory. Another is an upcoming Internet "radio" program. Here's NAGC's blurb on the event: "Tune in live to Education Talk Radio on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 11:30 a.m. (Eastern) for 'A Kick Start to Summer Camps.' The segment features NAGC member Bob Schultz, from the University of Toledo, discussing summer enrichment options for high-ability learners. The segment shares the same title of the article Schultz is writing for the spring 2012 edition of Teaching for High Potential. If you can't make it next Thursday, you can listen to an archive on the Education Talk site here." 
SCHOOL FINDER. A web-based service called FindTheBest offers, among other things, a tool for finding a public or private school based on factors such as location, school type, size, and student-to-teacher ratio. We haven't tried it, but it looks as if it could be useful. If you try it, let us know what you think. Find the site.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

LD SCIENTIST. A young woman in Chicago was featured in the Chicago Tribune for overcoming LDs and difficulties in her family life to achieve success in the field of science. She is now applying to PhD programs to study microbiology, having established her talents and determination doing research at a lab at the University of Chicago. Read the article
AD/HD MEDS. This week the Child Mind Institute published an article on the side effects of AD/HD stimulant medication, including sleep problems, eating problems, the rebound effect, and cardiac risks. Find the article.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT TEACHER? Diane Rehm and four guests discussed that question in an NPR show on February 9th. Find the show.
THE GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER has released its February newsletter. In it, GDC announces that it has been asked to validate extended norms on the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence IV. GDC is looking for children 2.6 to 7.6 to test for this validation in a number of cities across the U.S. Find out  more in the newsletter.
THE LD ONLINE NEWSLETTER for February is out, featuring the topic of improving comprehension for kids with LDs. Find it.
ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. David Rabiner has posted this most recent issue of his newsletter. In it, Rabiner discusses a review of neurofeedback treatment for AD/HD. While Rabiner suggests that the review indicates that there may be beneficial effects to neurofeedback for AD/HD, apparently limitations on the studies reviewed allow the effects of neurofeedback to be classified as only "probably efficacious" rather than "efficacious" or "efficacious and specific." Read Attention Research Update.
AND FINALLY, THIS. Carla Crutsinger, founder of Brainworks, an organization in Texas that provides services to twice-exceptional children and families, recently lost her husband to cancer. In a personal edition of the Brainworks newsletter, she describes the family's travails over the past several years. Find the newsletter and then maybe send your best wishes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ASPIE DIAGNOSIS AT 30. According to NPR, husband and father David Finch discovered that he was "on the spectrum" when his wife asked him a series of questions that were, in actuality, a quiz for discovering Asperger's symptoms. David started writing down "best practices" for being a good husband and father, and those eventually became a book, The Journal of Best Practices. He talked to an NPR interviewer about the book and his life. Find out more.
THE UPSIDE OF DYSLEXIA is the title of a New York Times article that appeared over the weekend, and it documents differences in the ways people with dyslexia may experience the world -- for example, being able to take in a whole visual scene rapidly and being able to interpret visual images in ways that typical respondents cannot. The article concludes, "Glib talk about appreciating dyslexia as a 'gift' is unhelpful at best and patronizing at worst. But identifying the distinctive aptitudes of those with dyslexia will permit us to understand this condition more completely, and perhaps orient their education in a direction that not only remediates weaknesses, but builds on strengths." Read the article, and keep in mind the book The Dyslexic Advantage (and the website of the same name) by the Drs. Eide, occasional contributors to 2e Newsletter,  
IN NEW YORK CITY? Tomorrow, February 7, the Child Mind Institute holds an evening seminar titled "Is Medication Part of the Answer: Medication Approaches to OCD. Find out more. Separately, The Quad Manhattan is sponsoring a workshop titled "Ask the Expert: Educational Law. Find out more.
SERVICE ANIMALS. The New York Times chronicled the story of a young adoptee from Russia, probably afflicted with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, who was brought to the US and who proved to be prone to tantrums and rages. As the boy grew older, a service dog has helped him. Find the article.
2e NEWSLETTER. The January/February issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter went to paid subscribers today. It features assistive technology that can help 2e learners. Also in the issue: the third in a series of articles on helping 2e kids write, by faculty and staff at Bridges Academy; and the usual columns and features. Subscribers, please give us a few days to post content to the subscriber-only section of the website. Non-subscribers: a one-year subscription to the newsletter is still just $30.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

RITALIN NAY-SAYER REBUTTED. The New York Times opinion piece "Ritalin Gone Wrong" has drawn firm responses from a variety of people and organizations. The Child Mind Institute posted a point-by-point commentary on its website. Letters to the editor of The New York Times on the topic are here. And Dr. Edward Hallowell (author of books on AD/HD) has written a response to the opinion piece that  you may find here
AD/HD AND THE DSM-5. One observer contends that the next edition of the DSM might have the effect of increasing the chances that a child may be diagnosed with AD/HD, the opposite of what observers fear will happen with ASD. Will "lowering the bar" for an AD/HD diagnosis lead to more diagnoses, more help -- and more meds? Read more.
SPEAKING OF ASPERGER'S, we found three pieces over the past few days dealing with the diagnosis of that condition in the past and in the future. In one article, the writer recounts how "For a brief period... I had Asperger syndrome" -- diagnosed by his mother, a psychology professor and Asperger's specialist, of all things. Read how the writer says after college his symptoms vanished. In another article the author claims that the Asperger's label is perhaps overused, calling it a tide of pathologizing; find the article. And finally, Atlantic ran an article called "Can My Kid Still Get Treatment? Why Autism's Definition Matters," explaining the positive impact of a diagnosis on the author's own child; read it.
AD/HD DRUG WARNING. Reuters reports that advisers to the U.S. FDA have asked that Focalin carry a warning about the risk of suicidal thoughts in those who take the medicine. The number of instances involving those thoughts appears to be small compared to the number of children taking the drug, four linked to the drug and four others where the link was not clear. Read more.
MORE ON SPECIAL SERVICES. We recently posted that the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has changed the definition of who should get special services under 504 plans. Read more about it, including pointers to the guidance issued by OCR and a list of questions an answers on the topic.
SSRI's FOR ANXIETY. A psychiatrist recommends that clinicians should be "pushing the doses of these [SSRI] medicines so that you can give kids a chance to respond the best they can," contending that the usual "start low, go slow" advice might not lead to anxiety being controlled adequately. Got a bright but anxious kid? Read more.
SMARTKIDS YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. The organization Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities has opened nominations for its annual Youth Achievement Award, $1000, which "recognizes the strengths and accomplishments of young people with learning disabilities and ADHD." The deadline for nomination is February 28. Find out more.
AD/HD SCHOLARSHIPS. About.com has news of the Shire AD/HD Scholarship for those with AD/HD pursuing higher education. Fifty scholarships are awarded, each including $2000 plus a year of AD/HD coaching. Find out more.
NEAR DURANGO? Colorado, that is. Liberty School in that area is holding a dyslexia conference on March 16-17. Find out more.
GEORGIA SCHOOL FOR DYSLEXICS. A private school for elementary and middle schoolers with dyslexia is in the works in Marietta, Georgia,and scheduled to open in the fall. Read more about it.
EDUCATION WEEK OPEN HOUSE. Until February 5, Education Week is hosting an "open house" on their website. One feature there is titled "The Virtual World of Learning," and visitors may also download a white paper on online education. Go there
RTI WEBINAR. RTI (response to intervention) can help all kids, including those who are gifted or twice-exceptional. One of NAGC's Webinars on Wednesdays (WOW) will address the topic on March 28 at 7:00 pm. Titled "What Parents and Educators Should Know about RtI," presenters include Mike Postma, Minnetonka Public Schools, Minnetonka, Minnesota; Bobbie Gilman, Gifted Development Center, Denver, Colorado; Dan Peters, Walnut Creek, California; and Kathi Kearney, Project Excel, Berwick, Maine. Find more information.