Monday, April 30, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ACCOMMODATIONS FOR THE ACT. A Chicago Tribune article didn't do any favors for those in the 2e community trying to get accommodations for their gifted children on tests such as the ACT or SAT. The article implied that parents in high-income communities "game" the system by getting a disproportionate percentage of the accommodations granted for the ACT. The author of the article also seemed to have a problem that some kids who got accommodations scored in the 30s (out of 36) -- implying to us that maybe kids with disabilities shouldn't able to score well even with accommodations, or maybe that gifted kids don't need accommodations at all. We don't agree. We support accommodations for any child who needs them in order to have a test reflect their true abilities. Find the article.
BIPOLAR DISORDER IN COLLEGE.  The Boston Globe ran an article about college students with bipolar disorder, noting that 50 percent of first episodes come between ages 15 and 25. The article profiled several college students and their (scary) experiences during manic episodes. Read more.
IMPULSIVITY AND THE BRAIN. Brain imaging researchers have identified 13 brain networks involved when impulse inhibition succeeds or fails. Activity (or lack of it) in the networks was linked to alcohol and drug use and to symptoms of AD/HD. Read more.
FREE WRIGHTSLAW CONFERENCE. On May 12, Wrightslaw has scheduled a free, sponsored advocacy conference in Sarasota, Florida. In the area? Find out more.
DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. The April Educator's Guild Newsletter is out, featuring "the myths of giftedness" in a variety of articles. Also in the newsletter: updates concerning the Educators Guild. Find the newsletter.
AD/HD MEDS. The Child Mind Institute has posted an article on its site titled "The Facts on AD/HD Medications." The article addresses these questions:
  • Do meds work?
  • Do kids develop tolerance to meds over time?

Friday, April 27, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION FOR LEARNING CHALLENGES. A teacher with 30 years of experience shares her strategies for teaching students who have LDs, ASD, AD/HD, and the other learning challenges we write about at 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter. Among those strategies:
  • Develop a student-centered mindset.
  • Set aside time to focus on study skills and extra support.
  • Use multiple forms of assessment.
Read more at edweek.org.
TOXIC CHEMICALS, LDs, ASD. Science Daily notes a call for research on how certain chemicals may contribute to autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders in children. "The National Academy of Sciences reports that 3 percent of all neurobehavioral disorders in children, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), are caused by toxic exposures in the environment and that another 25 percent are caused by interactions between environmental factors and genetics," reports Science Daily. Ten toxic chemicals are especially targeted; lead, methylmercury, and PCBs head the list. Find out more.
TREATMENT FOR AUTISM SYMPTOMS? National Institutes of Health researchers have reversed behaviors in mice resembling two of the three core symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). An experimental compound,called GRN-529 increased social interactions and lessened repetitive self-grooming behavior in a strain of mice that normally display such autism-like behaviors, the researchers say. Find out more at the NIH site.
SOCIAL MEDIA. Is that gifted or twice-exceptional kid way ahead of you when it comes to social media? Are you concerned about your child's use of social media? Edutopia has provided parents and educators with guidelines on social media -- find them.
SENG has announced an upcoming SENGinar titled "Mother-Daugher Relationships of Profoundly Gifted Young Girls," to be presented by Joh Navan, PhD. If you're such a mom, find more information.
CANADIAN MATH CAMP. Bright Math Camp, now in its 21st year, offers summer programs in the Ottawa area for children "with a drive to explore, question, reason, and discuss a range of sound mathematical topics," according to the organization. Two separate events cater to students entering grades 4-5-6 or 7-8-9. Find out more
AD/HD BOOK DEAL. For the next few days Prufrock Presss is offering 30 percent off its book Raising Boys with AD/HD. Find out more
NCLD. Currently on the site of the National Center for Learning Disabilities are two articles on working memory plus announcements of the winners of this year's Anne Ford Scholarship and Allegra Ford Scholarship. Go to the site
MENTAL HEALTH STATISTICS. If you're a numbers maven when it comes to the topic of mental health, you might be interested in a new government report that includes mental health statistics at the national and state levels from 35 different data sources.The catchy title: Mental Health, United States, 2010. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

GEEKINESS AND AUTISM, the connection, is the topic of a thoughtful article at CNN. Written by an Aspie, the article covers the stereotypes of both, speculates on possible genetic connections between the two, and contains a great quote from Temple Grandin. Find the article
BULLYING AND AUTISM.  NPR's Health Blog on April 23rd was titled, "Children with Autism Are Often Targeted by Bullies," and goes on to say exactly how often -- three times as often as typical children. The show profiles one Abby Mahoney, a 13yo Aspie girl who was a target because of her fascination with Star Wars. Find the program.
MENTORING RESOURCE. About.com profiles Project Eye-to-Eye, an organization that matches young students with  with AD/HD or LDs  to high school and college students with matching conditions. The older students are able to act as tutors and role models. According to the profile, "Mentors also aim to provide younger students with skills that facilitate academic empowerment such as positive self-advocacy and understanding one’s own learning style and strengths." Find the profile.
HOLD THE SSRI? A study at McMaster University raises questions about the downside of anti-depressants that work by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. SSRIs may evidently affect infant development, adult sexual function, and digestion. Got a twice-exceptional kid on anti-depressants? Check out the article.
DIET AND AH/HD. A new "meta-study" indicates potential benefits to diet changes in kids with AD/HD, but also says that more research is necessary. From a write-up of the study: ""There are different types of AD/HD, and the disturbance is probably due to both genetic and environmental factors. We know that children with AD/HD react very differently to both medication and dietary changes. We therefore need to study which children benefit from dietary changes, and whether we can identify genetic or environmental factors that can predict this." Find the write-up.
MINDFULNESS IN THE CLASSROOM is the focus of an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. According to the article, being trained in mindfulness can help kids increase self-awareness and self-regulation. Students with AD/HD trauma, anxiety, or autism may benefit. Read more.
AND FINALLY, THIS -- not about giftedness or LDs directly, but maybe of interest: an article at the Dana Foundation site on the effect of stress during gestation on the development of the fetal brain. Find it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

iPADS AND LDs was the subject of an article in the Washington Post recently. The article explained some of the ways the iPad and its apps can help students with LDs or autism. Among the advantages, according to the article: "With touch screens instead of pen and paper or a point-and-click mouse, tablets can be much easier to use by students with fine motor difficulties. They also help disorganized students by consolidating calendars, memos and notes all in one device." Find the article.

DEPRESSION. If this affliction is on the list of things you  worry about for your twice-exceptional child, you might want to check out an article in The New York Times Magazine for Sunday April 22. The title of the article is "Post-Prozac Nation: The Science and History of Treating Depression." Find the article.

ROEPER REVIEW. We received a hot tip via listserv that several articles from this esteemed journal are available free of charge at the Taylor & Francis Online website. The articles include on on the neurobiological foundations of giftedness; personal goal setting for gifted underachievers; gender bias in gifted referrals; and others. Find the articles on the right side of this page.

THE CENTER FOR TALENT DEVELOPMENT at Northwestern University holds an annual summer conference for gifted students and their families. This year the conference is on June 23 at the university's Evanston campus. One of the sessions is "Twice Exceptional: Understanding the Paradox of High Ability and Learning Challenges," presented by Steve Zecker of Northwestern. From  past experience we can attest to the fact that Zecker "gets" 2e. Find out more about the conference. 

LIVEBINDERS is a website that we found out about through one of Tamara Fisher's blogs. At livebinder.com, users create "binders" of resources, mostly for education, it looks like. One binder has to do with gifted resources; included in the binder is also a tab for "Multi Exceptional" (and you know what that means) resources. Find the gifted resources binder.

MORE POSTINGS during the coming week...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

AT ADDITUDE, comedian and performer Howie Mandel talks about living with AD/HD and OCD, along with what his family puts up with. He describes how his exceptionalities suit certain types of work (but not others). From the article: "I’d never say that ADD/ADHD is a gift or a blessing. And if someone says it is a gift, I’d love to return it." Read more. (According to Wikipedia, in high school Mandel impersonated a member of the school board and signed a construction contract for an addition to the school; he was expelled.) Separately at ADDitudeMag.com, the organization is running an essay contest called "AD/HD & Me." It's for parents or kids and asks for 300-500 words. Find out more.
BULLYING can be an issue for kids who are "different" -- like twice-exceptional children. Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities notes the release of the film "Bully," a documentary following five bullied children and their families. And NCLD is also doing what it can to raise awareness (and money) to confront the issue of bullying when it comes to kids with special needs; find out more.
AD/HD AND GOLF. Bubba Watson is a very talented golfer who has never won a major tournament. In an article in Golf Digest, Watson says this about the slow pace of golf: "Five hours of PGA Tour golf -- I mean, it's no fun. My mind just wanders. I'm thinking about what shoes I'm going to buy ... man, I need to wash my car. I'm thinking about stuff that doesn't matter, because we're out there for so long." A fellow golfer who also has AD/HD says that, as far as golf goes, AD/HD can be great when you're "in a zone" but bad when you're not, that it makes it hard to refocus after being distracted. Read the article to find out some of the specific (and not entirely polite) ways Watson can respond after being distracted.
GETTING TO THERAPY. What happens when your teen-aged son won't go to therapy or counseling even though you feel he would benefit? Dr. Alan Ravitz addresses this problem at the site of the Child Mind Institute. Find out what he says.
SCAFFOLDING. An insightful article at LD Online reinforces what many of us believe about helping twice-exceptional kids succeed -- that providing the appropriate academic and social-emotional scaffolding is a prerequisite. The article lists characteristics of an "empowering" academic environment, and concludes with an application of Jewish law to kids with special needs. Find the article
BLOOD TEST FOR DEPRESSION. Researchers from Northwestern University have developed a blood test to diagnose depression in teenagers by measuring genetic markers. It also diagnoses subtypes of depression, according to a university press release. Find out more.
SENG. The SENGVine newsletter for April is out, featuring articles such as "Writing Tips for the Gifted Students," "Keeping a Healthy Perspective on Stress and Test Anxiety," and -- reprinted from 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter -- "SMPGs: The Heart of SENG." Find the newsletter.
2e BLOG. A mom writes at brainhugger.com about life with her twice-exceptional children. A recent post embeds the following analogy, which we're sure other parents in the 2e community will appreciate: "But at this pool, the use of life jackets or any other flotation device is discouraged. In fact, this pool would prefer that only children who can swim well jump into the water. They hope that the kids who need help swimming find a different pool somewhere else." Find the blog.

Monday, April 16, 2012

EMOTIONAL EDUCATION is stressed at the Blue School, a private school in Manhattan founded by members of the Blue Man Group in 2006. Now with 200 students in preschool through third grade, according to The New York Times, "the school has become a kind of national laboratory for integrating cognitive neuroscience and cutting-edge educational theory into curriculum, professional development and school design." Making kids aware of emotions supposedly helps the academic education process in the school, which is largely child-centered.  Read the article.
AUTISM AND THE BRAIN. NPR's show "To the Best of Our Knowledge" on Sunday, April 15, focused on autism and the brain, including interviews with a variety of experts. From the program blurb: "We explore the frontiers of brain science, from the neurobiology of emotions to recent discoveries about autism.  Renowned neuroscientists Richard Davidson and V.S. Ramachandran reveal new insights into the brain, and we'll hear the story of one marriage saved by a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome." Find the program. (The first segment on autism diagnosis is, in the opinion of 2e Newsletter editor L.C. Neumann, perhaps the most relevant to the 2e community. Decide for yourself.)
PREDICTING PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT. A Finnish longitudinal study has established that that the use of psychiatric treatment or meds as young adults may be predicted by signs and symptoms at age 8. According to Science Daily, "The parents and the teacher completed questionnaires with items concerning family structure, parental education level, conduct problems, hyperactive problems, emotional symptoms, bullying, and victimisation of bullying behaviour. The children themselves completed questions regarding depressive symptoms, bullying, and victimization of bullying behaviour." Find out more
HOAGIES' PAGE. Don't forget that webmistress Carolyn K is always updating her ginormous website on all things gifted -- including 2e. What we see on the "What's New" page at the moment is a video of top 10 myths in gifted education; and a list of recently added pages and pointers. Find "what's new."
MIGHT HAVE MISSED THIS. The Dana print newsletter Brain in the News pointed us to an article called "How the Brain Learns," about timing, sensory systems, and neural interconnectivity. Find out about the research -- and about some of the ways the research can apply in the classroom -- at the US News site
NAGC ANNUAL AWARDS. Each year at its annual conference NAGC presents a variety of awards. The nomination process for the 2012 awards closes on May 1. Award categories include those for educators, researchers, scholars, advocates, and those who otherwise serve the gifted community. Find out more.
NEW SURVEY. A PhD student at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, is conducting research to find out about the abilities and achievements of twice-exceptional individuals on the autism spectrum and to find ways that strengths and abilities of people on the autism spectrum can be developed. Participants are sought from the following five groups:
  • Adults with an ASD
  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Psychologists
  • Mentors and coaches
According to the researcher, the study involves an online questionnaire (approximately 15 minutes) and an option to take part in interviews conducted by e-mail. Full details of the study can be found in the explanatory statement by following the link to the online questionnaire http://tinyurl.com/monasheducation.

Friday, April 13, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ANXIETY is one of the conditions our subscribers are most concerned with when it comes to raising or educating twice-exceptional children. An article in the Vancouver Sun describes a researcher's efforts to develop a "screen" for anxiety in kindergarten, when kids are screened for vision and hearing. According to the article, about ten percent of kindergartners have anxiety at a level sufficient to interfere with school work or friendships. Read more. Separately, other researchers speculate that intelligence may have "co-evolved" with worry, noting that the two traits both correlate with certain brain activity. In subjects with generalized anxiety disorder, the researchers found a positive correlation between intelligence and worry; in "normal" subjects, high IQ had a negative correlation with worry. Find out more.
LD IN COLLEGE. A Chicago Tribune article explores why some college students eligible for special services in college may forgo those, and also looks at the kinds of services available to college students with LDs. Find the article.
AUTISM. Those with a stake in how the DSM-5 handles the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders might be interested in an article by a psychiatrist involved in the revision process. He explains the process and explains why the DSM's standards are so important. Find the article. Separately, NPR's Diane Rehm Show on April 11th considered the implications of recent research on our understanding of autism. Find the show. Finally, Harvard University researchers are developing a quick, simple, and supposedly accurate tool for detecting autism in young children. The tool involves a small set of questions and a short home video, and, according to a write-up of the research, "could reduce the time for autism diagnosis by nearly 95 percent, from hours to minutes, and could be easily integrated into routine child screening practices to enable a dramatic increase in reach to the population at risk." Find out more.
INTELLIGENCE MAPPED. A research team based at the University of Illinois has reported mapping the physical architecture of intelligence in the brain. The researchers used patients with brain injuries to infer how specific brain structures are associated with various cognitive tasks. Included in the map are areas associated with general intelligence and executive function; included with the study write-up is a graphic showing where those areas are supposedly located. Read more

APRIL 20th EVENT IN NEW YORK. An all-day event on April 20th at Nassau Community College in New York will focus on how educators can help twice-exceptional students succeed. The event is titled "Unlocking Potential": Cost-free Strategies to Improve Underachieving Students' Performance. Find out more
THE GIFTED HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM is now providing online courses for gifted and twice-exceptional students, according to the organization. The first two courses are scheduled to begin in September. Find out more
AND FINALLY, THIS. The company Zaner-Bloser, "one of the premier publishers of research-based reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, and handwriting programs," has held and announced the winners of the 21st Annual National Handwriting Contest, in which over 325,000 students participated. Entries were judged on size, shape, spacing, and slant. This contest is of interest to us because of the sheer number of entrants, because based on our own sons' education experiences we weren't sure that handwriting was actually taught anymore, and also because we thought everyone now keyboarded instead of writing. Find out more about the contest.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

GAME INTELLIGENCE. Howard Gardner posits a bodily-kinesthetic form of intelligence, but a new study from Sweden indicates that at least some successful athletes also have strong executive function skills that allow them to work with information quickly and make decisions. In the study, elite soccer players in Sweden scored in the top two percent on an executive function test, D-KEFS. Furthermore, higher test scores were linked to higher rates of goals and assists among the players. Read more.
AUTISM WARS is the title of an article in The New York Times in reaction to the recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimating that one in 88 American kids have an ASD. On the one side, those skeptical that the figures really represent a change in ASD incidence. On the other side, those who take placement on the spectrum seriously. From the article: “I don’t care if you have a 150 I.Q., if you have a social problem, that’s a real problem. You’re going to have problems getting along with your boss, with your spouse, with friends." Find the article.
ORAL/WRITTEN EXPRESSION DISCREPANCY: A sign of dyslexia? That's the question asked by a teacher/mom whose own daughter's oral expression strengths weren't rewarded by her teacher. The teacher/mom then reflected on her own practice, and that of her peers, deciding that oral expression in the classroom is definitely undervalued. Read more.
ASD IN COLLEGE. As autism and Asperger's diagnoses become more common, more and more students will enter college with the diagnosis -- and they'll need help in overcoming issues brought about by poor social skills and other characteristics of the disorder. An article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune highlights some of those problems and tells what schools and students are doing to overcome those problems. Read it.
NEUROEDUCATION IN SANTA BARBARA. We love neuroscience, especially as it applies to education, because much of it is or will be beneficial to twice-exceptional students. And we love Santa Barbara, California. This summer, educators with healthy budgets can attend a four-day, $1975 session on neuroeducation in Santa Barbara presented by Dr. Judy Willis. Titled "Neuroscience and the Classroom: Strategies for Maximizing Students' Engagement, Memory, and Potential," the event is under the auspices of the Learning and the Brain Summer Institute. Find out more, and if you go let us know how it was.
WRIGHTSLAW. The current edition of Special Ed Advocate points out that IDEA requires transition services from school to employment or to post-secondary education, and provides resources to help parents plan for their learning-disabled child's future. Read more.

Friday, April 6, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

GROWING RECOGNITION OF SPD. An article in the Chicago Tribune noted how more and  more parents and therapists are aware of sensory processing disorder. The article profiles several families who have SPD kids and describes approaches to treating the condition. Read the article.
AD/HD. Readers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter know that experts recognize at least three subtypes of AD/HD. Recent research indicates that AD/HD is an entire family of disorders. Further research is needed to better understand the subcategories in terms of both diagnosis and treatment. Read more. Separately, the title of an opinion piece in the Washington Post by Katherine Ellison is "We're not paying enough attention to AD/HD." She notes, "A conservative study in 2007 estimated the annual U.S. costs of AD/HD treatment and other related expenses, including parental work loss and juvenile justice, to be as high as $52.4 billion." And she urges parents, doctors, and schools to all pay more attention to ways to reduce that financial and emotional burden on all involved. Read the article.
DYSLEXIA. Other recent research indicates that visual attention deficits may be predictive of dyslexia even before children learn to read. The researchers tested children's ability to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant visual cues. Read more.
GENDER IN AUTISM. More boys than girls are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, and a psychiatrist explores that issue at CNN.com, including differences in expression and possible explanations for a lower rate of diagnosis among girls. Read the article.
ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. The March edition of David Rabiner's newsletter has been posted, and in it he examines a study of the over- and mis-diagnosis of AD/HD by clinicians. Find the newsletter.
GREAT POTENTIAL PRESS, publisher of books on gifted topics, is on Facebook. Drop in and "like" them. http://www.facebook.com/GreatPotentialPress,
SENG. On April 19, Terry Friedrichs will present a SENGinar titled "Teaching Academics to Gifted Youth with Asperger's." SENG says that the event is intended to allow attendees to discover "how to improve on the youths' skills in communicating, understanding directions, and predicting consequences in basic academic subjects at the elementary, middle and secondary levels." Find out more

PRUFROCK PRESS is offering another free partial download from one of their books, this one School Success for Kids with Autism. Go there.  


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH is this month, as you're aware if you've been reading any online materials on learning challenges or even the general press. The month-long observation, along with the April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day, was sparked by the efforts of a  variety of organizations but especially Autism Speaks. One article that appeared on April 2 on CNN profiled a highly intelligent man, now 42, whose diagnosis of Asperger's six years ago led him to "reinvent himself as an autism advocate" -- besides explaining a lot of things. From the  article: "I was invisible until I found my inner splendor... My ability to interpret and alter my throughput of judgments, feelings, memories, plans, facts, perceptions, etc., and imprint them all with what I chose to be and chose to do. What I choose to do is change the course of the future for persons with autism..." Find the article
2e WEBINARS. NACG has two 2e-focused webinars coming up in April:
  • An overview of 2e learners by Lois Baldwin on April 11. From the blurb: "This session will explore some of the characteristics and learning differences of the twice-exceptional learner, and also provide a fresh perspective and insights into how best to support the individual child at home and at school."
  • Strategies for educators and parents of 2e children, by Beverly Trail and Claire Hughes. From the blurb: "This presentation provides an expert perspective on how children, parents, and educators can develop a comprehensive plan integrating strategies from both gifted and special education to meet diverse cognitive, academic, social, and emotional needs of twice-exceptional children." 

GIFTED RESOURCE NEWSLETTER. Don't forget Jo Freitag's monthly source of information for:
  • Gifted- and 2e-related happenings in Australia
  • Pointers to gifted-related events and conferences all over the world
  • A multi-page listing of articles and resources under the unassuming title of "Some Interesting Websites."
Jo Freitag's postal address has changed recently; if you correspond the old-fashioned way, check her home page for the new address. Email and website are the same. 
WRIGHTSLAW, in its current edition of Special Ed Advocate, addresses U.S. issues of privacy in education, confidentiality, and FERPA -- the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Sample questions addressed: Can you see your children's test results? Can you observe in the classroom? What privacy rights do parents and children have? Find the newsletter.
AND FINALLY, THIS. Fast food leads to depression. That according to a new study published in the Public Health Nutrition Journal. The net-out: fast-food consumers are 51 percent more likely to develop depression than those who eat little or no fast food. Plus -- the more fast food  you eat, the higher the risk of depression. While the study write-up used the words "linked to" rather than "caused by," draw your own conclusions. Not only should you "Hold the pickle,  hold the lettuce," as the jingle used to go, but also hold the meat and the bun and the condiments and the fries... 
MORE ITEMS COMING SOON. Stop back often.