Thursday, June 28, 2012

News Items from the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

DIFFERENTIATING AD/HD AND SPD. ADDitude has posted an article on the differences between sensory processing problems and AD/HD in children. The article, by the mother of a young girl who has both conditions, covers symptoms in common, gives more info on SPD, and discusses the risk of SPD. Find the article.
ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. The June issue of this newsletter has been posted. It's titled "Being Young for Grade Increases Odds of ADHD Diagnosis." In it, David Rabiner  reviews three recently published studies that, according to Rabiner,  "investigated the association between a child's age relative to his or her classmates and the likelihood of being diagnosed and treated for AD/HD." Find the newsletter.  
THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has posted an article on separation anxiety, a topic that may bring back excruciating memories to some parents. If your bright or sensitive young one is a candidate, check out the article.  Separately, the Institute has also posted an article on the topic of "summer drug holiday" for kids on AD/HD stimulant meds. Not sure how to deal with summer meds for that AD/HD kid at your house? Find the article
BEHAVIORAL FEEDBACK FOR KIDS WITH AD/HD. Two studies just out deal with feedback (of one sort or another) for kids with AD/HD. According to the University of Chicago, research done there shows that rewards can improve test performance. "The team studied the impact of incentives on students taking relatively short, standardized diagnostic tests given three times a year to determine their grasp of mathematics and English skills. Unlike other tests on incentives, the students were not told ahead of time of the rewards so they could not study but rather demonstrated the impact of the rewards themselves on performance." Read more. Another study dealt with "daily report cards" for key behaviors and goals, and  how those report cards can improve the behavior of students with AD/HD. Read more
GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER. This Denver organization has issued its June newsletter, previewing the upcoming Dabrowski Congress, providing a tribute to Annemarie Roeper, and providing a retrospective of findings from the Center's 50 years' of work. Find the newsletter.

Monday, June 25, 2012

News Items from the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

TO MEDICATE OR NOT. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a study in the July issue of Pediatrics found that, compared to non-AD/HD kids, children taking AD/HD medications had lower scores on seventh-grade standardized tests, especially in math. However, children who began taking medications soonest after an earlier, fourth-grade standardized test showed the smallest declines. The effect was greater in girls than boys and also greater for children who did poorly on their fourth grade test. Study authors conclude that later start of stimulant drug treatment of AD/HD among 9- to 12-year-old children is associated with academic decline in math. Read more.
GIGANTE. We've mentioned this film before, along with its subject, a minor-league baseball player who didn't find success in the majors until he started treatment for his AD/HD. A rough cut of the film has been screened in New York; the player, Andres Torres of the Mets, was in attendance and answered questions. If the story interests you, read more about the event. 
TIME MAGAZINE starts an article on Asperger's with a look inside a social skills clinic for young Aspies, then goes on to differentiate Asperger Syndrome from high functioning autism and to speculate on the causes of Asperger's, genetic and otherwise. Read the article.  
NEW YORK ASD STUDY. New York University is conducting a study of kids on the spectrum between five and 17. The study includes a no-cost evaluation, a written report, and compensation. Find out more
PRUFROCK PRESS FANS -- be advised that this publisher of materials on giftedness and other topics is offering free shipping on purchases through July 31. Use the discount code FREESHIPGE. Find the site
MIDWEST EVENT. The Midwest Center for the Gifted (MCG), a newly-formed organization, is sponsoring a back-to-school gifted education summit on August 15th featuring two three-hour, hands-on workshops, one by Dr. Joseph Renzulli and one by Dr. Joyce Van Tassel-Baska. Find the site of the MCG along with more information about the event, which is titled "Exceptional Curriculum in the 21st Century." 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

News Items from the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

AD/HD MEDS REDUX. The Washington Post reported on some Food and Drug Administration study on prescriptions, noting that prescriptions for AD/HD meds have increased by 45 percent between 2002 and 2010. This comes on the heels of the New York Times article about kids without AD/HD using stimulant medications to help study. Read the article.
GIFTED IN AUSTRALIA -- dumbing down. The Age reported on an inquiry in Victoria, Australia, about the status of gifted students there. Apparently some kids dumb down to fit in, and gifted students may be mis-perceived in many ways. The inquiry called for a strategy to deal  with the students, noting that ''These neglected students represent our state's future visionaries and innovators.'' Find the article.
DYSLEXIA RESOURCE. The University of Michigan website "Dyslexia Help" has been brought to our attention by a representative of the university, and we pass it on as a potential resource for those concerned with dyslexia. The site offers information for dyslexics, parents, and professionals.Also included are news about dyslexia and success stories. Find the site.
MATT COHEN'S SPECIAL ED NEWSLETTER for June includes articles about surviving an annual IEP review, advocating for kids with Tourette's, and obtaining accommodations on entrance/placements tests taken by college students. Find the newsletter.
WRIGHTSLAW.  2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter readers have read about the horrors that a due process hearing can bring. Special Ed Advocate, in its June 19 edition, explains how to "hope for the best but prepare for the worst" when it comes to due process hearings, acknowledging in boldface that "you want to avoid a due process hearing." Find the newsletter.
CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. This week on the site of the Child Mind Institute is an article addressing medications for children on the autism spectrum. The article notes how clinicians may prescribe drugs to control ASD-related behaviors, including anxiety, hyperactivity, and violent behavior -- but that many in the community have concerns about over-medication. Find the article.
COLLEGE ADVICE. A professor at American University has published a book called How to Succeed in College (While Really Trying), advice for those entering college. This is not directed particularly at 2e kids, or even gifted kids, but given some of  the challenges twice-exceptional kids carry to college the advice here might be useful. From a press release about the book: "He begins with the university lexicon: seminar vs. lecture, adjunct vs. term vs. tenured faculty, and the meaning of a credit hour. In subsequent chapters, Gould details preparing for class, writing research papers, and how to take exams." Also covered: getting the most out of faculty and structuring time. Read more.

Monday, June 18, 2012

TEACHING HIGHLY ABLE LEARNERS. In Education Week, a former teacher and principal reflects on the difference in services available to special needs students versus gifted students, and offers some tips from Carol Ann Tomlinson for addressing gifted and talented learners. He also suggests using a growth model (versus achievement) to make sure that high ability learners not only achieve -- but progress. Find the article.
STIMULANTS AND "CHEATING." The New York Times article on the misuse of AD/HD stimulant medications by students to study and achieve has received yet another response in another publication, this one by Nancy Rappaport in the Huffington Post. The author downplays the role of psychiatrists in playing along with a "con" to prescribe meds to a student who doesn't need them. She concludes, "...I have seen the value of a balanced approach, and I only wish the Times piece had been balanced as well." Read more.
SOCIAL SKILLS TRAINING for those with high-functioning autism seems to have lasting results, according to a study at UCLA. Disability Scoop says that "the teens continued to use their new social skills and in some cases showed further improvement." Read more.
TRAINING FOR CHARACTER can work -- and it can make you happier, apparently. Researchers from the University of Zurich trained adults on specific character traits such as curiosity, gratitude, enthusiasm, etc. Compared to a control group, those receiving the training improved particularly well in those strengths and achieved a better sense of well being. Find the study write-up.
ADDITUDE. This week's newsletter from the AD/HD organization includes an article on five supplements and vitamins that, when combined with a high-protein, low-sugar diet,can apparently improve AD/HD symptoms. Find the newsletter.
RESOURCE. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offers "Facts for Families" on its site. One is a primer on complementary and alternative medicine; three others are on medications for children and adolescents. Find the "Facts for Families" main page.
TEACHING THE WORK ETHIC. Start early, says Carla Crutsinger of Brainworks in her latest newsletter -- as early as three or four. She says it'll pay off, especially when it's time to leave for college. Read the newsletter.
SOMETHING MORE TO WORRY ABOUT. You know the ill effects of BPA that have gotten so much publicity in the recent past, including effects on brain development and disruption of the endocrine system? Well, in mice, researchers have "demonstrated for the first time to our knowledge that BPA has trans-generational actions on social behavior and neural expression." Looks like we'll be living with BPA's effects for a long time. Read more. Cheers!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

News Items Collected by the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

GIFTED ED PARADIGM? The founder and co-chair of Speyer Legacy School for the gifted in Manhattan hopes to make the Speyer brand of education "the new norm nationwide," according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, using the related Speyer Institute. According to the article, "The philosophy of the school allows students to be a part of developing their own curriculum and includes intense work in reading, math, science and humanities courses. Speyer Legacy also incorporates chess, fencing, art, music, nutrition, languages and the environment, among other activities." Read more.
AD/HD DRUGS: NY TIMES ARTICLE FOLLOWUP. Forbes ran a followup to the recent New York Times article on the misuse of AD/HD stimulant meds by students without AD/HD. The Forbes author takes a look at "the science and medicine behind [the] trend," noting that the problem isn't exactly new and asserting that the Times article perpetuates a myth or two. Read the Forbes article.
SENG. The SENG Vine newsletter for May/June is out and includes a tribute to Annemarie Roeper, some summer tips, a take on diversity in giftedness, and a preview of an upcoming SENG webinar (or, as they call it, SENGinar) titled "Parent Engagement in Promoting a STEM Identity among Gifted Black Students." Find the newsletter.
TEENS AND ACTIVITY. They're better off active -- and will tell you so. An Australian study has found that active teens report a better health-related quality of life than sedentary counterparts. Read about the study, and nag that teen!

Monday, June 11, 2012

News Items from the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

"IT'S THE MAGIC." That's what a nine-year-old with dyslexia (and dysgraphia) responded when asked how his school has helped him learn more easily and with more fun. According to an article at the site of public radio station WBEZ in Chicago, Jacob's reading was in the 9th percentile; in contrast, his reasoning skills were "at the top of the charts." His parents enrolled him at the Hyde Park Day School at a cost of $35,000 per year, and the results have been encouraging. Read more about Jacob and his school. 
STUDY HELP. The New York Times reports what is apparently widespread misuse of prescription AD/HD meds to assist studies and gain competitive advantage when it comes to grades and acceptance into colleges and universities. The article says that many of the abusers are bright kids to begin with. Some kids con their way into a stimulant prescription; others buy from or are given the meds by those who do have prescriptions. Read the article
DSM MAVENS! The National Center for Learning Disabilities is soliciting opinions from parents, educators, and other professionals about changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. We've blogged about some potential changes. If you have an opinion, here's your chance to comment. Find out more
WRONG PLANET is the name of a website established by a young Aspie when he was in high school in order to find others on the spectrum and those with interests similar to his. He envisioned it as a support group; it became a community. He is interviewed in PC World about his interests in technology and  videography. The title of the feature: "Profiles in Geekdom."
BRIDGES ACADEMY RESOURCES. Bridges Academy provides a couple online things we just discovered. One is a listing of twice-exceptional resources outside the school -- books and websites. The other is "The 2e Education Blog," the school's official blog, with contributions by teachers, professionals, parents, and students. 
LINKEDIN DISCUSSION. If you're on LinkedIn, you might be interested in a discussion in the Gifted Talented Network on the nature of giftedness and its relationship to potential. So far it's up to 20 thoughtful, civil comments. Find it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

STRESS AND YOUNG BRAINS. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have linked intense and lasting stress in children to lower scores on tests of spatial working memory, part of the prefrontal cortex. In children with greater exposure to stress, brain imaging also shows a smaller anterior cingulate, linked to working memory. Find out more.
DSM 5. Those keeping track of the various proposals and convolutions in the process of revising the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders  might be interested in knowing that the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in June devoted a section to potential changes and their possible effects. Read more. Separately, the International Dyslexia Association has noted that the DSM 5 may no longer include dyslexia as a distinct disorder, rather as a type of "Specific Learning Disorder." The IDA comments, ">many view this latest round of revisions—which now omit the term dyslexia—as a significant step backward and worry that this omission will (a) perpetuate lack of recognition and understanding of dyslexia and (b) contribute to delays in diagnosis and treatment." Go to the IDA site; it tells how you can take action in the matter if you wish.

AND WHILE YOU'RE ADVOCATING, check out a communique from the Council for Exceptional Children asking readers to contact the Senate to encourage services for gifted and LD kids. Find out more.

504 REDUX. The good old muckraking Chicago Tribune has unleashed another article implying that parents who obtain 504 plans for their kids are gaming the system. The most interesting part of the article, to us, was the fact that two gifted schools in Chicago had high rates of kids with 504s. The only part of the article we agreed with came from the superintendent of a North Shore (i.e., wealthy) school district who said that well-informed parents advocate for their children, and that educators and staff [in that district] are proactive in getting students help if they need it, and that the district provides information on its website to guide parents in the 504 application process. "I think this is what should be the model everywhere,'' said the superintendent. "(Elsewhere) there are probably a lot of kids not getting the supports they need." Exactly. Read the article. Tell us what you think.

NEUROEDUCATION. Just a little while ago we blogged about an Education Week article on neuroscience for educators; we thought that was cool and appropriate. Contrarian and psychologist Daniel Willingham has a different view. Referring to the article in a column titled "Why teachers shouldn't learn neuroscience" he wrote for the Washington Post, he says that for teachers to learn neuroscience strikes him "as a colossal waste of teacher's time." Instead, Willingham feels that guidance in the use of neuroeducation "ought to come from institutions: from schools of education, from district central offices, and (potentially) from institutions of teachers' own creation." Read the column.

READING ASSIST FOR DYSLEXICS. A study reported at WebMD indicates that spacing letters further apart in text can help dyslexic kids read more quickly and easily. Find the article.

PEDIATRICIANS AND AD/HD is the title of an article at the Child Mind Institute site, and it offers tips on how parents can tell whether a child is getting careful diagnosis and care for attention issues. The article offers advice on how to find the right pediatrician or primary care physician and on what to expect from a good doctor. Find the article.

ANXIOUS BRAINS work harder in girls than boys, according to a Michigan State University study. The lead investigator says of the study, "This may help predict the development of anxiety issues later in life for girls. It's one more piece of the puzzle for us to figure out why women in general have more anxiety disorders." Read more.

WANT TO GO TO NEW ZEALAND? The 2013 World Conference for Gifted and Talented Children is being held in Auckland, New Zealand, and the conference's call for proposals is now open. It doesn't say anything about reimbursement for travel (unlikely) and presenters get to pay the full conference registration fee themselves. But there's always the glory of presenting and the chance in a lifetime to see New Zealand. Find out more

TALENTIGNITER. This is for your 2e child's gifted side. TalentIgniter, a site by Deborah Ruf, is offering access to the beta version of "Milestone Tracker," a tool to help track your child's progress against "typical children of the same age." Bear in mind that Dr. Ruf's area of study is gifted kids, so it's not clear to us whether typical means "typical" or "highly gifted." TalentIgniter says, "...if we see that your child is developing ahead of what's typical, we'll alert you to what special needs or support your child may require in order to fully develop his or her talents and abilities." An account with the TalentIgniter site is required to try out the tool. Go to TalentIgniter.

AD/HD INTERVENTION. Researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (which has the great acronym CHOP) have developed a 12-week intervention program for schools and families shown in a study to reduce impairments related to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in elementary school children with the diagnosis. The program apparently helped parents become more involved in education and collaboration with the teachers. The program also showed greater improvement in child homework performance and parenting behavior as compared to the control group. Read more, based on a CHOP press release.

Monday, June 4, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

NEUROEDUCATION. An article in Education Week provides some history on the topic of neuroeducation -- neuroscience in education -- and on the ways current neuroscience is affecting education. The article uses examples from the Jacob Shapiro Brain Based Instruction Laboratory in Wisconsin. Find the article.
AUTISM 1. NPR has posted a story called "What's Different about the Brains of People with Autism?" Part of the story concerns a man who at 13 was committed to an institution, mistakenly diagnosed as schizophrenic, before the diagnosis was corrected to autism. Now 40 and with a degree in engineering, the man has been a research subject for 25 years,  helping researchers learn about autism. Read more.
AUTISM 2. Arvada West High School in Colorado has a program to  help all students with LDs, but an article about the program describes how, in particular, it helps students prepare for life after high school. One student profiled is a young woman with high-functioning autism who takes everything literally; another Aspie is taking AP courses and is college bound. Find the article.
AUTISM 3. The University of Alabama has a program to help students with autism make the transition to college. Next fall, 18 students are expected to be part of the six-year-old program, which involves mentoring, group meetings, and more -- possibly five to ten hours of service a week, at an incremental cost of $3,300 per semester. Find out more.
BEST HIGH SCHOOL LISTS. The New York Times provided some perspective to the "best high school" lists, one of which we mentioned in this blog a short while ago. While advising consumers not to take the lists lightly, the Times examines some of the factors that can lead to inclusion on the list. Find the article.
BRAIN RESOURCE. Eric Chudler's June issue of Neuroscience for Kids newsletter pointed us to a brain resource site, BrainFacts.org. Main tabs on the site are: About Neuroscience; Brain Basics; Sensing, Thinking, and Behaving; Diseases and Disorders; and more. Other current items on the site include an article on anxiety disorders.