Sunday, September 30, 2012

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

CELEBRITY DYSLEXICS. ABC News, on its website, highlights eight celebrities who have dyslexia. One is Steven Spielberg, who, according to the article posted, was diagnosed just five years ago and was labeled by his early teachers as lazy. Read more

LD IN CANADA. An article in the Toronto Globe and Mail takes a look at learning disabilities in Canada. The article, titled "How Kids Outsmart Learning Disabiities," features a 22-year-old aspiring surgeon who says he studies three times as long as his classmates to make  up for his learning disability. The article also mentions six characteristics of people with LDs who succeed in life. Find the article

NCLD on its site has a personal account by an NCLD intern on self-confidence as the key to success. Jillian Levy discloses what it was like to learn about her LD and what her transition to college was like. She writes, "just because you learn differently doesn’t mean you can’t learn and achieve your biggest dreams." Read more.  

COGMED WORKING MEMORY TRAINING. A new study examines evidence related to whether this branded training works, and concludes that the evidence doesn't support the company's claims. Read about the study.  

CENTER FOR TALENT DEVELOPMENT. Northwestern's CTD offers several upcoming resources related to gifted children. For the educators of such children, a conference titled  "Common Core State Standards: Let’s Make Them Work for Gifted!" will be held Saturday, October 13, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the Evanston Campus of Northwestern University.  More information is at ctd.northwestern.edu/outreach/fallconference. Separately, CTD's Gifted LearningLinks program offers credit-bearing Honors Electives (18-weeks), Honors (one or two semester) and AP® courses online for students in grades 6 through 12. Register by the 1st of any month and start on the 15th. Find more information at www.ctd.northwestern.edu/gll. Additionally, the university's Midwest Academic Talent Search gives students in grades 3 through 9 access to tests ordinarily used for high school placement (EXPLORE®) and college entrance (ACT® & SAT®) to help them demonstrate their academic abilities. After testing, the NUMATS Toolbox provides extensive information and resources for families and educators. Register soon for November and December test dates. Find out more
RENZULLI GIFTEDNESS MODEL. The head of Quest Academy, a school for the gifted in Palatine, Illinois, has blogged about Joseph Renzulli's 21st-century giftedness model, outlining and explaining the four-part theory. Find the blog
INTELLECTUALLY AND ATHLETICALLY GIFTED. A New York Times article profiles a prominent college quarterback identified as gifted when he was a child and who also showed strong interest and talent in art. Does that same visually-oriented talent contribute to the young man's ability to quickly and successfully "read" the football field? Read the article.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

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

SCHOOL AND AD/HD. A commentator at the Washington Post site, in the column "The Answer Sheet," talks about his own AD/HD and that of his two sons. He writes, "School, particularly elementary school, was not for boys like me. And, 25 years later, even the very best schools have only changed slightly." Among lots of salient points are phrases that made us smile: a reference to "a normative learning style," which the author's sons evidently do not possess; how his younger son seems to be, according to teachers, "not sufficiently available for learning"; and more. He calls, not surprisingly, for change in the current educational model and mindset. Read this insightful column

ASD IN COLLEGE. The Ventura County Star examines how colleges are helping students with autism enter and succeed. The article includes perspectives from parents, ASD students, and faculty who teach (and accommodate) those students. Read more

UPENDING CONVENTIONAL WISDOM. A new study is out, and this sentence says it all: "researchers were surprised to find the effects of family meals on test scores and behavioral problems were either small or 'effectively zero.'" Don't want to believe it? We didn't want to -- but read for yourself

LD EVALUATION. NCLD has on its site an article titled "10 Things You Need to Know about LD Evaluation." The tips include the role of law and the school district in such evaluations. Find the article

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. The September issue of eNews Updates is out. If you're not familiar with all of the facets of DITD or the resources they make available to gifted kids and their families, check out the newsletter

CHICAGO-AREA EVENT. An educational consultant/advocate who serves twice-exceptional students and their families is teaming with five other consultants and advocates to present a workshop November 30th on the topics of 504 plans, RTI, and special ed. Organizer Matt Wanzenberg says, "many of my 2e students have 504's and IEP's (or RTI plans at a minimum), and it is critical that families know exactly how these legal accountability tools can assist them in reaching goals..." Find out more

WRIGHTSLAW. The current issue of Special Ed Advocate deals with the legal requirements about IEPs and what IDEA says about them. About this issue, Wrightslaw says, "Get answers to your questions and find out what you need to know about IEPs, IEP teams, and IEP meetings. Learn how to use tactics and strategies to get quality services in your child's IEP." Find the newsletter. Separately, Wrightslaw is offering a back-to-school sale -- 25 percent off their books and CDs through October 3. Find out more

AND FINALLY, THIS. Harvard researchers have used lasers to take over the brain of an animal -- a worm -- controlling its behavior and even some sensory input. For example, by activating a particular neuron, the researchers could make the worm turn in a specific direction. Now, the worms were genetically modified -- but imagine a remote control for your twice-exceptional child. "Calm down" -- zap. "Focus" -- zap. "Stop talking about dinosaurs" -- zap. Find out more.

Monday, September 24, 2012

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

IN MANHATTAN? The Child Mind Institute is kicking off its 2012-2013 OCD Parent Forum Series, covering "a range of issues affecting children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and their support networks, from navigating friendships and family gatherings to the ins and outs of treatment and medication," according to the organization. Find out more.  

IN CONNECTICUT?  Joan Glass runs a professional advocacy group for gifted children and families in Connecticut. Among her target audience are families with twice-exceptional chidlren. You may find out more at her Facebook page or website

IN THE CHICAGO AREA? A SENG Model Parent Group is scheduled to kick off 10 sessions in early October, according to a post on LinkedIn. Find more information here (if the link works for you), or email giftedparentgroups@gmail.com.

IN SEARCH OF FREEBIES? Prufrock Press is offering a free download from their book School Success for Kids with Dyslexia. The download consists of 28 pages, the intro and first two chapters of the book. Find out more.  

IN CEREBRUM as of today is an article titled "Play, Stress, and the Learning Brain." The editor's introduction to the article says, "the authors explore how play enhances brain development in children. ...[P]lay activates the brain’s reward circuitry but not negative stress responses, which can facilitate attention and action. Through play, children practice social interaction and build skills and interests to draw upon in the years to come." Find the article.

Friday, September 21, 2012

EXAM SCHOOLS. An opinion piece in The New York Times addressed "exam schools" -- 165 public high schools that focus exclusively on high-ability, highly motivated students. Whether these schools accommodate twice-exceptional students is unknown to us, but the author recommends exam schools as a way to escape what he calls systemic failure of gifted education in this country. Read more

AD/HD CHALLENGES. About.com provides a favorable review of the book 1000 Best Tips for AD/HD as a resource providing "solutions to some of the most common challenges you may face raising a child with AD/HD." Find out more

DYSLEXIA. Speech perception involves a phonetic system which determines the units of sound and a phonological system which combines those units. Some scientists now think, contrary to conventional wisdom, that the phonetic system may be to blame for dyslexia's problems. Read about a study on this topic. 

SENG eBOOK. The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted is observing its 30th anniversary by releasing a collection of 30 essays on topics such as parenting gifted children, living with the intensity that often accompanies giftedness, counseling and educating gifted individuals, and giftedness in diverse communities and special needs populations. 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter editor Linda Neumann is one of the contributors. Find more information at Amazon

LEAD, MERCURY, AD/HD. They're linked, says an article at WebMD; children exposed to those heavy metals are at higher risk for problems with attention or behavior later on. The finding is based on a study of Inuit children in Quebec who may be exposed to mercury in whale meat and lead from shotgun pellets in geese and ducks. Their levels of lead and mercury were measured at birth; their behavior was assessed by teachers when the kids were between 8 and 14. Read more.  

ADDITUDE's online newsletter features an article on how children may be diagnosed with depression after receiving a diagnosis of AD/HD and another article on how to "supercharge your AD/HD student's listening skills." Find the newsletter

'TIS THE SEASON -- for Destination Imagination, we're informed. The season runs from September to May. It's an after school program that encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts and service learning. Find out more.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

SENG'S NEW E.D. The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) has announced its new executive director, Elizabeth Campbell, who assumed her post on September 1. Find out more about Ms. Campbell in the current edition of SENGVine.
LINDA NEUMANN: 100 WORDS. Also in the current edition of SENGVine, 2e Newsletter co-publisher Linda Neumann offers "100 Words of Wisdom" (part of a series) to parents of twice-exceptional children. From the first sentence: "It's okay to be out of step." Find the "100 Words" in the SENGVine or at the SENG site.
DROP OUT, IT'S GOOD FOR YOU. We've posted before about Peter Thiel, a billionaire and innovator who bankrolls under-20 innovators who want to make a difference. According to a New York Times article, his offer is $50,000 per year for two years for not going to college but instead pursuing one's "next big thing" in the real world. Read more about Thiel Fellows. 
HOMEWORK REFUSAL is the topic of the current edition of Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate, with article titles like "Master of Deception," "Not a Discipline Issue," and "Does Your Child Have Difficulty with Organization. Find Special Ed Advocate.
ARE KIDS "LITTLE ADULTS"? Not when it comes to drug metabolism -- yet, as Scientific American points out, only about half of the drugs commonly prescribed to children 18 and under have gone through the same rigorous trials as drugs prescribed to adults. The article explains differences in how kids and adults might metabolize a med, and explains how the FDA is trying to address the issue. Read more.
YES I CAN! The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is accepting nominations for four more weeks for the 2013 Yes I Can! awards, which recognize achievements in a variety of areas by young people who have disabilities. Find out more.
CONVERSATIONS AT ADDITUDE include one on tummy aches (is it the meds?), neurofeedback (as an alternative to meds), and friend problems (lack of). Follow the conversations.
EDUCATION ON YOUTUBE.  YouTube has launched an initiative to find 10 outstanding online educators, "the next generation of educational YouTube stars." YouTube says, "We’re looking for content creators who create all kinds of curriculum-related videos, from grammar to geography, history to histograms. You can submit any style of video as long as it’s educational and family-friendly..." Find out more.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

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

AD/HD MEDS OVER-PRESCRIBED? You can vote your opinion on this issue and see results to date at the Wall Street Journal Health Blog. Visitors may also add comments; 24 are posted as of Thursday the 14th. Vote.
LD IN COLLEGE. An article about Clemson University's Student Disabilities Services leads off with the story of a young woman with dyslexia who takes advantage of the service. The article describes how the office of Disability Services works to aid students who have requested help, about 700, including about 500 who have AD/HD or a specific learning disability. Read the article.
MATH ANXIETY can undermine the success of an otherwise capable student by disrupting working memory. Ironically, a study has found that about half of high-achieving young students have medium to high math anxiety. But there are things that can help. Read more.
TESTING MOM is a website catering to parents with children who are candidates for entrance to private schools or to gifted and talented programs. The site contains information about the various kids of tests, along with practice questions and interactive games. Need an edge in testing? Find out more.
LD ONLINE, in its current newsletter, focuses on the parent-teacher relationship -- building that relationship and building trust. Find the newsletter.
NCLD. The current edition of LD News for Parents contains articles centering on therapy and emotional support for children with LDs. Find the newsletter.
TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES FOR LEARNING. An Iowa elementary school's technology head offers his picks for technology that can "help get children back into learning mode." The various resources mentioned for younger students encourage reading skills, math, the arts, and even programming. Read the article.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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

2012 DAVIDSON FELLOWS NAMED. According to the Davidson Institute, the 2012 Class of Davidson Fellows consists of 22 bright young people 18 or younger who will receive $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships.  The Fellows have all created significant projects with the potential to benefit society in the fields of science, technology, mathematics, literature, music and philosophy. Find out more.
CHOOSING THERAPY FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY can be guided by brain scans, according to a new study done at MIT. Two common therapies are cognitive behavioral therapy and medication, and an fMRI can spot a difference in the brain's reaction to a face-response task, where subjects look at images of faces. Subjects who are good candidates for CBT show more brain activity in high-level visual processing areas, according to the researchers. Find out more.
PREPPING FOR COLLEGE WITH AD/HD is the topic of an article at Education Week on the experiences of a group of freshman with AD/HD. Those without coping strategies -- for studying or scheduling, for example -- felt overwhelmed when they reached college. The point: take AD/HD into account as you prepare for and enter college. Read more.
READING RESOURCE. A program called Bookshare helps students with learning issues like dyslexia gain access to the written word by giving voice to words and highlighting them as they're read on a device such as an iPad. About 160,000 titles area available through Bookshare. Know a struggling reader? Find out more.
LEARNING RESOURCE. The Khan Academy is an online resource for learning about all kinds of topics, and may be useful to twice-exceptional students as a way to both remediate areas of weakness and enrich areas of strength. A library of lessons and practice sessions in areas such as math, science, computer science, and finance contains 3,300 videos in all. For example, the biology section contains several dozen videos on topics ranging from evolution to cell division to immunology. The site's motto: "Learn almost anything for free."  Go to the site
MORE ON BPA. Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) early in life can evidently lead to higher levels of anxiety. The reason? The chemical, commonly used in plastics, causes gene expression changes in the amygdala, which mediates fear and stress. Oddly, a soy diet seems to ameliorate at least some of the effects. Read more.

Friday, September 7, 2012

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

NCLD. Last month the National Center for Learning Disabilities surveyed 1800 adults in the United States concerning their attitudes and beliefs about learning disabilities. As you read about the survey at the NCLD site or in articles about the survey in the media, please keep in mind that the survey respondents were chosen to be representative of the U.S. adult population, not to be representative of the readers of this blog or of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter. Nonetheless, while some survey results are comforting, others are not. For example:
  • Most people (two thirds) do not know what dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and dyspraxia are, although 91 percent know what dyslexia is.
  • Forty-three percent of respondents think that LDs correlate with IQ.
  • Sixty-three percent know someone with an LD.
  • Sixty-four percent say their child's school doesn't provide information on LDs. 
Find the survey results at the NCLD site, or read about the survey in the Washington Post or the Sacramento Bee. Separately, NCLD has refreshed its website; see the new look.
EDUCATION WEEK offers us information about RTI, a somewhat controversial topic when it comes to identifying and serving twice-exceptional children. In a multi-part series, experts cover what RTI is, examine RTI laws by state, and provide a checklist for assessing a school's legal compliance in identifying students with specific learning disabilities. Find the series. The Education Week site is also offering some free downloads of their "Spotlight" series, including one download on Response to Intervention; find it.
GENETICS. If you follow the topic of genetics as it relates to learning challenges, you might be interested in a New York Times article on recent findings in genetics from a large multi-national project. The project focused on the non-gene parts of DNA, which apparently include millions of switches that control genes, determining which are used and when. The findings will help explain environmental influences on genetic expression, since the switches can be altered by environmental factors. The article is general in that it does not specifically discuss genetics in terms of LDs, but it provides a platform that may help us understand how genetic expression may lead to certain LDs. Find the article.
AUTISM AND BULLYING. Teenagers on the autism spectrum are much more likely to be bullied at school, according to a survey published this week. The rate of incidence -- almost 50 percent. Find out more. 
THE NEUROSCIENCE OF GAD. A study has shown that people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have certain brain connections that are weaker than in people without GAD. The connections in question are between the amygdala (the "fight or flight" center) and the brain's center of emotional control in the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex. (See our "brain primer" at the 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter website.) Read more about the study.
SO WHAT DO THE KIDS SAY? A British study asked kids being treated with AD/HD meds what they thought about the use of meds. In the study, respondents said the meds helped them but didn't change who they were. Read more
ABOUT.COM has updated and posted an article on AD/HD and reading comprehension, specifically on recall of information. Find the article.
GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER. The September newsletter from this organization reviews the recent 10th International Dabrowski Congress, previews Linda Silverman's upcoming book Giftedness 101, chronicles Silverman's upcoming speaking events, and highlights GDC community member Bruce Allen, an educator and poet. Find the newsletter.
ADDITUDE currently offers an article on morning strategies for getting kids with AD/HD up and out in the morning, plus a variety of online conversations on topics such as behavior modification and IEP accommodations. Go to ADDitude


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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

AD/HD AND THE EYES. Researchers at the University of Southern California have developed a way to screen for several neurological conditions, including AD/HD, by tracking and analyzing eye movements. The screening identified kids with AD/HD with 77.3 percent accuracy, according to Science Daily. The screen also can detect Parkinson's disease in older adults and fetal alcohol syndrome in children. Find out more.
AD/HD AND CBT. David Rabiner, at SharpBrains.com, describes a study showing that cognitive behavioral therapy can apparently help teens with AD/HD, resulting in "bet­ter adjust­ment among ado­les­cents in mul­ti­ple domains as reported by par­ents, teach­ers, and ado­les­cents them­selves; school record data also indi­cated bet­ter class atten­dance and fewer late arrivals to school." Read more.
IMs AND INTROVERSION. Kids who are introverted may find emotional support and relief through instant messaging, according to Time Magazine. Got an introverted teen? Find the article.
BACK TO SCHOOL I. It can be difficult for kids with special needs, and that can include gifted kids who have learning challenges or emotional challenges. A blog posting by Oxford University Press addresses the issue and offers teachers tips on ways to ease the transition back to school. Parents may find the tips useful in that they (parents) can take the initiative for many of the actions recommended for teachers. Find the blog
BACK TO SCHOOL II. In another blog concerning special needs kids, a lawyer has posted "Ten Reasons Why You Should Have an Advocate for Your Child with Special Needs." The reasons will sound "reasonable" to any parent of a twice-exceptional child who has had to advocate on  his or her own with a school. Find the blog.
ASD AND CO-MORBIDITIES. A blog entry at Best Practice Autism discusses common conditions that might occur along with autism or high-functioning autism, including depression (50-70 percent co-morbid), AD/HD, social anxiety, ODD, and Tourette's. Find the blog.
ADDITUDE's most recent e-newsletter contains an article on AD/HD meds and how to persuade a child to take them. Got a compliance issue at your house? Find the newsletter.
CANADA'S EDUCATION GUIDE -- the fall issue -- is now out, according to its publishers. The issue features an article on psychoeducational assessments as well as educational resources in the Calgary area. Find out more.
IN AUSTRALIA. Jo Freitag says that she has revamped the Gifted Resources blog, which has recent posts about The Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students and a review of Derrin Cramer's new book Beginner's Guide to Life on the Bright Side (which has a chapter about twice-exceptionality). Find the blog.