Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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

AD/HD MEDS AND "SELF." Maybe  you've heard it from your gifted and AD/HD child -- that he or she is concerned that AD/HD meds will somehow cause a personality change. David Rabiner, at SharpBrains.com, writes about a study looking into that issue. According to Rabiner, the study found that "nearly 40% of stu­dents who dis­con­tin­ued med­ica­tion reported con­cerns that using med­ica­tion com­pro­mised their true self in some essen­tial way." Read more. Separately, we've noticed that Rabiner has not posted recent  issues of Attention Research Update at his website. If  you're interested in seeing those issues in a timely way, consider signing up at http://www.helpforadd.com/. 

SMARTPENS AT PENN STATE. The university's Office of Disability Services is issuing LiveScribe smartpens to students who may benefit from them. The pens record lecture-hall audio and digitize notes the student takes so that the student may easily access content from the lecture at a later time. Find out more

MISSED THIS AT THE TIME. In August, Dr. Steven Hyman did a Q&A with the Boston Globe on the topic of drugs to treat conditions like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, AD/HD, OCD, and  autism. Interviewer and interviewee noted a bad trend: that big drug companies don't seem interested in developing new drugs for those conditions. Said the doctor, "The pharmaceutical industry is basically giving up and throwing in the towel. Their exit is both a symptom of the difficulty and a problem." Read more

SENGINAR. SENG is presenting a webinar on November 8th titled "Developing Internal Motivation in Gifted Youth." It will be presented by Lisa van Gemert, who is the gifted youth specialist for Mensa. Find out more

WRIGHTSLAW, in the e-newsletter Special Ed Advocate, focuses on FAPE in the most current issue. Fighting for FAPE at your school? Check it out.

Monday, October 29, 2012

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

EARLY AUTISM INTERVENTION. An intensive early intervention therapy that is effective for improving cognition and language skills among very young children with autism also normalizes their brain activity, decreases their autism symptoms and improves their social skills, a nationwide study has found. The researchers said the study is the first to demonstrate that an autism early intervention program can normalize brain activity. Read more.

AUTISM AND FLYING. Some airports are now offering parents with autistic children "mock boarding" experiences to help familiarize the children with the process and to prevent anxiety and disruptive behavior. Other than the airport in Atlanta, the participating facilities are all on the East Coast. Find out more.

THE DYSLEXIC BRAIN. Edutopia offers a blog about "four things all educators should understand about the dyslexic brain." The four things cover writing, automated processes, memory, and creativity. Find the blog

DOCUMENTARY ON DYSLEXIA. On HBO today, Monday, is the documentary "The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia," in which the director (Robert Redford's son, whose own son is dyslexic) interviews dyslexics who coped with the condition in a variety of ways. The Washington Post says, "The film follows the happy-ending stories of a handful of unusually bright kids..." Read more

GIRLS AND AD/HD -- specifically, "How Girls and Women Can Win with AD/HD" -- is the topic of a free webinar offered by ADDitude on Tuesday, October 20 at 1pm Eastern time. Find out more.  

FISH OIL AND WORKING MEMORY. In what is claimed to be the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have determined that healthy young adults ages 18-25 can improve their working memory even further by increasing their Omega-3 fatty acid intake. Their findings have been published online in PLOS One. The researchers' imaging studies, however, did not explain the mechanisms of the improvement, a topic for further study. Read more

SCHOOL CHOICE. If you're interested in the debate on vouchers and school choice and politics, there's a discussion going on in the CEC section of LinkedIn on the topic. This may be of interest to those in the 2e community because IDEA funds often go to provide services for kids with learning challenges. If you're on LinkedIn, find the discussion

WORLD CONFERENCE. We posted that the World Conference scheduled in New Zealand by the organization World Council for Gifted and Talented Children was canceled; however, it appears that the conference is now scheduled for Louisville, Kentucky, on August 10-14, 2013. Find more information

PAST "BACK TO SCHOOL." As we get further into the school year, the Child Mind Institute offers tips for parents to work with school to promote academic and social achievement -- tips on checking in with the teacher, on conferences, and on getting more help. Read more.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

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

CHALLENGING THE TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL. A blogger at ChicagoNow.com wrote about the importance of making sure that twice-exceptional kids are challenged. The blogger, an attorney with experience in both gifted and special ed, suggests the IEP as a vehicle for this, but also offers suggestions for when no IEP is in place. Find the blog

BULLYING, DYSLEXIA. A nerdy kid, awkward, not good at school or sports. A target for bullies. Dyslexic. That was Steven Spielberg's childhood, as rehashed at a blog at the Child Mind Institute. The visual arts were his salvation. "Movies made me feel inside my own skill set," he is quoted as saying. Find out more.   

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE also features this week an article on problem behavior in preschoolers and what to do about it. Whether or not your twice-exceptional kid's problem behavior stems from giftedness or some sort of challenge, this article might be of interest. Find it

LEARNING AND THE BRAIN, the November Boston edition, is coming up soon, November 16-18. Session titles are full of words and phrases such as "the neuroscience of learning," "different learners," "diverse learners," and "neurodiversity." Find out more about the conference sessions.  

SPECIFIC LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT is the topic of an article in the UK's Guardian, presenting tips for teachers on  how to spot problems in speech, language, and communication. Find the article

EXERCISE AND AD/HD. Exercise can benefit kids with AD/HD, according to a study published in this week's Journal of Pediatrics. A single 20-minute bout of exercise apparently improves both neurocognitive function and inhibitory control. Read more

BEWARE, says a recent study of websites offering information on pediatric health -- some websites, most often commercial websites as opposed to academic sites, present poor information. Find out more

CHOOSING A COLLEGE when you have AD/HD is the topic of a semi-recently updated (6/2012) article at About.com. The article mentions Beacon and Landmark colleges and provides tips on finding a good fit at colleges in general. Go to the article

WRIGHTSLAW. If there's any good place to learn about Free and Appropriate Public Education, Wrightslaw should be it. The October 23rd edition of Special Ed Advocate covers what the law requires, the definition of a "meaningful educational benefit," and info about court cases concerning FAPE. Find the newsletter

IN THE COMICS. We know that young Caulfield in the comic Frazz is very bright. Across the years there have been hints about AD/HD, as there were in yesterday's strip. Find it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

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

AD/HD AWARENESS WEEK was last week, as we noted in our last blog posting. To observe it, ADDitude Magazine, besides kicking off its "Expert Web Chat Series," also offered other resources in its website -- an Awarness Week Poster and a Name Your AD/HD Hero Contest. Also available: "printables" that include "Smart Comebacks to Doubters" and "25 Things to Love about ADD." Find the Awareness Week page

NCLD AND AD/HD. The National Center for Learning Disabilities also highlighted AD/HD resources and information last week, pointing to its website's AD/HD section and to a new feature from Carter Norman, A Father and Educator’s Story: AD/HD Myths, Diagnoses, and Treatments, which NCLD calls "a refreshingly honest account of his own experience as a parent and an educator." 

EDUCATORS GUILD NEWSLETTER. "Motivation" is the topic of the month for this publication.You'll find a video by Daniel Pink on intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation; another video on identifying how students are motivated; and a list of articles and books on motivation and the gifted child. Find the newsletter

GIFTED AND UNDERACHIEVING. The Educators Guild Newsletter mentioned above also contained a reference to an article titled "Maybe Gifted Underachievers Are More Creative," posted on PsychCentral, that we had to check out. The article speculates on reasons for underachievement by gifted students -- high levels of creativity that make learning in a traditional learning environment difficult, for example, or teachers who are critical or rigid.  The article also mentions the role of low self-esteem in either under- or over-achievement. Find the article. (Thanks, Mark D.)

IEP TOOL. A company called Goalbook is seeking to create "the first social and mobile platform for special education teacher," according to TechCrunch.com. But it's more than just social media -- it's a tool to help make the IEP a living document (or, at least, an electronic one) that is easy to communicate among all concerned, to modify, and to monitor. It will be a repository that also includes assessments, instructional resources, and individual goals aligned to Common Core State Standards. Sounds as if Goalbook could turn IEPs into truly individualized, dynamic, and helpful tools for those twice-exceptional kids who need them. Find TechCrunch's write-up.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

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

NAGC CONVENTION UPDATE. We sent out an event alert yesterday about NAGC's November convention in Denver, and by doing so got a couple pieces of feedback. First, the list of sample 2e-related sessions we included in the alert didn't include all such sessions; for example, researcher Layne Kalbfleisch is presenting a "Signature Session" on Friday the 16th titled "Examining the Relationship between Executive Function and Intelligence in Twice-Exceptional Children with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism: Empirical Evidence and Practical Application." And for you brain mavens, that same day Kalbfleisch will present a session on how to read and understand neuroscience studies. Second, while information about all sessions, including Kalbfleisch's, is available at the NAGC site, the path the the information may be non-obvious. One way is via the "Live Learning Center" link on the conference home page; the other is via the 2012 Convention App. 

AD/HD AWARENESS WEEK is this week, according to About.com, which also offers related information. And we found several AD/HD items of interest, one indicating that exercise may help kids with AD/HD do better academically -- that according to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics and summarized at ScienceDaily. Another study indicates that kids with AD/HD may find less success as adults that kids without the condition; it was a longitudinal study that age-matched kids with and without AD/HD, comparing the two groups on education, divorce rates, income, and substance abuse. Read more

STRESS, DEPRESSION. Researchers are investigating ways to interrupt or reverse the effects of stress on the brain, and have found ways to prevent stress-related inhibition of the reward system in mice. Find out more

REVISITING THE TEEN BRAIN. New research disputes some common perceptions of the teen brain and its lack of self-control. One researcher calls the teen brain "vulnerable, dynamic, and highly responsive to positive feedback," according to an NPR report on the research. Got a teen brain in your house or classroom? Find out more

AUTISM AND GENDER. The way autism affects cognitive functions in males may be different than in females, according to researchers who studied functioning that included perception on facial emotions and three other functions. While perception of emotion was equally impaired in both genders, other functions -- such as attention to detail -- showed less impairment in females. Read more.  

DUAL ENROLLMENT. High school students who take college courses are significantly more likely to attend and graduate from college than peers who do not, according to a study of more than 30,000 Texas high school graduates by Boston-based education nonprofit Jobs for the Future (JFF). Find out more at the JFF site.

WRIGHTSLAW, in Special Ed Advocate, covers "gatekeepers" to services and resources. The issue offers tips for dealing with gatekeepers (very useful) and also a hilarious (as well as sad and outrageous) list of things schools have told parents.  Find the issue.   

NCLD has launched a new monthly e-newsletter, LD Action. The first issue deals with the U.S. presidential election and how it might affect the education of kids with LDs. Find out more

Monday, October 15, 2012

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

GOT AN LD QUESTION? NCLD, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, is offering "Access LD: A Conversation with the World's Top LD Experts" on Monday, October 20. The experts are members of the organization's professional advisory board, who will be convening in New York on that day. Questioners may ask via Twitter or via a form on NCLD's website. Check it out

AD/HD WEB CHATS. ADDitude is offering a series of free web chats on AD/HD-related topics on Tuesdays and Thursdays, October 16 to November 15. Topics include accommodations, meds, organization, and more. (Some chats deal with adult AD/HD, some with kid AD/HD.) Find out more. Separately, ADDitude also has on its site right now an article about differentiating AD/HD and OCD. Find it

ILLINOIS PSYCHOLOGISTS TO PRESCRIBE? A news item from Illinois notes that psychologists in Illinois are pushing a bill that would allow them to prescribe medication, something that psychologists in New Mexico and Louisiana can already do. For parents of 2e kids, this would simplify the process of obtaining meds for conditions such as AD/HD, anxiety, and depression. Prescribing psychologists in New Mexico take an extra 450  hours of training to gain prescription authority, and Illinois' requirements would be similar. Read more.

DSM-5, AUTISM. The discussion continues over exactly who might be excluded under revised criteria for autism diagnosis. Will it be those with Asperger's or PDD-NOS? A Forbes column tries to shed light on the issue and "calls into question blithe assurances that people who might fit current Asperger’s and PDD-NOS diagnoses have nothing to worry about." Read more.  

A.T. -- AGENT FOR SUCCESS. A personal story at the site of the NCLD relates how Bookshare and other A.T. tools helped a young man with dyslexia on the way to academic achievement. A standout athlete, he had been labeled "lazy" but was able to gain confidence and success -- not to mention some words of encouragement from Connecticut's dyslexic governor Dannel Malloy, who told the young man, “Maximize your strengths and move forward. Don’t let it get you down!” Read more

SLEEP, BEHAVIOR. The journal Pediatrics has published a study showing how, for kids not getting enough sleep, "a modest addition of sleep each night – an average of 27 minutes among children ages 7 to 11 – resulted in significant improvement in their ability to regulate their emotions, including limiting restless-impulsive behavior in school," according to the AAP. "Conversely, children who decreased their sleep 54 minutes were associated with detectable deterioration of such measures." Read about the study in Time

SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS AND ASD. The blog BestPracticeAutism.com notes the increase in diagnosed instances of ASD and states "Although school psychologists are often called on to assume a leadership role in evaluating, identifying, and providing interventions for students with ASD in our schools, there is little research to show how closely school psychologists align their practices with the parameters of best practice." The blogger goes on to examine the issue more closely. Find the blog

SAD BUT FAMILIAR STORY. The site of CNN contained an article titled "A letter to my special needs son's school principal" intended to help that principal understand her son, who was diagnosed early with AD/HD and later developed Tourette's. The letter reprises things familiar to many parents of twice-exceptional kids -- academic floundering, tutoring, social ostracism,  little help (but dire predictions) from school. If you're in the mood to be depressed, read more. (But root for the parents to get the school to do more to help their son.)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

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

DEPRESSION. Today, the 11th, is National Depression Screening Day, held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week. At the website Screening for Mental Health, you can find out more about community-based screening programs for depression and related mood disorders, or you can take an anonymous depression screening. The Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry also highlights the day and offers materials on depression, including "Facts for Families: The Depressed Child." 

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE this week has a feature article on educational therapists who work with children with learning or attention problems. The article covers what ETs can do, how they do it, and offers tips for finding one. Read more. Separately, the Institute offers a response to the New York Times article we blogged about recently on doctors who prescribe AD/HD meds for kids without AD/HD, the rationale being to improve performance; find the response

PARENTING. It turns out that parental involvement in a child's education may be more important to school achievement than the qualities of the school the child attends. Using data from more than 10,000 students, researchers measured "social capital" of both families and schools to determine that family involvement is more important. Read more

NYC GOES NONVERBAL -- in testing for admissions to the city's gifted and talented programs, at least. New York will now use the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability test as two-thirds of an assessed student's score. The test "largely eliminates language, even from the instructions," according to a Wall Street Journal article

EDUCATION WEEK is offering several "Spotlights" for free at the moment, including one on parent empowerment in shaping their children's educational future and one on "deeper learning" strategies. Find them.

AD/HD, DHA. Certain fatty acids, specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), might help relieve AD/HD-like symptoms in children, according to an Australian study. Find out more

AND FINALLY, THIS -- nothing to do with twice-exceptional topics. Flowing tree resins 100 million years ago trapped a spider as it was about to attack a wasp in the spider's web. The resins eventually turned to amber, and that frozen moment was preserved for recent discovery. See a picture and read more at NewsWise

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

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

AD/HD, MERCURY, FISH. A study indicates that prenatal exposure to mercury is linked to a greater probability of AD/HD-like behaviors at age 8. The study also notes that consuming fish during pregnancy lowered the risk of later AD/HD behaviors. Not explained in the study write-up is the contradiction inherent in this statement: "Nonoccupational methylmercury exposure comes primarily from eating fish." Read more, and if you figure it out let us know. 

LIQUID XR MED FOR AD/HD. America's Food and Drug Administration has approved a liquid, extended-release version of methylphenediate (Ritalin). The drug is given once a day, in the morning, at dosages starting at 20mg. Read more

ADDERALL, NO AD/HD. The New York Times writes about doctors prescribing AD/HD meds to children without AD/HD in order to remediate "poor academic performance in inadequate schools." Says one of these prescribing doctors, "We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.” Find the article

MENTAL ILLNESS AWARENESS WEEK is this week, October 7-13. Articles in the press note that while as many as one in four adults suffer from some form of mental illness, early identification and treatment improves outcomes. Find one such article, or see a TV news station's coverage of the topic. (But watch out for the pesky, loud commercial at the latter link.)

DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROSCIENCE examines how early experiences interact with biology to affect a child's life. Papers from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research provide examples of the kind of research currently underway and what it may tell us about early experience:
  1. One paper notes, "In adult animals [mice, not humans] that were licked more frequently by their mothers the epigenetic signals enhanced the activity of genes associated with learning and memory." The meaning: social experiences can affect genes that affect cognitive capacity. 
  2. Another study seems to indicate that the way a mother's depression is treated (or not) affects language development in the infant.
  3. A third paper described how researchers could use a developmental "window" to make mice prefer a shelter with music to one without, a preference typically irreversible -- except that the researchers were able to "rewire" the appropriate brain area in adulthood. The meaning: better understanding these brain mechanisms may lead to better treatment of disorders such as anxiety or autism. 
Find out more.  

DYSLEXIA TOOLKIT. The National Center for Learning Disabilities offers a Dyslexia Toolkit to help parents and teachers understand, recognize, and deal with dyslexia in the children they raise or teach. Find the toolkit.

Friday, October 5, 2012

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

CAN WE TALK? Looking over prospective blog items from the past few days, we were struck that we found three on the same topic: productive communication between parents and educators. We took that as a signal to pass them on. 
  • The first one, from an educator's point of view, appeared in the Huffington Post and included tips on body language, what to call the parents (not "mom" or "dad"), and finger-pointing, among others. Find it.
  • The second was a write-up of a study of parent/teacher communication by researchers at Western Kentucky University, who found that "parent-teacher communication centers around five different topic areas: academic performance, classroom behavior, child's academic and social preparation for school, hostile communication between peers, and health related issues." The researchers analyzed  how parents and teachers communicated over these areas. Read more.
  • The third item was a list of resources from Edutopia under the title "Opening the Lines of Communication." The resources are directed at parents and can be found at Edutopia's site.
There you go, and don't blame us if the next IEP or 504 meeting goes poorly.

ASSESSMENT RESOURCES. From the same Edutopia article as above, resources about classroom-based assessments as well as high-stakes testing. Find it.  

MISSED THIS. The eloquent child development researcher Alison Gopnik has authored a report, just published, examining the topic of play in young children. From an article about the report: "When engaged in what looks like child’s play, preschoolers are actually behaving like scientists...  forming hypotheses, running experiments, calculating probabilities and deciphering causal relationships about the world." Gopnik's point is that we should not make pres-schools more like schools -- that exploration and play allows child development. Find the article

KHAN ACADEMY is in the news twice this week, once in an article by Salman Khan titled "The Rise of the Tech-Powered Teacher" in Education Week, and again in a segment of the Diane Rehm Show on NPR. If you're a fan -- or looking for potential enrichment or remedial resources for that twice-exceptional child -- check them out. 

KGTC CONFERENCE. The Kansas Association for Gifted, Talented, and Creative begins its annual conference this weekend, starting on Sunday. As well as presenting a keynote address, Nadia Webb will present an all-day session on Tuesday called "Twice-Exceptional: Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis." Find out more

TEACHING GIFTED KIDS in Today's Classroom, third edition, by Susan Winebrenner and Dina Brulles (two of our favorite authors), has been published by Free Spirit Press. According to the publisher, the book includes information on addressing gifted kids with special needs. Find out more.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

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

DSM-5 AND AUTISM. A new analysis indicates that proposed changes to the definition of autism in the DSM-5 will not leave out as many children as previously estimated. The analysis says that the number of children currently diagnosed who would be excluded under the new definition will be around ten percent. Read more at The New York Times or Newswise

GENES AND IQ. A new study indicates that many genes thought to be linked to intelligence do not affect IQ. While intelligence is still, obviously, considered heritable, this conclusion means that researchers must keep looking for the genetic causes of intelligence. Says the lead researcher, "there are probably thousands of genes and their variants that are associated with intelligence. And there may be other genetic effects beyond the single gene effects. There could be interactions among genes, or interactions between genes and the environment." Read more.  

GIFTED RESOURCES. A blog entry at Jo Freitag's website provides information on the transition of GT Chat, a Twitter discussion group on giftedness. The entry provides information on the new leader as well as other aspects of the group. Read more

BULLYING AND THE GIFTED is the title of a piece in Psychology Today. It clarifies some of the reasons why gifted children may become targets. Read more. (Thanks to Jo Freitag for bringing this to our attention through her Gifted Resources Newsletter.) 

STUDY PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITY. A researcher at Ball State University in Indiana is looking for parents of gifted children with autism to participate in a study, which will consist of interviews with the parents about their experiences raising those kids. Find more information at our site, http://www.2enewsletter.com/survey_BSU_2012.html. If you're interested, contact the researcher (info on our site) and maybe contribute something to the 2e community.

GIFTED CONFERENCE CANCELLATIONS. We've received word that the New York AGATE Conference scheduled for this month has been cancelled. In addition, a site with information about the World Conference on Gifted and Talented scheduled for August of 2013 in New Zealand notes that that conference has been canceled as well. 

NCLD notes that October is LD Awareness Month, and in October the organization is spotlighting dyslexia. Find out more in an email from NCLD or at the organization's website

SCHOOL REFUSAL. If that's an issue at your house, be aware that the Child Mind Institute is featuring an article on the topic this week on the Institute's website. Find it

MANHATTAN OPEN HOUSE. The Lang School for the twice-exceptional (or, as school head Micaela Bracamonte calls them, "gifted/LC (learning challenged)" students, is on October 15th at 6pm. Find out more

WASHINGTON, DC, EVENTS. Rich Weinfeld's Weifeld Education Group is co-sponsoring two fall evening workshops, one on irritability, depression, and bipolar disorder in children and the other on CBT for kids with anxiety, depression, or AD/HD. Find out more

SIEMENS CHALLENGE. The Siemens Foundation has kicked off the We Can Change the World Challenge, in which K-12 students identify environmental problems or issues in their schools, communities and across the globe and devise plans to solve them. Teams participate through their schools. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Twice-exceptional children may receive conflicting signals from the world, some related to their giftedness, some to their challenges, and some to the combination. We found a cartoon today that nicely illustrates the situation. See for yourself.