Wednesday, December 26, 2012

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

FAILING THE GIFTED. Chester Finn, a speaker at last month's NAGC Convention, notes in an opinion piece in the Atlantic that "gifted students have 'special needs' too." He writes, "despite plenty of evidence that America is failing to nurture its gifted students, the problem fails to awaken much interest from education leaders and philanthropists. Why is this so?" Then Finn proceeds to provide seven possible explanations, such as fear of elitism. Find the article.  

WHAT'S AD/HD LIKE?  At ADDitude.com, those with AD/HD describe what it's like to them: "like there is always noise in my head"; "like I need an 'off' button for my brain"; and "sometimes the funniest thing ever." Find more descriptions

AUTISM: COMPLEX GENETIC ORIGINS. Potentially hundreds of genetic mutations are related to autism, according to recent research. The research was based on studies of 1.000 families and used "high-throughput sequencing" to discover relevant genes. Read more. Separately, Autism Speaks has published its "Top 10 Science Autism Research Advances of 2012"; find them

IQ AND MATH ACHIEVEMENT. According to a new study, it's not how smart students are but how motivated they are and how they study that determines their growth in math achievement. The study involved thousands of German students and revealed that motivation and study skills were the most important factors of long-term (five-year) growth in math achievement. Find out more

ED SERVICES FOR AUTISM. An article in District Administration provides background on how K-12 districts might go about choosing and implementing educational services for students with autism. Noting that each student is different, the article also covers requirements of the law in providing such services. Read the article

AUTISM AND ANXIETY. Anxiety and anger are common in children on the spectrum, according to a study report at MedicalDaily.com. The report notes that because many ASD kids might be achieving well in school, educators might not recognized the amount of anxiety those kids experience. Find the report

DON'T FORGET: SMARTKIDS AWARD. The 2013 SmartKids application process for the 2013 Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award closes January 31. The award (along with honorable mentions) is presented to a young person with an LD or AD/HD on the basis of notable accomplishment in any field. Find out more.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

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

LOTS OF ITEMS TODAY...

ASPIE FEAR. Perceived connection between Asperger's and violent acts arose again this past week, and at least four articles we read addressed the issue. Two were in The New York Times, the first titled "Don't Blame Autism for Newton" and the second titled "Fearing a Stigma for People with Autism." Both react to media characterizations of last week's killer, and both point out that there is no evidence that people with autism are  more likely to commit violent crimes. At the site of the Child Mind Institute is an article titled "After Newtown: Why Amateur Diagnoses Are Dangerous," which states, in part,  "to blame this violence on Asperger's or a personality disorder, as many media outlets currently are, is a serious mistake." Finally, at its site, Autism Speaks has posted interviews given by its experts on "misconceptions about a linkage between autism spectrum disorders and planned violence." 

OCD, AD/HD.  An Israeli researcher warns of the consequences of mistaking OCD for AD/HD, even though symptoms may seem similar. He points out that the underlying mechanisms leading to the behaviors in each disorder are different, and that mistakenly applying the treatment for one condition to a patient with the other may have ill effects. Read more

DR. LARRY SILVER ON GT/LD. Past Q&As from Dr. Larry Silver at the site of LD Online illustrate three cases in which giftedness and LDs coexist. If  you're interested in how twice-exceptionality plays out in families other than yours, check out the stories and the advice

IQ: NOT JUST ONE NUMBER. A Canadian online study that included more than 100,000 participants indicates that "when a wide range of cognitive abilities are explored, the observed variations in performance can only be explained with at least three distinct components: short-term memory, reasoning, and a verbal component." Participants were asked to complete 12 cognitive tests and a survey about their background and lifestyle. Intrigued? Read more

BULLYING CHANGES GENETIC EXPRESSION, apparently altering a gene involved in regulating mood. According to the researchers, this alteration makes victims "more vulnerable to mental health problems as they age." Find out more

IDENTIFYING BIPOLAR DISORDER. According to a press release, researchers from the Black Dog Institute and University of NSW have used brain imaging technology to show that young people with a known genetic risk of bipolar but no clinical signs of the condition have clear and quantifiable differences in brain activity when compared to controls. The lead researcher commented, "Our results show that bipolar disorder may be linked to a dysfunction in emotional regulation and this is something we will continue to explore." Read more. (And consider what a cool name for an institute is "Black Dog.")

TOURETTE'S, TICS. If you happen to read the current issue of Deutsches Ă„rzteblatt International, you'll evidently find a report on the available modes of diagnosis and treatment for Tourette Syndrome and other tic disorders in children. According to a write up of the article in Science Daily, "Tic disorders usually take a benign course; in about 90% of patients, the tics regress spontaneously in adolescence. Specific treatment is indicated only if the tics are severe or cause evident psychosocial stress. On the other hand, 80% to 90% of all patients with Tourette syndrome have comorbid disorders such as attention deficit—hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder." Read more

PRESENTING AT NAGC. If you're interested in presenting at the next NAGC convention, the organization's proposal submission site is now ready to take your proposal. Find it

ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. You may find a list of all of David Rabiner's AD/HD study reviews for 2012 at his website. The studies reviewed covered topics such as cognitive behavioral therapy, working memory training, creativity, over-diagnosis, and more. Go to helpforadd.com

AND FINALLY, THIS. Rudolph's reindeer nose is indeed more red than a human nose because of a rich supply of blood vessels. Further, the redness apparently will show up on infrared thermal images, according to Science Daily. Read more, and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Items that Might Be of Interest to the 2e Community

TAMARA FISHER posted a thoughtful, timely piece titled "To a Bright Kid with Trouble(s)." It's about being quirky, odd, or misunderstood, angry or frustrated, perhaps feeling like lashing out -- and how to reach out. Read it

AD/HD DOWN THE ROAD. A 30-year study indicates that children with AD/HD who carry the condition into adulthood are more likely to face "a greater risk of stress, work problems, financial troubles, physical health issues and additional mental health issues, such as depression or antisocial personality disorder," according to a report at WOWK-TV. Not exactly cheery news, but perhaps forewarned is forearmed. Read more

SCHOOL FOR DYSLEXICS. The state school board of Louisiana has approved plans to establish a charter school in Baton Rouge to serve students "afflicted" with dyslexia, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which publishes 2000 miles away from Baton Rouge. If you're closer to Baton Rouge than that, check out the article

PRUFROCK FREEBIE. Prufrock Press keeps cranking out free sample downloads of books relevant to those who raise and educate twice-exceptional children. The latest is a partial download of School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Find out more

DYSLEXIC OPTICIAN. An optician in Scotland who in her 30s discovered that she was dyslexic is especially tuned to solving others' vision and reading issues because of her condition. The "mum-of-two," according to The Scotsman, "is able to empathise with clients with reading difficulties, and has even spotted the signs that someone is dyslexic before they knew themselves." The optician makes some use of colored overlays to improve reading speeds. Find the article

WHAT WE READ. We scan a variety of digests of news in the fields of education, science, LDs, and giftedness to find items we think will be of interest to our readers. Today, some of the headlines we encountered were truly unusual. We offer them to you:


Have a good day!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

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

EMOTION RECOGNITION APP. The mother of a gifted young man with autism has developed an app to help people like her son recognize emotions in others. The app is available at the website of Autism Speaks, according to an article at Cincinnati.com. The article also describes the early interventions the family provided for the young man, who was diagnosed with autism at 18 months of age. Find the article

GIFTED IN VICTORIA. The state of Victoria, Australia, is implementing a new policy on gifted education as a result of a parliamentary inquiry into the opportunities there for gifted students. The policy provides guidelines for acceleration and for enrichment, and also addresses the issue of underachieving gifted students. Find the article

GLOBAL ACHIEVEMENT. Want to know which countries have students who achieve at the highest levels in math, science, and reading? Check out an article at Science Daily, and you'll find that it's not students in the U.S. 

BETTER FITNESS, BETTER GRADES. A recent study connects physical fitness with academic performance. Middle school students who are more physically fit make better grades and outperform their classmates on standardized tests, according to the study. Find out more

SUSPEND TESTING? According to the Washington Post, the head of the Montgomery County, Maryland, schools wants a three-year moratorium on standardized testing and a halt to evaluating teachers based on test scores. He thinks the education establishment is trying to do too many things concurrently, for example Race to the Top, NCLB waivers, and Common Core State Standards. Read the article

BELIN-BLANK IN AUSTRALIA. Professors Susan Assouline and Nicholas Colangelo are scheduled to present one-day master classes at the University of South Wales this coming January. Susan's topic is "Neurobiology of Learning and Memory: Implications for Gifted Education"; Nicholas' is "Counseling Gifted Students." Find out more. (Thanks for Jo Freitag for bringing this to our attention in her Gifted Resources newsletter.)

DAVID FINCH IN PORTLAND. The Aspie author of The Journal of Best Practices is scheduled to present a workshop in Portland, Maine, on February 1, 2013. In the area? Check it out

AND FINALLY, THIS. Co-publisher Linda forwarded to us a pointer to a web page titled "UltraViolet's Holiday Gift Guide: A non-sexist Guide to 21st Century Holiday Shopping," with gifts for ages 4 and under, 5-8, 9-12, and 13 and up. Looks like an emphasis there on gifts for young women -- eg, The Daring Book for Girls. Find the site.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Things We Find" from the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

LEFT BEHIND. In the news recently are two articles about whether gifted kids have been "left behind" lately because of lack of services, funding, etc. An article at ArgusLeader.com blames it on NCLB. And an opinion piece in the Denver Post, drawing on the writer's experience at last month's NAGC Convention in Denver, asked whether both gifted and special-needs kids are being left behind; the piece quotes presenters such as Jonathan Mooney, Linda Silverman, and Daniel Pink. Find it

DSM-5. We've seen a couple pieces reacting to the recent finalization of the DSM-5. One was at the site of the National Center for Learning Disabilities and focused on LDs and the DSM; find it. The other was in the New York Times and focused on the revision process as well as the results. (Evidently, from now on revisions will be made continuously rather than in batches.) Find the Times article

PRUFROCK PRESS is offering a free sample download from the book The Underachieving Gifted Child, by Del Siegle. Go to Prufrock

WEBINAR RESOURCES. The education company Pearson offers free webinars on topics that may be of interest to those who raise and educate twice-exceptional children. Called "Cause and Effect" webinars, topics include the neuropsychology of emotional disorders, the role of attention and executive functioning in learning, cognitive factors in learning, RTI and neuropsychology, and more. Find the webinars. (Thanks for Fernette Eide for pointing the way to these.)

DEFINING GIFTEDNESS: MORE. After NAGC, Stephanie Tolan blogged about "gifted" -- and "child" -- and "school" -- in a post titled "Are We Redefining the Wrong Word?" Her thoughts on these topics are worth reading. Find them

MEDICATING FOR AD/HD is the name of a recent "Sunday Dialog" in the New York Times in which readers respond to what they've read about this topic in the Times recently -- which is quite a variety of pieces, if you've been following this blog. If you're involved in any aspect of the AD/HD medication "issue," you mind find others' opinions interesting. Find them.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

OVER-ACCELERATION? Montgomery, Maryland, Public Schools have adopted what parents are calling "one size fits all" math programming, according to the Washington Post. The school district, for its part, says it "aims to correct a system that over-accelerated students," a system in which MCPS students were already ahead of the nationwide standard. Also in the mix: Common Core State Standards. Find out more

THE SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST. If you're a reader of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter (especially of the May, 2010, issue), you know what a school psychologist does. But to a lot of people -- especially the kids being "psychologized," the job is a mystery. At the Child Mind Institute site, a real school psychologist shares student conceptions of what her job is. Find it

ABOUT.COM, to which we sometimes refer readers for its articles on topics such as AD/HD, now has a Facebook page on that topic, with, not surprisingly, links to all kinds of AD/HD information and resources. Find the page

MIND INSTITUTE. The UC Davis MIND Institute holds monthly lectures on a variety of topics, free and open to the public but also recorded for online play. The next four lectures, December through March, are on various aspects of autism. For example, on December 12 Helen Tager-Flusberg, Ph.D., is scheduled to present on "On the Origins and Development of Language and Communication in Autism Spectrum Disorder." Got an interest? Check out the lectures

COPAA is the Council of Parent Attorney's and Advocates, "a national membership association dedicated to securing high quality educational services for children with disabilities," according to the organization's website. The site offers resource information on disabilities, legal and advocacy resources, a listing of attorneys/advocates by state/territory, and more. Note that the emphasis is on disability, but we in the 2e community are used to borrowing from both sides, right? Find COPAA.

Monday, December 3, 2012

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

DSM-5 APPROVED. According to The Wall Street Journal, the content of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has been approved by the board of directors of the American Psychiatric Association. The Journal reports, "The DSM-5 will combine subcategories such as Asperger's syndrome, a mild version of the condition, and 'pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified' into a single category of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)." Additionally, the Journal says that there have been no changes to dyslexia -- not specifically mentioned in either the DSM-IV or DSM-5, in spite of some chatter we've seen about supposed changes. Find the article. Separately, take a poll on our website if you have an opinion on whether the DSM-5 will affect the diagnosis and treatment of twice-exceptional children. 

BIOMARKERS FOR DEPRESSION, ANXIETY IN YOUTH. The University of Cambridge says that scientists have discovered a cognitive biomarker – a biological indicator of a disease – for young adolescents who are at high risk of developing depression and anxiety. The test for the unique cognitive biomarker, which can be done on a computer, could be used as an inexpensive tool to screen adolescents for common emotional mental illnesses.  According to the university, as the cognitive biomarker may appear prior to the symptoms of depression and anxiety, early intervention (which has proven to be one of the most effective ways of combating mental illness) could then be initiated. Read more

"DO WE SEE WEED OR DO WE SEE AN HERB?" That's the question Thorkil Sonne of Denmark asks to get listeners to recognize that the strengths of autistic workers may depend on the beholder. Sonne makes available autistic workers to technology companies, spurred by his experiences with his own autistic and remarkably capable son. We've blogged about this before, but the New York Times Magazine just published a story about it. Find the story

DEFINING GIFTEDNESS. In a recent blog and in our December 1st briefing we referred readers to an article by Jim Delisle concerning NAGC's hotly-discussed 2011 definition of giftedness. At Hoagies' website, the repository of all things gifted, is Delisle's article and also a point-by-point rebuttal of it by a member of the task force that crafted the NAGC definition. Anyone interested in how giftedness is defined is encouraged to read the second article as well as the first; find it


MATT COHEN, special ed attorney, has an article on the ADDitude site in which he dispels 10 common myths about AD/HD and special ed laws. Got a twice-exceptional child of the AD/HD persuasion? Check it out. 

DR. JUDY WILLIS has issued her November/December newsletter on neuroscience, which also notes her free ASCD webinar titled "The Essentials of Neurolearning," to be held from 3-4pm EST on December 11. Find the newsletter.