Friday, December 27, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

THE VALUE OF GIFTED PROGRAMS comes into question in an article in The Atlantic. The article reported on a study comparing students of roughly the same ability -- those who just made it into a gifted program and those who just missed. The hypothesis: if gifted programs are effective, then the marginal students enrolled in those programs would do better on standardized tests. The result: no difference in scores. Read more.

NON-CONFORMING KIDS. Chances are you know one -- maybe even raise one -- a child who might be alleged to have issues with self-regulation, or self-discipline, or emotional regulation. Does that child need help? A writer in The New Republic takes on that question, in the process describing trends in education, especially social emotional learning, or SEL, which is supposed to help a child academically. The problem: there might not be a link between social-emotional skills and academic achievement. Further, labeling a child as deficient in social-emotional skills can have negative consequences. The article ends with this quote: “The saddest, most soul-crushing thing is the negative self-image. We think kids don’t understand what’s happening, but they do. There’s this quiet reinforcement that something is wrong with them. That’s the thing that’ll kill.” Find the article.

THAT'S IT! The end of the year is a slow time for news. More next week -- hopefully.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

News, Resources from the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

MORE ADHD. In the most recent briefing, on December 15, we included an item from The New York Times about how pharma companies might be contributing to "marketing the ADHD diagnosis to the public" -- and, consequently, to a rise in prescriptions to "treat" ADHD. That article has engendered quite a bit of discussion, both at the site of the Times in other places. From some of the letters to the Times:
  • "A strange competitive culture has arisen among my generation, wherein those who can boast the most severe symptoms — “Oh, I’m so A.D.H.D.!” — get an exemption from responsibility and accountability."
  • "For a 9-year-old boy to sit still in a classroom for five or six hours a day and pay attention to things he is not necessarily interested in is a fairly unnatural act, and he may have trouble focusing. If that same child is a leader on the playground, a not unusual observation, or excels at certain sports because he is able to shift attention in a rapidly changing environment, can we fairly consider it a pathology? Or that it should be medicated?"
Find the letters. Separately, an opinion piece at the site of the Child Mind Institute takes a more moderate view than the writer of the New York Times article, saying, " What [the writer] doesn't do is offer any evidence that these marketing efforts are the major, or even a major, factor in the increase." Go to the Child Mind Institute article

RESOURCES FOR THE GIFTED. In the most recent briefing we also noted a New York Times editorial on support for gifted and talented children in the United States. That article, too, engendered lots of reaction. You can read some of it at the Times site.

TEEN GENE. Researchers have discovered a gene labeled DCC that could help explain why some mental health issues emerge during the teenage years. Discovery of the gene could help address illnesses triggered by the gene. "We know that the DCC gene can be altered by experiences during adolescence," said the lead researcher. "This already gives us hope, because therapy, including social support, is itself a type of experience which might modify the function of the DCC gene during this critical time and perhaps reduce vulnerability to an illness." Read more.

GIFTED CHILD QUARTERLY published an issue devoted to twice exceptionality, which we blogged about last month. What we just discovered (thanks, Del) is that GCQ has a blog where you can see videos of some of the authors -- including Megan Foley Nicpon, guest editor of the issue --  discuss their contributions to the issue. Find the blog.

SENG NEWSLETTER. December's SENGVine is out, featuring a great "good-bye" article from outgoing SENG Board President Lori Comallie-Caplan; an introduction to the new SENG online Parent Support Groups; an article on the psychosocial development of gifted chidlren; and an article on helping gifted children "discover their passion." Find the newsletter.

THE SCIENTIST IN THE CRIB. Long-time readers of this blog and our newsletter know we're fans of the work of Alison Gopnik, a psychologist who studies the cognitive development of young children. In an edition of the NPR program "To the Best of Our Knowledge," Gopnik describes some of her work about logical thinking in these kids; the edition is titled "The Scientist in the Crib." Find it.

IT'S THE SEASON for "best of" lists. NCLD offers "Our Top 10 Inspirational Quotes of 2013," featuring on motivational ideas from a variety of people; find the quotes. Separately, The New York Times offers "The Top New York Times Best-Selling Education Books of 2013." Some of the titles look as though they would be of interest to those who raise or educate gifted and twice-exceptional children; find the list.

IT'S THE SEASON, TOO, for all kinds of organizations to take a break from normal activity during the last two weeks of the year. Depending on how much news we find, our postings might be fewer until 2014. But regardless, we wish you a happy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

WE MENTIONED LAST WEEK how Dan Aykroyd had recently discussed his Asperger's diagnosis in an interview with a UK newspaper. The Huffington Post today has an article that includes Aykroyd and seven others with Asperger's; the article is titled "These 8 Inspiring People Will Change the Way You Think about Autism and Asperger's." Find the article.

DAVID RABINER, in his e-newsletter, pointed us to a series of articles at ADDitude providing behavior and discipline tips for parents of kids with ADHD. If behavior is sometimes an issue for your bright child with ADHD, perhaps check out the tips.

ON THE OTHER HAND, Science Daily brings us the story of a technique in development that could obviate the need for reading and practicing tips about modifying ADHD behavior. The technique involves identifying the area of an individual's brain responsible for inhibitory responses -- self control -- then using brain stimulation to increase the activity in that area, enhancing self control. We will probably not find the equipment for this technique at Wal-Mart anytime soon; however, researchers say it "may one day be useful for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Tourette's syndrome and other severe disorders of self-control." Read more.

THE DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE NEWSLETTER for December is out, and it includes mention of a webinar on December 16. About the webinar, the Eides say this:
We're thrilled to have gifted designer Madalyne Hymas joining us to tell us her personal story about how she grew up thinking of dyslexia as only something negative -- then she began researching into the strengths and advantages associated with dyslexia and how it changed her whole perspective. She chose to create her capstone project on the Dyslexic Advantage and she went on to win the prestigious VSA Award, have her projected exhibited at the Kennedy Center and Smithsonian, and speak to the Dyslexia Congressional Caucus. This should be a great webinar also to invite teens, young adults, and those interested in arts and design.Also mentioned in the newsletter: The best iPad apps for dyslexia; and an opportunity for dyslexic adults to participate in a research study. Find the newsletter.

EDUCATION WEEK is offering a title from its new "Focus On" series as a free download for a limited time. The title is Focus On: Identifying and Motivating Underachievers. Of the series, Education Week says, "These easy-to-read guides are designed to be used by pre-K-12 educators for professional development. The series presents key findings from education research and provides practical tips for your toughest instructional challenges." Find the download.

AACAP RESOURCE. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has on its site "Facts for Families," 110 pieces of written guidance for dealing with situations ranging from ADHD to violence on television, with lots of 2e-related topics in between. While the treatment of many topics looks to be at an introductory level, necessarily, the range of topics is impressive. There's even one titled "Normality" -- whatever that might be. Find the list. The facts are also downloadable as a folder full of zipped PDFs.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

News Items, Resources from 2e Newsletter

FAMOUS ASPIE. Dan Aykroyd, of Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters fame, briefly discusses his Asperger's condition in an interview in the UK Daily Mail. He also reveals that he was diagnosed with Tourette's at age 12, but with therapy overcame it. In response to the question, "Any vices?" he replies, "Macaroni and cheese, made properly with spice and truffle oil." Read more.

TWO BOOKLETS NOW IN PDF. As a trial, we're now offering two of our booklets from our "Spotlight on 2e Series" in PDF form. The booklets are:
  • Parenting Your Twice-Exceptional Child (for parents)
  • Understanding Your Twice-Exceptional Student (for educators).
Each booklet is available for $7, and shipping charges no longer matter! Find out more at our website.

HOLIDAYS AND STRESS. As we scan articles for items to report here, we've noticed lots of pieces lately on dealing with holiday stress. If you feel the need for advice, check places like NCLD or just do a search on the topic. The best advice we've seen so far this season: "Be present, not perfect."

KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS VERSUS FLUID INTELLIGENCE. High-stakes tests measure knowledge and skills that schools impart. Schools can raise those scores -- but evidently cannot raise scores on tests of "fluid intelligence," such as working memory capacity, processing speed, and abstract reasoning. Researchers studying this duality hope that the findings will encourage educational practices that improve the cognitive skills involved in fluid intelligence. Find out more.

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST FACTOR IN EXAM SCORES? Genetics. Not teachers, not family -- genetics. In a twins study, genetics explained over 50 percent of test score differences; shared environmental factors such as family comprised about 29 percent of those differences. The authors explain that the findings do not imply that educational achievement is genetically pre-determined, or that environmental interventions are not important, but rather that recognizing the importance of children's natural predispositions may help improve learning. Read more.

NO GIFTED OR 2e ON PINTEREST? Pinterest has a "Teachers" section with about 30 groups based on grade level, topic, and even "The Works of Roald Dahl." But groups focusing on gifteness or twice exceptionality? We don't see any. Maybe in the future. In the meantime, check out what teachers post in "Teachers on Pinterest." (If you know of gifted/2e resources on Pinterest, please let us know.)

GOT A RELATIVE WHO DOESN'T BELIEVE in learning and attention issues? Chance are you've encountered disbelief from a relative or neighbor when the topic of learning challenges came up, especially when the student in question is bright. The National Center for Learning Disabilities offers advice for dealing with non-believers; find it.

NATIONAL JOINT COMMITTEE ON LEARNING DISABILITIES. NJCLD is an organization with the mission of providing "multi-organizational leadership and resources to optimize outcomes for individuals with learning disabilities." Its "home" is on the website of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. There you can find out more about how it accomplishes its mission, member organizations, and a variety of web resources. Find the page at the NCLD site.

Monday, December 9, 2013

News Items, Resources from 2e Newsletter

2e ABOUT TO GO MAINSTREAM -- in Los Angeles, at least. Bridges Academy, in the Studio City area, is readying an ad campaign to attract students to its campus and to perhaps give a new twist to the concept of "learning disabilities." The ads, developed pro bono by a New York agency, carry the theme "Educating the exceptional 2," where the "2" is in superscript (a new twist on the term "twice-exceptional"). The campaign is to use historical figures, including their names in this phrase: "After all, we could be teaching this generation's ________." According to The New York Times, the campaign also includes collateral material such as brochures and posters. Way to go, Bridges! Read more.

LONDON'S MAYOR, TWICE EXCEPTIONALITY. A writer in the UK Guardian, starting with comments about IQ made by London's mayor, Boris Johnson, segues to how pop psychology might see IQ but then launches into a discourse that includes cortical pruning, asynchrony, the Columbus Group, and over-excitabilities. The article rests briefly, explaining that twice exceptionality is more recognized in the U.S. than in the U.K., then pivots to include thoughts from James Webb on misdiagnosis and observations on gender differences in the brain. It's quite a trip for one column; find it. (And we still don't know exactly what the mayor said to prompt all this.)

DYSLEXIA. An article in the Los Angeles times concerning recent research says, "A faulty connection between where the brain stores the auditory building blocks of language and where it processes them may be to blame for dyslexia." Research imaging showed a weak connection between the speech area of the brain and the area that processes phonemes. Read more.

DYSLEXIA FACT SHEET. The International Dyslexia Association has published a fact sheet titled "Gifted and Dyslexic: Identifying and Instructing the Twice-Exceptional Student." Professor Jeff Gilger, who has contributed to 2e Newsletter, assisted in the preparation of the fact sheet. Find it

DUKE TO STUDY SMOKE, ADHD. Duke University has received funding to study the effect of secondhand cigarette smoke on ADHD, according to the university. While 76 percent of the risk of ADHD comes from genetic factors, the remainder comes from the environment. Environmental factors such as secondhand smoke can alter gene expression. Find out more.

Friday, December 6, 2013

News, Resources from 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

EDUCATION "STARS." The Economist reports that Finland, long the education star on Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests, has slipped, and that Asian countries now dominate the top of the list, at least in math (or, as they say in the UK, "maths"). The Economist notes questions about the shift in rankings -- perhaps the psychological cost to intensely prepared Asian students, and about the methodology itself. However, the magazine says that the lesson is simple: "Successful countries focus fiercely on the quality of teaching and eschew zigzag changes of direction or philosophy. Teachers and families share a determination to help the young succeed." Read more. Separately, an American teacher now teaching in Finland comments on the differences in the educational systems and in the kids themselves, and how what he has seen and encountered there has challenged some of his guiding principles. Find the article at Education Week Teacher.

READING FOR PLEASURE. Scholastic has published a book about the pleasures and benefits for adolescents of "marginalized" literature such as vampire stories, horror, fantasy, romance, and dystopian fiction. According to Scholastic, the authors "argue that pleasure should play a more central role in school-based reading instruction and in work done outside of schools to promote literacy and reading. They explore ways to make the various kinds of pleasure they identify more central to the work of school, and also how to build on and extend reading pleasure to meet existing curricular goals and expectations." A portion of the book, Reading Unbound, is available at Scholastic.

JOEL MCINTOSH of Prufrock Press, in a blog posting, addresses his company's position on Common Core Standards and how they apply to gifted education. Prufrock is in the midst of "aligning" its publications to those standards to help educators know where and how its materials will support CCSS. He addresses what he sees as the conflation of high-stakes testing and CCSS, and tackles four what he calls myths about CCSS. CCSS will affect the education of the gifted and twice exceptional, so you might be interested in what McIntosh has to say; find the blog.

BRAIN RESOURCE. Each month, the Dana Foundation publishes the newsletter Brain in the News. You can subscribe to a paper edition that arrives in the mail, or you can -- as we just discovered -- find it at the Dana site. The November issue points to articles that include one called "Solving the Brain," about brain research; one on depression and circadian rhythm; and one that we'd actually referred to in this blog titled "Not All Reading Disabilities Are Dyslexia." Find Brain in the News.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- on the value of dads to their offspring. According to an article at Science Daily, the absence of a father during critical growth periods leads to impaired social and behavioral abilities in adults (in mice, at least). It is the first study to link father absenteeism with social attributes and to correlate these with physical changes in the brain. Find it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

INDICTMENT 1: GIFTED ED. Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews doesn't seem to think that gifted ed does much for students. He feels that the truly gifted will use their own resources and interests to develop themselves into successful achievers, and notes a short list of geniuses who went to "ordinary" schools. He concludes, "Geniuses are made mostly by themselves. All schools can do is give them what they ask for and get out of the way." Read the column.

INDICTMENT 2: STANDARDS. Also in the Washington Post, Valerie Strauss published a letter from a teacher who seems to really care for her students and to be able to motivate them, even students classified as special ed (and who, based on later achievements, must have been 2e). This teacher is frustrated that, despite years of passion and dedication and results, she is now appraised as "satisfactory" because she is measured against the Common Core State Standards. She is not happy about it. She says, "I was taught in teacher’s college that each student had an individual learning style, and that my job as a teacher was to discover each child’s pathway to learning and help them to embark on that path. My calling was to meet the needs of the child." She apparently doesn't believe that calling is necessarily quantifiable and standards-based. Read the letter and see what you think.

ASPERGER'S: STILL A TERM? "Yes" is the short answer, according to an article at About.com. The writer contends that at least for the medium term the label will be used and useful to differentiate "people who are brilliant, quirky, anxious, creative, and socially awkward" from others who have more severe forms of autism. The term "Asperger's" is no longer used by the DSM; rather, those individuals are now described as ASD Level 3, according to the writer. Find the article.

MENTAL HEALTH. An item in USA Today indicates that the immune system may affect both body and mind -- the mind in conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. The artile lists a number of links such as how people with higher rates of inflammation are more likely to be depressed. The application of this connection might be, for some people, in treating the immune system rather than the symptom. Find the article. Separately, US News notes that young people are more likely than adults to be diagnosed with mental health issues. Along with the increasing rate of diagnosis comes increased prescriptions for psychatric drugs. Find out more.

ADHD. Low levels of iron in the brain may play a part in ADHD. Iron is required to process dopamine, an ADHD-related neurotransmitter. Further, MRIs can detect low levels of brain iron. The researchers noted that after treatment with stimulant meds, levels of iron in the brain appeared to normalize. Read more. Separately, an Australian study has identified a number of maternal risk factors leading to a higher probability of ADHD in children. According to a write-up of the study, "mothers of children with ADHD were significantly more likely to be younger; single; have smoked in pregnancy; have had labor induced; and have experienced threatened preterm labor, preeclampsia, urinary tract infection in pregnancy, or early-term delivery." Read more.

OXCYTOCIN, AUTISM. The hormone oxytocin, delivered by nasal spray, appears to help the brain process social information, facilitating "social attunement." Read more.

PRUFROCK PRESS has released the second edition of Assistive Technology in Special Education, by Joan Green. We reviewed the first edition of the book in 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter; subscribers can find that review in the subscriber-only area. According to the publisher, "The book features new tools to improve and compensate for challenges relating to speaking, understanding, reading, writing, and thinking and remembering, as well as strategies to help students become more organized and efficient." Go to the Prufrock site.

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH. The Weinfeld Education Group is presenting its 2014 edition of this conference on March 8 in Fairfax, Virginia. The focus: the mind-body connection. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. In the comic "Baby Blues," Zoe has entered the accelerated program at school. Find out what joys and woes this may bring to the family by going to the site, choosing the December 2nd strip, and following the strip for the week. Go there.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

2e AND SPORTS. Well, it's Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S., and lots of football. In the middle of this is a blog by a guy named Alex Pappademas, on Grantland, a site that -- as nearly as we can tell -- is devoted to sports and maybe a little "social commentary." The title of the post is "I Suck at Football 2.13: Twice-Exceptional." Evidently this guy has an enlightened sister. " I sat there drinking coffee with my sister and listened to her tell me about the term "twice exceptional," or "2e." Basically it's when a gifted kid's stellar potential masks a learning disability of some kind. Undiagnosed, it can lead to depression and social anxiety ("Hmm," I said) and also lonerish behavior ("Go on," I said) and difficulty finishing big projects ("You don't say," I said) and even being bad at returning phone calls. That's me in the corner! I'm twice-exceptional!" It's a weird post because it starts and ends with sports but reveals a life in the middle -- not that sports isn't life. Find the blog.

GHF RESOURCES. A recent email from the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum reminded us of the resources the group makes available for parents and for parents to provide to others. Among those is a "Professionals' Guide to Gifted and 2e Chldren," available on the GHF website. Another is a brochure titled "Twice Exceptional: Smart Kids with Learning Differences," intended to "help educators, healthcare professionals and others understand that some gifted children’s challenges and behaviors are associated with being 'many ages at once,' or asynchronous, but that the very same challenges may also be indicative of a learning difference," according to GHF; find the brochure.

DAVIDSON eNEWS-UPDATE. The November issue of this newsletter came out recently. It carries (naturally) news of the Davidson Institute's activities, but also points to other news items of interest and to a variety of web-based resources. Find the newsletter.

NOT MUCH NEWS in the last few days -- mostly because everyone in the U.S. was either preparing, ingesting, or digesting turkey. We did manage to get out the November/December issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter before the holiday; watch for postings at our website soon. Next blog posting -- later this week.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

News Items, Resources from the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

ADHD: 11%. That's the incidence in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States; 6.4 million kids between 4 and 17. About 3.5 million of those are taking medication for the condition. This information is part of a follow-up by CNN on last week's announcements by the CDC. Read more.

ADHD TRAINING PROGRAMS are ineffective, according to a psychology professor who analyzed the data involving 25 studies of those programs. The programs are supposed to help improve cognitive abilities, academics, or behavior. One note: the analysis seems to indicate that training programs can help short-term memory, but not working memory, a deficit in ADHD kids. Read more.

BIOFEEDBACK FOR ASD. A researcher at the Rochester Institute of Technology has developed a method for helping people with ASD regulate the "fight or flight" mechanism, among other things. The method employs biofeedback and hypnosis. One of the uses of the treatment model is helping students with ASD at the Institute develop coping skills. Find out more.

TEENS, SOCIAL MEDIA. An article at the site of the Child Mind Institute explores the effect of social media on teens, in particular on their anxiety and self-esteem. The article offers tips for parents for minimizing the risks to children associated with social media. Find the article


NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTORS EDIT BOOK. Katharina Boser and Sarah Wayland, both of whom have contributed to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, have edited, along with Matthew Goodwin, a book titled Technology Tools for Students With Autism: Innovations that Enhance Independence and Learning. Amazon calls the book “in-depth guided tour of technologies that support learners with autism and help them fully participate in their classroom and community.” Find out more from the publisher.

VIDEO GAMES is a recurrent topic in this blog -- are they bad, good, neutral? Today, November 27, the Diane Rehm show on NPR addresses the impact of video games on mental health; find the discussion. Coincidentally, two days ago a review of research published by the American Psychological Association concluded, "Playing video games, including violent shooter games, may boost children’s learning, health and social skills." Find out more about that review.

AUTISM WEBINAR. On December 10, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is offering a free webinar titled "Autism: Progress and Promise for the Future." The highly credentialed presenter is Fred R. Volkmar, M.D., primary author of the DSM IV's section on autism and PDD. Find out more.

SENGINAR. The title of a December 3 webinar by SENG is "It Takes More than Cheering from the Sidelines: Supporting Gifted Students in Competitions." From the blurb: "Discuss strategies for supporting gifted and talented students who are competing in academic, artistic, leadership, and service-related competitions as individuals or in teams. Preparing students for competitions and working with them after the event are as important as cheering them on as they compete." Find out more.

ART AND SMART. A study involving exposure to art was able to find a causal link -- not just a correlation -- between arts education and outcomes such as strong critical thinking skills, social tolerance, and historical empathy -- not to mention a taste for art museums. Find out how researchers determined this link.

AND FINALLY, THIS. You probably know, if you've followed links from this blog, that some of the items we link to are press releases. In the case of research-related items, those releases are usually from universities or research institutions. We point to what we believe are reliable sources. However, a cartoon called xkcd recently touched on the topic of press releases, prompting us to make explicit the sources of some of our news. Find the cartoon -- and, hopefully, get a laugh.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING to our friends and readers in the United States!

Friday, November 22, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

NVLD: NOT THE SAME AS ASPERGER'S. A Michigan State University study has discovered the first anatomical evidence that the brains of children with a nonverbal learning disability may be different than those of other children, notably those with Asperger's or high-functioning autism, often confused with NVLD. Understanding the biological differences in children with learning and behavioral challenges could help lead to more appropriate intervention strategies. Read more.

INCIDENCE OF ADHD DIAGNOSIS. On November 22, the Centers for Disease Control released data indicating that an estimated two million more children in the United States (U.S.) have been diagnosed with ADHD between 2003-04 and 2011-12. One million more U.S. children were taking medication for ADHD between 2003-04 and 2011-12. About half of the children were diagnosed by 6 years of age. Find out more.

TANTRUMS AND MELT-DOWNS. The Child Mind Institute offers guidelines for handling tantrums in children. The Institute sees tantrums as a learned response to certain situations; so the challenge is, how do you get the child to unlearn that response. Find out how.

GENETICS, BRAIN FUNCTION, AND AUTISM. UCLA researchers have grouped  autism-risk genes by function, and identified when and where the genes affect brain development. According to the lead researcher, "“We need to figure out where genetic changes appear in the brain, at what stages during development and which biological processes they disrupt. Only then will we understand how mutations cause autism.” Read more.

CCSS AND IEPS are the topic of an upcoming online chat sponsored by Education Week. The topic covers part of the 2e equation, so parents and educators of 2e kids might be interested in this presentation. From the blurb for the event: "The Common Core State Standards mean big changes for teachers of students with disabilities, who face the challenge of providing grade-level content to students with disabilities through individualized education programs (IEPs). Experts Carol Kosnitsky, a New Hampshire-based special education consultant, and Barbara Van Haren, a director of special education in Pewaukee, Wis., have experience working with teachers who are learning how to weave core standards into IEPs. They will answer your questions on this vital topic." Find out more.

SENG HONOR ROLL The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted takes nominations from parents who want to recognize educators committed to helping gifted children and young adults. (Part of the recognition is a one-year subscription to 2e Newsletter, courtesy of us, because we support SENG's goals.) A minimum donation is required. If you're enthusiastic about the way a teacher has helped your young person, find out more.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

From the Publishers: Items on Giftedness, LDs, Education, Parenting...

PSYCHOBIOTICS? Did you know your "gut" contains about 1 kilogram of bacteria which can be "modulated" by diet, for example by ingesting probiotics such as those found in yogurt? And that the right probiotics can have effects on the psyche, especially on feelings of stress and depression? Find a primer on this topic at Science Daily, then go on to read more at the site of NPR, where a blogger provides more detail on the workings of gut bacteria, including how the gut may communicate with the brain. (Then go have a yogurt.)

PRETEND PLAY provides a lot of benefit and fosters child development, according to a blogger at Scientific American. Among the area of benefit are language usage; the ability to switch perspectives; social skills; and the expression of positive and negative feelings. The blogger also discusses environments that foster pretend play. Read more.

RECOGNIZING FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES. The Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG) recently recognized a state legislator as a "2013 Friend of the Gifted" for the legislator's support of gifted-friendly legislation. The news item begs the question, do state gifted associations across the country monitor legislators and reward or acknowledge those who advance the gifted (or twice-exceptional) cause? Seems like the CAG has the right idea. Read more.

NCLD WANTS INPUT. The National Center for Learning Disabilities, as part of a coalition of non-profits, is building a new website for parents of kids with learning or attention issues. NCLD is requesting parent input via a survey on what the site should be like. If you like what NCLD does and want to suggest that the new site include material on twice-exceptionality, consider taking the survey.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. This newsletter's winter edition is just out, featuring an article on identifying and educating "gifted African-American students who may have characteristics similar to ADHD." Another article is an exerpt from "Exam Schools" by Chester Finn. Find the newsletter.

LD ONLINE, in its current newsletter, focuses on career and college prep for high school seniors with LDs or ADHD. Got one of those? Find the newsletter.

SHARPBRAINS has, on its site, a collection called "Top 15 Articles on Neuroplasticity and Brain Health." While some of the article apply to adults, some -- like "Mindfulness and Meditation in Schools" -- apply to young people as well. Find the collection.

GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER, a non-profit, has received a challenge grant. If the Center can raise $10,000, a donor will match that amount to provide funding for the Center's work. If you believe in the work the Center does, consider donating.

SENG is conducting its Annual Appeal, and Lori Comallie-Caplan, outgoing (in several ways) SENG Board "Champion" for Model Parent Group programs, encourages gifts to help the SMPG programs going; find out more.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

News Items, Resources from 2e Newsletter

COLLEGE, DEPRESSION. The Child Mind Institute notes in an article on its site that this is the time of year when college freshmen might encounter symptoms of depression. The article notes things parents can watch for and how to get help. Find the article.

TEEN NIGHT OWLS are more likely to develop emotional and academic problems than peers who go to bed earlier. A longitudinal study tracked 2,700 teenagers and compared sleep habits to academic success along with social and emotional development. In a write-up of the study, its senior author, from UC/Berkeley, noted that Berkeley has "sleep coaches." Find the write-up.

MINDFULNESS can evidently impede certain types of learning, specifically "implicit" learning by which one learns habits and which occurs automatically. If you practice mindfulness, perhaps check out this research about it.

MIS-EDUCATION is the topic of an article at the site of station KQED in Northern California. The article reports on the research of a Stanford educator and author who is critical of such things as: the misalignment of educational values/goals between parents and children; anxiety around school success; academic pressure that leads to cheating; and how the educational system produces "robo-students." The article covers the educator's recipe for "restructuring school for success"; find it.

NCLD. We often point to articles and resources at the NCLD site. The current NCLD monthly newsletter offers a good overview of what the organization does. We suggest that you might be interested in reading about the mission and accomplishments of this organization, which does a great job of covering part of the 2e "equation." Find the newsletter.

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. On November 18, ADDitude is presenting a free webinar called "Stop the Bully: Help Your ADHD Child Manage -- and Overcome -- Teasing and Aggressive Kids at School." The title says it all; so if bullying is an issue for your smart, ADHD child, find out more about the webinar.

SCHOOL/PARENT COMMUNICATION. Not feeling good about your child's school? Maybe it's because you feel they don't seek your input, don't do a good job of outreach. A Harris Poll finds that when asked to give a letter grade to rate their overall satisfaction with their child's school, parents who feel the school seeks their opinions an "adequate amount" are roughly twice as likely to grade that school in the "A Range" (57%), compared to parents that say the school does not seek their opinion as much as they would like (with 29% grading the school an A or A-). Find out more from Harris.

MARLO PAYNE THURMAN, doctoral student, founder of Brideun Learning Communities, and contributor to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, is now on the faculty at the University of Northern Colorado. Way to go, Marlo! If you're on LinkedIn, you can find out more.

ALSO ON LINKEDIN: In the group "Advocates for Students with Attention Issues: ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Giftedness, Learning Disabilities" is a discussion on IEPs for a bright high school junior with attention deficit. Want to follow or contribute? Go to the discussion.

A LITTLE LATE ON THIS ONE. A couple months ago, writer Michael Shaughnessy published an interview with James Webb, of Great Potential Press, about Webb's new book, Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope. In the interview, Webb elaborates on each part of the title as it relates to young people, and discloses some of his personal reasons for writing the book. What Webb discusses might apply to your own bright child. Check out the interview.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- nothing to do with giftedness or learning challenges, just something interesting about the way some people's minds work. A five-year study of 80 children with grapheme-color synesthesia revealed that synesthetic colors emerge slowly during childhood, building up an incremental inventory of colorful letters and numbers, according to the study author. Grapheme-color synesthesia is a condition in which letters and numbers are associated with colors by the beholder. Find out more.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

BACK FROM NAGC. We spent part of last week in Indianapolis at the NAGC Convention. In the upcoming issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, watch for coverage of some of the sessions we covered on topics such as gifted underachievement, "I Hate to Write," an in-development screen to find gifted Aspies, aggression in 2e kids, and more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE WEBINAR TOMORROW. It's on the topic of "Neurodiversity in the Classroom -- Strength-based Strategies," and it's to be presented by Thomas Armstrong. Find out more.

BELIN-BLANK RESOURCE. Sometimes we have to go to conferences to find out what's posted online. At NAGC we found out that the Belin-Blank center has a PDF resource on its site titled "The Paradox of Giftedness and Autism: Packet of Information for Families." Find it.

SAGE RESOURCE. For some reason, the publisher SAGE is offering free access to some of its publication for a few weeks. Among the titles are several on bullying and some "must-read" articles, one of which is titled "High-Ability Students' Time Spent Outside the Classroom." Find the publications.

FACE-TO-FACE TALKING. Sometimes we discover interesting things in The New York Times obituaries. Clifford Nass, a Stanford professor, died recently, and his obit tells us his thoughts on face-to-face versus machine communication: “We’ve got to make face-to-face time sacred, and we have to bring back the saying we used to hear all the time, and now never hear, ‘Look at me when I talk to you.’” Find the obit.

TEENS, IMPULSE CONTROL. They don't have as as much, when faced with danger, as younger children or as adults, possibly because of lowered activity in a brain region called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. A researcher speculates that "dangerous activities bring their own emotional reward" to those teens. Read more.

CONTROLLING ADHD. A young woman who works for the NCLD describes how she was able to control her ADHD during high school and college, providing insight into what it feels like to have ADHD. Find the account.

Friday, November 8, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

ADHD DIAGNOSES are on the rise, and the results may be kids who are unnecessarily dosed with ADHD meds as well people who are skeptical of the ADHD diagnosis itself, according to a study in the British Medical Journal. That skepticism, according to the study's lead author, may lead "to the harm of those with severe problems who unquestionably need sensitive, skilled specialist help and support." Find out more.

AUTISM MARKER -- a baby's gaze. Evidently when and how long a baby looks into others' eyes can indicate the likelihood of a later autism diagnosis. From a write-up of the study: "infants who later developed autism began spending less time looking at people’s eyes between 2 and 6 months of age and paid less attention to eyes as they grew older." One implication might be a "window" of development a few months after birth when intervention could be effective. Read more.

AUTISM AND GI PROBLEMS are linked, in that children with autism are more likely to have digestive issues that others. While parents of ASD kids have pointed out this connection for a long time, the study's lead author said that little had been known about the true prevalence of the problems, also noting that the connection may be bidirectional. Read more.

NAGC POSITION STATEMENT ON 2e. We noted recently NAGC's publication of a position statement titled "Ensuring Gifted Children with Disabilities Receive Appropriate Services: Call for Comprehensive Assessment." Turns out that position statement was authored by the Gifted Development Center, founded by Linda Silverman. Our compliments on their authorship.

ALSO FROM GDC, an article titled "Critical Issues in the Identification of Gifted Students with Co-Existing Disabilities: The Twice-Exceptional." Published by SAGE Publications and listing 17 expert authors, the article addresses under-identification and offers five case studies to illustrate the challenges 2e students face, according to the GDC. Find the article.

NCLD'S current newsletter features ADHD, with articles on the subtypes, gender differences, meds and personality change, misdiagnosis, effects on learning, and the link with executive function. Find the newsletter.

ADVOCACY AND SCHOOL CHANGE. Education Week is sponsoring a free webinar titled "Empowering Parents to Transform Schools," scheduled for November 15, 2-3 pm ET. Find out more.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

"TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL: IS IT A GIFT?" That's the title of and the question posed by a blog at the Huffington Post, a story of a very bright child who, at four, "morphed into a demanding dictator." Highly intelligent, he was able to craft letters to a peer who couldn't yet read -- but when the peer's parents read the letters, they found that the young writer was insulting their son. Read more.

SO HOW'S YOUR FOCUS? (Oh, wait -- let me check this text message. Now, what were we discussing?) In the UK Independent, a science writer "argues that we've become a species crippled by distraction and looks at new techniques to help wean children –- and adults -- off their phones and consoles." Got this problem at home? Read more.

NOT BACK TO SCHOOL is the catchy title of the most recent newsletter from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. If you'd like to find out more about GHF, check out the newsletter.

BULLYING MEETS WRIGHTSLAW in the current issue of Special Ed Advocate. The publishers promise "information about bullying and harassment, prevention, legal decisions about harassment, and effective ways to respond to bullying." Find it.

STUDY SPACE AT HOME. If you'd like tips on creating a study space for your young student that encourages actual studying, check out an article at the New York Times. Two of the tips: understand your child's learning style; and brainstorm with the child to design a "cool space" -- whether with beanbag chairs, standing "cafe-height" tables, or whatever. Read more.

READY FOR SCHOOL? NAGC is set to release a report on state practices in admitting academically ready chidren to kindergarten. Apparently, many states sort students by age rather than ability. Read more.

MEDIA USE: HOW CAN THIS BE? A USC study estimates that by 2015 Americans will consume media for more than 15 hours a day. The study breaks media into 30 types and gives some astounding figures on the aggregate amount of data consumed every day. Find out more.

DILBERT, in today's comic, admits he's "not good at reading people." Is he an Aspie? Or just naive?  Find the strip.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

THE WORLD SERIES IS OVER, but a blogger at The New York Times muses on the situation of a Boston Red Sox star who has ADHD and takes stimulant meds. The blogger wonders whether the gifted ball-player would have achieved to his potential without meds, or whether all baseball players would perform better using stimulants. Also mentioned in the blog: some of the player's impulsive, presumably ADHD-related moves over the years. Find the blog.

EDUCATION WEEK has made available a special report on common core standards. One part of the report covers how learners with special needs and gifted students are affected; another part is titled "Common Core Needs Tailoring for Gifted Learners, Advocates Say." Find the report.

WE'VE BASHED VIDEO GAMING, occasionally, on the assumption that kids don't really need to spend that much time fixated on a screen and, as often happens, exposed to violent or immoral actions by video game characters. A recent report indicates, however, that 30 minutes of "Super Mario 64" (quite different than "Grand Theft Auto," we guess) per day can increase gray matter in brain regions that are involved in spatial navigation, memory, strategic planning, and fine motor skills. The researchers posit possible applications in therapeutic interventions for disorders in which the brain volume of certain regions is less than normal, such as in schizophrenia or PTSD. Find out more.

VIDEO GAMERS, some of them, are apparently making their own transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) devices in an attempt to establish new neural pathways quickly and achieve virtuosity with a game more quickly than by practice alone. While some studies indicate that tDCS may improve cognitive function, motor skills, or mood, the do-it-yourself ventures by some users has experts concerned. Are nine-volt batteries disappearing fast in your house? Find out more.

NAGC is next week. If you've used their online tool to create a potential agenda for yourself -- or just to see what sessions are of interest to you, whether or not you're attending -- you can now download a mobile app to access your agenda on the go. We expect to see lots of attendees next week walking around with heads buried in their smartphones -- but what's new about that? (Just don't get between a determined 2e Newsletter session reviewer and his or her impending next session.) Find out more.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES are not the same as learning styles, says Howard Gardner in a post at The Washington Post. He differentiates the two, and also offers "three primary lessons for educators." Find the posting.

RETURN TO LEARN is the name of a checklist for doctors, educators, and parents to use in determining how and when a student should resume school work. The checklist is the work of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The guidelines include accommodations for recovering concussed students, such as providing rest times in the school nurse's office, or attending school for only half a day. Read more.

NAGC has issued a position statement titled "Ensuring Gifted Students with Disabilities Receive Appropriate Care: Call for Comprehensive Assessment." The statement includes five recommended strategies for identifying and supporting twice-exceptional students. The statement says, "schools must look beyond using a single approach that may identify only the disability or the giftedness." Find the statement.

SUNSHINE, ADHD. In parts of the world that are sunnier, fewer people are diagnosed with ADHD, according to a recent study. Solar intensity, believe the study authors, might account for roughly a third to a half of the variance in ADHD prevalence between regions. The lead author is quoted as saying, "The preventative effect of high solar intensity might be related to an improvement of circadian clock disturbances, which have recently been associated with ADHD." Read the study abstract.

ADVOCACY POLL ON OUR WEBSITE. We plan to close the current poll soon, so if you're interested in letting us know (anonymously, of course) how you advocate for your 2e child at school -- eg, by yourself, with help, etc, please take the poll at http://www.2enewsletter.com/. Thanks!

BOOKLET SALE ENDING SOON. Our Fall any-booklet-for-$11 sale ends this Saturday, November 2. If you've been meaning to order any of the nine titles in the Spotlight on 2e Series, maybe now's the time. Find the sale.

Friday, October 25, 2013

SURVEY OPPORTUNITY. The 2e Center for Research and Professional Development at Bridges Academy, for which we serve on the Advisory Board, is conducting a survey to explore the general awareness of the twice-exceptional population and to gain knowledge about existing needs. The survey is short, less than 15 minutes – but your input will be valuable in shaping future activities of the Center. Please do a favor for the 2e community and let the Center know what you think!

DECODING DYSLEXIA is the name of a national movement encouraging legislation to help serve kids with dyslexia. An article in the Chicago Tribune describes how it can work at the state level. The article describes how the law, a state's education code, educators, and parents must come together to effectively support early recognition and intervention for dyslexia. Find the article.

THEATER AS INTERVENTION. Vanderbilt University researchers have developed an intervention to teach communication skills to those on the autism spectrum. The intervention uses a theater platform along with typically developing peers to improve social perception and interaction skills. Find out more.

SHANGHAI SECRET. An observation by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman after visiting Shanghai and observing schools in action: "When you sit in on a class here and meet with the principal and teachers, what you find is a relentless focus on all the basics that we know make for high-performing schools but that are difficult to pull off consistently across an entire school system. These are: a deep commitment to teacher training, peer-to-peer learning and constant professional development, a deep involvement of parents in their children’s learning, an insistence by the school’s leadership on the highest standards and a culture that prizes education and respects teachers. Shanghai’s secret is simply its ability to execute more of these fundamentals in more of its schools more of the time." Interested in excellence in education? Read the column

THE ARTS AND PATENTS. A study by researchers at Michigan State University found that STEM graduates from that school who held the most patents or owned businesses had up to eight times more exposure to the arts as children than the general public. One hypothesis: the arts foster out-of-the-box thinking. Read more

OCD, TOURETTE'S, GENETICS. An international research consortium led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Chicago has answered several questions about the genetic background of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette syndrome (TS), providing the first direct confirmation that both are highly heritable and also revealing major differences between the underlying genetic makeup of the disorders. OCD seems to be associated with a few chromosomes, Tourette's with many. Find out more

CONCUSSIONS AND SCHOOL. Aside from the playing field, sustaining a concussion has impacts in the classroom. Concussed students may require accommodations and understanding on the part of educators. Read more in the MotherLode column in The New York Times

TIPS FOR TEACHERS. Scholastic.com has an article with seven tips for teachers to help students on the spectrum get as good an education as possible and reach their potential. The tips cover dealing with parents, inclusion, setting expectations, and more. Find the article

THE LABELING DEBATE is treated in a Q&A column at the site of The Child Mind Institute. The Q: son has separation anxiety; what about labeling if he sees "somebody"? The A: "Sometimes naming a problem is a good thing." Read more

ADHD COMORBIDITY. ADDitude, under the theme "ADHD Rarely Travels Alone," describes 10 conditions that can show up with ADHD. Find them

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. ON October 29, ADDitude presents a free webinar by Dr. Ned Hallowell titled "Live a Great Life with ADHD: Best Medical and Alternative Therapies." Topics are to include alternative treatments, ADHD-friendly foods and supplements, and brain training programs. Find out more

NEED A DUE PROCESS HEARING? Or, need to express a complaint to the state? Wrightslaw, in the current Special Ed Advocate, offers advice on crafting effective letters to accomplish those goals. Find the newsletter

SIX-WORD STORIES. The National Center for Learning Disabilities asked parents to submit stories of six words about their experience with LDs. Almost 1800 people responded. The winner: "Family motto, 'label jars, not people.'" Lots of the entries will resonate with parents and educators of twice-exceptional children. Your can find the stories at the NCLD website

GOT A YOUNG BUSINESS-PERSON? The Fairholme Foundation has announced the launch of the third year of competition for the Warren Buffett Secret Millionaires Club "Grow Your Own Business Challenge." The national online competition is open to kids 7-14, who are invited to create a new business idea. The competition launched  on October 22 and ends on January 31, 2014. In May of 2014, five individuals and three team finalists in the competition will be flown to Omaha, Nebraska, to present their winning ideas to Mr. Buffett and a panel of VIP judges. One Grand Prize individual and members of one Grand Prize team will each be awarded $5,000. Find out more.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

News, Resources Gathered by the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

DIFFERENTIATING ADHD SUBTYPES. EEG brainwave tests may distinguish between inattentive-type ADHD and combined-type ADHD in adolescents; furthermore, the tests may also rule out "normal" adolescents. The brainwave differences come during tasks involving visual processing and motor planning. The discovery may also aid in the development of appropriate treatments for each subtype. Read more.

ADHD DIAGNOSIS. Recently we blogged about how varying state educational standards might "encourage" higher rates of ADHD diagnosis. On October 15, a New York Times article offered two other reasons for the increase in diagnosis: policy changes that "incentivize" diagnosis, as embodied in IDEA; and FDA changes that allowed drug companies to market directly to the public. Find the article. You may also find commentary on the article at the site of the Child Mind Institute.

LETTING YOUR (DYSLEXIC) CHILD FAIL? A blogger at the New York Times addresses whether and when it might be okay to let a child with a learning disability "fail." Should a child be allowed to fail and "learn from it" in middle school instead of later on? The blogger recounts how early support -- when a child begins to struggle in elementary school -- is critical. Find the blog.

WRIGHTSLAW ON DYSLEXIA. The current issue of Special Ed Advocate covers what school is required to to for dyslexic students and offers tips for parents on dealing with school. Find the newsletter.

ADDITUDE is offering a free webinar on diagnosing ADHD on October 21 at 1pm ET. The three topics addressed are:

  • Learning about the steps to getting a foolproof diagnosis
  • Getting the latest information about new diagnostic techniques
  • What you should do before visiting with an ADHD professional
It's not clear whether the intended audience is adults informing themselves for the sake of their children, or adults who might have ADHD. Find out more.

OUR NAGC EVENT ALERT that went out today mentioned some NAGC session presenters who might be familiar to readers of 2e Newsletter, but omitted others, to our embarrassment. So: our apologies for omitting some of the most interesting members of the 2e community from the alert, professionals whose columns and articles we’ve published, sessions we’ve covered, news we’ve written about, and whose good graces we’d like to keep. The full list of "familiar" 2e-related presenters should have read as follows: 
Lois Baldwin, Linda Collins, Lori Comallie-Caplan, Terry Friedrichs, Bobbie Gilman, M. Layne Kalbfleish, Agnes Meyo, Megan Foley Nicpon, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Dan Peters, Sylvia Rimm, Julia Link Roberts, Bob Seney, Linda Silverman, Beverly Trail, and James Webb. It wasn't malicious! We look forward to seeing all of the presenters in Indianapolis in November. 

AND FINALLY, THIS: RATS, OREOS, COCAINE. Research by undergraduates at Connecticut College seems to indicate that lab rats behave toward Oreos like they do toward cocaine and morphine. A hypothesis is that sugars, fats, and salt may activate the brain's pleasure center the same way drugs do. One more thing pointed out in a write-up of the study: It appears that rats, like humans, will go for the Oreo filling first. Read more.

Monday, October 14, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

FALL BOOKLET SALE. If you've been waiting for a sale opportunity to fill in the gaps in your collection of booklets from the "Spotlight on 2e Series," now might be the time. Our Fall Sale offers any booklet for $11; paid newsletter subscribers get an even better price, $10. Find out more

WOLCOTT SCHOOL in Chicago opened this fall, providing Chicago-area parents of twice-exceptional children with a new potential educational option. According to the school's website, the college preparatory school "offers an exemplary high school program for students with learning differences, tailored to the strengths and aspirations of each student." We don't see the words "twice exceptional" at the site -- but, as the saying goes, "If it quacks like a duck..." Find the site.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE WEBINAR. The next in a series of webinars sponsored by Dyslexic Advantage is presented by a game designer and is an opportunity to talk to the designer and "find out his personal experiences with dyslexia, how he got [to] programming and designing games, and what it was like to work and become the Creative Directors for some of the most famous games on the planet." Find out more.

SENG CALL FOR PROPOSALS. The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted issued a call for proposals for its 2014 conference in San Jose. Proposals are due by December 18. Got an idea for a presentation? Pitch it!

NCLD has begun a pilot program in Chicago to support parents. The organization is looking for confidential survey input from Chicago-area parents as part of this program. Participate!

DITD NEWSLETTER. The Educator's Guild Newsletter for Fall is out, featuring a Q&A with psychologist Thom Greenspan of Minneapolis; the topic -- perfectionism. Got a perfectionist student? Find the newsletter.

ACA AND AUTISM. Autism Speaks has issued guidelines on how the autistic community may be affected by the Affordable Care Act. If this is of concern to your family, find the resources.

ADHD: CAUSED BY STATE DOEs. Well, maybe not caused. But a couple of economics professors have analyzed the state variances in ADHD diagnosis and concluded that high-stakes testing can influence the rate of ADHD diagnosis in particular states. High stakes can "encourage" diagnosis and medication for the resultant higher performance; conversely, those stakes may also encourage a diagnosis in order to take advantage of educational accommodations. Don't buy it? Read more.

HISTORY OF LDs. This year is an anniversary of sorts, fifty years after a special ed expert defined the term "learning disability" at a conference. NCLD offers a page titled "The History of Learning Disabilities" noting that landmark and other LD trends since. Find the page.

GIFTED ED ENDORSEMENT. The college of education at Vanderbilt University has announced an add-on endorsement covering gifted ed. The courses required for the endorsement include at least a mention of twice exceptionality. Find out more.

ENCOURAGING GIFTED CHILDREN. The news program "60 Minutes" has reported on a family in Maryland and the ways in which the parents keep their kids engaged and challenged mentally. One of the children, at 14, won a grand prize in the Intel Science Fair. Read more.

REGULAR BEDTIME can forestall or correct behavior problems, according to a new study of 10,000 seven-year-olds. Researchers suggested several reasons for the connection: "First, switching bedtimes from night to night interferes with circadian rhythms [the body clock] and induces a state akin to jet lag. Second, disrupted sleep interferes with processes to do with brain maturation." Find out more.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

GAP YEAR/NAP YEAR. A writer in the Washington Post describes her son's struggles with school, despite his superior intelligence. School work was a burden. Meds for ADHD only gave him tics. A Quaker school offered respite for awhile, but the young man "crashed and burned" in his junior year because of a self-imposed heavy course-load. He finally graduated from high school, then took a gap year in which, according to his mother, he mostly slept to recover from "post-traumatic school disorder." His LD? A relatively uncommon one involving a discrepancy between processing speed and higher-level reasoning, or "Learning Disorder NOS." If you love stories about long struggles, check out the article.

NAGC CONFERENCE COMING UP. The November conference of the National Association for Gifted Children has dozens of sessions that could be of interest to parents and educators of twice-exceptional children. An agenda tool allows you to select and save sessions you might be interested in. Check it out.

BRAIN TRAINING: EFFECTIVE? Maybe for working memory, but probably not for "intelligence" -- that's the conclusion of a recent study. The claimed benefits for working memory training are often based on the strong correlation between working memory capacity and "fluid intelligence" -- reasoning and problem-solving ability. However, this study showed that no subjects training on working memory tasks showed any improvement on measures of fluid intelligence. Find out more.

ADHD AND SUPPLEMENTS. ADDitude offers a slideshow with suggestions on supplements for kids with ADHD, such as omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and more. Find it.

RAISING BOYS. The author of the book Queen Bees and Wannabees, about raising girls, has a new book out: Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends and the New Rules of Boy World. She contends that boys need more attention, as evidenced by a falling college-attendance rate, a higher suicide rate, and a higher rate of incarceration. And she offers advice for understanding and communicating with boys. Find out more.

CREATIVITY. Prufrock Press is making available on its website three chapters of a new book, Organic Creativity in the Classroom, in which 23 authors share teaching stories and helpful strategies that can be used to encourage students to become more creative within specific domains. Find the free download.

Monday, October 7, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

HOW'S YOUR CORPUS CALLOSUM? That's the bundles of nerves that connects the left and right hemispheres of your brain. It turns out that Albert Einstein had more extensive connections there than most people, which researchers believe might have contributed to his brilliance. Read more.

CARING FOR AN ATYPICAL CHILD. On her blog, a psychologist has a posting titled "Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First." You know the origin of the command. The psychologist applies it to parents of atypical children, suggesting that such parents take measures to reduce the stress they face. She points how how the child's service providers probably never ask how the parent in the family is doing. Included in the post is a "self care menu." Find the blog.

NEW YORK GT SYMPOSIUM. A one-day event titled "The NYC Gifted and Talented Symposium" is scheduled for October 26th. Several sessions deal with twice exceptionality, including one presented by Melissa Sornik, There's also a strand on social and emotional needs of the gifted. Organizers say that a curated exhibit hall will offer a sampling of NYC’s best schools, programs and services for high potential youth, while the Education Technology ‘Ed Tech’ Discovery Showcase will provide opportunities to explore web and app-based learning tools to support children and students. Find out more.

DAN PETERS has authored two books forthcoming from Great Potential Press, both on the topic of overcoming anxiety and turning a "worrier" into a "warrior." One books is directed at parents; the other is for kids. Find out more.

THE NEW ADHD is the title of a slide presentation at the site of ADDitude. Professor Thomas Brown, of Yale University, provides the update. Go there.

REFORM EDUCATION. Lose the grades, lose the exams, and don't worry if all the kids in a class are not the same age. That's what the Equinox Summit: Learning 2030 recommends in a new learning roadmap released recently. The recommendations also propose eliminating grades 9 through 12 in favor of groupings of students based on ability and area of study. Says one summit participant, "The current model of grade levels and ages is flawed. We need to progress students through high school, not by their ages, but by the stages they're at." Find out more.

WASHINGTON, DC-AREA EVENT. The Weinfeld Group is co-sponsoring a presentation in Silver Springs, Maryland, on October 10th on the topic of how the Common Core Standards will work for "uncommon" students. According to the organizers, the presenters will review the CCSS and identify language barriers that may challenge students who have ADHD and LDs. Suggestions for academic supports will be discussed. Find out more.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

News Items, Resources from 2e Newsletter

GIFTED EDUCATION is the topic of an article in Education Week, and it covers trends, issues, funding, and other aspects of providing enrichment to the gifted -- or to as many students as possible. The article includes quotes from experts familiar to readers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, such as NAGC's Nancy Green and Neag's Joseph Renzulli, Find the article.

PREDICTING ADHD. An article at Science Daily suggests that parents rely on multiple sources of information to assess the possibility of ADHD in preschoolers. Those sources should include in-home observation, feedback from preschool, and input from a clinician. Find out more.

SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS. What do they do? Check out an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute for input from three school psychologists on how they might get involved in assessing, counseling, or consulting on behalf of students.

ADHD SELF-TEST FOR WOMEN. Here's an invitation from ADDitude: "Do you have signs of attention deficit disorder? Does your daughter? Only a mental-health professional can tell for sure, but completing a do-it-yourself symptom checklist will give you an idea of whether you have adult ADHD." Find the test. (You don't have to reveal the results.)

NCLD offers a chart comparing Section 504 and IDEA: purposes, who's protected under each, services available, and lots more. If you're concerned about getting your child the best possible FAPE, check out the chart.

TEDxYouth2013 is to be held in New Orleans on November 16th before a local audience of selected middle and high school students. The event will be be available via webcast to the public, and also will be used as the basis for over 100 separate YouthDay events around the world. The program itself will consist of three speaker sessions, featuring scientists, designers, technologists, explorers, writers, artists, and performers who will share short TED Talk lessons on their area of expertise. A TEDs spokesperson says, "Thanks to organizers around the world, youth audiences across continents will be dazzled by mind-shifting stories, inspired with creativity and have a chance to deeply explore an exciting range of topics and questions that make them think locally as well as globally." Find out more.

ASD: MULTI-DIMENSIONAL? A discussion on LinkedIn right now, sparked by a YouTube video, considers whether autism should be thought of as a one-dimensional spectrum or two, a "multi-dimensional space," as psychologist Aimee Yermish says in the discussion. The advantage of two dimensions: to be able to better accommodate all of the variations presented by those on "the spectrum." Find the discussion.

Monday, September 30, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

DYSLEXIC AWARENESS MONTH. Dyslexic Advantage says that October is Dyslexia Awareness Month. In their current newsletter, the Eides offer these ways to "spread the word": 
  • Dyslexia is common: one in five people are dyslexic. 
  • Dyslexia often presents with specific challenges in reading, writing, and other academic skills, but dyslexic 'wiring' also predisposes to skills, talents, and abilities in many types of work and innovation. 
  • A better understanding of dyslexia's 'full picture' will help classrooms and workplaces become places where dyslexic people thrive. 
The Eides offer dyslexia awareness handouts at this location. Separately, October 2nd is the date for a Dyslexic Advantage webinar titled "Science, Engineering, and Dyslexia: College and Grad School Perspectives." Find out more.

OUR RECENT POLL. In the last poll on our home page, 57% of respondents said they try to read the briefing on a smartphone. (And 28% on a tablet.) Does that work for you? We notice that a good percentage of the items we point to are formatted for mobile devices, but how about the briefing itself? Thanks for any feedback. The current poll covers advocacy -- parents, tell us how you advocate for your child at school by taking a poll on our home page.

ADHD AWARENESS MONTH. October is also apparently ADHD Awareness Month. A site for the event has pointers to some of the organizations supporting the awareness event; find it. Separately, ADDitude has its own guide to ADHD Awareness Month; go there.

CELEB WITH AUTISM. Thirty-five years ago, young Daryl Hannah started in movies such as Splash and Blade Runner. People Magazine reports that Hannah "was diagnosed with autism as a child and suffered from 'debilitating shyness' as a result of the disorder," and that she says "the best thing in her life now is growing comfortable in her own skin." Find People. Separately, the Child Mind Institute provided commentary on how clinicians might miss autism in girls like Daryl Hanna; find the commentary.

IDENTIFYING GIFTED KIDS. The state of Victoria in Australia is offering guidelines to early childhood educators and healthcare providers to help them identify signs of advanced development, encourage development of gifts, and prevent the students from later becoming disengaged or dropping out. “All children have the right to develop to be the best they can," one Australian expert is quoted. Read more.

DYSLEXIC ACHIEVER. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has posted a video interview with billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. Find the interview.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE eNEWS UPDATE. DITD's September e-newsletter is out, with news of the recent Google Global Science Fair, a new Prufrock book on gifted education, and more. Find the newsletter.

ASD LINK. A maternal viral infection might stimulate a pregnant mother's immune system, disrupting the development of neural cells in the fetus and leading to characteristics of autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. (And we continue to wonder how many links there are, genetic, in utero, and otherwise, that lead to ASD.) Find out more.

SLEEP FOR TEENS. If, after observing teen difficulties with "rising and shining" in the morning, you feel that starting the school day later makes sense, you might find a recent article on the topic interesting. It covers the consequences of sleep deprivation, and obstacles to a later school start along with what some schools are doing about the problem. Read more.

THE DANGER OF LABELS. An article in the Chicago Tribune contains this quote: "The work he'd done was excellent, his reasoning beautiful and precise. He was plenty intelligent — just slow." It's part of an article on how teacher use euphemisms to describe students, and how those can be imprecise and unhelpful. "Students manage to fail in thousands of ingenious ways," says the writer, "and we teachers have developed a vocabulary to match." Find the article.

PRIMORIS ACADEMY, in New Jersey, bills itself as "New Jersey's only school exclusively for gifted children." Unfortunately for families with twice-exceptional children, the school at this time is not recruiting or accepting 2e students because of a lack of the resources necessary to accommodate these students. But a spokesperson for the school says on LinkedIn says that "perhaps we would be able to accommodate them in the future." Too bad, but score one for honesty and academic integrity. Find the conversation on LinkedIn.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Stuff" from 2e Newsletter

OMEGA 3 HELPS... Oh, wait. Remember that study we reported on last Friday, the one that indicated that omega-3 fatty acids can improve reading skills and memory? Well, a study published yesterday says that those acids might not benefit thinking skills. A study of older women showed no protection against cognitive decline in thinking and memory skills. At least salmon tastes good, though. Read more.

ATTENTION DYSREGULATION, not deficit, is another way to think about ADHD, according to a new article a the site of the Child Mind Institute. The article discusses hyperfocus and "attendant" difficulties with transitions. The article also touches on the engagement of media, as in a section subheaded "Focus on Strengths, Not Screens." Find the article.

ACUPUNCTURE FOR DEPRESSION? Either acupuncture or counseling, in addition to "usual care," can provide some relief of depression scores in the short term (three months). Interestingly, after 12 months the patients on "usual care" alone had improved to the point where there was no difference with the acupuncture or counseling group. Read more.

CAFFEINE, BRAIN DEVELOPMENT. Got a teen who sucks down caffeinated beverages? In a recently published study conducted on rats, the conclusions call for caution: in pubescent rodents, caffeine intake equating to three to four cups of coffee per day in humans results in reduced deep sleep and a delayed brain development. Find out more.

NAPS AND LEARNING. Learning in pre-schoolers may be enhanced by naps. Kids who napped did better on a test of memory recall. Read more.

MACARTHUR GRANTS AND US. The 2e community has a stake in the work of at least two of the latest class of MacArthur Fellows. Angela Duckworth studies predictors of success in education and has identified grit and self-control as two of those predictors. Susan Murphy's work "enable[s] researchers to determine which treatments are most effective over time for patients suffering from ADHD," depression and other chronic disorders, according to the Chicago Tribune. Read more.

POLITICS affects the 2e community in many ways -- funding for gifted ed, funding for research on giftedness (think "Javits Grants"), funding for research on the disorders that affect our gifted kids. A depressing column in The New York Times by Thomas Friedman illustrates how our dysfunctional political system is affecting research conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Promising projects in the areas of autism (as well as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease) have been shelved because of our "sequester." As Friedman notes, "We’re cutting the medical research that has the potential to prevent and cure the very diseases that are driving health care costs upward." Find the column, but be advised that it might incite you to start talking to your computer screen as you read.