Friday, July 12, 2013

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

BIOMARKER FOR SPD. Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco have found that children affected with sensory processing disorder have quantifiable differences in brain structure, for the first time showing a biological basis for the disease that sets it apart from other neurodevelopmental disorders, according to materials released by UCSF. The researchers found abnormal white matter tracts in the SPD subjects, primarily involving areas in the back of the brain, that serve as connections for the auditory, visual and somatosensory (tactile) systems involved in sensory processing, including their connections between the left and right halves of the brain. Maybe this'll answer the question, "Is SPD real?" Read more. By coincidence, the Child Mind Institute this week published the third of a series of articles on SPD, this one titled "The Debate Over Sensory Processing" -- a look at t he dispute over whether it's actually a disorder and whether treatment for it works. Find that article.

STUDY DRUGS DON'T WORK? The Wall Street Journal recounts recent research, including last month's study from Quebec, on whether ADHD stimulant medication can actually improve grades. The research covers both students who have ADHD and are medicated and students without ADHD. Read the article.

LABELS AND MINDSET. The publication of the book Ungifted, by Scott Barry Kaufman, has triggered a number of articles about and examinations of intelligence lately. In The Atlantic, a writer provides excerpts from the book that chart Kaufman's arc with regard to labels and achievement, and also brings into the discussion Carol Dweck's concept of mindset, tying that to labels. The article writer says, "when teachers and parents get lazy, and allow labels to supplant cultivation of potential, we fail. We fail our children, and we fail as educators and parents. For far too many children, the assignation of a label signals a death knell for future effort, learning, and academic achievement." Sound relevant? Read the article.

AUTISM RESEARCH. A collaborative formed by Autism Speaks "has found full genome sequencing examining the entire DNA code of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their family members to provide the definitive look at the wide ranging genetic variations associated with ASD," according to a news release. The study was able to link genetic risk to the manifestation of ASD in about 50 percent of the study participants. Read more. Separately, other researchers have linked the presence of extra brain fluid in infants to a high incidence diagnosis of autism later in childhood. If the results are valid, this would provide a biomarker for ASD in very young children. Read more.

ADHD WEBINAR. ADDitude is offering a free webinar on July 16th titled "Time Blindness and ADHD: Strategies for Becoming More Aware of Time." Interested? Check it out.

DYSLEXICS SPEAK ON CIVIL RIGHTS. The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity (YCDC) is launching the Multicultural Dyslexia Awareness Initiative (MDAI) on August 4-5, 2013, with a two-day meeting of educators, legislators, policy makers, scholars and philanthropists at Yale University. Among those scheduled to address dyslexia as a civil rights issue are entertainer and social activist Harry Belafonte; British space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock; former US senator and ambassador Carol Moseley Braun; entrepreneur Daymond John; and Pulitzer Prize nominee Victor Villasenor. Drs. Bennett and Sally Shaywitz, Co-Directors of the YCDC and members of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, will provide the audience with the scientific underpinnings of dyslexia and its practical implications for policy and practice. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. A start-up company has developed a "digital diaper" that can, in conjunction with a smartphone app, detect baby's UTI, kidney dysfunction, or dehydration. The diaper includes patches of colored squares that react to different conditions; the smartphone app takes a picture and uses color changes to analyze the diaper. The phone can also upload the information for physician reference. Read more.

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