Monday, August 5, 2013

STEM AND LDs: HELP IN COLLEGE. The University of Florida will use a federal grant to develop a model program to assist students with learning disabilities as they study STEM. The model will address learning, participation at school, and graducation. Students will have available a mentorship team as well as other resources. Find out more.

DETECTING ADHD. Two Minnesota entrepreneurs have developed software that not only provides a picture of how the mind is working in someone with a cognitive disorder such as ADHD, but might actually improve memory and processing speed in such people. The developers, a husband-and-wife game developer and psychiatrist, have the goal of using "sensor technology to produce objective data about symptoms that are often hard to pin down, such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity," according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Read more.

DEPRESSION. "Do Cytokines Really Sing the Blues" is the intriguing title of a new article in Cerebrum, at the site of the Dana Foundation. From the preface to the article: "Many of these causes [of depression] are associated with elevated levels of inflammatory biomarkers in the blood, which may in turn lead to inflammatory changes in the brain. Our authors examine what the latest research reveals about the link between inflammation in the brain and depression, and how a better understanding of that link can play a critical first step in the personalization of care." Find the article.

REWARD AND PUNISHMENT: Are they part of one dimension in the brain, or do our brains respond differently to them? A recent study suggests they're separate, with four separate neurotransmitters involved to represent the two dimensions of loss/gain (for reward) and danger/safety (for punishment). Knowing about this isn't going to change the way your child responds to you, but check it out if you're into neurotransmitters.

TEXT ANXIETY. A briefing reader pointed us to an article he wrote on test anxiety. Titled "Relax to to Best on Life's Tests," the article lays out the benefits of self-calming, or relaxation, or whatever you want to call it, on activities such as creativity and testing. The article provides clues about recognizing test anxiety and ways to reduce it. Read more. (Thanks, Dr. Ron.)

ADHD AND COLLEGE. ADDitude currently features an article on preparing the ADHD student for college. Not sure how recent it is, but if you've got a kid going to college this fall it might be timely. Find it. Separately, ADDitude is also offering free access to three Podcasts about ADHD, including one titled "Teens with ADHD" another titled "Keep Your ADHD Child Learning." Find them.

TABLET APPS. Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities lists 10 apps that have been found useful for kids with LD or ADHD. Got one? Check out the list.

FAPE. If you, like us, are still thinking about the Hovem versus Klein ISD case, you might be interested in an article at Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities that provides guidelines on the "appropriate" part of that phrase, the word that comes after "free" and before "public education." Read it.

PRUFROCK has made available on iTunes another Podcast dealing with gifted education, this one titled "Learning Options for the Gifted Children." Prufrock's blurb says, "From special accelerated classes and dual-enrollment college programs, to homeschooling and online courses, the decisions about quality learning opportunities can seem endless." Presenter Carol Fertig provides guidance. Find the Podcast.

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