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.

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