Thursday, April 25, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

AUTISM 3X. The New York Times has run three recent articles on autism. One is a review of John Elder Robison's book Raising Cubby, about the experience of an autistic father raising an autistic son. A quote from the book: "He was so difficult he reminded me of myself." Another is an account of efforts to develop drugs for autism, efforts aided by new understandings of the genetics behind autism; find the article. And the third reported on a study that tied physical characteristics of the placenta at birth to the risk of developing autism; find out more.

AUTISM SYMPTOM TREATMENT. Researchers have developed a vaccine to act against a gut microbe that causes gastrointestinal distress in many children with autism. The vaccine has been successful in animal testing, but it will be years before it is on the market. Find out more.

PANDAS. The Child Mind Institute has posted an article about this uncommon, but frightening, sudden-onset disorder. The condition is often brought about by strep, and leads to OCD-like symptoms. Find the article.

ACCESSIBILITY IN TESTING. Assessments under Common Core standards may become more accessible for all students, including those with LDs, according to an article in Education Week. Two education groups are attempting to design new assessments that will replace the current patchwork of tests now in place. Find out more.

SENG NEWS. The April newsletter from Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted is out, with information about this summer's conference and other items. This month's newsletter is apparently not posted online, but you may find much of the news (and sign up for the newsletter) at the SENG site.

ON PARENTING. A cultural anthropologist explains at Slate how parents around the world view their role and their children in different ways -- and differently from American parents. From the article: "...ethnotheories are distinct enough, at least to an outsider, that they are apparent in the smallest details. If you look just at the words parents use to describe their children, you can almost always predict where you are in the world. In other words, your most personal observations of your child are actually cultural constructions." Find out how American parents are different from parents in the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, and other countries.

CHILDHOOD EXPLORATION involves coming up with hypotheses about how the world works and how you're going to reach goals. According to researcher Alison Gopnick, children younger than 6 are at their peak when it comes to generating low-probability hypotheses for problem-solving. According to an article about Gopnik's research, "Such low-probability hypotheses often fail. But children, like adventurous scientists in a lab, will try these wild ideas anyway, because even if they fail, they often produce interesting results." Read more.

Monday, April 22, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

LD PREVALENCE. Up to 10 percent of the population are affected by specific learning disabilities (SLDs), such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and autism, translating to two or three pupils in every classroom, according to a new article. The article also notes that specific learning disabilities also co-occur for more often that would be expected. As, for example, in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, 33 to 45 percent also suffer from dyslexia and 11 percent from dyscalculia. And remember that SLDs do not include conditions such as ADHD and Asperger's. Read more.

SIR RICHARD BRANSON offered his opinions on education and dyslexia to the BBC recently. In terms of education, he called for a more enterprise-related curriculum. About dyslexia, the billionaire said, "I just don't think people who are dyslexic need worry because they are often really good at other things." Find the the interview.

THERAPIES. An article at the site of NCLD throws cold water on the use of sensory integration therapy or movement therapy in treating LDs or ADHD. The article uses the words "no data" in explaining its conclusion. Find out more.

AUTISM AND TECH JOBS is the topic of a story at NPR, which notes that high-functioning young people may find success in the tech field because of hyper-focus. The story also notes a Texas school that trains kids on the spectrum for jobs ranging from programming to 3-D modeling. Read more.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has two upcoming events of interest, both streamed live for those unfortunate enough not be be able to live or work in Manhattan. One is "Anxiety Disorder in the Classroom: Treatment and Diagnosis," on April 23 at 8-9am EDT; find out more. Another is "Depression in the Classroom: Treatment and Diagnosis," on April 30, same time; find out more.

ADDITUDE has an upcoming free webinar titled "Clutter Cures: ADD-Friendly Answers for At-Home Chaos" scheduled for April 25 at 1pm EDT. Attendees may post questions beforehand. Find out more. Separately, ADDitude has announced seven new bloggers, four of whom will blog on topics of interest to parents and three on topics of interest to adults with ADHD. Meet the bloggers.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

FREE SHIPPING to the US and Canada on "Spotlight on 2e Series" booklets -- last three days. Through April 20, buy one or all nine of our informational booklets and we'll mail them to you with no shipping charge -- as long as you're in the U.S. or Canada. Find out more at our site. (If you're a paid newsletter subscriber, check your email inbox for information about how to get your subscriber discount in addition to free shipping.)

THE "WE PROBABLY KNEW THIS" DEPARTMENT. A new study indicates that children and teens with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) use screen-based media, such as television and video games, more often than their typically developing peers and are more likely to develop problematic video game habits. The study involved 202 kids with ASD and their typically developing siblings. The researcher noted that the ASD players "may have problems disengaging from these games." Read more.

WORKING MEMORY AND ASD. Researchers have found previously that propranolol, a drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure, anxiety and panic, could improve the language abilities and social functioning of people with an ASD. Now, University of Missouri investigators say the prescription drug also could help improve the working memory abilities of individuals with autism. However, the researchers do not recommend that doctors prescribe propranolol solely to improve working memory in individuals with an ASD. Find out more.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. The Institute now has on its site a page called "Parents Guide to Getting Good Care." The Institute describes the guide this way: "In this guide we take you through the steps to finding the best professional (or team) to treat your child. Along the way, we offer things to look for to insure that you're getting quality care, and questions to ask to evaluate both the clinicians and treatments they offer." Find it. Separately, the Institute and 75 partners are launching "Speak Up for Kids" programming to promote children's mental health. The programming kicks off on May 1. Find out more. (Way to go, CMI.)

DOCUMENTARY ON AUTISM. From a press release: "She can design a building to blueprint specifications and insightfully dissect complex engineering concepts, all with only a high school education and no formal training. Flying machines and the smell of tires fascinate her. Yet understanding how to charge for her work, whether freelance architectural design or professional presentations, evades her. ...[She] simply tries to live the sort of life most people take for granted." Through a newly produced documentary, viewers can enter the life of Laura Nagel, who is autistic. Find out more.

CONTROVERSIAL LD THERAPIES is the topic of an infographic and associated guides/resources at the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Offered are advice for what to do when a child is struggling in school or identified with an LD, all keyed to various ages. Find the resources.

PROJECT EYE TO EYE is a mentoring organization, pairing young-adult mentors who have LDs or ADHD with younger students in order to "builds the skills necessary for developing self-esteem and then [show] students how to turn that into academic success." (Find out more about Eye to Eye.) At the site of the Child Mind Institute, you can watch a brief interview with a young man -- a graduate of Columbia University -- describing " the difference that LD/ADHD mentoring could make in his own life and the lives of his mentees" through participation in Eye to Eye. Find the video.

ADDITUDE has on its site a page where visitors review and describe their experiences with ADHD medication and alternative treatments. There are 22 forums, each devoted to a treatment. Some have dozens of comments, some just a few, but if ADHD is part of the 2e equation in your house some of the comments might be useful. Find the forums.

EDUCATIONAL APPS are the focus of a new website that aims to provide expert guidance and information on apps by category (reading, social interaction, etc) and age stages. Read more. Find the site.

Monday, April 15, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

LD @ 50. A professor of education from Landmark College ruminates about the learning disabilities movement, founded 50 years ago in Chicago, noting some parallels with the Civil Rights movement. Twenty-three years later, Landmark College, the first college in the U.S. for kids with LDs, was founded. Read more.

"DYSLEXIA WORKAROUNDS" is the title of a Wall Street Journal piece on dyslexia, which features prominent dyslexics you've heard of and some you probably haven't. Sallly Shaywitz of Yale is quoted, and the article covers the in-spite-of/because-of dichotomy associated with the success of its subjects. Read the article.

COMEDY AND AUTISM. A man with Asperger's found that he is a different person when performing, and is now a passionate comedian. What's more, he now teaches comedic skills to others on the spectrum to help them open up and"learn other communication modes where they're comfortable. Read more.

COMEDY AND MANIA, PART 1. Jonathan Winters' passing got us thinking along 2e lines. He was obviously extremely creative. Yet the obits noted that he was a "poor student," dropping out of high school. Various celeb/disability sites categorize him as bipolar, ADHD, and or depressed. While his manic genius was unmistakable, his life begs the question, what would it have been like to raise or teach Jonathan Winters? RIP. Read more.

COMEDY AND MANIA, PART 2. Bill Moyers has interviewed comedian Sherman Alexie on "mania, bipolarity, and great art." "Most of the world’s great art has come out of manic periods in the artist’s life," Alexie ventures in the interview. He also talks about his meds and his desire to "be in the middle" when it comes to mood. Find the interview.

SENSORY ISSUES -- the top 13 issues that tell you you're raising a child with them -- is the subject of a blog entry at "shutupabout.com." Number 8: "You equate Disney World with hell." The higher-ranking and lower-ranking ones are just as funny and insightful, as are commenters' contributions. Find the blog.

CAMP BROADWAY is a nationwide set of one-week performing "camps" to nurture young talent in the performing arts. We'd never heard of this program (we haven't heard of lots of things), but on its website it posts some great testimonials. Find out more, and if you know anything about this let us know.

FOR GIFTED EDUCATORS. The Davidson Institute for Talent Development and University of Nevada, Reno, have partnered to offer EDSP 723, Education for the Gifted, according to the Institute. The online, three-credit, graduate-level class, which will run from June 10 to August 9, 2013, is designed to introduce key concepts of gifted education to teachers in order to help them better serve the gifted population. Some of the topics examined will include identification, characteristics, gifted definitions and myths about gifted education. Find out more.

DEBORAH RUF, of Educational Options and Talent Igniter, has announced that she will be cutting back on some of her professional activities beginning in February of 2014. According to her April e-newsletter, Dr. Ruf will no longer accept new clients after that date and no longer administer assessments. The newsletter says, "She will, however, continue consulting with current clients as needed. Mostly, though, she hopes to devote her time to research and writing about her passion -- giftedness in children and adults." Evidently TalentIgniter will also continue to benefit from her attention. The newsletter is not yet posted at the Educational Options website.

2e NETWORK LA is on Facebook. This network is a group of locally-centered families concerned with resources for gifted and special needs kids and adults. Find the Facebook page.

MENSA E-LIST. We mentioned this a couple years ago, but were reminded of it over the weekend when a subscriber asked us for a resource for communicating with other parents of gifted kids. The list is called BrightKids, and when we were following it was very active and covered a broad range of support- and information-type topics. 
While the emphasis is on giftedness, occasional non-gifted issues familiar to those in the 2e community crop up. You don't need to be a member of Mensa to join. Find out more.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

SEASONALITY AND MENTAL HEALTH. Researchers using Google search data tracked searches related to several mental health conditions found that in the winter queries were higher than in summer. In particular, in the U.S., inquiries about ADHD were 28 percent higher in winter; OCD inquiries were 18 percent higher. The study compared inquiries from the U.S. and Australia (opposite seasons) and found that the rise and fall in the two countries mirrored each other. Read more.

SPEAKING OF ADHD. 2e Newsletter editor Linda Neumann has informed the staff that we will now use ADHD rather than AD/HD, as we've done since the inception of the newsletter. Evidently the usage style has changed in 10 years. We will now follow the style of such organizations as the National Institutes of Health. But that's okay; we'll save thousands of forward-slashes, repurposing and recycling them for other uses instead. By the way, if you've never visited the NIH site, you can see what they offer on ADHD here.

ADHD DIAGNOSIS RATE. A writer for Time Magazine reflects on the New York Times article on the increase in diagnosis rates for ADHD, noting that the study is not yet peer reviewed along with some other caveats. She goes on to cover the real-life effects on society of "our current cultural obsession with ADHD and the stimulants used to treat it." Find the article.

EARLY IDENTIFICATION OF ASD. How early a child is diagnosed as being on the spectrum depends on the behavioral symptoms displayed, according to new research. And while early intervention is a goal --- and research suggests that autism can be diagnosed by age 2 -- most kids are identified at age 5 or later. Read more.

EDUCATION WEEK/TEACHER has published an article titled "7 Ways to Bring Out the Best in Special-Needs Students." Many of the methods apply to twice-exceptional children -- such as discovering strengths, providing positive role models, and using A.T. and UDL. The article is directed at teachers, but parents should find it useful as well. Find the article. (Free registration may be required.)

ALSO AT EDUCATION WEEK: A free "Spotlight" (not to be confused with our "Spotlight on 2e Series") is available for download. The topic: college readiness and access. Included are articles on preparing students for the academic and financial demands of college; the importance of certain "soft skills"; and "early-college high schools." Find the article.

SPEAKING OF "SPOTLIGHT." We at 2e Newsletter are offering, through April 20, free shipping on booklets from our "Spotlight on 2e Series" covering various 2e-related topics. Paid subscribers to the newsletter, please check your inbox from Tuesday for the link to use; others, find out more at this link. Because of exorbitant international postal rates, the offer is good only for readers in the U.S. and Canada -- and after shipping a package yesterday to a Canadian purchaser at a cost of $21, it's likely that this will be the last "free shipping" offer that includes Canada. (So order now, Canadian friends.)

MISDIAGNOSIS. The Child Mind Institute has a new article on its site about the most common misdiagnoses in children. The article covers alternative possible diagnoses for inattention, repetitive distressing thoughts, restricted speech, sadness/fatigue, and disruptive behavior. Not absolutely certain about your kid's diagnosis? Check out the article.

MEET THE SCIENTIST WEBINAR. An April 16th webinar by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is titled "Bipolar Disorder: Harnessing Brain Plasticity for Improved Overall Outcomes." Registration is free. Find out more.

WRIGHTSLAW encourages parents to be highly involved in developing IEP plans, and offers a new "pop-up" tool to "answer questions about how you and the IEP team determine the services & accommodations your child needs." Find it.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Recently published research indicates that those who are physically fit and in good physical health have better attention spans. According to the research, the experimental group with good physical condition demonstrated a better cognitive performance with regards to sustained attention when compared with the group with a more sedentary lifestyle, and also demonstrated more rapid reaction times. Find out more. And get that kid outdoors or to the gym.

Monday, April 8, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

GIRLS AND AD/HD. The Atlantic has published a first-person account by a young woman with AD/HD. In a way, it's a counterpoint to recent articles about overly liberal diagnoses of AD/HD, because the author points how how undiagnosed AD/HD can be harmful, drawing on her own experiences and her own self-perception that her symptoms were actually "embarrassing personal failings." There's also a lot of stories in the article about what it's like to be a girl with AD/HD -- as when the fire inspectors at Yale told her that her that her dorm room was the messiest they'd seen in 20 years. Find the article.

MY PROUDEST AD/HD MOMENT was the topic for contributors to a recent ADDitude feature posted online. Responses range from relief to turnarounds and more. Read them.

RtI AND LDs. An Education Week article described information from a couple of researchers into the effectiveness on the use of RtI for students with learning disabilities. Using surveys sent to state DOE offices and to hundreds of school districts, the researcher found that in districts using RtI, students "may spend a lot of time struggling in the classroom before being afforded the legal rights mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act." Read more.

ON LINKEDIN. James Webb, of Gifted Potential Press, has started a discussion on LinkedIn related to one of his area of expertise, "Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults." Check it out.

FREE WEBINAR ON DEFIANCE. ADDitude is offering a free webinar on April 11, 1 pm EDT, titled "ODD and AD/HD: Parenting Strategies for Working with Defiant Children 6-12." You can post questions in advance for the presenter, Ross Greene, Ph.D. Find out more.

YES I CAN. CEC has announced the recipients of its 2013 "Yes I Can!" recognition in seven categories. Read about these achieving young people.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

THRIVING WITH DYSLEXIA. The Wall Street Journal has posted the story of a young woman who tested as gifted in preschool but ran into trouble when reading entered the curriculum. She was in a Manhattan private school, according to the story, and was "subtly asked to leave." It turns out that dyslexia touches several of her family members. The young woman spent two years at a school that used the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading, then returned to public schools, accomplishing straight A's. Read more.

FIRST PERSON: GROWING UP AUTISTIC. A young man with high-functioning autism described to CNN the challenges he faced growing up -- social skills, and getting a driver's license, for example -- and also tells how he found ways to fit in. He's looking forward to graduating from a four-year university and to "a future of great possibilities." Read more.

AD/HD INCREASE. Time Magazine takes a look at the recent announcement by the CDC of the apparent increase in diagnoses of AD/HD in children. The article notes some limits on the way the data was collected along with possible implications for the higher rate of diagnosis. Find the article.

ON EDUCATION. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times offers ways in which education must be changed for the 21st century, drawing on an interview with a Harvard education specialist. Knowing facts will be less important; innovation and motivation will be increasingly important. The specialist notes that Finland is "the only country where students leave high school 'innovation-ready.'" Read more.

AUTISM ONE CONFERENCE. The group AutismOne has a conference scheduled for May 22-26 in the Chicago area with dozens of sessions on topics covering the biomedical aspects of autism and its treatment, advocacy, diet, therapies, and more. See the sessions or get more information at the organization's website.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has a quiz on its site about children's mental health. Through the quiz, you can find about roadblocks to children's mental health care plus earn some money for the CMI -- $.20 for every question you answer. Sample question: "There are more taxidermists in the United States than there are child and adolescent psychiatrists. Yes/No." Find the quiz.

NCLD. The site of the National Center for Learning Disabilities has a feature called "Out-of-the-Box Advocacy," where a parent advocate offers advice for ways to "take a stand and create change for your kids." Her advice covers social media as well as talking to the community and school about LDs. Find this resource.

ON PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS. A new article in Cerebrum, at the Dana Foundation site, is titled "Psychiatric Drug Development: Diagnosing a Crisis." The author describes the history of modern psychopharmacology and the apparent slowdown in the drug industry's willingness to invest for new psychiatric drug development. "During the past three years the global pharmaceutical industry has significantly decreased its investment in new treatments for depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychiatric disorders," says the author, noting that the drug companies are focusing more on treatments for conditions such as cancer, metabolism, and other disease areas. The author, however, remains optimistic about the implications for psychopharmacology of discoveries in the area of genetics. Read the article.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

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

WORLD AUTISM DAY is today, April 2nd. You can find more information at the site of the UN; at Autism Speaks; or on Facebook. If you're inclined to publicize causes through your tee shirts, you can purchase autism-themed garb at Sevenly.org -- shirts with slogans such as "Shine A Light On Autism," or "Autism: Different Not Less." Separately, Autism Speak's 2013 National Conference for Families and Professionals is scheduled for July 26-27 in Columbus, Ohio. Find out more.

AD/HD: 11% OF U.S. KIDS -- and about 20 percent of high-school age boys, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Is it overdiagnosed? A New York Times article provides fodder for that viewpoint and provides reasons for increased diagnosis. Interestingly, the article points out that some Southern states have higher rates than some Northern states; an astute 2e Newsletter Briefing reader pointed out that this contradict a recent Briefing item correlating sunlight with lower rates of AD/HD. The article also notes that sales of stimulant meds for AD/HD have risen from $4 billion in 2007 to $9 billion in 2012. Find the article.

TREATING AD/HD. A study published in Pediatrics indicates that training parents of AD/HD kids might have stronger and longer-lasting effects than medication. However, study limitations apparently prevented the researchers from comparing parental training to a combination of meds and training. Find a write-up of the study.

STIMULANT MED MISUSE is the topic of an article at SharpBrains.com by David Rabiner, who explores the prevelance of misuse, the frequency, sources of meds for those who misuse them, profiles of the miscreants, and more. Find the article.

AD/HD SUMMER CAMP can lead to smarter, confident, and happy kids, if the experiences of three families written up at ADDitude are to be believed. See what you think.

ASPERGER'S AND VIOLENCE. In the wake of news that a copy of Look Me In the Eye, by John Elder Robinson, had been found in the home of Adam Lanza, Robinson spoke out against a "rush to judgement" on any connection between Asperger's and violence. “The dialogue about Asperger’s and violence has reached a point where it’s become a civil rights kind of question,” he said. Read more.

AUTISM SCREENING. For families in the Mid-Atlantic states, the Kennedy Krieger Institute will provide free developmental assessments for infants 5-10 months of age who have an older sibling with ASD. The goal: to help identify the red flags of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in infant siblings of children with ASD as early as possible. Find out more.

OSA IN KIDS. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in children can be associated with increased rates of AD/HD-like problems as well as other issues, according to a study from the University of Arizona in Tucson. The results of the five-year study: "Compared to youth who never had SDB, children with sleep apnea were more likely to have parent-reported problems in the areas of hyperactivity, attention, disruptive behaviors, communication, social competency and self-care. Children with persistent sleep apnea also were seven times more likely to have parent-reported learning problems and three times more likely to have school grades of C or lower." Read more.

ANTI-DEPRESSANT FAILURE. A study of depression treatment, and associated clinical responses to different medicines indicates that genetic variants can explain 42 percent of a person's response to antidepressants. Although there's evidently a long way to go to identify precisely which genetic markers will predict response (or non-response), the study confirmed that a meaningful proportion of an individual's response is determined by genetics. Find out more.