Thursday, May 30, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

STIMULANT MEDS, DRUG ABUSE -- no link. That's the conclusion of a recently published study. Meds like Ritalin apparently do not correlate (positively or negatively) to later abuse of alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine. Find out more at The New York Times or at Science Daily.

SLEEP IN ADHD. Sleep consolidates emotional memories in healthy children but not in children with ADHD, according to a recently published study. The study suggests these deficits in sleep-related emotional processing may exacerbate emotional problems experienced in the daytime by children with ADHD. Read more.

HOURS IN CLASS. Do more hours in the classroom lead to better learning? Two recent articles suggest not. One article, in Edutopia, describes the New Zealand educational system, which mandates fewer class hours and fosters more teacher collaboration. The other article, at TwinCities.com, contends that the quality of instruction is more important than the quantity.

DR. JUDY WEBINAR. Judy Willis, educator and physician, and sometime contributor to 2e Newsletter, is offering a free webinar on June 6. The topic: increasing students' reading motivation. Find out more.

THE DSM won't go away from this blog, in spite of a comment we made last week. The Child Mind Institute has posted an article about the changes most relevant to children. The article discusses the new diagnosis of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, changes in the autism diagnosis, and more. Find the article.

ADHD INSPIRATION FOR GIRLS? ADDitude has posted a story titled "Winning Women," profiling six successful women with ADHD. The women include a radio personality, a software developer, two entrepreneurs, an HR professional, and a psychiatrist. Find the article.

GIFTED RESOURCE. A university in the UK has founded a social networking site called a "thinking teenager's Facebook" for gifted kids. It's called IGGY, the International Gateway for Gifted Youth, and is intended for 13- to 18-year-olds who perform in the top five percent. Applicants must be recommended by a teacher or academic expert, according to an article in the UK Independent. Read the article; or go to the IGGY site.

AND FINALLY, THIS. "You are what you eat" takes on new meaning with a study showing that ingested gut bacteria can affect the functioning of the brain. The bacteria in probiotic yogurt affected the way test subjects' brains responded to an emotional visual stimulus and also the way the brains operated at rest. Read more.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

News, Resources from the 2e Newsletter Publishers

LD AS A GIFT. "You see and learn differently from the other kids. But different is good. This is your gift, even if it doesn't feel like it." A long time ago, that's what a special ed teacher told a young man who had difficulty reading. He remembered it, but wasn't sure he knew what she meant about the "gift" part. Decades later, as an author who generated a lively discussion about his book and his life at a reading fair for fifth and sixth graders, he came to understand the "gift" part after a comment by one of the attendees. Find out more.

VISUAL TASK CORRELATED TO IQ. In a series of experiments, researchers have found a .6 or .7 correlation between the ability to filter visual motion and IQ as measured by standardized intelligence tests. The researchers think that the filtering exercise could serve as a non-verbal, culturally-unbiased marker of intelligence. Find out more.

ABILITY GROUPING. The former president of NAGC has written an article for Education Week Teacher in which she endorses ability grouping as a way to boost performance in both high and low performing students. Read more about Paula Olszewski-Kubilius' ideas. (Free registration may be required.)

NIHM, DSM. A blogger at "Mind Hacks" elaborates on why the National Institute of Mental Health seems to be going in a different direction than that espoused in the DSM when it comes to categorizing mental disorders. We've blogged on this topic before; if it interests you, read Mind Hacks.

SLDs BUNDLED. You probably knew that, but an Australian study found that "children are frequently affected by more than one learning disability and that specific learning disabilities co-occur more often than expected. For example, in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 33 to 45 percent also suffer from dyslexia and 11 percent from dyscalculia, a learning disability in mathematics." The researchers found a variety of disorders that give rise to LDs, even, by gosh, "in children of normal or even high intelligence." The study authors also advocate for "specialized support" for kids with LDs, support tailored to the individual's profile. Read more.

RESOURCE. A member of the 2e community (thanks, Marcie) pointed us to the website Children's Neurobiological Solutions, an organization with a two-part mission:
  • To catalyze the development of brain repair therapies and cures by supporting cutting-edge, collaborative research on brain damage due to childhood illness, injury, or any other cause; 
  • To provide up-to-date information and resources for families and health care providers to help them make the best possible decisions for children struggling with neurological challenges.
If your family -- or your student -- needs information about conditions stemming from brain injury, check out the site

SO MANY TED TALKS, SO LITTLE TIME. If you're a teacher of kids who can be frustrated (or frustrating), you might be inspired by a TED talk by a 40-year veteran teacher talking about what she's learned every student needs to be successful -- someone to be their champion, someone to connect with, someone to help dig out of the negative self-perception that failure brings. This teacher was talking mostly about low-income kids, but her lesson applies to those who teach all kids. Find the talk.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

News, Resources from the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

WHY FRENCH KIDS DON'T HAVE ADHD is the title of an article that appeared in Psychology Today a while back, but which we just discovered. (Thanks, BRB.) The article notes that only .5 percent -- five tenths of a percent -- of kids in France are diagnosed with ADHD and medicated. The author examines some cultural reasons for the difference and some differences in the way French clinicians identify and treat conditions in children and adolescents. As the author writes, French clinicians focus on "identifying and addressing the underlying psychosocial causes of children's symptoms, not on finding the best pharmacological band-aids with which to mask symptoms." Read more.

ADDITUDE is publishing in its summer issue an article titled "ADHD and the Interest-Based Nervous System," which is being previewed online. The author defines "the ADHD zone," including strengths and attributes of ADHD, and urges clinicians to "stop trying to turn ADHD people into neurotypical people." He also urges ADHDers to create their own owner's manual with special rules for getting into the ADHD zone and functioning at "remarkable levels." Read the article.

CONFERENCE ON DYSLEXIA AND TALENT, TAKE 2. A dyslexic participant in the Eide-organized Conference on Dyslexia and Talent (and soon to be physician in internal medicine) reflects on his childhood (taunts of "dimwinky" and more) and on the way he has here-to-for framed his past. Instead of succeeding despite being dyslexic, as he has believed along the way, he was, at the conference, asked to consider having succeeded because of dyslexia. Interesting switch? Read his reaction.

CMI DISCUSSION ON DYSLEXIA. The Child Mind Institute presented an evening discussion with Richard Engel, an award-winning journalist who is dyslexic. During the evening, Engel described some of his challenges growing up and one of the things that gave him confidence in adolescence. Read more

SPOTTING DYSLEXIA. In an article to be published in the May/June issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, out soon, author Dan Peters says that one problem in getting services at school for 2e kids is that teachers are not trained to identify such kids. A timely article in the UK Guardian offers guidelines for "spotting the signs and supporting your students." Find the article

PARENT RESOURCE. A pair of attorneys has launched a site called Your Special Education Rights, which is described as "a free online resource for parents... [and] the first and only online social community to provide video-based training and an online social support network comprised exclusively of parents of children who have disabilities." A press release promise this: With a constantly-updated series of engaging videos, designed to help parents recognize and model appropriate responses to roadblocks put forth by public school administrators when special education services are requested, YSER gives parents powerful tools and guidance to effectively advocate for their child’s education. Parents who take advantage of YSER’s online membership are able to learn about their legal rights in a practical, user-friendly format. Find YSER.

NCLD TOOL. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has launched the LD Navigator, which the organization calls "a comprehensive resource guide about learning disabilities for the pediatric professional community and parents." Sections of the online guide include definitions of LDs (the specific LDs along with co-existing disorders such as ADHD), education-related guidance, "ages and stages," and resources. Find the tool.

WRIGHTSLAW, in the current edition of Special Ed Advocate, covers parent rights and responsibilities for IEPs, along with keys to success in the parent's role. Find the newsletter.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. The May issue of this organization's eNews-Update is out. Read about winners in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair; upcoming gifted ed conferences; and a new book about talent development. Find the newsletter.

Monday, May 20, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ONE IN FIVE KIDS suffers from some sort of mental disorder, according to the US Center for Disease Control, at a cost of $247 billion per year to society. The leading disorders in terms of prevalence are ADHD, ODD, depression, anxiety, and ASD. Causes for the increased rate of childhood mental illness include increased diagnosis but also environmental factors (chemicals, social trends, etc). Read more.

MATH AND BRAIN STIMULATION. A small study found that a brief course of cognitive training combined with a form of electrical stimulation to the part of the brain where arithmetic skills reside may improve brain function when it comes to calculation -- and the results seemed to be present six months after "treatment." Some neuroscientists quoted by CBS' reporting of the technique were skeptical, but you can read more and then decide whether to buy a transcranial random noise stimulation machine to use on that math-averse young person you raise or educate.

DSM-5: FINALLY off the presses this week, and The New York Times has one last (probably not) article on the topic, presenting pluses and minuses. Find it. Separately, at the site of the American Psychiatric Association, publishers of the DSM, you can find a listing of resources explaining the new organization and features of the manual; go there. (Your can also order your own copy for US$199.)

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. The summer issue is out with articles titled "The Forgotten Gifted Child"; "Divorcing the G-Word: A Parent's Suggestion for Defining Giftedness"; and comments on Jim Delisle's critique of NAGC's definition of giftedness. Free subscription required; go to http://www.giftededpress.com/.

LD ONLINE reminded us that SENG has a 15-minute video on YouTube concerning gifted children who are misdiagnosed with disorders like ADHD or Aspergers. Find the video.

NCLD recently held a webinar titled "Diplomas at Risk: A Critical Look at the Graduate Rate of Students with Learning Disabilities." You may access a recording of the webinar and also download a copy of the NCLD report "Diplomas at Risk." Find out more.

EDUTOPIA has posted an article extolling the benefits of the "abundance model" for education over the deficit model, and relating both to the role of standardized testing. The abundance model is logically the best way to reach twice-exceptional students. Here's what the article says about it: "Meet the child where he/she is academically, socially, and emotionally then utilize those jewels through personalized instruction to help that student grow." Read the article.

VIRTUAL Q&A. Got questions about depression in children and adolescents? Check out a free online event sponsored by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation on that topic, scheduled for June 11 at 2:00 ET. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. A press release from the University of Michigan's Poll on Children's health notes an interesting finding: that while only 1 in 100 parents of teens believes their teen uses "study drugs," this does not track with what teens say. Other surveys peg the usage rate of stimulants not prescribed by a doctor at 10 or 12 percent. Be advised and read the press release. Or, be suspicious and read a 2012 overview of key findings on adolescent drug use.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

HELICOPTER PARENTING. A couple recent studies show that more parental involvement in certain ways can limit a child's success in terms of achievement or satisfaction. The overall guideline, according to an article on the subject, "is that our help has to be responsive to the recipient’s circumstances: it must balance their need for support with their need for competence." Perhaps easier said than done, especially for parents of twice-exceptional children, but the article offers tips if you're interested. Find the article.

AUTISTIC ENHANCEMENT. Kids with autism see movement more quickly than others, according to research in which the autistic subjects confounded the original hypothesis under investigation. Find out more.

ADHD AND BREASTFEEDING. A study conducted in Israel indicates that breastfeeding might protect children from developing ADHD, at least to a degree. Other factors associated with the development of ADHD in the study included maternal age at birth, child gender, and parents' marital status. Find out more.

A PSYCHOLOGIST'S REVELATION. After attending the Dyslexia and Talent Conference recently, a conference organized by the Doctors Eide, psychologist Dan Peters felt compelled to share his experiences at the conference and also to reveal something that, until now, only a few people knew about him. In an article posted at his practice's website, Peters, father of three sons with dyslexia, also relates how his experiences at the conference brought back some vivid memories of his childhood. Maybe you can guess what his revelation is, but he has written a compelling and very personal article for all of us to enjoy and admire. Find the article.

MATT COHEN ADVICE. In his periodic Q&A column at LD Online, special ed attorney Matt Cohen addresses a question from a mom: "Can a school deny an IEP because of academic success?" [Of course they can, say all of you cynical parents of 2e kids. :-( ] The situation also involves whether the school is obligated to follow the recommendations of outside evaluators, an issue many in our audience face. Find Cohen's answer.

STILL MORE ON DSM. Sick of it? And it's not even out yet. But Diane Rehm recently had a guest on her NPR show, a guest who has written a book titled Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt against Out-of-control Psychiatric Diagnosis, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Everyday Life. Maybe the title gives away the author/guest's point of view, but you can hear the program and read an excerpt of the book at the site of the Diane Rehm show.

CMI RESOURCE. The Child Mind Institute has a "Mental Health Guide" on its site describing a variety of conditions, including many familiar to those who raise or educate twice-exceptional children. For each condition, there's a description of the condition, what to look for, causes, diagnosis, treatment, possible comorbidities, and FAQs. Find it.

GHF RESOURCE. The Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (should there be an apostrophe in there somewhere?) offers online courses to assist in the education of that bright young person you homeschool. A typical course is one hour per week for 15 weeks and costs $195. Topics include comparative mythology, civics, music appreciation, and more. Find out more.

MY GIFTED CHILD IS SLACKING ON HER HOMEWORK is the title of a recent advice column in The Bangor Daily News. The columnist's response? Let the daughter know her homework must pass muster and that she has no options. Harsh? Read the column.

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. "How Our Understanding of ADHD Is Changing" is the title of an upcoming webinar at the site of ADDitude. The webinar, hosted by Thomas Brown, PhD, is free and scheduled for May 23 at 1pm ET. Find out more.

Monday, May 13, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

DBS AND OCD. A recent study has shown that deep brain stimulation can help severe cases of OCD, and has also given some indication of how it helps. The study combined DBS with imaging techniques that showed brain activity, so researchers could see how the stimulation changed activity in the brain. The trick, evidently, was to use the magnetic imaging in a way that wouldn't interfere with the stimulation. Stimulation appears to decrease cross-talk and communication between the brain's nucleus accumbens and the frontal cortex. Find out more.

MORE ON DSM-5. A psychiatrist and author asserts that practicing psychiatrists will view the release of a new DSM as a "nonevent," but that "the same cannot be said for other institutions — insurance companies, state and government agencies, and even the courts — which will continue to imbue the DSM with a precision and an authority it does not have." If you have a child whose condition might require special services in school or insurance coverage, you might want to check out this article.

AUTISM AND THE THEATER. While movie theaters across the country occasionally hold special screenings for autistic and other sensory-sensitive audiences, a live theater company in Chicago offered what they called “Chicago's first autism-friendly live theater performance.” Held by the companies of Chicago Children's Theater and Red Moon Theater, the production was titled "Diving In." Read more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. Dr. Fernette Eide of Dyslexic Advantage is offering a free webinar on May 22 -- a dyslexia Q&A. The website says that class size is limited. Check it out at the site of Dyslexic Advantage.

TED TALK ON EDUCATION. If you like your edification laced with humor, check out a recent TED talk on education in the U.S., and how in spite of high spending we have a dropout crisis and an epidemic of disengagement. The speaker is Sir Ken Robinson, and he discusses individual differences that affect learning; innate curiosity; the point of education (getting people to learn, not just passing on information); standardized testing; and how countries like Finland succeed educationally. It's a 20-minute talk, but if you can't spend the time to laugh along, there's also a transcript. Find the talk.

TRANSITIONS. The U.S. government is holding a two-week, online dialog on the topic of transition outcomes for those with disabilities, according to Disability Scoop. This sounds like an opportunity for parents of young people with LDs (or the young people themselves) to bring up "regulatory and legislative barriers that young people with disabilities are facing in accessing employment, education, Social Security and health and human services." Find out more. (Thanks to subscriber Tammie for pointing this out to us.)

AUTISM SPEAKS has posted coverage of "the latest developments from the International Meeting for Autism Research," If Asperger's or autism is a matter of interest in your home or classroom, you might be interested in the coverage; find it.

MORNINGSTAR has an article on its site called "College-planning Tips for Special Needs Families." While some of topics do not concern parents of twice-exceptional kids, much of the article is about 529 plans as a way to save for college. Find the article.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. Remember that this organization records some if its live, Manhattan-delivered workshops on topics of interest to the 2e community. You can see what's available at the moment by visiting www.childmind.org/en/workshop-series/ and checking to see if there is a "view recorded events" link under each of the major topics there (ADHD, Learning and Development, Pediatric Psychopharmacology, and so forth).

Friday, May 10, 2013

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

MORE ON NIMH, DSM. Time Magazine has posted an article describing the National Institute of Mental Health's apparent break with DSM categories and diagnostic guidelines. The NIH is seeking a more science-based approach to classification. Find the article, and find out more about what this means for psychiatrists.

HOW RITALIN WORKS. A review of imaging studies of Ritalin (methylphenidate) shows that the drug appears to "normalize" activity in certain brain areas in children who have ADHD. The areas are diverse, and include the frontal lobes, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. Affected areas control inhibitory responses, selective attention, and time perception. Find out more.

DYSLEXIA: GENDER DIFFERENT. Researchers neuroscientists have found significant differences in brain anatomy when comparing men and women with dyslexia to their non-dyslexic control groups, suggesting that the disorder may have a different brain-based manifestation based on gender. According to the researchers, less gray matter volume is found in male dyslexics in areas of the brain used to process language. Less gray matter volume is found in female dyslexics in areas involved in sensory and motor processing. Find a write-up of the study.

SENG-BASED COURSE ON PARENTING 2e KIDS. A four-session course on parenting twice-exceptional children is being offered by the Oak Park Unified School District GATE Advisory Council in southern California. Beginning May 15, the course will use James Webb's book A Parent's Gide to Gifted Children. Find out more at Google Docs or from Judy Wiener, the course leader; JudyWiener@gmail.com.

NEW BOOK. Temple Grandin's new book, The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum, has been released. Amazon calls it "A cutting-edge account of the latest science of autism, from the best-selling author and advocate." Find out more.

WRIGHTSLAW SALE. Through May 15, Wrightslaw is offering 25 percent off materials on its website. If you're a fan -- or if you need advocacy resources -- check out the sale.

SENGINAR. May 14th is the date of a SENG webinar titled "Families with Gifted GLBTQ Youth." Presenters are Terry Friedrichs, Ph.D., Ed.D., and Alessa Giampaolo Keener, M.Ed. Friedrichs is a contributor to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter. Find out more.

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. May 14 is the date for a free ADDitude webinar called "Treating ADHD Across the Life Cycle." Dr. Steven Dickstein, of the Child Mind Institute, is the presenter. Find out more.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

WE'RE BACK after a short vacation, scouring the web-o-sphere for news items and resources relevant to those who raise, educate and counsel high-ability kids with learning challenges. Here are some items that appeared in our absence. (Did you miss us?)

IT'S MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH in the United States. The organization Mental Health America outlines key messages and provides a toolkit on mental heath; find the site.

SLEEP AND ADHD. We've blogged about this before, but a recent article ties ADHD-like symptoms to sleep disorders. The author notes that we sleep less than we used to, and that we're mores stimulated during the day. "It might just be a coincidence," writes the author, "but this sleep-restricting lifestyle [including 'melatonin-inhibiting iDevices'] began getting more extreme in the 1990s, the decade with the explosion in A.D.H.D. diagnoses." Read the article.

DSM & LD. A participant in the revision of the DSM explains how he and other experts updated the criteria for diagnosing learning disorders. One change was combining three "buckets" (reading, mathematics, and written expression) into one, because "research has shown that these areas of learning are highly interrelated and shouldn’t be divided as though they were separate disorders," according to the author. The author also explains why the group eliminated the IQ/achievement discrepancy. Find the article.

NIMH: MOVING AWAY FROM DSM. The National Institute of Mental Health plans to move away from the symptom-based model of diagnosis used in the DSM to a model based on "objective laboratory measures," according to Disability Scoop. Those measures will draw on genetics, imaging, and cognitive science, among others. Find out more.

AUTISM: DIFFERENT IN GIRLS. Two recent studies suggest that autism may manifest itself differently in girls than in boys and, consequently, require different treatment. Furthermore, the genetic triggers for autism may be different in girls than in boys. Read more.

BIPOLAR DISORDER: CHILLING FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNT. A woman who was a mom, teacher, and PhD candidate at age 27 describes how bipolar disorder affected her over 33 years, writing of her hospitalization, the beginning of recovery, the onset of mania, and how it all affected her sense of self. Read the article.

BIPOLAR DISORDER WORKSHOP. The Child Mind Institute held a workshop on bipolar disorder on May 2. Slides from the workshop are available, should you be interested.

OCD & ANXIETY WEBINAR. The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is presenting a webinar on May 14 titled "OCD & Anxiety: Symptoms, Treatment, & How to Cope." The webinar is apparently free of charge. Find out more.