Friday, August 30, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

DAVIDSON FELLOWS ANNOUNCED. The Davidson Institute has named 20 high-achieving young people as 2013 Davidson Fellows. According to the Institute, the Davidson Fellows program offers $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships to students 18 or younger, who have created significant projects that have the potential to benefit society in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature, music and philosophy. The Davidson Fellows scholarship program has provided more than $5.3 million in scholarship funds to 226 Fellows since its inception in 2001, and has been named one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships by U.S. News & World Report. Find out more about the Fellows and their achievements.

ADHD: LESS IN UK. A new study suggests that children are far less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD in the United Kingdom than in the U.S. On the other hand, in the U.K. more children are diagnosed with ASD. The researchers suggest that cultural factors are to blame, and also the "destygmatization" of ASD. Read more.

AUSTISM, ENZYMES. Problems with a key group of enzymes called topoisomerases can affect the genetic machinery behind brain development and potentially lead to ASD, according to recent research. If the enzymes are inhibited, as they are by certain chemicals, the risk of ASD being expressed increases. The explanation of the cause and effect is a little complex, but you can read it here. Separately, another study of more than 2,700 mothers of children with autism shows that about one in 10 mothers have antibodies in their bloodstream that react with proteins in the brain of their babies. Some of these antibodies may pass into the fetus' brains, possibly causing autism. Find out more.

ASD AND CUES. Yet another study indicates that children with high-functioning autism may outgrow some social communication difficulties, for example integrating auditory and visual cues associated with speech. The lead study author says, "It suggests that the neurophysiological circuits for speech in these children aren't fundamentally broken and that we might be able to do something to help them recover sooner." Read more.

RESOURCE: DISEASE INFOSEARCH. A website called DiseaseInfosearch.org provides basic information on thousands of conditions, along with pointers to advocacy organizations, symptoms/disease/treatment, clinical trial information, scientific literature, and even recommended apps. We entered a few of the conditions relevant to the 2e community and got hits -- so consider checking it out as you research your favorite exceptionality. Try it out.

LD IN COLLEGE. US News has published an article titled "Succeed in College as a Learning Disabled Student." It provides tips for making the college experience easier -- such as having documentation about the LD, and communicating with stakeholders such as roommates and professors about the LD. Find the article.

VISION, DYSLEXIA. The International Dyslexia Association has posted a statement about false claims for dyslexia treatment, specifically that ChromaGen colored lenses have been approved by the FDA for treating dyslexia. Not true, says the association, which then goes on to list several sources of information about vision problems versus dyslexia. Find the statement.

AUTISM SPEAKS RESOURCES. This organization has announced scholarship funding to help colleges and programs help students with autism. The organization notes that about one third of young people with ASD attend college. Another resource announced is a free Postsecondary Educational Opportunities Guide. The organization says, "This new tool aims to give these families an inside look into the numerous opportunities available to their young adults after high school. It covers a wide range of topics including the various types of learning environments at different educational institutions, the transition programs and support services available to them and information about life on campus. The Guide also includes peer-to-peer advice and recommendations for parents." Find out more about these resources.

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. On Wednesday, September 4, ADDitude is sponsoring a free webinar titled "Alternative Therapy: Using Mindfulness to Manage ADHD Symptoms." The presenter is psychiatrist Lidia Zylowska. Find out more.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

DISLECKSIA: THE MOVIE. A 2009 documentary on the topic of dyslexia is to be re-released for showings in October to help observe National Dyslexia Awareness Month, according to industry publication Variety. The film includes interviews with prominent dyslexics and advocates; covers schools for children with dyslexia; and covers research that was current at the time. Find out more at Wikipedia or at the film's website.

LD FOR PREMIES? Not so, says a new study -- at least for those born slightly early, between 34 and 37 weeks. A report at DailyRx.com says that the incidence of LD or ADHD is not higher in babies born in the 34- to 37-week window than in those born full term. Find out more.

AUTISTIC TRAITS WITH ADHD. Researchers analyzing 469 children found that kids with ADHD were more likely than typically developing kids to show traits of autism. And, according to a write-up of the study, "Children with ADHD and autistic traits were significantly more impaired in psychopathology, interpersonal, school, family, and cognitive domains than those with autistic traits and without ADHD." Read more.

ADHD, OMEGA-3. A new study shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce ADHD symptoms -- at least in mice. The effect is greater in guy rats than girl rats. The fatty acids also affected brain chemistry. Researchers cautioned about translating the results to humans, so it may be a little early to try this at home. Read more.

MEDIA, VIOLENCE LINKED? This is a hot button with us because of the tendency of young people -- especially ADHD young people, especially guys, and especially young, curious, gifted people -- to be engaged by media "stories," whether through games or movies or TV. An article in The New York Times examines the issue of whether violence in the media leads to violence in real life. From the article: "There is now consensus that exposure to media violence is linked to actual violent behavior — a link found by many scholars to be on par with the correlation of exposure to secondhand smoke and the risk of lung cancer." Concerned about this issue? Find the article.

TAMARA FISHER parses "same" and "equal" when it comes to education, especially gifted ed; her assertions also apply to the education of twice-exceptional children -- indeed, of all children. Three quotes from her blog on this topic:

  • Treating all learners as the same does not acknowledge their equal value as learners. 
  • Treating students as equals means acknowledging each one has equal value as a learner.
  • Denying some students what they need as learners simply because they are not the same as other learners robs them of their inherent state of being equal by ignoring their value as a learner.
Find her blog.

NCLD has posted "Seven Facts about Learning Disabilities and Written Expression." If your child or student is having difficulties with written expression, the article might be of interest; check it out.

DYSLEXIA WEBINAR. On Thursday, August 28, Dyslexic Advantage is hosting a webinar titled "Teaching Math to Dyslexic Students." Registration is required; a donation is requested. Find out more.

SOMETHING MORE TO WORRY ABOUT. We write often about taking care of the brain, so the following item was particularly disturbing. Apparently there are freshwater amoeba that can in rare cases infect and severely damage the brain. There is a new and apparently effective treatment, but this knowledge brings new meaning to the old phrase, "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..." If you feel the need to self-induce more worry, go here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

DON'T SHORTCHANGE THE SIBLINGS. Education Week has published an article on research on the effect a disabled young person has on the family, specifically on siblings. Girls with disabled siblings were more likely to leave school earlier than their peers; boys were not affected in that way. The disabilities included in the study went far beyond learning disabilities, but this could be a red flag for families with twice-exceptional children. Read more.

A COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY CYNIC writes about his experiences with teaching techniques based on ideas such as Gardner's multiple intelligences in The Guardian. He now applies one criterion to new ideas for the classroom: "Doe this help the children learn better?" He also offers three tips for otherwise assessing such ideas. Find the article.

LABELS. A public radio station takes on the question, "Is it time to get rid of IQ tests in public schools?" Those chiming in are a middle-school teacher who has written about IQ testing for The Atlantic; a psychologist and author of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined; and a psychologist who treats public school kids. Find the show.

ALLERGY, ASTHMA, ADHD. Researchers are studying whether there's a link between asthma, allergies, and ADHD, noting an increased incidence of ADHD in children with allergy and asthma. They speculate that medications for allergy and asthma might contribute to the increased risk of ADHD. Read more.

ANTIPSYCHOTICS, DIABETES. Children whose mood or behavior disorders are treated with antipsychotics such as risperidone have up to triple the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the first year of treatment, compared to children in a control group. The researchers noted that "The use of these drugs for non-psychosis-related mood, attention or behavioral disorders in youth/children now accounts for the majority of prescriptions." Find out more.

PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS face a crisis in innovation, according to The New York Times. Despite the relatively high number of Americans (25 percent) who suffer from a mental illness, most research dollars are evidently concentrated in other areas, such as cancer. Find out why.

HYPERSENSITIVE KIDS SOUGHT FOR STUDY. Unviersity of the Sciences, in Philadelphia, is looking for hypersensitive kids aged 5-12 to participate in a study of the possible benefits of sound therapy during sleep. According to the University, researchers "will select 30 children who have a history of fear or overreaction to touch, sound, smell, and sight." The study is slated to begin in October. Find out more.

SUICIDE BIOMARKERS. Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have found a series of RNA biomarkers in blood that may help identify who is at risk for committing suicide.The researchers said the biomarkers were found at significantly higher levels in the blood of both bipolar disorder patients with thoughts of suicide as well in a group of people who had committed suicide. Read more.

NCLD is offering back-to-school advice to help alleviate anxiety in kids with ADHD or an LD. Find it.

ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. An August issue of this newsletter from Dr. David Rabiner is out but evidently not yet posted on his site; it addresses research on the question of whether adolescents can tell when they're taking ADHD meds. One helpful blogger has posted the newsletter; find it.

STRESS AT SCHOOL. More and more schools are adding programs to allow students to better handle stress, according to USA Today. Read the article to find out how schools are using pet therapy, yoga, and more.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

JUST IN FROM THE EIDES. Just after we first posted the items below, we received notice of a Wednesday (8/21) webinar sponsored by Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide. During the webinar, Dr. Erica Warren, educational psychologist and adult dyslexic, will be introducing the topic of multisensory teaching and also include samples of materials she developed for use with children. Find out more

WHAT'S IT LIKE to be dyslexic, we at 2e Newsletter wondered as we drove back from the World Gifted Conference held in Louisville. It would be interesting to experience the world as a dyslexic person does to gain a better understanding of the challenges and strengths, we thought. Well, at the site of the National Center for Learning Disorders, Ben Foss, a dyslexic achiever, shares insights on what it's like. In the first of a multi-part series, he talks about shame and how it can affect you when, as he says, "you're terrible at a thing you're asked to do every day." He also offers his posting in two forms: one written with assistive technology (even technology most of us take for granted, like spell-check); and one without those aids, in what he calls, "my native tongue." Check out this fascinating look "behind the curtain," as Foss refers to it. 

WORRIED ABOUT TECHNOLOGY, and all the ways young people can "plug in" to the world to communicate and entertain? A recent Diane Rehm show on NPR addressed that issue. From the blurb for the show: "In a new book, clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair argues that widespread use of electronic devices exposes kids to unhealthy values and puts children at risk at every developmental stage. She says technology has negative effects on empathy, attention and family relationships. Diane and her guest discuss the effects of technology on children and their families and what parents can do about it." Find the show.

AUTISM AND PLAY. A professor of education at SUNY Buffalo State studied play options that appeal to children with ASD, finding that “Children with ASD chose to engage in play that provided strong sensory feedback, cause-and-effect results, and repetitive motions.” Sensory feedback included not only the five "standard" senses but also vestibular and proprioceptive senses. The professor also comments on how the need for sensory stimulation may be satisfied in a variety of settings. Read more.

JOHNS HOPKINS CTY and Cogito are partnering to provide research awards that enable high-ability middle- and high-school students to do research in STEM fields. According to the website for the program, winners "will receive grants to help cover expenses associated with their research projects and will be paired with a mentor to support them through the research process." Find the site.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. The Fall edition of this newsletter is out. It contains articles covering problems and issues in gifted ed; resources available for teaching gifted students; imagination in the visual arts; and the life and work of Anton Checkov. Find the issue.

BACK TO SCHOOL 1. Wading through all of the press releases and articles tied to the start of the school year (and touting things as diverse as wheat germ and yogurt), we found that Netflix now offers some Scholastic television shows to subscribers, shows such as The Magic School Bus and Goosebumps. If you're a Netflix subscriber and think positively about shows like those, check it out at your Netflix account.

BACK TO SCHOOL 2. NCLD reminds us that it has an "IEP Headquarters" on its site. There's a chance someone you know and love might have an IEP; if so, check it out.

SODA AND... VIOLENCE? Maybe. Research published in the journal Pediatrics says there's a link, and that soda "causes aggressive, violent behavior in children as young as 5 years old." Kids who drank at least four servings of soda per day were twice as likely to engage in reported aggressive or violent behaviors. (According to an article about the study, "The American Beverage Association disagrees with the findings of this study.") Read more.

Friday, August 16, 2013

News Items from the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

STOMACH PAIN, ANXIETY. Researchers believe that children with chronic stomachaches are at higher risk of anxiety disorders as they grow older. Of kids with pain and no clear medical explanation, about half later developed symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Find out more at Reuters or at The New York Times. Separately, for a gross cartoon that illustrates stomachache without anxiety, see Baby Blues for August 16th.

YOU KNEW THIS: Adolescents with ADHD are at higher risk for motor vehicle accidents than their typically developing peers, who in turn don't have exactly a great record. A simulator experiment found that distractions from a cell phone or texting especially affected driving performance in these kids. Read more.

GIFTED HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM is now making its periodic newsletter available to nonmembers. Find it. Or, visit their site to find other resources.

WRIGHTSLAW now has posted Part 2 of "Summer School 2013" on advocacy. Find it.

ADDITUDE has an article of possible interest on is site; it's on the possibility of dual diagnosis -- ADHD and ASD; find it. Separately, ADDitude is also explaining IEPs and 504 plans, and providing a slide show of 40 accommodations for ADHD students. Find out more.

RIGHT-BRAIN/LEFT-BRAIN -- NO MORE? Researchers at the University of Utah don't think the distinction is valid, saying that brain imaging shows no evidence for the label. While some brain functions do occur in one side or the other, the assumptions that some people use one side of their brain more, or that personality traits are linked to "brainedness," are not valid. Read more.

DYSLEXIA AND BRAIN STRUCTURE. How's your arcuate fasciculus? Brain scans show that it's evidently smaller and less organized in adults who have poor reading skills. The study opens up the possibility of an early detection of a predisposition to dyslexic-type problems, with resultant early intervention. Find out more.

NOT DEFICIENT -- DIFFERENT. That's the way a researcher describes her findings about superior math ability in some autistic children compared to non-autistic peers. According to an article on the study, "Images of the autistic children's brains while calculating math problems revealed a different pattern of activity than those of non-autistic children." Read more.

DYSCALCULIA: BIOLOGICALLY DRIVEN. A study of processing in elementary students with dyscalculia revealed that they seem to have a problem with the "internal representation of numbers." Researchers speculate that the deficit is biologically driven. Read more.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

COSTCO 1. One of the benefits of Costco membership (seriously) is the magazine the company sends to members, Costco Connection. The August edition profiles Costco member Sal Kahn and Kahn Academy. The Academy evidently has six million users in 216 countries, who have access more than 4100 videos. Math courses cover state standards, says the article; however -- and this is what makes the Academy a possible resource for the 2e community -- "for other subjects, the focus is aligned with advanced-placement tests and major college courses." Find the article at http://www.costcoconnection.com/connection/201308#pg1 (And you don't even have to be a Costco member.)

COSTCO 2. The same issue of the Costco Connection mentioned "the world's strongest librarian." The connection with Costco? The store sellls a book he has authored with that title. The connection with us? In the book, the author shares his experiences with Tourette's "and how books and bodybuilding saved him." It's on page 94 at the link in the item above. Or go here for a video on Tourette's and the author; here to find out more about the book and the man; or here to see a New Yorker review of the book.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has updated its online mental health guide to reflect changes in the DSM-5. If you want to read about changes in any of your favorite "traits," check it out. And find other 2e-relevant articles on the site's home page.

ADDITUDE. If ADHD is in the mix at your house, check out ADDitude's "Get Ready for School" feature, including "10 actions to take now" and a sample letter to explain ADHD to the teacher. Read more. Separately, ADDitude offers a free webinar next Tuesday titled "ADHD and Gender: Girls, Women, and Stigma." Find out more.

READING AND THE BRAIN. From Science Daily: "A combination of brain scans and reading tests has revealed that several regions in the brain are responsible for allowing humans to read. The findings open up the possibility that individuals who have difficulty reading may only need additional training for specific parts of the brain -- targeted therapies that could more directly address their individual weaknesses." Read more.

WE KNOW IT'S BAD FOR KIDS: Video gaming for boys with autism; and television for toddlers.

AND YEAH, we're in a hurry today -- got to go to the World Congress in Louisville. Have a good weekend!

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.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

ASPERGER'S DIFFERENT THAN AUTISM? Is the DSM-5 wrong by lumping Asperger's with autism? A study using EEG shows different neurological patterns between subjects with autism and Asperger's. Read more. Separately, another study seems to indicate that "attention impairments are not a key component of autism itself." This implies that attentional capabilities are intact in children with autism, which affects the way parents and educators can interact with such children. Find out more.

LACK OF ATTENTION TO GIFTED. A writer in the Richmond, Virginia, Times Dispatch adds her voice to those who decry the way the United States does not support or nurture the giftedness in high ability students. She notes the difference between the U.S. and other countries in this regard and points out, among other things, the lack of federal funding, the lack of state funding, and the ill effects on the gifted population itself. Read the article.

NO NEED FOR LEARNING STYLES? We've noted before, with some skepticism, how some educators dispute the theory of student learning styles -- Daniel Willingham being a prime example. Now, an educator/blogger at MiddleWeb explains how she has come to accept that "the learning style theory is not the glue that holds my classroom together." If you're curious about this ongoing, multi-year discussion over learning styles, check out her viewpoint.

WINEBRENNER ON SPOTLITE RADIO. Susan Winebrenner, an educational consultant and author who has written for 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, has a show on Spotlite Radio. The show, posted on July 26, deals with gifted education and re-enfranchising gifted students. Find it.

NCLD has posted a short video on the dyslexic brain. Of interest is that the first person to comment on the video basically flamed it, but remaining reviewers supported the content and approach. See for yourself.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. The July issues of the Institute's eNews-Update is out, with information about the Institute and Academy, pointers to news in gifted ed (including the announcement of the third class of Thiel Fellows), and pointers to other resources on the web. Find the newsletter.

SENG WEBINAR. ON August 13th, Lori Camalllie-Caplan of SENG will present a webinar titled "Parenting the Twice-Exceptional Student." The webinar is in the evening; the cost is $40. Find out more.

WRIGHTLAW SUMMER SCHOOL. Part 2 of "So You Want to Be an Advocate" is available online at Wrightslaw. The blurb says, "you'll learn how to plan and prepare to be an effective advocate and what mistakes to avoid. Find out where to get the information and training you need. Get a reading and resource list." Go there.

SOMETHING ELSE TO WORRY ABOUT. Injury during physical fighting by teenagers can lower IQ. For boys, the loss is equivalent to a school year after two fights; for girls, one fighting injury wipes out a year. Read more.