Monday, September 30, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

DYSLEXIC AWARENESS MONTH. Dyslexic Advantage says that October is Dyslexia Awareness Month. In their current newsletter, the Eides offer these ways to "spread the word": 
  • Dyslexia is common: one in five people are dyslexic. 
  • Dyslexia often presents with specific challenges in reading, writing, and other academic skills, but dyslexic 'wiring' also predisposes to skills, talents, and abilities in many types of work and innovation. 
  • A better understanding of dyslexia's 'full picture' will help classrooms and workplaces become places where dyslexic people thrive. 
The Eides offer dyslexia awareness handouts at this location. Separately, October 2nd is the date for a Dyslexic Advantage webinar titled "Science, Engineering, and Dyslexia: College and Grad School Perspectives." Find out more.

OUR RECENT POLL. In the last poll on our home page, 57% of respondents said they try to read the briefing on a smartphone. (And 28% on a tablet.) Does that work for you? We notice that a good percentage of the items we point to are formatted for mobile devices, but how about the briefing itself? Thanks for any feedback. The current poll covers advocacy -- parents, tell us how you advocate for your child at school by taking a poll on our home page.

ADHD AWARENESS MONTH. October is also apparently ADHD Awareness Month. A site for the event has pointers to some of the organizations supporting the awareness event; find it. Separately, ADDitude has its own guide to ADHD Awareness Month; go there.

CELEB WITH AUTISM. Thirty-five years ago, young Daryl Hannah started in movies such as Splash and Blade Runner. People Magazine reports that Hannah "was diagnosed with autism as a child and suffered from 'debilitating shyness' as a result of the disorder," and that she says "the best thing in her life now is growing comfortable in her own skin." Find People. Separately, the Child Mind Institute provided commentary on how clinicians might miss autism in girls like Daryl Hanna; find the commentary.

IDENTIFYING GIFTED KIDS. The state of Victoria in Australia is offering guidelines to early childhood educators and healthcare providers to help them identify signs of advanced development, encourage development of gifts, and prevent the students from later becoming disengaged or dropping out. “All children have the right to develop to be the best they can," one Australian expert is quoted. Read more.

DYSLEXIC ACHIEVER. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has posted a video interview with billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. Find the interview.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE eNEWS UPDATE. DITD's September e-newsletter is out, with news of the recent Google Global Science Fair, a new Prufrock book on gifted education, and more. Find the newsletter.

ASD LINK. A maternal viral infection might stimulate a pregnant mother's immune system, disrupting the development of neural cells in the fetus and leading to characteristics of autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. (And we continue to wonder how many links there are, genetic, in utero, and otherwise, that lead to ASD.) Find out more.

SLEEP FOR TEENS. If, after observing teen difficulties with "rising and shining" in the morning, you feel that starting the school day later makes sense, you might find a recent article on the topic interesting. It covers the consequences of sleep deprivation, and obstacles to a later school start along with what some schools are doing about the problem. Read more.

THE DANGER OF LABELS. An article in the Chicago Tribune contains this quote: "The work he'd done was excellent, his reasoning beautiful and precise. He was plenty intelligent — just slow." It's part of an article on how teacher use euphemisms to describe students, and how those can be imprecise and unhelpful. "Students manage to fail in thousands of ingenious ways," says the writer, "and we teachers have developed a vocabulary to match." Find the article.

PRIMORIS ACADEMY, in New Jersey, bills itself as "New Jersey's only school exclusively for gifted children." Unfortunately for families with twice-exceptional children, the school at this time is not recruiting or accepting 2e students because of a lack of the resources necessary to accommodate these students. But a spokesperson for the school says on LinkedIn says that "perhaps we would be able to accommodate them in the future." Too bad, but score one for honesty and academic integrity. Find the conversation on LinkedIn.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Stuff" from 2e Newsletter

OMEGA 3 HELPS... Oh, wait. Remember that study we reported on last Friday, the one that indicated that omega-3 fatty acids can improve reading skills and memory? Well, a study published yesterday says that those acids might not benefit thinking skills. A study of older women showed no protection against cognitive decline in thinking and memory skills. At least salmon tastes good, though. Read more.

ATTENTION DYSREGULATION, not deficit, is another way to think about ADHD, according to a new article a the site of the Child Mind Institute. The article discusses hyperfocus and "attendant" difficulties with transitions. The article also touches on the engagement of media, as in a section subheaded "Focus on Strengths, Not Screens." Find the article.

ACUPUNCTURE FOR DEPRESSION? Either acupuncture or counseling, in addition to "usual care," can provide some relief of depression scores in the short term (three months). Interestingly, after 12 months the patients on "usual care" alone had improved to the point where there was no difference with the acupuncture or counseling group. Read more.

CAFFEINE, BRAIN DEVELOPMENT. Got a teen who sucks down caffeinated beverages? In a recently published study conducted on rats, the conclusions call for caution: in pubescent rodents, caffeine intake equating to three to four cups of coffee per day in humans results in reduced deep sleep and a delayed brain development. Find out more.

NAPS AND LEARNING. Learning in pre-schoolers may be enhanced by naps. Kids who napped did better on a test of memory recall. Read more.

MACARTHUR GRANTS AND US. The 2e community has a stake in the work of at least two of the latest class of MacArthur Fellows. Angela Duckworth studies predictors of success in education and has identified grit and self-control as two of those predictors. Susan Murphy's work "enable[s] researchers to determine which treatments are most effective over time for patients suffering from ADHD," depression and other chronic disorders, according to the Chicago Tribune. Read more.

POLITICS affects the 2e community in many ways -- funding for gifted ed, funding for research on giftedness (think "Javits Grants"), funding for research on the disorders that affect our gifted kids. A depressing column in The New York Times by Thomas Friedman illustrates how our dysfunctional political system is affecting research conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Promising projects in the areas of autism (as well as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease) have been shelved because of our "sequester." As Friedman notes, "We’re cutting the medical research that has the potential to prevent and cure the very diseases that are driving health care costs upward." Find the column, but be advised that it might incite you to start talking to your computer screen as you read.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

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

"HYPERLEARNING" MODE. The childhood brain is more flexible and learns some things faster than the mature brain. This period of "hyperlearning" typically comes to an end in adolescence, with cortical pruning. A new study shows that kids with higher IQs might get an extended period of time in which they can continue to learn at a more rapid pace. This effect can be modulated by positive or negative environmental influences -- influences which therefore "could have lifelong consequences," according to a scientist investigating this effect. Read more.

GOT AN IEP? You'll be interested in a case analyzed by Pete Wright of Wrightslaw. In "Doug C. v. Hawaii," a court ruled that "failing to include the parent at the IEP meeting violated the procedural requirement of IDEA and invalidated the IEP," according to Wrightslaw. Find out more.

ASU WEBINARS. Arizona State University is offering a series of live online conversations with gifted education experts. The series, titled "Gifted Education Matters," will include webinars on topics such as common core math and the gifted learner; mis-diagnosis and dual diagnosis in gifted children; acceleration; and cluster grouping. The webinars are free of charge; $15 and additional follow-up activities will earn three additional clock hours. Find out more.

YES, I CAN. The 2014 "Yes I Can!" award nominations are now open at the Council for Exceptional Children. The awards honor the achievements (in nine categories) of students with exceptionalities. The nomination deadline is October 18. Find out more.

RESOURCE. Don't forget the UC Davis MIND Institute. Among the resources there are recordings of past presentations by scholars on topics such as "Autism: From the Teen Years to Young Adulthood" and the latest findings on the research and treatment of ADHD. Find out more. Other MIND Institute resources are here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

News and Resources from 2e Newsletter

DYLEXIA, ESTEEM -- low esteem, that is. An educational consultant offers five tips for combating the low esteem that can accompany dyslexia in a young person, tips such as "special time," developing problem-solving skills, and more. Find the tips.

DYSLEXIE is a typeface to help individuals with word and letter recognition. It's available for online and computer-based media. The typeface has been subjected to research on its effectiveness, according to MedicalDaily.com. Find out more.

e-READERS: GOOD FOR DYSLEXICS. A study at Landmark School in Boston indicates that students with dyslexia can improve comprehension and speed through the use of an e-reader, where only a few words per line are displayed. This type of assistance would apparently benefit those with visual attention deficit, about one third of dyslexics. Find out more.

NAGC NEWS. Tracy Cross is the new president of NAGC; George Betts is the new president-elect. Find out more. Separately, NAGC's fall series of "Webinars on Wednesday" is underway; go here to see if any of these fee-based webinars are of interest to you.

GOT A SHY KID? "Listen," says a health and science writer in The New York Times. Apparently, half of the kids in the U.S. describe themselves as shy, and the writer offers tips for helping a shy child feel comfortable with him- or herself. Read more. Separately, the same section of The Times has an article describing how "children who are physically fit absorb and retain new information more effectively than children who are out of shape." An expert quoted in the article suggests that to get fit children should engage in at least an hour a day of vigorous activity. Read more.

NUTS! Nuts and fish (and the omega-3 fatty acids they contain) can help improve reading, improve memory tests, and improve behavior, according to an Oxford University study; read more, and be content in your knowledge until the next, contradictory study on the topic comes out (on September 25).

ADHD? OR NARCISSISM? In The Atlantic, a writer makes a case that we're mistaking ADHD for "normal" childhood narcissism, which he defines as four tendencies:
  1. Overconfident self-appraisals
  2. Craving recognition from others
  3. Expressions of personal entitlement
  4. Underdeveloped empathy.
Read the article and see what you think.

ADHD AND WRITTEN EXPRESSION. ADDitude offers a slide-show titled "The Write Stuff: Helping Your Child with Written Expression." If that's an issue in your house or in your classroom, check it out.

NCLD. A recent email from the National Center for Learning Disabilities notes that Congress has cut funding from IDEA, and the amounts differ from state to state. You can find out how much your state lost. The email requests input from readers on how these cuts have affected children in your family, information to be used in advocacy with Congress. Find the letter.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. Wondering how electronic technology affects families? An article at the site of the Child Mind Institute addresses that topic in a review of the book The Big Disconnect. The book describes the differences in experiencing virtually and in real life, and some of the consequences on our children. Read more.

AUTISM INFOGRAPHIC. Aria Cahill contacted us with a link to an infographic on autism she has developed, with information about autism's prevalence, symptoms, economic costs, and comparisons to ADHD. Find the infographic.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

GIFTED, TALENTED, AND LABELS are the inter-linked themes of several items we've come across in the past few days. See what you think...

EXPECTATIONS. An article in Scientific American notes that "every single day, extraordinarily talented and creative individuals sit in our classrooms bored out of their minds. What we must realize is that potential is not enough. Potential needs a catalyst; a reason for expression." The article notes how "negative expectations" on the part of teachers can affect students with learning challenges, even to the point of causing neurobiological changes. The article also describes a study of adolescents in two groups -- gifted (on the basis of GPA); and talented (highly competent in at least one nonacademic activity). There was quite a difference in the two groups; read the article to find out more, and to reflect on what we need to provide our "gifted" kids.

TIME TO REDEFINE "GIFTED AND TALENTED"? That's the question posed in a blog at KQED.org. The article asserts that many GT programs are ineffective for high potential learners, and that “The field of gifted education lacks convincing research as to what works." Even the way we select students for GT programs may be flawed, according to an author cited in this provocative article. Read more.

GIFTED WORKERS. What happens to those gifted kids when they grow up and enter the workforce? A book excerpt from Gifted Workers: Hitting the Target at BusinessInsider.com examines what can go wrong in the interplay between a gifted worker and the workplace environment, especially an environment that leaves little room for individual differences. If you want to worry about your child's future in the workplace, check out this excerpt.

LABELING. A writer at PsychCentral.com takes on labels -- ADHD versus "having a short attention span" or "always in motion"; ODD versus "has a rebellious nature." The writer also covers the danger of labeling in a way that "the child becomes the diagnosis" -- eg, "an ADHD child" rather than "a child with ADHD." Find the article.

GIFTED PROGRAMS. A county in Georgia has changed from "pull-out" gifted programs to self-contained classes for the gifted, who number 4,000 out of 27,000 in the district. (That's about 15 percent of the students. Use what you know from the previous items to ask yourself about how the students were selected and whether they are "talented" as well as "gifted.") Find the article.

ADDITUDE WEBINARS. Upcoming free webinars from ADDitude cover topics such as reducing school stress, organization, and ADHD coaching. Find out more.

ASPERGER'S WORKSHOPS. Transdisciplinary Workshops, in Portland, Maine, is offering two workshops in October by author David Finch. One, for teens, is titled "Square Pegs: The Gift of Being Different." The other is by Kristen Finch, spouse of David, on "Strategies for Thriving in Neurobiologically Mixed Relationships," a topic that might be of interest to parents in the 2e community.

OMEGA-3 AND READING. A UK study examined the correlation of blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and reading ability. From the study's author: "From a sample of nearly 500 schoolchildren, we found that levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood significantly predicted a child's behaviour and ability to learn. Higher levels of omega-3 in the blood, and DHA in particular, were associated with better reading and memory, as well as with fewer behaviour problems as rated by parents and teachers." Read more.

GUT BACTERIA AND OCD, ADHD. A teenager with symptoms of OCD, ADHD, and digestive problems tested too-high for a high level of a certain kind of gut bacteria. The treatment: probiotics, then antibiotics. The results: the symptoms disappeared over the course of a year. The lesson: the power of gut bacteria. Read more.

OCD, CBT. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can aid depression associated with OCD, depression that might not respond to medication alone. Find out more.

COMPETITION. The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition is now open for creative teens in grades 7-12. The competition offers opportunities such as exhibition, publication, and scholarships. Find out more.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

TEACHING DYSLEXICS. In The Guardian, a teacher offers "tips, tricks, and tech" for teachers of students with dyslexia. Sample tip: use the font OpenDyslexic. Another: use images that exemplify sentences or unfamiliar words. Find the article.

SCHOOL ANXIETY: INHERITABLE. A longitudinal study indicates that back-to-school anxiety in children might be inherited from their parents' tendencies toward anxiety. The researcher began a study in 1984 and is now able to observe behavior in some of his original subjects' children. He also offers advice on how to deal with the problem. If this happens to be a timely issue for you, check out the article.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE is an anti-bullying video intended for use in school assemblies. The wrinkle: it features celebrities who were bullied as kids, celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, and even Kate Middleton. Find out more about the video at the site of the Child Mind Institute; there's also a link there to the video.

DYSLEXIA IN COLLEGE. A webinar from Dyslexic Advantage has been posted on YouTube. It's titled "Strategies for Success in College, Grad School, and Medical School," and it features learning specialist Diane Green from Brown University. Check it out, and if it's useful to you don't forget to donate something there to help support Dyslexic Advantage and its work. Separately, on September 18 Dyslexic Advantage offers another webinar, this one on phonemic awareness. From the blurb: "[L]earn why instruction alone will not help students with dyslexia get much past a third grade reading level, learn about the classic reading and spelling mistakes dyslexic students make (and why), and learn how to get them past a 'third grade brick wall' in reading." Find out more.

MISDIAGNOSIS IN GIFTED CHILDREN. On September 19, SENG offers a webinar titled "Differential Diagnosis: A Logical Approach to Understanding Commonly Misdiagnosed Features of Gifted Children." The presenter is pediatric neuropsycholgist Paul Beljan, on of the authors of Great Potential Press' book Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults. Find out more.

NUTRITION AND ADHD is the topic of several articles this week at ADDitude.com. One article offers information on a high-protein, low-sugar, no-additives diet to relieve symptoms of ADHD; another covers supplements that might be of similar use. Find the articles.

Monday, September 9, 2013

News Items, Resources from the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

FIRST-PERSON DYSCALCULIA. A writer at a site called "Medium" describes what it's like to be the "dyscalculic CEO," noting how dyslexic achievers are commonplace. He describes his experiences during school -- the "lazy" label, the "attitude problem." He also discusses his strategies for dealing with his work and personal lives. (He evidently cannot tell people how old his children are.) Read more.

NEUROSCIENCE IS... Bunk? A good thing? Two recent articles articulate these views. On the one side is an article in Salon titled "Pop Neuroscience is Bunk." The subtitle tells us, "The media -- and some scientists -- use brain imaging to explain law, politics, even theology. It's often hooey" On the other side is an article in The New York Times titled "The New Science of Mind," which explains, among other things, how neuroscience now lets us tell which depressives are candidates for successful cognitive behavioral therapy and which for successful medication. Our suggestion? Read both pieces and see what you think. You might also want to check out a third article, this one in the journal Nature, titled "Neuroscience: Solving the Brain," about the technological challenges involved in understanding how the brain works. 

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. The Eide-authored book of this name was an inspiration to a graphic design student with dyslexia, prompting her to enter and win an award in a program designed to showcase art from emerging artists with disabilities. Her work, along with the work of other finalists, is to be displayed at the Smithsonian Museum this fall. Find out more

HYPERACTIVITY: FROM THE EAR? A new study has shown that, in mice, inner-ear dysfunction can cause neurological changes that increase hyperactivity. The researchers connected a gene to the dysfunction and to a particular signaling pathway involved in locomotor activity. Find out more about the study

ROBOTIC THERAPY FOR HANDWRITING. Got a kid who has handwriting problems caused by poor fine-motor skills? Researchers have developed a robotic device that provides guidance and feedback to such children, improving handwriting skills. Read more, but it's our guess you probably won't find the device at Wal-Mart anytime soon. 

PARENTING RESOURCE. The New York Times as created a synergy between two of its regular offerings, Booming (for baby-boomers) and Motherlode (about parenting). Boomer parents respond to questions that Motherlode parents pose. The first question: What to do when a child has school-refusal inclinations. Find the feature

UNWRAPPING THE GIFTED. In her current post, educator and author Tamara Fisher explores medical misdiagnosis of gifted kids, inspired by the Misdiagnosis Initiative launched by SENG. If you'd like an overview of this issue, check out Fisher's blog.

SMPG TRAINING. Speaking of SENG, the organization is offering training in October for those who wish to become facilitators for SENG Model Parent Groups, in which parents gather on a regular basis to discuss gifted- (and 2e-) related issues. The training is in Tacoma, Washington, on October 12-13. Find out more.

PARENTING RESOURCE. A site called RadioMD.com features pediatrician experts offering advice on a wide range of topics, from the new flu vaccines to sleep, to phthalates and more. Phind the site.

A TRIO OF RESOURCES FROM NCLD. At its site, the National Center for Learning Disabilities has posted:
  1. A page of links to articles on therapies -- controversial therapies for LD, LD "cures," vision therapy, auditory training therapy, and more. Find the page
  2. An explanation of FAPE, a term we use often at 2e Newsletter, along with a chart of FAPE myths and facts. Find the page
  3. "Dyslexia Insight #4," with "seven secret fears about your dyslexic child," fears provoked by real-life language and comments you might hear from others. Find the page
2e NEWSLETTER, the September/October issue, will be out real soon now. It's our 10th-anniversary issue. If you're a paid subscriber, watch for it!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

From 2e Newsletter

A PRESS RELEASE alerted us to an online event today (Thursday, 9/5) featuring Rafe Esquith, famous as the teacher in Room 56 at Hobart Elementary School in Los Angeles for immersing his students in Shakespeare and theater and motivating the students to high achievement education-wise. He says he has no use for high-stakes, standardized tests. Today's 7pm (ET) event at WizIQ is titled "Real Talk for Real Teachers" -- but we're betting parents might find it of interest as well. Find out more at www.wiziq.com/online-class/1365406-real-talk-for-real-teachers-with-rafe-esquith. See a TED talk by Esquith (& student performances) at YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYnkRvYGnEk).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

KIDS AFFECT PARENTING. That's the conclusion of a study involving thousands of identical and non-identical twins. The hypothesis: Genetic differences in kids affect the family environment and parental behavior. Researchers estimated that these genetic differences accounted for about 23 percent of parenting differences. Not raising your kids the same way? Find out why.

PARENTS AFFECT ADHD TREATMENT. Do you as a parent of an ADHD child emphasize academic performance? Then you're probably more likely to prefer medication to treat the child's ADHD. Are you worried about behavior? Then you might choose behavioral therapy first. Those are the conclusions of research reported at Health Day. Read more.

ADHD AND THE BRAIN. From an article preface at Cerebrum: "Ten years ago a landmark study showed that the structure of the brains of children with ADHD differs from that of unaffected children. Since that study, enhancements in imaging have given researchers a better look at key hubs in the brain and how they network—advances that could prove useful in the control and treatment of ADHD in both children and adults." The article covers the history of what we know about brain structure and ADHD, discusses whether structural differences are cause or effect when it comes to ADHD, and briefly gets into developmental structural changes and what those can mean for growing out of ADHD -- or not. Find the article.

PARENTING CONFLICT is the topic of an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. You know what it's about -- consistency in messaging and discipline when it comes to raising  kids. If this is an issue at your house and you want to see how it affects other families -- and what to do about the issue -- read the article. Separately, there's an older article on the site about what to look for in a school search for your special needs child; the article doesn't mention "twice exceptional," but the tips apply. So if you've ever done, or are considering, looking for a new school for that great twice-exceptional child you raise, you might be interested in this article.

MISSED THIS AT THE WORLD CONFERENCE. At the conference of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children last month in Louisville, the Council elected Professor Humphrey Oborah of Kenya to be its president for the next four years. The Council has over a million members, according to The Star of Kenya. Read more.

GIFTED IN OHIO: NOT GETTING MUCH. That's the assertion in an article in the Marion Star, which notes that most traditional public schools in the state have been graded C or lower for "gifted student growth." In Ohio, as in many other states, gifted children are identified but services are not mandated. The result? “There’s a whole bunch of kids identified as gifted who are not being served by the school in which they attend,” one education analyst is quoted as saying. Find the article.

WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION? It's hard to tell, because not many methods are subjected to a randomized "clinical" trial as methods and interventions are in medicine and the sciences. But the Institute of Education Sciences in the United States, part of the Department of Education, is conducting such randomized studies to find what works and doesn't. According to The New York Times, one discovery so far is that the quality of instructional materials can have as much effect as the quality of the teacher. The Institute has a "What Works Clearinghouse" describing methods that might work or that haven't be adequately tested as of yet. (Note: the Institute focuses on math and science education.) One section of the clearinghouse focuses on interventions for students with special needs as identified by IDEA 2004. A search for "dyslexia" there brings up 13 results. Unfortunately, many of the results start out, "No studies of [method name] that fall within the scope of the Students with Learning Disabilities review protocol meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards." On the other hand, one program cited in the special needs area "was found to have no discernible effects on external behavior and emotional/internal behavior, and potentially positive effects on social outcomes and academic performance for children classified as having an emotional disturbance." If nothing else, this is a great start for bringing rigor and clarity to interventions and education for all kids, not just twice-exceptional children. Check it out to see if the issues you're concerned with are covered; maybe you'll be lucky.