Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ADHD, Screen Time, 2e on the Radio, More

ADHD DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT. The AAP has for over a decade provided its members with guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in young people. A study on how well pediatricians follow those guidelines was just published in the journal Pediatrics. Based on this study, pediatricians are quick to diagnose, quick to medicate, slow to follow up, and neglectful when it came to monitoring response to treatment. Read the article for the guidelines and the study results. Separately, and article in The Guardian examines (again) the issue of whether ADHD is a real brain disorder or simply the "medicalizing" (although they spell it with an "s" instead of a "z" in the UK) of childhood; find the article

SCREEN TIME FOR KIDS. We've blogged about this before. Now NPR has a piece summarizing the stories it's run on screen time during 2014, with surprisingly little definite advice; find it. And a review of existing study on the use of mobile and interactive media by kids says that we need more research; read more. Finally, an article at PsychCentral is titled "How Do Smartphones Affect Child Psychology?" The article notes the inconclusive findings, urges parents to "stay informed" (thanks), and concludes, "one thing all the experts seem to agree on is that moderation is key" (thanks again). Find the article

UNDERSTOOD offers a couple pieces of interest this week. One piece offers advice on what to do when school cuts or denies services, including evaluation or special ed services; find it. Another is a piece by David Fink from his book Thinking Differently. The piece addresses the myth of "just try harder" and includes a happy "chapter" in Fink's early life; find it

JEN THE BLOGGER, in a recent post, tells us that she was part of a panel of interviewees (along with James Webb and Megan Foley Nicpon) for a Radio Health episode on twice-exceptional children -- something all three participants know quite a lot about. You can read about her experience in her blog, or go straight to the podcast. Way to go, gang of three! 

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. ADDitude offers on January 8th a free webinar titled "How ADHD Affects Executive Function in Adults and Kids," scheduled for 1pm Eastern time with Russell Barkley. Find out more

AND FINALLY, THIS. Happy New Year to all of our subscribers and friends!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Retiring Advocate, Dweck on TED, Common Core, More

TOM HARKIN RETIRES. So what? He's the author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which, along with IDEA and other legislation, helps protect those with learning disabilities. He's retiring from the U.S. Senate, where he was, according to Disability Scoop, the "strongest ally in Congress" for those with disabilities. Read more.

DWECK ON TED. Carol Dweck recorded a presentation for TED in November, and it's now available. It's titled, "The power of believing that you can improve." Readers of this blog and 2e Newsletter know Dweck as a proponent of the "growth mindset," something relevant for our twice-exceptional young people. Find the TED Talk.

ADHD/LD SCHOOL ACCOMMODATIONS. ADDitude has on its site a 12-step infographic on "how to create, implement, and maintain an IEP or 504 Plan for your child with ADHD or LD." If you think such a plan might be useful, check out the infographic.

COMMON CORE, TESTING -- they're two separate issues, points out the author of an opinion piece in The New York Times. David Kirp provides some background on the emergence of the Common Core standards and the subsquent reaction to the standards and high-stakes testing. Some of the controversy is political ("government overreach," etc) and some of it is practical -- teachers uneasy about being evaluated by test-based "progress" (or lack of it) in their students. If the controversy interests you, check out the opinion piece.

AUTISM, GENES. The diverse symptoms of ASD are apparently caused by hundreds of genes that can mutate affect different types of brain cells, according to a recently published study. Find out more.

DANA FOUNDATION. At the site of the Dana Foundation are three recent articles that might be of interest to those in the 2e community
  • One concerns the "brain-gut axis" in regard to brain development and disease; find it
  • A second article, from October of 2014,is titled "Fear and the Brain, an Introduction"; read it
  • A November article is a report from the annual Aspen Brain Forum, and the topic is the influence of the environment on the developing brain; find it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR to our friends and subscribers in the 2e community! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gifted &: Myths, Prison, Blogs, More

DEBUNKING MYTHS about gifted students is the topic of an article at edutopia.org. You know some of these myths, for example that gifted kids don't need scaffolding. See how many others you're disabused of.

THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE -- for gifted kids -- is covered at Quartz, qz.com. The article notes that as many as 20 percent of the prison population might be considered gifted, and that twice-exceptional kids have strikes against them when it comes to avoiding the pipeline. The article compares the cognitive and family characteristics of two gifted young men, one of whom wound up "dropping out." Find the article.

MUSIC AND THE BRAIN. In a study called "the largest investigation of the association between playing a musical instrument and brain development," a child psychiatry team has found that musical training might also help kids focus their attention, control their emotions and diminish their anxiety. Read more.

LDA CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO. The annual conference of the Learning Disabilities Association of America is set for February 18-21 in Chicago. A quick search of the online program book reveals no mention of "twice-exceptional," but you may search for sessions relevant to you at this link.

AUTISM SPEAKS has issued its December newsletter. It includes a link to a collection of autism-related stories that readers chose as the "top 10" for 2014. Find the newsletter.

SENG. At this site you can find a list of gifted blogs, including blogs for homeschoolers and for gifted adults. Find the lists.

SOCIAL ANXIETY. Social anxiety is one of the most common psychiatric disorders among children and adolescents -- and among the twice-exceptional. A new study has found that the quality of parent-infant relationships and early childhood shyness predict the likelihood of social anxiety in adolescence. Read more.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Back in a few days with more blog items. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Way to Go, Congress! And More...

WAY TO GO, CONGRESS! In an act of almost unimaginable generosity, the U.S. Congress graciously bestowed an extra $5 million on the Javits Gifted Program, bringing its 2015 funding to -- let's see -- why, a whopping total of $10 million! (In 2003, when we started 2e Newsletter, the funding level was $11 million.) And if there are three million gifted kids in the United States, as some sources say -- well, you do the math. Thanks again, Congress. Great job. Now go home. Read more.

TEACHERS VENT. Sometimes parents in the 2e community complain about teachers who don't "get" 2e students. At the site of Reddit.com, someone posted a question, "Teaches of Reddit, what was the strangest encounter you've had with a student's parents." There are lots of great responses. One of our favorites starts this way: "Big dude. Ponytail, biker jacket, Harley rider. Scruffy, looked the type to be in a motorcycle gang. Came into my classroom in my first year of teaching.... It didn't really start well: 'Are you the guy that's teaching my daughter?', he said in that low kinda throaty growl." Find the postings. (FYI, some of the teachers are a little "free" with their language.)

JEN THE BLOGGER has posted some quotes from her family's interactions over the past few months. Reminded us of our kids growing up -- and might remind you of conversations you've had with your 2e kids. Find the post.

OKAY, LET'S GET SERIOUS....


LD IN COLLEGE. An article at THE Journal notes that while 87 percent of K-12 students with LDs get some kind of support, only 19 percent of those students will get supports at the college level. Read this article on the transition to college for kids with LDs.

TOURETTE'S is the topic of several videos posted at the site of the Child Mind Institute. In them, Dr. Barbara Coffey addresses topics such as comorbidities, specifically Tourette's/ADHD and Tourette's/OCD. Find the videos.

WILLFULNESS? ODD? ADDitude offers a 15-question screening tool to help parents identify possible Oppositional Defiant Disorder in their children. Find the tool.

APPROACHING 2015, and we're starting to see articles with titles such as "Make 2015 a Year of Learning." This particular article, however, offers 10 tips for parents of young children, tips that can help kids learn. Chances are you engage in many of these behaviors already -- like conversing with your child over dinner about his or her day -- but maybe there are some you can add to your repertoire in dealing with that bright youngster you have. Read the tips.

ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH CARE. So many kids, so many problems, so little resources. An article at MedPageToday.com gives some of the reasons adolescents might not get appropriate attention for mental health issues, but also points to techniques that work. Interestingly, the article defines "adolescence" as stretching from 10 to 24, acknowledging the ever-changing brains of these young people. Find the article.

STIMULANT ADHD MEDS can, along with their cognitive effects, result in lower injury rates in children with ADHD. A study showed that kids on stimulants were less likely to wind up in the emergency room when they were taking the medications than when they were off them. The study refrained from drawing a causal connection, however. Find out more.

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION FOR THE GIFTED. The December newsletter of this organization is out, and it includes a summary of legislative news relating to California and education (the USC scored a $300K Javits grant!). Also included, a preview of the February annual conference; and an article on the "impostor syndrome." Find the newsletter.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- just in times for the holidays. "Hugs help protect against stress, infection, say researchers." Researchers tested that hypothesis and found that greater social support and more frequent hugs protected people from the increased susceptibility to infection associated with being stressed and resulted in less severe illness symptoms. So there. Read more. And go hug a stressed 2e kid (or parent) (or educator).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2e Household Issues, Male Idiocy, More

2e NEWS. There is none today. Do you know how hard it is to find good news about twice-exceptionalities? Here are the results of a search via Google for news relating to "twice exceptional." That said, here are some items on parenting, exceptionalities, and other issues that can pop up in 2e households...

UNDERSTOOD has on its website a "Parenting Coach" that offers ideas for dealing with challenges in the social, emotional, and behavioral domains. For example, you can select the category "Dealing with Anxiety and Fear," select the child's grade, and click on "get ideas" to see tips on what to do. Find the Coach.

DON'T HAVE ISSUES AT YOUR HOUSE in the social, emotional, or behavioral domain? Then find out how you might get them through the interaction of your child's experiences and genetics. Here's what the researchers concluded: "...variants of three common genes, MAOA, BDNF, and 5-HTTLPR, interacted with each other and with negative environmental factors to increase the risk of delinquency and with a positive environmental factor to decrease the risk of delinquency in a large sample of teenagers." Actually, the journal article title says it better: "Genotypes do not confer risk for delinquency but rather alter susceptibility to positive and negative environmental factors." Find out more


HOW ABOUT ISSUES WITH SLEEP? HealthDay reports that "almost all" teens in the United States are sleep deprived. with potential negative effects on health and academic performance. Is your teen getting 9-10 hours of sleep a night? Didn't think so. Find out more about the problem.

WANT VIRTUAL THERAPY FOR YOUR KID'S ISSUES? It's coming. An article at VB News describes a telemedicine company called Doctors on Demand that is enabling virtual visits with mental health professionals. A prospective counselee can find a licensed therapist, make an appointment, and have a 25- or 50-minute online session for $50 or $95. Find out more. Separately, Medscape included telemedicine as one of their 35 items that made a difference in medicine in 2014; read more.

THE ASSAULT OF PARENTING ADVICE. Andrew Solomon, who has been the subject of blog mentions in the past, has written a long review of a new book on parenting -- or rather on childhood and its "innate nobility." The book is A Country Called Childhood, by Jay Griffiths, an anthropologist, "radical thinker," and, apparently, a rather poetic writer. Solomon concludes, "With bracing purity of intent and spectacular reach, she questions the way we think of and treat children. Her musings might help build a kinder world." Read the review.

LOOKING AHEAD. The publication District Administration has posted a feature on educational advancements to look for in 2015. Among those mentioned are two that would be beneficial to twice-exceptional students -- student-driven learning and greater individual attention. Read the article to find out how that can happen.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- a tongue-in-cheek (we hope) article titled "Study Supports the Theory that Men Are Idiots." This item is based on an article published in the British Medical Journal describing research in England, "an analysis of sex differences in idiotic behavior." Hint: the study involves the Darwin Awards. Read more. Actually, that article title should be, more accurately, "Study Supports the Theory that Most Idiots Are Men."

Friday, December 12, 2014

2e & Reading, Depression, NVLD, More

A NICE PORTRAIT of a twice-exceptional middle-schooler is presented at Reading Today Online. A piece written by an expert in reading and dyslexia shows how much effort it takes for the student to appear average or above average -- and how parents or teachers can spot at least one indicator of reading problems. Also in the article, a list of assistive technology accommodations for such readers. Find the article.

DEPRESSION. Two new potential treatments for depression, one scourge for the twice-exceptional, are laughing gas (nitrous oxide) and ketamine ("special K"). We've blogged about ketamine before, how it seems to help some people for whom usual antidepressants don't work. A new article in The New York Times points out some concerns about this use. And a new study reported at MedicalNewsToday.com indicates that nitrous oxide can also be effective in providing fast relief for treatment-resistant depression.

NON-VERBAL LEARNING DISORDERS are the topic of a new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. These disorders, according to the article concern "All the stuff that involves understanding information—relationships, concepts, ideas, patterns." The article, the first in a series, describes five types of NVLD and how to spot them. Find the article.

GRANDIN AT BRIDGES. Bridges Academy, a preparatory school for the twice-exceptional, is presenting an event titled "A Morning with Temple Grandin" on January 16th in Pasadena, California. Find out more.

SENG offers information about current and upcoming training and education opportunities, including a webinar on January 15th titled "Eleven Key Parenting Issues" with psychologist James Webb. Find out more.

ADDITUDE, on its site, has a slide-show identifying six types of anxiety and the treatment for each. Examples: phobia, social anxiety, panic attacks, and more. Find the slide-show.

EDUCATION WEEK WEBINAR. Education Week hosted a webinar on personalized learning on December 11th, the content of which will be available online shortly. From the event blurb: "This webinar will examine what a growing number of school and technology advocates have identified as the core elements of personalized learning." Find out more, including how to access the transcript.

SOMETHING ELSE TO WORRY ABOUT. Some common household chemicals -- phthalates -- can apparently lower IQ in children by more that six points when the children are exposed to the chemicals in utero. If you're expecting -- or expecting to expect -- or just irate -- find out what to avoid

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

OCD, Dopamine, Dyslexia, and 2e on Pinterest

WHEN YOUR KIDDO IS DIFFERENT -- than you. Different in temperament or in how he or she reacts to the world, or to the educational experience. Sometimes parents, after a diagnosis on one of their children, realize that they, too, are 2e, or gifted, or have an LD. But sometimes parents might find it harder to "identify" with their own child. That's the topic of a post by a psychologist blogger at PositivelyAtypical.com. Find it.

2e ON PINTEREST. A search for "twice-exceptional" on Pinterest turns up many "boards" related to our topic; find them. Some of the pinners' names will be familiar to readers of 2e Newsletter.

DOPAMINE: FOOD FOR ABSTRACT THOUGHT? Researchers trained monkeys to do math problems involving "greater than" and "less than," which involve the prefrontal cortex. Stimulation of the dopamine neurotransmitters in that area enhanced the monkeys' ability to solve the problems. Practical implications? Not many, but the study shows, evidently, how little we know about how and why dopamine affects our brains. Read more.

ULTRASOUND AND OCD. A proof-of-concept study used focused ultrasound to ablate (scientific meaning: to zap) specific brain areas in "certain subjects" (qualification not defined in the write-up) with obsessive compulsive disorder. The ablation reduced OCD thoughts and behaviors as well as improving symptoms of anxiety and depression in the treated patients. It was a small study -- four subjects -- but all reportedly showed improvement. Read more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. The December newsletter from this organization is out. In it, a reminder of a December 15th webinar with inventor Howard Wexler on dyslexic gifts; an article on teaching creative writing to dyslexic students; a pointer to an article on dyslexia and Common Core State Standards; a profile of a dyslexic artist who has won a Caldecott award; and more. Find the newsletter.  And if you're feeling generous and want to support the work of this non-profit, you'll find an opportunity to contribute. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

fMRI, UDL, 2e, PE...

BRAIN IMAGING IDENTIFIES AUTISM. A group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University combined brain imaging with "machine learning techniques" to accurately differentiate subjects with high-functioning autism from a control group. The differentiation depended on the degree of activation of a certain brain area when the subjects thought about concepts related to social interactions, such as "adore" or "hug." Read more.

UDL. We've blogged before about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a possible teaching method to help not only twice-exceptional students but all students. An article in THE Journal offers tips for teachers who want to implement UDL in their classrooms. Find the article.

"GIFTED" IN THE CLASSROOM. An educator writing at the site of Reading.org muses on two forms of "gifted" readers he has observed in his classrooms. One is the the concrete thinker (close to what we traditionally consider gifted) and the other is an abstract thinker who can "think outside the four corners of the text" to gain understanding. Find the article.

2e VIDEOS ON FACEBOOK. We've posted a couple of our 2e videos on our Facebook page; they had been solely at YouTube. If you're interested, check them out at www.facebook.com/2eNewsletter. (They've got thousands of "reaches" in a short period of time.)

PE AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE. They're linked, as you probably know. An issue of the journal Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development contained articles documenting the positive effect of exercise and activity on school achievement. Read about the issue is you want evidence to bring back PE. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giftedness, Genetics & Interventions, and a Few Resources

RESILIENCE, ENVIRONMENT, AND GENES. Apparently genetic predisposition can determine which kids will benefit from attention and interventions. And some of these genes are also linked to depression or ADHD. From a New York Times opinion piece: "One might even imagine a day when we could genotype all the children in an elementary school to ensure that those who could most benefit from help got the best teachers. Not only because they would improve the most, but also because they would suffer the most from lower quality instruction. The less susceptible — and more resilient — children are more likely to do O.K. no matter what." This is an interesting piece that addresses both practical and ethical issues with such genotyping, but also explains why some kids are less affected by environmental experiences. Find it.

GIFTEDNESS, CREATIVITY, POTENTIAL... are all topics of a GT Chat interview with Scott Barry Kaufman that can serve as a touch-stone for readers regarding their own thoughts on those things. He says he prefers "intelligent testing" to "intellligence testing" and also doesn't think of potential as something that's set in stone. Kaufman is a keynoter at TAGT 2014, coming up shortly in Texas. Read the interview.

GIFTEDNESS alone is the topic of a piece at CrushingTallPoppies.com, which name belies its point of view. In this particular piece the author wonders "why are there people who believe every child is gifted or no child is gifted?" If you've wondered the same thing, find the post.

UNDERSTOOD has a couple new resources on its site. One is "10 Tips to Help Get Your Child Organized," which addresses an issue faced by many 2e households; find it. And the organization is sponsoring a webinar called "IEP in the Trenches," scheduled for December 5 at noon ET; find out more.

FORBES CALLS THIS RESOURCE "Yelp for services aimed at children with special needs." It's a site called "Love My Provider," It's a little like our 2edb.info site -- but with 30,000 provider profiles. We assume that members of the 2e community would need to do due diligence to ascertain provider credentials regarding 2e kids, but 30,000 is a nice pool to start from. On the other hand, be advised that some of the stalwart providers to the 2e community are not included at the moment. In fact, we couldn't even find a listing for attorney Peter Wright of Wrightslaw.com. But find the Forbes article or check out Love My Provider. (If you try this site for real, share with us how it works for you, please.)

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. On December 3rd, ADDitude is hosting a free webinar titled "Signs of Anxiety in ADHD Adults and Kids -- and How to Get Help." It's at 1 ET and features Thomas E Brown, clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. Find out more.

ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, GUILT -- they all harm the brain. We've pointed previously to one of two recent studies described in an article at the site biosciencetechnology.com, but the article describes how those conditions can affect the brain from preschool on. Read more.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Depression, Brain Training, Un-named Twice-exceptionality, More

'TIS THE SEASON TO BE -- depressed, at least for some people, especially those sensitive to the change of seasons. (Readers Down Under can ignore this item.) ADDitude offers tips for dealing with winter depression when ADHD is part of one's neurological mix. And an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute points out that the Thanksgiving holiday can be a good time for parents to check on the mood of their college freshmen, home after being on their own for a few months and maybe showing signs of depression; find the article. The site of Brain & Behavior has a new article titled "New Brain Biomarker Found for Depression Risk in Young Children." A part of the brain called the anterior insula is apparently smaller in volume in kids with predisposition to depression; read more. And three items at Science Daily deal with depression, telling us that:
  • Teens who mature early are at greater risk of depression.
  • When adolescent (animals) consume a diet high in fructose, it can worsen depressive- and anxiety-like behavior and alter how the brain responds to stress. Fructose is a sugar commonly added to foods and beverages.
  • Group mindfulness treatment is as effective as individual cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in patients with depression and anxiety.
So how do you feel after reading all these items on depression?

BRAIN TRAINING. The Child Mind Institute has a new article on its site about computer-based brain training for kids, how it works, and whether it's effective or worth the time and money. Brain training can be used to help kids pay attention, process information faster, remember more, and be "cognitively flexible." If you've been considering it for your child, check out the article.

BRIGHT AND LAZY? Jay Matthews, in the Washington Post, wrote an article titled "For Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities, Homework Can Be Torture," in which he tells of a family's frustration with school because a child who scored in the 99th percentile in math couldn't get into a top math group in class. The reasons? ADHD and executive function issues. Even at a private school, the child couldn't get an accommodation such as less repetitive homework. The article doesn't use the word twice-exceptional, nor is the word in any of the 182 comments on the article (assuming our browser's search function works correctly). 2e, the condition that must not be named.  Find the article.

SPECIAL ED ATTORNEY MATT COHEN, in his November e-newsletter, covers several topics that might be of interest to parents or educators of twice-exceptional students. One item concerns Office of Civil Rights guidance for schools regarding bullying of students with disabilities, which includes 2e students. Another item implies that, in at least one US Circuit Court district, schools have an obligation to disclose RTI data to parents as part of efforts to determine whether a learning disability is present. Find the newsletter.

WRIGHTSLAW, in the current issue of Special Ed Advocate, points out that IEPs are not cast in stone, and that you (parents) can ask to revise an IEP. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. We learn all kinds of things as we look for items for this blog. For example, we just learned that habitual napping is common among first-year university students in Australia, and that such napping "may be used in an attempt to compensate for the detrimental effects of excessive sleepiness." Find out more.

Monday, November 24, 2014

ADHD, Homeschooling, ASD, and Winnie the Pooh

SHARPBRAINS.COM, in its November 24th Update, provides lots of articles that might be of interest to those in the 2e community, including pieces on whether cognitive therapy should be the first-line treatment for depression; whether there's a link between ADHD and creativity; mindfulness in education; and ADHD in high school. (For those of us who are older, there's also a piece on vitamin B12 and dementia (maybe no benefits).) Find the Update.

HOW AUTISM FREED ME to be myself is the title of a TED talk by a 16-year-old young woman, who tries to dispel stereotypes and celebrate uniqueness. (She has two siblings with autism who are non-verbal.) She calls autism an ability, not a disability. See the talk or read the transcript.

BLOGS. At the site of SENG, Amy Golden Harrington reviews three blogs with a 2e connection. One is by a 2e adult; another is on OEs and homeschooling; and another is from a mom of two gifted, intense, rivalrous, homeschooled boys. Find the reviews.

EXPLAINING OUR KIDS TO OTHERS is usually a challenge for the parent of a twice-exceptional child. Maintaining composure while hearing others react to our situations can also be a challenge. At ADDitude.com, read 21 comments by others that readers submitted, top picks in the category of "hurtful things said by people who just don't understand." Find the comments.

FOLLOW-UP. The article "One Drug or Two" in The New York Times, which we mentioned last week, generated a good deal of response by well-credentialed readers of The Times. Find that feedback. (Find the original article.)

UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPTS? If you have a few minutes to be confused, or indignant, or dismayed, check out two recent columns in venerable Parade Magazine. In one column, the columnist responds to a parent complaining that he/she is homeschooling a gifted child because the child wouldn't get the attention he needs in public school. In the other, a follow-on, the columnist responds to a parent asserting that gifted kids might be "special needs" in social areas.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Winnie the Pooh was reportedly nixed as the mascot for a town playground because he is inappropriately dressed and of dubious sexuality. Reporting on the town's decision, NBC News said, "Sure, Winnie is a honey junkie who spends most of his time with a chronically depressed donkey and a suspiciously energetic tiger, and if you don't want your kids hanging with that sort of crew, then fine. But if you don't want Winnie at playgrounds because he doesn't wear pants and has no external genitalia, you're living in the past, my friend." Read more.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2e I, II, III... and More

2e I. Jen the blogger has a nice piece at Laughing at Chaos titled "To Be Both Normal and Extraordinary." She muses on the dual nature of 2e kids -- extraordinary but normal -- and how "the only way our kids, all of our kids, are going to thrive is if we celebrate their extraordinariness while we simultaneously treat it as the most normal thing in the world." Find the blog

2e II. Eric Parsons, at the site of the Center for Talent Development writes about "non-normative behaviors." Recognize those? The gifted behaviors? The LD-based behaviors? The "nerd" label? The "outsider" feeling? He notes a sliver lining, how "Through linguistic re-appropriation and public forums unconstrained by geography, robust communities of self identified ‘nerds’, ‘geeks’, ‘weirdos’ etc. have developed around one key principle: enthusiastically pursuing and sharing interests without regard for prevailing socio-cultural norms." In other words, as Jen said above, "normal." Find the post

2e III. "Why We Should Stop Worrying if Other People Like Our Kids" is a Huffington Post blog by Lisa Abeyta, mother of two 2e kids, which she says is "is usually a daily adventure into the unknown, especially when a child is young -- because the exceptionalities are rarely identified. leaving parents a bit off kilter as they struggle to understand their child's unique approach to life." She tells a very uncomfortable story -- very uncomfortable to any parent -- in which she does something any parent will cheer. She writes, " I have... come to understand that it is so not my job to make my kid feel defective because he doesn't fit in the right box," and she has stopped worrying whether others are comfortable around her kid. Find the post


SCOOPED! We just finished writing up an NAGC session we attended by Matthew Fugate of Purdue University. The topic: giftedness, ADHD, and creativity. But Scott Barry Kaufman, writing at the site of Scientific American, has already addressed the study by Fugate that was core to his presentation. Here's the Kaufmann article -- but we'll add some details in our session write-up, coming soon. 

EXERCISE AND ADHD. We've blogged recently about the positive effects of exercise on cognitive functioning. An article at the site of the Child Mind Institute reflects on the results of one of those studies. Find the article.
ADHD AND MARKETING. A researcher describes five reasons for the global surge in ADHD diagnosis. Of the five, three have to do with "marketing." Read more.
"OWNING" DYSLEXIA. The organization Understood presents a webinar on Friday the 21st at noon ET titled "Why It's Important to Help Kids 'Own' Their Dyslexia." Find out more.
CONFERENCE TIP. A steadfast member of the 2e community suggests that readers here might be interested in the International Conference on Thinking, scheduled for June 29 through July 3, 2015, in Spain. She says, "There is a strong education strand and some excellent speakers: Howard Gardner, Robert Sternberg, Edward De Bono, David Perkins, Robert Swartz, Art Costa, and many more." Find out more.
AND FINALLY, THIS -- FOR YOU. That's right, for you gifted parents or educators or counselors of the gifted. A 40-year longitudinal study indicates that profoundly gifted men and women measure success differently by the time they reach mid-life. Results of the study, from Vanderbilt University, show how the men and women have achieved, spent their careers, been paid, spent their time, and "invested" in family. So see how your peers report in on their lives. (Although you, O Gifted Reader, may be somewhat younger than the roughly 50 years of age enjoyed by the study participants.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Medications, ADHD, Depression, Dyslexia, Video Games, and More

ONE DRUG OR TWO is the title of an article in The New York Times, which starts with the situation of a five-year old already on ADHD meds whose mother is considering adding an anti-psychotic because of the boy's difficult behavior. "In 2012 about one in 54 youngsters ages 6 through 17 covered by private insurance was taking at least two psychotropic medications," says the article. If your family is on the threshold of multiple drugs -- or if you have a concern about medications in kids -- read this article.

PSYCHIATRISTS are the ones who prescribe anti-psychotics and other meds used by 2e kids -- but psychiatrists are increasingly difficult to gain access to, one reason being their relative scarcity, especially for child psychiatrists. Find out why in an article at TheConversation.com.

ON THE TOPIC OF MEDS, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has evidently expressed "concern" that two generic versions of Concerta are not therapeutically equivalent to the branded drug. It's something to know about if your 2e kiddo is taking one of the generics.

DON'T LIKE MEDS? Maybe you can treat ADHD with food. That's the topic of an upcoming free ADDitude webinar scheduled for Wednesday, November 19 at 1 pm ET. A blurb for the webinar says that the topics covered will include:
  • Foods that can help improve your mood, memory, motivation, and focus
  • How an elimination diet can help manage ADHD symptoms in children
  • Four simple steps to recognizing "good" and "bad" foods.
Find out more. Also from ADDitude, an article called "ADHD and Depression: Diagnosing, Treating, and Managing a Dual Diagnosis"; find it.

EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING is the topic of a recent article on the site of the Davidson Institute. It's titled "Tips for Parents: Executive Functioning -- What Is It, Why We Need It, and How Parents Can Support Our Children's Development." Find the article. Separately, researchers at New York University say that an educational approach focused on the development of children’s executive functions -- the ability to avoid distractions, focus attention, hold relevant information in working memory, and regulate impulsive behavior --improved academic learning in and beyond kindergarten. A write-up of the study notes that because some effects were especially pronounced in high-poverty schools, the findings hold promise for closing the poverty-related achievement gap and suggest that an emphasis on executive functions in kindergarten may reduce poverty-linked deficits in school readiness. Find the writeup.

DEPRESSION in preschoolers changes the brain, in particular the right anterior insula, an area involved in emotion, perception, self-awareness and cognitive function, according to a press release about a research study. The researchers note that their findings could provide a biomarker for those at risk for the recurrence of depression as well as clues for the diagnosis and treatment of depression. Find out more. Separately, other research indicates that major depressive disorder could be thought of as an infectious disease caused by parasites, bacteria, or viruses. Researcher Tuhan Canli, Ph.D., provides three reasons for his reconceptualization of MDD. First, he points out that patients with MDD exhibit illness behavior such as loss of energy, and that inflammatory biomarkers in MDD also suggest an illness-related origin. Second, he describes evidence that parasites, bacteria and viruses infect humans in a way that alters their emotional behavior. Thirdly, he introduces the notion of the human body as an ecosystem for microorganisms and the role of genetics. Find out more. Separately again, researchers at Mt. Sinai school of medicine have proposed a new model for depression. According to this model, the brain’s ability to effectively deal with stress or to lack that ability and be more susceptible to depression depends on a single protein type in each person’s brain. The Mount Sinai study findings challenge the current thinking about depression and the drugs currently used to treat the disorder, for example the mechanisms involving serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Read more.

DYSLEXIA ASSIST. A font and a redesigned dictionary are being developed by separate individuals to help dyslexics. The font, from a dyslexic designer, uses typographic elements, a dark blue color, and more space to help readers understand text. The dictionary is from a father-and-son team and uses a morphological approach to organization rather than a phonetic approach. Read more.

DIET, KIDS, AND MENTAL HEALTH (such as anxiety, depression, and mood disorders). They're connected. Find out more.

LD IN COLLEGE. The most recent LD Online newsletter focuses on getting kids with LDs ready for college, with articles on building college-level reading scores, planning for college with an LD, and taking that SAT. Find the newsletter.

AND FINALLY, THIS. They help, they harm, they build skills or they make kids aggressive. It seems as if every study about video games we read has a different conclusion than the last. This week's study is described in a write-up with this title: "Playing Action Video Games Can Boost Learning." It compared action games to non-action games. Find the write-up and decide for yourself if it applies to your gaming kiddo. (Interestingly, the Office of Naval Research, the Swiss National Foundation, The Human Frontier Science Program, and the National Eye Institute supported the research.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans' Day, Education Policy, Child Mind Institute, More

IT'S VETERANS' DAY in the U.S., a day on which we express appreciation for the service of those currently and formerly in the Armed Services. Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate observes the day by providing resources to help military families with exceptional (or twice-exceptional) children. If yours is a military family, or you know such a family, perhaps check out Special Ed Advocate today.

IF THE U.S. ELECTION last week didn't burn you out, perhaps you'd like information on what the election results might mean for education policy in this country. To that end, Education Week is offering a free event, to be streamed via the Web, on Wednesday, November 12 at 1 ET. Find out more.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. We're fans of this organization, and we have two bits of news about it. First, the organization hosts an annual Adam Jeffrey Katz Memorial Lecture. This year's speaker was actress Lorraine Bracco ("Goodfellas," "The Sopranos"); she addressed her battle with dyslexia and depression. ("Depression is a vortex," she says. "You don't have it, it has you.") Find an account of the lecture. The second item concerns the co-founder of the Institute, Dr. Harold Koplewicz. He was recently named a WebMD Health Hero. Find out more.

ADHD FOLLOWUP. We recently pointed readers to an article in The New York Times titled "A Natural Fix for ADHD." If you read that article -- and it certainly generated a lot of interest on our Facebook page -- you might be interested in some of the letters to the editor of the Times concerning the article. Find them.

EDUCATING 2e LEARNERS. Susan Baum, Robin Schader, and Thomas Hebert have published in Gifted Child Quarterly an article titled "Through a Different Lens: Reflecting on a Strengths-based, Talent-focused Approach for Twice-exceptional Learners." The article reports on the experiences of 2e students at a private school for the twice-exceptional. From the article abstract: "Findings indicate areas of change and development across cognitive, emotional/behavioral, and social domains and identified five factors underlying student growth: psychological safety, tolerance for asynchrony, time, positive relationships, and the consistent use of a strengths-based, talent-focused philosophy. Data also revealed four benefits from the talent development opportunities offered by the school. Participating in talent development activities enabled students to become part of a social group; to overcome some social, emotional, and cognitive challenges in context; to develop ongoing mentor and professional relationships with people in talent areas; and to develop expertise in an area of talent. This research supports the incorporation of a strengths-based, talent-focused approach for twice-exceptional learners." Find the article at the site of SAGE Publications.

PERSONALIZED LEARNING sounds like it would be good, in theory, for any learner and especially for twice-exceptional learners. The approach incorporates strategies such as the use of learner profiles; personalized learning plans; competency-based progression, and flexible learning environments. An article at Chalkbeat.org describes how some schools in Tennessee have been using personalized learning and the results. Find the article.

Friday, November 7, 2014

ASD Celebrity, Note-taking, Helicopter vs Rescuing, More

FAMOUS ON THE SPECTRUM. That's Jerry Seinfeld, according to an NBC interview the comedian gave to Brian Williams. He says he has trouble with social engagement, and with taking language literally. Read more.

2e-RELATED SEMINAR IN CHICAGO. Well, Evanston, Illinois, actually -- at the Center for Talent Development on Northwestern University's campus. It's a free primer titled "Recognizing the Capacities of Twice-exceptional Learners," presented by Erik Parsons, and it's presented at 9:30 and 12:30 on Saturday the 8th. Find out more.

ADHD AND PAH. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the air increase the chances that a child will be be diagnosed by age 9 with ADHD -- specifically, inattentive ADHD. PAH are air pollutants from a variety of sources. Read more.

ON NOTE-TAKING. We blogged on a recent pan-versus-laptop study that seemed to indicate that students taking notes by pen retained information better. However, an article at the site of Edutopia asks, "what if we approach the concept by identifying what is best for individual students?" That's reasonable -- we in the 2e community are always happy when our kids are considered on the basis of their individual needs. The writer goes on to consider four factors in choosing AT for note taking, including support for the student's learning needs, the ability to save notes in different locations, the ability to search the notes, and the ability to share. Find the article.

"HELICOPTER" VERSUS "NO-RESCUE." Almost by definition, our 2e kids have a problem -- or even multiple problems. As such, our natural instinct as parents is to try to help. But helping is a spectrum disorder, too -- too much can damage a child. What's the ideal? A writer in "Motherlode" in The New York Times addresses this issue. Find out what she arrives at between "helicopter" and "no-rescue."

DR. JUDY WILLIS is presenting a "Learning and the Brain" session on December 3 and again on December 4 in Southern California. For educators, it's titled "Powerful Classroom Strategies from Neuroscience Research," and it deals with (among other issues) maximizing student attention, helping construction of working and long-term memory, motivation, and promoting growth mindsets. Find out more.

SOCIAL ANXIETY is the topic of a couple of new articles at the site of the Child Mind Institute. One article deals with how the fear of the way you appear can get in the way of functioning; the other offers tips for managing social anxiety. Both articles are written "to" teen readers.

IF ONLY IT WERE TRUE FOR 2e. As a final item, we offer a pointer to a study write-up that says sometimes adding disorder to existing disorder can lower the overall disorder (of a system). Alas, it apparently applies only to disciplines such as chemical physics, statistics, and economics -- and only in some cases. Find the write-up.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Conferences, ADHD, Dyslexia, More

GOING TO NAGC? If you're there on Thursday, a "pre-conference" day, check out a 12:30 session called "Twice-Exceptional Children: Making Inroads." From the session blurb: "This session will highlight leaders in the field of twice-exceptional, describe our past, and draw directions for the future. Efforts of the National Community of Practice on 2e will be described, including a definition of 2e and implications for legal issues, research, practice, and policy. Panel members, who are founders of the 2e concept and advocacy, will share their histories, share practical strategies and suggestions, and share their desires for the future." Find out more

ON ADHD. "...people with ADHD may not have a disease, so much as a set of behavioral traits that don’t match the expectations of our contemporary culture." This is from an opinion piece in The New York Times, written by a psychiatrist/professor who offers a different way to look at ADHD and some suggestions for better matching the ADHD person's traits to his/her environment. Find the piece

CHADD's ANNUAL CONFERENCE is in Chicago this year on November 13-15. Find more information at the organization's website

PEDIATRICIANS AND ADHD. A study published in the journal Pediatrics indicates that pediatricians may not consult the DSM when diagnosing ADHD, may not gather behavior ratings from parents and teachers, and may rely on meds rather than therapy or a combination. Read more at HealthDay.com. 

GIFTEDNESS AND DYSLEXIA intersect in the research of Jeffrey Gilger, who has contributed to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter. In the current issue of The Examiner from the International Dyslexia Association is a Q&A with Gilger about his work on dynamic visual-spatial thinking in dyslexia; find the article. Find The Examiner

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. The November issue of this newsletter is out. Among the features are two profiles of creative dyslexics, actor Channing Tatum and artist Michael Allen; and offers of two "card templates" titled "What is Dyslexia?" and "What Is Dysgraphia?" Find the newsletter

STEM, PRAISE, AND DWECK. At the site of The Atlantic, Carol Dweck is interviewed on "the best way to help kids feel confident enough to stay the STEM course." You already know the basics of Dweck's message; see how she applies it to STEM

IN AUSTRALIA. Via Jo Freitag's Gifted Resources newsletter we discovered the following events:
Freitag also reminds readers of the 2015 World Conference by the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, to be held August 10-14 in Denmark. 

2015 SENG CONFERENCE. SENG is now accepting presentation proposals for its 2015 conference in Denver, July 24-26. Got an idea? Find out more

CAN'T MAKE YOUR KIDS SMARTER? That's the contention of a study from Florida State University. Researchers said that parenting behaviors such as reading bedtime stories, conversing, and eating dinners together don't affect kids' IQs. Seems like heresy -- decide for yourself

AND FINALLY, THIS. Symptoms of mental illness in children and adolescents aren't increasing -- at least, not in Canada, where a large study was conducted. Researchers examined data concerning ADHD, aggression, depression and anxiety, and suicidal inclinations. Read more.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

CAPD, ASD, ADHD, PLPs, and Some Resources

AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER is a not-uncommon second "e" in the twice-exceptional. This week, the site of the Child Mind Institute has three articles on the topic. (It's called central auditory processing disorder, or CAPD, by some.) One article tells what the disorder is; another provides symptoms; and the third offers help for kids with the disorder. Find the articles.

AUTISM AND GENETICS. Recent research indicates that more than a hundred genes may be involved in various forms of autism. The genes are mostly spontaneous mutations, not inherited. According to an NPR report on the research, one group of mutations can be found in Aspie-type boys, another group in children with low IQ. Another report about the research notes that further work may ultimately link a thousand or so genes to autism risk.

UNDERSTOOD, the new website on learning and attention issues, received a nice boost from a write-up in The New York Times last week. If you haven't checked out the site, perhaps read the article to see what you've been missing. Separately, Understood answers this week a common question about kids with ADHD -- should they avoid sugar? You might be surprised at the answer. Find the Q&A.

ADHD AND FISH OILS. We've blogged about this before, but there's new research on the topic. Evidently the omega-type fatty acids can help kids with one type of ADHD -- the inattentive type. The researchers also reported on the use of a cognitive training method for ADHD and oppositional defiant order that shows promise. Find out more.

SENG. The organization's October newsletter is out. One item introduces SENG's Interim Administrator, who takes over for the previous executive director Liz Campbell. Of note to our readers: Deborah Simon brings to her new duties both professional and personal experience in twice exceptionality. And another feature of the newsletter, 100 Words of Wisdom, this month focuses on the twice exceptional. Find the newsletter. Separately, SENG has an upcoming SENGinar on November 6 titled "Building Resilience in Gifted Children: Fostering a Sense of Autonomy and Confidence." Find out more.

CONFERENCE: NAGC MALAYSIA. On November 1, NAGC Malaysia will hold a conference in Sunway, Selangor. At least one of the speakers appears to be "2e fluent." In the neighborhood? Find out more at TheStar.com or on the conference's Facebook page.

EDUCATION WEEK reports on Vermont's introduction of personalized learning plans, or PLPs, for middle- and high-school students. The plans should help teachers gain understanding of students "interests, skills, college and career goals, and learning styles," according to the Education Week article. Dual enrollment is encouraged, along with standards other than test scores for showing subject-area mastery. Sounds like a good deal for twice-exceptional students in Vermont, indeed for all students. Find the article. (Free registration required.)

WRIGHTSLAW, in Special Ed Advocate, takes on the topic of bullying in school, including Office of Civil Rights considerations, how bullying of a student with a disability can lead to denial of FAPE (and the obligation of the school in such cases), and an article titled "When Teachers Bully." (Now there's a depressing thought.) Find Special Ed Advocate.

BRAIN MAVENS will be happy to know about a free neuroscience resource from Harvard University. It's an online course in the fundamentals of neuroscience, and apparently it covers, in an accessible way, topics such as the synapse and "excitation and inhibition." Find out more about the course. You can register through edX, Facebook, Google, or Twitter.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

ADHD & Creativity, ASD & Siri, Astrology, and More

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN has Scott Berry Kaufman riffing on ADHD and creativity, with all kinds of goodies thrown in: Calvin and Hobbes cartoons; research findings including a study where "the poorer the working memory, the higher the creativity"; acknowledgment of "twice exceptional," although in quotes (maybe it's not really a term?); and a wind-up story about a poor student who went on to win a Nobel Prize. Find the blog.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has two new articles. One is on dialectical behavior therapy, described by the Institute this way: "DBT is a combination of CBT and the practice of mindfulness, and it's called 'dialectical' because it involves teaching kids two seemingly contradictory things at the same time: On the one hand they learn to accept their painful emotions (the mindfulness element) and at the same time they learn how to take control of their response to those feelings, to change the behaviors that haven't been working for them (the CBT element)." Find the article. The second article is an update on PANDAS, now called PANS, or pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome. It's a quick-onset condition that includes OCD with other serious symptoms. A book called Saving Sammy brought attention to PANDAS over the past few years. Find the article.

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS AND AUTISM. A new study links levels of certain air toxins -- chromium and styrene -- to increased risk of autism. Families living in areas with higher levels of toxins during pregnancy and the first two years of a new-born's life had up to twice the risk of an autism diagnosis in their children. Read more.

IEPs, 504s, AND BULLYING. The U.S. federal government has reminded educators that schools have clear obligations to control bullying of children with disabilities covered by IDEA or Section 504. Got a twice-exceptional kid who gets picked on? Read the article.

WHAT TO DO WHEN THE IEP ISN'T WORKING is the title of a feature at the site of ADDitude, which provides a look at "the most common problems parents face with their child's IEP or 504 plan, along with straightforward solutions. Find the feature.

TEACH TO THE KID, not to the test. That's the underlying philosophy behind personalized learning and behind universal design for learning, both of which would seem to be a boon to twice-exceptional students. You may find a primer on personalized learning at the site of Education Week and a primer on UDL at the site SmartBlog on Education.

SIRI MEETS A YOUNG MAN WITH AUTISM is the premise in a "Fashion and Style Section" (of all places) piece in The New York Times. It's related by a mom explaining how Apple's vocal "intelligent personal assistant" has engaged her 13-year-old son, who, like many people on the spectrum has impossibly deep fascinations with certain areas of life. The mom has even noticed an improvement in her son's communication with her. Find and read this sweet first-person piece.

AND FINALLY, THIS. We recently blogged about how the season of a child's birth seems to be linked to the speed with which it develops the capability to crawl, and then we threw in a joking comment about astrology. Now comes a study that says babies born in summer are more likely to experience mood swings as adults, and that winter babies are less likely to be irritable adults. The researchers don't comment on the possible mechanisms involved -- but the research results were presented at a credible sounding conference, that of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. We don't know what to think. Read it for yourself and decide whether you should be consulting a psychiatrist about your child's behavior -- or an astrologer.

Monday, October 20, 2014

2e at GAM, Brain Myths, Live Plays, and More

FULL STE2AM AHEAD was the theme of the Gifted Association of Missouri (GAM) annual conference this last weekend. A write-up of the conference at the site of KSMU, Ozarks Pubic Radio, explained the title. We cognoscienti understand the "STEM" part, of course. And "A" is for the arts. That "2"? It's to "square" the "E" and give a shout-up to the twice-exceptional. The executive VP of GAM was quoted as saying, “We have quite a population of kids that have areas of giftedness and areas of learning disabilities as well. It is very important that we get this message out to our patrons," the parents and educators of Missouri. Way to go, GAM. Find the write-up.

BRIGHT BUT NOT "LAUNCHING." The Clay Center at Mass General Hospital has a site called "Parenting Concerns," and a recent post there is about how teenagers can have trouble becoming responsible, productive young adults. The post concerns a young man with a high IQ who struggled early in his first year of college with an issue familiar to many parents of 2e kids -- organization. The writer, a college teacher of the young man, suggested an educational life coach, who guided the young man to improved results. The writer also relates the story of a young woman who achieved 700-level SAT scores but had attention issues; a life coach helped her. Find the post.

HOW UNDERSTANDING HELPS LAUNCHING. A first-person "In Our Own Words" post at Autism Speaks tells how a self-described high-functioning autistic achieved better acceptance and achievement at college by letting peers and professors know about his HFA. He says, "I wanted to take this opportunity for anybody else with HFA to speak out about your autism, and be proud of who you are, because we are truly unique in our own ways." Read his post.

BRAIN MYTHS. Research from the University of Bristol highlights seven "neuro-myths" that many educators around the world believe to be true. The researchers say that in those seven areas new findings from neuroscience are becoming misinterpreted by education, including brain-related ideas regarding early educational investment, adolescent brain development, and learning disorders such as dyslexia and ADHD. Some of the myths were new to us, for example that not drinking a certain amount of water per day causes brain shrinkage. Others are (or have been) "sacred cows" in the  child development arena -- such as the "right brain/left brain" concept. The researchers even say that there's no evidence to suggest benefits to teaching students according to their preferred learning styles. There's also the "we only use 10 percent of our brain" myth, one actually perpetuated in today's Zits cartoon. Read more.

LD? OR "LEARN DIFFERENTLY"? A post at SmartBlogs.com deals with this distinction, and basically says that you've got to teach to the individual student and his or her needs, possibly obviating the need for labels. The writer offers some key steps for accomplishing that goal; four are systemic changes to the educational system, but one -- finding learning strengths and talents -- doesn't require top-down change. Find the post. Be advised, however, that if you strongly agree with the researchers in the previous item above, you might have trouble logically accepting some of the conclusions in this post.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Take your kids -- or your students -- to live plays. Compared to either reading the plays or seeing a screen version, live play attendance can make kids more tolerant and empathetic -- not to mention more knowledgeable about the play itself. Read about the research

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Attention Disorder Spectrum? Plus OCD, Exercise, and 2e Resources

THE ATTENTION DISORDER SPECTRUM? Researchers at two UK universities suggests that there is a spectrum of attention, hyperactivity/impulsiveness, and language function in society, with varying degrees of these impairments associated with clusters of genes linked with the risk for ADHD. So the way we should look at attention problems is not as a disease -- the way it's traditionally been viewed -- but as a spectrum or dimension along which an individual's "scores" might indicate more or less problems with attention, impulsiveness, and so forth. Find out more.

SPEAKING OF ADHD, the Child Mind Institute has on its site a new article titled "How to Help Girls with ADHD," acknowledging that girls face different challenges than boys when it comes to the disorder, and that in girls the disorder might be hidden. Go to the Child Mind Institute site.

OCD. An article in the "Well" section of The New York Times provides an overview of obsessive-compulsive disorder, along with some screening questions for identifying the disorder and some information about treatment. Evidently 60 to 85 percent of patients can achieve significant improvement through treatment. Find the article.

EXERCISE AND COGNITION. We've blogged recently about a couple studies showing a positive link between exercise in young people and enhanced cognitive ability. Also in the "Well" section of the NY Times, a writer elaborates on one of the studies we blogged about, the one involving pre-teens for an hour of vigorous after-school activity. Find the article.

UNDERSTOOD is a new resource for learning and emotional issues; it's sponsored by an alliance of organizations. Webinars and live expert chats will be features of the site, and one upcoming webinar is on October 20 at noon Eastern time. It's titled "Reading Issues and Dyslexia Basics," and will be presented by Linda Reddy, professor of school psychology at Rutgers University. It looks as if Understood will also use Twitter and Facebook to discuss issues. Go to Understood.

EDUCATION WEEK periodically offers "Spotlight" documents, collections of articles from the periodical that center on a particular topic. One Spotlight currently offered for free is "Special Education and the Common Core." If those two forces are in confluence at your house or school, maybe check out and download the Spotlight. (The Education Week Spotlights are different and unrelated to our "Spotlight on 2e Series" of informational booklets.)

WRIGHTSLAW, in its most recent edition of Special Ed Advocate, points out how to use the organization's Yellow Pages for Kids to find local resources for your family to help with issues such as evaluations, advocacy, educational consulting, or counseling. (We often refer readers to the Yellow Pages for Kids to find resources in the readers' geographic areas.) Go to Special Ed Advocate.

GIFTED RESOURCE. Great Potential Press, publisher of materials on giftedness, twice-exceptionality, and social-emotional topics, has established an online forum called "Goodreads." From the invitation to Goodreads: "You want a place bouncing with bright and talented people to talk about books, gifted education, psychology. You want a place to share ideas. We have one." Just launched, the group already has about 80 participants. Find Goodreads.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Gifted Ed, Autism Study, Depression, More

GIFTED ED. In a recent column in the Washington Post, educational columnist Jay Mathews wrote a piece titled "Why Gifted Education Doesn't Make Sense." He focused on the exclusion of kids who just miss the gifted program cut-off, and on "the fact that gifted advocates have no evidence that gifted services produce results any better for the brightest children than the efforts many schools are making to provide challenging courses for the students who want them." Coincidentally, an article in the Indianapolis Star appeared around the same time Mathews' column did, with the title "Why Separate Classes for Gifted Students Boost All Kids." Based on research at Purdue University, the article reports that clustering high-achieving students allows other students more teacher time and the chance to grow academically. So that's kind of an unexpected, back-door rebuttal to Mathews' assertion; but Mathews promises more columns on gifted ed coming up.

A FAILURE OF PREDICTION was the catch-phrase in recent write-ups of MIT research on the cause of symptoms and behaviors in autistic people; we blogged about the item last time. TheFreep sent us John Elder Robison's response to the findings. Robison, author of the books Look Me in the Eye, Be Different, and Raising Cubby and a self-described autistic and autism advocate, calls the research conclusions "just wrong." He goes on to say, "with all due respect, this paper seems to be a perfect example of what happens [when] autistic behavior is interpreted by neurotypicals, as opposed to having the behavior explained by those who live it." Find the paper (click on the Adobe Acrobat symbol for the full PDF); and find Robison's rebuttal. (If you haven't read any of Robison's books, we thoroughly enjoyed Look Me in the Eye.)

ADOLESCENT DEPRESSION. Girls are evidently more vulnerable to depression caused by the stress of adolescence, according to a recent study. One possible contributing factor: "girls seemed to be exposed to a greater number of interpersonal dependent stressors" during adolescence. Got a 2e teen of the female persuasion in your house? Read more.

2e EVENT IN LA. The Greater Los Angeles Gifted Children's Association is sponsoring a November 1st event with a 2e thread. The Master's Class on Gifted Education, to be held at the Pasadena Convention Center, will feature Susan Baum presenting "The Twice Exceptional Learner: 5 Essentials for Meeting Their Needs" and "Strength-based, Talent Focused Education: A Positive Approach for Meeting the Needs of Twice Exceptional Students." Also presenting, Jennifer Krogh, with a session titled "Overexcitabilites and Sensitivities in Gifted Learners and Strategies/Interventions to Meet Their Needs." Find out more.

LD ONLINE FIND. Sometimes when we're on the trail of items for the blog we stumble across unexpected things we find interesting. That happened the other day at the side of LD Online, where we found a "personal story" about the world-famous artist Robert Raushenberg, who is dyslexic. The story describes several ways his dyslexia was instrumental in his artistic success. Find the article.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

ADHD, Autism, Resources, Sugar, and More

IT'S BEEN ADHD AWARENESS MONTH for nine days now, and if you'd still like to do something to spread the word about ADHD, check out the site of ADDitude Magazine. You'll find resources to help you advocate. Separately, ADDitude is offering a free webinar titled "Understanding ADHD in Women and Girls," to be presented on October 14 at 1 p.m. EDT. Find out more.

BETTER WAYS TO LEARN is the title of a recent piece in The New York Times offering tips on what makes learning truly effective -- and it's not just one-time, night-before-the-test cramming. If you or a 2e child you know could use better study habits, check out the article.

AUTISM BEHAVIORS: FROM UNPREDICTABILITY? An MIT study suggests that some autistic behaviors may come about because persons with autism may have impairments in their ability to predict the outside world. The chain: unpredictability leads to anxiety, which leads to certain autistic behaviors. One of the researchers stated, “We are saying that the world perhaps is appearing hyper-intense because it appears unpredictable." Read more.

AUTISM RESOURCE. The Center for Autism Research (CAR) at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) launched its Autism Roadmap, a comprehensive, one-stop web site to help families find accurate, up-to-date information about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The web site provides customized information based on family needs. According to CHOP, families using the Roadmap will find directories of service providers, community resources, government programs, information and ideas for various stages of life, and explanations of the latest research on ASD treatments and intervention. Read more, or find the Roadmap.

ADHD RESOURCE. The Child Mind Institute has released "Parents Guide to ADHD," a 16-page PDF covering ADHD bsics, diagnosis, and treatment. Find the guide.

EVALUATION RESOURCE. "If you disagree with the school district's evaluation and/or recommendations, you have the right to request an Independent Educational Evaluation at the school district's expense," says Wrightslaw. And in the current Special Ed Advocate, they tell you how to do it. Find the newsletter.

SCHOLARSHIP RESOURCE. We recently blogged about the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's scholarship offerings for four-year colleges. The foundation also has a program called "Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships," which they call "the largest private scholarship in the country for community college transfer students." Eligibility requirements include a GPA of 3.5 or above plus unmet financial need. Find out more.

AND FINALLY THIS -- something else to worry about, possibly in a way you haven't worried about it before. Sugar can negatively affect the brain of adolescents (in rats, anyway), causing memory problems and brain inflammation. A researcher remarked, "The brain is especially vulnerable to dietary influences during critical periods of development, like adolescence." While the rats' intake of sugars was about twice that of the average human teen, the results of this study could be something to pay attention to. Read more.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mental Illness, 2e Resources, Seminar in Australia, More

IT'S MENTAL ILLNESS AWARENESS WEEK in the U.S., October 5th through the 11th. And before you rush on to the next item, consider that the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), sponsor of the week, puts the following conditions under its list of illnesses: anxiety disorders, ASD, ADHD, depression, OCD, and Tourette's. So perhaps consider doing something to raise awareness of a condition that's personal to your family; the NAMI awareness week page has suggestions for how.

UNDERSTOOD is a new website launched by a coalition of sponsors to provide resources in the area of attention and learning issues. One feature is a "parent toolkit" with a variety of advice and tools. One tool suggests apps and games for your child depending on the child's issue and age; another provides personalized advice and interactive tools based on profile information you enter. Check out Understood.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. This organization's October newsletter is out, highlighting new YouTube videos on dyslexia, October webinars, the Karnia Eide Awards, and more. Find the newsletter. Or go to the Dyslexic Advantage website.

TED TALKS. We found a couple interesting TED talks about the brain recently. One is titled "A Neural Portrait of the Human Mind," and the presenter tells how her lab has pin-pointed certain functional areas in the brain -- one that is vital in recognizing faces, for example. She also give a lesson in scientific method along the way. Watch it (or read the transcript, but the visuals are important). A second presentation is titled "The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain," and it has to do with the pre-frontal cortex, decision-making, and maturity. If you've got a teen, you'll probably appreciate the talk. Find it.

2e SEMINAR IN AUSTRALIA. On October 7, in Deakin, ACT, Carol Barnes presents "Awesome at Thinking, Awful at Homework," a free seminar 
on twice exceptionality for parents and educators. Find out more.

JIM DELISLE, retired professor of education and author, has done a guest blog on Terry Bradley's website. It's titled "No, Not Everyone Is Gifted." In it, Delisle takes on Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000 hours rule." Find the blog. Bradley is a gifted education consultant who is active in the gifted and 2e community and is president-elect of the Colorado Association of Gifted and Talented.

P SUSAN JACKSON, psychologist and counselor to very highly gifted kids and their families, has announced the premier of her institute's film "RISE: The Extraordinary Journey of the Exceptionally and Profoundly Gifted." Find out more on her Facebook page. Jackson says she might show the film while she is at NAGC next month.

AND FINALLY, THIS, thanks to TheFreep. The Onion takes on the issues of standardized curriculum and teaching to the test, noting how students are reportedly relieved at not being obligated "to excel as unique individuals." Read the report.