Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ADHD, Math, Child Psychiatry, and More

LATE-ONSET ADHD. By "late," we're talking 12 years old, the age to which the DSM-5 extended the age criterion. The extension means that more children are diagnosed with ADHD. Of these, the greatest increases are in the inattentive subtype, possibly triggered by school problems or a later developmental stage, according to researchers. Girls are also diagnosed at a higher rate in the older age group than in the overall group of ADHD young people. Read more.

THE BRAIN AND MATH FACTS. A child's brain evidently reorganizes itself as children learn math facts. This reorganization is a precisely orchestrated group of brain changes, many involving the memory center known as the hippocampus. Why is this important to the 2e community? Being able to explain brain reorganization during the normal development of cognitive skills will serve as a point of comparison for future studies of what goes awry in the brains of children with learning disabilities. Find out more in a press release from the researchers.

DR. LARRY SILVER gave one of the first presentations we covered as we were starting 2e Newsletter. At the site of ADDitude.com, he offers a multi-decade perspective of his practice of child psychiatry, which has focused on ADHD and LDs. He notes, "During these years, the pendulum gradually swung from psychological to biological models for understanding normal behavior and psychopathology. Today the pendulum has shifted to the center, with equal attention on brain dysfunction and on psychological and social challenges." Read more.

GENES, STRESS, AND THE BRAIN. They're all interrelated, and life events can affect genes and predispose an individual to a condition such as depression. Genes, for example, can determine whether the hippocampus -- you remember the hippocampus, Grand Central Station for handling stress -- will shrink or expand in response to environmental influences. If this topic interests you, read more. Separately, other researchers have found that stress on a mother during pregnancy can increase the child's risk of certain mental disorders. A researcher involved in this study says, "This means that environmental factors strongly influence neuronal gene expression and circuit formation during development. This identifies a path through which adverse environmental conditions could lead to abnormal gene expression and circuit mis-wiring in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders.” Find out more


SOFTWARE FOR DYSLEXICS is the topic of an article written by Jenn Choi, parent of a twice-exceptional child. The software is evidently very effective in helping dyslexic children read. The twist? The creater of the app, Voice Dream reader, didn't intend specifically to help dyslexics, just to give people a way to suck up text while they were doing other things. Choi is enthusiastic about the app; read more

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. The fall issue of this publication is out. One article carries the ominous title "Termination of Treatment of Gifted Disabled Students." It's a case study involving a young gifted girl with dyslexia. While the word "twice-exceptional" is not mentioned in the article (and only once in the references), readers might find this of interest. Also in the issue: an article on the problems of using Common Core for gifted students. Find the Quarterly

WRIGHTSLAW. Summer's not over at Wrightslaw. Part 5 of 6 in their summer school series for parent/advocates is on meeting strategies. Says Wrightslaw, "Learn how to effectively track your requests, the school's response, and document issues that were resolved or are still on the table." Find Part 5

NCLD AND "UNDERSTOOD." NCLD, as we've mentioned, is rolling out a new resource called Understood to provide information on LDs. The organization is offering a sneak preview of the product, a piece titled "Understanding Dyscalculia." See what you think.

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