Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Brain Imaging, OCD, Anxiety, Evaluation, and Crawling

BRAIN SCANS AND ADHD. Children with ADHD develop certain brain networks more slowly than typically developing children, according to researchers at the University of Michigan. The result is that those networks are less able to control activities like daydreaming and less able to focus on externally-directed tasks. Somewhere in the future: using brain imaging to diagnose ADHD by examining these networks. Read more.

BRAIN SCANS AND READING DIFFICULTIES. University of California researchers have used brain scans to predict how young children will learn to read, giving clinicians a possible tool to spot children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties before they experience reading challenges. The study followed kids from K to Grade 3, and showed that the way the kids' white matter developed predicted their reading abilities. The researchers hope that techniques such as the ones used in the study might someday flag children early and provide for appropriate intervention. Read more.

BRAIN SCANS AND ASD. Young adults with ASD were compared to peers without ASD in a test involving choosing test items and receiving feedback on the correctness of the choice, all the while being monitored by brain imaging. From a writeup of the study at the site of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation: "As expected, young adults with ASD had difficulty integrating positive feedback in a given trial into their performance on subsequent trials. This was due to deficits in reward-related working memory -- the ability to keep just-gathered information at the ready -- for application in a related or new situation. Those with ASD also had a tendency to rely more heavily on trial-by-trial feedback processing as opposed to an affective reward-based working memory." Find out more.

THE UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA has received a $1.5 million donation to benefit its gifted education program. The gift will enable the university to hire a faculty member in gifted ed. The donors have an expansive view of gifted ed. They told a news outlet, "We'd like to see gifted education offered in every classroom, every day, to any student." Find out more.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has on its site two new articles about OCD, "What Does OCD Look Like in the Classroom?" and "A Teacher's Guide to Understanding OCD."

POWER STRUGGLES between parents and school -- and how to avoid them -- is the topic of the current issue of Special Ed Advocate from Wrightslaw. Spending time at school advocating for your child? Find the issue.

UPCOMING SENGINAR. On September 23, the organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted will present a webinar titled "The Anxious Family: What to Do When Everyone Frets." The presenter is Joanna Haase, Ph.D. Find out more.

MAKING A CASE FOR EVALUATION is the topic of Jen's most recent post at the blog Laughing at Chaos. From the post: "If he hadn't been ID’d twice-exceptional when he was four (and confirmed when he was tested again at age eight), I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that schools would have seen only disability and he would have fallen through the cracks." Read the blog.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Babies born in winter (who reach crawling age in the summer) evidently start crawling earlier than those born in summer (who reach crawling age in the winter). Researchers said the difference (four weeks) was reason to make sure that babies have proper development opportunities even in winter. Read more, but wonder whether maybe there's something to that astrology stuff after all. 

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