Friday, January 31, 2014

News, Resources from the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

ANXIETY & MEDS. In Clinical Psychiatry News, a psychiatrist makes the case for using medication for treating children with "refractory" anxiety to keep kids from "sputtering" and not doing well. He advocates for a treatment plan with a clear goal, saying " I guarantee if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not going to go anywhere." If you have a 2e child who has anxiety, you might want to read this article.

RESOURCE FROM THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. This organization offers a free PDF titled "Parent's Guide to Getting Good Care," which focuses on obtaining mental health care for children. The editor of the guide writes, "In this guide we take you through the steps to finding the best professional (or team) to treat your child. Along the way, we offer things to look for to ensure that you’re getting quality care, and questions to ask to evaluate both the clinicians and treatments they offer." Find the guide. And good going, Child Mind Institute.

ACTOR WILL FORTE & OCD. The Child Mind Institute also has an article on actor Will Forte, who is in an Oscar-nominated film, and his openness about his OCD and how it's affected his acting career. Find the article.

KINDERGARTEN: CHANGED. Kindergarten is now the "new first grade," according to a study from the University of Virginia. And the increased emphasis on literacy may reduce the time available for play, exploration, and social interactions. Is that a good thing or bad? Read more and decide.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. This organization's January e-newsletter is out, and it features summer program options for gifted students as well as Davidson news. Find the newsletter.

OBITUARY. On its site, the National Association for Gifted Children has an obituary for James J. Gallagher, an expert in both special education and gifted education (gotta love that intersection) who was prominent in setting policy at the state and national levels. Among his achievements, according to the obituary:

  • Introducing the concept of the IEP
  • Approving initial federal funding for Sesame Street
  • Helping establish federal policy for GT students
Find the obituary.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DO YOU BELIEVE IN ETHNIC STEREOTYPES when it comes to school or workplace success? A New York Times article addresses the topic of why, say, Indian-Americans earn almost double the U.S. median household income. The article posits three factors -- a superiority complex; insecurity; and impulse control. The article also says the effects don't necessarily last generation to generation. Read more.

IDLE KIDS is the topic of another Times article, a book review actually. The book is called All Joy and No Fun, and it examines current trends of 24/7 parenting and the effects of that trend. For example, the reviewer writes, " If adolescence now feels prolonged into and beyond college, [the author] argues, that may be because high school students don’t have the freedom to experience it as easily as other, less tightly scheduled, Internet-free generations did before them." Find the review.

WHITE MATTER AND MATH. Healthy 12-year-olds who score well in the topics of addition and multiplication have higher-quality white matter tracts. This correlation does not appear to apply to subtraction and division. An educational neuroscientist says that the white matter, an insulating myelin sheath around neural pathways, lets signals move faster. Find out more.

THE STATE OF WRIGHTSLAW. Well, it's actually a "progress report" for 2013, but if you're a Wrightslaw fan, check out their recent accomplishments and 2013's top articles in the current edition of Special Ed Advocate. Their blog, YouTube channel, and Facebook impacts are quite something. Read the newsletter.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. This non-profit run by Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide has several upcoming events. Find out about their free (donation requested) webinar today featuring a game art director discussing his life and work; we're guessing he has dyslexia. Or, read about the March 21 symposium in San Francisco, titled "Dyslexia Beyond Reading: Memory, Cognition, Expertise, and Innovation." Finally find out more about their "Celebration of Dyslexia," also in San Francisco, on March 23.

NAGC's proposal submission for the 2014 convention, to be held in Baltimore next November, is coming to a close. The organization is encouraging presenters to "submit your best ideas, research, and practical classroom strategies" by February 3. We at 2e Newsletter encourage you to submit proposals on 2e-related topics! Go for it!

AUTISM POST-SECONDARY GRANTS. Autism Speaks notes that the Brian & Patricia Kelley Postsecondary Scholarship Fund has awarded about a quarter-million dollars to 11 institutions; the money will help fund opportunities for students on the spectrum to pursue opportunities after high school. The grants are meant to serve students over a range of the spectrum, from those talented in software development seeking degrees to those seeking certificates. Find out more.

BAD NEWS ABOUT ANXIETY. We often blog about anxiety because it's common in twice-exceptional children, and parents and educators have to take it into account. A recent study indicates that fewer than one in two children and young adults treated for anxiety achieve long-term relief from symptoms. Maybe it's a glass half full/half empty situation, but the percentage of relief sounds low. Find out more.

LINKEDIN DISCUSSION. At the moment there's an interesting discussion on LinkedIn about whether gifted students should have IEPs. Now the discussion is not about 2e kids and IEPs, just gifted kids; but apparently some enlightened schools require education plans for gifted students. How about that. Find the discussion (if you're on LinkedIn).

Friday, January 24, 2014

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

GIFTED ED. Want to read more depressing stuff about how gifted students are ignored? An article in District Administration notes how high achievers have become an afterthought. The article notes research showing the lack of individual attention received by gifted students; a "descent" from achievement at advanced levels by many students identified as gifted; and the lack of funding for gifted ed. NAGC's executive director Nancy Green is quoted in the article. Find it.

ADHD AND GENDER. Girls with ADHD are affected differently than boys, according to a researcher/author who has an upcoming book titled The ADHD Explosion. While boys are still diagnosed with ADHD at a rate about 2.5 times that of girls, girls are more likely to be depressed, have suicidal thoughts, or self-harm. They are, in the words of the researcher, "directing negativity inward." Read more.

NEW DSM ASD GUIDELINES. Before the DSM 5 was published last year, we blogged about articles suggesting that the new guidelines would lead to fewer diagnoses of ASD. A retrospective study says that if the new guidelines had been in place since 2008, the prevalence of ASD today would be 1 in 100 children rather than 1 in 88, the current estimate. The article explains the changes between the old and new diagnostic criteria; find it.

2e IN TERMS OF "INTERSECTIONALITY." A diagram at the blog of Miriam Dobson has attracted lots of attention, and it can be applied to children who are both gifted and learning disabled (as well as to other "groups"). Titled "Intersectionality: A Fun Guide," the diagram points out how, for categories of "different" people, there might be liberation groups (think gifted ed or special ed) but that the groups aren't necessarily intersectional. The guide is better seen and read than interpreted by us, so check it out. (Thanks to Terry F for bringing the guide to our attention.)

NCLD's current newsletter focuses on ADHD and has articles on how it affects a child's social life, how to avoid ADHD "trouble spots," and possible causes of ADHD. Find the newsletter.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has on its site an article on behavioral treatments for kids with ADHD. The article covers therapy for behavioral problems and skills-based interventions for attention problems. Find the article.

ALSO ON ADHD, About.com has posted an updated article titled "Dealing with Oppositional Defiant Behaviors in Your Child." Are 2e kids ever oppositional? Heavens, no. But if you'd like to know more about the topic anyway, find the article.

PARENTING. At the site of Forbes.com, and counselor/coach interviews with an author and leadership expert on "the seven damaging parenting behaviors that keep children from becoming leaders -- of their own lives and of the world's enterprises." We have to say, some of the behaviors hit home. See what you think.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

VANDERBILT STUDY FOLLOW-UP. We recently wrote about a study at Vanderbilt University that indicated gifted students often come up against barriers to reaching their potential, from overloaded teachers to curriculum design. (See a press release about the study.) Newsweek has followed up with an article titled "American Hates Its Gifted Kids." The article notes how NCLB focused on low-achieving students, and how we're now engaged in a "race to the middle." One teacher who is able to serve both high and low achievers is profiled. Read more. Separately, a writer at babble.com riffs on the same topic; find it.

A WAY TO ENGAGE STUDENTS. One way to engage learners is to understand what they value, writes an educator at edutopia.org. The educator provides three practices to get to know those values. While this technique would be valuable for any group of students, it would also seem to be a great entree to the interests of gifted and 2e kids, with whom the chance to differentiate provides rewards to both learner and teacher. Read more.

NCLD has issued "Three Things to Know," and one of them is a list of common modifications that might serve you as you advocate for your twice-exceptional child. Another item is titled "From Spelling Disaster to Web Master," a dyslexia success story. Find "Three Things."

SELF-ADVOCACY. While you advocate for your twice-exceptional child when he or she is young, the goal is to give the child the skills needed to be a self advocate. Wrightslaw, in the current issue of Special Ed Advocate, provides information on how to do that, along with an example of successful self advocacy by a 17-year-old. Read more.

GOING GREEN WITH ADHD. ADDitude is offering a free webinar on "How Mother Nature Can Ease Your ADHD Child's Symptoms." The event is at 1 pm Eastern time on January 23. Find out more about how "green time" might help with ADHD.

IN MANHATTAN? The Quad Preparatory School is offering a twice exceptional network gathering for parents, providers, and therapists of 2e kids, to be held Monday, January 27, at 6:30 pm. Find out more.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

News from the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

CAUSE OR EFFECT? Dyslexics have less gray matter in the brain. It had been thought that was the cause of reading problems, but now researchers think it might be because of "poorer reading experiences." Read more.

IDO IN AUTISMLAND. A young man with autism missed only one question on the California High School Exit exam, but struggles to communicate. He has, however, written a book about his experiences and has addressed graduates of the department of special education at Cal State Northridge. Read more about Ido, his challenges and accomplishments and simply what it's like to grow up intelligent and autistic.

MORE ON AUTISM. Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have trouble integrating simultaneous information from their eyes and their ears, according to a Vanderbilt study. The study found that children with autism have an enlargement in something known as the temporal binding window, meaning the brain has trouble associating visual and auditory events that happen within a certain period of time. Find out more.

SCIENCE-BASED MEDICINE is the name of a website that "is dedicated to evaluating medical treatments and products of interest to the public in a scientific light, and promoting the highest standards and traditions of science in health care." The site strives to draw on scientific knowledge to determine "what works," often focusing on claims for alternative medicine. On the site, you can find their thoughts about a variety of issues in ADHD; in Tourette's; and even vaccines and autism.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE NEWSLETTER. The January edition is out. In it, you can find out what the Eides will be up to in the next few months, including Dyslexic Advantage events in San Francisco in March. Find the newsletter.

2e AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN. You think being twice-exceptional is tough? Add into the mix being an African-American child and see where it takes you. A mother tells Part 1 of such a story at the site of the NCLD; Parts 2 and 3 are coming up. Among the "low-lights" of Part 1: a guidance counselor who, while admitting he is neither a psychologist or psychiatrist, diagnoses the young man as being ODD. Find the account.

JAVITS REBORN? CEC reports that inside the recently-passed U.S. federal funding bill is $5 million for Javits Act funding, the first since 2011. We're not going to hold our breath, but it sure would be nice. Find the CEC report. (Let's see, NAGC estimates that there are about 3 million gifted kids in the U.S., so... calculating... why, the funding is almost $1.67 per child! Think of what that money can do. :-( Never mind, it's a start.)

SHOWING YOUR WORK. Yesterday we were proofing an article for the upcoming issue of 2e Newsletter, an article about learners strong in visual-spatial skills, learners who often intuit an answer rather than arrive at it through sequential steps. We were reminded of the article by today's (November 16) Frazz cartoon. Find it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

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

PEDIATRICIANS, ANTIDEPRESSANTS. Depression and anxiety are two conditions common in twice-exceptional children. A recent study indicates that pediatric primary care physicians "are reluctant to prescribe antidepressant medications to adolescent patients." Presented with "vignettes" describing moderate and severe depression, one quarter of the pediatricians would prescribe meds for the moderate case, one third for the severe case. Most said they would refer to a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Now, if this bias is real, it's something to keep in mind if that twice-exceptional teen you know shows signs of depression, especially since psychiatrists specializing in young people can be hard to find. Read more.

MIGHT AS WELL continue right on to address the other part of the depression/anxiety axis. The editor of Atlantic magazine has written a book about his anxieties and phobias; it's called My Age of Anxiety, and is described as "both a memoir and a history of how medicine, philosophy, and the pharmaceutical industry have dealt with anxiety." He was interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air program about the book, and what seems interesting is the insight he gives into how anxiety can manifest iteslf. So if you have a bright but anxious person in the house, perhaps check out the interview. (One of the author's anxieties is evidently fear of cheese.)

WORK TWICE AS HARD to get half as far -- that's how a young man with dyslexia described his efforts in school. He says that his disability made him feel damaged and isolated. But his perseverance and strengths allowed him to achieve both academically and extra-curricularly in high school. He was honored by Learning Ally (formerly known as Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) with its National Achievement Award. Find out more.

SENG IN CANADA. An article in The Now newspaper describes the formation of a SENG parent support group in British Columbia. The article notes how gifted children may also have learning disabilities -- so score 1 for the organizers of that SENG group for spreading the word on twice exceptionality. Read more. (And, if you're in Cloverdale, BC, check out the group.)

JUDY WILLIS, a physician turned educator, is a prolific communicator on the topics on learning and brain research. For example, she has a series of 25 videos at the website KidsInTheHouse.com on topics ranging from the effect of emotions on how kids learn to preparing kids' brains for the 21st century; find those. She also posts lots of information on her website, RADteach.com. (The letters represent parts of the neural system particularly active in learning and memory: 
  • Reach -- Reticular activating system
  • Attitude -- Amygdala 
  • Develop -- Dopamine.)
TED FOR STUDENTS. TED-Ed, the educational initiative of TED Conferences, has announced the worldwide launch of TED-Ed Clubs, a new program that aims to promote presentation literacy among students around the world. TED-Ed Clubs, piloted in over 100 schools worldwide in 2013, provides a free and flexible framework for students -- in traditional and non-traditional education environments -- to discuss, pursue, prepare and present their big ideas. The end goal is for members to deliver their own short, TED-style talks, while other members may record and edit the talks on video.TED-Ed Clubs are open to students ages 8 through 18 and require a minimum of one adult educator per club. Find out more.

Friday, January 10, 2014

From the Publishers

HERE ARE RECENT ITEMS we've found on giftedness, LDs, twice-exceptionality, education, and parenting that might be of interest to those who raise and educate twice-exceptional children...

"I WAS RUBBISH IN SCHOOL," says a TV chef. Couldn't read. Wanted to get up and do something. Was in a special needs program. Well, he had dyslexia -- and, like so many dyslexics who had trouble in school, is now successful. Read more at the site of the Child Mind Institute.

DEPRESSION. A recent study links a higher incidence of depression in teens with concussions; find out more. Separate research indicates that people who have both ADHD and asthma are also at a greatly increased risk for depression; read more.

PERSONAL TRAINER FOR PARENTING. The Washington Post describes an emerging psychological program for caregivers of children who are out of control. Called Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, therapists coach the parents/caregivers in real time, observing through one-way glass and providing advice over a wireless earpiece. Find out more.

ADHD PROFESSIONALS who can help are the topic of a slideshow feature at ADDitude, which provides a brief description of the roles of family doctors, developmental pediatricians, neurologists, and more. Find the feature.

HAVING A BALL WITH ATTENTION. If you've ever wondered whether stability balls can make a difference in the classroom, check out an article in the Charlotte Observer about their use in a school in North Carolina. A teacher who uses the balls thinks they have beneficial effects on focus, motor skill development, and even symptoms of autism.

WHAT TO DO NEXT is the title of an in-development series of articles by Deborah Ruf, available at her Talent Igniter website. The first article offers advice on what to do after you know that your child is gifted; the second expresses Ruf's concern about the achievement gap within each gifted individual -- the gap between achievement and potential. Find the articles.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

News, Resources from 2e Newsletter

INVISIBLE IN THE CLASSROOM? A 30-year longitudinal study from Vanderbilt University suggests that profoundly gifted children may experience roadblocks during their education, roadblocks that keep them from meeting their full potential. These roadblocks may consist of lack of access to appropriately advanced material; lack of teacher time because teacher is dealing with struggling learners; and lack of encouragement. To the extent that this applies to our twice-exceptional children, it's also a red flag to the 2e community. Read more.

CHANGING GIFTED ED. Immediately after we read the above article, we came across another article on educating the gifted containing this quote: "We cannot wait for the results of a 25-year longitudinal study to measure effectiveness of a specific program before we take further bold action" [to improve gifted education]. Two educators at a school for gifted learners urge the American system to adopt a variety of methods: creating more engaging classrooms, focusing on 21st-century skills, building curricula with no ceilings, and imparting the right psychological skills. It's a heady call; read more.

CONCUSSION, BRAIN REST. Children who experience concussions recover more quickly if they avoid cognitive effort for three to five days, according to an article in the Boston Globe. "That means no reading, homework, text messaging, or video game playing; basically, it’s fine to lie in bed quietly, watching TV or listening to music with the volume on low," says the co-author of a study on the topic. Find out more.

BRAINSTORM is the title of a book by Daniel Siegel, about brain functioning in adolescents -- defined as those 13 to as old as 24 years. The book is the topic of a recent Diane Rehm show on NPR; you can also read an excerpt of the book at the NPR site.

UNDERSTANDING ASPERGER'S. A page at xminds.org illustrates why kids with Asperger's may be prone to meltdowns as the result of the intersection of deficits in one or more of four areas: physical, cognitive, social, and emotional. If meltdowns are a problem in your house or your classroom, find the illustration. (Thanks, Marcie, for pointing this out to us.)

SCHOLARSHIP RESOURCE. January 6 marked the opening of the 2014 Buick Achievers Scholarship Program for students who excel in the classroom and give back to the community. Aimed at STEM students, the program is notable to us for its size: 100 scholarships of up to $25,000 per year, renewable up to five years. Find out more.

Friday, January 3, 2014

From the Publishers: News, Resources

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of our subscribers and friends!

ADHD TREATMENT REVISITED. A New York Times article reflects on a study 20 years ago that concluded medication was more effective (and faster) than behavioral therapy, and almost as effective as a combination of meds and time-consuming, expensive behavioral therapy. The article wonders whether the study did a disservice to children with ADHD, while serving as a boon to Big Pharma. Find the article.

PRAISE AND SELF-ESTEEM. A new study has found that children with low esteem "shrink from new challenges when adults go overboard in praising them" -- in contrast to high-esteem kids, who thrive on that kind of praise, called "inflated praise." The problem: inflated praise might put too much pressure on kids with low self-esteem. Read more.

WORD PROCESSING. Children who process speech and sounds more quickly at the beginning of the school years tend to have better reading and spelling skills in early elementary school, according to a German study. Hearing speed predicted those skills better than factors such as intelligence, working memory, and attention. A blogger at Education Week discusses the study; find it.

"THE GIFT OF A GIFTED TEACHER" is the title of a blog post at The Huffington Post. In the post, the author, a writer of children's non-fiction, recounts a year she had with a particular teacher who gave her "a sustained peak experience." The sixth-grade teacher who was so able to engage his students went on to become a professor of education. Read this account of an exceptional teacher, and imagine what such a teacher can offer to any child, including the twice-exceptional.

GIFTED RESOURCE NEWS has a number of items of interest in it this month. In it, Jo Freitag lists a variety of upcoming events of potential interest to those who raise and teach twice-exceptional children. Her "Interesting Websites" section contains links to sites such as "iPads for Learning," "Crushing Tall Poppies" (on gifted advocacy), and The Gifted Exchange (a counter-argument to Jay Matthews' recent column on gifted ed). Much of the content of the newsletter is Australia-centric, but that's okay; in fact, our favorite piece in the newsletter was a notice about the Summer Holiday Outing to be held at a New South Wales beach on this coming January 8th by the Gifted Families Support Group, urging attendees to bring sunscreen. (The weather forecast for the Chicago area for next Wednesday is a high of 16 degrees Fahrenheit, coming off a low of minus 9.) Find Gifted Resources Newsletter.