Thursday, February 27, 2014

"DYSLEXIA" A MEANINGLESS TERM? That's the contention of a new book, The Dyslexia Debate. A piece at FoxNews.com says that the problem is that the blanket term covers multiple problems and multiple symptoms, so an intervention that might work for one child won't work for another. (The authors of the book do not deny that reading problems exist.) Read more.

TO WORRY ABOUT, 1. Older dads -- say, 45 or more -- are more likely to have kids who develop mental issues such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, ASD, and schizophrenia, according to research reported in The New York Times. While expert reviewers say that it's a good study, they caution that the vast majority of births will be fine, and that the study needs replication. Read more.

TO WORRY ABOUT, 2. Handling store receipts on thermal paper can raise the levels of BPA in the body. BPA affects neurodevelopment in children and reproductive function in adults. Particularly at risk may be cashiers. Find out more.

YOU KNEW THIS. Apparently we remember things much better when we see them or touch them than when we hear them. The implication? "The brain may process auditory information differently than visual and tactile information, and alternative strategies – such as increased mental repetition – may be needed when trying to improve memory,” according to one of the study authors. Read more to find out how the researchers replicated what you knew from years of giving oral directions to your child, student, or spouse.

COPAA UP IN ARMS. The Council of Parent Attorneys and Associates, dedicated to protecting the civil rights or students with disabilities, is upset about proposed educational administrative rule changes in the state of Michigan, and urges Michigan residents to contribute public comment opposing the changes. Some of the changes deal with criteria for eligibility with an ASD diagnosis; allowing paraprofessionals with less credentials than before to make decisions; and eliminating short term objectives for students served. You may find the proposed changes at the site of the COPAA. (Thanks to Tammie for pointing us to this.)

ANTIPSYCHOTICS and side effects (including weight gain) is the topic of a video at the site of the Child Mind Institute. Check it out if you have a 2e kid on these meds.

SPD 101 is the title of a 9-slide feature at the site of ADDitude, an overview of definition, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Find it.

NEAR SANTA MONICA? The Summit Center is presenting a course called "Empowered Parenting Gifted and 2e" in six Thursday morning sessions extending from late April through May. The course is based on Melanie Prager's Empowered Parenting Basics, customized for gifted and 2e kids. Find out more.

IN NEW ENGLAND? On April 5th, the Massachusetts Association for Gifted Education is holding its annual conference, featuring a talk by Deirdre Lovecky. Lovecky is an author, clinician, and member of the Editorial Advisory Board of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter. Find out more.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday News Items from 2e Newsletter

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION -- will its expansion over the next few years bring about an epidemic of newly-diagnosed ADHD in preschoolers? That's the concern expressed in The New York Times by a couple of op-ed contributors, both professors at UC/Berkeley and co-authors of the book The ADHD Explosion. Got a toddler? Read more.

PYSCHCENTRAL. An article at this site notes that fears of overdiagnosis of ADHD are irrelevant if your child actually has ADHD, and offers five tips for parents: keep the rules clear; watch boundaries; be consistent; have a homework time; and keep treatment appointments. Want to read more? Find the article.

GENETICS AND MEDIA? In a recent study, researchers found that children who had a specific variant of a serotonin-transporter gene consumed more violent media and displayed more ADHD-related behaviors. The researchers contend that "children's violent media use is partly influenced by genetic factors." Read more (but not much more) at Science Daily.

GIFTED PROGRAMS. A writer in the student newspaper at Washington College offers her perspective on being placed in a gifted program in 7th grade. She dropped out, with reservations about the selection process and the quality of the enrichment being offered. She also reflects on the "special snowflake syndrome," writing, " An IQ score is predictive of, but does not determine, success later in life, and it certainly does not make a person “special.' She found it "liberating" to no longer think of herself as gifted. Read the essay.

ADDITUDE offers a "slideshow" of tips for parenting a defiant child. Got one? Find the tips.

EDUCATION WEEK RESOURCE. Education Week is offering a couple "Spotlights" (not to be confused with our "Spotlight on 2e Series") free of charge. One is on personalized learning; the other is on using assessment to measure student learning and growth. Find them.

NCLD, by coincidence, is also offering information on personalized learning, also called competency-based education. Find it.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

From 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

WHAT IF your twice-exceptional child's anxiety-induced movements are interpreted by his school as sexual in nature? What if the school contacts the state's child protection services, hinting at abuse by the family? Sounds like a nightmare -- and for one family in New Jersey it was. Read the story

DO YOU KNOW of many -- or any -- child psychiatrists in your area? A paucity in that specialty is prompting one child psychiatrist to tour the country training pediatricians and other medical providers how to assess mental health issues -- including ADHD. Accentuating the problem of pediatricians' diagnoses of ADHD is that those doctors may receive only a few hours of training during med school and residency. Read more about how this touring shrink is hoping to change practice. (Factoid in this article: up to 20 percent of boys will have a diagnosis of ADHD.)

GIRLS AND ADHD. The Child Mind Institute has on its site an article about helping girls with ADHD make friends. The writer notes that girls with inattentive ADHD or hyperactive ADHD might both be at a disadvantage in social skills, and offers tips for boosting those social skills. Find the article

THE FUTURE OF DEPRESSION -- depression treatment, that is -- is the topic of an article released by the Loyola University Health System. The article summarizes research done by Loyola doctors and published in the journal Current Psychiatry. According to the article, "Depression treatments on the horizon include new medications, electrical and magnetic stimulation of the brain, and long-term cognitive behavioral therapy for stress management." Read more

THE POTENTIAL OF GAMES. A blogger at the site of The New York Times writes how neuroscientists are trying to find out what makes games addictive so that games could be used to rewire the brain to improve memory or cognitive function, or to treat ADHD or depression. Sound interesting? Read more

DAVID RABINER reviews a study indicating that behavior therapy can reduce the need for high dosages of medication to relieve symptoms of ADHD. Rabiner's observation: "On vir­tu­ally all mea­sures, adding high inten­sity behav­ior man­age­ment to the low­est med­ica­tion dose of med­ica­tion yielded com­pa­ra­ble improve­ments to those pro­duced by the high dose med­ica­tion alone. For a num­ber of mea­sures, even low inten­sity behav­ior man­age­ment com­bined with the low­est med­ica­tion dose was as effec­tive as high dose medication." Read more

EARLY COLLEGE? Maybe not the right answer, says a director of SENG. Molly Isaacs-McLeaod poses questions to ask when a young person has exhausted pre-college curriculum opportunities but might not want to start college right away, and then presents possible options -- a gap year, an internship, a mentorship, or even local or online college courses, for example. Read more

ON THE OTHER HAND, Tufts University offers students a "bridge year" of national or international service before starting the traditional college experience. The program is called Tufts 1 + 4. The university says, "Tufts 1+4 will offer interested students who have been accepted for undergraduate admission the option for a transformational experience of national or global service that will also include academic content and teaching of civic and leadership skills." Find out more

NCLD has issued the 2014 "State of Learning Disabilities" report. The executive director of NCLD says, "The data in this 2014 report reveal that, left unaddressed, as many as 60 million individuals risk being left behind, burdened by low self-esteem, subjected to low expectations, and diminished in their ability to pursue their dreams." Find the report. Separately, NCLD has also posted "5 Common Myths about Dyscalculia"; find them

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. The spring edition is out. (Maurice Fisher, the publisher, always seems to rush the season, but that's okay because we're ready for spring here in the northern hemisphere.) Articles in the issue cover gifted education in the areas of mathematics (inquiry-based learning); game design (to enhance learning and problem solving); and the music of Aaron Copeland. Find the newsletter.

Friday, February 14, 2014

News, Resources for Twice Exceptionality

SID CEASAR has died, and, for anyone old enough to remember his comic genius, there were a couple interesting anecdotes in his obit. He was evidently three years old before he started talking. And one of his earliest teachers once called Caesar "one of the dumbest pupils I ever had." Interesting, huh? Read the obit.

ADHD MEDS, PEDIATRIC STROKE are not linked, according to a new study. The study covered stimulant med use in 2.5 million kids. So you can rest easy on that one, maybe. (Plenty of other thinks to worry about, though.) Read more.

MULTIPLE MEDS is the topic of an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. If your bright young person is on meds for more than one condition, you might want to check out the article.

TEEN STRESS -- lots of it, and not handling it well. That's the gist of an article in USA Today. The paper reports on a survey by the American Psychological Association indicating that more than half of teens feel moderate levels of stress, and that they're at risk of physical and emotional problems as adults if the pattern continues. Read more.

GUYS: BIGGER BRAINS. (But whether they use them well is another issue.) Researchers reviewing two decades of neuroscience conclude that males have brains that are 8 to 13 percent larger, on average, than females. But there are certain regions of the brain where females tend to have larger brain volume. One researcher is quoted as saying, "The sex differences in the limbic system include areas often implicated in psychiatric conditions with biased sex ratios such as autism, schizophrenia, and depression. This new study may therefore help us understand not just typical sex differences but also sex-linked psychiatric conditions." Find out more. Separately, scientists have identified a gene linking brain structure to intelligence, according to a write-up at Science Daily. In some teens, a particular gene causes a thinner cerebral cortex, resulting in lower performance on tests of intellectual ability. Go to Science Daily.

MATH, ART, MUSIC -- beauty in those pursuits activates the same brain region. People who appreciate the beauty of mathematics activate the same part of their brain when they look at aesthetically pleasing formula as others do when appreciating art or music, suggesting that there is a neurobiological basis to beauty. Read more.

LD IN COLLEGE. Reveal it? Accept help? Those are questions facing college students who have learning disorders. An article at The Hechinger Report examines the choices students make, and their consequences. Find the article.

DYSLEXIA AND VIDEO GAMES. Apparently video games may help improve concentration and reading in dyslexics. It's based on "cross-sensory shift of attention." Find out more.

LD ONLINE focuses on social-emotional considerations for students with LDs and ADHD in its most recent newsletter. One article is on facilitating success for kids with language-based LDs; another on social-emotional problems related to dyslexia. Find the newsletter.

BULLYING is the topic of an upcoming webinar from SENG, Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted. The event is on February 20 at 7:30pm ET in the US. Fee: $40. Find more details.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

IGNORE THE CRITICS is the title of a blog post at the site of Autism Speaks. In the post, a 31-year-old man with Asperger's emphasizes the value of persistence in achieving the skills you seek. He is wary of stereotypes that discourage exploration; for example, despite the stereotype of "poor social skills," the blooger has worked as an assistant funeral director and is a frequent public speaker. The blog series is called "In Our Own Words: Living on the Spectrum." Find it.

THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY is updating its guidelines to physicians who diagnose and treat patients with ASD. Among the recommendations are that clinicians take a multidisciplinary approach that includes a full physical exam and a genetic workup. According to Disability Scoop, "Physicians should help families obtain appropriate educational, behavioral, communication and medical treatments for their child... What’s more, they should take an active role in long-term planning and provide support to parents and siblings." Read more.

A KID ON THE SPECTRUM runs up about $17,000 more in services per year than typically developing children, according to a recently published study. Those services include health caare, schooling, caregiving, and therapy. Find out more.

PREVENTING AUTISM? An article at Dana.org covers an at-birth treatment with an FDA-approved substance that might prevent the development of autism-like signs in offspring. The current research involves mice. The eventual trick: determining which babies should be treated. Find out more.

ANXIETY DISORDERS. A longitudinal study of children with anxiety has revealed that 61 percent of those children met the criteria for at least one mental disorder by the time they were 21 years old. What's more, children with generalized anxiety disorder were found to have a higher risk of depression as adults. Find out more about the study.

TEENS AND MENTAL ILLNESS. High media use. Reduced sleep. Low physical activity. These are all risk factors for mental health issues, according to a European study. Know someone with one or more of those risk factors? Find out more.

SUPPORTING STUDENTS WITH ADHD. An article in District Administration describes how schools are using measures such exercise balls to help students with ADHD focus. Also covered in the article: the use of sensory kits; exercise breaks; and -- radical! -- finding out what interests students have as a gateway to "student-specific" action plans. Find the article.

INTO EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE? The 3rd Annual Virtual Festival of Emotional Intelligence runs from March 10 to 15 and includes free online events and resources. For example, Dan Sigel will address his work Brainstorm, and Mary Helen Immordino Yang will present on neuroscience for education. Find out more.

JHU CTY STEM GRANTS. The Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University has awarded 12 high school students with STEM reseach grants called CTY Cogito Research Awards. According to the organization, the CTY Cogito Research Awards is one part of Cogito.org’s mission to foster the development of the world’s most promising young scientists and create a community that includes peers as well as working scientists and mathematicians. Membership to Cogito.org is open to all students ages 13 to 18 affiliated with CTY, and to other students in that age range by nomination from teachers and other educational organizations. Read more about this program.

LDA CONFERENCE IN ANAHEIM. The Learning Disabilities Association is holding its 51st annual conference in Anaheim, California, on Feburary 19-22. Featured speakers will address topics that include Universal Design for Learning, technology for those with LDs, and a success story ("High School Dropout to Harvard"). Also appearing at the conference, Rich Weinfeld, a past contributor to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. "Food pairings" can evidently help kids learn to like vegetables. The technique involves pairing something new with something the eater already likes -- like combining Brussels sprouts with cream cheese. The technique is called "associative conditioning." Will it work on your picky eater? Find out more.

Friday, February 7, 2014

NOT MUCH "NEWS" in today's blog, but interesting items nonetheless...

YOUR 2e TV. We've posted the second video on our YouTube Channel, Your2eTV. This video presents Matthew Wanzenberg, PhD, on the topic of the transition to college for twice-exceptional high schoolers. His perspective is that of "coach" -- one who can facilitate the transition. He explains how the process works, what a coach needs from parents and student, and what a successful transition looks like. Find the video.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has on its site an FAQ article about sensory processing issues -- what SPD is, how it's treated, why it's controversial, and more. (SPD is difficulty accepting input through seven senses.) The article also has pointers to other articles on the topic. Find the article.

NCLD AND SCHOOLS. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has asked parents to provide reviews of schools in order to create a guide to the best schools for kids with LDs and attention issues. If you can contribute, please do so -- such a guide would likely be of assistance to parents in the 2e community because of the help it would provide in addressing at least half of the 2e equation. Find out more.

2e WEBINAR. As part of its Webinars on Wednesdays series, NAGC is presenting an April program titled "A Twice-exceptional Discussion to Help Teachers and Parents Better Advocate for Services." Scheduled to present are Megan Foley Nicpon of the Belin Blank Center at the University of Iowa, and psychologist Dan Peters, co-founder of the Summit Center in California. Both speakers have contributed to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter and are frequent presenters at conferences around the country. The webinar is free to NAGC members, $59 to others. Find out more.

THE JACK KENT COOKE FOUNDATION has opened the 2014 application process for its Young Scholars Program. The program is committed to advancing educational opportunities for high-achieving, low-income students, according to the organization. The Foundation seeks 7th graders from low- to moderate-income families from across the nation who stand out in their schools for their high academic ability and achievement, persistence, and desire to help others. Young Scholars come from all racial and ethnic backgrounds as well as from rural, suburban, and urban communities throughout the United States. They are typically in the top one percent of their class academically, with family incomes averaging $25,000 per year. This year the Foundation will select approximately 60 students. The deadline for the first phase of the application process is March 20, 2014. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. The game Dungeons and Dragons is apparently 40 years old. A blogger at Psychology Today notes the anniversary, discussing the game's appeal. We know from personal observation that the game can have great attraction to twice-exceptional young people of different "stripes," and the blogger explains why: "On the one hand, the 'left-brained' folk — those logical, number-crunching, outcomes and probability-obsessed — love D&D's charts and dice. But the 'right-brained' creative types love the game's open-ended dreaminess and escapism. The game really hit the sweet spot between these two styles of nerdery." The blogger also riffs on the benefits of the game, including the way it can build improvisation skills and social skills. Read the blog.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

News, Resources from 2e Newsletter

2e ON YOUTUBE. We've posted the first video on our YouTube channel, Your2eTV. ("2eTV" was already taken.) The video is a four-minute piece recorded at last November's NAGC Convention with Susan Baum, who is certainly familiar to readers of 2e Newsletter. In the video, Baum provides some basic tips to both parents and educators. Find the video.

TREATING DEPRESSION. An article at Clinical Psychiatry News discusses the responsiveness of patients to SSRI meds alone, to other antidepressant meds, and to meds combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT. If depression is an issue with that 2e child you raise, check out the article, about a "landmark" study.

ADHD, COOPERATION. ADDitude offers a technique called "think-through" that it says helps children "understand what they need to do, remember what they need to do, and actually do what they need to do, without reminders" -- a pretty tall order. Find out more.

AUTISM SUPPORT TEACHERS work in educational settings with kids diagnosed with ASD, getting involved in both instruction and IEP development and fulfillment. A site called masters-in-special-education.com offers an "Ultimate Online Guide to Becoming an Autistic Support Teacher." The guide defines the role, describes who might be a good candidate, and provides advice on getting the right skills and succeeding on the job. Find the site.

DEPRESSION, SLEEP. A study of adolescent twins indicates that good sleep duration is important to maximize depression treatments. Also posited: that "sleep deprivation may be a precursor for major depression in adolescents." Find out more.

NCLD, in a recent "Three Things to Know" communique (we like it; it fits our attention span), notes how one of the Seattle Seahawk football players has dyslexia; that you don't need to wait for school to start before looking into the possibility of LDs in your child; and about IEP transition plans. Find "Three Things"

ADHD AND LATER LIFE. In what is billed as "the longest controlled prospective study of childhood ADHD," researchers determined which adult outcomes seemed to be linked with ADHD and which were not. Among linked outcomes: ongoing ADHD; antisocial personality disorder; substance abuse disorder. Not linked: alcohol disorders, mood disorders, or anxiety disorders. Find out more.

GIFTED HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM has published a brochure called "Twice Exceptional: Smart Kids with Learning Differences." On the site of GHF is an interview with the brochure's author, J. Marlow Schmauder. From the interview: "If I could send everyone home with one bit of true understanding about twice exceptional kids, it’s let them work at intellectual-age level... Support them, and they will soar." Find the interview and the brochure at the site of GHF.

SENG ONLINE PARENT SUPPORT GROUP. SENG is launching another online parent support group for 10-15 parents, to meet on Tuesdays during March and April. Cost: $200. Topics include communication, motivation, discipline, intensity, perfectionism, and peer relationships. Find out more.

JAMES J. GALLAGHER was a noted expert on both gifted ed and special ed. We noted his death last month and pointed readers to an obit at the the site of NAGC. The New York Times has also run an obituary: find it.