Monday, March 31, 2014

News and Resources from the Past Few Days

AUTISM: YET MORE PREVALENT. The Centers for Disease Control have released information about the prevalence of autism based on numbers from 2010. Overall, the prevalence is now 1 in 68 children, with variation across different parts of the country. Boys are about 5 times more likely to be diagnosed. Find out more.

YOUR CHANCE TO ADVOCATE FOR JAVITS FUNDING ends soon. At the site of NAGC you can find out how to urge US senators to continue funding the Javits program for research on gifted education. If you feel in an advocating kind of mood, go to NAGC's site and do this by April 1.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. A week or so ago, the Eides held several events in the San Francisco area to raise awareness of dyslexia, support kids who have it, raise funds, and further the cause of their organization, Dyslexic Advantage. If you're interested in see photos of the events (and seeing who was there) check out their photos at Flickr


DYSLEXIA RESOURCE. A page at paper.li (we didn't know what that is either) is titled "NYC Dyslexia Daily." It's an "aggregation" site with pointers to all sorts of news about dyslexia. Find it.

SENG CONFERENCE. SENG's annual conference is in July, but you can see now the sessions the organization has scheduled for attendees. Lots of sessions are 2e-related. Find the schedule.

NCLD has summarized some recent data from the US Department of education relating to the participation of kids with LDs (and who are learning English) in gifted/talented programs. The comments from readers and parents at the end of the article will be particularly resonant with parents of 2e kids (some of the comments are from parents of 2e kids). Read more.

MINERVA SCHOOLS, affiliated with the Keck Graduate Institute in Southern California, has solicited applications from "the brightest and most motivated students around the world" for its inaugural undergraduate class, according to materials supplied by the schools. Students outside of the U.S. make up the majority of students offered admission with 10 countries and five continents represented. Minerva says that the admitted students are extraordinarily gifted and driven individuals with major accomplishments that span intellectual, social, business, and artistic endeavors. Three students are entrepreneurs with thriving businesses, two hold patents, one is the co-founder of an NGO, eight have written and published books, plays, articles, or scientific papers, six are leaders in student publications or broadcast stations, five lead high school sports teams, and four are heads of student government. Find out more at the site of the school.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

From 2e Newsletter: News Items, Resources

WHEN AN LD HITS THE FAMILY. Many in the LD, gifted, and 2e communities are involved personally or professionally because of family circumstances. Not many of us are accomplished researchers in cell biology and biochemistry, but when biochemist Ricardo Dolmetch's son was diagnosed with autism, he shifted the focus of his research to the biochemistry of autism. He gives a very interesting interview to a New York Times reporter -- find it.

TOO MUCH INFORMATION? We don't generally point to "long form" articles from this blog, but apparently American parents have had it with extended-length articles about parenting -- this according to a humorous piece in the New Yorker. Here's the kind of article the writer means: "...articles that begin with a wryly affectionate parenting anecdote, segue into a dry cataloguing of sociological research enlivened with alternately sarcastic and tender asides, and end with another wryly affectionate anecdote that aims to add a touch of irony or, failing at that, sentimentality." If you sometimes feel overwhelmed as you try to research the best parenting techniques for your children, find this article. (Caution: mild profanity in the article, but it's the New Yorker, you know?) Thanks to Greg for pointing us to this piece.

ALSO VIA GREG: A piece in the Onion titled "Intrepid Middle-Class Parents Embark on Daring Search for Mythical Perfect School District." If you've got a 2e child, you'll probably appreciate the humor here. Find the article.

AUTISM is the topic of several news items this week. A piece at Science Daily says that increasing awareness might explain the increase in autism diagnoses, for example that doctors are discovering more girls, teens, and adults with autism recently; find the piece. Another Science Daily article is on a study that suggests girls are protected from autism because females require larger genomic disruptions than males for autism to be expressed; find the article. And the Child Mind Institute points to several resources concerning autism and sensory overload; go there.

ALSO AT CHILD MIND INSTITUTE, an article on dealing with explosive behavior in children. (We know there are none of those in the 2e community but thought we'd pass this on anyway.) The article offers tips for dealing with the behavior while it's happening as well as for figuring out causes and for getting professional help. Read more. Separately, a piece in Science Daily contends that children learn "aggressive ways of thinking and behaving from violent video games" -- kind of like learning to play the piano. Find the piece.

ADHD: REALLY A DISEASE? That's the questions addressed by an article at the site of ADDitude. The writer defines disease, discusses "deviation from the norm," and concludes that the real question should be "whether the adult or child will be better off... undergoing treatment that reduces the normalcy gap." Read more.

DAVID BOIES is, apparently, "possibly our country's most famous lawyer" -- something we were not aware of -- but he has dyslexia, which makes this interesting. In an interview with NCLD, the lawyer describes how compensating for his poor reading ability gave him certain strengths. In the interview, he offers advice to kids diagnosed with dyslexia and to their parents. Find the interview.

NEUROTRANSMITTERS AND READING. Higher levels of glutamate and choline in the brain are associated with lower reading proficiency in young children, according to a Yale University study. Read more.

Monday, March 24, 2014

From 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

GOT A TEEN? Maybe it's time to revisit what it is that makes teens so different, and what makes the development period of the teenage years second in importance only to very early childhood. An article at The Columbian lays out the changes that occur in the brain during adolescence and what those changes mean for the teen -- and for the parent. Find the article.

PEDIATRICIANS FOR MENTAL HEALTH CARE? Families prefer to consult pediatricians about mental health for several reasons -- trust, convenience, centralized care. And according to a recent article in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, a "five-year, federally funded study found children treated for mental-health disorders at their pediatricians' offices were nearly seven times more likely to complete a program of care, with better results, than those referred to outside specialists." We've blogged previously that because of the paucity of child psychiatrists, many see the pediatrician as the go-to provider for kids. The thing is, will the pediatrician have the right knowledge and skills? Read more.

GIFTED ED. Want to see what gifted ed "looks like" across the United States? At the site of NAGC you can find out what different districts do for staffing, identification of gifted students, curriculum and instruction, and more. The reports cover elementary, middle, and high school services. Find out more.

WHAT'S NEW AT HOAGIES'. For March, webmistress Carolyn K has highlighted three sets of myths related to gifted students and gifted ed. Find them at Hoagies or go here, here, and here (a humorous YouTube video via NAGC). Thanks, Carolyn!

AUTISM AWARENESS DAY is April 2, according to Autism Speaks. The organization urges us to "light it up blue" to celebrate world autism awareness. Find out more.

OLD-FASHIONED PLAY of some types teach skills such as spatial reasoning. Researchers looked at blocks and other hands-on types rather than screen-based toys and found this: "Skills, including early geometry and knowing the names of shapes, help kids learn the math skills they pick up in kindergarten. And if they already have those (before they begin school), they are ahead of the curve." Other benefits: co-play with parents and building social skills. Read more.

NEAR CHICAGO? A new SENG Model Parent Group is set to start up in April. Kimberlee King, of Inspired Attention, will run a group from April 9 through June 11 on Wednesdays from 9:15 - 10:45 am. Kimberlee calls a SMPG "one of my favorite things." Find out more at the SENG site (along with a listing of SMPGs in other cities) or email Kimberlee: Kim at inspiredattention.com. Kim is an educational consultant specializing in gifted and learning-challenged students.

IN MAINE? Transcdisciplinary Workshops is offering a May 9th program called "Parenting the Challenging Child." From the blurb: "This interactive workshop is designed for parents of children and adolescents who present challenges outside the typical demands of raising a child. They may have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Twice Exceptionality, or Learning Disabilities." Find out more.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

From 2e Newsletter

ADHD, MEDS, BMI. A new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that children treated with stimulants for ADHD experienced slower body mass index (BMI) growth than their undiagnosed or untreated peers, followed by a rapid rebound of BMI that exceeded that of children with no history of ADHD or stimulant use and that could continue to obesity. The earlier the medication began, and the longer the medication was taken, the slower the BMI growth in earlier childhood but the more rapid the BMI rebound in late adolescence, typically after discontinuation of medication. Researchers concluded that stimulant use, and not a diagnosis of ADHD, was associated with higher BMI and obesity. Read more from Johns Hopkins.

FALLING THROUGH THE CRACKS. "The genuine concern is, we know we’re not identifying all of this population. We’re not getting nearly enough, and we’re losing them.” That's what a researcher says about gifted kids, about kids who aren't identified early or who don't get special attention at school. And you know that your twice-exceptional kid might be one of those. Read more. (The article quotes Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, former NAGC president, about the disparity between federal funding for the gifted and for special ed.)

MORE ON GIFTED LEARNERS. NAGC Executive Director Nancy Green and Helaine Zinaman, of a Maryland gifted ed group, comment on recent developments that have made it a little easier for some gifted kids to get extra attention -- legislation in Maryland and in Washington, DC. They note that Maryland now requires districts to identify and serve gifted students, joining 27 other states. (Although the mandate is, as often happens, unfunded.) And they also note the restoration of some Javits Program funding, $5 million out of a federal budget of $1.1 trillion. These optimistic gifted leaders conclude their article, "Now is the time to build upon these gains to ensure the precious resource of our talented students is squandered no longer." Find the article, and way to go Nancy and Helaine. 

NON-TALKING TEEN? Not talking to you, the parent, that is? An article at the site of the Child Mind Institute addresses that problem. The article provides guidelines on whether you should really be worried and what you can do. Find out more. Also at Child Mind Institute: a "symptom checker" allowing you to find ot more about disorders that might be affecting your child. For example, you may start by choosing "I'm concerned that my child has trouble paying attention." The tool then asks other questions, and you select conditions that apply, such as "My child has difficulty following directions." The tools asks about life experiences of the child (adopted?) or family history (ADHD?) and then presents a possible disorder to learn more about. The usual disclaimers apply. Find the tool.

WEBINAR: TEACHING DYSLEXICS. On March 26, Education Week will facilitate a "sponsored webinar" in which "leading researcher and educator Dr. Louisa Moats will define dyslexia, provide essential facts, and discuss groundbreaking practices in professional development to help teachers learn what they need to know to help students with this condition succeed in the classroom." Registration is free but required for this one-hour event. Find out more.
ON LINKEDIN? A discussion in the CEC group centers on the "pathologization" of immature childhood traits. Psychologist James Webb weighs in. Find the postings. (The original poster also refers to a Psychology Today article on the topic; find it.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

News, Resources from 2e Newsletter

ADHD OVER TIME. Some kids -- perhaps half -- "grow out" of ADHD as they age. A recent study links such a transition to factors that include the severity of acting out or withdrawing; the mental health history of the parents; and the socioeconomic status of the family. Read more.

STRESS IN KIDS. According to a press release from the University of Florida, when children experience three or more stressful events, they are six times more likely to suffer from a mental, physical, or learning disorder than children who didn’t face these traumatic experiences. Chronic stress can trigger changes in a child's developing neuroendocrine and immune systems that lead to poor control of the stress response and a reduced ability to resist disease, the researchers said. Read more.

EXERCISE AND LEARNING. A blog post at Edutopia covers the benefits of regular physical exercise for children. Among those benefits are improved on-task behavior -- more focus on learning. Other benefits may include improved memory, better concentration, and a more positive outlook. Find the post.

NCLD e-NEWSLETTERS. Find a couple e-newsletters from NCLD concerning children's learning and mental health:
ALSO ON MATH: A new study of math anxiety shows how some people may be at greater risk to fear math not only because of negative experiences, but also because of genetic risks related to both general anxiety and math skills. The study suggests that we can’t say that classroom quality, aspects of the home, or other environmental factors are the only reasons why people differ in how they experience math. Read more in a press release about the study.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE is holding a celebration of dyslexia this coming weekend in San Francisco. On Friday is a free event called "Dyslexia Beyond Reading: Memory, Cognition, Expertise, and Innovation," with speakers covering topics such as visual spatial abilities, the biology of stealth dyslexia, creativity and mind wandering, and intuitive thinking. Find out more. On Sunday is a chance for families and kids to hear high-achieving dyslexics talk about their work in fields such as game design, nature, poetry, and science. Find out more.

DITD NEWS. The Davidson Institute eNews-Update for March is out. It includes summary of the Intel Science Talent Search, in which several Davidson Fellows were recognized; Davidson news and upcoming deadlines, and pointers to gifted and 2e-related resources and articles. Find the newsletter.

WRIGHTSLAW. The current issue of Special Ed Advocate promises to teach you "how to include all the accommodations and interventions your child needs in the form of a medical management plan in your child's IEP." Got (or need) and IEP? Read Special Ed Advocate.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

From the Publishes of 2e Newsletter

LATER SCHOOL STARTS. The New York Times covered the issue of sleepy adolescents versus early school starts, citing science and examples of how later school starts can help students function well. There are complications with after-school activities being bumped later, but the article paints a positive picture. Find it.

ADHD MEDS. Got a child or young adult who started on ADHD meds in the past few years? You're not alone. Over the years from 2008 to 2012, med use increased about 19% in children. For adults, use increased by 53%, and at a much higher rate in some categories of young-adult females. Find out more.

AND SPEAKING OF ADHD MEDS, About.com has a page with four articles related to the topic. The articles aren't necessarily brand new, but if you're in the discovery phase for these meds, perhaps check them out.

SURVEY PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITY for educators. A Walden University researcher is seeking K-12 educators in the United States to participate in a research study related to twice exceptionality. On our website is the researcher's invitation letter to prospective participants. We are publicizing this study as a service to the 2e community. Find out more at our website.

SENG CONFERENCE REGISTRATION OPEN. Registration for the 2014 SENG Annual Conference, to be held in San Jose, California, July 18-20, is now open. We plan to participate; it's always nice to meet subscribers and friends at these conferences. For more information, see the SENG site.

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. If you're a Daniel Amen fan, you might be interested in the free webinar he's presenting on behalf of ADDitude. Amen differentiates seven types of ADHD as opposed to three from other practitioners. Find out more.

EDUCATION WEEK is offering a free collection of articles on differentiated instruction. This offer is for a limited time. The publication calls these collections "Spotlights," not to be confused with 2e Newsletter's "Spotlight on 2e Series" of informational booklets. Find out more.

AND SPEAKING OF SPOTLIGHTS -- thanks to everyone who visited our website and purchased booklets last week after receiving our notice of the new booklet in the Spotlight on 2e series, one on dyslexia. The orders kept us pretty busy. As always, feedback from purchasers about the booklets is encouraged.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

BRAIN WORKOUTS have lots of purposes -- keeping the brain young, for example. But some products are designed for 2e-related functions. Cogmed, as readers of this blog know, markets a program to improve attention and learning. A somewhat skeptical article in The New York Times provides an overview of the field. And while some programs seem to work and others may not live up to marketing hype, research is continuing into what's effective and what's not. Find the article

IT'S BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK. Find out more at the site of the Dana Foundation.

COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENTS. Wrightslaw's current issue of Special Ed Advocate is the first of a two-part series on comprehensive assessments -- what the assessor does, the information obtained, and how the information can be used. If you have a 2e kiddo, chances are good you're going to need to know about this topic at some point. Find the newsletter.

ASD RESEARCH. A press release about an upcoming special journal issue on ASD research conveys some of the results of research without having to find or read the actual journal, in this case the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The press release briefly covers updates on genetics, meds, obesity as related to ASD, GI issues, sensory symptoms, and preparing for college. Find out more.

LD ONLINE's current newsletter focuses on writing, a common issue for twice-exceptional children. Find out whether the newsletter has something of interest to your situation. (The articles are slanted mainly to teachers, but parents can use all the information they can get too, right?) (And -- self-promo alert -- don't forget that we offer a "Spotlight on 2e Series" booklet about writing and the 2e student.)

MORE TO WORRY ABOUT -- six more chemicals, early exposure to which can be dangerous to brain development. Among them: a flame retardant, a dry-cleaning solvent, and an insecticide. Find out more

FOR ADHD FAMILIES -- a short slide-show at ADDitude, "16 Sayings for ADHDers to Live and Laugh By." For example: “Never waste your time trying to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you." Find more. 

AND FINALLY, THIS. You know the five-second rule about food touching the floor? Or the two-second rule? Last we heard, neither rule was correct -- if the food hits the floor, it's gonna be germy. But new research claims otherwise. If this is ever an issue in your house, find the research.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

News, Resources from 2e Newsletter

BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK starts March 10th. Its purpose: to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. You read about the results of brain research in this blog; to find out more about Brain Awareness Week, go to dana.org.

NCLD has released its "State of LD" report for 2014, a picture of "how LD plays out across our nation today." You can find that report and other features in the most recent newsletter from NCLD.

GIFTED ED in Virginia is the topic of an article in the Staunton News Leader. It describes what various schools and districts provide to their high-ability students. Find the article.

ADHD WEBINAR. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation has scheduled a "Meet the Scientist" webinar for Tuesday, March 11, titled "ADHD: Neurodevelopmental Disorder Through the Ages." Sound interesting? Find out more.

LEARNING CHALLENGES AND THEATER. At the site of the Child Mind Institute is an article about how kids of the LD or 2e persuasion can thrive in theater-related activities. In the article, drama teachers comment on how being involved in theater can benefit these kids. Find the article.

FAMILY ROUTINES. Children who regularly sing, play, story-tell and eat dinner with their families tend to have higher social-emotional health (SEH), according to a recent study. Researchers say that children who participate in five family routines are more than twice as likely to have high SEH; and for each additional routine that a parent and child do together, there is an almost 50 percent greater likelihood of having high SEH. Read more.

MANHATTAN OPEN HOUSE. On March 31, the Quad Manhattan will host an open house for those interested in its Quad Prep School or Quad Summer School, both aimed at twice-exceptional kids. Find out more.

PARENT'S TALE. Jo Frietag's Gifted Resources newsletter pointed us to "A Tale of Two Labels," how one school provided great support in one set of circumstances and not much at all in another set. The story has a twist, and yes, it's about twice exceptionality. Find it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

News, Resources from 2e Newsletter

DISORDERS: WHY MORE GUYS? Scientists trying to figure out why males seem to be more at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD think they might have discovered a reason: a "female protective model," in which females "require more extreme genetic mutations than do males to push them over the diagnostic threshold for neurodevelopmental disorders." Besides ASD, there's also a gender bias in the prevalence of ADHD. Read more about this superpower.

DON'T MESS WITH YOUR GENOME. Apparently environmental factors can cause genetic changes in you that are passed on to your descendants. So a grandparent who smoked might have predisposed your bright young child to ADHD. Hyperactivity induced by nicotine can be transmitted across generations via the material line of descent. Read more, and worry about what else we pass on to our kids and grandkids.

DOES CLASS SIZE MATTER? You probably have an opinion, and there's a chance your opinion runs contrary to what some "experts" in the field think (experts such as Arne Duncan or Bill Gates). However, according to the Washington Post column "The Answer Sheet," researchers believe that "All else being equal, increasing class sizes will harm student outcomes." Read more.

GIFTED WITH EATING DISORDER. A psychologist at Denver's Gifted Development Center writes, "...it appears to me, and to my colleagues who work with anorexia and bulimia, that vast numbers of young people with eating disorders demonstrate traits of giftedness." Got a young person with an eating disorder? Read more.

POLICY WONK? Interested in Common Core standards and testing? A recent Diane Rehm show on NPR addressed the topic. Find it.