Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ADHD, Screen Time, 2e on the Radio, More

ADHD DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT. The AAP has for over a decade provided its members with guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in young people. A study on how well pediatricians follow those guidelines was just published in the journal Pediatrics. Based on this study, pediatricians are quick to diagnose, quick to medicate, slow to follow up, and neglectful when it came to monitoring response to treatment. Read the article for the guidelines and the study results. Separately, and article in The Guardian examines (again) the issue of whether ADHD is a real brain disorder or simply the "medicalizing" (although they spell it with an "s" instead of a "z" in the UK) of childhood; find the article

SCREEN TIME FOR KIDS. We've blogged about this before. Now NPR has a piece summarizing the stories it's run on screen time during 2014, with surprisingly little definite advice; find it. And a review of existing study on the use of mobile and interactive media by kids says that we need more research; read more. Finally, an article at PsychCentral is titled "How Do Smartphones Affect Child Psychology?" The article notes the inconclusive findings, urges parents to "stay informed" (thanks), and concludes, "one thing all the experts seem to agree on is that moderation is key" (thanks again). Find the article

UNDERSTOOD offers a couple pieces of interest this week. One piece offers advice on what to do when school cuts or denies services, including evaluation or special ed services; find it. Another is a piece by David Fink from his book Thinking Differently. The piece addresses the myth of "just try harder" and includes a happy "chapter" in Fink's early life; find it

JEN THE BLOGGER, in a recent post, tells us that she was part of a panel of interviewees (along with James Webb and Megan Foley Nicpon) for a Radio Health episode on twice-exceptional children -- something all three participants know quite a lot about. You can read about her experience in her blog, or go straight to the podcast. Way to go, gang of three! 

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. ADDitude offers on January 8th a free webinar titled "How ADHD Affects Executive Function in Adults and Kids," scheduled for 1pm Eastern time with Russell Barkley. Find out more

AND FINALLY, THIS. Happy New Year to all of our subscribers and friends!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Retiring Advocate, Dweck on TED, Common Core, More

TOM HARKIN RETIRES. So what? He's the author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which, along with IDEA and other legislation, helps protect those with learning disabilities. He's retiring from the U.S. Senate, where he was, according to Disability Scoop, the "strongest ally in Congress" for those with disabilities. Read more.

DWECK ON TED. Carol Dweck recorded a presentation for TED in November, and it's now available. It's titled, "The power of believing that you can improve." Readers of this blog and 2e Newsletter know Dweck as a proponent of the "growth mindset," something relevant for our twice-exceptional young people. Find the TED Talk.

ADHD/LD SCHOOL ACCOMMODATIONS. ADDitude has on its site a 12-step infographic on "how to create, implement, and maintain an IEP or 504 Plan for your child with ADHD or LD." If you think such a plan might be useful, check out the infographic.

COMMON CORE, TESTING -- they're two separate issues, points out the author of an opinion piece in The New York Times. David Kirp provides some background on the emergence of the Common Core standards and the subsquent reaction to the standards and high-stakes testing. Some of the controversy is political ("government overreach," etc) and some of it is practical -- teachers uneasy about being evaluated by test-based "progress" (or lack of it) in their students. If the controversy interests you, check out the opinion piece.

AUTISM, GENES. The diverse symptoms of ASD are apparently caused by hundreds of genes that can mutate affect different types of brain cells, according to a recently published study. Find out more.

DANA FOUNDATION. At the site of the Dana Foundation are three recent articles that might be of interest to those in the 2e community
  • One concerns the "brain-gut axis" in regard to brain development and disease; find it
  • A second article, from October of 2014,is titled "Fear and the Brain, an Introduction"; read it
  • A November article is a report from the annual Aspen Brain Forum, and the topic is the influence of the environment on the developing brain; find it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR to our friends and subscribers in the 2e community! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gifted &: Myths, Prison, Blogs, More

DEBUNKING MYTHS about gifted students is the topic of an article at edutopia.org. You know some of these myths, for example that gifted kids don't need scaffolding. See how many others you're disabused of.

THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE -- for gifted kids -- is covered at Quartz, qz.com. The article notes that as many as 20 percent of the prison population might be considered gifted, and that twice-exceptional kids have strikes against them when it comes to avoiding the pipeline. The article compares the cognitive and family characteristics of two gifted young men, one of whom wound up "dropping out." Find the article.

MUSIC AND THE BRAIN. In a study called "the largest investigation of the association between playing a musical instrument and brain development," a child psychiatry team has found that musical training might also help kids focus their attention, control their emotions and diminish their anxiety. Read more.

LDA CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO. The annual conference of the Learning Disabilities Association of America is set for February 18-21 in Chicago. A quick search of the online program book reveals no mention of "twice-exceptional," but you may search for sessions relevant to you at this link.

AUTISM SPEAKS has issued its December newsletter. It includes a link to a collection of autism-related stories that readers chose as the "top 10" for 2014. Find the newsletter.

SENG. At this site you can find a list of gifted blogs, including blogs for homeschoolers and for gifted adults. Find the lists.

SOCIAL ANXIETY. Social anxiety is one of the most common psychiatric disorders among children and adolescents -- and among the twice-exceptional. A new study has found that the quality of parent-infant relationships and early childhood shyness predict the likelihood of social anxiety in adolescence. Read more.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Back in a few days with more blog items. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Way to Go, Congress! And More...

WAY TO GO, CONGRESS! In an act of almost unimaginable generosity, the U.S. Congress graciously bestowed an extra $5 million on the Javits Gifted Program, bringing its 2015 funding to -- let's see -- why, a whopping total of $10 million! (In 2003, when we started 2e Newsletter, the funding level was $11 million.) And if there are three million gifted kids in the United States, as some sources say -- well, you do the math. Thanks again, Congress. Great job. Now go home. Read more.

TEACHERS VENT. Sometimes parents in the 2e community complain about teachers who don't "get" 2e students. At the site of Reddit.com, someone posted a question, "Teaches of Reddit, what was the strangest encounter you've had with a student's parents." There are lots of great responses. One of our favorites starts this way: "Big dude. Ponytail, biker jacket, Harley rider. Scruffy, looked the type to be in a motorcycle gang. Came into my classroom in my first year of teaching.... It didn't really start well: 'Are you the guy that's teaching my daughter?', he said in that low kinda throaty growl." Find the postings. (FYI, some of the teachers are a little "free" with their language.)

JEN THE BLOGGER has posted some quotes from her family's interactions over the past few months. Reminded us of our kids growing up -- and might remind you of conversations you've had with your 2e kids. Find the post.

OKAY, LET'S GET SERIOUS....


LD IN COLLEGE. An article at THE Journal notes that while 87 percent of K-12 students with LDs get some kind of support, only 19 percent of those students will get supports at the college level. Read this article on the transition to college for kids with LDs.

TOURETTE'S is the topic of several videos posted at the site of the Child Mind Institute. In them, Dr. Barbara Coffey addresses topics such as comorbidities, specifically Tourette's/ADHD and Tourette's/OCD. Find the videos.

WILLFULNESS? ODD? ADDitude offers a 15-question screening tool to help parents identify possible Oppositional Defiant Disorder in their children. Find the tool.

APPROACHING 2015, and we're starting to see articles with titles such as "Make 2015 a Year of Learning." This particular article, however, offers 10 tips for parents of young children, tips that can help kids learn. Chances are you engage in many of these behaviors already -- like conversing with your child over dinner about his or her day -- but maybe there are some you can add to your repertoire in dealing with that bright youngster you have. Read the tips.

ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH CARE. So many kids, so many problems, so little resources. An article at MedPageToday.com gives some of the reasons adolescents might not get appropriate attention for mental health issues, but also points to techniques that work. Interestingly, the article defines "adolescence" as stretching from 10 to 24, acknowledging the ever-changing brains of these young people. Find the article.

STIMULANT ADHD MEDS can, along with their cognitive effects, result in lower injury rates in children with ADHD. A study showed that kids on stimulants were less likely to wind up in the emergency room when they were taking the medications than when they were off them. The study refrained from drawing a causal connection, however. Find out more.

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION FOR THE GIFTED. The December newsletter of this organization is out, and it includes a summary of legislative news relating to California and education (the USC scored a $300K Javits grant!). Also included, a preview of the February annual conference; and an article on the "impostor syndrome." Find the newsletter.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- just in times for the holidays. "Hugs help protect against stress, infection, say researchers." Researchers tested that hypothesis and found that greater social support and more frequent hugs protected people from the increased susceptibility to infection associated with being stressed and resulted in less severe illness symptoms. So there. Read more. And go hug a stressed 2e kid (or parent) (or educator).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2e Household Issues, Male Idiocy, More

2e NEWS. There is none today. Do you know how hard it is to find good news about twice-exceptionalities? Here are the results of a search via Google for news relating to "twice exceptional." That said, here are some items on parenting, exceptionalities, and other issues that can pop up in 2e households...

UNDERSTOOD has on its website a "Parenting Coach" that offers ideas for dealing with challenges in the social, emotional, and behavioral domains. For example, you can select the category "Dealing with Anxiety and Fear," select the child's grade, and click on "get ideas" to see tips on what to do. Find the Coach.

DON'T HAVE ISSUES AT YOUR HOUSE in the social, emotional, or behavioral domain? Then find out how you might get them through the interaction of your child's experiences and genetics. Here's what the researchers concluded: "...variants of three common genes, MAOA, BDNF, and 5-HTTLPR, interacted with each other and with negative environmental factors to increase the risk of delinquency and with a positive environmental factor to decrease the risk of delinquency in a large sample of teenagers." Actually, the journal article title says it better: "Genotypes do not confer risk for delinquency but rather alter susceptibility to positive and negative environmental factors." Find out more


HOW ABOUT ISSUES WITH SLEEP? HealthDay reports that "almost all" teens in the United States are sleep deprived. with potential negative effects on health and academic performance. Is your teen getting 9-10 hours of sleep a night? Didn't think so. Find out more about the problem.

WANT VIRTUAL THERAPY FOR YOUR KID'S ISSUES? It's coming. An article at VB News describes a telemedicine company called Doctors on Demand that is enabling virtual visits with mental health professionals. A prospective counselee can find a licensed therapist, make an appointment, and have a 25- or 50-minute online session for $50 or $95. Find out more. Separately, Medscape included telemedicine as one of their 35 items that made a difference in medicine in 2014; read more.

THE ASSAULT OF PARENTING ADVICE. Andrew Solomon, who has been the subject of blog mentions in the past, has written a long review of a new book on parenting -- or rather on childhood and its "innate nobility." The book is A Country Called Childhood, by Jay Griffiths, an anthropologist, "radical thinker," and, apparently, a rather poetic writer. Solomon concludes, "With bracing purity of intent and spectacular reach, she questions the way we think of and treat children. Her musings might help build a kinder world." Read the review.

LOOKING AHEAD. The publication District Administration has posted a feature on educational advancements to look for in 2015. Among those mentioned are two that would be beneficial to twice-exceptional students -- student-driven learning and greater individual attention. Read the article to find out how that can happen.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- a tongue-in-cheek (we hope) article titled "Study Supports the Theory that Men Are Idiots." This item is based on an article published in the British Medical Journal describing research in England, "an analysis of sex differences in idiotic behavior." Hint: the study involves the Darwin Awards. Read more. Actually, that article title should be, more accurately, "Study Supports the Theory that Most Idiots Are Men."

Friday, December 12, 2014

2e & Reading, Depression, NVLD, More

A NICE PORTRAIT of a twice-exceptional middle-schooler is presented at Reading Today Online. A piece written by an expert in reading and dyslexia shows how much effort it takes for the student to appear average or above average -- and how parents or teachers can spot at least one indicator of reading problems. Also in the article, a list of assistive technology accommodations for such readers. Find the article.

DEPRESSION. Two new potential treatments for depression, one scourge for the twice-exceptional, are laughing gas (nitrous oxide) and ketamine ("special K"). We've blogged about ketamine before, how it seems to help some people for whom usual antidepressants don't work. A new article in The New York Times points out some concerns about this use. And a new study reported at MedicalNewsToday.com indicates that nitrous oxide can also be effective in providing fast relief for treatment-resistant depression.

NON-VERBAL LEARNING DISORDERS are the topic of a new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. These disorders, according to the article concern "All the stuff that involves understanding information—relationships, concepts, ideas, patterns." The article, the first in a series, describes five types of NVLD and how to spot them. Find the article.

GRANDIN AT BRIDGES. Bridges Academy, a preparatory school for the twice-exceptional, is presenting an event titled "A Morning with Temple Grandin" on January 16th in Pasadena, California. Find out more.

SENG offers information about current and upcoming training and education opportunities, including a webinar on January 15th titled "Eleven Key Parenting Issues" with psychologist James Webb. Find out more.

ADDITUDE, on its site, has a slide-show identifying six types of anxiety and the treatment for each. Examples: phobia, social anxiety, panic attacks, and more. Find the slide-show.

EDUCATION WEEK WEBINAR. Education Week hosted a webinar on personalized learning on December 11th, the content of which will be available online shortly. From the event blurb: "This webinar will examine what a growing number of school and technology advocates have identified as the core elements of personalized learning." Find out more, including how to access the transcript.

SOMETHING ELSE TO WORRY ABOUT. Some common household chemicals -- phthalates -- can apparently lower IQ in children by more that six points when the children are exposed to the chemicals in utero. If you're expecting -- or expecting to expect -- or just irate -- find out what to avoid

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

OCD, Dopamine, Dyslexia, and 2e on Pinterest

WHEN YOUR KIDDO IS DIFFERENT -- than you. Different in temperament or in how he or she reacts to the world, or to the educational experience. Sometimes parents, after a diagnosis on one of their children, realize that they, too, are 2e, or gifted, or have an LD. But sometimes parents might find it harder to "identify" with their own child. That's the topic of a post by a psychologist blogger at PositivelyAtypical.com. Find it.

2e ON PINTEREST. A search for "twice-exceptional" on Pinterest turns up many "boards" related to our topic; find them. Some of the pinners' names will be familiar to readers of 2e Newsletter.

DOPAMINE: FOOD FOR ABSTRACT THOUGHT? Researchers trained monkeys to do math problems involving "greater than" and "less than," which involve the prefrontal cortex. Stimulation of the dopamine neurotransmitters in that area enhanced the monkeys' ability to solve the problems. Practical implications? Not many, but the study shows, evidently, how little we know about how and why dopamine affects our brains. Read more.

ULTRASOUND AND OCD. A proof-of-concept study used focused ultrasound to ablate (scientific meaning: to zap) specific brain areas in "certain subjects" (qualification not defined in the write-up) with obsessive compulsive disorder. The ablation reduced OCD thoughts and behaviors as well as improving symptoms of anxiety and depression in the treated patients. It was a small study -- four subjects -- but all reportedly showed improvement. Read more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. The December newsletter from this organization is out. In it, a reminder of a December 15th webinar with inventor Howard Wexler on dyslexic gifts; an article on teaching creative writing to dyslexic students; a pointer to an article on dyslexia and Common Core State Standards; a profile of a dyslexic artist who has won a Caldecott award; and more. Find the newsletter.  And if you're feeling generous and want to support the work of this non-profit, you'll find an opportunity to contribute. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

fMRI, UDL, 2e, PE...

BRAIN IMAGING IDENTIFIES AUTISM. A group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University combined brain imaging with "machine learning techniques" to accurately differentiate subjects with high-functioning autism from a control group. The differentiation depended on the degree of activation of a certain brain area when the subjects thought about concepts related to social interactions, such as "adore" or "hug." Read more.

UDL. We've blogged before about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a possible teaching method to help not only twice-exceptional students but all students. An article in THE Journal offers tips for teachers who want to implement UDL in their classrooms. Find the article.

"GIFTED" IN THE CLASSROOM. An educator writing at the site of Reading.org muses on two forms of "gifted" readers he has observed in his classrooms. One is the the concrete thinker (close to what we traditionally consider gifted) and the other is an abstract thinker who can "think outside the four corners of the text" to gain understanding. Find the article.

2e VIDEOS ON FACEBOOK. We've posted a couple of our 2e videos on our Facebook page; they had been solely at YouTube. If you're interested, check them out at www.facebook.com/2eNewsletter. (They've got thousands of "reaches" in a short period of time.)

PE AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE. They're linked, as you probably know. An issue of the journal Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development contained articles documenting the positive effect of exercise and activity on school achievement. Read about the issue is you want evidence to bring back PE. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giftedness, Genetics & Interventions, and a Few Resources

RESILIENCE, ENVIRONMENT, AND GENES. Apparently genetic predisposition can determine which kids will benefit from attention and interventions. And some of these genes are also linked to depression or ADHD. From a New York Times opinion piece: "One might even imagine a day when we could genotype all the children in an elementary school to ensure that those who could most benefit from help got the best teachers. Not only because they would improve the most, but also because they would suffer the most from lower quality instruction. The less susceptible — and more resilient — children are more likely to do O.K. no matter what." This is an interesting piece that addresses both practical and ethical issues with such genotyping, but also explains why some kids are less affected by environmental experiences. Find it.

GIFTEDNESS, CREATIVITY, POTENTIAL... are all topics of a GT Chat interview with Scott Barry Kaufman that can serve as a touch-stone for readers regarding their own thoughts on those things. He says he prefers "intelligent testing" to "intellligence testing" and also doesn't think of potential as something that's set in stone. Kaufman is a keynoter at TAGT 2014, coming up shortly in Texas. Read the interview.

GIFTEDNESS alone is the topic of a piece at CrushingTallPoppies.com, which name belies its point of view. In this particular piece the author wonders "why are there people who believe every child is gifted or no child is gifted?" If you've wondered the same thing, find the post.

UNDERSTOOD has a couple new resources on its site. One is "10 Tips to Help Get Your Child Organized," which addresses an issue faced by many 2e households; find it. And the organization is sponsoring a webinar called "IEP in the Trenches," scheduled for December 5 at noon ET; find out more.

FORBES CALLS THIS RESOURCE "Yelp for services aimed at children with special needs." It's a site called "Love My Provider," It's a little like our 2edb.info site -- but with 30,000 provider profiles. We assume that members of the 2e community would need to do due diligence to ascertain provider credentials regarding 2e kids, but 30,000 is a nice pool to start from. On the other hand, be advised that some of the stalwart providers to the 2e community are not included at the moment. In fact, we couldn't even find a listing for attorney Peter Wright of Wrightslaw.com. But find the Forbes article or check out Love My Provider. (If you try this site for real, share with us how it works for you, please.)

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. On December 3rd, ADDitude is hosting a free webinar titled "Signs of Anxiety in ADHD Adults and Kids -- and How to Get Help." It's at 1 ET and features Thomas E Brown, clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. Find out more.

ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, GUILT -- they all harm the brain. We've pointed previously to one of two recent studies described in an article at the site biosciencetechnology.com, but the article describes how those conditions can affect the brain from preschool on. Read more.