Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Autism, Boys, Brains, Sleep, More

UNDERSTANDING AUTISM is the title of an article at MedicalDaily.com, and it does a good job of characterizing some of the traits and myths that adhere to the "autism" label. The author covers the "savant" misconception, for example, but also notes, "Autistic people’s tendency to have high levels of processing local information may lead them to focus completely on certain patterns (like the calendar) and master them." Also covered: obsessions and repetitions; and social skills and communication. Find the article

SCHOOL: BAD FOR BOYS? A writer in the Washington Post says "Kids haven't change much over the past 150 years; our society has." She contrasts a boy's natural desire to more, to create, to be active with school's requirement to shut up and sit still all day. And she notes how boys lag girls across the board academically and behaviorally. Read more

EXPLORING KIDS: DIFFERENT BRAINS. Preteens who experiment or explore new things may have brain processes that work differently than those of preteens who do not, according to a new study. Researchers first had subjects do a task to identify which were "explorers" prone to experimenting. Brain scans then revealed a certain stronger neural pathway in explorers than non-explorers. Got an explorer at home? Find out more about his or her rostrolateral prefrontal cortex.
SLEEP AND ADHD. A good night's sleep can improve -- somewhat -- symptoms of ADHD in kids aged 5 to 12, according to Australian research. The improved night's sleep was based on a "behavioral sleep intervention" Find out how sleep can help.
UNDERSTOOD offers a free webinar on February 27 on the topic of how to balance your child's use of video games, social media, and more. Find out more.
ACCELERATION. The most recent newsletter from the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa notes that the book A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students, is set to be released soon. The book is about acceleration and its low rate of implementation in the United States. Read more.
GEPQ. The Spring edition of Gifted Education Press Quarterly is out. One article is titled "Defining What Characterizes a Great School for the Gifted." The author explains five principles that are important to such a school, including team-based learning, a fully-integrated (STEAM) curriculum, practice with written and oral skills, relevance to the world, and proficiency in using math "to solve problems in unstructured applications or challenges." Find GEPQ, and know that if publisher Maurice Fisher says it's the Spring edition, then Spring must be coming (thankfully).
FAPE EXPLAINED. FAPE is not an intuitive concept. For example, "appropriate" is unlikely to mean "best." But Wrightslaw to the rescue: In the current issue of Special Ed Advocate "you will learn about the legal concept of free, appropriate public education (FAPE). Find out how the courts have interpreted the meaning of 'appropriate' education and the caselaw that supports this concept." Find Special Ed Advocate.

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