Friday, May 29, 2015

Finding a School, Anxiety, OCD, and All Kinds of Other Stuff

FINDING SHANGRI-LA -- or, at least, the right school for your gifted or 2e kiddo. That's the topic that Dr. Michael Postma takes on in a posting at the site of 2eLearners.org. He lays out questions to ask concerning: how the school selects for special programming; whether the staff is empathetic and understanding; social/emotional support; curriculum; and more. Postma is a former educator and administrator who now consults, speaks, and writes about "the holistic development of twice-exceptional children and other non-typical learners." Find the post.

2e AWARENESS IN SINGAPORE. A teacher in Singapore writes in The Straits Times to make readers aware of "a small percentage of children called 'twice-exceptional students.'" The writer notes the "masking" effect and the requirement for "an environment that will nurture their gifts while attending to their learning disability." Couldn't have said it better ourselves. Way to go, Arnold Chua Chee Keong. Find the letter, and don't forget that you, O Blog Reader, can write similar communiques to local, regional, or national media.

TODDLER TEMPERAMENT. Researchers from The Ohio State University studied microbes from the gastrointestinal tracts of children between the age of 18 and 27 months, and found that the abundance and diversity of certain bacterial species appear to impact behavior, particularly among boys.The researchers were primarily interested in the gut microbiome and its relation to stress hormones and certain chronic illnesses, but discovered, for example, that boys with a certain microbiome were more extroverted. However, researchers say that parents shouldn’t try to change their child’s gut microbiome just yet. Scientists still don’t know what a healthy combination looks like, or what might influence its development. Read more, but hold the probiotics for now.

ANXIETY 101 is the name of a workshop at the counseling center at the University of Central Florida, according to The New York Times, and it's one of the ways colleges are trying to accommodate the nearly one in six students diagnosed with anxiety. The stories of some of the students mentioned were downright scary, in spite of the fact that anxiety on campus has become "almost a cliche." Find the article.

ANXIETY FOR HEAVY HITTERS. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is offering a free webinar on June 9 titled "Child and Adolescent Anxiety: Psychopathology and Neuroscience." The webinar blurb is a little vague about exactly what will be presented or the intended audience, but be advised that the main presenter is a NIMH scientist with a current interest in "examining the degree to which mood and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents are associated with underlying abnormalities in the amygdala, prefrontal cortex and other brain regions." Find out more.

THE SERIOUS SIDE OF OCD is treated in an article at USNews.com. The article describes the consequences for some sufferers as well as treatment options that include -- for seriously affected and otherwise treatment resistant patients -- brain surgery of three different types. Find the article.

CONCUSSION AND ACADEMICS. If your smart kiddo is at risk of a concussion or has suffered one, check out an article at SharpBrains.com about the effects of concussion on school performance. Read more.

SENSORY STIMULI IN ASD. New research illustrates that "noise" affects the way autistic individuals integrate multi-sensory sensory signals. In a test where subjects were asked to determine the direction of "movement," ASD subjects performed as well as non-ASD subjects with "non-noisy" sensory input signals, but worse with noisy signals. Actually, this research is impossible to explain in just a few sentences -- if it's relevant or of interest to you, find the press release describing the study.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Today is "529 Day" -- May 29 -- which we hadn't heard of before and which seems to be sponsored mostly by institutions with a financial interest in getting you to save for your kiddo's college days. But, to adapt the old Chicago joke "vote early and vote often," it's always a good idea when it comes to college tuition to "save early and save often." We've been through it. And there you have it -- our adult advice for the day.

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