Thursday, June 25, 2015

ADHD, ASD, Gap Year, Dyslexia...

FOLLOW-UP: FIDGETING. We recently wrote about a study indicating that students with ADHD would benefit from being allowed to fidget in school. Now the Well column in The New York Times explores that study and the topic (and introduces the phrase "wiggle at will"). The study showed that kids with ADHD who fidgeted were more likely to gain correct responses on a test of attention and cognitive control. If the findings interest you, check out the Well feature.

ADHD OR BIPOLAR DISORDER? An article at the site of Current Psychiatry notes that an irritable, oppositional kid with ADHD might be hard to distinguish from one with bipolar disorder. It also notes a high rate of comorbidity, stating that 50-70 percent of those with bipolar disorder also have ADHD. The article compares symptoms of the two disorders in children and provides a case study. Got suspicions about a kid you know? Find the article.

AND MORE ON ADHD. ADDitude offers a "diagnosis and treatment guide" called "ADHD: The First Hundred Days." It covers signs and symptoms, diagnosis, comorbidities, treatment, and much more. Find the guide.

PIVOT TO: AUTISM. High-functioning kids with autism seemed to benefit from an intensive reading-based intervention in a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The intervention apparently strengthened interconnections in the brain, allowing the children to better comprehend what they were reading. Read more.

AUTISM AND OXCYTOCIN. Several clinical trials are underway to see if the hormone oxytocin can benefit people on the autism spectrum, and, if so, what subset of those with ASD would benefit. One such trial will include 300 children and teens with ASD to see if the hormone affects cognition and/or social functioning. Find out more.

THE GAP YEAR. For kids who seem to be slow in maturing cognitively and emotionally, a gap year might make lots of sense. A columnist in The Washington Post makes the case for how a gap year might help a young person succeed in college. Read more.

UNDERSTOOD is currently offering a blog post titled "Make Dyslexia About Strengths, Not Shame," said shame coming from not feeling "normal." The author brings up the riff about "if you're terrible at a thing you're asked to do every day..." -- a familiar situation for any twice-exceptional child. Find the blog. And Understood is giving away 100 copies of the blogger's book, The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan, to random participants in the site's Community Groups.

DIGITAL GAMES: GOOD FOR LEARNING? That's the topic of a recent discussion on NPR's Diane Rhem show. From the blurb: "Experts say the best of them are challenging as well as fun. But critics question whether game designers are promising too much. Some say not enough is known about how these games can affect the learning skills and developing brains of children." Find the program.

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