Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Another Muppet with ASD, Gifted Ed, Working Memory, More

MUPPET UPDATE. In the blog MotherLode, Jennie Baird notes that the recent heavy news coverage about a new, autistic character in the Muppet family overlooks an existing character -- Fozzie Bear -- is perceived as "on the spectrum" by many, including the writer's 14-year-old son with high-functioning autism. The blog posting delves into the family's history with the young man's diagnosis and the fact that he is now an honors student who can, in the writer's words, "'pass' as a regular, funny, quirky teenager." Read more.

GIFTED ED FOR MORE. An article in Education Week addresses the prevailing advantage kids have who come from families that are "whiter and wealthier" in getting into gifted and honors classes at school. A school system in Elk Grove, California, is used as an example of how things can go wrong unintentionally and what can be done to change the situation to make access to gifted ed more equitable. Measures include a more universal screening for the gifted program. Find the article.

THE HEART AND ADHD MEDS. Patients with what's called "long-QT syndrome" (based on a characteristic of an electrocardiogram) and who took ADHD meds were at greater risk for later "cardiac events." The study write-up didn't seem to imply these events occurred in young people, but if nothing else the write-up would seem to encourage parents to know their child's heart health and condition before diving into meds. Find the write-up. (The Mayo Clinic says that signs and symptoms of long-QT syndrome may occur any time from early in life to old age.)

WORKING MEMORY. Working memory, something many 2e kids have issues with, is apparently more complex than previously thought, according to a recently-published study. Evidently it depends on rhythmic activity in the hippocampus. If the topic of working memory is important at your house, check out the study. Separately, the title of another article on working memory says all you need to know to decide whether to find out more: "Working on Your Tot’s Memory Now Can Help His High School Success."

THE REPRODUCIBILITY PROJECT. No, not that reproducibility. Rather, the reproducibility of scientific studies. We've written about this before and how it should make us at least a little hesitant to blindly accept study results as valid and unimpeachable, but a new article at the site of the Dana Foundation covers the issue. Find the article.

DYSLEXIA: INTERVENING EARLY. Don't wait to intervene with young people with dyslexia -- that's the message from a new study. The authors conclude that implementing effective reading programs as early as kindergarten or even preschool offers the potential to close the achievement gap that arises in children with dyslexia. Read more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. If dyslexia is an "e" of concern to you, it's likely that the organization Dyslexic Advantage and its newsletter will be of interest. The most recent newsletter, which you can sign up for at the site of Dyslexic Advantage, covers: the recent Dyslexic AdvantageLeadership Conference on Dyslexia and Innovation; the passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of Project READ; a new dyslexia law in California; and much more.

BEACON SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE. The Beacon School, an accredited, coed, independent school for intellectually curious learners in grades 3-12, will be hosting an Admissions Open House event on Sunday, November 8, 2015, from 1:00pm until 3:00pm at 111 West North Street in Stamford, Connecticut. Beacon School bills itself as 2e friendly. The open house is for admissions for the 2016-17 school year. For more information on Beacon School, contact Meredith Hafer, the Head of School, at 203-200-7244 or mhafer@beacon-ct.org.

BELIN BLANK CENTER. According to this organization, part of the University of Iowa, on September 9, 2015, the Center celebrated the appointment of Dr. Susan Assouline, Director of the Center, as the Myron & Jacqueline Blank Endowed Chair in Gifted Education. Find this and other Belin Blank news in the organization's most recent newsletter. And congratulations to Susan, a member of the 2e Newsletter Editorial Advisory Board.

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, has a screening in Australia on November 27 on the campus of Sandringham College. The event is sponsored by Kids Like Us. Fnd out more on page 12 of Jo Freitag's Gifted Resources Newsletter.

WRIGHTSLAW, in Special Ed Advocate, tells us that teachers as well as parents often have trouble implementing IEPs due to misinformation or lack of guidance from school administrators. Wrightslaw says, "In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate you'll find strategies teachers and parents can use to get better special education services for children. Learn how to handle obstacles within your school system."

GOING TO NAGC NEXT WEEK? The 2015 conference mobile app is available at this site. The app, among other things, allows you to browse and choose conference sessions and contains a map of the conference location, always a handy thing to have.

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