Monday, December 14, 2015

ESSA, Discipline, RTI, Dyslexic Advantage, More

NCLB: GONE. ESSA: HERE. For those seeking to sort out the change in education law in the United States, an opinion piece at the site of The New York Times offers a good starting point, giving a perspective of federal education initiatives over the past few decades and some guesses on how the new law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, will meet the challenges facing our schools. Intrepid policy wonks can also delve into the details via:
  • A video of senators discussing the new legislation
  • An article at Disability Scoop
  • An article at Education Week explaining implications for both special ed and gifted ed
  • A summary of the new law at the site of Understood.org.

SO THIS GUY featured in Sunday's New York Times sports section is a six-nine basketball player at Seton Hall University. He's also in law school on a scholarship because he still had a couple years of eligibility by the time he got there. And he's supposedly ADHD. And oh, yeah -- he broke his neck in a car accident several years ago. The word that jumped out of the article was "discipline." (Readers who like detail in their prose will appreciate the opening sentences of the article.) Find the article.

CAUTIONARY TALE ON FIRST IMPRESSIONS. That's what you'll read in the Washington Post Parenting section. In it, a mother relates the experiences she and her son had during the first months at a new school after a stint of homeschooling. It's a paean to open communication between parent and teacher. Find it.

RTI. Skeptics of Response to Intervention now have ammunition in the form of recent study results raising "questions" about the effectiveness of the approach. The study, which included over 100 schools, compared similar groups of students who were not meeting expectations; some of the students received supports, some did not. The study found no significant reading benefits from interventions, although school-to-school differences in how RTI was administered could be a confounding factor in interpreting the results. Read more.

GENDER BIAS. Males are more prone to early-onset neurodevelopmental problems (including autism) than females, possibly because of differences in gray matter volume in the brain. Find out more. Separately, another study links gray matter differences to behavioral problems; find out more.

GOTTA SEE THIS! Whether or not dyslexia is an important "e" for you, take a look at the Winter Dyslexic Advantage Newsletter. It's extremely impressive for both the content it contains and the way it presents that content. Way to go, Eides!

ADHD? OR A CASE OF "MODERN LIFE"? Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, in a letter to the editor, distinguishes true ADHD from "screen sucking," or "an addiction to distraction." (Great phrases.) So put down that phone and take a minute to read the letter.

TEEN RESPONSIBILITY FOR HEALTH CARE. A report from the University of Michigan cautions parents against taking complete responsibility for their teens' health care. From the report: "Speaking with the doctor privately is important, not only to give teens a chance to disclose confidential information, but also to provide the opportunity for them to be an active participant in their own health care, without a parent taking over.” Read more.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Publicity for 2e School; Pediatricians on Board? And More.

REID DAY SCHOOL in Orange County, California, was profiled in a very nice article in the Orange County Register on Tuesday. We think the article will very much help those not a part of the 2e community to "put a face" onto twice-exceptional young people. Find the article.

PEDIATRICIANS AND IDEA? The American Academy of Pediatrics is, according to Disability Scoop, urging pediatricians to play a role in "ensuring that children with disabilities get the services they need from schools." As part of this, the AAP report provides a primer on IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In particular, the AAP says that doctors "should identify and refer children who ought to qualify for special education services and communicate effectively with school-based programs about kids’ needs." Having informed pediatricians willing to actively advocate for LD and 2e kids would be a great step forward. Read more.

PARENT SUPPORT GROUPS. Most parents of 2e children know the feeling of aloneness that comes after discovering one's bright child has learning challenge. That's why parent support groups can offer so much to adults in the 2e community. A new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute describes how these groups can help and offers some hints for finding support groups. Read the article.

UNDERSTOOD this week offers two features on dyslexia. One is a re-post of an entry on stealth dyslexia by Brock and Fernette Eide; find it. The other is a video titled "Inside the Dyslexic Brain"; find it.

ADHD -- MORE OF IT. The incidence of ADHD in the U.S. is now over 10 percent, according to an NBC News report and a new study just out. Some of the increase might be due to better screening in certain demographic groups. The figures represent the incidence in 2011, apparently the most recent year for which data is available.

SENGINAR. The organization SENG is presenting a webinar on December 17 titled "Perfectionism: The Occupational Hazard of Giftedness." That might not apply to the twice-exceptional kids you raise or educate, but if it does, find out more about the webinar.

EDUCATION TALK RADIO offers on December 11 a discussion by the executive director of NAGC, Rene Islas, and an NAGC board member, Susan Dulong Langley, on "The State of the Nation in Gifted Education." Looks like the discussion is at 9 a.m., and you can find out more about it and how to listen at the site of Education Talk Radio.

WRIGHTSLAW reminds us of an ugly but true fact, that FAPE doesn't necessarily mean obtaining the best education possible. Find out more in the current issue of Special Ed Advocate from Wrightslaw. Hint: there are certain words you probably shouldn't use in an IEP meeting. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dyslexia, 2e the Movie, Bipolar Disorder, More

DECODING DYSLEXIA is the name of an organization founded in 2011 by a group of parents frustrated with schools' interventions for their children's reading problems. Since then, according to Education Week, the group has grown to have a presence in all 50 states and has influenced legislation in the U.S. The group evidently even had some sway in the recent U.S. Department of Education "Dear Colleague" letter telling schools it was okay to use the terms dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Read more.

2e TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, is scheduled to be shown in San Ramon, California, on December 16 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time. The event is free; registration is required. Find out more.

BIPOLAR DISORDER IN YOUNG PEOPLE is the topic of a video by a professor of psychiatry at the site of MedScape. Near the beginning of the presentation, the professor says something that made us reframe our perception of bipolar disorder: "To begin, it's important to recognize that bipolar disorder is, in fact, a disorder of young people. The median age of onset is typically in the mid- to late-teens..." Find the presentation.

GROWTH MINDSET. Read how a 16-year-old woman's mother kept a traumatic, humiliating academic "failure" from having lasting effects. Now the young woman is a middle school counselor, and she addresses what she does to imbue a growth mindset in young people, and what parents and professionals can do to to help kids deal with frustration and potential failure. Find the article.

LOOKING TO DO SOME GOOD? Check out a posting in The New York Times Motherlode blog about a simple but likely effective way to encourage literacy and learning. Warning: it involves opening the wallet.

ALTSCHOOL is, of course, "alternative school,"  a small network of schools devoted to personalized learning. Founded by a former Google executive with "little use for traditional education," according to a news article about the schools, AltSchool "is serious about the idea that progressive education should not simply be the provenance of the well off." Find out more.

GANG: The annual SENG conference isn't until next July, but the cut-off date to submit proposals for presentations is December 31. We know there's lots of experience among the members of our 2e community, and if you think you have something to say that could benefit SENG conference attendees, we urge you to consider presenting. Find out more.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lots of Legislation, Quad Prep Conference, and More

EDUCATION LEGISLATION. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, passed the U.S. House on Wednesday and is expected to pass in the Senate. The bill is over 1,000 pages, and you can find it here. For those not inclined to wade through the legislation, the Washington Post this morning has a few articles that summarize the bill; here's one, and here's another. Look for other links on those pages as well. The articles are general -- no mention of "gifted" or "twice exceptional" in either -- so we'll wait for further interpretation by education experts. We searched through the legislation itself and found lots of mentions of "gifted" -- but no mention of "twice exceptional," although that term might not yet be in the federal lexicon.

MORE FROM THE FEDS. The Department of Education last month send out a "Dear Colleague" letter encouraging educators to use the terms dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Understood offers two resources to explain the move, one an FAQ at its site and the other an interview with the official who sent out the letter, Michael Yudin, available on the same page as the FAQs.

AND EVEN MORE! There's a bill pending in Congress to "[t]o require the President's annual budget request to Congress each year to include a line item for the Research in Disabilities Education program of the National Science Foundation and to require the National Science Foundation to conduct research on dyslexia." It's called the READ act, H.R. 3033. It goes to the Senate next. Find out more

DYSGRAPHIA AND DYSLEXIA DIVIDE PARENTS,SCHOOLS is the title of a story in the Spokane, Washington Spokesman-Review. The article's thesis is that "Students with dyslexia, dysgraphia and the disorder dyscalculia... rarely receive appropriate attention." The article mentions the "Dear Colleague" letter referenced above, and describes two case studies of how students with one or the other disorder were served. Find the article

QUAD PREP in Manhattan is having its second annual conference "Breakthroughs In Twice-exceptional Education" next March 18th. Early-bird tickets are now on sale, and a call for submissions has been issued. Find out more.

UNDERACHIEVING? So there's this guy awhile ago in California, growing up in Modesto. According to an article in the Washington Post, he "was wild about cars and racing, indifferent to high school, except when taking apart European engines in shop class." Indifferent to high school. How come? And what ever happened to him? Find out.

GOT A RISK-TAKING KIDDO? According to new research, he or she (although the research subjects were young males) might be smarter than more conservative peers, with more white matter in the brain. The Finish researchers speculate "that the explanation lies in the fact that these young men are active and seek out challenges -- both out of curiosity and a hunger to experience learning and a sense of mastery over their environment." Find a write-up of the study.