Friday, March 25, 2016

A Personal Story, Genetics, Depression, and More

A PHYSICIST AND DAD of a 2e son writes at Science 2.0 about his son's situation. There's lots of rational material in the essay, and ruminating over concepts like "critical phenomena" as it might apply to ADHD. But there are also the gut-level reactions that us ordinary, non-PhD types feel. He writes, "Kids with processing/attention issues can't do well in traditional school settings. It's even worse for those so-called "twice exceptional" kids who excel in some area (like math or language arts) but suck at everything else. They get called out as willful, disruptive, conniving, manipulative little bastards. Slowly but surely, they believe it themselves, and we lose them if we don't catch them soon enough. I know it now." Find his fascinating essay, in which he also includes the recommendations his son's psychologist provided.

DAMPING DISTRACTION. New research at NYU helps explain some of the mechanisms that might exacerbate autism and ADHD by not filtering out distracting sights and sounds from consciousness. A defective gene called PTCHD1 is the culprit, and it affects the way the thalmus relays sensory information to other parts of the brain. Read more.

MORE GENETICS. One gene can lead to anxiety disorder in adolescence, according to a report at Live Science. Adolescence is a time when new genes are expressed. The gene linked to the way anxiety is regulated is called FAAH, of which 20 percent of people carry a variant that decreases anxiety. The research could pave the way for treatments for the approximately 25 percent of teens who develop anxiety, according to the study write-up. Find the write-up.

DEPRESSION AS A PUBLIC HEALTH PRIORITY. An article at the site of the Huffington Post provides background data on the prevalence of depression and notes a task force's recommendation that "primary health care providers should screen all adults" for depression. The article refers to depression as a "spectrum." Read more.

PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES. One in seven American children aged two to eight suffers from a mental, behavioral or developmental problem, federal health officials report. These issues include speech and language problems, learning disabilities, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, and more. That's the bad news. The good news is that your 2e kiddo isn't alone. Find out more.

FOR DAN PETERS FANS. Dan has a new posting at Psychology Today called "Choosing Kindness," in which he channels his grandmother and psychologist Wayne Dyer, both of whom have evidently influenced Dan's view of life. In the post is an illustration of how parents can help children empathize and choose kindness. Find the post.

DEALING WITH SCHOOL. In this week's Special Ed Advocate, Wrightslaw explains how to get access to your child's records at school. "You want to be sure that you have all the documents the school has," says Wrightslaw. Find Special Ed Advocate.

FOLLOW-UP. We wrote about an Education Week "Leaders to Learn From" conference featuring, among others, Carol Dweck. Turns out the conference also featured the new Secretary of Education, John King, along with seven other speakers. Education Week has posted videos of the sessions. Find them. (And thanks for sharing, Ed Week!)

UNDERSTOOD WEBINAR. On April 6, Understood offers a webinar for parents and educators on executive function, covering "the latest advances in science, skill-building and success strategies." Looks like it's free. Find out more.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has posted an article titled "Tips for Recognizing Learning Disorders in the Classroom." The subtitle: "Common signs that can hide in plain sight." If you raise or teach a 2e kiddo, chances are you'll recognize at least some of these signs. Find the article.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. This organization's March newsletter is out, featuring information about the Intel Science Talent Search winners, books on gifted ed, information about DITD programs and opportunities, and legislative news. Find the newsletter.

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