Monday, March 14, 2016

Pi Day, BAW, ADHD, and Posting about Your Kiddo

IMPRESS YOUR BRIGHT KIDDO by knowing that today is Pi day -- March 14, 3/14, 3.14159 etc. Find out more. Or, order an inexpensive Raspberry Pi device so your young person can tinker and learn computing basics. Read about the Raspberry Pi in PC World.

THIS WEEK IS BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK. It was started by the Dana Foundation "to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research." Now, that's a goal that's near and dear to the hearts -- and minds -- of those in the 2e community, 'coz that research sheds light on all the "e's," including e's that challenge and e's that fulfill. You can find out more about BAW and how people observe it at the site of the Dana Foundation.

HAVE YOU SEEN the documentary "2e: Twice-Exceptional"? Education Week did a review of it in conjunction with its showing at the New York City ReelAbilities Film Festival. The review is here; you might have to register for access. Other info is at the site of the movie.

ADHD. A new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics found that a child's age at school entry may have an effect on the diagnosis of ADHD. Using a cut-off birthdate of August 31 for school enrollment, the researchers compared the youngest children in a grade (those born in August) with the oldest (those born in September) and assessed whether age was associated with being diagnosed with ADHD and/or being medicated. The analysis showed that children born in August were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and/or receive ADHD medication than those born in September. When broken down and analyzed according to age, only preschool or elementary school-aged children born in August had an increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD and receiving ADHD medication. However, adolescents born in August did not have an increased risk of ADHD diagnosis. This may imply that increasing age and maturity lessens the impact of birth month on ADHD diagnoses. Read more.

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS -- drugs like stimulant meds for ADHD. That's the starting point for a neurobiologist featured in a TED article (not a talk!) on whether medication is the right thing, whether there's another way (like behavioral therapy), and what it would take our society to push behavioral therapy more than we currently do. The article also touches on the idea of ADHD as a spectrum of behavior (not a spectrum disorder). Find the article.

VIDEO GAMES. We've bashed -- or at least been skeptical about -- the effects of video gaming on young people. Regarding those effects, Medical News Today says, "Overall, a range of studies have produced contradictory and inconclusive results." But MNT goes on to discuss a recent study, the results of which "indicated that high video game usage led to a 1.75 times greater chance of high intellectual functioning and 1.88 times chance of high overall school competence." There should be limits, of course, on time. But maybe gaming isn't as bad as some of us assumed. Read more.

BRAIN WAVES AND ASD. Brain maps of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) show different levels of connectivity between parts of the brain compared with typical individuals. QEEG studies show:
  • Fewer beta waves throughout the brain than normal, indicating under-connectivity throughout the brain. Decreased beta waves are usually associated with attention problems, learning disabilities and brain injuries.
  • Excessive slow and fast waves in the frontal lobe. This might suggest faulty connections between the front and back regions of the brain.
  • Reduced alpha waves in brain regions associated with senses and gross motor movement, which might explain why they could not mimic instructed tasks.
Find the study write-up.

INTEL SCIENCE TALENT SEARCH. If you enjoy reading about bright young people who are doing original research, check out an article about the finalists in this year's Intel Science Talent Search. The writer notes, "It can be deeply humbling to scroll through their project descriptions and biographies. And it also can inspire hope: These young people are looking for answers to some of the world’s most intractable problems, and they’re making important progress. They also have interests outside of science, from dancing to skiing to soccer and music." Find the article.

IN THE HABIT OF POSTING about your child on social media? There might be a disconnect between what you think is appropriate and what your child thinks is appropriate. Read more.

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