Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mindfulness, Gap Year, Education in Finland, More

DON'T FORGET that our spring booklet sale is going on right now. If you subscribe to the newsletter or briefing, check your inbox for details; or, go to the newsletter website. We offer ten "Spotlight on 2e Series" booklets on topics that include parenting 2e kiddos, giftedness and ADHD, giftedness and Asperger's, giftedness and dyslexia, and more.

MINDFUL KIDS. An article in the Well section of The New York Times points out the benefits of mindfulness training for children, including improvements in executive functioning, improved math achievement, and lower levels of aggression, social anxiety, and stress. Of particular interest is one statement that 
directly addresses why we should teach mindfulness to kids: "Fundamental principles of neuroscience suggest that meditation can have its greatest impact on cognition when the brain is in its earliest stages of development." Read more.

THE GAP YEAR concept gets a boost from the choice of Malia Obama to take one before entering Harvard University. An article in The Washington Post notes the advantages of such an experience and explains how some colleges and universities encourage it. Maybe a gap year could be a possibility for that 2e kiddo you raise or teach? Find out more.

EDUCATION IN FINLAND has been lauded (and debunked) by various writers over the past years as that country's students outperformed on educational tests. A Fulbright scholar living in Finland adds his perspective -- dad and university lecturer -- to the discussion, and he's enthusiastic about what he sees. One concept he thinks the Finland education system applies well is this: "Give children what they need to learn best." Read more.

ACCOMMODATIONS. Wrightslaw, in Special Ed Advocate, recaps the debate on accommodations -- 
when they're appropriate, whether they must always be provided, whether they can lead to problems, and more. For example: do they lead to low expectations or under-performance? Find Special Ed Advocate.

DOES YOUR GIFTED KID -- AHEM -- LIE? A TED talk covers lying in children, specifically the beliefs that children don't lie at an early age, that they lie poorly, and that lying is associated with a character flaw. If your child sometimes seems to have a flexible relationship with the truth, you might find this TED talk interesting. (There's a transcript available if you're rather read than watch.)

RECENT RESEARCH. Crossing our desk this week were write-ups of several studies that might be of interest to those who raise or teach twice-exceptional children.
  • Neuroimaging studies of interconnected brain networks may provide the 'missing links' between behavioral and biological models of cognitive vulnerability to depression; find the write-up.
  • Individual symptoms of psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety, avoidance and a heightened response to stress, can be transmitted from mother to child and even grandchild by multiple non-genetic mechanisms; find the write-up
  • Providing an online computerized cognitive behavioral therapy program both alone and in combination with Internet support groups is a more effective treatment for anxiety and depression than doctors' usual primary care; find the write-up
  • Depression is a disorder that involves changes in coordinated networks of hundreds of genes across key brain circuits; find the write-up.

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