Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"Speaking" Gifted and ASD, Helping Parents of the 2e, Movie-goers' Breath, and More

A TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT tells what it's like to "live in parallel universes," and makes some great arguments for "peer advocacy." He writes, "Just about every day at school I witness an exchange between a teacher and an autistic student where I know I can help, where I could serve as a translator of sorts. But I am told that I may not, that I must keep my opinions to myself, that I am not qualified. Who better to understand the language of a student with autism than another student with autism? I speak both languages." Read the article.

HELP 2e STUDENTS by helping their parents. That's the message from a mother writing in the UK edition of the Huffington Post. She describes her son's "differences" (the kinds we're all familiar with in the 2e community) and suggests that "if we want to help 2e children learn to manage and channel their intense natures, we need to empower their families" to change the environment, in part by reframing what is normal, informing teachers and other parents, and creating supportive communities. Find the article.

GRADUATING CLASS. Four years ago the University of Arkansas initiated an "Autism Support Program." This spring, some of the first participants in that program will graduate from the university. One of those graduates shares his perspectives at Arkansas Online. The article notes that only a few dozen colleges and universities in the country have such support programs. Read more. (Thanks, Nancy M, for pointing us to this item!)

ON MAY 12 we mentioned the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum "blog hop" on twice-exceptionality. In one of the blogs included "at the hop," Jen the Blogger gets serious about parenting gifted and twice-exceptional kids. "Parenting is a hard, often thankless job, and parenting outliers even more so. We have to fight battles others won’t acknowledge, against adversaries others don’t even know exist, all on top of the usual parenting battles which, let’s be honest, are enhanced because of the aforementioned outlier-ness." Find Jen's blog, "Laughing at Chaos."

ADVANTAGES OF MOOCs. US News gives reasons why high schoolers should take free online courses before applying to college. If your bright kiddo is in high school, perhaps check into what US News has to say.

RESEARCH. Popping up over the past few days are a few studies of possible interest to those in the 2e community:
  • When children hear their mother, the brain regions that respond strongly extend beyond auditory areas to include those involved in emotion and reward processing, social functions, detection of what is personally relevant, and face recognition. Read more
  • Scientists have just revealed that the brain has a network of regions involved in advanced mathematics, as well as simpler arithmetic operations. This network is only activated when numbers are seen. Read more
  • A smartphone app apparently designed and built at the University of Liverpool has been tested for its effectiveness in helping people manage mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. Based on cognitive behavioral therapy, the app takes users through a process referred to as “Catch it, Check it, Change it." The lead researcher noted, "There were statistically significant reductions in negative mood intensity and increases in positive mood intensity." Read about the study; or, find the app

AND FINALLY, THIS. Movie-goers' breath can reveal what kind of scene is playing -- suspenseful, humorous, or boring -- through analysis of the chemical compounds exhaled by the audience. "It appears that we can measure whether there is suspense in the air," said one researcher. Find out more.

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