Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"Gifted," ASD, Processing Speed, and More

GIFTED, the movie, sparked a conversation in the Toronto Star. First, a mathematics professor wrote an opinion piece taking umbrage at the Hollywood emphasis on nature rather than nurture in giftedness. In describing the development of himself and other exceptional students, he said: "Instead of inheriting a gift, we developed our grit." He suggests that all students be empowered through experiences with problem-solving, concluding, "...then all of our students will be gifted." The opinion piece generated a letter from the dad of a gifted girl pointing out how gifted children can be neuronally different and may also experience challenges from asynchronous development as well as from heightened sensitivities. M. Rene Islas, executive director of NAGC, also weighed in, asserting the uniqueness of gifted children and writing this: "Gifted children display cognitive, artistic, leadership or academic ability significantly outside the norm for their age. These traits require services that are typically not provided in regular school and classroom settings." Find the letters and see what you think.

THE DARK SIDE OF GIFTEDNESS. Are gifted individuals more prone to suicide? That's the question that an institute at the College of William and Mary will be attempting to answer, given the lack of prior research and data pertaining to the question. Tracy Cross, the executive director of the Center for Gifted Education at William and Mary, will lead the effort. Find out more.

ASD AND SUMMER. An article in The Hartford Courant covers a program that helps kiddos with ASD when routines change during the summer. The program is called "Summer Social Skills Immersion." Learning how to transition and be out in the community are focuses of the program. Find out more. Separately, an article in The New York Times describes how some airlines and airports are helping to ease the travel experience for passengers on the spectrum; find the article.

ASD AND THE GUT. Therapies to change the bacteria in the gut, through diet, pro-and prebiotic supplements, fecal matter transplants or antibiotics, could treat autism. A review of six decades of research linking the gut to brain development could pave the way for cheap and effective treatment. Find out more at Science Daily. On a related topic, an article in Journal Watch reacted to news of a recent study which yielded little evidence that special diets help address the symptoms of ASD. The Journal Watch reviewer noted that some types of supplementation were not examined. "Folinic acid has improved language in children with ASD and is important because it bypasses genetic defects that prevent normal metabolism of dietary folate. Other studies have found low levels of vitamin D in people with ASD, leading some authors to suggest ensuring adequate vitamin D in infants as a preventive measure. Finally, omega-3s have improved reading, spelling, motor skills, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity symptom scores in schoolchildren with developmental coordination disorder, suggesting that omega-3s might improve some behaviors and cognitive abilities in patients with ASD."

SLOW PROCESSING SPEED is the topic of several items at Understood. One article is on classroom accommodations; another offers "7 Ways to Help Kids with Slow Processing Speed Take Notes in Class"; and a third is an "expert's take" on whether slow processing speed can ever improve.

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH has announced the dates of its 2018 conference -- March 8 and 10 in Rockville, Maryland. Find out more.

TOMORROW, June 22, is SENG's webinar on gifted underachievement. Find out more.

EDUCATORS: If you're still looking for professional development opportunities, the Belin Blank Center at the University of Iowa says that it has openings in some of its workshops on gifted education. See the offerings.

DR SEUSS FANS, be aware that the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum has just opened in Springfield, Massachusetts, the boyhood home of Dr. Seuss. Read more about what it's like.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Most moms of children ages 0-5 have been criticized about topics ranging from discipline to breast-feeding -- most frequently from someone in their own family, says the write-up of new research based on a University of Michigan poll. And it's probably even worse for moms of "challenging" kiddos of the 2e persuasion. The poll included questions about what moms do in response to critical comments. Said the lead researcher, ""Family members should respect that mothers of young children may have more updated information about child health and safety, and 'what we used to do' may no longer be the best advice." Find the study write-up.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Accommodation and Self-Advocacy, Depression, ASD, Law and Policy, More

STANDARD TEST ACCOMMODATIONS. In The Hechinger Report, a young man writes about being refused extra time in a state test that is the gateway to a prestigious scholarship competition. He is multi-exceptional, and makes exceptional use of analogies and metaphors in his arguments for accommodations in such testing. For example: "Does a person who needs glasses have an unfair advantage over someone who does not?" The author also confronted the testing body on a number of issues and received responses unsatisfactory to him... or received no response at all. The young man is already a great advocate for himself and for other 2e students. Find the article.

DEPRESSION is the topic of two articles in mainstream media outlets in recent days. Forbes ran an article titled "The Strategies that Science Actually Shows Are Effective for Depression," covering cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, short-term therapies, exercise, mindfulness and meditation, medication, and more. The article also states, "As always, finding a therapist you trust and connect with is often the first step to figuring out which route to take." Find the article. The second article was in US News and titled "Do Alternative Therapies Work for Depression?" It covered approaches such as St John's Wort, Omega-3 fatty acids, and SAMe in some detail, and in less detail covered yoga, sunlight, vitamin D supplements and meditation. The article's net-out: "The only proven alternative therapy for depression is exercise," followed by the same ask-your-doctor caveat as in the Forbes article. Find the US News piece. Separately, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation posted about animal research indicating that inhibiting an enzyme called GLO1 could be a way to quickly treat depression; read more.

FLEXSCHOOL has issued a press release about a newly formed advisory team to support its mission, which is "to create spaces where gifted and twice-exceptional students all over the world are accepted, valued, and supported." With operating campuses in New Jersey and Connecticut, the organization plans to open a Manhattan campus in 2018. Read more.

UNDERSTOOD. Don't forget that this organization offers frequent online events on topics of potential interest to the 2e community. For example, this week's events cover homeschooling and ADHD, AT for writing, and working memory. Find out more.

ASD. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers have identified certain brain regions that significantly correlate with an increase in social abilities following a virtual environment based training program. Adults on the autism spectrum who showed greater activity in the social brain network prior to the training improved more in emotion recognition than those who showed less activity. Find the study write-up. Separately, another study has found that individuals with ASD who avoid eye contact may do so because it is neurologically uncomfortable. Find the study write-up.

EDUCATION LAW AND POLICY. Education Week has recently run two articles on the law and federal policy as they affect education.
  • Perhaps you're aware that IDEA has never really been fully funded by Congress at the originally intended level, 40 percent of its total cost for special ed. Instead, the federal government pays only about 15 percent of its expenses, with states and districts paying the rest. Legislation on the table now would require the feds to meet the 40 percent standard. Read more
  • Will students who use vouchers to receive a private education receive IDEA protections? That's the question explored at the second Education Week article. Find it
AND FINALLY, THIS. The organization Save the Children has issued a report ranking 172 countries in terms of the best and worst places to grow up, taking into account quality of life, mortality rates, nutrition, and more. All of the top countries were European except South Korea, which tied for 10th spot. Find the list at USA Today or in Save the Children's report

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

ADHD Diagnosis Rate, ASD in the Classroom, a Teacher's POV, and More

ADHD DIAGNOSES, MEDS. In 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines for diagnosing and treating ADHD. Since then, according to a recent research update from the AAP, both the rate of diagnosis and the use of stimulant meds have remained constant. Find AAP's research update. On the other hand, the title of a recent article at Psychiatric Times is "Are We Overdiagnosing and Overtreating ADHD?" The article covers several studies of incidence and treatment; however, it looks as if the data used is generally from 2011 or earlier. Find the article. (Free registration required.)

MORE ON ADHD. Understood has posted a piece titled "ADHD and Mood Swings: What You Need to Know." Got that problem at your house? Find the piece. Separately, in our previous blog posting we referred to a study write-up that indicated car crashes might not be as big a danger for teens with ADHD as previously thought. A few days later, we see a study saying this: "Adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are licensed to drive less often and, when this group is licensed, they have a greater risk of crashing." Read more.

ASD IN THE CLASSROOM. The New York Times reports on an approach in the classroom to helping students on the spectrum adapt and learn. It's called ASD Nest and is in use in dozens of schools in New York City. Eligible students are evaluated as being capable of grade-level work. Read more.

EDUCATION WEEK offers "spotlights," collections of articles on particular topic. One is on special ed and includes articles of possible relevance to members of the 2e community, who have legs in both the gifted camp and the special ed camp. Some of the topics in this spotlight include personalized learning for kids with LDs, vouchers and special ed, and RTI. Find the spotlight.

THE RISE ACT. NCLD is advocating for the RISE act, legislation that would help ease the transition to college for students with learning and attention issues. At the NCLD site you can find out more and have your chance to advocate for the bill.

TiLT PARENTING has introduced a new podcast, this one about nurturing character in differently-wired kiddos. Find the podcast.

AND FINALLY, THIS. It's a safe bet that many parents might not appreciate what it's like to be a teacher -- what makes the job tiring... and what makes it rewarding. There's a short but expressive video on the topic that's worth watching. So far it's received almost 20 million views. You can find it at the site of Education Week, where there's other commentary on the topic, or at the Facebook page of the video's creator.

Monday, June 12, 2017

2e Stories, Anxiety, James T. Webb Interview, Attention, and More

DON'T FEEL BAD if you had trouble figuring out what was going on with your 2e kiddo before you knew he was twice-exceptional. At the Huffington Post you can read about a family in which the two parents have a combined three advanced degrees in education -- but who went through the same puzzle-solving most of the rest of us did before encountering, for the first time, the term "twice-exceptional." And the mom transitioned into a role familiar to those here: “warrior-research mother.” Find the story.

LABELS FOR DIFFERENTLY-WIRED KIDS. TiLT Parenting pointed us (thanks, Debbie) to an essay by a mom in Singapore who with her family this summer "will traverse twelve time zones to the other side of the globe as a step towards acceptance." In the family is a very bright 7yo differently-wired boy who on the trip will receive an assessment. The essay is in the form of a letter to the boy's teacher and is titled "Please Don't Label My Son." And the "acceptance part of the journey? "If we are to 'help' my son — accept and embrace him with empathy and unconditional love — we must learn to quiet the noise of our interpretations so that we can understand the nuances of his." Find the essay.

THE "GIFTED" LABEL. We in the 2e community get to explain two (or more) labels to our offspring. Psychologist Gail Post writes at her blog about how to explain the "gifted" label. Find the blog.

AN ANXIOUS NATION was the title of an article from The New York Times before some editor changed the title, using a reference to the "United States of Xanax."  (We like the first title better.) The article is about the ubiquity of anxiety in social media, blogs, Broadway shows, TV, and books. How ubiquitous? "According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, some 38 percent of girls ages 13 through 17, and 26 percent of boys, have an anxiety disorder." This article provides some reasons for the prevalence of anxiety, and notes the benefits of efforts to bring anxiety into "the open." You won't, however, find much help for that 2e kiddo you know who worries a lot. Find the article.

JAMES T. WEBB, psychologist and founder of the organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted, is interviewed by Adrienne Van Den Bos. You can find a PDF version here, or, if you're on LinkedIn, find a a link here.

ATTENTION. We have three items for you from the past few days on the topic of attention:

  • TED, in its weekly playlist, pointed to a talk by a neuroscientist who explains what happens when we pay attention; find it
  • US News published an article about how ADHD symptoms manifest differently depending on gender; find the article
  • And NewsWise reported on a study indicating that car crashes might not be as big a danger for teens with ADHD as previously thought; read more.
UNDERSTOOD has issued the following request. "Please share your thoughts on the IEP process. We want to hear from both parents and educators about your experiences. What do you think about the process for having a child evaluated? How is your school using the IEP to provide individualized teaching and personalized learning? Understood appreciates your help in completing a brief 5-minute survey." Go to the survey.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Remember the Georgia teacher who recently gave an end-of-year award to an ADHD student for being "most likely to not pay attention"? Last week a middle-school teacher in Texas handed out some awards in a similar vein. The student who got the "most likely to become a terrorist" award was not amused... nor was the school district, especially (presumably) after the incident received local television coverage. The teacher is no longer employed by the district, according to reports. Read more.




Thursday, June 8, 2017

2e IEP, Anxiety, Resources/Events, Puberty, and More

UNDERSTOOD, in its "My Parent Journey" feature, has a blog post from a dad describing how his family was able to get, over the years, an IEP that worked both for his 2e son's learning challenges as well as for his giftedness. The story is interesting in that it wasn't until high school that the lack of challenge motivated the family to request enrichment -- and the school went along, offering a method it had never done before. Find the story.

PARENT AND TEACHER with different views of the same child -- that's the gist of a story in The Washington Post. The teachers was very experienced, with a reputation for being good with gifted students. The parent of the boy in question, who was on the spectrum, was, ironically, a psychologist specializing in the early identification of autism. But the teacher said "I don't see [him] as a boy with autism." How did the year turn out? Read the story to find out.

ANXIETY. Two recent articles cover anxiety in kids. One, in Time, is titled "The New Way to Prevent Anxiety in Kids." It focuses on therapies that can prevent anxiety in children, and describes anxiety as a "gateway illness" leading to depression and other problems. Find the article. The second article is at PsychCentral, and focused on anxiety in preschoolers -- its prevalence and how parenting behaviors and family history might be involved. Find the article.

WALLACE RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM ON TALENT DEVELOPMENT. Organizing is underway for the 2018 edition of this event, sponsored by Belin Blank and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Prospective presenters should know that organizers have issued a call for papers. Is there a presentation YOU should pitch? Find out more.

WRIGHTSLAW has published Special Education Legal Developments and :Cases 2016. If you're an advocate, know that the book contains, according to Wrightslaw:
  • All key decisions from the Courts of Appeals in 2016
  • Four decisions that were selected as "Cases of the Year for 2016."
Find out more.

A REMINDER: The Landmark College Summer Institute runs from June 25-28, aimed at educators and professionals supporting students who learn differently. Find out more.

MEET THE SCIENTIST WEBINAR. On June 13, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation presents a webinar on a drug which might hold promise as a rapid-acting treatment for OCD. Find out more.

TiLT PARENTING offers podcast Episode 60, "A Deep Dive into Assessments, Diagnoses, and Labels," with psychologist Linda Neff. Remember that TiLT is for those who have "differently-wired" kiddos, aka twice-exceptional. Find the podcast.

AND FINALLY, THIS. The hormones associated with puberty affect learning. That's probably not news to anyone who's ever taught or parented a middle-schooler, but it appears that those chemicals do have specific effects on the frontal cortices... of mice -- female mice. Extrapolating the effects to human girls can shed light on how they learn. Find a study write-up.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Conference, Aspie Comedian, Dogs and Reading, and More

22nd BIENNIAL WORLD CONFERENCE. The program for this event, to be held July 20-23 in Sydney, Australia, is online at the conference site. A quick scan indicates that there are 10 sessions or events with "twice-exceptional" in the title, including a keynote by Karen Rogers titled "Finding and Supporting Twice Exceptional Learners in Schools." Find the program, and send us a postcard if you attend.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION has revamped the site devoted to the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, IDEA. Disability Scoop quotes the department as saying, "The site features better search capabilities, enhanced accessibility and more content." See for yourself; the department invites you to provide feedback.

A 28YO COMEDIAN WITH ASPERGER'S is featured in the Bangor (Maine) Daily News. In the article, he addresses his background, his ASD ("another way of looking at the world"), and his comedy. Read more.

#MYYOUNGERSELF. This campaign is almost over, and the Child Mind Institute has posted a thank you and a request to "keep the movement alive" by sharing its videos, in which prominent people discussed their issues such as anxiety, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. See the thank-you. If you haven't checked out the videos, maybe now's the time.

DOGS AND ACADEMICS. Second-graders of at least average reading ability improved their abilities and attitudes about reading when they read for 30 minutes a week to therapy dogs. Read more.

GIFTED AND DISTRACTIBLE. The June edition of this newsletter is out. Julie Skolnick says, "In this issue of Gifted and Distractible check out articles and information relevant to: end of year considerations - test stress and advocacy... making the most of summer vacation to engage gifted minds in meaningful endeavors, address sleep hygiene, and taking a moment to consider what it's like being a gifted adult." Find the newsletter.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES. A new, brief article at the site of this organization covers some of the reasons why a career in technology might be appropriate for 2e kiddos; find it.

FAITH-BASED SCHOOLS. Commentary at Education Week by a University of Notre Dame official argues that faith-based schools "have always mattered a great deal to our K-12 landscape. In many ways, they matter now more than ever," citing their service to marginalized children and families and to at-risk communities. If you're interested in the many factors involved in school choice and potential shifts in Federal education policy and practice, perhaps check out this article.

RESOURCE. The UC Davis Mind Institute provides many resources of potential interest to parents, educators, and clinicians in the 2e community. One resource is a collection of videos on topics such as ADHD, ASD, assistive technology, LDs, and more. Find the videos.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Diagnosing 2e; Homeschoolers as "Missing Voices"; Survey Opportunities; and More

PSYCHOLOGIST DEVON MACEACHRON specializes in twice exceptionality, and she has written an insightful blog posting on the topic of giftedness and dyslexia. The posting, however, applies to other "e's" beside dyslexia and brings some clarity to how learning disabilities should be diagnosed in high-ability kiddos, endorsing the discrepancy model (the difference between potential and performance) as a key to ferreting out LDs. Find the posting. (Thanks to the Eides and Dyslexic Advantage for making us aware of MacEachron's post.)

A GIFTED AND DYSLEXIC young man shares his experiences at the site of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities. Despite early academic success, he wound up in the "low math group" and took hits to his self-esteem. Until an eighth-grade diagnosis with dyslexia, sports maintained his self-confidence. Read his story.

GIFTED HOMESCHOOLING. The Gifted homeschooler's Forum (GHF) says that as part of its mission it "seeks to advocate for the gifted/2e community, providing an informed voice to organizations and policymakers who otherwise would hear little to nothing from this unique demographic." GHF surveyed its constituency about educational choice and found this: "The most significant result of this research is the documentation of a melding of educational options. Families surveyed by GHF are not making choices based on ideology so much as they are seeking the best fit for each child, based on the needs of that child and of the family at any given place and time.​ Families of all kinds deserve a seat at the education policy-making table, and families who homeschool should not be permanently marginalized—left unheard—because they have chosen to do what they believe is best for the academic and developmental needs of their children." Read more.

NAGC, in its periodic survey of news, pointed us to three items of possible interest to those in the 2e community:
  • A CNN article titled "How to Make Sense of the School Choice Debate; find it
  • A Politico article, "Five Programs Trump Wants to Scrap You Might Have Missed" (hint: one is the Javits program); find it
  • A letter from Senators to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee supporting funding for the Javits program; find it

GENERIC STRATERA for ADHD has been approved by the FDA. Find out more.

TEEN GIRLS AND DEPRESSION. Teen girls experience depression at a much higher rate than boys, 36 percent to 14 percent, according to research reported at The Washington Post. If this statistic is of potential relevance in your family, find the article.

DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION may soon be done in human brains without invasive wiring. The trick involves beaming two currents of different frequencies that intersect at the desired location. The technique is called "temporally interfering stimulation." Beside Parkinson's disease, the technique, now being tested in mice, might be useful for treating OCD and depression. Find out more in a study write-up or a New York Times article.

SURVEY OPPORTUNITY 1: LD Online is looking for input on the topic of assistive technology for students with learning challenges -- "why you are looking for AT/IT, where you look for information, what works in your classroom or at home, and more." Find out more.

SURVEY OPPORTUNITY 2. A researcher at the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training seeks input on the topic of LDs and stigma -- in particular, "Does the age of diagnosis of an individual with LD/ADHD cause a difference in the amount and type of stigma the individual perceives throughout their life?" The survey is for different learners of all ages and should take 5-10 minutes, according to the researcher. Deadline: June 7. Find out more.

SUMMER CAMPS AND PROGRAMS. Our May/June issue, just out, included the annual listing of camps and programs. After we published, TiLT Parenting issued a podcast from the point of view of TiLT's founder's 12yo son on prepping for a successful time at sleep-away camp. Find the podcast.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Readings, Research, and Research Participation Opportunities

TODAY'S BLOG features readings from organizations we cover often, such as Undestood and the Child Mind Institute; recent research results of possible interest to the 2e community; and a couple research participation opportunities


SENG offers, from its archives, an article titled "Depressive Disorder in Highly Gifted Adolescents," written by two authors who have contributed much to the gifted and 2e community -- P. Susan Jackson and Jean Sunde Peterson. It was originally published by SENG in 2011, but if you missed it then check it out.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE offers an article on techniques for calming anxiety-prone kiddos. Find it.

UNDERSTOOD features astronaut Scott Kelly talking about his attention issues. What could be better for a bright kiddo with ADHD than to read an astronaut say something like, "Every year, I thought, ‘This is the year I’m going to start paying attention and doing my homework.’ And that would last all of two days.” Find the article.

WRIGHITSLAW, as it periodically does, focuses on families in the military who have special needs kids and describes the challenges they face. Find Special Ed Advocate.

AND NCLD, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, has a concern, urging NCLD fans to tell the U.S. Congress to take action against the 2018 budget proposed by the nation's president because of what they see as the "devastating impact it would have on students and schools." Find out more.


PANDAS IS REAL, IT SEEMS. A recent study links strep throat infections to a higher risk of mental disorders, especially OCD and tics. Read more.

SPECIAL DIETS FOR ASD might not be effective, according to newly-published research. Evaluated by the research were tactics such as gluten-free foods and fish oil supplements. Read more.

BRAIN STIMULATION using external direct current may not be effective for cognitive training, says new research. The study examined the use of transcranial direct current stimulation during cognitive training to see if it would "enhance brain plasticity and enable transfer from working memory to other cognitive processes." Evidently it did not. Read a study write-up.


RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY FOR TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL STUDENTS. [Note: this information is from the University of Iowa. Please contact the researcher directly with any questions.] Did you know that researchers know very little about twice-exceptional students compared to other groups of children and adolescents? Interested individuals are invited to participate in a research study examining the perceptions of friendship quality amongst middle school students. This information may help researchers better understand how twice-exceptional students, an under-researched group, perceive their friendships compared to their peers.We are looking for students in Grades 6, 7, or 8 (or the equivalent) who have completed standardized assessments (e.g., Iowa Assessments, Wechsler Assessments, CogAT, etc.) and would be interested in participating in our study. You will also be asked to provide demographic information about your child along with documentation of their cognitive ability (such as Iowa assessment scores from school) and ADHD diagnosis (if it applies). To participate, students will complete an online survey. The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete.If you are interested in learning more, please contact the PI (Staci Fosenburg, staci-fosenburg@uiowa.edu) for more information about how to participate in this study. Thank you!

ASD USUAL CARE STUDY. Lerner Labs at New York's Stony Brook University has this announcement: "We are working with colleagues around the country to develop the most comprehensive picture to date of the specific practices used in mental health services for children and teens with ASD. Soon we will be seeking input from providers who work with youth with ASD around the country! If you work with youth with ASD and would like to be contacted about participating in the ASD Usual Care Study to share your insight with us, please let us know at lernerlab@stonybrook.edu!" Find more information.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dyslexia, Processing Speed, Reading, Education Policy, and More

#MYYOUNGERSELF. We've mentioned the Child Mind Institute campaign in May in which prominent individuals with LDs or mental health issues give advice on those issues, as if to their "younger selves." Understood describes fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger's advice, based on his struggles with dyslexia. Find Understood's description... and remember that the CMI campaign goes on through May. Separately, Education Week writes about the problem of unidentified dyslexia in the student population; find the article.

SLOW PROCESSING SPEED, that bugaboo of gifted kiddos, was the topic of a TiLT podcast a while ago, and now TiLT has provided a transcription of that podcast for those of us who prefer to read rather than listen. The podcast was a conversation between TiLT founder Debbie Reber, parent of a "differently-wired" kiddo, and Ellen Braaten.  Included in the conversation: how to support kids who process slowly. Find the transcription.

READING. We talk and write about reading problems a lot in the 2e community. Professor Daniel Willingham, in a new book, focuses on what research about reading means for educators -- and, implicitly, for parents of kids with reading problems. In an interview with Education Week, Willingham describes the process of reading from a psychological/cognitive point of view, including how we use sight and sound to decode. Find the interview.

AND IF YOU LIKE TO READ ABOUT READING, check out a writeup of a study in which scientists found that learning to read as an adult reconfigures evolutionarily ancient brain structures hitherto assigned to different skills.The findings were from a large-scale study in India in which completely illiterate women learned how to read and write for six months. Find a study write-up.

EDUCATION POLICY. The Council for Exceptional Children, in the most recent "Policy Insider," comes down hard on the 2018 budget for what it means to the gifted and LD communities. The communique starts off: "Yesterday, the Trump Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget, dismissing the needs of children and youth with exceptionalities, particularly those with disabilities and gifts and talents. The Council for Exceptional Children is disheartened to see that this Administration has made deep cuts to the U.S. Department of Education funding, level funded the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, slashed Medicaid funds, eliminated funding for the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program – the only federal investment in students with gifts and talents, and created a new private school voucher program that takes scarce taxpayer funding away from public schools and jeopardizes the civil right of a free appropriate public education for children and youth with disabilities." Read more.

NEW (OR NEWLY APPLIED) TREATMENTS FOR...
  • OCD -- rapastinel. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation reports that in a single-dose small trial, "The drug was well tolerated—no patient reported dissociative side effects — and within hours of treatment, the severity of patients’ symptoms had declined significantly. The drug reduced the severity of patients’ obsessions and compulsions, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression." Read more
  • ASD -- suramin. In a small, randomized Phase I/II clinical trial, researchers say a 100-year-old drug called suramin, originally developed to treat African sleeping sickness, was safely administered to children with autism spectrum disorder, who subsequently displayed measurable, but transient, improvement in core symptoms of autism. Read more
  • Depression -- probiotics. Researchers found that twice as many adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) reported improvements from co-existing depression when they took a specific probiotic than adults with IBS who took a placebo. Read more

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Education Budget, Resources, and "Most Likely Not to Pay Attention"

K-12 EDUCATION BUDGET. In our previous blog posting, we pointed to a Washington Post story about the potential impact on education stemming from budget changes for 2018. The Post has issued a follow-up, claiming that the administration is proposing to eliminate: "Mental health services. Civics and arts programs. International education and language studies. Anti-bullying activities. Gifted and talented initiatives. Full-service community schools." Find the article. In a similar vein, Disability Scoop notes that "Deep cuts to Medicaid and other programs that people with disabilities rely on are at the heart of President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal." Find the article. (Our reaction? Onward and downward. 😧) 

THANKS TO ALL who took advantage of our Spring Sale on "Spotlight on 2e Series" booklets. Many purchasers were repeat buyers. And some school districts took the opportunity to stock up on 10, 40, or even 50 copies. It's always gratifying to us that so many in the 2e community seem to find the booklets useful.

AND ANOTHER "DEAL." Prufrock Press is publishing the third edition of To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled, by Susan Baum, Robin Schader, and Steven Owen. The book is scheduled for release at the end of June. Members of the 2e community interested in purchasing this book can go to the Prufrock site, add the book to the shopping cart, and then use the code TBGLD20 to receive a 20 percent discount.

RESOURCE FROM AACAP. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has posted a guide for families titled "Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth." If gender identification is an issue at your house, check out the guide.

FIDGET SPINNERS have been in the news lately, and the headline in a new posting at Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities tells why, asking whether the devices are a "Distraction or Learning Tool?" Read more about the pros and cons of this device.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Teachers at a Georgia middle school used the occasion of end-of-year recognitions to present one student with ADHD a trophy inscribed "Most Likely Not to Pay Attention." The teachers have evidently been fired. Readers on our Facebook page, where we "shared" the item yesterday, were not amused and stated so. Find out more.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Child Behavior, Policy and Education, Sleep, Therapists, Booklet Sale, More

NAUGHTY? OR NATURAL? An article in Psychology Today explains how some child behavior can seem "bad," but may instead be natural. Says the article, "When we recognize kids' unwelcome behaviors as reactions to environmental conditions, developmental phases, or our own actions, it lets us respond proactively, and with much more compassion." Some of the behaviors are in the categories of impulsiveness, reaction to stimulation, and the need to move. Find the article.

SLEEP FOR KIDDOS. Besides the factors mentioned in the item above, sleep can affect children's behavior and academic performance. Psychology Today also has an article addressing the minimum sleep requirements of children and adolescents, The article reports on a recent study which indicates that the "right" amount of sleep is different for socioemotional development than it is for academic performance, and that variability in sleep duration can be detrimental to mental health. Read more.

TEEN CHEF. A young man on the spectrum is the subject of an article in the Orange County Register. He has created a couple special sauces featured on a local restaurant's menu, and his family has had some of his recipes commercially produced and bottled. The young man is a high school senior. Find the article.

BULLYING. Depending on what you read recently, bullying among students is either still at a fairly high level (about 1 in 5 of students 12-18) or has declined by half since 2005. An Associated Press article provides the first perspective; an article at Business Insider provides the second.

POLICY AND EDUCATION 1. NPR reports on how vouchers may bring "choices, not guarantees," to families with special-needs kids. The problem: finding a school that will accept the special needs child, especially if behavior issues are involved. Read more.

POLICY AND EDUCATION 2. The Washington Post examines the current president's education budget, noting "deep cuts to public school programs in pursuit of school choice." The cuts come in the areas of college work-study programs, public-service loan forgiveness, mental health services, and advanced coursework as part of a $10.6 billion cut, says the Post. Find the article.

GIFTED CHALLENGES. In a new blog posting, Gail Post writes about finding a therapist when you (or, presumably, your offspring) are gifted. Trust your gut when it comes to feelings about a prospective therapist, she writes, and know that therapy is hard work. Number 10 on her list -- "Try to find a therapist who 'gets' giftedness." We would add, "or twice exceptionality." Find the blog posting.

TiLT PARENTING. Episode 57 in TiLT's series of podcasts is titled "Using a Strengths-based Approach to Support Differently-wired Kids." In the podcast, TiLT founder Debbie Reber talks to Giselle Marzo Segura, "a designer, teacher, mentor, writer, and solutions thinker." Find the podcast.

HATING MATH WORKSHEETS? In the Facebook group Twice Exceptional Children we found a "share" of an intriguing home-made device that might make rote memorization more fun for that math-hating 2e kiddo you know. You make it with foam drink cups and a marker, and it seems as if it would be more engaging than flash cards or worksheets. Take a look at the Facebook page of "Planning Playtime: Learning Through Play" and look for a post called "a fun, interactive math activity."

OUR SPRING BOOKLET SALE ends Sunday. Go to our website to see what you can get for $11 (any booklet). Paid newsletter subscribers, check your inbox for your link to even lower prices.

Monday, May 15, 2017

2e Conference, Advocacy, New Edition of "To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled"

GIFTED PLUS CONFERENCE IN TEXAS. The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented has scheduled a conference for June 22-24 on serving gifted students who are twice-exceptional, ELL, or members of other underserved gifted populations. A "Twice Exceptional Summit" is to be held on June 22 and other Gifted Plus events on June 23-24, all in San Antonio, Texas. Find out more.

TO BE GIFTED AND LEARNING DISABLED is a book that is one of the seminal works in the 2e field. Prufrock Press is releasing a third edition of the book on June 30, adding Robin Shader to the previous editions' authors Susan Baum and Steven Owen. This edition update the 2004 second edition. Prufrock states, "This updated third edition provides a comprehensive look at the complex world of students with remarkable gifts, talents, and interests, who simultaneously face learning, attention, or social challenges from LD, ADHD, and other disorders. Through case studies and years of research, the authors present a rationale for using a strength-based, talent-focused approach to meeting the needs of this special population." Find out more.

IT'S NOW OKAY TO HAVE AN LD IN TEXAS, even if your particular LD puts your school district over an 8.5 percent "cap" on special ed enrollments, thanks to legislation recently passed on that state. According to The Houston Chronicle, "As many as 250,000 more students with dyslexia, autism, speech impairments and other disabilities would have received special education services had the state stayed at the national average." Read more. (Please note that this legislative action is an example of how the independent press -- in this case, The Chronicle -- investigate and reports on governmental malfeasance.)

ADVOCACY. For educators looking to gain the skills to be more effective advocates for special ed, the Council for Exceptional Children offers a "Special Education Legislative Summit" on July 9-12 in Alexandria, Virginia. CEC says that participants will learn to help make the case for funding, FAPE, and civil rights for students receiving special ed services -- which, obviously, can include 2e students. Find out more.

ALSO FOR ADVOCATES. William and Mary Law school offers its five-day Institute for Special Education Advocacy starting in late July. It's for experienced advocates, law students, and attorneys. Find out more.

WRIGHTSLAW. Want to find out what others look for at the Wrightslaw site? The current issue of Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate lists the five most popular articles, topics, and blog posts from the past half year. Go there.

GIFTED AND DISTRACTIBLE. The May edition of this newsletter from With Understanding Comes Calm is out, with information on a variety of 2e-related topics, including the recent screening of the movie "2e: Twice Exceptional"; Camp Summit East; and a preview of the annual SENG conference. Find the newsletter.

ADHD MEDS, DRIVING. In a study of more than 2.3 million drivers in the United States with ADHD, rates of motor vehicle crashes were lower when drivers had received their prescribed medication, according to a new study. Find a study write-up.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Policy, Funding, Summer Camp, Achievers, More

SPECIAL ED FUNDING. Yesterday the Council for Exceptional Children provided details of special ed funding for 2017. As we mentioned previously, the overall level is up slightly. You can see how each major program fared at the CEC's Policy Insider. Also noted there: that Javits programs for gifted ed were funded at $12 million -- which is about the level of funding 13 years ago when we founded 2e Newsletter. Is that great progress or what?

ON THE OTHER HAND, an article by the Associated Press highlights the conflict between parents looking to have school districts satisfy the special needs of their children and districts facing funding constraints. While some recent court decisions have raised hopes in parents about getting services such as district-paid private placement, the reality is that schools have limited money available, including, as the article puts it, "a shortfall in federal reimbursement." The costs of disputes run into tens of thousands of dollars for both districts and parents. If you're anticipating participation in a school/family dispute over services, check out this article.

MIXED MESSAGES on special ed and family rights is also the topic of an article at Educaiton Week, which describes how one government proposal would allocate $1.4 billion toward school choice yet require participating families to give up some their IDEA rights. Here's the crux of the problem, according to the article: "While the Supreme Court’s decision affirms long-standing momentum toward better educational support for children with disabilities, the administration’s actions to date have done little to ensure schools are positioned to maintain this progress." Read more.

ON TO MORE MORE PLEASANT MATTERS. LD Online offers tips for c hoosing a summer camp for a child with learning differences. A former director of such a camp tells parents to look at six factors, including the type of program, size, education/recreational balance, location and facilities, staff, and camp policies. Find out more.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES. We mentioned on May 3 that this organization had announced the recipients of the 2017 Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Awards. Reading about the honorees in various categories can give you -- or that 2e kiddo you know -- new perspective about achievement in conjunction with learning differences. Find the announcement.

SLOW PROCESSING SPEED. Last week the website Understood offered accommodations for slow processing speed. This week it offers an article connecting slow processing speed with anxiety. The article notes that anxiety can affect processing speed... but that slow processing speed can also engender anxiety -- not a pretty cycle. Read more.

TiLT PARENTING. Moms and dads often often approach their 2e family situations differently and at a different pace. But it's important for the parents to work together for the benefit of the child, right? That's why it's interesting that TiLT has done a podcast on the topic -- specifically, how the founder of TiLT and her husband have approached raising their "differently-wired" son. As founder Debbie Reber says, "...figuring how to be a good partner while raising an atypical kid can be incredibly challenging, especially because both people are going through their own individual process in figuring it out." Read more and find the podcast.

ALTSCHOOL is the name of a chain of micro-schools with locations in California and New York. Founded by Silicon Valley denizens, the schools emphasize personalized learning. According to an article at Business Insider, "Teachers work with families and students to design a set of goals for the learner based on the student's interests, likes, strengths, and weaknesses." Neither the word "gifted" nor "twice-exceptional" is in the article -- but the school's goals sound promising. Read more.

AND FINALLY, THIS, which makes sense intuitively but is now "research based": Pet dogs provide valuable social support for kids when they're stressed, according to a study by researchers, who were among the first to document stress-buffering effects of pets for children. Find a study write-up.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Policy and Legislation, Child Mind Institute, More

POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE NEWS. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a health care bill last week that some observers feel will have detrimental effects for many Americans, including children who may be part of the 2e community.
  • Disability Scoop noted that the new legislation would affect the reimbursement schools now are able to seek for services under IDEA. Read more
  • The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry issued a statement on the passage of the bill by the house: "As a professional medical association dedicated to helping and protecting children and families, we were extremely disappointed by the U.S. House of Representatives vote to pass the American Health Care Act by a slim margin of 217-213." Find the statement
  • And the Council for Exceptional Children, in the context of an invitation to its annual Legislative Summit, also pointed out the bill's potentially harmful effects; read more

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. This organization is sponsoring #MyYoungerSelf. Here's what it says about the event: "Each day in May, the Child Mind Institute is sharing short videos from prominent figures about their personal experiences growing up with a mental health or learning disorder — and the advice they would give their younger selves and others in the midst of the same struggle." Find who has already spoken.

STEAM LEARNING. TED has assembled a playlist of talks on the topic of STEAM learning and how to make it fun. Looking for ways to do that? Take a look.

ADOLESCENTS AND TECHNOLOGY USE -- the good and the bad. More use of technology led to increases in attention, behavior and self-regulation problems over time for adolescents already at risk for mental health issues, according to a new study written up at Science Daily. However, on days that adolescents spent more time using digital technologies they were less likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety. Read more.

EVENT. On May 17, Jacqui Byrne of FlexSchool will present on the characteristics and challenge of 2e students, addressing the myth of the "lazy, gifted student." The event is in Westfield, New Jersey. Find out more.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Education Budget, Event Alert, Learning Styles, Rosemary, and More

EDUCATION AND THE U.S. BUDGET. Education Week offers an early analysis of the U.S. budget passed recently in terms of its impact on education. Funding meant to aid disadvantaged students and students receiving special ed services increases slightly, according to Education Week. Overall DOE funding falls by $60 million to $71.6 billion. Read more. Disability Scoop noted that the bill increased grants to states under IDEA by $90 million; go to Disability Scoop.

EVENT ALERT. The 2e Center for Research and Professional Development, on the campus of Bridges Academy, has scheduled a symposium for October 13-14 titled "Leadership and Vision in 2e Education." According to the Center, "The symposium will feature keynotes, panel discussions..., interactive forums and workshops on program development, research based strategies and related issues in 2e education programs." Also scheduled: recognition of pioneers in the field of 2e education by way of a "2e Hall of Fame." Find out more.

LEARNING STYLES. The UK Guardian published a piece signed by 30 scientists noting the lack of evidence to support the idea of learning styles, whereby individuals benefit from receiving information in a preferred mode or format. The scientists said that there's no coherent framework of styles; that the concept might lead to assumptions of a "fixed or rigid learning style"; and that research on the topic has "consistently found either no evidence or very weak evidence to support the hypothesis that matching or 'meshing' material in the appropriate format to an individual’s learning style is selectively more effective for educational attainment." Read more.

SLOW PROCESSING SPEED. Understood offers classroom accommodations for slow processing speed, a condition of interest to many in the 2e community. The accommodations deal with in-class learning, learning materials, organization/time management, tests, and more. Find the accommodations.

UNDERSTOOD also offers a series of chats and interactive sessions each month that cover topics ranging from ADHD meds, motivation, behavior, and more. Find the calendar for May.

TiLT PARENTING's newest podcast is about assessing and supporting 2e learners, and it features Devon MacEachron, a clinician who specializes in such matters. Find out more.

ADHD: TO WATCH OUT FOR. A UK study noted some downsides to having ADHD. Said the study, reported at MedPage Today: "These children fared worse academically than their peers without ADHD. They had higher rates of exclusion from school and were more likely to have special needs. They also were at higher risk of low academic attainment and unemployment after leaving school..." Read more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Exposure to the aroma of rosemary essential oil can significantly enhance working memory in children, according to a recent, small study of chidren 10 and 11 years old. Said the researcher, "We do know that poor working memory is related to poor academic performance and these findings offers a possible cost effective and simple intervention to improve academic performance in children." Find a study write-up.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Resources of All Types for the 2e Community

TODAY'S POSTINGS are mainly resources of all sorts that might be of interest to those in the 2e community.

WEBINAR FROM SENG. On May 4, SENG offers a webinar titled "A Delicate Balance: The Relationship Between Giftedness, Learning Disorders, and Asynchronous Development." Counselor Andrew Mahoney presents. A fee applies. Get more information.

A FAMILY CONFERENCE BY CTD. Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development puts on a family conference each summer devoted to topics related to giftedness. This year one of the sessions is titled "Understanding and Supporting Your Twice-exceptional Child," to be presented by neuropsychologist Alicia Ali, PsyD. Find out more.

INSTITUTE: BUILD YOUR OWN MICRO-SCHOOL. If you're frustrated with "traditional" schooling and want to take education into your own hands, Jade Rivera offers a summer institute called "Build Your Own Micro-school. It's a three-month online course. Find out more


SUMMER CAMP IN MINNESOTA. Arete Academy is offering a series of summer camp sessions for kiddos of the 2e persuasion. Find out more.

MOOD DISORDERS CENTER. The Child Mind Institute in New York has opened a Mood Disorders Center which, according to the Institute, "offers cutting edge, tailored treatment services for children and adolescents suffering from mood disorders and related concerns, including depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, suicidality and self-harm, and emotional dysregulation." If you think this resource might be of use to you, find out more.

LANDMARK COLLEGE SUMMER INSTITUTE. This is for educators and professionals who deal with students who learn differently. It's put on by the college's Institute for Research and Training. Learn more.

THE MOVIE "GIFTED." Jen the Blogger gives her take on whether this movie is something we might want to watch. Find out what she says.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES offers two resources:

  • Six steps to help your child make friends, a new article; find it
  • Information about the 2017 Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award honorees; find it

NCLD REPORT ON LDs. "The State of Learning Disabilities" is the newest edition of a report from the National Center for Learning Disabilities. According to NCLD, the report "provides key insight into the progress that has been made—and the work yet to be done—to raise expectations and improve outcomes for the 1 in 5. The report also highlights the need for targeted policy reforms and additional research into evidence-based solutions that will help create a more inclusive society that recognizes the potential of all individuals." Find the report.

TiLT PARENTING. The founder of this site for "differently wired" kids is writing a book and looking to include input from parents of such kids. To that end, Debbie Reber is wondering: "Have you experienced a powerful, personal transformation that positively shifted how you relate to your child? Have you made a change in your family that helped get you through and past a rough patch? Have you discovered the secret to helping your child feel emotionally regulated or connected or confident?" If so, and if you want to share, go here. (TiLT's regular site is here.)

ADHD STRATEGIES. Edutopia offers "Six brain-based strategies to help kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder build confidence, engagement, and focus." Need those at your house? Find them.

Monday, May 1, 2017

SENG News, ADHD Items, Grade-skipping, and (Sigh) Javits

NEW SENG EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. Michael Postma, Ph.D., is now the executive director of SENG, Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted. In a letter to members, Postma says SENG will continue to offer its core programs, and then adds this: "I am very excited about the development of SENG Connect, an online portal with the capacity to connect SENGsters of all ages, ethnicities, orientations, and communities across the globe. I am also thrilled to explore continued expansion into Europe, Latin America and other gifted communities around the world." We wish Postma and SENG the best going forward. See the SENG site.

SELF-COMPASSION AND ADHD. ADHD can provide plenty of opportunities for self-criticism in moments of disorganization or lapses of executive function. An article at The Huffington Post points out that just as you would have compassion for someone else's careless mistake, someone with ADHD would also benefit from self-compassion, an important part of resilient ADHD management. Read more.

ADHD APP. TiLT Parenting, in podcast 54, describes an app called iGotThis for families in which ADHD is a part. According to TiLT, "iGotThis is a task-focused, productivity tool for families with ADHD that’s loaded with features to keep kids with ADHD on track, focused, and motivated — all while providing real-time visibility and complete control for parents. And just as important, it also builds self-esteem in kids with ADHD." Find out more.

ADHD MYTHS. According to Science Daily, there are myths that surround ADHD as well as a certain stigma. Science Daily offers input from a clinical psychiatrist to help break down what the condition iand what it isn’t. Got to Science Daily.

AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH was last month, but an article at Forbes points out that 75 percent of Americans surveyed say they don't know anyone with autism, even though one in 68 Americans has an ASD diagnosis. (And according to Forbes, almost half of the survey respondents also didn't know that April was Autism Awareness Month.) Read more.

PERFECTIONISM. On Dan Peters' "Parent Footprint" podcast site you can hear two "recovering perfectionists" discuss how to address the condition. Dan is joined by Lisa Van Gemert. Find the podcast.

SUMMER CAMP. According to a recent communique, 2e-friendly Camp Summit still has spaces in its east and west coast camps. Find out more. Separately, Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities points out one of the advantages of attending summer camp: building confidence. Find the article.

GRADE-SKIPPING FOR GIFTED GIRLS. The Atlantic points out a very practical reason why grade-skipping should be a real option for gifted girls. In the words of a woman interviewed, “By skipping grades and getting to grad school early, I could devote time and energy to building my career and earn tenure before I started raising a family. It was extremely beneficial to my career not to be devoting my 20s to anything else.” (Also in the article, this quote: “You can call it a choice, but … who else is going have the babies?”) Read more.

UNDERSTOOD has posted a video titled "Dyslexia and the Brain," of which it says, "Hear from leading dyslexia expert Guinevere Eden on what parts of the brain are used for reading. See how the brain function of a child with dyslexia can actually change when he learns how to read fluently." Find the video.

NO INTEREST IN TEAM SPORTS? If your 2e kiddo feels that way, maybe check out an article at The Washington Post offering athletic alternates to what the article calls "traditional stick- and field-type sports." Think climbing walls, biking, or running. Read more.

WEIGHTED BLANKETS, familiar to many in the 2e community, are the topic of an article at Medical News Today, which provides uses and benefits of the blankets. Find the article.

504 PLANS. In Attention magazine, from CHADD, you can find tips on writing effective 504 plans. Written by Rich Weinfeld, of the Weinfeld Education Group, the article provides key principles along with guidelines for accomplishing those principles. Find it.

NEW ONLINE GROUP FROM TECA. Twice Exceptional Children's Advocacy is offering a new monthly online support group for the parents of 2e teens. Got a 2e teen? Find out more.

ADDITUDE has revamped its website. Check it out.

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, is scheduled for a screening at the Long Island Whole Child Academy on May 10 at 6pm. The school is in Melville, New York. Find out more.

ANXIETY TREATMENT: NOT-SO-GOOD NEWS. According to Medscape, "Children treated for anxiety disorders with psychotherapy, antidepressants, or a combination of the two show no significant differences in outcomes or remission at 5-year follow-up. Furthermore, a majority of children experience relapse and chronic anxiety, new long-term data show." Find out more.

NAGC urges gifted advocates to act to support funding for the Javits Act, one of the few (if not the only) federally-funded programs in gifted education. The Javits Act is traditionally funded by our munificent government in miserly amounts ranging from $0 to a few million dollars. Find out what you can do.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

SPD, Gifted with ASD, Special Needs & Military Families, and More

IS SPD REAL? That's the question that Slate takes on in a recent article. Why does that question matter? According to Slate, "It matters because tens of thousands of parents are convinced that their children’s behavioral issues are the result of sensory processing difficulties. They don’t believe, or can’t believe, that the real problem is anxiety, ADHD, or autism. It also matters because barrel-loads of money are on the line." Read more.

GIFTED, AUTISTIC, UNDER THE RADAR. Giftedness can obscure or delay identification of many "e's" because of the child's ability to cope and adapt. A first-person-based article at pastemagazine.com describes one family's situation, where a gifted daughter was not diagnosed with attendant high-functioning autism until she was nine years old. As in the item above, a diagnosis opens the doors to obtaining appropriate services. Find the article.

DISABILITY SCOOP writes about the special situation of military families who have a child with special needs. Those families have different experiences than the rest of us because of, among other things, frequent moves and the absence of one spouse for lengthy periods of time at sea or in combat zones. The Armed Services offer some help, but families take the main burden -- and they probably have to learn new state laws and processes with each move, as well as renegotiating previous IEPs with a new school. Find out more.

TiLT PARENTING observes its one-year anniversary in a special podcast. Writes TiLT's founder, Debbie Asher, "Asher and I wanted to sit down and talk with you about what’s happened with TiLT over the past year, share how it’s impacted our relationship, give you some inside scoop into how we do things here at TiLT central, and talk a little bit about what’s happening in the coming year, including my sharing a bit of big news for TiLT." Fans can find out more at the TiLT website.

SUMMER RESOURCE FOR EDUCATORS. The Belin Blank Center at the University of Iowa offers professional development opportunities for educators involved in gifted programming. Find out more.

LEARNING AND THE BRAIN is sponsoring a workshop in Santa Barbara, California, described as "intensive training on the topics of executive functions and memory that have applications in classrooms." Neurologist/educator Judy Willis presents. Find out more.

ROSS GREENE WORKSHOP. Transdisciplinary Workshops has scheduled Ross Green, Ph.D., to present advanced training in July on Greene's model for understanding and helping behaviorally challenging kids. The intended audience: educators and mental health providers. Find out more.

MINDFULNESS PANACEA. Mindfulness group therapy has an equally positive effect as individual CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) for the treatment of a wide range of psychiatric symptoms in patients with depression, anxiety and stress-related disorders, according to new research. Find a study write-up.

THE CEREBELLUM, THE PONS, AND COMORBIDITY. Nearly half of people with one mental illness also experience another mental illness at the same time. This is leading researchers to shift their focus away from individual disorders and search instead for common mechanisms or risk factors that might cause all types of mental disorders. Researchers have now linked specific differences in the cerebellum and pons to many types of mental illness such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and OCD, according to Science Daily. Find out more.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Neurotypical and Not, Test Stress, Julia, Teaching the Gifted, and More

MORE ON ENDREW F. Writing at Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, an education advocate takes a different view of the recent Supreme Court decision that a FAPE must be more than "de minimis." The advocate writes, "Under the de minimis standard, there was almost nowhere to go but up, and the Court went up only a very little. An 8-0 vote by a Court that is usually sharply divided is a sign that the decision may lack clarity or bite." Read more. Also at the site of Smart Kids, psychologist Devon MacEachron makes the case for getting a private evaluation rather than using a school-supplied evaluation. Find out what she says.

JEN THE BLOGGER, as part of a blog hop called "Revisiting 2e," tells of recent interactions with a neurotypical teen and compares those to life in her house of chaos. Jen mentored the teen through a project, compared it to her experiences with similar projects involving her sons, and decided "the dichotomy stings." But she concludes: "this wildly different is perfectly normal life is all mine, and after twelve years I’m finally embracing the weird it has brought to my life." Read the post.

TEST STRESS. Neurologist and educator Judy Willis offers tips and techniques for getting the better of test stress. She tells how to build a positive mindset in the test-taker, and lists five things a parent can do on test day to help. Go to Edutopia to read more.

JULIA ON SESAME STREET is a new character on the spectrum, and a writer from The Washington Post gives the show high marks for the way Julia is portrayed and for the way the show's other characters respect and understand her. From the review: "Little kids are funny creatures, but they’re also perceptive and can be incredibly accepting of differences, once they understand them... [T]he Muppets model for kids how to reach out to people who don’t always respond in expected ways." Read more.

HOW SHOULD THE GIFTED BE TAUGHT? For example, how are they like non-gifted learners and how are they different? According to The High Flyer, a new publication offers 20 research-based guidelines for teaching the gifted. The guidelines cover how the students think and learn, motivation, the importance of social context, classroom management, and assessment. The High Flyer says, "Each principle is described based on evidence from research with gifted populations. The brief description is followed by practical suggestions for the classroom and references from both the regular and gifted education literature." Read more.

TiLT PARENTING offers a podcast on ADHD and nutrition, a topic evidently much requested by TiLT fans. The podcast features a childhood nutrition expert and covers applicable research, nutritional challenges in ADHD, and dealing with those challenges. Find the podcast.

GIFTED HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM. This organization offers online summer classes, for which registration is now open, and school-year classes, for which registration opens May 1st. GHF says, "GHF Online is 2e-friendly and willing to work with you to make reasonable accommodations for your child's individual needs." Find out more.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS DURING PREGNANCY do not evidently increase the risk of ASD or ADHD in offspring, according to new research, although there is a slight risk for premature birth. Read a study write-up.

TOURETTE'S. A new computer-based brain simulation shows that motor tics in Tourette syndrome may arise from interactions between multiple areas of the brain, rather than a single malfunctioning area. Find a study write-up.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

More Endrew F, Sit Still, Gifted Funding, More

WRIGHTSLAW REACTION TO ENDREW F. As expected, Wrightslaw has released information about the recent SCOTUS decision the Endrew F case involving the benefit that schools must provide with IEPs. Included in that information is Pete Wright's analysis of the decision. Go to Wrightslaw.

"GIFTED" VERSUS "HIGH ACHIEVING" is the topic of an article at LoudounNow.com, from Virginia. The author writes, "Some gifted students are also high achievers but many are not. What other parents and teachers often don’t see are the hidden components of being gifted, including emotional overexcitability, crippling anxiety, existential angst and other social and emotional issues resulting from asynchronous brain development." Find the article.

SIT STILL AND FAIL TO PAY ATTENTION. The need for activity and exercise during the school day is the subject of an article at The Washington Post's "Answer Sheet" feature. It details the disadvantages to just "sitting still" -- and offers ways to "defend our children's right to move." Find the article. Separately, The New York Times just ran an article on that same subject, "Why Kids Shouldn't Sit Still in Class." One expert is quoted this way: “Activity stimulates more blood vessels in the brain to support more brain cells. And there is evidence that active kids do better on standardized tests and pay attention more in school.” Find the article.

NAGC offers two items of possible interest to the 2e community. One is on planning for summer, with guidelines for checking out camps and programs. (Of course, an additional guideline would be to disclose your child's twice-exceptionality and ask how the camp or program is structured to handle that.) Find the guidelines. The second item sounds hopeful: "At a gathering of gifted learning community leaders... in the nation’s capitol, a first-of-its-kind poll was released by the Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA), that finds overwhelming bipartisan public support for increased funding for programs and resources for gifted students." The trick is, as always, in translating words into actions. Find the item.

SCHOOL POLICY AND LAW. Education Week has published an article outlining some of the pros and cons of school choice when it comes to children with disabilities. Find it.

PRESENT AT CEC? The Council for Exceptional Children hasn't yet held its 2017 conference, but it's calling for proposals for 2018. If you've got a topic to share with CEC attendees, get a move on -- the 2018 deadline is March 31, 2017. Find out more.

MEET THE SCIENTIST. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is offering a free webinar on April 11 on the topic of depression. According to BBRF, these
"Meet the Scientist" webinars allow you to "hear mental health experts present the latest research in new technologies, diagnostic tools, early intervention strategies and next-generation therapies." Find out more.

RESTLESS IN LA is the title of a recently-published novel. The author, Robin Finn, evidently has a child with severe ADHD and went through experiences many readers here have likely been through in terms of research, advocacy, and feeling like a failed parent. According to one book review, Finn "is an ADHD warrior, spiritual seeker, mother of three, author, essayist, advocate, and coach. She spent years advocating for a twice-exceptional child before she began writing about it." In the Los Angeles Times, Finn writes about how the novel came to be: "I didn’t want to write about parenting and ADHD. I thought people might get angry or judgey. I thought I didn’t have time. I thought it was too private. But something desperately wanted to be expressed, even though I had an opposite and equally powerful desire to hold the creativity in." Find the LA Times piece. We haven't read this book, just want to point it out, and we have a feeling that "twice exceptional" is not its focus so much as some of the heroine's "extracurricular" activities. Lots of reviews on Amazon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SCOTUS and IEPs, Unemployed with ASD, Policy, and More

ENDREW F DECIDED. The Supreme Court has handed down a decision in the case of Endrew F affirming that an IEP must enable a covered child to make progress under IDEA. Special ed attorney Matt Cohen calls it a "huge win" for parents and advocates, and says, "Although it will likely require years of litigation to fully understand what the new rule means, it can only mean that the schools must do much more than the minimum required by standards that have been used in the past." Find our more at the Supreme Court blog; Education Week; or via the AP. Wrightslaw has some material on its site and is likely to add more.

SMART, ASD, UNEMPLOYED. Crain's Detroit Business profiled Steven Glowacki, a man with an IQ of 150 and three degrees but who is apparently unable to hold jobs because employers don't understand the needs of employees with autism. Quoted in the article, the president of the Autism Alliance of Michigan says, "Steven is wasting away. He's brilliant, but employers can't see past his disorder — and he's not alone. We're inducing poverty and a poor quality of life for people that can contribute ... in big ways." Find the article, and thanks to Nancy M for pointing us to it.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. This organization's March eNews Update is out, featuring news of the various Institute programs, information on the Regeneron Science Talent Search, books on gifted ed, pointers to legislative news, and pointers to web-based resources of interest to members of the gifted community. Find the newsletter.

LANDMARK COLLEGE offers professional certificates and individual courses as professional development for those who educate students who learn differently. The registration deadline for a course titled "Self-regulation, Motivation, and Student Engagement" is coming up on April 9. Find out more.

TECA has announced the date of its fall conference, October 13 at Molloy College in New York. "More information coming soon," says TECA.

TiLT PARENTING has released Episode 49 in its podcast series, "Setting Up Your Home to Support Your Child's Growth," with Simone Davies, a Montessori teacher/consultant. Of the podcast, TiLT founder Debbie Reber says, "Today Simone and I are talking about the 'spaces' in our home—specifically how we can best design and set them up to support our differently-wired kids." Find the podcast.

POLICY 1. NAGC has released a statement on the U.S. federal government administration's proposed budget insofar as it affects the Department of Education. From the statement: "Voters overwhelmingly support providing federal funding for gifted and talented education," said M. René Islas, Executive Director of the National Association for Gifted Children... "It is our hope that the Administration's final detailed budget maintains funding for the Javits program and reflects the will of the voters. Supporting gifted and talented children, particularly those from underserved backgrounds, is part of the transformational change needed to ensure all students have the opportunity to fulfill their highest potential and personal best." Find the statement.

POLICY 2. The organization Understood has also issued a response to the administration's budget proposal, focusing on $9 billion it would "take away from our students and teachers." Understood urges readers to tell Congress to reject the budget. Find the missive.