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

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