Saturday, March 24, 2018

2e Treatment Myth-busting, The Gifted Label, Help an Author, and More

MYTH BUSTERS, PART 4. Psychologist Devon MacEachron has been doing a series of blog postings on treatments and services related to twice-exceptional children, Her topic in Part 4 of the series: Brain Balance Centers franchise system that claims to treat a vast array of conditions, including ASD, ADHD, and dyslexia. Read her take.

THE GIFTED LABEL, according to psychologist Gail Post, is coming under fire. She gives six reasons in defense of the label, concluding: "Let's stop pretending every child is the same, and instead, focus on understanding and providing educational and social/emotional support tailored to each child's specific needs." Find her post.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. This organization's latest e-newsletter is out, covering what's new in gifted ed, summer camp resources, legislative news, and more. Find the newsletter.

TED has released a new playlist of talks on the topic "How can we fix the learning crisis." Some of the talks are older, some are new. Find the playlist.

INPUT, PLEASE. For an upcoming book, author Chris Dendy is asking for input on the transition from high school to adulthood. She says: "The journey from high school graduation to adulthood is often rocky for children who have ADHD. So as a parent of an adult with ADHD, we would like to ask for your assistance by sharing what you learned about supporting your child through the challenging transition years....Take a few minutes now to complete the survey linked below and give others the knowledge we all wish we had received years ago. Please complete the survey by March 26th. We will send you a summary of the results by mid- April, so you can share in the collective wisdom." Here's the link to the survey.

EDUCATION POLICY, LAW. The U.S. Congress passed a funding bill in which education actually received more money rather than the cuts the president had proposed. Hopefully it gets spent in ways that maximally benefit our children. Read more.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sir Ken Robinson, Multiple "e's," Resources, Science & Research

SIR KEN ROBINSON, advocate for educational change, has a new book out directed at parents: You, Your Child, and School, which he describes as "an attempt to engage parents more positively in the conversation" about their children's education. It's about collaboration between school and home, about improving the school experience, and about what parents and teachers can achieve. From an interview concerning the book: "If you’re a parent, you are part of the system. When your child comes home, how you respond to them, what pressure you put them under, how you relax the pressure, the way you relate to the school, the priorities you convey to them and the way you respond to their anxieties—all that’s part of the education system," Read more. And if you've never seen his TED talk on schools, check it out. It's evidently the most-watched TED talk ever.

MULTIPLE "E's" and what you need to know as a parent is an article at Understood, and it says that multiple issues are common; that you've got to treat each issue separately; and that you need to understand which issue causes which challenges. Find the article.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. This organization offers an article about seven myths about child mental health. One of them: psychiatric disorders result from bad parenting. Find the myths. Also at this site: an article about proactively dealing with anxiety over school shootings. Find it.

SOCIAL MEDIA. From the Washington Post: "Five ways social media can be good for teens." (Example: genuine support through online acceptance.) Find the article. And then there's an article at Science Daily titled "Social media use at age 10 could reduce well-being of adolescent girls; find it.

TBI, ADHD. From Reuters: "Young children who are hospitalized with head injuries may be at higher than average risk for developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) later on, a small study suggests." Read more.

"BREAKTHROUGHS" SPEAKERS. Organizers of the Breakthroughs conference on 2e education have released the names of speakers at this May's conference in Manhattan. The keynote speakers are Joe Renzulli, Sally Reis, Jonathan Mooney, and Nancy Tarshis. Find out more.

LANDMARK COLLEGE SUMMER INSTITUTE. Educators can save $100 by registering for this event by March 31. Find out more about the institute.

EDUCATORS' RESOURCE. A award-winning teacher with 12 years of experience starting thinking about "an online space where the best PD resources were compiled on one platform where multiple teachers could come to collaborate, share and learn." With some encouragement from the Gates Foundation, she has launched the site, Curio. Read more.

TMS. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is sponsoring a free webinar on April 10 on the topic of using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for depression and other diseases. Find out more.

SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
  • Behavior management, from Science Daily. "Most parenting programs aim to teach parents how to reduce their children's disruptive behavior. New research looked at more than 150 studies of these programs, finding differences in what works best according to whether or not children already showed behavior problems." Find the study write-up
  • Autism and the amygdala, from Science Daily: "Researchers have found that typically-developing children gain more neurons in a region of the brain that governs social and emotional behavior, the amygdala, as they become adults. This phenomenon does not happen in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Instead, children with ASD have too many neurons early on and then appear to lose those neurons as they become adults." Find the study write-up
  • From NewsWise: "Researchers publish findings on study involving sleep adolescent stress." Find the study write-up
  • Also from NewsWise:"A University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor has co-authored a book analyzing how online communities and social media can provide stress relief for families and individuals with an autism spectrum disorder." Find the press release.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

"Normal," Resources for the 2e Community, Research Items on ADHD & ASD, More

NORMAL. "...normal is a relative state that depends on time, place, and circumstance. There’s no one right way to be a human, and that applies to mental as well as physical states." That's from a Quartz article on recent research by Yale neuroscientists debunking the idea that any particular person is "normal." Perhaps the article will make you feel better about your household or your classroom. Find it.

RESOURCE: SENG CONNECT. This is a members-only online community; we believe those in the 2e community might find it a worthwhile investment. Coming up is a four-part weekly event, free to Connect members, on gifted homeschooling. Find out more.

NAGC, JACK KENT COOKE. In a statement, the National Association for Gifted Children directed attention to a new report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation on equity in gifted education. The statement notes that the report's author is the president-elect of NAGC, and goes on to say: "This influential study and analysis assigns states letter grades for their success in fostering academic talent policies that promote high-ability learners as well as those that seek to close the excellence gap between gifted low-income students and their more affluent peers." Sadly, the letter grades are pretty low (our statement, not NAGC's). See how your state ranks. Find NAGC's statement or find the report itself.

DOING POORLY ON PURPOSE is the title of a blog post by iconoclastic educator Jim Delisle. He writes, "More times than not, smart students who choose to do poorly on purpose have very good reasons for being disillusioned with their middle and high school experiences. And these students may be on to something." Find out what

TiLT HITS 100 -- 100 podcasts, that is, with a special format, Debbie Reber on her own. She says, "I’ve decided to record a solocast so I can have a conversation with you…like a couple of friends talking over a coffee…and update you on what’s happening with TiLT, take you behind the scenes of the podcast, talk a little bit about my book Differently Wired which comes out in less than three months and let you know what I’m planning for that, and answer some of the questions I’ve gotten from listeners." Find the podcast

GHF ONLINE has released its class schedule for the fall of 2018, with classes beginning on August 27. (Read an article about GHF Online in the upcoming March/April issue of 2e Newsletter.) Find out more

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENTS for students with learning disabilities raise lots of issues, as an article at Education Week explains. From the article: "...for students with disabilities -- who often demonstrate their learning in different ways, who can be denied access to rigorous content, and who are particularly vulnerable to disengaging from school -- performance-based assessment systems can be a real game changer." Read more

GERMAN CONFERENCE. Several organizations in Germany host a conference every three years as a platform for researchers, teachers, parents, educators, and education policy-makers to discuss gifted students. This year’s conference is “Gifted Education, Achievement Development, Educational Equality – For All!” It is scheduled for September 19th to 22nd in Muenster. The conference is hosted by the International Centre for the Study of Giftedness (ICBF) and the North-Rhine-Westphalian Centre for Individual Educational Support (lif) in cooperation with the universities of Muenster, Nijmegen and Osnabrueck. Find out more

DISABILITY SCOOP reports on new autism research: "Nearly all children with autism are dealing with at least one other condition — and often several — ranging from anxiety to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, sleep, behavioral and gastrointestinal issues." Read more

FOR ADHD MAVENS, the current issue of European Child Adolescent Psychiatry has several articles on ADHD. From the editorial introduction to the issue: "Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most frequently diagnosed mental disorder in children and adolescents and topic of a wide range of scientific publications. Heterogeneity is a key characteristic of ADHD. This is true for many aspects of the disorder. ADHD is highly variable with regard to degree of impairment, associated comorbidities, symptom presentation, response to treatment, and etiology. This month’s issue contains no less than six ADHD-related articles, which together deal with a variety of important aspects of ADHD." You can read the entire editorial, but -- unless you subscribe -- will have to settle for reading the abstracts of the other article. However, for non-scientists, that could be better anyway. (Note that one of the articles looked into the effects of omega-3 supplements on ADHD and found no beneficial effect.) Find the issue

AND FINALLY, THIS. Don't blame the hormones for adolescent behavior changes, says a study written up in Science Daily. The research used Siberian hamsters, not human teenagers. Find the write-up.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

ADHD Items, Online Summits, Dan Peters, and More

IN PRAISE OF ADHD is the title of an article at the New York Times, whose author suggests that "Some people with A.D.H.D. may be naturally suited to our turbocharged world." He points to genetics-based research which suggests that a certain ADHD-linked gene variant may be valuable in certain environments. Find the article.

TWO ONLINE "SUMMITS" relevant to twice-exceptionality are scheduled in the next month or so. The first, Raising Children with Challenges," is to be held March 20-22. It's free, and suggests that you'll be interested if you give affirmative answers to questions such as "Is your child a little quirky or differently-wired?" Find out more. The second, on April 25-30, is called "The Bright and Quirky Child Online Summit." It promises strategies to help your child thrive. Content will be free on the days of the presentations, for-fee afterward. Find out more.

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. On March 27, ADDitude will present a webinar titled "Screen Time for the ADHD Brain: Technology Rules and Systems for Easily Distracted Teens." The title seems so say it all. Find out more.

KETAMINE FOR DEPRESSION is the topic of a new article at the site of the Dana Foundation. If depression is an issue at your house, check out the article.

DAN PETERS, psychologist and co-founder of California's Summit Center, has a hand in three recent offerings. One is a "Parent Footprint" podcast with Greg Pincus, author of The Homework Strike and someone familiar with issues relevant to our community. Find the podcast. Peters also authored a timely article at Psychology Today, "How Do We Talk about School Shootings to Gifted Kids." Find the article. Thirdly, Peters' Parent Footprint podcast with Scott Barry Kaufmann is still available; it's about the recently-released book Kaufmann edited (with contributors such as Peters) titled Twice Exceptional. Find the podcast.

SENG MINI-CONFERENCE. SENG has been hosting what it calls "mini-conferences" around the country, and has one coming up on May 5 in Seattle. Find out more about the topics, presenters, and other details.

CONFERENCE RECAP. Those who missed the recent Diamonds in the Rough conference put on by the Weinfeld Group can find a recap and photos at the conference site.

RIP STEPHEN HAWKING. Here's a Hawking quote, courtesy of Valerie Strauss' "Answer Sheet" column: "At school, I was never more than about halfway up the class. It was a very bright class. My classwork was very untidy, and my handwriting was the despair of my teachers. But my classmates gave me the nickname Einstein, so presumably they saw signs of something better. When I was twelve, one of my friends bet another friend a bag of sweets that I would never come to anything. I don’t know if this bet was ever settled, and if so, which way it was decided." — 2013, “My Brief History.' Find more Hawking quotes collected by Strauss.

ADHD DRUGS, MOOD. A new study indicates that at least some ADHD drugs increase the amount of glutamate in certain areas of the brain, which is followed by increases in positive emotion. Find the study write-up.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

2e Achiever, Overdiagnosis of ADHD, SEL, Growing Up 2e, More

GROWING UP POOR, LD, AND BLACK... and becoming an orthopedic surgeon is a good trick. The surgeon describes at the site of The Good Men Project three C's that help him be a better father -- communication, compassion, and compromise. He doesn't describe his LD in the piece but throws in a powerful story about saving lives. Find the piece.

ADHD OVERDIAGOSED? Jerome Kagan of Harvard is a developmental psychologist who is ranked as one of the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century. Looking back on his career in an interview with Der Spiegel (it's in English), he expresses doubts about quick diagnoses and resulting pharmacological treatment for conditions such as ADHD and depression. His positions are nuanced but certainly worth reading. Find the interview.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING as a way to get schools to fit the kids is the topic of an article at Education Dive. The thesis: "Social-emotional learning (SEL) can help all students achieve — not just those who have experienced trauma or have behavior issues. SEL also creates a school culture that is 'inclusive of and responsive to' diversity." Find the article.

DYSLEXIA, ADVOCACY, LEARNING TO READ. An NPR article describes how a group of Ohio parents, with the help of a special ed attorney, took on a school district that was not identifying dyslexic students nor helping them read in the proper way. The article explains the difference between the "whole language" approach to teaching reading versus a phonics-based approach. Find the article.

UNDERSTOOD offers a "Parent Journey" blog posting about a young man diagnosed with ADHD at age 6 and some of his resultant trials and tribulations on the way to young adulthood. His mother recounts a moment at age 21 when he said, "“I’m tired of having ADHD. I thought it would be gone by now.” His mother took it as a sign of self-awareness and resilience. Find the blog posting.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES offers an insightful first-person account from a young adult about his struggles with ADHD and AS/NLD. He concludes: "To others who share challenges similar to those I’ve described here, know you’re not alone. There is a path forward that includes accepting your strengths and weakness, working on improving the areas that you can, and finding places that bring out the best in you." Find the account.

EQUITY IN GIFTED ED. Some prominent members of the National Association for Gifted Children have drafted a document titled "A Culturally Relevant Equity-based Bill of Rights for Students of Color." One of the authors introduces the document this way: "Each year, over 500,000 Black and Hispanic students lack access to gifted education services and programs... This Bill of Rights was envisioned with the singular goal of effecting change based on equity and cultural responsiveness. " It involves rights concerning advocacy, access, the nature of gifted programs, educators, curriculum, social/emotional issues, and family/community. Check it out.

TiLT PARENTING, in its 99th podcast, talks to Barry Prizant about his book Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism. From the preview: "As you listen to our conversation, you’ll know exactly why I was so excited to bring Barry onto the show. He is at the forefront of the revolution in helping to change the way neurodiversity is perceived in the world and frankly I’m just so grateful there are people like him in the world doing this critical work." Find the podcast.

FLEXSCHOOL EXPANSION. The founder and co-founder of FlexSchool, currently a 2e-friendly, two-school learning network in New Jersey and Connecticut, are holding an information session in Rye, New York, on March 21 to explore interest for a third campus in the Northern New Jersey or Westchester County, New York, area. Find out more.

IEP RESEARCH. A recent study explored "how educators wrote, used and conceptualized the role of IEPs for students with specific learning disabilities within inclusive general education settings." The results? "...the content of the students' IEPs offered limited guidance on providing students with special education supports and services," said the researcher. Read more.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Myth-Busting, 2e Programs, 2e Movies, Telomeres, and More

MYTH-BUSTING. In Part 3 of a series of blog postings, psychologist Devon MacEachron, who specializes in gifted/2e children, gives her take on essential oils as a treatment for ADHD. She discusses the nature of the oils, the companies distributing them, the evidence that they work (or not), and their safety. If you're using or considering these oils, check out the piece.

2e IN IOWA. Waterloo radio station KWWL covered what it calls the first program in the state for twice-exceptional students, at an elementary school in Waterloo. The program, which sounds like a pull-out program rather than full-time, was made possible by a private donation. Read more.

TiLT PARENTING talks to Tom Ropelewski, the force behind the movies "2e: Twice Exceptional" and "2e2: Teaching the Twice Exceptional." TiLT's Debbie Reber says of her newest podcast, "In our conversation, Tom shares his story and personal why behind making these films, talks about the educational model at Bridges, describes how his films are helping to bring awareness of 2e kids’ into the mainstream, and gives us a sneak peek at his new film coming out later this year." Find the podcast.

RAISING CHILDREN WITH CHALLENGES is a free online summit scheduled for March 20-22 with lots of guests you'll recognize, including Debbie Reber (see above) from whom we first found out about the summit. Here are some of the "qualifying questions" for engaging in the summit: "Does your youngster struggle with impulsivity, focus, or social relationships? Is your child a little quirky or differently-wired? Does anxiety limit your child’s ability to enjoy life? Do you have a youngster with a physical or learning disability? Does she struggle with heightened sensitivity or sensory overload? Is your son or daughter on the Asperger’s/ Autism spectrum?" You get the picture. Find out more.

BREAKTHROUGHS CONFERENCE. Early-bird registration ends on March 13. Find out more about this NYC 2e conference.

SYCAMORE SCHOOL in Arlington, Virginia, a 2e-friendly school, is one of the sponsoring locations for Camp Pursuit, described by the organizers as "a week-long, mixed-age STEAM academic summer camp based on the premise that students must pursue their passions until they become their talents!" Sycamore School's event is listed at the Camp Pursuit website under "Virginia."

GIFTED AND MEDICATED. Psychiatrist Jerald Grobman did an article for Gifted Research and Outreach on medication for gifted individuals. From the article summary: "Short-term use of psychotropic medication can be a useful adjunct to a psychiatric intervention when other methods have failed....Evidence-based recommendations for best practices indicate that these medications achieve the best results when administered in the context of a therapeutic relationship. Often this means medications need only be used on a short-term basis. The clinician who understands the elements of a gifted endowment and a gifted personality can avoid the pitfall of misdiagnosis and not mistake a gifted individual in crisis with a gifted individual who may have developed a genuine psychiatric syndrome or pathological personality disorder." Find the article. Go, GRO!

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN often comes through school, according to an piece at the Washington Post. Education writer Valerie Strauss gives space to a parenting educator and author and says, "This post is a primer for parents about how they could approach finding help for a child with a mental illness." Read it.

UNDERSTOOD has an upcoming expert chat on March 15 titled "Boosting Your Child's Executive Skills." Understood promises you can "learn about the key skills involved in executive function and how you can boost your child’s executive functioning skills." Find out more


MORE ON ENDREW F. Advocate Rich Weinfeld and special ed attorney Michael Eig discuss "the implementation of Endrew F. and how it redefines a student’s right to an appropriate education." Find the discussion.

INCLUDED TODAY, items we wouldn't have dreamed of when we started publishing 2e Newsletter over 14 years ago: a myth-busting article by a psychologist specializing in 2e kiddos; movies about the twice-exceptional and the teachers who educate them; a conference devoted to educating the twice-exceptional; an actual 2e-friendly school; and an online summit with big names discussing the challenges exhibited by twice-exceptional children. It's been a long time and a long road.

AND FINALLY, THIS, from Science Daily: "Researchers found that women who have given birth have shorter telomeres than those who haven't. Telomeres are the end caps of DNA on our chromosomes, which help in DNA replication and get shorter over time. The length of telomeres has been associated with morbidity and mortality previously, but this is the first study to examine links with having children." Now consider what having a twice-exceptional child (or two or three) might do to your telomeres. Find the study write-up.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

2e in School, Evaluations, C.H.A., Screen Time, More

DEALING WITH SCHOOL. A mom and licensed therapist describes her travails with school in a piece at SavannahNow.com. The problems? Her son is you-know-what, and school can't seem to provide the services he needs. She describes her situation and offers several pieces of advice to parents in similar situation, including this: "But most of all don’t give up or let the school system beat you into submission." Find the piece.

INSIDE AN EVALUATION FOR LEARNING DISORDERS is the topic of an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. The article covers who can do an evaluation, the components, the possible need for a neuropsych eval, the process, and more. Find the article.

WHAT'S CHA? The initials refer to complementary health approaches, alternative treatments that can include things like mindfulness but also massage, vitamins, and aromatherapy. An article at The New York Times says that about a third of parents will disclose CHA to their doctors, although that number might be low. The article encourages parents to have open conversations with the child's healthcare provider about anything being provided at home for health reasons. Find the article.

MORE ON SCREENS. Yes, we know we presented several items in our previous blog, but here's a new one with potentially significant ramifications. It's an article by a researcher describing what he found about the link between screen time and depression plus suicide attempts. For example: "We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent less than an hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor (depression, thinking about suicide, making a suicide plan or attempting suicide)." Read more. (NOTE: While the site where the article appears, IFLScience.com is unfamiliar to us, a media credibility site indicates that IFLScience publishes accurate information.)

GHF has announced that its summer online class schedule is available now and that its fall schedule is coming soon. GHF is 2e-friendly, so if you're looking for enrichment or something for homeschooling, check it out.

2e CENTER PD. The 2e Center for Research and Professional Development in Studio City, California, has scheduled a six-day professional development experience for educators of 2e students. Titled “Master Classes in 2e Education,” the June event is an opportunity to explore practical strategies in strength-based instruction, multi-modal curriculum, literacy development, and mathematics through understanding. A seminar series in academic and emotional regulation and in executive function will provide insight and unique approaches for student success, says the 2e Center. Find out more.

TiLT PARENTING talks to the producer of the movies "2e: Twice Exceptional" and "2e2: Teaching the Twice Exceptional." TiLT's Debbie Reber says, "In our conversation, Tom [Ropelewski] shares his story and personal why behind making these films, talks about the educational model at Bridges, describes how his films are helping to bring awareness of 2e kids’ into the mainstream, and gives us a sneak peek at his new film coming out later this year." Find the podcast.

DYSLEXIA. From Science Daily: "Many of the current US Federal and State dyslexia laws should be scrapped as they ignore scientific evidence and privilege some poor readers at the expense of huge numbers of others, according to a leading expert in reading disability." Find the article.

DEPRESSION. Lots of items over the past weeks. Here are the headlines.