Monday, May 21, 2018

Attention, Mental Health, Book Tour, and More

GETTING IT. A teacher writes in Education Week about students who have trouble paying attention. She says, "Some of my brightest, most creative, and capable minds are the ones who struggle to pay attention in class." Does she tell them, "listen better" or "focus"? Nope. Instead, she'll have an individual conversation with the student about their attention issues, with results she says "can be truly profound." Read more.

CELEBRITIES, MENTAL HEALTH. US News notes, "It's become the new norm for stars to divulge vulnerabilities once kept closely guarded." The news organization gives plenty of examples and quotes a psychologist about the benefits of de-stigmatization and normalization by such revelations. The article also points to the campaign #MyYoungerSelf by the Child Mind Institute, currently returning for year two in Mental Health Awareness Month (May). Find the article. Find #MyYoungerSelf.

ADDITUDE offers on its website an explanation of executive function disorder (EFD) and how it fits with ADHD and/or LDs. "When a professional evaluating a child or adult finds evidence of EFD, it is essential for her to clarify whether the disorder results in ADHD, LD, or both. Only then can the child or adult receive the appropriate treatment for his specific problem," says the article. Find it.

TiLT BOOK TOUR. Debbie Reber has scheduled visits to a number of cities in the U.S. in June as part of the launch of her book Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World. According to Reber, "[T]he plan for tour stops is simple: meaningful discussions about how we can change the future for differently wired kids, community building through connection, crowdsourcing favorite local resources, no-holds-barred Q&A, and real, authentic conversations. (And potentially some special guests, TiLT swag giveaways, and yummy treats!)" We see four East Coast cities on her list, three West Coast cities -- and Chicago (actually Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville)! Find out more.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES offers "Why College Is Daunting for LD Students." The reasons include pressure, workload, personal responsibility, and seven more. Find out more about college traps to anticipate.

UNDERSTOOD has an upcoming Expert Chat this Thursday titled "Your Child's Rights in the IEP Process." Find out more.

CAMP SUMMIT WEST in Northern Calilfornia, for gifted (and 2e) kids, still has a few openings, according to its organizers. Find out more.

TEACHER CONTRIBUTIONS. When you think about what teachers bring to the classroom as they try to make sure their students do well, consider that they also buy classroom supplies, on average about $500 worth per year -- on a salary that usually doesn't reflect their value to society in the first place. Read more.

EDUCATION POLICY, PRACTICE, LAW, ADVOCACY. The items below are "big picture" items, things to think about when not immersed in IEPs, homework supervision, therapy sessions, medication monitoring, etc etc etc.
  • Congress in the U.S. is evidently considering rolling back access to higher education for students with disabilities and for underserved students, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. NCLD gives you a way to take action on the matter. 
  • COPAA, the Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys, observes the anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. They quote part of the decision, which provides a vision of education worth contemplating. COPAA relates "Brown" to IDEA, and writes, "COPAA fights to make that promise of an inclusive, high quality education for students with disabilities become and remain a reality." COPAA also refers to current efforts to undermine equal access to education; find the statement
  • Chalkbeat writes about the disproportionate amount of disciplinary actions faced by students with disabilities in Colorado. Go to Chalkbeat
  • Finally, two former U.S. Secretaries of Education write about partisanship and the state of the U.S. education system today. They, too, note the crucial role of education in America. They write, "Higher expectations and strong standards — backed by federal policy that protects the enormous taxpayer investment in K-12 schools and higher education — are bipartisan concerns. Respect for teaching, and the accompanying need for better preparation and support for teachers, must be one unifying goal." Find the piece.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

LD in the Workplace, Labels, Post's Posts, and More

LD IN THE WORKPLACE. When we saw the title of the article we figured it would be an interesting read: "8 Top Tips for People with Learning and Attention Issues to Find Success in the Workplace." It's in Forbes. And it starts off with the thoughts of David Flink, who has built Eye to Eye, an organization that helps people who learn differently... and that hires people who learn differently. It's about pride, self-acceptance, and more. The last tip: "Make Your Goal To Be Yourself (Not to Fit In)." Sound advice for any young person in the 2e community. Find the article.

LABELS. They're good. They're bad. They're both. An educator/author writes in Education Week about various perspectives on labels and how they can help or hinder. He cites a study showing that the lack of labels can have a positive impact on educational achievement. In the end he quotes what he says is an old saying in education: "If it's good enough for a special education student, it should be good enough for any student." [And that statement, we think, would be equally as meaningful substituting "2e" for "special education."] The meaning? "Students shouldn't need a label to get good teaching and impactful interventions that will help them become better learners." Read more.

GENDER AND TESTING. The type of question used to measure knowledge in a specific topic might give the advantage to either boys or girls, according to research written up at Journalist's Resource. Math questions? Multiple choice. Advantage, boys. Reading and language? "Constructed response" questions. Advantage, girls. Read more.

GIFTED CHALLENGES. In our last blog we pointed to a post by psychologist Gail Post about the dangers of assuming that a condition like anxiety was the result of giftedness and not the result of another underlying cause that should be attended to. For Mental Health Awareness Month, Post has gathered a number of her writings about topics related to giftedness and various mental health topics. If you haven't been a regular reader of Post -- or if you'd like a refresher -- check out her blog.

TiLT's newest podcast is "Dr. Laura Anderson on Gender Nonconformity and Differently Wired Kids." Find it.

2e2: TEACHING THE TWICE EXCEPTIONAL. If you're in LA, you can get a sneak preview of this film on May 20 at 2 pom at the United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills. Producer Tom Ropelewski says that admission is $10 per person, and all are welcome. A Q&A and short reception will follow the showing of the film. Seating is limited, he says, so to reserve a spot please RSVP to Jon Baum.

ANXIETY IN TEENS AND KIDS. Here's another write-up on the role of social media in creating anxiety.

EDUCATION POLICY, LAW. "Full funding" for IDEA. The Feds don't cough up the amounts they promised in order to pay for IDEA in states and districts across the country. Thanks to an interactive map, you can find the shortfall in your state -- money that should be there (but isn't) to help kids like yours. Find the map.


  • ASD. A new study analyzing more than 1,000 brain scans reveals surprising new insights into brain networks in people with autism, after applying a new personalized approach to brain mapping. The new approach provides a way to examine the location of individual brain networks with more precision. Find the study write-up
  • OCD. A new study reports that people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) feel more distress when viewing images to provoke OCD-related emotions than their unaffected siblings. Although the unaffected siblings showed lower levels of distress, they had higher levels of brain activity in regions important for attention. The findings suggest that the family members may draw on additional brain resources to compensate for potential abnormalities in emotion regulation. Find the study write-up
  • ADHD. Physician's Briefing says this: "For children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), participation in after-school activities (ASA) is associated with reduced odds of moderate-to-severe ADHD and having seven or more missed school days, according to a study..." Find out more

Monday, May 14, 2018

2e and Baseball, Performance Anxiety, Brain Size, Tech, More

2e, BASEBALL. Imagine you're a bright teen who is also non-verbal and suffers from anxiety. You find that being part of the high school baseball team is something you like a lot, that it gives you confidence, that you feel accepted. Now imagine that near the end of the baseball season, someone judges that you were ineligible to play because of academic reasons that aren't clear. As a result, your team is forced to forfeit all of the games it won during the season, and is denied a chance to participate in the state playoffs. How do you feel? It happened to a young man in North Carolina. Read more.

EDUCATION DIVE did a quick wrap of recent 2e-related news, some of which you've already read here. They cover Scott Barry Kaufman's NPR interview; Understood's coverage of 2e; how some schools support 2e students; and the plight of minority 2e students. Go to Education Dive.

TED TALK. On the weekly TED playlist we get was one titled "Why you should make useless things." A young woman inventor describes the toothbrush helmet she made, and the vegetable chopper and others -- none of which turned out to be useful. But usefulness wasn't the point. In the talk she says,"The true beauty of making useless things [is] this acknowledgment that you don't always know what the best answer is." For her, it was also an opportunity to deals with issues of performance anxiety, even though she achieved straight A's in middle and high school. Find the talk.

DANA FOUNDATION. For brain mavens, the Dana Foundation offers an article called "The Skinny on Brains: Size Matters." The blurb says, "This month’s article examines the evolution of the neocortex, a part of the cerebral cortex concerned with sight and hearing in mammals, regarded as the most developed part of the cortex." Find the article.

UNDERSTOOD offers "Tech Finder," information about apps and games for the child with learning and attention issues. You can search by issue (eg, reading), grade, and technology type. Find Tech Finder.

TECH IN THE CLASSROOM. The writer at Jen Reviews has posted "9 Amazing Benefits of Technology in the Classroom" along with 18 ways to incorporate said technology. Example: improve knowledge retention using blended learning, or games. Find the article.

SENG WEBINAR. On May 17 SENG has scheduled "Natural Approaches for Common Medical and Psychiatric Conditions." The session description says, "Many gifted and talented children and adults exhibit both medical and mental/emotional symptoms. Often these individuals are very sensitive and may not respond well to conventional treatments with numerous side effects..... Many integrative, functional, natural, holistic solutions are available and effective for these sensitive and bright G, T & 2E individuals." Find out more.

2e-FOCUSED PANEL DISCUSSION. The Institute for Educational Advancement is presenting a panel discussion on Tuesday, May 22, in Pasadena on the topic of twice-exceptionalities. All panelists are parents/professionals who have 2e kiddos. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. An MD-turned-teacher reflects on the disparity in "respect" accorded each profession, the impediments to teacher respect and effectiveness, and some possible solutions. "As a pediatrician, it is hard for me to understand this widespread devaluation of those caring for and educating our nation’s children. Both teachers and doctors work tirelessly to decrease suffering and enhance well-being through essential and complementary methods." Read the perspective and consider the benefits to our kids and our country of a change in attitudes and practices.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Kaufman Interview, Mythbusting, Breakthroughs Video, Spring Sale, More

SCOTT BARRY KAUFMAN fans might enjoy an NPR interview with him about "ways schools and teachers can help these twice exceptional, or '2E,' students thrive." It's prompted by his recent book, an edited compilation on the topic of twice-exceptionality featuring many authors familiar to the readers of 2e Newsletter. Find the interview.

SENSORY PROCESSING THERAPY. Psychologist Devon MacEachron, in Part 6 of her "Mythbusters" series. tackles the topic of the usefulness of sensory integration therapy for autism. She takes a conservative view. Read "Mythbusters."

MISDIAGNOSIS? OR REAL DIAGNOSIS? Psychologist Gail Post starts off a recent blog entry this way: "...while gifted intelligence and social/emotional issues can provoke their own set of unique troubles, sometimes... sometimes... the issue is a mental health problem." Don't ignore symptoms or simply attribute them to giftedness, she urges, and get help when needed. Read more.

BREAKTHROUGHS IN TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATION starts today in Manhattan. (Find out more.) Julie Skolnick, of With Understanding Comes Calm, is there and promises live Facebook interviews with presenters and attendees. To get the flavor of the event, check out Julie's Facebook page.

SPRING SALE. Until May 15, our "Spotlight on 2e" series booklets are on sale. See our website. Paid newsletter subscribers, check your inbox for even better prices.

HOW FAR WE'VE COME is Jen the Blogger's look-back (in apparent astonishment) at her experiences with 2e kidsos (her own) over the past decade or two. If you're just starting on your 2e journey, this post is definitely something you want to read. Yes, things can turn out well. Find it.

TiLT PARENTING's newest podcast is about Eye to Eye and its mission of matching mentors to kiddos with learning challenges. Eye to Eye has released an app which, according to TiLT, makes "Eye to Eye’s mentoring and advocacy skill building program accessible to kids from around the world." Find the podcast.

DOES SOCIAL MEDIA CAUSE DEPRESSION? That's the question addressed this week in an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. As the article notes in its opening paragraph, "In several recent studies, teenage and young adult users who spend the most time on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms were shown to have a substantially (from 13 to 66 percent) higher rate of reported depression than those who spent the least time." Read more.

NAEP REPORT CARD. You've probably seen references to "The Nation's Report Card" on educational progress released recently. One part of the report card deals with the progress of students with disabilities. Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities gives a quick snapshot of the lack of progress there. Read it.

STUDENT SELF-ADVOCACY is the topic of a blog entry at the site of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT). At Landmark College, self-advocacy is built into the curriculum as a "student learning outcome" for year one. Read the blog. Separately, the application deadline for LCIRT summer PD courses in June 17. Find out more.

ASK FOR A SPECIFIC TEACHER for your child with learning issues? Understood offers advice for parents tempted to do that. Find the advice.
COPAA, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, has released its annual report, covering its mission and goals, structure, activities, and financials. Find it.
GIFTED RESOURCES NEWSLETTER. Jo Freitag's May edition is out. Her Australia-based organization is "an independent not for profit information service which aims to provide news of support groups, conferences, lectures, workshops, programs and resources relating to giftedness and 2e issues which are available online and face to face." Find the newsletter.
NAGC recently announced the release of a "microcredential" to help educators recognize indicators of potential giftedness in students in traditionally underrepresented populations. NAGC has three more microcrentials in development: for supporting social-emotional development in the gifted; for implementing evidence-based instructional practices; and for implementing the appropriate level of challenge to support gifted students. Find out more.

Monday, May 7, 2018

A Reading Suggestion, Depression Research, A Research Participation Opportunity, and More

NATIONAL TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY is May 8, part of Teacher Appreciation Week. If you know a teacher who has helped that great 2e kiddo you know, please take a moment to express  your appreciation. The PTA has some suggestions; so does the National Education Association. To borrow Nike's expression, just do it! 

READING SUGGESTION. A friend in the 2e community sent a suggestion for an article that engaged her. It was originally published by the National Joint Commission on Learning Disabilities in late 2016, and is titled "Learning Disabilities and Achieving High Quality Education Standards." Our friend calls the article, "both beautifully conceived, but also a comprehensive statement of expectations for high-quality education standards." See what you think.

DEPRESSION RESEARCH. A news item from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation: "Esketamine Reduced Suicidal Thoughts Within Hours of Treatment in Patients with Severe Depression." The drug is closely related to ketamine. Find the item.

TiLT PARENTING. if you visit this site only for the podcasts, you're missing other resources for parents of "differently wired" kids. For example, Debbie Reber also offers "10 strategies for 2018"; information about her forthcoming "Differently Wired" book; and more. Find the resources.

UNDERSTOOD EVENT. On Thursday, May 10, Understood is offering an expert chat titled "Focus on Strengths-based IEPs." The blurb for the event promises "resources to help you learn advocacy tips and strategies." Find out more.

RESEARCH PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITY. A doctoral candidate is looking for parents with at least two years of experience homeschooling gifted or 2e children to participate in a study. The purpose of this study is to explain the educational processes used by homeschooling families of gifted and twice-exceptional children. The educational processes include the curriculum, instructional methods, and structure used in homeschooling. The study will be conducted through online chat applications. Please contact the researcher directly for more information: Bridgette Whitlow-Spurlock at (719) 238-3443 or

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Endrew F Aftermath, Mental Health Month, 2e Achievers, More

ENDREW F. "Anyway you slice it, it hasn't changed the trends. The same folks are still winning — the districts." That's what an education law expert says a year after the Endrew F decision supposedly gave a higher standard for special ed services provided by school districts; this is according to an Education Week article. Read more.

MENTAL HEALTH MONTH -- that's May, a couple of our sources remind us. The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds offers some resources for the occasion; find them. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry also notes the observation and points readers to its "Facts for Families Guide," with information on topics such as ADHD, depression, emotional distress, and more; find the "Facts."

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES says, "Each year Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities honors a group of truly outstanding young people who, despite their learning challenges, are making a difference in their schools and communities through their remarkable achievements." Meet the 2018 honorees, who achieve as they deal with issues such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, and more.

FOR THE SUMMER. Bright Math Camp, at the University of Ottawa, is back again, according to its organizer. It's a not-for-profit camp for the promotion of mathematics. Find out more.

TEACHER PD: PARENT INPUT. Understood offers a parent toolkit titled "How to Ask for Schoolwide Teacher Training to Help Kids with Learning and Attention Issues." Topics covered include FAQs about teacher PD; strength-based IEPs; multi-tier systems of support; personalized learning; and more. Find the toolkit.

TiLT PARENTING's Podcast #106 focuses on sibling dynamics, and features author and parent coach Julie King. Find the podcast.

SENG reminds us that early-bird pricing for its July conference ends this month. If you're thinking about attending this conference (in San Diego this year), find out more.

GIFTED AND DISTRACTIBLE, the May edition, is now out. Julie Skolnick provides 2e-centered articles, information about events, and book suggestions. Find the newsletter.


  • Education Week published "Daydreaming or Distracted? What Teachers Misunderstand about ADHD." Find it
  • Edutopia published "Setting Students with ADHD Up for Success," strategies for educators. Find it.

Monday, April 30, 2018

HIdden Giftedness, Events, Resources, Depression Research, More

FINDING "HIDDEN" GIFTEDNESS. The state of Tennessee and the National Association for Gifted Children are piloting a "micro-credential" program to help teachers identify giftedness in traditionally underrepresented groups, such as students who are from disadvantaged backgrounds, non-English-speaking backgrounds, racial/ethnic minorities... and, yes, students with learning disabilities. The four- to six-week program is one of dozens of PD credentials offered by Tennessee. Read more at Education Week or at the site of NAGC.


  • The fourth annual conference "Breakthroughs in Twice-Exceptional Education" is scheduled in Manhattan for May 10-12 at Cooper Union. It's sponsored by the 2e Study Center at the Quad and Quad Preparatory School. Find out more
  • TECA and SENG are putting on a Long Island (New York) regional conference on May 18. Organizers promise a day of speakers on giftedness and 2e; a screening of "2e2: Teaching the Twice-Exceptional"; and SMPG (SENG Model Parent Group) training. Find out more
LDA CALL FOR SPEAKERS. The Learning Disabilities Association of America has issued a call for proposals for presentations at its February, 2019, annual conference. Find out more.

LDA AND UNDERSTOOD have issued a guideline on differentiating ADHD and sensory processing issues. The organizations say, "Does your child have issues with personal space, sitting still, or feeling comfortable in public places? It could be sensory processing issues, ADHD, or a combination of both." Go to the guideline.

  • A global study has found 44 genetic risk factors for major depression, according to Reuters. Read more. Another recent study identified 90 genes linked to depressions; read more. Both studies were done in the UK. 
  • Researchers believe they have uncovered a method that could be useful in predicting a depressed patient's treatment prognosis, prior to starting treatment. The predictions are based on "neural markers," activity in specific brain regions. Read more
SUMMER PD. The Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa offers summer professional development opportunities for educators of the gifted. (The Center is "2e-aware.") Find out more.

MYTHS OF GIFTEDNESS. The South China Morning Post recently published "Five Myths of Giftedness in Children." One myth is titled "The Gifted Only Myth." From the article: "Similar to the myth that giftedness is not a special need is the idea that learning difficulties and giftedness fall on one spectrum together. That you could draw a single line from learning difficulties to giftedness and every child would fall somewhere on that line." (You know how workable that concept is.) Read more.

#MYYOUNGERSELF. Last year the Child Mind Institute featured a number of grown-up achievers who shared "messages of hope" with their younger selves. Now the Institute promises this: "The campaign returns on May 1st, bringing together more than three dozen actors, Olympians, authors, comedians, businesspeople and others to share personal videos throughout the month, speaking movingly to their younger selves about growing up with a mental health or learning disorder." Find out more.

AUTISM RESOURCE. The National Autism Academy makes available free videos covering "The Seven Emotional Secrets of Parents with Autistic Children." A sample objective: learn "[h]ow to approach your Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting with power and persuasion to get the resources your child needs." Learn more about the videos.

SUMMER CAMP RESOURCE. The Whole Child Academy on Long Island is offering a variety of summer sessions for gifted and 2e kiddos under the heading "Mentoring Scientific Minds. Find out more.