Monday, July 17, 2017

ADHD, Growing Out Of, Summer, and More

THOSE WITH FAMILIES IN THE "ADHD ZONE" will likely be interested in an obit of Keith Conners (think "Conners Scale") appearing in The New York Times, which is really a recap of thinking about ADHD since the 1950s. The final quote from Conners in the obit: "The numbers [of diagnoses] make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous. This is a concoction to justify the giving out of the medication at unprecedented and unjustified levels.” Find the obit.

ADHD MEDS, IRRITABILITY. If you're in the ADHD zone and have concerns about whether ADHD meds can cause irritability in your child, you might be interested in the results of a Yale University study showing that while amphetamine-derived meds, like Adderall, are associated with increased irritability, methylphenidates, like Ritalin, are not. Find the study write-up and, as always, consult your pediatrician or psychiatrist.

DEVON MACEACHRON has posted a piece at her blog about "growing out" of LDs, ADHD, or Asperger's. Does that happen? The psychologist answers, "probably not," but she notes that career choices can help individuals find success in the right environment. She writes, "...children don’t usually grow out of it, but they may not be troubled by the different way their brain is wired when the demands of the environment change. In fact, having a differently wired brain may confer distinct advantages." Find the blog.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES offers ways to insert learning into common summer activities such as shopping at the supermarket, planning a vacation, cooking, and taking a nature walk. Unless you've shipped that 2e kiddo off to three-month summer camp, check out the tips.

AND FOR THE END OF SUMMER, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum has opened registration for its fall series of online education programs. For 2e kiddos attending regular school, these programs could be a means of enrichment. 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.

THE BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION has posted an article on its website on a topic we've mentioned in passing before -- biological overlap in disorders that are diagnosed and labeled separately. In particular, the article notes the differences and similarities in gray matter with bipolar and anxiety. Read more.

UNDERSTOOD is offering a "Live Expert Chat" on the topic of executive function tomorrow, Tuesday, July 18 at 3pm ET. The event's blurb says that professor/researcher Stephanie Carlson will be "on hand to explain what happens in the brains of kids with these issues, and what the latest research shows." Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS, in the spirit of "the tree doesn't move far from the apple." A LinkedIn post at the Gifted Talented Network pointed us to the Gifted Adults Foundation and a newly-issued leaflet called "Exceptional and profound giftedness in adults." You can find the leaflet -- and lots of others on related topics -- at the site of the foundation. See the last leaflet in the list.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Clinicians, Depression, Brain Stimulation, and More

MEMBERS OF THE 2e COMMUNITY are likely, at some point, to have to deal with clinicians about a child's cognitive or emotional issues. The "article of the week" at the site of the Child Mind Institute tells parents what to look for in a diagnosis -- how to judge that a clinician is taking care. It covers actions the clinician should take (for example, doing a broad evaluation), tools the clinician might use, and tips on finding a qualified professional. Find the article.

DEPRESSION AND GENDER. Medical News Today reports on research indicating that depression affects male adolescents and female adolescents differently. The difference was detected in a research setting while using fMRI. The research results would seem to encourage gender-specific treatment approaches for adolescents with depression. Read more.

BRAIN STIMULATION FOR LDs? A small study seems to indicate that a type of brain stimulation called transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) improved the ability of children with mathematical learning disabilities. While acknowledging that more research remains to be done, one of the study authors said, "Our research suggests that children with learning difficulties might benefit from combining their learning with tRNS, which has been suggested to improve learning and alter brain functions in healthy adults." Find the study write-up.

ARE YOU ORGANIZED? If so, good for you. If not, perhaps check out podcast Episode 65 in TiLT Parenting's series. The episode is titled "Bringing Clarity into Your Home, Spaces, and Life." It's a conversation with a "professional organizer," and you can bet there's a slant toward families of "differently wired kids." Find the podcast.

GOOD NEWS ON ADHD MEDS? An Indiana University study indicates that ADHD meds are tied to a lower risk (about one-third lower) of alcohol and drug abuse in teens and adults. The study used data on three million Americans identified with ADHD. Find the article.

UNDERSTOOD this week reposts an article from last year titled "7 Things I Wish People Knew about Parenting a Child with Auditory Processing Disorder." A parent offers advice about what works and what doesn't when communicating with a child with APD. Find the article.

EDUCATION POLICY AND LAW. Disability Scoop reports this: "Less than half of states are meeting their obligations to appropriately serve students with disabilities under the nation’s special education law." You can find out if your state meets its obligations in the Disability Scoop article. Separately, if you're looking for a brief (60-second) summary of what the current administration's plans for the U.S. education budget are, Education Week has just what you're looking for.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

2e Scholarship, the Terror of Not Being Able to Read, and More

HERE'S WHAT WE NEED MORE OF -- scholarships available to students at private, 2e-friendly schools. FlexSchool has awarded a student at its New Haven, Connecticut, campus a scholarship valued at half of the tuition for the student's high school tenure. The William Morse Scholarship is named in honor of a mentor to FlexSchool's founder, Jacqui Byrne. Read more about the scholarship and its inaugural recipient.

JONATHAN MOONEY, in a short piece newly posted at Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, describes the intense terror of read-aloud time at school when he was young and unable to read. Find it. Mooney, of course, went on to be a Rhodes Scholar finalist and a persistent advocate for kids with learning and attention issues.

MEDSCAPE offers us two items of possible interest depending on your family situation:
  • A "Midyear Review" provides guidelines on a variety of topics from a variety of medical sources. For example, one set of guidelines is on childhood obesity; another is on preventive health care for children, from the AAP; and yet another is "guidelines on depression with mixed features." Find the guidelines. (Free registration might be required.)
  • Also from Medscape, an article reporting on research that indicates medications can boost academic performance in ADHD patients. Find it
ONE OF THE NEWS SOURCES we scan is an e-newsletter from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and their most recent missive points to two articles of possible interest to parents in the 2e community. One offers tips to identify whether a teen might be misusing his or her ADHD meds, just something else for you to worry about; find the article. The other article is titled, "9 Books to Help Your Child with Anxiety," and it's from Check out the books.

RESOURCE. Don't forget that Wrightslaw has a "Yellow Pages for Kids," organized by state, that might help you find resources of various types as you raise or teach that 2e kiddo. Wrightslaw does encompass twice exceptionality on its site, having a topic area devoted just to 2e, but in checking out resources in the Yellow Pages we recommend making sure that the provider or vendor is conversant with both the gifted side and the LD side. Go to the Yellow Pages.

EDUCATION POLICY AND LAW. In an article datelined July 9, Education Week again visits the issue of protecting student civil rights in the new U.S. administration. The article covers a recent letter sent to the Department of Education by U.S. lawmakers concerned about staff cuts and rollbacks of earlier civil rights procedures. Remember that this issue is of relevance to the 2e community insofar as civil rights apply to those with disabilities, including learning disabilities. Read the article.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Gifted Ed, Scholarships, Dyslexia, OCD, Depression, Allergies, Sleep

AUSTIN SCHOOLS AND DYSLEXIA. The Austin, Texas, school district is making a special effort to identify and service students with dyslexia, according to the city's American Statesman news outlet. During the past school year, the school provided intervention services to about 8,600 students with dyslexia, this after admitting "We were missing a lot of kids." The number of students now served represents over 10 percent of the students in the district. Read more.

WHO GETS GIFTED ED? Education Week analyzed data from the what we assume is the civil rights section of the U.S. Department of Education regarding the incidence of gifted ed in the various states. According to Education Week, about seven percent of students are in gifted programs nationwide, even though many schools don't offer such programs. You can find out how your state does and read more at the site of Education Week or in the following graphic from the site: How Accessible Is Gifted Education in Your State?

THE ANNE FORD AND ALLEGRA FORD THOMAS college scholarships for graduating high school seniors with ADHD or an LD are awarded annually. The winners for 2017 have already been announced, but if you have a student who'll be a senior next year perhaps check out the scholarships at the site of NCLD and put it on your calendar for next year.

OCD AFFECTS THE WHOLE FAMILY. You know that if you've got it in your family, but a communique from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation documents just how and how much disruption can occur. Find out more.

DEPRESSION. A new study reported at Science Daily has pinpointed how one particular gene plays a central role in depression -- either protecting from stress or triggering a downward spiral, depending on its level of activity. Find the study write-up.

ALLERGIES can affect your kiddo's emotional and cognitive life, according to a couple recently-published items. An article in The New York Times is titled "As Pollen Counts Rise, Test Scores Fall"; find it. And UPI reports on research finding a link between food allergies and anxiety and suggesting several possible explanations; find it.

SLEEP AND YOUR KIDDO. We've been saving up items on sleep that describe ways in which sleep habits can help or harm that young person you raise or teach. Here they are...
  • A Washington Post article provides guidelines for the number of hours of sleep for different ages and points out some of the factors contributing to lack of sleep. 
  • Medical News Today reports on research that explains how poor sleep quality can affect learning.
  • The Brookings Institution has posted a report urging that we "start high school later for better academic outcomes," explaining why it's a good idea and noting that it should be feasible without undo expense. 
  • The UK Guardian, in an article, doesn't like the effect of late-night mobile phone use on teens' sleep or mental health. 
  • And a TED talk by a sleep researcher/clinician/mom discusses "how early school start times deprive adolescents of sleep during the time of their lives when they need it most."

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Growth Mindset, the Gut, Gifted Competition, and More

GROWTH MINDSET has been discussed, promoted, and presumably encouraged in young people for the past few years. An idea fostered by Carol Dweck, it has evidently been been subject to hype and false claims, according to an article in Education Week by a fellow education researcher and professor. If you're curious how the term and concept have been misappropriated, check out the article.

THE MICROBIOME. Researchers have identified gut microbiota that interact with brain regions associated with mood and behavior, identifying behavioral and neurobiological differences associated with microbial composition in healthy humans. Some of the conditions associated with maladaptive gut bacteria are depression and anxiety. Read a study write-up. And by coincidence, you have an opportunity to learn more about the microbiome and mental health in a free "Meet the Scientist" session put on by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation on July 11. Find out more.

NEW BOOK FROM GHF. Gifted Homeschoolers Forum has announced a new publication, From Home Education to Higher Education: A Guide for Recruiting, Assessing, and Supporting Homeschooled Students. According to GHF, the author reaches out to higher education professionals as well as homeschooling parents. The book encourages professionals to to recruit, assess, and assimilate homeschooled students so that they may better enter and thrive in colleges and universities. At the same time, says GHF, the book offers advice to homeschooling families to help them discover what admissions professionals want in an ideal applicant, better preparing them to write those essays, answer those questions, and work with the admissions professionals at their chosen schools. Go to GHF's site, but note that the book is not yet listed in the GHF Press section.

GIFTED CREATIVITY COMPETITION. The Midwest Torrance Center for Creativity has announced a competition for students 8-18 to submit works in the areas of writing, music, visual arts, and inventions. Deadline: August 21. Find out more.

  • Education Week has published an article titled "What Can New Voucher Studies Tell Us about Students with Disabilities?" Two studies, according to the article, showed this: "Students who used vouchers in the state to enroll in private schools showed no academic gains in their early years of enrollment, and in some cases lost ground." Read more
  • The New York Times notes in an article that the U.S. Department of Education intends to scale back civil rights investigations -- investigations that cover many area but also include, for example, whether a 2e kiddo is discriminated against when he or she is denied gifted services. Read the article
  • And Education Week recaps the K-12-relevant highlights of the 2016-17 term of the U.S. Supreme Court. Find the article
AND FINALLY, THIS. Older dads may have "geekier" sons, according to research reported at Science Daily. Find out more.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Identifying Giftedness and LDs, Personalized Learning, and More

THE RECENT NCLD REPORT on the incidence of learning disabilities is the take-off point for an article at titled "Ways to Better Identify and Support Students with 'Invisible' Learning Disabilities." The author provides reasons even gifted kiddos may not be diagnosed and receive services, then riffs on three remedies to the situation as proposed in the NCLD report -- get the word out, develop structures, and follow up. Find the article.

BEING MISSED AS GIFTED. 2e kiddos face the double hurdles of being identified with an LD (see the item above) and being identified as gifted. The Brainware Learning Company offers reasons why bright children might not test as gifted, using findings by Scott Barry Kaufman. The article also posits a new view of giftedness that encompasses many "flavors" beyond fluid intelligence -- flavors such as spatial giftedness, verbal giftedness, and others you might see in the child you raise or teach. Find the article.

WHO GETS TO BE GIFTED is the name of a short documentary featuring leading experts on the topic. The film's blurb says: "In this powerful 12-minute piece, director/producer Marc Smolowitz sits down with five of our nation's most dynamic thought leaders to contemplate issues of race, gender, class and sexual identity, especially in relationship to gifted education, the IQ and 21st century ideas around what constitutes intelligence." Find the video.

A CUSTOMIZED EDUCATION would seem to be ideal for a twice-exceptional student -- or any student, really. The Chan-Zuckerberg duo, according to Education Week, "[is] gearing up to invest hundreds of millions of dollars a year in a new vision of 'whole-child personalized learning,' with the aim of dramatically expanding the scope and scale of efforts to provide every student with a customized education. The couple has selected a former Deputy U.S. Secretary of Education to head the initiative. Find out more.

NAGC, in a recent communique to members, said this: "We are celebrating the Fourth of July early! Yesterday, the State of Connecticut took a bold and important step in supporting the special needs for all children with extraordinary gifts and talents when Governor Malloy signed into law An Act Concerning Services for Gifted and Talented Students. Find out more about the bill.

TO BE GIFTED AND LEARNING DISABLED, the 3rd edition, is now available from Prufrock Press. The three authors are Susan Baum, Robin Schader, and Steven Own. Those in the 2e community may use a code for 20% off the price of the book on the Prufrock site. Go to the book's page and then enter code TBGLD20 at checkout to receive the discount.

NY METRO PARENTS has a (sponsored) article titled "Why Do So Many Gifted and Talented Children Hate to Write?" The authors state, "Gifted children need a structure from which to build, process, and organize their ideas, a creative infrastructure to distract them from the arduous task of doing so--along with a dab of mathematics." Read the article to find the structure.

POLICY AND LAW. Education Week takes a look at how assessments under ESSA will affect high school students with disabilities; find the article. And The Washington Post describes how the proposed healthcare bill might cut funds schools use to help special-ed students; find the article.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

IEP Success Story, ADHD, Tourette's, OCD, Podcasts, and More

OUTSIDE-THE-BOX THINKING benefits both the student and the school. Parent, advocate and author Amanda Marin writes at Education Week about a success story -- yes, success -- for a twice-exceptional student at the hands of a creative school administration and staff. The story involves a teacher frustrated by her inability to understand the student in question... a social worker... and a hard-working IEP team, all backed by a school principal who encouraged collaboration and innovative thinking. Find the story.

ADHD IN THE FAMILY. How does a family plan and organize when both child and parent have ADHD? That the topic of an article at the Huffington Post, and it offers ways to "re-frame ADHD more collaboratively." For example: Follow routines together; create reminders together; and more. Find the article.


  • A study write-up at Medical News Today noting that people who go to bed late have less control over ADHD symptoms. Find the write-up
  • "Five Must-read Articles, and an Online Course, to Help Children with ADHD" at the Huffington Post. Find it
  • "When ADHD is All in the Family," an article at ADDitude, offers more ways to deal with the shared diagnosis. Find the article
  • A long-lasting ADHD drug from Shire has been approved by the FDA, according to Reuters. Read more
TOURETTE'S is the topic of a couple recent articles.
  • A study write-up at Science Daily says that researchers have identified structural changes in two genes that increase the risk of developing Tourette syndrome; go to Science Daily
  • Another write-up at Science Daily notes that children with Tourette's may have an elevated rate of autism symptoms. This study was a follow-up to research by the same team showing that Tourette's, OCD and ADHD share common symptoms and genetic relationships. Find the write-up
OCD, INFLAMMATION. Certain psychiatric conditions -- depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder -- have been found to be associated with neurinflammation. A new study also links OCD to neuroinflammation, leading to new understanding of the condition as well as possible treatments. Read more.

DANGER. Still in the research realm, a new study by the University of Toronto found that the lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts was much higher for women who had been diagnosed with learning disabilities (16.6%) compared to women who had not (3.3%). Men with learning disabilities also were more likely to have attempted suicide compared to men without learning disorders (7.7% vs 2.1%). Read more.

SUMMIT CENTER has released two new podcasts. One is with Chicago-area coach/consultant/author Kimberlee King on a topic from her book, Parenting Is Hard; Suffering Is Optional. According to the podcast's intro, "Kimberlee Anne and Dr. Dan [Peters] discuss many compelling topics in today’s podcast, including how to be happy despite chaos, judgment (don’t do it!), gratitude, radical self-acceptance, ego, present parenting, self-improvement, perfectionism, cutting the proverbial umbilical cord (especially if our kids have challenges) and so much more." Find the podcast. The other podcast is titled "Secrets of Simplicity and Living Better," with parent/author/entrepreneur Mary Carlomagno. Find the podcast.

TiLT PARENTING. Another week, another podcast or two from TiLT, for the parents of differently-wired (aka 2e) kids. The newest podcasts cover "How Parents Can Survive (and Thrive) Over the Summer Break" (Episode 62) and, in a conversation with TiLT founder Debbie's son, travel and vacation strategies (Episode 63).

AND FINALLY, THIS. Parents who are struggling to understand and raise their children naturally have a need to communicate with other parents about parenting, and about the challenges they face. A Washington Post article points out how what might seem like an invitation to give parenting advice might not really be such -- and how to avoid giving unwanted advice and provide what a challenged parent really needs. Chances are parents in the 2e community are probably more often at the receiving end of this dynamic -- but it doesn't hurt to be able to recognizes "non-listening styles" in others or in oneself. As the article concludes, “Most parents just want someone to listen to their experiences without judgment." Find the article.