Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Special Ed, OCD, ADHD, Depression, and More

SPECIAL ED: FAILING STUDENTS? A story from The Hechinger Report concludes that most students with disabilities are capable of graduating from high school on time, but many don't. From the article: "There are 6.6 million public school children enrolled in special education in the United States, 13 percent of all public school students....Their disabilities shouldn’t keep them from achieving the same standards as their peers — and experts estimate that up to 90 percent of students with disabilities are capable of graduating high school fully prepared to tackle college or a career if they receive proper support along the way." Read more. Of note is a chart accompanying the story that shows the range of graduation rates, by state, for students with disabilities. Highest: Arkansas, at 82 precent; lowest, Nevada, at 29 percent.

FOLLOW-UP TWO on John Green's YA novel on OCD, Turtles All the Way Down: the Child Mind Institute says, "What we wished, reading it, is that Aza [the book's main character] could have gotten better treatment. And so, with Aza in mind, this week we share resources on childmind.org that explore OCD: what it is, what it looks like in the classroom and how the gold standard treatment for OCD — exposure therapy — works."

ADHD
  • Should parents try to diagnose ADHD early, or is it better to wait? That question is addressed at US News; find it
  • Cutting back on yelling, criticism and other harsh parenting approaches, including physical punishment, has the power to calm children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a new study. Find a write-up of the study
  • A new study indicates that subjects with different types of ADHD have impairments in unique brain systems, indicating that there may not be a one-size-fits-all explanation for the cause of the disorder. While the subjects were supposedly clinically indistinguishable, each of the three different subgroups defined by the study showed dysfunction in different brain regions. Read more
DEPRESSION. This doesn't sound as if it would lead to effective treatments: "Adolescent patients included in clinical trials of therapies for major depressive disorder differ considerably from depressed adolescents encountered in daily practice, researchers report. Read more.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY is the topic of the most recent LD Online Newsletter; find it.

UNDERSTOOD offers "6 Steps for Requesting a School Evaluation." Is that on your to-do list? If so, find the steps.

tDCS -- transcrainal direct current stimulation -- is being examined for use in treating many conditions, as readers here know. An article at Psychiatric Times give a good background on what studies and science say so far about the technique. Find the article.

BLOGS
  • Jen the Blogger compares raising 2e kiddos to a marathon her most recent posting, "The 23rd Mile." Read it
  • A blog at the site of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum is titled "That Mom" -- and it's about how moms of gifted kids need "community" (as in a mom's group) just like moms of neurotypical kids. However, according to the blogger, because her parenting concerns turned out to be different than the others in her mom's group, her community quietly edged her out. Find the blog.
TiLT PARENTING's newest podcast is "The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius," and it features psychiatrist Gail Saltz. The podcast title is also the title of Dr. Saltz' new book. Find the podcast.

AND APROPOS OF NOTHING, except maybe for a laugh from the audience here. "In many species, males tend to do somewhat stupid things that end up getting them killed in silly ways, and it appears that may have been true for mammoths also," says a researcher about her findings on the causes of death for these creatures. Read more.



Monday, November 6, 2017

Mentoring with LDs, ADHD Therapy, Brain Stuff, and More

EYE TO EYE is a mentoring organization that connects children with LDs to college student who have the same learning challenges. Its founder is David Flink. Its second employee was Marcus Soutra, who was recently profiled by his college's news organization in conjunction with the bestowal of the college's Alumni Achievement Award. So know, O Good Reader, that there are organizations and people out there willing to help that 2e kiddo you know as he or she grows up through the grades. Find the college's article. Find out more about Eye to Eye.

NEW THERAPY FOR ADHD? From Healio: "Data presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry annual meeting indicated efficacy of monotherapy external trigeminal nerve stimulation for ADHD in children." This therapy would present an alternative to meds or behavioral therapy. The treatment is apparently still awaiting FDA approval. Read more. Find out more about the trigeminal nerve at the site of the therapy's developer.

CONNECTOTYPES -- a new word to us, evidently meaning "a distinct pattern of functional brain connectivity... or brain fingerprint." Research described at Science Daily says that connectotypes are individually unique but show family and heritable relationships. The hope is that connectotypes will help provide personalized, targeted treatments for conditions such as ADHD and ASD. Read more.

BRAIN-BASED TEACHING. Education World offers a three-part series in which, it says, "neuroscientist Marilee Sprenger reveals the latest research on the brain and discusses how it affects teaching and learning." Find the series.

UNDERSTOOD EXPERT CHAT. On November 13, Understood presents an "expert chat" featuring Ellen Braaten on "How Anxiety and Slow Processing Speed Fuel Each Other." Find out more.

MINDFULNESS IN KIDS is the topic of an article at the site of The New York Times. If you've been wondering what it is, or about its benefits -- eg, minimizing anxiety -- perhaps check out the article. (And if you wonder exactly why kids and young people might be helped by mindfulness, read the story at the UK Daily Mail about rising rates of depression and mental illness in US teens.)

TiLT PARENTING. TiLT founder Debbie Reber is finishing up a book, Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World. In it, she says, "I lay out a new vision for not only redefining the way neurodiversity is perceived in the world, but shifting the parenting paradigm so parents raising extraordinary kids can do so from a place of peace, joy, and most importantly, choice." She's also forming a "Book Team" to help spread the word about the book. Find out more.

UPCOMING EVENTS
  • The Utah Association for Gifted Children holds its Winter Symposium on Saturday, February 10, featuring Shelagh Gallagher. More information
  • The Oklahoma Association for the Gifted, Talented, and Creative holds its annual conference on February 16 at Oklahoma State University. More information
EDUCATION POLICY, LAW, ADVOCACY
  • The Hechinger Report notes how the U.S. in recent years has reduced the amount it spends on education; at the same time, other countries are increasing what they spend on elementary and high school education. Read more
  • CIVIL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION. A group of education organizations and civil rights groups have formed the Education Civil Rights Alliance, which will, according to US News, "focus specifically on safeguarding the rights of students with disabilities, immigrant students, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students...." Twice-exceptional students are afforded special protection under the law because of their disabilities. Read more

Thursday, November 2, 2017

2e Success Story, Un-Success Story (So Far), Good Blog Postings, More

FAMILIAR TUNE, NEW TWIST. A high school dropout turned cook turned ice sculptor turned Harvard graduate turned advocate is profiled in the LA Times, and it's a good story. One turning point is, hopefully, familiar to those here: "Most of my life, they focused on what I was bad at,” the subject of the profile, John Rodriguez, is quoted as saying. “When you focus on what you are good at, things just start happening.” Even after he'd achieved success doing things he was good at, there was still another turning point: when he was sitting in a college counseling office and saw a poster with the title "Signs that you have dyslexia." Read the profile.

FROM DECATUR, ILLINOIS: A mother writes a long, reasoned letter to Decaturish.com describing her positive experience with the Decatur school system as an employee but also relating how the school has not addressed her son's dyslexia, with effects on son and mom that are familiar to readers here. She describes her own efforts to help her son (Orton-Gillingham, tutoring) but remains frustrated by the district's inaction: "Some acknowledgement of my child’s true learning obstacles must occur within the school day for him to really be able to compensate for his learning difference." Find the letter.

GIFTED CHALLENGES. Psychologist Gail Post writes on the topic of "Get your gifted boy through middle school." Starting from the thesis that boys are not necessarily "built" for school, she covers pitfalls, challenges, and ways to help. Underachievement (not via LDs) is one pitfall; others are peer pressure; gifted sensitivity; and identity formation and existential depression (with a nod to James Webb). Find Post's blog.

PLATO PARENTING is a term coned by psychologist Devon MacEachron, who practice specializes in gifted and 2e children. Based on "know thyself," her parenting tips are intended to help that gifted or 2e kiddo "develop into the happy, productive young adults they are meant to be." Can't argue with that. Find out more about Plato Parenting, and watch for an article by MacEachron in an upcoming issue of 2e Newsletter.

DIFFERENT PERCEPTIONS OF GIFTED PROGRAMS. Ethnicity has a lot to do with how parents perceive the value of gifted programs, whether the parents might "game" the system for entrance to such a program, and even what parents look for in terms of a good classroom for their child. An article in The Atlantic provides interesting perspectives on how white, Hispanic, and black families view gifted programs. Find the article.

WRIGHTSLAW, in Special Ed Advocate, offers information about FAPE and how it might affect your child. Included are articles on the legal concept of FAPE, the Endrew F case, and what the law requires. Find Special Ed Advocate.

TiLT PARENTING's most recent podcast: "Dr. Ross Greene Explains How Collaborative and Proactive Solutions Benefit Atypical Kids." Find it.

NEWSLETTERS
  • The most recent communique from the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children is now available; find it. Also from WCGTC: the next conference is scheduled for July 24-28, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee. That's in the U S of A. 
  • Gifted and Distractible's monthly newsletter is out. "'Letting Go' is the subject of Julie's blog this month. Many people are recalibrating expectations and adjusting to ‘new norms’ globally -- in the face of natural and man-made disasters. Letting go is an essential strategy to successfully move forward." Find the newsletter.
TECA reminds us of its online parent support groups, one for parents of teens, one for parents of 13-and-unders, and one for all parents. Find out more.

RESEARCH AND STUDIES
  • YOU'RE SO SMART! An Education Week article reminds us of the dangers of praising children simply for being smart. According to a study, one such danger is cheating. Read more
  • Science Daily has a recent study write-up on detecting the risk of dyslexia before a child learns to read; find the write-up.
  • Also from Science Daily: "Depression is on the rise in the United States. From 2005 to 2015, depression rose significantly among Americans age 12 and older with the most rapid increases seen in young people. This is the first study to identify trends in depression by gender, income, and education over the past decade." Find the write-up
POLICY, LEGISLATION
  • Those on either "side" of the issue of public funding for private and charter schools might be interested in a Politico article about some of the backers who favor of that funding; find it
  • The educational process in the U.S. is becoming politicized. Politico also offers an "Essential Guide to Legislation" explaining the federal (House, Senate) legislative process. Current or prospective advocates on particular issues might be interested in this. Find it
AND FINALLY, THIS. Next time you plan to approach a teacher, perhaps related to issues of twice-exceptionality, perhaps keep in mind the results of a recent survey indicating that teachers feel more stressed than average people. A little empathy can go a long way. Read more.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Problem Behavior, Recess, Bullying, Anxiety, and Daydreaming

C.P.S. "...what would be the point of punishing a child who literally could not sit still?" That's a sentence from an article on kids who misbehave starting early in school, and who therefor face punishments of various sorts. The article's title: "The 'Problem Child' Is a Child, Not a Problem." It describes a behavior modification technique called Collaborative Problem Solving (C.P.S.) which is designed to help build self-regulation skills. Another sentence from the article: "C.P.S. replaces a traditional philosophy of 'children do well when they want to' with one that 'children do well when they can.'" We have a feeling that sentence might resonate, given your presumed experiences with that 2e child you raise or teach. Find the article.

RECESS REBOUND? According to District Administration, some states are requiring schools to provide recess. From the article: "In Florida and Rhode Island, recess laws took effect this year. Four other states already require it, and 11 others officially recommend it. Meanwhile, eight other states mandate “general activity,” ranging from 30 minutes daily to 600 minutes monthly." Read more. Exercise, many believe, can help students, especially some 2e students, focus and learn.

NOVEMBER 18 is the date for an HBO telethon to raise money for autism schools, programs, and services. Read more.

BULLYING is often a problem for kids who are "different" in any way. TED offers "9 pieces of practical advice about bullying" that might be appropriate to share with a young person you know. For example: "telling someone about being bullied is not snitching." Find the advice.

FOLLOW-UP. We wrote recently about a New York Times piece on the prevalence of anxiety in young people. The Child Mind Institute later followed up with its own perspective on the problem. Find it.

SCREENING TO FIND THE GIFTED. Pinellas County, Florida, is screening all second graders. The purpose? To identify those who are gifted. It's universal screening, intended to not overlook children who could qualify and benefit from gifted services, especially minority or disadvantaged children. Read more, then consider how great it would be if every school district did this type of universal screening with instruments that would not only identify gifted learners but also twice-exceptional learners.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES offers some resources for the college application process for students with ADHD or learning differences. Find them.

TiLT PARENTING. The most recent podcast is a conversation between TiLT founder Debbie and her son. Debbie writes: "...we talk about everything from how Asher feels about having ADHD and what helped him get through the difficult transition of moving abroad when he was nine years old to what he thinks are the qualities of a good teacher, how he keeps track of his schoolwork, and much more." Find the podcast.

GOT A DAYDREAMER? That's okay. A new study suggests that daydreaming during meetings isn't necessarily a bad thing. It might be a sign that you're really smart and creative. People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering. Find the study write-up.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

ODD, ADHD, College, Policy, Resources, Events

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. This organization has published an article on oppositional defiant disorder. If you have an especially "willful" kiddo and are wondering if the label applies, the article might be of use. In fact, the Institute says: "Whether your child has oppositional defiant disorder (or ODD) or not, learning about the disorder can be helpful. That’s because the behavior management strategies used in treatment are evidence-based techniques that all parents will benefit from knowing." Find the article.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has a new article about online college degrees, the pros and cons. Sample "pro": flexibility. Sample "con": lack of support services. Read more. Separately, an opinion piece in the Hechinger Report is titled "Stop driving kids crazy — A four-year college degree isn’t the only answer"; find it.

FOLLOW-UP. In our last blog posting we noted that the U.S. D.O.E. was rescinding 72 regulations and letters of guidance pertaining to special ed. The Council for Exceptional Children says, "After an initial review by CEC, it appeared that the 72 guidance documents were either outdated or unnecessary as there has been subsequent policy established either through the Reauthorization of IDEA, including the promulgation of regulations and guidance that supersedes the 'outdated' policies." Find out what else CEC says.

MORE POLICY. NCLD notes this: "Despite the increasing popularity of school vouchers, education savings accounts (ESA), and tax incentive programs, many parents of children with disabilities struggle to find quality information and are left with important questions about how these programs work and might impact a child with a disability." Then NCLD goes on to offer a number of resources to help parents make informed decisions about these programs; find them. Separately, Education Dive has an article titled "Charters urged to improve services for special needs students"; find it.

EVENT: EXPERT CHAT via Understood on the topic "ADHD and Twice-Exceptional Kids," by Thomas E. Brown, a psychologist and professor of psychiatry, on November 2 at 12 ET. Find out more.

EVENT: SENG WEBINAR on the topic "The Inconvenient Student" (and you know who that is), by Michael Postma, author of the book by the same name, on Monday, October 30. The catch (or the opportunity): the event is for members of SENG Connect, a new initiative by the organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted. SENG Connect is part of a paid Premier ($129.99) annual membership to SENG. Find out more.

RESOURCE FROM BELIN-BLANK. This organization offers a free Ning discussion/resource group on gifted ed and talent development. Find out more. In addition, this organization's October newsletter is out, featuring new of a new Javits-funded project "to increase educators’ capacity to identify and provide talented and gifted programming to underrepresented students in Iowa." Find the newsletter.

SCHOLARSHIP RESOURCE. The application deadline for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation college scholarship program is November 14. The organization says, "Current high school seniors are eligible for this scholarship. Receive up to $40,000 per year to complete your bachelor's degree, as well as opportunities for internships, study abroad, and graduate school funding." Find out more.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE RESOURCE. This organization has a Young Scholars program, which provides "free services designed to nurture the intellectual, social, emotional, and academic development of profoundly intelligent young people between the ages of 5 and 18 (students must be between the ages of 5 and 16 when applying)." And yes, 2e kiddos can be Young Scholars. Find out more.

PARENTING RESOURCE ON MEDIA USE. We discovered Common Sense Media, which provides guidance on media use by kids. Here's what the organization says about itself: "Common Sense is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. We empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives." Go to the organization's website or Facebook page.

DON'T FORGET that for a few more days you can subscribe to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter for $25 -- $10 off the regular price of a one-year PDF subscription. Plus, you'll get seven bi-monthly issues for the price of six, because you'll get the September/October issue immediately, but your subscription will officially start with the November/December issue, featuring the importance of relationships for 2e children. This offer is good only until October 31st. New subscribers only, please. See the offer.

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Feel-Bad Story, Media Use, OCD, Resources, and More

AND IF THIS WAS YOUR KID? Via Disability Scoop: "An elementary school teacher forced a 9-year-old boy with autism to stand in front of his class twice last year while classmates voted on whether the boy was 'annoying,' a federal lawsuit alleges." Read more.

PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS currently have a magnet school for gifted students, but wants to split it into eight separate campuses. According to a news report, many parents are upset, including parents of 2e students who receive both gifted and special ed programming. Read more.

UNDERSTOOD offers several goodies this week:

  • An October 24th expert chat titled "How Motor Skills Affect Learning and Making Friends." Find out more
  • An article, "6 Tips for Responding When People Are Insensitive About Your Child's Learning and Attention Issues." Find it
  • An article on a related topic, "What to Say When Other People Interfere With Your Parenting." Find it
MEDIA USE. Want a benchmark on media use for children 0 to 8? The organization Common Sense Media has issued a report which it says provides a "clearer view of how young children's media use has evolved over time and provides a foundation for how we can use technology to support children's learning, play, and growth." Among the findings: kids in this age group spend about 48 minutes a day on their mobile devices; and that's just a third of their total screen time. Find more information.

ASD BLOGS. Medical News Today has compiled a list of what it feels are the 10 best blogs on the topic of autism. Find the list.

FOLLOW-UP. We noted a while ago a first-person piece on OCD by young-adult author John Green and how his OCD led him to create a novel with a 16yo female protagonist who has OCD. Green has also done an interview with NPR about the book and about himself. Find the interview.

SIGNS OF TREATMENT-RESISTANT DEPRESSION are highlighted in a "slide show" at the site of Psychiatric Times, which lists six factors to watch for. Duration and severity are two. You can ignore the final factor, old age, if it's your kiddo you're concerned about. Find the slide show.

SAVE THE DATE. Quad Prep Manhattan has announced the date for its fourth conference "Breakthroughs in Twice-exceptional Education" in New York City -- May 10-12. The May date, rather than the previous March dates, should obviate the danger of a blizzard disrupting the conference as happened this year. Find out more.

THE US DOE has rescinded 72 guidance documents outlining rights for students with disabilities, according to news outlets. The Washington Post provides a list of the documents sorted by legislative type -- eg, IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act. A quick glance didn't reveal any documents we know to affect twice-exceptional children, but we'll wait for experts to weigh in. In the meantime, find out more at The Washington Post or Disability Scoop.


IF YOU'VE BEEN WAITING for a "deal" to sign up for 2e Newsletter, now's your chance. This week, subscribe to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter for $25 -- $10 off the regular price of a one-year PDF subscription. Plus, you'll get seven bi-monthly issues for the price of six, because you'll get the September/October issue immediately, but your subscription will officially start with the November/December issue, featuring the importance of relationships for 2e children. This offer is good only until October 31st. New subscribers only, please. See the offer

Friday, October 20, 2017

Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, and Some Resources

SOMETIMES the items we scan seem to fall into just a few topic buckets -- like today...

MOOD DISORDERS

  • Social media and technology may be linked to a higher rate of depression in girls, according to a new study. Find out more
  • Patients taking psilocybin to treat depression show reduced symptoms weeks after treatment following a 'reset' of their brain activity, according to a London study of treatment-resistant depression. Read more
  • The Child Mind Institute has posted an article on mood disorders (depression, anxiety) in teenage girls, including signs and symptoms parents can look for. Find the article
  • From Psychiatric Times, "The latest news in the treatment of depression covers patient self-management apps, antidepressant efficacy in older adults, and strategies to improve adherence." Find it here and here.  
  • NPR describes strategies educators can use to help kids with anxiety return to school. Find the piece
  • Psychiatry Advisor discusses anxiety prevention interventions and their effectiveness. Find it
  • And if YOU'RE depressed, the Huffington Post has tips for talking to your kids about it. Go there
ADHD
  • Medical News Today considers micronutrients to improve the symptoms of ADHD. Read more
  • Understood has an upcoming expert chat on October 26 titled "ADHD Treatment: What Are the Options?" Learn more
  • And ADDitude offers an "ADHD Awareness Month Toolkit" to spread the right message about ADHD. Find it
GOING TO NAGC? A colleague says, "This year the annual business meeting of the Twice Exceptional Special Interest Group (SIG) will be held, during NAGC, on Friday, November 10, 2017 at 2:30 pm in room 206A. Please plan to join us."

DYSLEXIA. In the "On Parenting" section of The Washington Post, a mom describes her efforts to talk to her 8yo daughter about the daughter's dyslexia. Some of the tactics don't go well. The daughter's self-esteem had been touched: "I don’t want to be me. I want to be someone who can read.” Read more.

GHF is opening registration for its spring online courses on October 23. GHF states, "GHF Online is 2e-friendly and willing to work with you to make reasonable accommodations for your child's individual needs." Find out more.

2e RESOURCES. Psychologist Devon MacEachron, who specializes in children with twice exceptionalities, has posted a list of resources for those in the 2e community -- books, websites, and even 2e Newsletter. Find the resource list




GOT A SOCIALLY AWKWARD KID? That's okay, according to a Parent Footprint talk psychologist Dan Peters had with the author of AWKWARD: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That's Awesome. Find out more


CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION FOR THE GIFTED. This organization has released some information about its March, 2018, conference along with a "call for presenters." Find out more.