Tuesday, June 24, 2008

For the Week of June 8th

BRAIN TRAINING I. Science Daily reported on research suggesting that at least one aspect of a person’s IQ can be improved by training fluid intelligence, the ability to relate concepts and solve new problems. The reasoning: that fluid intelligence depends on short-term or “working” memory. The results: training does improve short-term memory, thus improving fluid intelligence, thus improving general intelligence as measured by IQ tests. Another implication: short-term memory training may help children with developmental problems.

BRAIN TRAINING II. In his monthly e-newsletter Attention Research Update, David Rabiner reported on two cognitive training studies for AD/HD that yielded promising findings. One study was on the impact of different types of working memory training for children with AD/HD. Reducing AD/HD symptoms with working memory training is not news to Rabiner; he has reported on previous studies. The current study compared training in auditory working memory versus visual/spatial with regard to their effectiveness, and indicated that visual/spatial working memory training “was associated with an increase in positive behavior above and beyond medication and behavior treatments already in place.” Read about this and a study involving “computerized progressive attentional training for children with AD/HD” at Rabiner’s website. (Note: the newsletters are often not posted until late in the issue month.)

WRIGHTSLAW ON AUTISM. The June 10th issue of Wrightslaw’s Special Ed Advocate focuses on autism – parents rights, early detection, and a chance to participate in an NIH research study. Read it.

AP DEBATE. Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews expressed opinions on the availability of AP and IB courses for high school students and was challenged by Chester E. Finn, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and expert on education matters. The result: a debate published in the Post on June 8th. Does more accessibility “cheapen the currency” of AP courses? Or is the AP “entry gate” too well guarded? Read the debate.

APPROPO OF… This item was interesting to us, even though it doesn’t directly relate to giftedness or LDs. But former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is involved in the development of a web site and interactive civics/judiciary curriculum for middle-schoolers, to be hosted at www.ourcourts.org. To be available this fall, seems like the site should be a good resource for inquisitive kids and for adventuresome civics teachers.

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