Friday, September 12, 2008

From the Week of September 7th

ASPIE, HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT, PhD. One of our 2e Newsletter subscribers sent along a pointer to an interesting interview published awhile back -- the story of Dawn Prince-Hughes, Aspie, formerly homeless and addicted, and now a professor and author of Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism. Prince-Hughes described a difficult childhood -- how over-stimulation made clothes uncomfortable so that she'd run around outside pretending she was a primate, sans clothes; how she was reading the philosopher Kant in seventh grade; and how, when she announced at age 16 to her small Montana town that she was gay, it became time to leave home. Also in the interview: her views on Asperger's and how her work with gorillas taught her to be a human being. Hear or read the interview, titled "Gorilla Therapy." [Thanks Barb, for the tip.]

2e AND IN PRIVATE SCHOOL. Many families with 2e children have tried private schools as a way to get their kids the opportunities and accommodations they needed -- button-down, well-endowed schools with high-powered executives on the board of directors, or laid-back Waldorf schools where music and art may be more important than science and math. Any parent or teacher who's ever been associated with a private school will enjoy a mock "registration form" for the fictional Elm Street School, published in the New York Times.

THE BILINGUAL BRAIN. The September issue of Brain Briefings from the Society for Neuroscience points out that speaking more than one language may have cognitive benefits. The newsletter noted that kids fluent in two languages, particularly from early childhood, have an enhanced ability to concentrate, both as children and as adults. As adults, bilingual kids also apparently have denser gray matter in their brains. A side benefit: delayed onset of age-related dementia. Read it here.

INTUITIVE LEARNERS. Got a smart kid who just "sees" the answer to math or science problems? Caulfield in the Frazz cartoon strip is apparently one such kid, and doesn't care to show his work to his teacher Mrs. Olsen -- with a poor outcome. Read it.

SPECIAL ED RESOURCE. Monahan & Cohen, a law firm in Chicago, publishes an e-newsletter called Special Education News. The most recent edition contains articles on "Early Warning Signs of Problems at School," extensive coverage of changes in Indiana special education law, and Illinois legislative updates. Also in the newsletter: information about publications, services, and presentations by firm members on the topic of special education law. If you live in Illinois or Indiana, this firm might be a potential resource. Find the newsletter here.

BRAINSTORM FOR CASH. When my sons were younger, we once brainstormed prospective uses for those plastic shells that enclose portable toilets -- as shelters for rural kids waiting for the school bus, temporary ticket booth structures, ice-fishing shelters, and lots more (and more creative) uses which are unfortunately lost to aging neurons. Your son, daughter, or creative student can win a trip to New York City or a savings bond by creating an invention that incorporates the use of Bubble Wrap brand cushioning by thinking "outside the bubble," as the competition site says. Among past winners: Bubble Wrap wallpaper to stimulate and engage autistic kids; Bubble Wrap kites; and an adjustable wrist cushion to prevent/alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome. Competition deadline: early November.

FAPE NUTS? This week's edition of Special Ed Advocate from Wrightslaw is all about the Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) promised to US parents by IDEA 2004. If you find yourself fighting to get what you think is a FAPE for your child, check Special Ed Advocate to find out what the limits are. For example, the Wrights suggest removing the words "best" and "maximize" from your vocabulary as you negotiate. Read it.

100 HOMESCHOOLING RESOURCES. If you're educating your 2e child at home, check out this list of resources at SmartTeaching.org -- tools for organizing; tools for teaching and learning language arts, math, science, and other topics; Google tools; educational software; search engines ranging from age-appropriate to academic; and blogs on the topic of homeschooling.

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