Wednesday, October 22, 2008

From the Week of October 19th

TEACHING THE GIFTED AND 2e is what Linda Collins, of a school in Overland Park, Kansas, does every day. In an interview with Michael Shaughnessy of EdNews.org, you can read about Collins' "Teacher of the Year" award, how she views the rewards and challenges of teaching gifted children, and her work with twice-exceptional students. We've heard Collins speak at conferences, and her sessions are always full-to-overflowing with ideas, revelations, and the results of her 20 years' experience in teaching. Read the interview. (2e Newsletter subscribers can find our coverage of a SENG conference session by Collins in the September, 2008, issue of the newsletter.)

BF SKINNER LIVES. If you believe in behavior analysis and modification, you might be interested in a panel discussion sponsored by the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles, on October 24th at 5:15 pm. The session is titled "Unraveling Autism: What's Next in Treatment and How Do We Best Train Practitioners to Provide It?" The school says of applied behavior analysis that "this therapeutic system has become known as the only effective treatment for helping children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities improve their social, motor, verbal, and reasoning skills." More information.

SERVICE DOGS GO ROBOTIC. An article in the November, 2007, issue of 2e Newsletter described some of the ways service dogs can assist children with Asperger's, sensory issues, and other problems -- for example, by interrupting behaviors leading up to a meltdown, being a calming influence, or applying "deep pressure" by snuggling. An article appearing in MIT's Technology Review this week describes how researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are developing robots to mimic the actions some service dogs perform. The robot E1-E can respond to commands given by a laser pen or by voice to do things such as fetching a towel. But will it be able to cuddle satisfactorily or provide a good lick on the face? Read the article.

AD/HD KIDS AND FAMILY LIFE. Parents with children who have one or more exceptionalities know that raising such children can lead to stress in the spousal relationship. Unfortunately, a study reported this week in Science Daily confirms this, showing that parents of a child with AD/HD are almost twice as likely to divorce by the time the child is 8 than parents of children without AD/HD. Other factors contributing to the risk of divorce included the severity of coexisting disorders in the children with AD/HD, such as ODD or conduct disorder. Do the results extrapolate to 2e families harboring issues such as Asperger's, dyslexia, sensory integration issues, and other exceptionalities? Be careful out there, parents of 2e kids.

SCHOOL FOR DYSLEXICS. Greengate School, a small private school in Huntsville, Alabama, is for dyslexics. It was founded by the mother whose son is dyslexic; many of the teachers have dyslexic children. Families of some of the students have moved to Alabama from other states so that their children could attend Greengate. According to an article in the Huntsville Times, staff and students draw inspiration from posters and quotes of dyslexics such as John F. Kennedy, Wernher von Braun, and Walt Disney. Read the article. Go to the school's website.

AUTISM MYTH-BUSTERS. Autism is an emotional or mental health disorder, right? We are in the middle of an autism epidemic, right? Well, ABC News on October 23rd published responses to what they call 10 common myths about autism. Read the myths and responses.

VIRTUAL SCHOOLING. Parents and educators of gifted students often turn to non-traditional resources in order to provide for their students' needs. Online learning is one. The fifth Virtual School Symposium (VSS) on K-12 online learning is October 26-26 in Glendale, Arizona. About 1,200 online learning experts and educators are expected. According to the symposium host, The North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL), students enrolled in an estimated one million K-12 online courses last year in the United States. Read about the symposium. Read about NACOL.

WORDS OF WISDOM for kids now come at the touch of a button, according to the manufacturer of Life Learning Devices (LLD). For US$29.95 parents can purchase the Secrets of Life and Words of Wisdom LLD. According to the company, "
Life Learning Devices are placed on the kitchen table, beside a coffee pot, on a clothes dresser, on the desk at work or on a nightstand... [P]arents can now easily and consistently expose their children to the values and mindsets of some of history's most accomplished icons... Legendary achievers and innovators have followed certain secrets that allow them to do great things in life. This LLD delivers these secrets along with mantras and quotes that motivate people to make their dreams a reality. Belief systems and values of people who have fulfilled their dreams are shared with the touch of a button." And at $29.95, it's surely a lot less expensive than a college education. And if you find the secret of life, let us know. Visit the LLD site.

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