Tuesday, November 18, 2008

From the Week of November 16th

THIS WEEK FROM WRIGHTSLAW. If you have a twice-exceptional child and you need to advocate at school, you might be interested in this week's edition of Special Ed Advocate from Wrightslaw. The Wrightslaw site and their newsletters are heavy with advocacy advice, but if you're not familiar with them we recommend taking a look.

EVOLVING DEFINITION OF GIFTEDNESS -- that's the title of Education Week's Live Chat for November 19, 4 to 5 pm Eastern time. Can giftedness be nurtured, taught, or lost? The chat is text-based; a transcript is posted after the close of the chat. Tune in. You may also submit questions in advance.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE eNEWS-UPDATE. The November issue is online, with articles about the 2008 Davidson Fellows, a potpourri of legislative and policy news from across the country, a profile of the 2008 NAGC Scholar of the Year, Dr. Donna Ford, and more.

WHAT ASPERGER'S IS LIKE. The Pocono Record covered a presentation by the Aspie author William Stillman, in which Stillman provided an exercise to try to let attendees feel what it would be like to have Asperger's. His device: asking the audience to play "Simon Says" while lights flickered on and off and static blasted at odd times. Read the article, his perceptions on having Asperger's, and his advice for dealing with those with autism.

TEACHING SOCIAL SKILLS TO NERDS is the topic of an article from the Orlando Sentinel. The author distinguishes between "S" (systematizing) brains and "E" (emphathizing) brains -- and guess which type has trouple with social skills. The article contends, however, that nerds (extreme S-brain individuals) can be socialized. Read it.

HEAVY WEEK FOR NEUROSCIENCE NEWS. This week is the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (attendance: over 31,000), and lots of news is sure to come out of it. If you're interested, you can read coverage of the meeting at a blog site from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Up so far: research that chewing gum can improve short-term memory; and findings on the neurological basis of love. We'll try to find and highlight news relevant to giftedness, LDs, parenting, child development, and education.

TS AND GIFTEDNESS. December 7th's Hallmark Hall of Fame program is titled "Front of the Class," and is based on the true story of a young man with Tourette Syndrome who became, according to CBS, "a gifted teacher." The program airs from 9 to 11 pm eastern time.

THE DISAPPEARING MALE is the title of a cheery article in the Windsor Star noting studies of the increasing rates of birth defects and disorders in boys, disorders such as TS, LDs, and autism. Chemicals in the environment are seen as the culprit. The topic is further explored in a CBC television show of the same name. Read the article.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. Maurice Fisher published his winter edition this week. It includes articles on educating the gifted and on using e-books with gifted readers. Find it online.

DUMP YOUR UNMANAGEABLE KID IN NEBRASKA? You're too late. The state legislature amended its "safe haven" law to apply only to infants 30 days old or less, not 18 years or less, according to the November 22nd New York Times. You'll have to figure out something else. Read it.

PROLIFIC INTERVIEWER MICHAEL SHAUGHNESSY of EdNews.org interviewed the co-editor of the new book Routledge International Companion to Gifted Education, which has chapters contributed by many prominent figures in the gifted arena. The purpose of the book: "To review, to synthesize, and to challenge current understandings and practices in gifted education around the world." Read the interview.

KIDS AND ANTI-PSYCHOTICS -- AGAIN. The column "Domestic Disturbances" in the November 20th New York Times revisited the practice of prescribing powerful antipsychotics such as Risperdal to not only kids with bipolar disorder but with AD/HD. The author, Judith Warner, points out that a spike in diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder "dovetails suspiciously well with the introduction of atypical antipsychotics in the early and mid-1990s." If you have a kid on meds because he or she is "chronically irritable, extremely aggressive, [or] prone to explosive outbursts and out-of-control rages," be sure to read this article. It deals with mis-categorization, misdiagnosis, and mis-prescription.

NEW TO SPECIAL ED SERVICES for your gifted/LD child? A six-page article by attorney Matt Cohen in the publication Nami Beginnings covers the rights of schools and parents in such areas as accommodations and remediation; evaluations; the provision of IEP services; proposed placements; FAPE; post-secondary supports; and suspensions. Read it here.

TOPIC: SCHOOL DISCIPLINE. RELEVANCE TO 2E: PROBABLY LOW. HUMOR CONTENT: HIGH. Sorry, we have to "pass" this along, odious as it might be. The website The Smoking Gun reported that a 12-year-old Florida boy was arrested this month
-- arrested! -- for deliberately "breaking wind" to disrupt class. You can read the account and see a copy of the police report at Smoking Gun's site.

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