Monday, December 1, 2008

From the Week of November 30th

ABILITY GROUPING FOR GIFTED CHILDREN. That's the title of a podcast from Prufrock Press, as publisher Joel McIntosh experiments with a new media format. In the podcast, McIntosh discusses the topic with Todd Kettler. You may listen to the podcast or download an iTunes version at the Prufrock Press website. Announced today (Monday, December 1st), the podcast is the first in a series.

WRIGHTLAW'S Special Ed Advocate this week offers "10 Tips for Good Advocates." Working with a school on behalf of your gifted or twice-exceptional child? See if you qualify as a good advocate and find out what to to if you don't.

MEDIA. KIDS. BAD. Today the Washington Post reported on the results of a meta-study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and Yale University on the effects of television, music, movies, and other media on children and adolescents. Researchers looked at 173 studies conducted over nearly 30 years. The findings: connections between media exposure and such healthy traits as obesity, tobacco use, and early sexual behavior. You probably knew all this already, but if you want to see how the professionals support you, read the article. Also reported in the New York Times. ("Blow up the TV/ Throw away the paper/ Go to the country/ Build you a home." -- John Prine)

HOW COMMON ARE PERSONALITY DISORDERS in young adults? Various news outlets reported on research indicating that the incidence is about one in five. Furthermore, according to the research, fewer than 25 percent of those young adults receive treatment. The personality disorders included obsessive behaviors, anti-social behaviors, and paranoid behaviors -- all interfering with daily functioning. Adding substance abuse to the figure boosts the incidence of problems to almost 50 percent. Read the article in the Boston Globe.

DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION. Several articles appearing this week described how deep brain stimulation may help patients with a variety of brain-based disorders. One of those articles, in the December/January issue of Scientific American Mind and available online, described its use in treating, among other disorders, depression, dystonia, and OCD. Another article, this one in the New York Times, described one researcher's theory of how abnormal brain waves cause disorders and how the theory may explain why deep brain stimulation works. Disorders mentioned in the Times article as possible candidates for treatment included Tourette's, schizophrenia, and traumatic brain injury.

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI) occurs not only in combat but also in collisions with objects or people (as in sports), falls, and motor vehicle accidents. According to an article in the current issue of Scientific American Mind, about 300,000 mild TBIs, or concussions, result from sports every year in the US. The article describes the effects and treatment of TBI in both military personnel and civilians. Read it.

KNOW SOMEONE WITH OCD? SciAmMind also reviews a book called "Obsession: A History." One thesis of the book: "We tend to draw too strong a line between the healthy and the pathological." Go here and scroll partway down the page to see the review.

AD/HD PRIMER -- AND MORE. Over the past month, in four separate columns at EdNews.org, Susan Crum has covered the topic of AD/HD. Two of the articles were "Parent Primers"; a third covered diagnosis and co-morbiditiy; and the most recent covered the difficulties in evaluating executive functions. Find the articles.

"BEST" HIGH SCHOOLS. U.S. News and World Report has released its 2009 list of America's best high schools. If you're in Massachusetts, 8.6 percent (29) of your high schools are ranked "gold" or "silver"; at least six states had no high-ranking high schools. The rankings use two screening criteria, overall student performance and disadvantaged student performance. Schools passing the screen are then ranked only on a "college readiness" criteria that uses AP/IB participation and achievement. The ranking might highlight schools where gifted students can thrive; whether 2e students thrive in those schools is probably a separate matter, we guess. The rankings.

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