Tuesday, February 3, 2009

From the Week of February 1st

INSPIRATION FROM GIFTED PEOPLE. This isn't about kids but rather about gifted adults who might serve as inspiration for gifted kids... or for other gifted adults... or for any of us. Each year, at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference, prominent thinkers and doers are "challenged to give the talk of their lives" -- in 18 minutes. Many of the talks are viewable at the TED site as videos, and the 2009 talks include one by Bill Gates. But older talks are also available, and the "most favorited" (that's really a word?) talks from past years cover how schools kill creativity; why we are happy; the web's secret stories; how technology will transform us; what separates us from the apes (Jane Goodall); the climate crisis (Al Gore, twice); and much more. Check it out.

EQUITY. On February 5th, The New York Times published an article about a "powerhouse school district," Port Washington, NY, with the goal of "
giving students with solid but not stellar grades access to the best academic and extracurricular programs."
The district has made efforts to include more students in honors classes and AP classses. It has also extended the effort to music and sports, implementing "no cut" policies for those activities. The practices have stirred debate over their fairness to high performers. The article also notes other districts across the country attempting to do more for the kids in the middle. Read it.

ACHIEVER. A young man who discovered in third grade that he has an auditory processing disorder has racked up quite a list of achievements since then, according to the
North County Times in California. Sean O'Callaghan became an Eagle Scout at 14, a Sea Cadet at 16, and is graduating from college at the ripe old age of 19. What's he going to do now? Get a doctorate degree in England. He credits his disability with making him a more determined person. Read the article.

PRODIGY ACHIEVER. Eleven years old, author of two books and over 400 short stories, and presenter at writing workshops -- that's Adora Svitak, as described in an article in the Chicago Tribune. Read about her.

NEW OCD MODEL -- but we can't read it, not unless we subscribe to The Journal of Neuropsychiatry. But the abstract tells us that the researchers posit functions in four brain areas as being involved. "
The authors propose that the initiation of... SECs [structured event complexes, or behavioral sequences] can be accompanied by anxiety that is relieved with completion of the SEC, and that a deficit in this process could be responsible for many of the symptoms of OCD. Specifically, the anxiety can form the basis of an obsession, and a compulsion can be an attempt to receive relief from the anxiety by repeating parts of, or an entire, SEC." Read the abstract yourself.

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