Tuesday, February 10, 2009

From the Week of February 8th

LDs AND MENTAL HEALTH issues both affect a student's ability to learn. Throw in "learning differences" and you've got three ways to look at under-achievement. In an interview with Michael Shaughnessy, psychologist and author Myles Cooley explains the problems families and teachers face in dealing with a mental health diagnosis such as Social Anxiety Order as opposed to an LD diagnosis. The problems include a mis-match between LD categories and DSM categories; and a lack of training for teachers on mental health disorders. For example, if a child's mental health diagnosis doesn't easily fit into a LD category,it can be hard for a school to accommodate that student. And, according to the interview, "learning differences," while politically correct, may not qualify for help in the educational system either. Read the interview at EdNews.org.

ECONOMIC STIMULUS' EFFECT ON GIFTED/2e? A chunk of the money in the recently-passed U.S. economic stimulus bill will go to education. CEC applauds the fact that special ed may benefit as a result of a doubling of funds for IDEA. The Washington Post quotes President Obama as saying that some of that money will go toward innovation, although specifics are sparse. Stay tuned.

DYSLEXIC AND WANT TO GO TO MED SCHOOL? Don't count on California med schools to give you accommodations on the entrance exam. A state supreme court just nixed a previous ruling requiring accommodations. The attorney handling the state-wide class action suit for these aspiring med students painted a scenario that's familiar to parents and educators of the twice-exceptional. According to a San Francisco Chronicle article, he said that the college association usually denies requests for assistance by reasoning that anyone who has made it through college doesn't need help on the entrance exam.

DYSLEXIC ACHIEVER. Even though she was always good at telling stories, writing them down was tough. But as an adult with a 10th-grade education, Christie Craig got encouragement from her husband, started writing, and is now a successful author of romance/suspense novels. Read about Craig in the Houston Examiner.


MINNETONKA FOLLOW-UP. We noted in this blog during the week of January 4th that the Minnetonka, Minnesota, schools were considering a school for exceptionally gifted students. On February 11th, the Star-Tribune reported that the Minnetonka school board has agreed to develop that school for students 8 to 11 with IQs or 145 or above. The district has already identified about 50 students with those qualifications. To start, the school will be housed in two classrooms within existing schools. Read the article.

GOT A BRIGHT KID WITH READING PROBLEMS? So did the parents of Ida, featured in a recent NPR story. Turns out that after being diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade, Ida went through a couple years of interventions that have lifted her reading skills above grade level. And she does, according to NPR, love to read -- Harry Potter and the Benedict Society books being among her favorites. Find the story.

UNWRAPPING THE GIFTED, Tamara Fisher's blog (listed to the right), features in the current posting reactions of kids to Del Siegle's "Gifted Children's Bill of Rights." What do they react to in particular? Find out.

ADOLESCENCE, TV, DEPRESSION. A new study indicates a link between the number of hours spent watching television and the later risk of developing depressive symptoms. According to reportage in the New York Times, the effect seems greater for adolescent males; there was no link to computer games, videocassettes, or radio. Read the Times article. See the abstract at the Archives of General Psychiatry.

WRIGHTSLAW. The February 10 edition of Special Ed Advocate answers questions about what should happen when a parent wants a child evaluated by the school, but the school demurs. Read it.

GIFTED OR 2e IN AUSTRALIA? Don't forget Gifted Resources and its newsletter, both with information for parents and students of gifted students. Covered:
Australian events, conferences, guest speakers, extension programs, parent support group news, resources available and interesting websites. Find it.

TEENS, DECISIONS, CONSEQUENCES. Is it just impulsivity that makes young teenagers prone to poor judgment and risky decision making? A new
study has found that teens are shortsighted more due to immaturity in the brain systems that govern sensation seeking than to immaturity in the brain systems responsible for self-control. The net-out: they just like exciting things. Read about the study.

LINGUISTIC GENIUS FROM THE PAST. “You can wordify anything if you just verb it.” – Bucky Kat in the comic strip Get Fuzzy, 2003.

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