Monday, May 11, 2009

From the Week of May 10th

FRIDAY: EDWEEK CHAT ON DIFFERENTIATION. The current issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter focuses on differentiation and cluster grouping and includes material by Carol Ann Tomlinson, a differentiation expert. At 3 p.m. (Eastern) this Friday, May 15, Education Week offers an online chat on the topic with Professor Tomlinson. Find out more. (Transcripts are available for completed chats.)

LAUGHING AT (OR WITH) THE GIFTED. Tamara Fisher's latest blog entry drew our attention to the network television show "The Big Bang Theory," a sitcom portraying young, gifted, academician/researchers at Caltech -- four men and a woman. Fisher says she's hooked on the program, and provides links to some episodes of the show available online. Find her post.

LAUGHING AT (THE COMIC WITH) AD/HD. In an article in the Toronto Star, a Canadian comedian describes the effect of AD/HD on his life and work. Not diagnosed -- as sometimes happens -- until an offspring received the label, Rick Green is involved in a national public-awareness campaign on AD/HD, according to the article. An interesting sideline: the article included language from an AD/HD expert who contends that attention deficit results from childhood stress, a theory new to us. Find the article.

A SECOND "e": BURNOUT? Science Daily reports a Finnish study showing that up to 20 percent of success-oriented, upper-secondary-school females suffer from school burnout, which can in turn lead to depression. (Boys, according to the researchers, "
tend to develop more of a cynical, negative stance towards school.")
The article also reports on higher education burnout. Read it.

FOLLOW-UP: MUSICAL PHARMACOLOGY. In an item the week of March 29th, we mentioned a New York Times article on musical pharmacology. This week, we heard from Dr. Roland Haas, CEO of a firm offering a product mentioned in the article. He suggests that those interested in more information on the topic go to his firm's site, (English version available). He and a colleague who was quoted in the Times article have also written a book; more information here. Finally, on the topic of the influence of music in education Hass suggests the writings of Hans Guenther Bastian, although a quick Google search tells us that you won't get far without a working knowledge of German.

2e BUT COLLEGE VALEDICTORIAN -- thanks to his mother's homeschooling. A Georgia mother declined to believe early prognoses that neither of her sons would be able attend college. One son was dyslexic and dysgraphic; the other dyslexic with auditory processing issues. According to the article, the first son is the valedictorian of his class at Augusta State University, and the other son will graduate from the college this summer. Read the article. [UPDATE 5/15: Read a post-graduation article about the event and the valedictorian.]

WRIGHTSLAW THIS WEEK. Here's what's in it, according to the publishers: "
In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate we answer questions about behavior assessments, positive intervention plans and support, and what you can do to get help for children with behavior problems." If the topic rings a bell with you, check it out.

LD ONLINE'S RECOMMENDED BOOKS. Books of note highlighted in an email today include: Understanding Your Child's Brain and Behavior from Birth to Age 6; A Guide to Collaboration for IEP Teams [good luck -ed.]; Levine's A Mind at a Time; Accommodations in Higher Education Under the ADA; Addressing the Challenging Behavior of Children with High Functioning Autism/Asperger Syndrome...; Attention, Memory, and Executive Function; Understanding the Social Lives of Children [scary thought]; and more. Find the recommendations here.

2e NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS, please note that the contents of the May/June issue of 2e Newsletter are now posted in the subscriber-only area of the website. You know where it is; if not, ask for a reminder. Non-subscribers may find some of the content in the public area of the site, in particular: "Fighting for FAPE," the story of a family looking for educational justice for their 2e son; Part 3 of the "Mythology of Learning" series written by experts from Bridges Academy; Bob Seney's column reviewing literature likely to appeal to 2e readers; "Ask Dr. Sylvia," advice from Dr. Sylvia Rimm; and the "Parents' Perspective" column, this one by Sarah Garrison.

SPOTLIGHT ON 2e SERIES. Many of you are aware that Glen Ellyn Media also offers a "Spotlight on 2e Series" of booklets on various aspects of twice-exceptionality. For the rest of May, we're offering free shipping on the booklets, and many subscribers and non-subscribers alike are taking advantage. Subscribers, check your email inbox; non-subscribers, go here to find out more about the booklets and see the offer.

2010 2e CONFERENCE. The Weinfeld Education Group and AEGUS (Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students) are planning a conference called "Diamonds in the Rough: Smart Kids Who Learn Differently." For educators, parents, and students, the conference is scheduled for March 11-13 of next year in Chevy Chase, Maryland. According to the organizers, highlights will include best practices for identifying the aforementioned kids; research-based strategies and interventions for helping them; the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to Dr. Susan Baum; and a presentation by Jonathan Mooney. We'll pass on more information as we receive it.

SMART, BUT NO OUTPUT. Lorel Shea, the gifted education editor for Bella Online, has posted an article about what happens and what to do when a child's input facilities work just fine, and the child is able to learn all kinds of things -- but the child has difficulty with output in the form of written expression. See the article.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY FOR WRITING. By coincidence, we just received a press release noting that AlphaSmart's NEO 2 classroom device now has Text2Speech features that allow learners to hear back what they keyboard into the device. In addtion, NEO 2 works with Google Docs and allows students and teachers to wirelessly access, store, edit, and share documents. Looks like there are some other handy features for teachers, too. We've had personal experience with AlphaSmart's products and have been impressed. Find out more.

SO HOW'S THAT RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR KID? Science Daily reports on a study of tension in the relationship between parents and child. Among the findings: parents are bothered more than the kids, older children bother parents more than younger ones, and daughters can be more aggravating than sons. Read the report.

RECOVERY FROM AUTISM? USA Today reports on a study of 58 mildly-autistic children with above-average IQs. At least ten percent of the children, after years of intensive behavioral therapy, were no longer considered autistic. Read the article.

ON THE MATTER OF ATTENTION. A recent New York Times article focuses on attention and concentration. The article says that novel stimuli tend to gain the brain's attention, even over something you're trying to concentrate on. The brain can override this voluntarily, but overriding involves syncing neuronal oscillation (gamma waves) to direct the brain to attend to something else. But there's more: apparently, pulses of light have the capability to induce gamma waves in the brain. One scientist foresees using low-wavelength light to penetrate the skull and help direct attention by synchronizing neurons -- no more Ritalin. Also in the article: tips for increasing concentration, and the assertion that "multitasking is a myth." Read the article.

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