Monday, May 25, 2009

From the Week of May 24th

THE DOCTORS EIDE, FERNETTE AND BROCK, of the Eide Neurolearning Clinic and authors of The Mislabeled Child, have established the "Dyslexic Advantage Community" on Ning, a social networking site. They call it, "a community on the Internet that celebrates the gifts and talents of dyslexia as much as its challenges." (And we've learned from the Eides that "dyslexia" is much more than the classic letter/word confusion.) Go here to find out more or to join.

THIS HARVARD-BOUND VALEDICTORIAN IS DYSLEXIC. In middle school, her low standardized text scores kept her out of gifted classes, according to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But in high school she worked extra hard (taking 15 AP classes along the way) and was inventive in her learning techniques, depending heavily on flashcards. She discovered she was dyslexic, ironically, through her studies in an AP psychology class. Read the article.

RIGHT BRAIN, LEFT BRAIN -- WRONG? A neuroscientist rants a bit on The Huffington Post about right brain/left brain distinctions, partly in response to a new, best-selling book proclaiming the right brain as the way of the future. Joseph LeDoux, who also plays in a rock band called The Amygdaloids, points out that what we have are brain systems, sets of interconnected neurons. Systems beget brain functions. Both systems and functions, says LeDoux, "span the brain vertically and horizontally -- they are not isolated in one hemisphere," although systems may be preferentially located in one hemisphere or the other. The point: it's not one hemisphere or the other that performs a function, rather a system that may be located in one hemisphere or the other. Go here to find the seemingly well-reasoned rant.

MIDWEST GIFTED AND TALENTED SYMPOSIUM. We just received notice of a five-day symposium on the needs of gifted and high-potential learners, to be held June 14-18 in Austin, Minnesota, in the far southern part of the state. The symposium is billed as an opportunity for educators, counselors, administrators, and parents.
According to the website of one of the sponsors, keynoters include Dr. Jaime Castellano, Paul Douglas, Debra Frasier, Dr. Jane Kise, and Dr. James Webb. Find out more.

THE GLAMOUR OF BRAIN IMAGING. We here at 2e Newsletter are as fascinated as anyone else by the use of brain imaging in connection with giftedness and other exceptionalities; perhaps that shows in our choice of items in the blog, briefing, and newsletter. But such imaging has its limits. An article titled "Neuroimaging: Separating the Promise from the Pipe Dreams," just published by the Dana Foundation, provides important information for anyone considering the use of neuroimaging for diagnosis or treatment. An excerpt:
"[A]lthough brain imaging has provided solid evidence of alterations in brain structures and functions associated with many psychiatric disorders, it can be used neither to diagnose such disorders nor to determine exactly how treatments work." Read more. (And be assured that there are clinicians out there treating 2e young people who will suggest brain imaging for diagnosis and treatment.)

AD/HD -- DISSENTING OPINION. If the concept of AD/HD did not exist prior to the middle of the 1900s, did Mozart have AD/HD? Einstein? A Canadian researcher says that while hyperactive behavior has always existed, only recently has it been pathologized and treated. According to Science Daily, the researcher says that AD/HD as a disorder depends on social context, which changed in the 1950s. Read the article.

AN HONORS STUDENT is pictured in a New York Times article about teenagers and text-messaging. The article reports that the almost 80 messages per day sent or received by the average teen might be having significant effects -- anxiety, distraction, grade problems, sleep deprivation, and even repetitive stress injuries. Is your bright child joined at the thumbs to his or her wireless device? Read the article.

AD/HD, KINDERGARTEN, AND THE FUTURE. A study reported by several media outlets indicates that a child who shows attention problems in kindergarten might not learn as much in their K-12 careers as other students. Read about it in US News and Science Daily. The US News article ends by quoting one researcher:
"ADHD is underreported and under-appreciated as a source of long-term academic failure. Studies clearly show that early investment in children pays off big later on." And that quote leads quite nicely into our next item...

RABINER REPORTS ON AD/HD TREATMENT STUDY -- and not just any study, but what he calls "the largest AD/HD treatment study ever conducted." Hundreds of children diagnosed with AD/HD were assigned randomly to treatment by either medication, behavior therapy, a combination of medication and behavior therapy, or routine community care. David Rabiner's analysis highlights findings in terms of the persistence of the treatment benefits; how response to initial treatment may predict later outcomes; and the overall adverse long-term effects of childhood AD/HD. Find the analysis.

2e HUMOR IS SCARCE THESE DAYS. Check out an old highlight from Frazz, this one, as most concerning gifted kids in the strip, featuring Caulfield.


FOR MILITARY FAMILIES WITH LD KIDS, Wrightslaw took the opportunity of the recent U.S. Memorial Day to provide information about relocation and associated transitions. Summer is the peak moving season for military families. The information might be useful to any family moving with an exceptional or twice-exceptional child. Find Special Ed Advocate.

SMART KIDS WITH DISABILITIES -- the organization, that is -- recently held its annual benefit. The organization presented its 2009 LD Youth Achievement Award to a young man for his
accomplishments as an Intel Science Contest semifinalist, AP scholar, Coca Cola Foundation Scholars finalist, varsity football and soccer player, and dedicated community service activist. Read more, including the honoree's statement, "maybe I don't want to be normal..."

Will more news be forthcoming this week? Stay tuned...

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