Saturday, November 14, 2009

WE MISSED PART OF NAGC'S recent report on gifted education in the United States. In our most recent posting, we pointed to a summary of the report -- "State of the Nation" -- but did not point to the "State of the States" document, the full report; we assumed it was a for-fee publication, our bad. You may find links to the various components of the biannual report at the NAGC site. Be advised that the full "State of the States" report is 293 pages long and covers topics such as state education agencies, GT funding and mandates, identification of GT students, programs, personnel preparation, related policies and practices, and lots of tables. One table consists of state report cards. Another is a three-part, state-by-state assessment of areas needing attention. For example, in our home state of Illinois, funding for gifted education is assessed as "most in need," while the representation of minority students in GT education is assessed as "in need." You may also find the way your state defines giftedness in Table 11.

TECHNOLOGY AND READING. In past posts, we've pointed to articles about Kindle and how it might affect all students, not just GT/LD learners. An article in Education Week explores "the risks and rewards of electronic reading devices" in general. And at CNN Money, you may read about a camera that reads text aloud, the Intel Reader, a device the article calls "profoundly different" from other readers. Instead of using electronically packaged and transmitted text, as the Kindle does, the Intel Reader captures text on a printed page and pronounces it aloud. The article calls the device "a potential godsend for those who struggle to read standard text because of learning disabilities or vision problems." One drawback: the just-released reader costs $1500. Find out more from the article or from Intel.

ASD AND FINE MOTOR SKILLS. Researchers have found that fine motor control, as manifested in handwriting, is different in children with ASD than in typically developing children. According to an article in Psychology Today, the researchers feel that the difference may provide clues about problems with socialization and communication in children on the autism spectrum. Find the article.

DYSLEXIC DIFFICULTY FOCUSING ON RELEVANT AUDITORY INPUT. A Northwestern University study reported in Yahoo News and Science Daily finds that dyslexic children have difficulty focusing on "relevant, predictable, and repeating auditory information," instead becoming distracted by sounds such as banging lockers or scraping chairs. According to the Science Daily piece, "The study suggests that in addition to conventional reading and spelling based interventions, poor readers who have difficulties processing information in noisy backgrounds could benefit from the employment of relatively simple strategies, such as placing the child in front of the teacher or using wireless technologies to enhance the sound of a teacher's voice for an individual student."

IF YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT WIRELESS PHONE USAGE by your child, check out an article in Science Daily about a Swedish study that found links between wireless phone usage and biological changes in the brain as well as to overall health. Find it.

FINALLY, RESEARCH RESULTS YOU WANT TO HEAR -- from the American Chemical Society and the Journal of Proteome Research, no less. A clinical trial has shown that eating an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduces the levels of stress hormones in highly stressed people. While the study did not specifically mention those who raise and teach twice-exceptional children as being highly stressed, this may be the first study to explain how chocolate has those, mmmm, comforting effects. Read about the study. Or, if you're brave and scientifically inclined, read the study.

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