Saturday, December 19, 2009

Are Learning Styles Passe'?

ANOTHER BAD RAP FOR LEARNING STYLES. A "team of eminent researchers in the psychology of learning" has reviewed the literature on learning styles and concludes that the studies used to differentiate learners as auditory or visual, et cetera, were not properly designed and conducted to be scientifically valid. "Given the lack of scientific evidence, the authors argue that the currently widespread use of learning-style tests and teaching tools is a wasteful use of limited educational resources." Read more.

1 IN 300, 1 IN 150, 1 IN 100. That's the progression of the incidence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in eight-year olds, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. According to The New York Times, ASD includes Asperger's as well as "pervasive developmental disorder," covering children with social difficulties or some learning and sensory issues. The article notes that the incidence rate is similar to that in a study published in October; in that study, almost 40 percent of those with an ASD diagnosis later grew out of it or no longer had it. Read the article.

GIFTED TIMES FOUR. A New York Times article on December 19th noted that all four quadruplets from a Connecticut family received acceptances to Yale University, based on their stellar academic and non-academic accomplishments. Will they attend? Read the article.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY. If you have a gifted or twice-exceptional child who might benefit from assistive technology for listening, math, organization, reading, or writing, check out a primer on the topic at LD OnLine.

IT'S THE LEFT FUSIFORM GYRUS -- that's the part of the brain recently determined to be essential for normal, rapid understanding of the meaning of written text and word spelling, and we thought you'd want to know that. The findings, unfortunately, came about when a patient with above-normal reading and spelling abilities had to have part of the brain removed because of a tumor. For those of you who do not read the Journal Cortex (us included), you may read about the findings at Science Daily. Separately, another report in Science Daily links psychological trauma to poor functioning of the hippocampus, a brain structure that stores and retrieves memories. The research helps explain why traumatized children behave as they do and could improve treatments, according to the report. Find it.

TREATMENT FOR MENTAL DISORDERS IN KIDS. Got a gifted kid with AD/HD? Depression? Conduct disorder? Anxiety? A combination? Overall, only 55 percent of children with those disorders receive professional treatment, according to the Los Angeles Times. Contributing factors: socio-economic status and race. Find the article.

DOES NEUROFEEDBACK WORK? An article in the Washington Post covers pro and con positions regarding the effectiveness of biofeedback for conditions as varied as AD/HD, depression, anxiety, autism, and brain injuries. The article notes that the National Institute of Mental Health is sponsoring the first government-funded study on neurofeedback. The article provides several case studies -- one where an out-of-control child having difficulty with his classes turned into an AP, 3.5-average student -- and reveals that the author has also had positive experiences with neurofeedback. Read more.

RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION. Among the subscribers to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter are parents whose gifted children, because of behavior stemming from exceptionalities such as Asperger's, may be potential candidates for restraint or seclusion in school. If this is of concern to you, check out Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate for this week; it deals with new federal (U.S.) legislation that will regulate restraint and seclusion in schools. Find it.

KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH THAT YOUNG GENERATION. Here's the start of the current issue of "Trends & Tudes," an e-newsletter from Harris Interactive and containing results of recent surveys of youth: "It's 2009; do you know what kids today are saying, thinking, and doing? Well for starters... they are shopping, maintaining relationships, absorbing technology, worrying about the future, aspiring to greatness, and going online and going online and going online." The newsletter covers how teens and pre-teens shop and spend, their attitudes toward new technology, and their relationships with friends and family. For example, when asked who they most like to spend time with, kids 8-12 list Mom as #1; by 18-24, the top two choices are friends and boy/girl friend. Or, find out which age group most wants to be in the Guinness Book of World Records. Anyway, if you feel out of touch based on your at-home sample of 1, 2, or 3, check out the survey results.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER ISSUE OF 2e NEWSLETTER PUBLISHED. A few weeks ago we published the most recent issue of 2e Newsletter, for those who raise, educate, and counsel gifted children with learning challenges. Subscribers can also find the content of the issue in the subscriber-only area of 2eNewsletter.com, along with content from all past issues. Non-subscribers can access "Dear Dr. Sylvia," an advice column, and "Bob Seney on Books," recommendations for literature likely to appeal to young people who are gifted and 2e. Find those columns. Find other "public" content on the site.

No comments: