Thursday, April 29, 2010

TOWARDS AD/HD DIAGNOSIS. The Boston Globe reports on the Quotient, a diagnostic device that can help a doctor determine whether a child has AD/HD by tracking his or her motion. The article also covers doctors' skepticism over previous AD/HD "tests." Read it.

SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE newsletter from Wrightslaw this week features ASD -- tips for parents, getting help, and special ed advocacy and legal resources that might help. Find this week's issue.

SPEAKING OF LEGAL RESOURCES, the Washington Post has reported that an attorney who represented families in special ed matters was not licensed during much of the time he provided his services. In his wake, the attorney has left some bitter -- and vengeful -- parents in Virginia and the DC area. Read more.

WEBMISTRESS CAROLYN K of Hoagies' is quoted in an article on the website Parent Dish titled "How to Tell if Your Child Is Gifted," sharing her expertise on identifying gifted children and -- then -- what to do with them. Read the article.

APD/CAPD MAKES THE NEW YORK TIMES. It took awhile, and there had to be a "star" involved, but the paper this week covered auditory processing disorder -- what it is and how to deal with it. One profile in the article, titled "Little-known Disorder Can Take a Toll on Learning," was of talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell, who contributed a foreword to a new book on the topic (The Sound of Hope, by Lois Kam Heymann). O'Donnell's contribution was based on her experiences with her son, for whom even "knock knock" jokes were confusing. Read more.

QUADS TO YALE. Four gifted siblings from Connecticut have decided to attend Yale together. The university was one of two to which all four had applied and been accepted. Apparently Yale was "generous" with financial aid -- surely a factor for the parents of four kids going to college at the same time. Tuition, room, and board at Yale is around $50,000 per student per year. Let's see, $50,000 times 4 times 4... Read the article.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

COULDN'T READ, BUT SURE CAN WRITE. A 10th-grade student in Fort Worth, Texas, has won a national award for an essay recounting her experiences growing up with dyslexia. According to the article, the young woman now "writes tirelessly." Previous winners of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition include Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, and Andy Warhol. Read more.

2e SUMMER CAMP IN CARROLLTON, TEXAS. Brainworks' Carla Crutsinger tells us that her 29-year-old company is holding its 24th summer camp for twice-exceptional students. According to the company's website, "Brainworks has developed and uses a systemic approach to teach skills that result in life-changing behaviors. Brainworks offers instruction during the school year as well as an accelerated summer program" -- the summer camp. Find out more at the Brainworks website.

BRAIN-BASED EDUCATION is the "engagement of strategies based on principles derived from an understanding of the brain," according to a several-years-old article we found while browsing for items for this blog. The article, in the Phi Delta Kappan, defines the practice and its interdisciplinary foundation, points out critical interconnections and inter-influences between the brain and the classroom (stress, social conditions, etc), urges experimentation with brain-based teaching techniques, and provides some "credentials" for brain-based education. Find the article.

ACCELERATION RESOURCE. Can't say it any better than they do; from the website of the Acceleration Institute: "Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy provides guidance and encourages the systematic adoption and practice of acceleration in schools across the nation. The Guidelines document can assist schools in writing and modifying acceleration policy that is suited to local needs and adheres to research-based best practices. Guidelines is co-authored by IRPA, the National Association for Gifted Children, and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted." The guidelines are downloadable in PDF format. Find the site.

EDUCATORS GUILD NEWSLETTER. The Spring edition of this publication from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development focuses on programs for early entrance to college. If your gifted child is emotionally ready for such a possibility, check out the articles in the newsletter. It also provides links to other DITD resources, such as the Gifted Issues Discussion Forum.

READERS IN AUSTRALIA -- don't forget to check Jo Freitag's site for gifted- and 2e-related events and resources in your fair country. Find it. You may also sign up there for her monthly newsletter.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A LITTLE HELP FROM THE 2e COMMUNITY, PLEASE. A family moving to the Edwardsville, Illinois, area is looking for a school for their nine-year-old 2e son, who is thriving in his current IB elementary school, according to the family. Now, Edwardsville is near St. Louis, and our reader says she doesn't mind if her husband "has to drive awhile" to get to work in Edwardsville, which should widen the choices. If anyone has suggestions or advice, please post here with your email address (we won't make it public) or email us and we'll forward it on for direct communication with the family. (Subscribers, you know where to find us anyway.) Thanks!

YES I CAN! CEC has announced the winners of the 2010 "Yes I Can" awards, which will be presented on April 23rd. The awards recognize achievement by young people with disabilities in nine areas -- academics, arts, athletics, community service, employment, extracurricular activities, independent living, self-advocacy, and technology. See the winners and their stories at the CEC site.

UNWRAPPING THE GIFTED. Blogger Tamara Fisher previews upcoming webinars on giftedness from NAGC and SENG. Read more.

SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE, on a roll with the topic of IEPs, continues its coverage this week with articles on documenting IEP concerns, getting the IEP revised, including parent and teacher training in an IEP,and using academic standards to develop IEP goals. If that twice-exceptional child you know has an IEP, check out the issue.

INSTANT REWARDS LIKE MEDICINE. British researchers have reported that the brains of AD/HD kids respond to instant rewards the same way they respond to medications such as Ritalin, although not to the same degree. One researcher, according to the report, says that the combination of drugs and incentives produced the best results, and might mean children with AD/HD could take lower doses of drugs while maintaining control of their behavior. Find out more from BBC.

SOLVING THE PUZZLE OF AUTISM is the title of a new article posted at the Dana Foundation site. Like most articles there, this is not "light reading," but rather a 3,700-word piece about which the editor says in a preface: "Desperate to understand and to cure autism, many activists argue that the disorder can be traced to a single source. But in order to understand autism, writes Alan Packer of the Simons Foundation, we first need to determine the genetic, neuronal, and behavioral elements at play. These elements, argues Packer, are more complex than those involved in cancer. Researchers will then need to translate their understanding of autism into treatments, an undertaking that will require a long-term, interdisciplinary approach." Read the article.

LEARNING SOMETHING FOR NOTHING. The New York Times points to some websites that help those interested in using all of "mind-boggling volume" of free educational material on the web. The sites include Academic Earth, Connexions, the OpenCourseWare Consortium, Open Culture, ITunesU and YouTube, and Highlights for High School. Find the article and educate yourself -- or that gifted young person in your life.

HARD 2 SPEL DAD is the title of a play in performance in Dallas. It's the result of a long chain of dyslexic-related experiences by several families and organizations, starting with a mother whose daughter's diagnosis in the 1970s made her feel "like someone had run over me with a large truck." The mom came up with her own teaching methods and introduced her daughter to theater. The play, scripted a generation after the daughter's diagnosis but based on her experiences, features a young actress who also has dyslexia. Read more.

EDUFEST. If summer's coming, so is EduFest, the annual, late-July Idaho skill-building conference for educators, school psychologists, and administrators involved in gifted education. The conference also features a parents' day on the Saturday prior to the conference, July 24th. Session descriptions have been posted. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS, from an April 21st press release by the U.S. Census Bureau. "Today marks the birthday of a German educator most Americans have never heard of but whose ideas about how young children learn have had a profound effect on many generations. His name was Friedrich Froebel, born in 1782. He believed that directed play was an important part of each child's education -- a theory that led to the establishment of the first kindergarten -- literally, "children's garden." The first kindergarten in a U.S. public school opened in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1873. Underlining the acceptance of Froebel's ideas across the country, more than 3.5 million youngsters now go to public school kindergarten each day. A half-million attend private kindergartens." To see more census "daily features," go here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

KIDS AND MEDS. Here's an interesting dilemma. You have a 12-year-old son with a disorder that could be helped by medication, but the child refuses to take the meds. Should you try to sneak the med into his food? Doctors queried on this issue by The New York Times, in conjunction with an inquiry from parents of a child with OCD, recommended against "sneaking" the meds. The professionals suggested that the older the child, the more active the child's role should be in his healthcare. Read the column.

SHUT-DOWN LEARNERS. Michael Shaughnessy interviewed Dr. Richard Selznick, author of a newly-released book called The Shut-down Learner. Selznick's basic formula is:
Cracks in the foundation + time + largely ignored skill deficits + emotional issues developing = shut down learner. Selznick also believes that hands-on, tactile learners are more at risk for being shut down. Read the interview.

INTERACTING WITH BOOKS. A Kansas State University professor finds that using Kindle and its interactive features allow children to become more involved with what they're reading. The e-reader has features that make the text audible, increase or decrease font size and let readers make notes about the book. The professor said that sometimes students make comments summarizing the plot, therefore reinforcing their understanding of the book. Other times they ponder character development, jotting down things like "If I were him, I'd say no way!" Find out more.

DYSLEXIA BLOG. The author of Dyslexia My Life recently posted a blog interview on the topic of giftedness and learning disabilities. The interviewee was Dr. James Russell, who teaches on the topic of assessing exceptional students; he also counsels and assesses adults and adolescents with learning disabilities. Russell discusses some the burdens of being GT/LD. Find the blog.

DIAGNOSING CHILDHOOD BIPOLAR DISORDER. The National Institute of Mental health reports on a series of imaging studies that apparently reveal that the brain works differently in youth with bipolar disorder (BD) than in chronically irritable children who are often diagnosed with pediatric BD. The update discusses the differences between BD and chronic, severe irritability distinct from BD, and also describes how the brain differences were detected. Find it.

ON TEMPERAMENT. Developmental psychologist Jerome Kagan has a new book out, titled
The Temperamental Thread, describing the nature of the traits that shape our responses to our experiences. At the Dana Foundation website, he is interviewed about temperament -- "how temperament affects personality, whether it can predict your future, and how it might influence a doctor deciding which medical treatment may work best for you." Find the interview, and see if it explains anything about that temperamental gifted child you raise or teach.

THE ADOLESCENT BRAIN. While browsing the Dana website looking for recently-added material, we found an article from 2007 titled "The Adolescent Brain -- The Dana Guide." The topics covered are: sorting out adolescence from puberty, behind the scenes in the adolescent brain, healthy risks, unhealthy risks, mental disorders, and the kaleidoscope of changes. Got a gifted or 2e adolescent you can't figure out? Read it.

GIFTEDNESS IN THE NEWS. If you like to keep track of news pertaining to giftedness or gifted education across the United States, the National Association for Gifted Children maintains a page of current news items -- 20 for the most recent week. Find the page.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION: "What exactly does it look like?" That's the question a teacher addresses in her blog on Edutopia. She suggests starting with what you know about the student, of course, but also suggests something that evidently isn't a widespread practice -- reading the student's files to find out about abilities and issues. (By doing so, she discovered that one of her students had a diagnosis of schizophrenia -- something that no one had told her, but, we think, something any teacher would like to know.) She also offers an example of differentiation from her own teaching practice. Read more.

RTI. Education Week's Teacher Sourcebook site contains an interview wtih Richard Allington on RTI as it applies to achieving full literacy. In the opinion-studded interview, Allington covers mistakes that schools make in implementing RTI, criticism of "packaged reading programs," and guidelines for interventions. Read the interview.

IEPs. This week's Special Ed Advocate continues the coverage of IEPs begun last week, this edition emphasizing recent changes to the law. Also covered: IEP team meetings and attendance, and functional performance/functional goals in IEPs. Find Special Ed Advocate.

2e IN MANHATTAN. An organization in New York City offers after-school, weekend, and summer camp programs for 2e children, according to an article in the National Examiner. Find out more.

BUBBLE WRAP COMPETITION. We posted awhile ago on this contest, where middle-school students get to show their creativity by coming up with an invention using Bubble Wrap. The 15 semifinalists have been announced; see them and their creations here. One of the inventions is intended to help dyslexic children or others with visual processing issues learn how to play chords on a guitar; another is an educational game to help children learn to spell. Finalists are to be announced May 4th.

MIRROR NEURONS DO EXIST. Scientists have recorded mirror neuron activity in the human brain, proving their existence. Mirror neurons fire not only when we perform an action, but when we observe other performing that action. These neurons are critical to empathy, and, according to one of the study's authors, may be subject to dysfunction in conditions such as autism. Read about the study.

2e MANUAL. The Idaho Department of Education has released a manual titled "Twice-Exceptional: Students with Both Gifts and Challenges or Disabilities" to provide awareness and assistance to those who work with Idaho's 2e students. Some of the material in the manual was previously published in 2e Newsletter, much was contributed by experts familiar to readers of 2e Newsletter. Download the manual. Way to go, Idaho.

LINDA SILVERMAN IN MICHIGAN. Linda Silverman is scheduled to present at three different locations in Michigan later this month -- Grand Rapids on 4/26, Bay City on 4/28, and Novi on 4/30. The topic at all three locations: the visual-spatial learner -- understanding and reaching kids who learn differently. Find out more.

UPCOMING 2e EVENT, CHICAGO AREA. The Illinois Association for Gifted Children, along with Lake Forest School District 67, is sponsoring "Outside of the Box Gifted: Recognizing and Supporting Diverse Gifted Populations," to be held June 22-23 in Lake Forest, Illinois. Speakers will include Linda Silverman, Elizabeth Mika, Elizabeth Nielsen, Dennis Higgins, Rosina Gallagher, Cathy Risberg, and Laura Paull. For more information, contact Laura Paull,, or visit

UPCOMING GIFTED EVENT, MINNESOTA. The Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Education Symposium is to be held June 13-17 in Austin, Minnesota. The event is for educators, psychologists, counselors, administrators and parents, and is made possible through a Hormel Foundation grant in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Education and Austin Public Schools. For complete information, visit the Austin Public School District Website and access symposium information located under Gifted and Talented Symposium 2010.

MARCH/APRIL 2e NEWSLETTER IS OUT. Paid subscribers to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter should have received the most recent issue within the past few days. If not, let us know. (Please note that the newsletter is by subscription and is different than the complimentary monthly briefing.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

ADVOCATE -- as in verb. The Council for Exceptional Children joins the ranks of organizations urging their members to support renewal of the Javits Program for research into gifted issues. The deadline: Tuesday, April 13th. Find out more.

CALLING GIFTED TEENS. Judy Galbraith of Free Spirit Publishing invites teens who are gifted to take an anonymous survey concerning giftedness, education, relationships, and personal growth. Her goal: to help update the Free Spirit book The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide. Find the survey.

COLORADO GIFTED EVENT. Barbara Gilman, of Denver's Gifted Development Center, has scheduled an April 26th presentation titled "Optimizing Gifted Advocacy by Parents and Schools: How to Ensure Meaningful Options, Even in Difficult Times." Find out more about where and what.

EDNEWS.ORG AND DAVID RABINER. If you enjoy the AD/HD-themed newsletters we point you to by David Rabiner of Duke University, you might be interested in Michael Shaughnessy's recent interview with Rabiner at Find the interview.

GIFTED EDUCATION MYTHS is the topic of Tamara Fisher's most recent posting at "Unwrapping the Gifted." She comments on the persistence of some myths treated in a recent article in Gifted Child Quarterly, noting that the some of the myths were "the very same ones tackled in the 1982 issue" of the same publication. She also points to several articles of her own dealing with gifted education myths. Find the post. Separately, we invite our readers to check out our six-part series "The Mythology of Learning" at the 2e Newsletter website.

ART COMPETITION. The Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition celebrates the "unusual artistic ability of children with learning disabilities and dyslexia." The competition is open to artists ages 7 through 21, with an entry deadline of July 1st. You can find out more about the Exhibition here (including its poignant history), and see some of the striking past entries here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

WHEN YOU DON'T OUTGROW AD/HD. The Wall Street Journal published an article on adult AD/HD. According to the article, 8 percent of children in the U.S. have it, and about 50 percent outgrow it. That leaves 10 million adults with AD/HD, some of whom might not even realize it. The article covers diagnosis of adult AD/HD along with ways to cope with it. Read the article.

HOW MUCH EXTRA TEST TIME IS ENOUGH? A Princeton freshman with an LD has sued the university over the amount of extra time she should be allowed for testing. Princeton granted an extra 50 percent; the student wants an extra 100 percent. Read about it.

GOT A 2e CHILD WITH AN IEP? Check out the April 6th edition of Special Ed Advocate from Wrightslaw. It offers advice on being your child's case manager, writing SMART IEPs, and developing a long-term "master plan." Find it.

TIPS FROM A PARENT. An article posted at the Parenting Squad website shares tips from a parent on navigating school when your child is twice-exceptional. The tips include what to focus on -- and not -- and cover concerns such as tutoring. Sample tip: "Let your child figure out and then engage his or her own learning strategies." Find the article.

RTI: EDUCATION WEEK WEBINAR. Education Week is offering a free webinar on RTI, scheduled for April 15th from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern time. Find out more.

SENSORY-FRIENDLY FILMS. April is the first anniversary of the Sensory Friendly Films program. This year, according to Time Magazine, families will be able to see "How to Train Your Dragon at one of 93 theaters in 47 cities. The screenings features lowered but still-on lights, softer volume than normal, and more behavioral freedom for kids than is customary in theaters. Read about it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

BLUE MAN GROUP AND THE BLUE SCHOOL. Founders and spouses of the Blue Man Group have started the Blue School in New York City. Now comprised of pre-school through first-grade students, the school was conceived as a reaction to admissions hysteria and Ivy League college focus, an education that "you don't have to recover from," in the words of the founders. One challenge faced by the progressive school: its popularity and tuition now make the school seem "what were rebelling against," says a founder. Read the article.

WANT TO SEE HOW OTHER FAMILIES HANDLE TEEN AUTONOMY? Read about a Penn State study of 200 families concerning their children's decision making in the areas of chores, appearance, curfew and bedtime, health, schoolwork, social life, activities, and money. Researchers concluded that decision-making autonomy, a reflection of the development of youths' independence and responsibility, depended on what kinds of decisions youngsters faced, and on their personal and family circumstances. Find out more.

BEEN THROUGH THE COLLEGE TOUR PROCESS? Jay Matthews of the Washington Post wants your input on best and worst questions you've heard asked on college visits. Sample, from a parent visiting Boston College: "Do all these priests have to dress in black all the time? What if that upsets the students?" To contribute, go here.

GIFTED IN FLORIDA? Find out about a free summer academy on the campus of Florida State University. Sponsored by the Florida Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion, the academy will be slanted toward aerospace disciplines. Read more of in an interview between Michael Shaughnessy of and academy co-director Steven Pfeiffer.