Friday, June 25, 2010

WOULD YOU USE A VIRTUAL PEDIATRICIAN? One of the applications covered in a New York Times article on artificial intelligence (AI) was that of a computerized medical assistant who greeted mother and child, asked questions, understood and interpreted the responses, and decided on the seriousness of the condition. The "assistant" was an avatar on a computer screen. Read the article.

OVERCOMING DYSLEXIA. LD Online Newsletter pointed us to two items about dyslexic achievers -- one the popular actor/author Henry Winkler (ex-Fonze), who read his first book in his 30s and later began writing children's books, the other about Bob Clausen from Clinton, Iowa, who was in his 30s when he learned to read. Clausen spent three years acquiring the skill and has spent the last 30 years fighting illiteracy. Read about Winkler; read about Clausen.

nomination to the National Council on Disability has been confirmed after being held up for half a year, possibly because of his view that "autism should not be cured, but instead should be accepted and accommodated," according to Disability Scoop. Find out more.

THE DAVIDSON INSTITUTE ENEWS UPDATE for June has been posted at the DITD site. In the news are honors received by a Davidson Fellow and Davidson Academy students at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair; notice of the upcoming deadline for applications to the Davidson Academy for 2010-11; and information about the free, nationwide Davidson Young Scholars program for profoundly gifted young people. Find the newsletter.

AUTISM/ASPERGER'S BARNSTORMERS. A team of experts is being featured in a series of summer and fall conferences on autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Among the experts featured at the conferences by Future Horizons are Temple Grandin, Tony Atwood, and Jed Baker. Venues include Seattle, Denver, Wichita, and Dixon, Illinois. (We know where Dixon is. Do you?) Find out more.

RUSHING THE FALL. It's a little early, but the U.S. Census Bureau has released a collection of statistics concerning the 2010-11 school year.
  • The number of students projected to be enrolled in U.S. elementary and high schools is 56 million.
  • The percentage of students enrolled in private elementary and high schools is estimated at 11 percent.
  • About 19 million students are expected to enroll in colleges and universities.
  • And, looking back, per-pupil expenditures in public elementary and high schools in 2007 was $9,666.
Read the press release.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

HAPPY SUMMER to those of you in the Northern hemisphere. Happy winter to our friends in Australia and New Zealand.

THE GIFTED RESOURCES NEWSLETTER, from Jo Freitag, has appeared in its June incarnation. On pages 9-11 of the newsletter Jo lists "Some Interesting Websites," as she usually does, and this eclectic list includes a pointers to a 10-page article by Jim Delisle titled "Understand What Giftedness Is... And What It Is Not"; to an AEGUS list of suggested reading; and to an article on highly sensitive persons. If you feel like exploring, check out Jo's list.

TIMED TESTS. Twice-exceptional students often process more slowly than their gifted counterparts, which can hurt their scores on timed tests, especially highly important tests such as the ACT and SAT. In a column called "The Answer Sheet," a Washington Post education writer lays out the arguments for not timing the ACT and SAT. If you've tried to get exceptions to the requirement, or anticipate having to do so, read the column.

IS YOUR CHILD 2e? Brainworks, in Carrollton, Texas, has an online screening tool to help you decide whether your child might be twice-exceptional. Find the tool.

GROWTH ON AD/HD MEDS. A study suggests that stimulant meds for AD/HD do not have a long-term effect on height and weight of the children taking them. Find out more.

AUTISTIC ACHIEVER. A young man whose parents were told that he would likely wind up in an institution gave the commencement speech at his high school in Smithfield, Rhode Island. He was salutatorian of his class and will go on to Rhode Island College in the fall. Find out more.

CELEBRITY STATUS. 2e Newsletter publishers Linda Neumann and Mark Bade were interviewed for the current issue of NAGC's publication Parenting for High Potential. You can read the interview if you're a member of NAGC or know someone who will loan you the issue. The issue also contains an article titled "The Case Law on Dually Exceptional Children," which sounds good but which we haven't read yet because we wanted to see our interview first.

Friday, June 11, 2010

NEW MEDIA: BLESSING OR CURSE? Worried about what new media is doing to your children's brains? To yours? A Newsweek blog contains a review of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, a book by Nicholas Carr. The book's thesis is that the Internet is changing the way we think (for the worse), and making us distracted and even less empathetic. Interestingly, a recent New York Times op-ed piece by Steven Pinker took exactly the opposite stance, claiming that "new forms of media have always caused moral panics" and that "experience does not revamp the basic information-processing capabilities of the brain." In what has to be a direct rebuttal to Carr, Pinker concludes, "Far from making us stupid, these technologies are the only things that will keep us smart." Find Pinker's op-ed piece.

MORE ON MEDIA. How about your child and video games? A recent metastudy notes several interesting things. First, the popularity of video games has not led to an overall increase in behavior problems or violence among children. Second, whether video game violence causes aggression in a particular child depends on the child's personality. And third, researchers have found that video game play can have a number of positive uses. Read more.

WHEN TO LITIGATE WITH SCHOOL. Suppose your twice-exceptional child is not getting the services you feel he or she needs at school. When do you stop requesting, advocating, cajoling, or threatening... and move to legal remedies to try to get what you think is best for your child? Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate from June 8th contains several articles dealing with this difficult decision, as well as one exemplifying the challenge of taking on the school system. Find Special Ed Advocate. (For another article on this topic, see "Fighting for FAPE" on the 2e Newsletter website.)

SUSAN BAUM ON THE MOVE. The peripatetic Susan Baum, director of professional development at Bridges Academy and member of the 2e Newsletter Advisory Board, is presenting a free workshop in Salt Lake City on June 17th, 7-8:30 pm. The title: "The Enigma of the 2e Child: Dispelling the Myths." The workshop is by the Utah Parent Center and Granite School District. For more information, call Michelle at 385.646.4190 or go here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. Late on this sunny, late-spring morning we were driving through the middle of All-American Wheaton, Illinois, and were startled by a horde of elementary-school students running excitedly up the street, yelling. We surmised that, rather than lunchtime, the excitement stemmed from the last day of school. As we parked in the downtown, packs of middle-schoolers roamed the sidewalks, similarly freed. The experience reminds us to wish the parents and educators among our northern-hemisphere readership a fruitful summer vacation. (Too bad the adults can't take the summer off while the kids work.)

DOCTORS VERSUS EDUCATORS. Whose assessment of a child with Asperger's or some other exceptionality is to be acted upon when medical professionals and school professionals differ on the cause and treatment of a child's behavior at school? The Arizona Republic describes a family in Gilbert, Arizona, whose son has high-functioning autism but whom the school deemed simply had "skills delays." The family struggled all year, although by the end of the year the child was doing well. Read about the conflict.

RTI IN EARLY CHILDHOOD. Should RTI be extended "downward" so that pre-schoolers with potential issues can be identified early? Three groups concerned with early childhood and education are developing a position statement for applying RTI in the context of early childhood. Find out more.

ADOLESCENT RISK. It's the mesolimbic dopamine system that drives risky behaviors in teens, says a University of Texas researcher. As it turns out, the system causes large "reward prediction error" -- the difference between an expected outcome and the actual outcome." Read more about the study.

NON-INTUITIVE RESEARCH RESULTS OF THE DAY -- and nothing to do with giftedness or twice-exceptionality, but interesting none the less. Researchers now claim that caffeine consumption is unrelated to alertness. Their thesis: that coffee merely reverses "the fatiguing effects of acute caffeine withdrawal." See what you think, coffee drinkers.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

TESTING FOR AD/HD. A Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. Martin Teicher, has invented an objective test for AD/HD, according to The New York Times. The effectiveness of the test has been reported in professional journals, and several insurers will cover the test, called the Quotient ADHD System. Find out more.

CHECKING KIDS' MENTAL HEALTH. The American Academy of Pediatrics, in this week's issue of Pediatrics, has recommended that pediatricians screen for possible mental health issues on each visit to the doctor. Read about it in the Wall Street Journal. Or, check the Academy's website for more information.

AD/HD, ACCOMMODATIONS, AND ABUSE. An article in the San Antonio Express-News describes an adult with what sounds like severe AD/HD on a 16-year quest for his associate's degree at a local community college. Along the way, the article covers accommodations colleges can or must make for learners with disabilities, and how those accommodations are sometimes abused. Find the article.

WORRIED ABOUT EDUCATION? Check out "The Condition of Education 2010," the latest in a series of annual reports summarizing developments and trends in education. The assessment is based on data for 49 indicators and covers all levels of education. Find out more.