Friday, July 30, 2010

DID YOU BELIEVE IN JAVITS? The Senate committee charged with appropriating funds for its continuation didn't, according to their vote on July 29th -- but the battle may move now to the US House of Representatives. Find more information at the CEC website.

THE EFFECT OF GOOD TEACHERS, QUANTIFIED. Try $320,000 -- that's the estimated value of a stand-out kindergarten teacher, as measured by the increased earnings of a full class or his or her students. The New York Times reported on a longitudinal study of 12,000 children, in which some teachers were identified as being able to help their students learn much more than other teachers. The results? "Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more." Read the article and give a raise to a standout teacher you know.

ON BULLYING. Also from The New York Times: An op-ed piece "There's Only One Way to Stop a Bully" (training teachers and staff how to recognize bullying and intervene), along with quite a few thoughtful responses to the article by readers. If bullying is an issue that you're concerned with, find the article and find the responses.

AD/HD AND DIET. An Australian study suggests that adolescents eating a "Western" diet have twice the risk of AD/HD than those eating a "Healthy" diet, one high in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and fish. The Western diet? It's heavy in takeaway foods, confectionery, processed, fried and refined foods, and higher in total fat, saturated fat, refined sugar, and sodium. The researchers speculate the difference in the levels of omega-3 fatty acids might be the culprit. Read more, then go harass your teenager.

INTELLIGENCE AND THE BRAIN is a new book by Dennis Garlick, Ph.D., who answers questions about it in an interview with Michael Shaughnessy. Topics covered include the nature of intelligence, IQ, and IQ testing. Find it.

TEACHING MICROBIOLOGY WITH A VIDEO GAME. It can be done successfully, according to a press release from Wake Forest University. CellCraft, a game developed there and available on popular gaming sites, was played more than a million times within 10 days of its release. Gamers made comments such as, "I wish this game would've come out earlier; maybe I wouldn't have received a D in Biology." The game is available for free download at For the school year, it will include a free, downloadable teacher's packet and a printable lab worksheet. Read more.

STUCK AT PROM CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED. One of our favorite contests, where high-school prom-goers make their outfits out of Duck brand duct tape, has announced this year's winners. You can see the winners here. (You've got to admit, winning this contest takes creativity, discipline, and artistic talent. It's not every kid that would spend up to 300 hours to craft, say, a Victorian-inspired gown -- even if the kids did get to spend the time in the company of their prom dates.)

BACK TO SCHOOL? It's not even August. But anyway, the American Optometric Association has issued its back-to-school recommendation for eye exams. The press release includes indicators of vision problems, for example performing below potential or struggling to complete homework. Find the release. Along those lines, the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), members of which have been featured in 2e Newsletter, note that August is National Children's Vision and Learning Month. Find the COVD website.

DSM-V -- CONTINUING SAGA. An editorial in the Journal of Mental Health expresses concerns among experts that proposed guidelines in the new DSM would qualify almost everyone as having some sort of disorder. You can actually read the full editorial online, or you can read others' interpretations here or here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

NEUROFEEDBACK AND AD/HD. Dr. David Rabiner has posted his July issue of Attention Research Update, and it it he reviews a study of the effectiveness of neurofeedback -- a sometimes controversial treatment -- on AD/HD. The results of his analysis? Neurofeedback might be good for some children but not others. About half of the children observed had a significant positive effects six months later. Rabiner concludes that neurofeedback might have benefits for some children, and that its best use may be as part of a multimodal treatment. See his review.

EQUITY AND GIFTED KINDERGARTEN. More on the gifted wars in New York City. Is admission to gifted kindergarten fair, given that some parents evidently spend $1000 on "test prep for their 4-year-olds"? If this subject titillates you, read the New York Times article. In the Midwest, where we live, it's either not a problem or we're traveling in the wrong circles -- although, to be honest, kindergarten is a long time ago for our family.

GOODBYE, GIFTED PROGRAMS. We've posted about Javits, but individual states are looking for ways to save money, some by cutting gifted education programs. Nebraska, for example, may try to save more than $2 million by cutting funds available for programs for high-ability learners. Read more.

KID CAN'T SLEEP? MEDICATE. This month's edition of Sleep Medicine contains an article noting that "insomnia is a major problem among children in mental health treatment and at least a quarter of these patients are given sleep medication." Drugs recommended by clinicians to help sleep include antihistamines, clonidine (officially, a blood pressure medication), antidepressants -- and worse (value judgment). Read more.

WHAT WE WERE AND COULD BE. The Economist, an unlikely source for inspirational stories about human development and potential, published a story about a Micronesian who sailed from Hawaii to Tahiti -- without a map, compass, or instruments (except "a chunky watch"). Instead, he used the stars, the sun, the wind, ocean life, and the water itself to tell him where he was. This article is about the potential giftedness in us all, should we pay attention. Read it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

WHAT'S YOUR FAMILY "TYPE"? And how does it affect school success? A University of Notre Dame study says "the way a family interacts can have more of an impact on a child's predicted school success than reading, writing, or arithmetic." The three family types are cohesive, enmeshed, and detached. Find out which one is best for school success right here.

POLYFLUORALKYL CHEMICALS AND AD/HD. There's a link, says the Boston University School of Public Health. PFCs are used in food packagings, among other products, and they can take years to leave the body. Children with higher blood serum levels of PFC are more likely to have a diagnosis of AD/HD, although the researchers point out that it's not known if the link is causal. But what do you think? Read more.

THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT AD/HD. The stigma is gone -- that according to the Consumer Reports Health Blog. So if you feel embarrassed or guilty because your smart kid has AD/HD, read the blog and feel better. Find it.

JO FREITAG'S JULY NEWSLETTER contains items of interest. In one (Tony's story, page 8), read a note from a man with Asperger's, dyslexia, and AD/HD, but who has achieved a perfect score on an IQ test and now serves the gifted community in a variety of ways. In another (page 11) read an Australian mom's reaction to the PG Retreat, held annually in Colorado for profoundly gifted kids and their families; you'll also find her link to a newly established Facebook page about the Retreat. You'll probably find more items of interest, for example in Jo's regular list of interesting websites. Go Australian.

SENG GIFTS. In observance of National Gifted Parenting Week, SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) has been, as we've noted, publishing special newsletters each day. In Thursday's was an article titled "Existential Depression," an excerpt from the book Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis, by Dr. James Webb et al. Friday's feature article was "Advocating for Your Gifted Child," by Lori Comallie-Caplan. Find out more about SENG and their good works at their site.

EDUCATION RESOURCE COMING. The U.S. Secretary of Education has announced the creation of a National Learning Registry to "help organize digital educational resources for teachers and students," according to Education Week. The registry will pull together items from various sites and make the resources easier to find. Find out more.

TEMPLE GRANDIN SPOKE IN AUSTIN, Minnesota, and the local Daily Herald reported on her address to parents and educators. Read more about what Grandin said and the reaction of some of those in attendance, especially parents of autistic children.

VISIT US ON FACEBOOK and contribute to one of the discussion groups there -- or just say hi.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Some members of Congress do not. NAGC says that last week a U.S. House subcommittee eliminated funding for the only federal program specifically supporting gifted and talented students. This program is a perennial political football, deflated for 2010 to a funding level of $7.5, down from its "traditional" level of over $11 million. The Senate subcommittee responsible for funding the Javits Program meets on July 27th (postponed from the 22nd) to consider funding for the program, among others.

NAGC makes it really easy to advocate for Javits funding. First, go here to find out more. Then, if you live in the one of the 14 states represented by a Senator on the appropriations subcommittee, you can use a government link to go directly to that senator's website and contact him or her. Those states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In comparison to the $11.25 million that NAGC would like to see in funding for the Javits Program, consider these budget requests:
  • The administration is requesting $12.8 billion in 2011 funds for special education.
  • $1.8 billion is requested to manage the US Department of Education.
  • Total funding for elementary and secondary education is $25 billion, as near as we can tell from the government's obfuscated presentation on budget numbers.
Anyway: If you believe in Javits, act.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

DON'T GET CAUGHT IN THE LAZY TRAP. That's the advice -- and the title of an article -- from 2e Newsletter publisher Linda Neumann. The article appears in a special edition of SENG Update in observation of Parenting Gifted Children Week. The article offers advice for what to do when you hear the label "smart but lazy" applied to your child. Find it.

2e Newsletter book columnist Bob Seney has enthusiastically reviewed books from the "Percy Jackson and the Olympian" series for young people, which builds a world for readers to imagine and immerse themselves in, much like "Harry Potter" readers do. A recent article in The New York Times spotlights New York area literary camps structured around books and their themes. One of them is Camp Half-Blood, based on the Percy Jackson series. Read more.

TOXIC CHILD. In an earlier post we pointed to an article that perhaps absolved parents who raise a bad kid. The article generated several letters to the publisher, one letter agreeing and the other urging stricter parental oversight. Find the letters.

ARE WE TOO EASY ON OUR CHILDREN? Have we spoiled them? If you have strong opinions on this issue, read a thought-provoking article in
The Washington Post. Find it.

ASD AND DIET. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can demonstrate feeding problems, food refusal, and limited food preferences from infancy, but energy intake and growth are not affected. A study published in Pediatrics showed that children with ASD ate fewer vegetables, salads, and fresh fruit, but also consumed fewer sweets and carbonated drinks. Study authors determined that even though children with ASD consumed less of some vitamins and accepted a more limited number of different foods, their intake of carbohydrates, protein, fats and total energy were similar to controls. No significant differences were apparent in weight, height, or body mass index up to 7 years of age.

TESTING FOR KINDERGARTEN is a book, and a press release for it says this: "Karen Quinn, whose own son was headed for special education until she cracked the code of kindergarten testing and boosted his score from the 37th to the 94th percentile, wrote her latest book, Testing for Kindergarten, revealing for the first time to parents what is on these tests and teaching them how to prepare their kids." If you're interested in competing equally with "wealthy families who can afford expensive tutors and enrichment activities to ensure high test scores for their kids," then check out the website for the book.

AND IF YOUR BRIGHT CHILD IS BURNED OUT by the time high school graduation rolls around, consider a "gap year." The
Boston Globe describes how high-achieving students and admission officials are encouraging time off to recharge. Read the article.

AD/HD AND YOUR MARRIAGE. We're fond of an expression a 2e Newsletter subscriber once told us, that "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." If you've got an AD/HD apple in your family tree, consider the effect on the marriage when perhaps not only a child has AD/HD -- but also your spouse (or
you). Read what it's like -- and what some people have done to try to address the issue of AD/HD in their marriage.

GENDER DIFFERENCES. A recent study found that males and females multitask equally well on simple math and reading tasks. The researchers also found, however, that "women far excelled men when it came to planning how to search for a lost key, with 70 percent of women performing better than their average male counterparts." (A snide interpretation of these findings would ascribe the difference simply to more previous practice on the part of females.) Read more.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

UK FAMILY "RIDDLED WITH DYSLEXIA." In the Daily Telegraph, Anabel Heseltine, daughter of a prominent businessman and politician with dyslexia, describes how her brother and at least three of her four children are also dyslexic. She describes the appearance of the condition in each her children, how the family has handled the situation, and a little about how the state and schools in the UK handle children with dyslexia. Read more.

AN ARTICLE IN MODERN MOM asks the question, "Should you get your kids 'tested'?" -- as in cases where a three-year-old doesn't sit still. The author provides advice on when to worry and when to act. The author's bias? She thinks "we’ve lost sight of what constitutes a natural diversity between people and the interesting vagaries of small children," noting that the subject three-year-old had intelligent, individualistic parents. Read the article.

NATIONAL PARENTING GIFTED CHILDREN WEEK is July 18-24, reminds SENG and Sally L. Find out more at the SENG website.

CHANGING THE NEGATIVELY MOTIVATED. On July 20th, ASCD and Dr. Judy Willis offer a free webinar titled "How Can I Motivate My Students?" -- especially the ones who don't believe in their own potential. The webinar promises "neuro-logical" strategies to reverse negativity and reverse behavioral problems. Find out more.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ROTTEN KID? DON'T NECESSARILY BLAME YOURSELF -- at least, not according to an article in The New York Times today. The article tells the story of a somewhat "suboptimal" parenting couple and their difficult child; but the couple also had to other "well adjusted and perfectly nice boys." One psychiatrist quoted in the article said that the era of "no bad children, only bad parents" is gone. Read more and feel good about yourself -- maybe.

REGIONAL CEC CONFERENCE TO INCLUDE SUSAN BAUM. That's what one of our friends from Idaho tells us (thanks, Sherry). The conference is in Sun Valley from October 6th through 9th. A 2e strand features Baum, a member of the 2e Newsletter Educational Advisory Board. More information.

MOVING AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT. Research indicates that children whose families move often tend to not do as well academically and behaviorally. A recent article says the damage may last into adulthood. Find out more.

CAROLYN K is presenting two webinars for SENG, both Internet related. One is titled "Making the Internet Safer for Gifted Children and Teens"; the other is "Great Internet Links for Gifted Kids and Families." Carolyn K is, of course, the mastermind behind Hoagies' Gifted Page. Find out more about the webinars.

IT'S HARD TO BE A MODEL WITH MENTAL ILLNESS, says a top model of color in a article in Urban Belle. The young woman describes how bipolar disorder affects her life and career -- and her plans to become an activist for NAMI. Read more.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

AD/HD AND HANDWRITING -- CONNECTED? That's the question Carla Crutsinger, of the organization Brainworks, asks in one of the tips she publishes on her website. In her experience, about 85 percent of students with AD/HD have problems with handwriting. In the tip, she lists the abilities needed for handwriting and considers factors such as directionality, pencil grasp, and visual perception. Find the article.

AD/HD PATCH USE EXTENDED. The AD/HD medication patch Daytrana, already approved for use in children 6 to 12 years old, has been approved by adolescents 13 to 17, according to Bloomberg/Businessweek.

TESTING PRESCHOOLERS FOR GIFTEDNESS. We posted recently on plans in New York City to test preschoolers as young as 3 for admission to gifted programs. That article in The New York Times generated quite a bit of response from adults, at least one of them a self-described "recovering gifted student." Read more.

MORE ON GIFTENESSS. Tamara Fisher, who recently blogged on the "not-so-rosy side of being gifted," this week gave equal time to the upside, derived mainly from comments from her own students. One example: "I just learn differently, and I'm okay with that." Read more.

EARLY MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. Science Daily reports on a study indicating that about 20 percent of children entering kindergarten will exhibit "a psychiatric disorder with impairment." The researchers suggest screening at the transition to school. Find out more.

VIRTUAL AD/HD CONFERENCE. In an email, Dr. David Rabiner reminded his readers about the Virtual AD/HD Conference, to be held October 4-6. Session topics are not yet posted, so we don't know about coverage of topics related to giftedness and AD/HD. Find out more at the conference website.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS DISCUSSION BOARD. Maurice Fisher, publisher of Gifted Education Press, has set up a discussion board on his website to provide a forum for the discussion of any issue on educating the gifted. He intends the forum to be for teachers, parents, and program administrators. Visit the discussion board.

2e NEWSLETTER ON FACEBOOK. If you'd prefer to receive these news items via Facebook, check out our newly published page there. Let us know what you think.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

2e NETWORK IN LOS ANGELES. A couple of our readers in the Los Angeles area who have twice-exceptional children have, because of their struggle with the area schools to obtain services, formed an email support group called 2e Network, with a Yahoo group called If you'd like to contact the parents directly, please let us know and we'll forward your email address to them.

VIDEO GAMES AND YOUR CHILD. Here's a recent notice from the American Academy of Pediatrics on the topic: Television viewing has been associated with attention problems in children. A new study, “Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems,” published in the August print issue of Pediatrics (published online July 5), found a similar effect for video games. Researchers assessed 1,323 children in third, fourth and fifth grades over 13 months, using reports from the parents and children about their video game and television habits, as well as teacher reports of attention problems. Another group of 210 college students provided self-reports of television habits, video game exposure and attention problems. Researchers found children who exceeded the 2 hours per day of screen time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to be above average in attention problems. Furthermore, early adults showed a similar association, suggesting that early video game exposure may have lasting consequences. Read or download the article... for free! (Thanks, AAP.)

BUT NOT OUR CHILDREN, OF COURSE. The New York Times carried an article about college cheating, and we were surprised not only by the high-tech ways in which students try to cheat but also by the prevalence -- 61 percent of students surveyed admitted cheating on assignments or exams, a figure that made us suddenly feel old-fashioned... or just old. Colleges are fighting back with high-tech methods, although some still prefer "honor." Read the article.

GIFTED PROGRAM TESTING AT 3... That refers to test subjects who three years old, which is what is happening in New York City as parents try to get their children into gifted programs. The item generated some debate, which you can read here.

GIFTED AND MATH CHALLENGED? We stumbled on a site called "The Dyscalculia Forum" where a discussion is in progress about how it feels to be gifted and to have dyscalculia. Find it.

WHAT'S YOUR STAND ON FOOD DYES? One of the partners here at 2e Newsletter forward us an item noting that the Center for Science in the Public Interest recommends banning chemical dyes used as food coloring because of "serious health risks." The news item also mentions the effects on children. In the email containing the link to the item, our partner asked, "Haven’t parents been saying this for a long time?" Yup. Read more.

Friday, July 2, 2010

NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR TWICE-EXCEPTIONALITY -- NITE. The Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa is establishing a national resource for 2e children. According to the Center, "The goal of NITE is to provide services for students who are twice-exceptional and training to increase the capacity of psychologists, counselors, and educators nationwide to better serve K-12 twice-exceptional students and their families." Find out more.

WANT TO KNOW YOUR LEARNING STYLE? Or your child's? Take a quiz consisting of 24 questions at to "learn more about how you learn," according to the site.
Take the quiz. (But remember: according to some researchers, learning styles don't exist.)

DOPAMINE AND IMPULSIVITY. A study at the University College London has shown that increased levels of dopamine in the brain make people more likely to choose instant gratification. AD/HD is characterized by high levels of dopamine. The researchers also say that sensory inputs and cues can increase dopamine levels. On the other hand, the researchers found little effect when subjects were given a dopamine suppressant. Read more.

BABY BRAINS. One of our favorite researchers, Alison Gopnik, has an article in the current issue of Scientific American titled "How Babies Think." The article postulates that children learn about the world "in much the same way that scientists do—by conducting experiments, analyzing statistics, and forming intuitive theories of the physical, biological and psychological realms." See the article preview at the magazine website. Take along your credit card if you want to read the full article.

POINTER TO RESOURCES. The Dana Foundation has on its site a PDF called "Brain Connections," a compendium of resources for a wide variety of brain-related conditions, including AD/HD, autism, learning disabilities, and Tourette's. Find it.