Tuesday, August 31, 2010

THIS IS THE LAST posting of the month. Tomorrow we'll send out the complimentary monthly email briefing from 2e Newsletter, a briefing that includes many of the items we've posted here during August. Sign up for the briefing here.

SCHOOL GIVES ME A HEADACHE. For many kids, the start of school might stimulate the recurrence of migraine headaches. According to an article in The New York Times, factors triggering the headaches might include changes to the sleep schedule, skipping breakfast, dehydration, or weather changes. The article tells more about the mechanism and treatment of migraines in young people; read it. Separately, an item in Science Daily reported the first-ever genetic risk factor associated with common types of migraine headaches; read more.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL TIP. In the Washington Post, Daniel Willingham, the cognitive scientist who doesn't believe in learning styles, does offer his most important advice for parents of kids gearing up for school. That advice is: make sure they get enough sleep. He notes, "In adolescents, poor sleep quality is associated with depression, anxiety, inattention, conduct problems, drug and alcohol abuse and impaired cognitive function." Sounds like a regular 2e day. Read the article.

HERBS AND AD/HD. David Rabiner, in the most recent issue of Attention Research Update, reviewed a study of herbal treatment for AD/HD. The researchers' thesis: "... many individuals with AD/HD have deficiencies in essential nutrients that compromise healthy brain development and result in AD/HD symptoms. Providing these nutrients via an appropriately prepared herbal compound thus has the potential to be therapeutic and reduce these symptoms. " Rabiner reports that the study found encouraging results, but also points out several caveats. Read the review.

Monday, August 30, 2010

TEACHING BRIGHT FUTURE ENGINEERS? NASA has initiated a competition where high school teams will design software to program small satellites as a part of MIT's Zero-Robotics investigation. The first 100 teams to register by September 10th will be selected and then deliver proposals. Twenty of those teams will compete. Find out more.

NAGC IS MOVING. If you interact with NAGC, know that they'll be moving August 27th and back in business in their new location the following Monday. New address: 1331 H Street NW, Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005.

SENG WEBINAR COMING UP. They're calling it a "SENGinar," and it will feature Jane Hesslein discussing "What Your Kids Want You To Know: Perspective for Parents and Teachers." The content is based on insights from gifted fifth-graders. Find out more.

COLLEGE ADMISSION AND LD. The Washington Post offered a blog on "navigating admissions with a learning disability," in which the president of Dean College provided seven pieces of advice for parents of college-bound kids with learning difficulties. Find the blog.

GIFTED STUDENT, GIFTED ATHLETE. A former high school co-valedictorian with a 3.55 grade average at Stanford is also the team's star quarterback. The interesting thing: the quarterback, Andrew Luck, is an architectural design major, presumably dependent on good visualization skills, and the job of quarterback would also seem to depend on a talent for analyzing visual patterns on the field. That's our interpretation, anyway. Read more about this athlete/scholar.

"ASPIRE" FOUNDED BY ASPIE. A UK young man with Asperger's, frustrated at not being able to use his degree in journalism in a mainstream job, has launched a magazine titled Aspire which is "specifically written by and for people on the autistic spectrum. Aspire provides a platform for the autistic community to discuss issues which affect them, their supporters and friends," according to an article about the publication. Read more.

DEPRESSION IN PRESCHOOLERS is the topic of a long article in the New York Times Magazine section last weekend. If you want one more thing to worry about in your young person, read the article.

READING PROBLEMS AND SELF-ESTEEM. A retired teacher in Canada who now runs a reading center describes the link between reading problems and self-worth, noting how the end result is often "acting out." Read the article.

We find items for this blog from our own reading, from press releases, and also from aggregators such as CEC SmartBrief, Science Daily, and EdNews.org.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2 HOME-SCHOOLING. Read about a Canadian family's decision to home-school their fifth-grade twice-exceptional daughter, why they did it, and how they arrived at the right combination of educational methods to regain their daughter's happiness -- and not to mention, to help her lose her stress headaches. Find the article.

DISCIPLINE. How are you doing with discipline for your 2e kid? They need it, you know. Longtime advisor and practitioner for parents of 2e children Carla Crutsinger, of Brainworks, explains a "structured discipline plan" she recommends that parents put in place for children and teens. Read more.

WE SAY IT'S EAR BUDS. More teenagers suffer from at least slight hearing loss now than 10 years ago, according to a new study. An article on the study said, "Researchers could not explain why hearing loss had become more prevalent, and did not find a significant association with exposure to loud noise." But you know and we know. Read more.

BACK TO SCHOOL -- and time to read what Wrightslaw says about IEPs and advocacy. Start here.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. The fall issue is out, featuring, among other articles, one titled "Should Special Education Programming for Gifted Students be a Right or a Privilege?" Find GEPG.

MASLOW UPDATED. Remember Maslow's hierarchy? It ranked basic human needs, with reality TV at the top, a better car than your neighbor's next, followed by Lady Gaga, a good lawn, and successful kids down the line. Or something like that. Anyway, a team of psychologists has updated Maslow's pyramid of motivations, and replaces self-actualization (the real top of the old pyramid, not reality shows) with -- get this -- parenting. Find out more about the pyramid you thought was timeless.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH AN LD. The Washington Post offers advice for parents of children with LDs or conditions such as AD/HD who are starting the school year. Drawing on the experience of Pam and Pete Wright as well as other experts, the article offers tips such as: know your rights; communicate ahead of time; prepare a statement of your concerns; and more. Find the article.

2e RESOURCE. Another reminder for the beginning of the school year -- the Colorado Department of Education has an online, 118-page resource book titled Twice-Exceptional Students: Gifted Students with Disabilities. The resource book contains information on identifying 2e students, IDEA considerations, planning and problem-solving, and case studies. Find the resource book.

AD/HD IN MIDDLE SCHOOL. Dr. David Rabiner pointed us to a piece on the ADDitude site about AD/HD in middle school and how to help students there with homework, classwork, social skills, and organizing. If your bright young person needs this help, check out the site.

ASD AND SENSORY PROCESSING. Science Daily reports on a study showing that children on the autism spectrum process sensory information differently than typically developing children. They apparently have difficulty dealing with sensory input from multiple sources
-- sight, sound, and touch. ASD kids' brains responded more slowly and to a lesser level to multi-sensory stimuli. Read more.

MEDITATION CAN HELP REGULATE BEHAVIOR? A study showed that students trained in meditation developed new fibers in the part of the brain that helps regulate behavior, but study write-ups did not evaluate changes in subjects' behavior, just the structural changes. The type of meditation is IBMT (integrative mind-body training), evidently not currently available in the United States. Read more.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY. A columnist for ZDNET reviewed a smartpen by Livescribe recently, then did a follow-up column on the pen's possibilities for students with learning challenges. The pen allows users to record what is written (using special paper) and also what is being said. The sound and writing capture are synchronized. Read the initial review, where the reviewer claims "This is a genuinely disruptive [in a good sense] tool that can change the way students and teachers interact in the classroom." Read the follow-up, in which he gets more specific about how kids with special issues can use the pen.

"WE DO NOT ACCELERATE" -- and so a gifted Canadian 10-year-old who has completed Grade 8 in a private school will not be allowed to enter public school at the Grade 9 level. Instead, the board wants him to enter at Grade 6. The boy, according to the article, says "I'd get really bored doing Grade 6 again." Find the story.

PESTICIDES AND AD/HD. More to worry about -- CBS News reports on a study linking pesticides used in food production to a two-times-higher risk of receiving an AD/HD diagnosis. One thousand kids were tested in the study, which was reported in Pediatrics. Read the CBS report. See the Pediatrics abstract.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

PART-TIME JOB POSTING FOR BUFFALO GROVE, ILLINOIS, AREA. A member of the 2e community has the following need...

Bright, inquisitive boy who learns in different ways needs a study-buddy to get through math homework and reading. Extensive knowledge in education less necessary than a true compassion for, and patience with, children who have learning challenges.

This position would be from 4-5 hours weekly. Candidates must have flexibility in hours to accommodate student's schedule and varying amounts of homework. Weekly pay is $60-100 commensurate with experience and level of ability, for all hours above 4 the hourly rate will be $15-20, again commensurate with ability and experience.

The ideal candidate will be a person familiar with children of different temperaments and learning abilities, nurturing and compassionate, yet effective in getting work accomplished. Graduate students of education preferred.

The position is in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.

Please send your resume with a quick paragraph as to why you think you are suited to help children who struggle academically to j.affenit@comcast.net.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MISDIAGNOSING AD/HD. USA Today reports on two studies showing that the youngest kids in their kindergarten classes are much more likely to be misdiagnosed with AD/HD. The article covers the potential implications of holding a child back a year, as well as certain possible caveats to the studies. Is (or was) your bright child among them? Read the article.

TEACHER'S RESOURCE. Edutopia is offering a back-to-school guide called "Jump Start Learning with New Media," intended to provide "fresh ideas and easy-to-use tools to engage your students and make learning more collaborative." Find out more and download the free PDF at the Edutopia site.

THE VALUE OF KINDERGARTEN: FOLLOW-UP. More on the topic of the value of a good kindergarten teacher and good kindergarten learning is available at the site of the National Science Foundation.

GIRLS AND WOMEN WITH ASPERGERS -- That's the topic of a new book about women who suffer from Asperger's without knowing it. The book, called Aspergirls, reportedly "explains how the condition presents differently in girls; how they can be diagnosed and helped, and how they can help themselves." Read more.

DISCOVERY CHANNEL SERIES ON PARENTING. A press release tells us that Discovery Health will air six specials during the week of September 13, all under the umbrella "Adventures in Parenting." Here's what the release says: "With premiere specials airing nightly, ADVENTURES IN PARENTING [caps theirs] profiles parents confronting diverse family issues, ranging from raising a child genius, to tackling childhood obesity, to caring for a child with Tourette's syndrome." A search at the Discovery Health site for a series of that title yielded no results, so "stay tuned."

NEW PRODUCTS FROM DEBORAH RUF. TalentIgniter is a new site and set of product offerings from Deborah Ruf, a writer and researcher on gifted matters. (Find her main site.) She says, "My team and I developed TalentIgniter to help people discover their own intellectual strengths and talents so that they can spend their time and resources wisely toward meeting their personal goals in life." The first product provides the intellectual profile of a child compared to others the same age. Find out more at the TalentIgniter site.

HELP FOR A DIFFICULT ISSUE. Well, it was a difficult issue in our family, trying to negotiate and enforce allowance allotments and duties with two bright and articulate young boys. Now a New York Times article describes a website that offers a free allowance calculator. The article also features several dozen reader comments on the subject. Find the article.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

WE MISSED SOME STUFF. The Dana Foundation publishes a paper (yes, paper) newsletter called Brain in the News, which we always enjoy. But this time Dana trumped us by finding a bunch of stories we missed, and which you might find interesting. One: how light (along with genetically manipulated brain cells) can change the brain, in an article called (obviously after a Detroit rock and roll singer), "Light Moves." Two: "Charting Creativity," using science to study how the brain comes up with creative ideas. Three, "Why Athletes Are Geniuses," about how the most talented athletes' brains are, in fact, superior to others' brains. Then there's "Why We Can't Do Three Things at Once. If you love this stuff, get your own sub to Brain in the News at the Dana Foundation site.

IN COLLEGE WITH AN LD? SELF-ADVOCATE. That's the message in a Boston Herald article about a young man who goes to Dean College. The article explains how one college accommodates college-able students with LDs. Read the article. And on the same topic, USA Today published an article titled "College-bound kids with learning disabilities get help," which you can read here.

SPECIAL K FOR BIPOLAR DEPRESSION. If you're one of those who are responsible for a gifted young person diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you might be interested in an article describing how the drug ketamine seems to work in patients with treatment-resistant bipolar depression. The study was small but rigorous, although reports don't say whether subjects included young people. But hope is hope. Read more.

More items soon.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

ENDORSEMENT FOR "GEEK CAMP." CNN describes summer camps for gifted young people, in particular the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and the Duke Talent Identification Program. Read how campers past and present appreciate the experiences they had. Sample reactions: "Yes, yes, I'm not a freak..."; and "You can really get into discussions with people and they'll know exactly what you're talking about." The article's lead notes that Lady Gaga once went to gifted camp; so did one of the founders of Google and the founder of Facebook. Read the article.

MORE ON IMPULSIVITY AND DOPAMINE. Another study, this one from Vanderbilt University, links high levels of dopamine in the brain with impulsivity. Researchers there found that when highly impulsive subjects were given a drug that released dopamine their brains released more than four times as much of the chemical as the brains of less-impulsive subjects. Read the report.

iPADS FOR ALL. A college-prep school in Georgia that serves bright kids with learning challenges has decided to use the Apple iPad to learn in a multi-sensory way. One app on the iPad, Dragon Naturally Speaking, will help students with dysgraphia. The headmaster says that there are so many educational apps available that the school will be able to get rid of most textbooks. Read more.

EQUITY IN ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION. You know those things you don't want your kids exposed to because they can interfere with the body's endocrine system, including the reproductive system? They're equally high in both high-income and low-income homes, according to a study in California, and they're present in the air inside and outside as well as in dust inside the homes. Even more worrisome to us: the number of suspected endocrine disrupting compounds the scientists tested for -- about 70. That's lots of stuff to worry about. Read more.

GENES & ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE PSYCHOPATHY; that according to researchers at the University of Illinois. They discovered that "children with one variant of a serotonin transporter gene are more likely to exhibit psychopathic traits if they also grow up poor." Hopefully your encounters with gifted psychopaths will be infrequent, but now if you do encounter one you can better explain the causes. Read the report.

BOB HERBERT IS FRUSTRATED. The columnist for The New York Times notes that "the U.S., once the world’s leader in the percentage of young people with college degrees, has fallen to 12th among 36 developed nations." He sees college education as important in maintaining a good standard of living in the U.S. and crucial to the country's economic competitiveness. He blames everyone, saying "A society that closes its eyes to the most important issues of the day, that often holds intellectual achievement in contempt, that is more interested in hip-hop and Lady Gaga than educating its young is all but guaranteed to spiral into a decline." If you need more things to be depressed or angry about, read the column.

TREES AND GIFTED KIDS. Tamara Fisher makes a metaphor about growth, potential, and constraints. Read her blog.

READING DIFFICULTIES AND INTERVENTIONS. Two UK scientists compared three reading programs to see which one helped most in children with reading-comprehension difficulties. If you raise or teach a bright young person with reading problems, read about the programs and the results.

CULTURE AND PSYCHOLOGY. The July issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science evidently contained a special section on the "macro" influences on brain structure, brain function, thought, and behavior. Two of the articles were summarized in Science Daily. Find one about the influence of culture; find one about the influence of social and physical environments.

#GTCHAT. If you "tweet," or would like to, you might be interested in Michael Shaughnessy's EdNews.org interview with Deborah Mersino, who moderates #gtchat on Twitter, devoted to discussing gifted issues. Read the interview.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

KIDS SAY THE DARNEDEST THINGS. And Monday's "Metropolitan Diary" feature in The New York Times featured a couple of cute items involving four- and five-year-old girls expressing their opinions. Find the feature.

THE $320,000 KINDERGARTEN TEACHER. If you followed the link in our post of July 30th to read about the impact of a good kindergarten teacher, you might be interested in the follow-up letters the article generated. Find them.

THE INTERNET AND DEPRESSION. Here's something else to worry about regarding media. A new study indicates that "normal" young people who use the Internet excessively could have a greater risk of depression later in life -- or at least, nine months after their classification as pathological users of the Internet. Find a write-up of the study.

NO FLASH IN THE PAN. Sports Illustrated did a follow-up story on the autistic young basketball enthusiast and high school team manager who after being inserted into a varsity game for the first time scored six three-pointers in four minutes. The young man, now 21, serves as assistant basketball coach at several schools and programs, has appeared on Oprah, has a memoir out (The Game of My Life: A True Story of Challenge, Triumph, and Growing Up Autistic), and has served as inspiration to parents and athletes alike. Read the article.

PBS KIDS WRITING CONTEST. The "Kids Go" writing contest sponsored by PBS has announced the 2010 winners. The contest was for children in grades K-3. If you have a bright young writer in your home, check out the winners.

Monday, August 2, 2010

HELP THE GIFTED COMMUNITY. The organization SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) is competing for grant money in a Pepsi Cola giveaway; the money SENG hopes to receive will allow it to extend its Parent Support groups across the country, making it more of a local organization. You can support SENG by voting early and often in the contest. See SENG's Facebook page; see Pepsi's contest page.

NEW 2e BOOK COMING. Author, presenter, and 2e advocate Beverly Trail tells us that Prufrock Press will be publishing her new book Twice-Exceptional Gifted Children: Understanding, Teaching, and Counseling Gifted Students beginning in November. Find out more about the "trail" to this book in the next issue of 2e Newsletter, or learn more about the book itself at the Prufrock site.

INCLUDING AUTISTICS. The Madison, Wisconsin, public schools make an effort to include those with disabilities in regular classes, according to an article in The New York Times. The article focuses on "Garner," who a classmate says "puts a little twist in our lives." Garner's real good at memorizing public transportation routes. He enjoys running with his cross-country teammates, even though he's prone to getting lost. And he also has a thing for elevators, being able to describe features of the various types he encounters in town. Read this affirming article.

PREVIOUS BLOG POST. Back on July 2nd we posted about a study on dopamine and impulsivity. The writeup of the study we read seemed to imply -- if not outright state -- that AD/HD is characterized by high levels of dopamine. After we published the item as part of our August briefing, an astute reader questioned the item, commenting that most research shows that low dopamine levels are associated with AD/HD, and that stimulants such as Ritalin raise those levels, enabling better mental functioning. We've asked for clarification from the organization that published the press release about the study. (Read the release if you're interested and think you might have an explanation other than ignorance on the part of your blogger.)