Saturday, January 1, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We wish subscribers and friends of 2e: Twice-exceptional Newsletter a fulfilling 2011 as you raise, educate, and counsel gifted kids with learning challenges. Our best to you!
GRADUATION COACH? HOW ABOUT "GIFTED COACH." A recent article in the Houston Chronicle profiled a high school "graduation coach" employed by the Houston Independent School District. His job: to help keep at-risk kids from dropping out. There are graduation coaches at every comprehensive HISD high school. The district also has a "manager of student engagement." All of this is very neat. And it begs the question, why not have "gifted coaches" or "managers of student engagement" for gifted kids as well -- or for any student in danger of not having his or her needs met by the school?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT? An article published in a number of news outlets describes how fast-food restaurants are piling on the calories to "deploy a potent new aresenal of greasy goodness for Americans who have grown numb to mere burgers." For example: Burger King is offering the Ultimate Breakfast Platter that totals 1,310 calories (over half the daily allowance of calories for most people) along with 2,490 milligrams of salt (one gram over the daily maximum recommended  by the American Heart Association), and 72 grams of fat (possibly a day's total allowance). The staff at 2e Newsletter had a spirited discussion about who's to blame here. Are fast-food chains simply catering to the wishes of the American public and keeping up with the competition in terms of meeting those wishes? Or does the industry create the need for such excess? The article we read states, "The new items flout principles of healthful eating and instead celebrate a spirit of wanton gluttony." Read it and wonder  how fast food affects the development of that gifted child you know.
SEA CHANGE IN PSYCHIATRY? An article in Wired Magazine describes an "insurgency" against the DSM-5, under development by the American Psychiatric Association, and the effects that the DSM can and does have in our society. For example, the lead editor of the DSM-IV says the way that edition was written had serious consequences. "Diagnoses of autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder skyrocketed, and [the author] thinks his manual inadvertently facilitated these epidemics—and, in the bargain, fostered an increasing tendency to chalk up life’s difficulties to mental illness and then treat them with psychiatric drugs." This is not an easy, USA Today-length article -- but read it.

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