Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

RED FLAG. Adolescent rats given Ritalin and Prozac together may undergo brain changes that make them, as adults, "more sensitive to reward as well as to stress, and more likely to exhibit the pessimism and hopelessness seen in depression." This according to a rat-based study newly published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers compared the actions of the combo to those of cocaine. An article in the Los Angeles Times noted lots of "ifs" in transposing the study results to humans; for example the rats that received the drugs were normally developing and not AD/HD or depressed. But according to the article, 40 percent of kids diagnosed as either depressed or AD/HD may end up with both diagnoses. Got a kid in that situation? Maybe it's time to talk to your psychiatrist. Read the article.
SCREENING FOR LDs. An Australian psychologist recommends that toddlers be screened for LDs as well as mental health issues. Next year, a new mental-health screening program goes into effect for three-year-olds in Australia. Noting that up to 10 percent of children might have an LD, the psychologist said, "If untreated they can affect their academic skills and success in school and increase the risk of the child developing behavioural problems." Read more
THE GOOGLE SCIENCE FAIR was dominated in each age category by American young women. The winner discovered a way to make a drug for treating cancer more effective as cancer cells grew resistant to it. More than 10,000 young people from 91 countries entered. Find out more about these gifted young people.
THE SENG VINE, the e-newsletter of the organization, is out for July. Included: an observation of National Parenting Gifted Children Week and interviews with SENG directors on "childhood, parenting, and life." Find it.
FEEDBACK ON ANTIDEPRESSANTS. The recent New York Times article "In Defense of Antidepressants" (which we noted in this blog) drew at least a dozen responses from well-credentialed individuals. If you read the article, you might be interested in the responses.
COVD REMINDER. The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (which you have seen represented in the pages of 2e Newsletter for their stance on the role of vision in learning difficulties) has issued a back-to-school call for vision assessment. For children who have "any learning difference," the College suggests evaluation of the following items:
  • Visual acuity
  • Focusing near to far – speed and ability
  • Convergence
  • Stereopsis – depth perception
  • Tracking – fixation skills, pursuit and saccadic skills
  • Visual discrimination
  • Visualization
  • Visual memory and recall
  • Visual motor integration – eye-hand coordination
  • Laterality and directionality
If you knew what all of those things meant, good for you. The site of the College is www.covd.org.
AND FINALLY, THIS -- something else to worry about if your child is of a certain age and the adventuresome or naive type. Recreational stimulant drugs sold as "bath salts"are being implicated in lots of ugly emergency room scenes. The director of the Louisiana Poison Center says, according to The New York Times, “If you take the worst attributes of meth, coke, PCP, LSD and ecstasy and put them together, that’s what we’re seeing sometimes.” Read more.

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