Monday, January 23, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

AUDITORY SAMPLING LINKED TO DYSLEXIA. Recent research indicates that the way the brain processes auditory rhythms in phonemes may underlie dyslexia. From a write-up of the study: "Our results suggest that the left auditory cortex of dyslexic people may be less responsive to modulations at very specific frequencies that are optimal for analysis of speech sounds and overly responsive to higher frequencies, which is potentially detrimental to their verbal short-term memory abilities." Read more.
NEWS ON AUTISM. Another recent study indicates that disorders such as AD/HD or LDs may often accompany autism, complicating diagnosis and treatment. The study also indicated that some kids "outgrow" a diagnosis of ASD. Read about the study. Separately, a study of twins where only one of the twins was affected with ASD seems to indicate that the twin with lower birth weight was more likely to develop the diagnosis. To the researchers, this indicates that environmental factors also play a role in the development of ASD. Find out more. Finally, Autism Speaks has responded to the recent reports of changes in the way ASD might be defined in the DSM-5, changes some feel would leave some children ineligible for an ASD diagnosis and resultant services. The organization states, "Autism Speaks’ position is that it will be vitally important to collect meaningful information on how the change impacts access to services by those affected by autism symptoms." Read more.
GIFTED IN HOUSTON. The Houston, Texas, Independent School District (HISD) has identified about 15.6 percent of its students as gifted, more than twice the percentage in other Texas schools and  higher than the national average. The Texas Watchdog questions whether including so many students in the gifted pool allows gifted programs to truly serve the top learners. The article also includes figures indicating the composition of the HISD gifted pool: 42 percent of Asians in the district are identified as gifted, 40 percent of white students, and 7 percent of African-American students. HISD is 60-plus percent Hispanic and 25 percent African-American. Read more.
DISABILITY REDEFINED? Education Week notes that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education has issued a letter that might expand the range of students for whom schools must provide special ed services. According to the article, the OCR's guidance states: "Students who, in the past, may not have been determined to have a disability under Section 504 [of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973] and Title II [of the Americans with Disabilities Act] may now in fact be found to have a disability under those laws." Read about it, and if we find out more we'll pass it on. 

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