Friday, March 30, 2012

From the Publisher of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

THIS ALIEN PLANET CALLED SCHOOL. A mom and college teacher writes about what school must be like for her son, who has Asperger's. In "Learning with Asperger's: A Parent's Perspective," published in Education Week, she describes the challenges faced by Aspies and some of the consequences -- and offers a plea for change. Find the article.
12TH-GRADE 2e STUDENT REFLECTS. "The system has failed me," says a young man about to graduate from high school. In a familiar story, he relates how attention and learning issues compromised his Mensa-level abilities. Interestingly, he rails against an over-emphasis on accommodations; along with that, he says, his strengths were un- or under-recognized. You must read this. (Note: the author was previously published in 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter.)
AUTISM DIAGNOSIS RATE RISES. The figure used to be 1 in 110. Now it's 1 in 88, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. At that rate, about one million children and teens in the United States are affected by ASD. Wider screening and better diagnosis may be the reason. Find out more.
DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. This organization's eNews-Update for March is out, with information about the Intel Science Talent Search, the Khan Academy, NSGT scholarships for gifted students, and more. Find  the newsletter.
THE GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER has published its March communique, noting that GDC now offers all of their articles as free downloads from their website. Also in the newsletter: Anne Beneventi writes on the Annemarie Roeper method of qualitative assessment. Read more
UNWRAPPING THE GIFTED. Tamara Fisher notes how the advent of RTI has displaced gifted programs in some schools. She is not enthusiastic about the movement, and asked current and former students to tell her what they got from GT programs that they didn't get anywhere else. She got lots of answers; find them
JUDY WILLIS. If you're a fan of Dr. Willis, be advised that her current RAD Newsletter previews her free upcoming webinar on the teen brain, and also points to other Willis resources, such as her February 1 TEDx talk "From Neuroscience Lab to the Classroom." Find the newsletter.
PRUFROCK PRESS is offering a free PDF download of two chapters from the book Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students, by Christine Fonesca. Find it at the Prufrock website.
AD/HD AND LEARNING TO DRIVE. When one of our kids had a learner's permit, he would sometimes scare the devil out of whichever parent was riding with him by apparently failing to notice relatively important road cues such as stop signs. The New York Times recently examined the issue of learning to drive with AD/HD and listed many, many factors affecting a young person's likely success -- or failure -- in the process. Find the article. Our young person did not get his license for several years after he was eligible, but increased maturity and better judgement have -- so far -- precluded tickets and accidents.
LABELING. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune ran an article about labeling kids, something all parents and educators of 2e kids have to grapple with. The main point of the article was: don't use a label as the child's defining characteristic. Read more.
PANDAS TO PANS. An expansion of the definition of Pediatric Acute-onset Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorderr Associated with Streptococcus (PANDAS) is called simply PANS -- Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome. It involves the sudden onset of OCD symptoms without a known cause. Find out more.
AND FINALLY, THIS. Via press release, we've learned that "moms are not afraid to hire a hot sitter." From the release: "Shattering the old cliche that moms don't hire beautiful sitters, a new survey reveals that today's moms would hire a good looking sitter. A survey commissioned by Sittercity found that only 7 percent of respondents stated they would not hire a beautiful babysitter or nanny. In fact the most important attribute when looking for a childcare provider is that they engage, educate and enhance their children's lives." Interestingly, sitter gender is not mentioned in the press release.

Monday, March 26, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

LD MISCONCEPTIONS. PBS Newshour focused on LDs recently and offered a primer in the issue, noting that kids with LDs drop out of school at a rate 2.5 times their non-LD peers. Listed and explained were five beliefs, including "Learning disabilities usually correspond with a low IQ." Find out how the writers dispel that and other misconceptions. One of the broadcasts in the series focused on LDs and the arts, how the arts can allow students to show strengths and build confidence; find a write-up of the show.
TEACHING KIDS WITH LDs. A Scientific American article notes that lots of private schools will  help kids with LDs succeed, but that such opportunities are usually lacking in public schools. The article profiles a Canadian elementary school program called THRIVE where one teacher helps 15 kids that "normal classrooms have left behind, defeated, and, too often, deflated." The article explains how the teacher plays to strengths which may include spatial aptitudes. Read more about techniques that can apply to most 2e kids.
JONATHAN MOONEY. To get a glimpse of how this author and lecturer engages with his audiences, take a look at a piece he wrote for ADDitude Magazine titled "How I Channeled My Energy Into Success." Read how he couldn't sit still, and how, as he says, his advocates saved him. Find the article.
RTI AND 2e. This Wednesday the 28th NAGC offers a webinar on RTI that will cover the use of RTI with gifted and 2e learners. From the NAGC blurb: "RTI identification criteria and gifted students may elude detection solely through classroom achievement measures, RTI approaches need to be adapted for gifted children and supplemented." Find out more
DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE NEWSLETTER. At their website, the Drs. Eide offer a chance to sign up for their newsletter. The March edition points to a variety of resources on the topic.
AUTISTIC ADVANTAGE. A man with Asperger's who graduated from college with a 4.0 grade average but whose success in finding a fulfilling job was not good finally founded AutVantage, according to the Jackson, Mississippi, Clarion Ledger, "a startup information technology company focused on employment opportunities for autistic professionals." Read the story. Separately, a study indicates that people with autism "have a greater than normal capacity for processing information even from rapid presentations and are better able to detect information defined as 'critical.'" Read more.
ESSAY CONTEST. Rand McNally is sponsoring an essay contest for kids in grades 7-12 asking them to respond to the question, "What's the one place in the U.S. that truly inspires you?" The contest organizers offer a $10,000 scholarship to winners, so get that gifted writer you know to this site to find out more.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

FIGHT OVER GT, LD SERVICES. A mom and a school district in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, have been locked in a struggle for over a decade over services for her two sons, one of whom is evidently both gifted and LD. Services for both exceptionalities are part of the dispute. The mom wanted services and requested a number of due process hearings. According to an account of the dispute, the school district called the mom's behavior "vexatious." Read the account and form your own opinions...
FANTASY MOVIES FOSTER CREATIVITY? Researchers at Lancaster University in the UK say that watching fantasy movies such as Harry Potter films may improve their imagination and creativity. The subjects, aged four to six, reportedly performed "significantly better" on creativity tests after watching 15-minute clips from a Potter film. Read more.Separately, The New York Times reports that fiction can "stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life" -- this according to research involving brain scans. Read the article.
GIFTED TESTING IN THE UK. Gifted eleven-year-olds in the UK will be administered special "SATs," or national curriculum assessments, the results of which will be part of a school's performance. The rationale for the testing: to "encourage teachers to devote more time to high ability children," according to the Telegraph. NAGC in the UK supports the move. Read more.
DSM-V AND AUTISM. If you're following the debate over autism diagnosis in the upcoming DSM-V, you might be interested in an opinion piece/debate in New Scientist. Find it.
JACK KENT COOKE SCHOLARSHIPS. The application for 2012 scholarships through the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is April 15. Eligible candidates come from low- to medium-income families and will start 8th grade this fall. Find out more

AD/HD AND FISH OIL An ADDitude online feature covers fish oil and other supplements as possible treatments for AD/HD. Find the feature.
WRIGHTSLAW. Special Ed Advocate takes on the issue of what to do when services specified in an IEP are not provided. Read more.
OCD WORKSHOP IN MANHATTAN. The Child Mind Institute has scheduled a family workshop on OCD on April 3 in the evening. Find out more.
ANXIETY IN DC. On April 17, Dr. Daniel Pine is scheduled to present "Current Thinking about Anxiety: The State of the Science." Read more.
EDUCATION WEEK is currently offering free downloads of some of its "Spotlight" sponsored white papers. They cover topics such as bullying, STEM, and personalized learning. Find them.
MORE AD/HD -- 66 percent more diagnosis in the past 10 years, as a matter of fact. An article at ScienceDaily attributes the change to increased awareness of the condition. Read it.

Friday, March 16, 2012

BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK is this week, March 12-18. So take a few minutes to ponder the brain in your head or in the head of that twice-exceptional child you raise or educate. Maybe visit the site of the Dana Foundation, which co-founded Brain Awareness Week. Or find brain resources at the site of The Society for Neuroscience. Separately and possibly in observation of BAW, the Diane Rehm show on March 14 featured the topic of "The Emotional Life of Your Brain," about the interaction of chemistry, thought, and emotion; find the show.
AD/HD DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT. A pediatrician writing for the Boston Globe describes what are apparently common but sketchy approaches for diagnosing AD/HD in children, and the tendency to treat symptoms rather than the underlying causes. She also notes that current practice makes it possible to diagnose and treat AD/HD without ever learning about family history or stressors in the child's life. In response to all this, she offers changes to the process of diagnosis and treatment of AD/HD. One recommendation: having a minimum of two 50-minute visits [!] in order to evaluate the child's issues. Read more.
IT'S OKAY TO BE NOT NORMAL is the message from a psychiatrist writing at a Fox News site. He bemoans the increase in rates of diagnosis of AD/HD. He suggests that Huckleberry Finn would today be on Adderall. He says, "We must empower individuals to think it's ok to be 'not normal' and change the mindset that everything can be 'fixed' with a pill or a few therapy sessions." Read more
SENG. The March issue of the SENGVine Newsletter is out, with articles focusing on the topic of diversity within SENG initiatives. Find the newsletter
ASK DR. JUDY. Judy Willis is presenting a free webinar on April 5 (rescheduled) titled "What Makes the Adolescent and Teen Brain So Different and What Should Educators Do about these Differences?" Find out more
AND FINALLY, THIS. Got a crabby kid? (Or a crabby spouse?) It could be trans fatty acids, which according to a new study are linked to irritability and aggression "in men and women of all ages." Find out more.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

REDUCE THE PRESSURE. Research published by the American Psychological Association indicates that students have less fear of failure -- and learn better -- when  they're told that failure is a normal part of learning. A researcher pointed out that "teachers and parents may be able to help students succeed just by changing the way in which the material is presented.” Find out more about helping your 2e child succeed in school.
GOT AN ANXIOUS KID? Lots of 2e kids are anxious, according to the parents we communicate with. A brief article in the Kansas City Star by Julia Cook offers tips for recognizing anxiety and ameliorating it. Find them.
IEP. The Wilmington, North Carolina, Star News Online provides an overview of the IEP process, including getting started, following up, and putting the IEP into practice. Read more.
RITALIN DOSAGES. Twice-exceptional kids with AD/HD may be affected differently by different doses of methylphenidate (Ritalin). A study using monkeys recently found that low doses boost cognitive performance, but that while higher doses can reduce hyperactivity they may also impair memory. Find a writeup of the study.
RESIDENTIAL SUMMER APPRENTICESHIPS. The Institute for Educational Advancement offers gifted students the opportunity to participate in residential apprenticeships. IEA calls them "an invaluable and intensive learning opportunity working with teams of professionals in medicine, industrial design, science, law and business at some of the nation's leading universities, corporations, and research facilities." Find out more. (IEA is a non-profit organization that also puts on the Yunasa Summer Camp for the Gifted.)
IN MANHATTAN, at the Quad Manhattan, on the evening of April 9, The Quad will sponsor a workshop on neurofeedback. According to a blurb for the workshop, neurofeedback may be of use to children "with various diagnoses and presenting conditions by allowing them to regulate their behavior and in turn, become more available for learning and other activities." Find out more
YOUTUBE is now available through a special portal for schools that limits student access to certain content and allows schools to use only the videos they want. A New York Times article says that YouTube contains many educational videos which can benefit teachers and students when brought into the classroom. Find out more.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

TEENAGE WEIRDNESS. One of our favorite writers on the brain, Alison Gopnik, recently had a piece in the Wall Street Journal called "What's Wrong with the Teenage Mind?" She notes that early puberty and late adulthood can lead to "a good deal of teenage weirdness." In the article, she highlights two neural systems that may account for some of the weirdness: one dealing with emotion and motivation and one dealing with control. She also offers suggestions for dealing with the overall causes of teen weirdness. Find the article.
WEBINAR ON RTI FOR GIFTED/2e STUDENTS. On March 28th NAGC will present a webinar titled "What Parents and Educators Should Know about RTI." From the blurb: "Because twice-exceptional students are increasingly missed by RTI identification criteria and gifted students may elude detection solely through classroom achievement measures, RTI approaches need to be adapted for gifted children and supplemented." Find more information. (A week later is a webinar on the same topic -- RTI for the 2e students -- from a different point of view. Information is on that same NAGC page.) 
ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. David Rabiner has posted the February edition of his newsletter, titled, "Does Coaching Help College Students with AD/HD." Rabiner describes how the method of coaching used in the study led college students to feel that the coaching was helpful, even if it didn't make a difference in GPA. Find the review
HOW MANY STUDENTS WITH 504's? Education Week reports on U.S. Department of Education data gathering that indicates that 433,980 students in the U.S. have 504 plans. Got a kid with a 504? You're not alone. Read more.  
GARDNER INTELLIGENCES ILLUSTRATED. In an edition of a magazine from a Pennsylvania cyber charter school, an article profiles eight of its students as fitting the various types of Gardner intelligences -- spatial intelligence, musical intelligence, etc. Find an article about the article with a synopsis of the profiles... or look on the school's website to find the Link magazine containing the original 11-page article.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

NEW BLOG ABOUT 2e LEARNERS. Pat Sciortino, educational director at the Quad Manhattan, has started a blog called "Out of the 2e Classroom." Her first posting is about developing social thinking in 2e learners by using improvisational play. Check out the blog.
MIND INSTITUTE LECTURE. The UC Davis Mind Institute is offering a free lecture about AD/HD on March 14, 4:30-6pm, in Sacramento, California. Titled "AD/HD Causes and Mechanisms," the lecture, part of the Institute's Distinguished Lecturer Series, will be presented by Joel. T. Nigg, of the Oregon Health and Sciences University. From an announcement of the event: "Over the past decade, the view of ADHD as the outcome of a single dysfunction shared by everyone who has the diagnosis is migrating to a new perspective that highlights a wide variety of causes -- a theory known as causal heterogeneity -- and recognizes diverse symptom clusters. The implications and challenges of this change in thinking are potentially profound, and this presentation will consider evidence in support of the importance of the heterogeneity problem in ADHD while also considering the potential role of genetic factors." Find out more. (The lecture will later be available online, as previous lectures are.) 
GIFTED AT 3? A blogger at Education Week reacted to the Maryland State Board of Education's adoption of regulations to implement differentiated services to gifted students as young as pre-K. Anti-labeling groups oppose the measures. Read more
OVEREXCITABILITIES. NAGC's Parenting for High Potential has published a chat summary on the topic of overexcitabilities and positive disintegration  highlighted by Kazimierz Dabrowski. The summary includes a table characterizing the five kinds of overexcitabilities. Find out more
AD/HD RESOURCE. David Rabiner pointed us to a free report on alternative treatment options for AD/HD from Additude Magazine. The options include behavior therapy, neurofeedback, exercise, green time, and brain-building computer games. Get a copy. Separately, a study reported by HealthDay indicates that boys and girls born in December are 30 to 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with AD/HD than kids born in January. Read about the study.
SLEEP-DISORDERED BREATHING in children may lead to behavior problems such as hyperactivity and aggressiveness, according to a new study. Sleep disorders include snoring, mouth breathing, and apnea. Read more
AND FINALLY, THIS. It's Sleep Awareness Week in the U.S. Not by coincidence, daylight savings time begins this coming Sunday. Sleep specialists at the University of Loyola Health System are offering tips on making the transition in an article titled "Daylight Savings Can Be Hazardous to Your Health." Find out what you can do to make it easier on  you and your kids.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ON AD/HD "BACKLASH." A Scientific American blogger responded to recent "backlash" against AD/HD -- questions about its reality, the drugs to treat it, and even those who have it. The blogger notes studies showing that the disorder is not over-diagnosed and studies showing that medication does help. Read the blog
RITALIN AND ERROR MONITORING. A study from Australia showed that even one dose of Ritalin can help the brain monitor its own performance, recognizing performance errors that include "failures of impulse control." Being aware of one's mistakes is an important component of the ability to correct behavior, point out the researchers. Read more
DER SPIEGEL, a German news magazine, profiled a Danish company founded to help place people with Asperger's in appropriate jobs. The company, Specialisterne ("the specialists"), places people mainly with information technology companies. It was founded by a man whose son has Asperger's. Among the employees is a particle physicist who used to work at CERN. Read more.
LD IN COLLEGE. Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio, is one of 60 colleges and universities in the country offering a fee-based program to help students with LDs succeed, according to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The article profiles two students in the program and quotes the college president as saying, "These students are bright, they just need to find a learning style. They persist and graduate at a higher rate than other students." Find the article.
IN NEW YORK? On March 13, the Child Mind Institute will present a free workshop titled "AD/HD Brains: What's Under the Hood?" Register here.
IN CALIFORNIA? Summit View School offers a college fair for students with learning differences on March 17 from 10am to 1pm. Get more information from 
2e CONFERENCE IN HONG KONG. July 28 to August 1 are the dates for the "First Conference on Twice Exceptional Children," with the theme of "meeting the needs of gifted children with learning disabilities." Find more information here or here.
NEW AD/HD SCHOLARSHIP. The Attention Deficit Disorder Association is offering a new scholarship beginning in 2012, the Moulton-Farnsworth Scholarship. Find out more.
TRACKING EYES IN ASD KIDS. A study using eye-tracking measured differences in the ways ASD children attended to social situations as opposed to typically-developing peers, and also examined differences within the ASD group in the says kids steered their gazes when viewing scenes of social situations. Of the latter research, one researcher said, "These results help us tease apart some of the vast heterogeneity of the autism spectrum. For some children, atypical looking patterns may be serving as a compensatory strategy; but for others, these patterns are clearly associated with maladaptive behaviors." Read more.