Thursday, June 7, 2012

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

STRESS AND YOUNG BRAINS. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have linked intense and lasting stress in children to lower scores on tests of spatial working memory, part of the prefrontal cortex. In children with greater exposure to stress, brain imaging also shows a smaller anterior cingulate, linked to working memory. Find out more.
DSM 5. Those keeping track of the various proposals and convolutions in the process of revising the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders  might be interested in knowing that the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in June devoted a section to potential changes and their possible effects. Read more. Separately, the International Dyslexia Association has noted that the DSM 5 may no longer include dyslexia as a distinct disorder, rather as a type of "Specific Learning Disorder." The IDA comments, ">many view this latest round of revisions—which now omit the term dyslexia—as a significant step backward and worry that this omission will (a) perpetuate lack of recognition and understanding of dyslexia and (b) contribute to delays in diagnosis and treatment." Go to the IDA site; it tells how you can take action in the matter if you wish.

AND WHILE YOU'RE ADVOCATING, check out a communique from the Council for Exceptional Children asking readers to contact the Senate to encourage services for gifted and LD kids. Find out more.

504 REDUX. The good old muckraking Chicago Tribune has unleashed another article implying that parents who obtain 504 plans for their kids are gaming the system. The most interesting part of the article, to us, was the fact that two gifted schools in Chicago had high rates of kids with 504s. The only part of the article we agreed with came from the superintendent of a North Shore (i.e., wealthy) school district who said that well-informed parents advocate for their children, and that educators and staff [in that district] are proactive in getting students help if they need it, and that the district provides information on its website to guide parents in the 504 application process. "I think this is what should be the model everywhere,'' said the superintendent. "(Elsewhere) there are probably a lot of kids not getting the supports they need." Exactly. Read the article. Tell us what you think.

NEUROEDUCATION. Just a little while ago we blogged about an Education Week article on neuroscience for educators; we thought that was cool and appropriate. Contrarian and psychologist Daniel Willingham has a different view. Referring to the article in a column titled "Why teachers shouldn't learn neuroscience" he wrote for the Washington Post, he says that for teachers to learn neuroscience strikes him "as a colossal waste of teacher's time." Instead, Willingham feels that guidance in the use of neuroeducation "ought to come from institutions: from schools of education, from district central offices, and (potentially) from institutions of teachers' own creation." Read the column.

READING ASSIST FOR DYSLEXICS. A study reported at WebMD indicates that spacing letters further apart in text can help dyslexic kids read more quickly and easily. Find the article.

PEDIATRICIANS AND AD/HD is the title of an article at the Child Mind Institute site, and it offers tips on how parents can tell whether a child is getting careful diagnosis and care for attention issues. The article offers advice on how to find the right pediatrician or primary care physician and on what to expect from a good doctor. Find the article.

ANXIOUS BRAINS work harder in girls than boys, according to a Michigan State University study. The lead investigator says of the study, "This may help predict the development of anxiety issues later in life for girls. It's one more piece of the puzzle for us to figure out why women in general have more anxiety disorders." Read more.

WANT TO GO TO NEW ZEALAND? The 2013 World Conference for Gifted and Talented Children is being held in Auckland, New Zealand, and the conference's call for proposals is now open. It doesn't say anything about reimbursement for travel (unlikely) and presenters get to pay the full conference registration fee themselves. But there's always the glory of presenting and the chance in a lifetime to see New Zealand. Find out more

TALENTIGNITER. This is for your 2e child's gifted side. TalentIgniter, a site by Deborah Ruf, is offering access to the beta version of "Milestone Tracker," a tool to help track your child's progress against "typical children of the same age." Bear in mind that Dr. Ruf's area of study is gifted kids, so it's not clear to us whether typical means "typical" or "highly gifted." TalentIgniter says, "...if we see that your child is developing ahead of what's typical, we'll alert you to what special needs or support your child may require in order to fully develop his or her talents and abilities." An account with the TalentIgniter site is required to try out the tool. Go to TalentIgniter.

AD/HD INTERVENTION. Researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (which has the great acronym CHOP) have developed a 12-week intervention program for schools and families shown in a study to reduce impairments related to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in elementary school children with the diagnosis. The program apparently helped parents become more involved in education and collaboration with the teachers. The program also showed greater improvement in child homework performance and parenting behavior as compared to the control group. Read more, based on a CHOP press release.

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