Monday, August 13, 2012

News Items from the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

THE HOMESCHOOLING OPTION. For parents of bright but unchallenged kids, or of gifted and learning disabled kids, homeschooling can be an option to cater to strengths and accommodate any weaknesses. An essayist in the Wall Street Journal describes with  humor and insight her experiences with homeschooling, how it  has evolved over the years, and what the possibilities are with homeschooling. (The essay's first sentences: "I don't know how most people spend their second morning home schooling. I spent mine hyperventilating into a paper bag.") The essay is an excerpt from the author's newly-published book. Read the essay, or listen to the author on NPR's Diane Rehm show.
STRESS AND LEARNING. The brain evidently learns differently when stressed, according to a new study. Non-stressed subjects showed activity in the hippocampus, important for long-term memory. Stressed subjects used a brain region used in unconscious learning, and could not articulate the steps they used to solve the problems they did. Read more.
BRAIN-BASED PARENTING. That's the title of a new book which focuses on "the neurobiology of underlying attachment, attunement, and good and not-so-good parenting," according to a review of the book in the Huffington Post. The reviewer says, "the book takes work," but concludes "stay with it and you will be rewarded, as will your progeny and the others that constitute your emotional world." Find the review.  
ANTIPSYCHOTICS IN KIDS. The use of antipsychotics in youth has grown over the past several decades, according to an article in the Huffington Post. And doctors now sometimes prescribe antipsychotics off-label for AD/HD, even though the meds may have serious side effects. If your doctor is hinting about prescribing antipsychotics for your gifted child with AD/HD, read this article.
ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. In the July (just posted) edition of this newsletter by David Rabiner, the professor reviews a study that "provides the strongest evidence to date that benefits from working memory training can generalize to academic settings." Find the newsletter.
CELEBRITY DYSLEXIA WATCH. A New Jersey newspaper has picked up on a connection between the coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan, and that professional football team's newest celebrity player, gifted (and notably religious) quarterback Tim Tebow. Evidently both have dyslexia. Interestingly, when Tebow was asked how he learns, he responded that he was a kinesthetic learner. The article quotes Tebow as saying, “So much in football is touching, feeling, walking through, writing it on boards, drawing Xs and Os. And all those are the best for me.” Find the article.
ON THE OLYMPICS. When we talk about the best way to treat twice-exceptional children, it's always something along the line of "nurture the strengths and accommodate the weaknesses." You might recall that some of those accommodations -- like extra time in high-stakes testing -- often draws skepticism or resentment from the general population. Last week in the Olympics we saw a twice-exceptional competitor -- a gifted runner competing with prosthetic accommodations for his missing lower legs. South African Oscar Pistorius and his country's 4x400-meter relay team made it to the Olympic finals. While the team didn't get extra time on this particular test, some competitors thought Pistorius' prosthetic blades gave him unfair advantage; however, biomechanical experts concluded that he actually had to expend more energy and in different ways than his "typically-developed" rivals. Even though his team didn't win a medal, Pistorius became a crowd favorite at the Olympics, according to news reports.

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