Thursday, November 29, 2012

Updates from the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

DSM-5 AND DYSLEXIA. notes that the definition of "learning disorder" in the proposed revisions to the DSM has been changed to "specific learning disorder" and that previous LDs such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and disorder of written expression are no longer recommended. The article notes the linkage of the proper label to legal rights as specified in IDEA or ADA, and also notes that the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity is petitioning against the removal of dyslexia as a diagnosis. Check out the article

DSM-5 AND PERSONALITY DISORDERS. The spectrum of personality disorders in the new DSM is also a candidate for change, according to the New York Times, and the Times also provides a history of the diagnosis of such disorders. As with the proposed changes to dyslexia diagnosis (see above) changes to the diagnoses of personality disorders are facing increasing criticism. Find the article.

IDEA REG ON EVALS UPHELD. According the Education Week, judges on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, have upheld a U.S. Department of Education regulation that school districts may have to reimburse parents for independent evaluations of kids with disabilities. The case involved a district that refused to provide reimbursement. The article says, "The board argued that the regulation exceeded the scope of the IDEA because the statute itself did not authorize such reimbursements." Find out more, and bet that this will be covered on Wrightslaw soon.  

AUTISM NEWS. Three articles in the Archives of General Psychiatry are on the topic of autism:
  • An article noting a link to increased autism risk from traffic pollution
  • An association between autism and changes in immune function
  • An MRI study noting differences in brain surface area in autistic young men.
Read more

EFFECTS OF AD/HD MEDS. Time Magazine examines the risks and benefits of medications given to  young people with AD/HD, including the effect on crime rates, misdiagnosis, the children's opinions on the drugs, and more. Find the article

AD/HD AND COLLEGE. has updated an article titled "The College Planning and Application Process for Students with AD/HD: Successfully Navigating the Process and Finding the Best Fit College." The title says it all, so if you've got a college-bound youngster with AD/HD, you might want to check this out

WRIGHTSLAW. The current edition of Special Ed Advocate answers "questions about behavior assessments, positive intervention plans and supports, and what you can do to get help for children with behavior problems. You will also find behavior & discipline parenting and teaching tips." If this is of interest at your home or school, find the newsletter.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Remember how "seven" was the number of chunks of information we could supposedly keep in short-term memory at the same time? After 50 years, a researcher now says that number is four. Find out more

Monday, November 26, 2012

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

2e IN THE WASHINGTON POST. Education writer Jay Mathews, in his Washington Post column "Class Struggle," addressed the topic of how homework can be "torture" for some gifted students -- twice-exceptional students whose particular challenge make writing difficult, or repetitive  homework painful. He tells the story of a DC-area mom with two 2e kids, a son and a daughter, and points out the obstacles parents can run into trying to get a decent education for 2e kids. (As a bonus, the column supplies another candidate for Wrightslaw's "hall of shame": “I feel sorry for your son," the head of a school management team evidently told the mom when she asked for accommodations. "You are clearly pressuring him to make A's.”) Way to go, Jay Mathews. Find the article

TEEN DEPRESSION may go away without treatment, according to a team of researchers who found that to be true in about  half of such cases. Two things seemed to predict improvement without treatment -- the severity of the depression and whether the symptoms lasted six weeks. Read more on this topic of interest to the parents of twice-exceptional children.  

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. The Winter issue of this newsletter is out, and in one article in it Jim Delisle writes that he is "disturbed" by NAGC's most recent (2011) definition of giftedness -- and disturbed on five counts, which he enumerates and explains in this article. Of the article and Delisle's views, GEPQ publisher Maurice Fisher says, "I agree with Jim’s assessment of this convoluted definition, and believe it is destructive to the gifted education field." Find GEPQ and the article. Find the article on Hoagies' website

ADDITUDE this week offers advice about tics/twitching in AD/HD kids being treated with stimulant meds, and also previews two free webinars this week:
  • Tools to Help  Your AD/HD Child in School
  • Getting School Accommodations wiwth AD/HD
Find out more

TED-ED VIDEOS. The organizers of TED, a non-profit devoted to "ideas worth spreading," have collected a few videos on education at YouTube on topics such as "The Beauty of Algebra," Einstein and the Special Theory of Relativity," and more. TED presentations are by engaging, respected presenters. Find the TED-Ed videos

TALENT ACT. An individual has started a petition at to encourage the federal government to pass the TALENT act and better support gifted education. If you're a believer, find the petition. As of today, the petition has 1,022 signatures out of the 25,000 required for the government to consider the petition.

Friday, November 23, 2012

SENSORY INTEGRATION THERAPY: NOT FOR ASD? Researchers reviewed 25 studies of sensory integration therapy for those on the autism spectrum and failed to find scientific support for claims that the method aids children with ASD. The therapy uses weighted vests, bouncy balls, and other stimuli. Read more

THE ARTS AND DEPRESSION. A study has linked participation in extracurricular arts activities -- music, drama, and painting, for example -- to increased rates of self-reported depressive symptoms. The lead author commented, "This is not to say that depression is a necessary condition for either a teen or an adult to become an artist, nor are we showing that participating in the arts leads to mental illness." Read more

YOUNGER STUDENTS, MORE AD/HD. Younger students in each grade may perform at a lower academic level and may be prescribed AD/HD meds more frequently than their older classmates, according to a recently published study. The take-away? The researchers said, "Educators and health care providers should take relative age and gender into account when evaluating children's performance in school and other criteria for ADH/D diagnosis." Read more.  

WRIGHTSLAW ON 2e. Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate is always informative when it comes to working with schools on LD issues. The current issue covers twice-exceptional children, and it contains "articles, advocacy advice, resources, book recommendations, and free publications about making good educational decisions for a twice-exceptional child." Find the issue

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. DITD's eNews-Update for November is out and provides a variety of news items about giftedness, Davidson activities, and legislation that affects gifted education. Find the newsletter
SENG has two upcoming webinars on its schedule, one on December 20 with Jean Sunde Peterson titled "Talking with Teens," about communicating with gifted adolescents, and the other on January 17 with Susan Jackson titled "Solutions for the Anxious Gifted Child." Find out more in the November SENG newsletter

GLD AUSTRALIA is a new online community concerned with the needs of Australian gifted kids and adults who have specific learning disabilities or other learning challenges, according to Jo Freitag's Gifted Resources Newsletter. It is a closed Yahoo group list affiliated with the Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented. Membership is free; email to join. Find out more

PRUFROCK FREEBIE. Prufrock Press offers a a free sample download from its book Children with High-Functioning Autism: A Parent's Guide. The 33-page download includes the table of contents, introduction, and Chapter 1. Find it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

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

COMPUTER-BASED ATTENTION TRAINING. A researcher in Singapore has developed an intervention that uses a computer game along with EEG monitoring to improve symptoms of AD/HD. An eight-week, three-times-a-week course of training led to improved parental ratings for both attention and hyperactivity. Find out more

GIFTED MYTHS. CNN has published an article titled "My view: Ten myths about gifted students and programs for the gifted." What's notable is that reading the article from the point of view of parent or educator of a twice-exceptional child brings no surprises, just "duh." For example, do you think it's a given that "all gifted students work up to their potential" (Myth 6) or that "teaching gifted students is easy" (Myth 7)? Do those need debunking for you? We don't think so. Find the myths

EINSTEIN'S BRAIN. Fourteen recently uncovered photographs of Einstein's brain were the basis for a study by a university evolutionary anthropologist. The findings? The researcher is quoted as saying, "Although the overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein's brain were normal, the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices were extraordinary. These may have provided the neurological underpinnings for some of his visuospatial and mathematical abilities, for instance." Read more

ADVICE FOR PARENTS OF ASD KIDS. The Toronto Star recently carried an article of advice to parents of autistic children, advice provided by families who have been in that situation and from young adults with autism. The article includes such advice as "steel yourself"; "find other parents"; "go with your gut"; and "be willing to accept help." Find the advice

TBI TREATMENT. Newswise reports that the first treatment breakthrough of its kind for survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) or stroke will be published in the December 1 issue of the journal CNS Drugs. The study evidently provides clinical evidence that, for the first time, chronic neurological dysfunction from stroke or traumatic brain injury can rapidly improve following a single dose of a drug that targets brain inflammation, even years after the initial event. Go to the Newswise account.
LEARNING IN DIFFERENT CULTURES. An NPR story offers insight into the differences between education and learning in eastern and western cultures. The story starts with an anecdote sure to get your attention -- and possibly make you squirm as you read it. Find the story
NAGC. We just returned from the NAGC convention in Denver, and we'll be providing coverage of the sessions we attended in the newsletter and on the website. In the meantime, check out Tamara Fisher's coverage at her blog "Unwrapping the Gifted."

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. At this site this is an article titled "When Mom and Dad Disagree on the Diagnosis, or the Treatment." It reflects on an article on that topic in Psychology Today. If your household has encountered this situation, you might find the articles interesting. Go to CMI

NCLD. The National Center for Learning Disabilities reminds us that the organization offers resources on dyscalculia, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyspraxia. Got an interest? Check them out. 

WRIGHTSLAW: FREE IN OKLAHOMA. Wrightslaw is offering a free training session for residents of Oklahoma who are parents, attorneys and advocates concerned with special ed and disability law. Living in OK? Check it out
PRUFROCK: FREE DOWNLOAD. Prufrock Press is offering a free download of several chapters of the book If I'm So Smart, Why Aren't the Answers Easy? The book is based on interviews with thousands of gifted young adults. Find the download  

ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE. David Rabiner has posted the October edition of this newsletter at his site He reviews a study of the beliefs of AD/HD college students about their meds in four areas:
  1. Whether the meds improved attention and academics
  2. Whether the meds caused "loss of authentic self"
  3. Social self-enhancement
  4. Common side-effects. 
See how Rabiner interprets the study.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

News Items and Resources from the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Excpetional Newsletter

AD/HD MODELED. A group of scientists from the University of Copenhagen has created a model that shows how some types of ADHD medicine influence the brain's reward system. The model makes it possible to understand the effect of the medicine and perhaps in the longer term to improve the development of medicine and dose determination. Specifically, the model predicts how dopamine acts in controlling behavior, and the effect of stimulants (Ritalin) on the dopamine system. Read more

AD/HD IN GIRLS is the topic of an article at ADDitude. The article leads with the example of a young woman who wasn't diagnosed until her freshman year in college, but for whom medication helped greatly. The article covers differences in AD/HD in girls versus boys  -- more negative effects, for example. Find the article

APPS FOR DYSLEXIA. A St. Louis University researcher has studied ways to help dyslexic children practice reading activities more comfortably, and he suggest that certain mobile apps and daily visual activities can make that happen. He finds that reading activities can be introduced through interactive, multi-sensory activities that help children actually like the practice they're getting. Read more

AUTISM IN PRODIGIES. A study of eight child prodigies suggests a possible link between these children’s special skills and autism. Of the eight prodigies studied, three had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. As a group, the prodigies also tended to have slightly elevated scores on a test of autistic traits, when compared to a control group. In addition, half of the prodigies had a family member or a first- or second-degree relative with an autism diagnosis. Read more in a press release from the researchers.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

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

ACCEPTING AUTISM, BECOMING AN ADVOCATE. A man diagnosed in adulthood with high-functioning autism has become an autism advocate, according to a CNN article. He is now a co-director of  the Centre for Autism Research, Technology, and Education at the University of Victoria in Canada. The Centre focuses on the use of technology to help people with autism. Of his reinvention, the man says, "I was invisible until I found my inner splendor." Find the article

AD/HD AND MUSIC. A researcher investigating the effect of music or video as a distractor for those with AD/HD found that, for most children, music was not a distraction in terms of focusing. In fact, for one subgroup studied, music "was nearly as effective as medication." Read more

EARLY INTERVENTION FOR AUTISM. A review of more than 100 studies of interventions for young people with autism found "no more than moderate evidence demonstrating the benefits of any of the approaches,” according to the lead author of the study. On the other hand, the researchers said that young people with autism should have access to at least 25 hours a week of treatment for issues such as communication and play skills. Read more

BEATING OCD. A very articulate teenager, in an interview at the site of the Child Mind Institute, describes his OCD: how it started and progressed, how he dealt with it, how it got really bad -- and then how, with the help of a psychiatrist and "exposure" techniques, he beat it. It's a fascinating insight. Find it

AD/HD AND COLLEGE. A federally-financed study called TRAC aims to find out more about the needs of college students with AD/HD and, eventually, increase the probability that those students can graduate. The study will follow students at 10 colleges over a four-year period. Find out more

LD ONLINE. The November e-newsletter from this site features an article on college prep for those in their senior year of high school and an article on difficulties and solutions for the reading portions of tests like the SAT. Find the newsletter

504 PLANS. Sometimes IDEA does not apply to a twice-exceptional child but Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights law, does. A video at the site of the National Center for Learning Disabilities explains the 504 plan. Find it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

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

EDUCATION WEEK has published an article in Teacher titled "Giving Students More Time to Demonstrate Learning." The article leads with a situation that parents and educators of twice-exceptional children will find familiar: smart kid, struggling in school; good grades that prevent attention for possible LDs; and no diagnosis of LD, so no extra time on tests. The author goes on to call timed testing "a false metric" and offers her suggestions for handling testing. Read more

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND. The current issue is on genius, but you can't read it unless you subscribe or hit the newsstand or the library (how 20th century is that?). You can, however, see previews of the articles at the magazine's site

RAISING A PRODIGY. In The New York Times Sunday Magazine is an article on this topic that includes interviews with older prodigies on how they were raised. The author concludes that "all parenting is guesswork," but the stories themselves are fascinating. Find them

BRAIN TRAINING. Want to make  your student "smarter"? Try brain training to "enhance comprehension and the ability to analyze and mentally manipulate concepts, images, sounds and instructions," according to The New York Times. The article describes what brain training is and where you can get it, and includes comments from believers and from skeptics. Read more

GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER. The November e-newsletter from this organization is out, featuring a preview of Linda Silverman's new book Giftedness 101 and a preview of some of the sessions at NAGC to be delivered by GDC professionals -- including three on the topic of twice exceptionality. Find the newsletter

SENG has posted a call for proposals for its 2013 Conference. A good portion of SENG Conference sessions typically deal with twice-exceptionality, so if you've got the urge to present on the topic, check out SENG's site

SMARTKIDS has opened nominations for its 2013 Youth Achievement Award, a "$1,000 award recognizes the strengths and accomplishments of young people with learning disabilities and ADHD," according to the organization. "It will be given to a student 19 or younger who has demonstrated initiative, talent and determination resulting in a notable accomplishment in any field—including art, music, science, math, athletics or community service." Got an achieving 2e child? Check it out

ADDITUDE is offering two free AD/HD Expert Webinars this week, one on November 6th on the topic of meds and AD/HD by Dr. William Dodson, the other on the 8th titled "Understanding Your AD/HD" with Dr. Ned Hallowell. The latter webinar seems to be geared to adults rather than kids, but perhaps older teens would find it useful. Find out more

SAMPLE ISSUES OF 2e NEWSLETTER. We've updated the sample issues that potential subscribers can download to see whether the newsletter is a "fit." The issues now include one on technology and 2e students, one providing different perspectives on twice-exceptionality, and one on neurodiversity. Find them.