Thursday, March 28, 2013

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

EVIDENCE-BASED THERAPY is the topic of a recent article in The New York Times. According to the article, many counselors and clinicians fail to use therapies that are evidence based, as is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which has been shown to be effective in a range of disorders that include anxiety and depression. The article also offers some interview tips for finding a therapist who might be grounded in research and evidence-based practice -- including questions such as "What data can you show me about your own outcomes?" Find the article.

SUNSHINE, AD/HD -- they might be related. A study indicates that rates of AD/HD are lower in geographic regions of "solar intensity." This is a correlation -- not necessarily cause and effect -- but AD/HD expert Russell Barkley called the report "a very important paper." Find out more.

VIDEO GAMES AND VIOLENCE. A study from Iowa State supposedly demonstrates a link between video game play and youth violence and delinquency. The study was able to determine that while video game exposure was not the sole cause of violence, it was a risk factor. Read more.

AUTISM REGISTRY. To encourage participation by families in clinical research, a group of academic medical centers has collaborated to launch an autism spectrum disorder sub-registry within ResearchMatch, a disease-neutral national database connecting patients with ongoing research. The new ASD sub-registry helps act as a matchmaker, linking families with autism researchers around the nation. Find out more.

ANXIETY AND DISRUPTIVE DISORDER. The Child Mind Institute has posted an article on how oppositional behavior or melt-downs may be caused by anxiety. The article says, "Anxiety manifests in a surprising variety of ways in part because it is based on a physiological response to a threat in the environment, a response that maximizes the body's ability to either face danger or escape danger. So while some children exhibit anxiety by shrinking from situations or objects that trigger fears, some react with overwhelming need to break out of an uncomfortable situation." Find it. Separately (but on a related topic) the Institute is offering a workshop this evening titled "You Make Me So Mad: Approaches to Understanding and Helping with Anger." We realize that most of our readers are not in Manhattan and so unable to attend in person, but the event will be streamed live and also available afterward. Find out more.

WRIGHTSLAW. Part 4 of the series on assessment is now posted, with a focus on understanding test scores; find it.

IEPs. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has posted a list of "Top 10 Things to Know about IEPs." Not sure if this is new material, but check it out.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. The March edition of DITD's eNews-Update is out, with news of the Intel Science Talent Search; a new administrator toolbox from NAGC; ability grouping; and more, including, possibly, gifted ed news from your state. Find the newsletter.

LINKEDIN NEWS. Belinda Seiger has announced on LinkedIn the opening of Great Minds Gifted and 2e Counseling and Resources in New Jersey. From Sieger's website: "As a psychotherapist working with gifted, talented and 2e persons for over two decades, I am thrilled to be offering counseling, resources and networking opportunities specifically for highly capable and talented individuals and family members of all ages! We also provide training, workshops and networking events for educators and mental health professionals on issues relevant to working with gifted and 2e individuals and families." Separately, author Barbara Esham has posted a link to a research article titled "Cortical Signatures of Dyslexia and Remediation: An Intrinsic Functional Connectivity Approach." It looks a little technical, but if helping a dyslexic kid is part of your job, go for it; find the article. Find Esham's LinkedIn page

AND FINALLY, THIS. Actually, two things. First, fruit flies on an organic diet showed improvements in a variety of health measures, including fertility and longevity; read more. And second, some pesticides affect honeybees' ability to learn; find the article. And there you have it -- off to Whole Foods with you now!

Monday, March 25, 2013

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

JAY MATHEWS, education columnist at the Washington Post, yesterday actually mentioned "gifted and learning disabled" in his column -- but it was an aside in a piece in which he questioned the value of gifted programs. Mathews wrote, "there is little proof that designated gifted children are getting much more than they would get in any well-taught classroom." He notes that many unconventional gifted students might not be identified and included in gifted programs, and also likes the idea that good schools will offer challenging course to any student who wants to take them -- not just the gifted. Read the column.

THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR LEARNING DISABILITIES has posted a success story titled "Late Bloomer: How Getting an IEP in High School Helped Me Succeed." A young woman describes how getting an IEP as a junior in high school helped her eventually graduate magna cum laude from college. Find the story.

PEDIATRIC BIPOLAR DISORDER hospital stays soared 434 percent between 1997 and 2010, Family Practice News reports. See more stats on the disorder.

AUDIOBOOKS can help students with receptive disorders such as dyslexia 
greatly improve their math abilities. A spokesperson for Learning Ally, formerly Recordings for the Blind, stated, “Results like these support the principles of Universal Design for Learning, and validate that providing content in multiple means makes it accessible for all students, truly leveling the playing field." Read more.

PARENTING TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL KIDS was the topic of a seminar presented recently by Megan Foley Nicpon at Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development. CTD says that the slides from the presentation are now available at the CTD website; find them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

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

AUTISM: 1 IN 50. That's the most recent estimate of the incidence of autism among US schoolchildren, based on a government survey. The increase from 1 in 88 is attributed to changes in diagnosing rather than to actual increases in occurrence  Read more.

PRUNING IN PUBERTY. The brain undergoes "pruning"of neuronal connections as it matures into adulthood, and a recent sleep study using EEG provided longitudinal evidence of this process. Researchers' measures of "synaptic density" showed a peak at age 8 with a big decline between 12 and 16 and a half. Can't wait for that teenager to start acting grown up? Read more.

LOVE ON THE SPECTRUM REVISITED. The Child Mind Institute revisits the young Aspie couple profiled in The New York Times a while back, noting that the author has expanded the original article into an e-book. If the original story engaged you, check out the CMI piece.

IEP RESOURCE. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has established an "IEP Headquarters" on its site with resources for all aspects of the IEP. Got one, or going to have one sometime? Check out the IEP Headquarters.

SENGVINE NEWSLETTER. March's edition is out from the organization Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted. It includes articles on stress, learning, and the gifted child; SENG Model Parenting Groups; androgyny in gifted youth; and transcending race in gifted programs. Find the newsletter.

WRIGHTSLAW. Part 3 in the Special Ed Advocate series "Assessment 101" is out, and it deals with how to select an evaluator. One article deals with parents' rights to choose an independent evaluator of their choice. Find the newsletter.

SIMULATING HYPERSENSITIVITY. A Vancouver, Canada, video game designer has created a simulation of what it's like for kids who are hypersensitive, as many on the "spectrum" are. For example, according to ABC News, "As the user walks around a playground, other children laugh and play on the equipment. However, anytime the user gets too close to the crowd, the situation becomes overwhelming. Suddenly, the children’s laughter turns loud and cacophonous and their faces become abstractly distorted. The user can then escape the situation by moving to a quieter, more secluded area of the playground." Read more, including a link to the game online.

Monday, March 18, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ACT SOON -- #1. One of our briefing subscribers pointed out to us a free MOOC starting today: "Pay Attention!: AD/HD Through the Lifespan." The course is from the University of Pennsylvania, 12 weeks long, and video-based. From the course description: "Advances in neuroscience have provided new insights into the pathophysiology of ADHD, pointing to key neural circuits involved in attention, behavioral control, learning, and reward maintenance that appear to be underperforming in patients with the disorder." Find out more.

ACT SOON -- #2. ADDitude presents today a free AD/HD "Expert Webinar" at 1pm EST with the title "Best Bites: The Top Vitamins, Supplements, and Foods for your AD/HD Child," presented by Dr. Sandy Newmark. Find out more

OTHER WEBINARS. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation provides free, monthly "Meet the Scientist" webinars on brain-related topics. In May, the topic is "OCD and Anxiety: Symptoms, Treatment, and How to Cope." Find out more. Past webinars are archived and available online; see this page

AUTISM RESOURCE. A site called is a social network for parents of kids with autism where members can connect with other parents in similar situations and find local resources. Sign-up is free. Venerable Parade Magazine presented this resource to us yesterday over Sunday breakfast. Go to the site. (And let us know if you find it useful.) Separately, in the same Parade Mag list of useful resources was PsychCentral, which we've cited before in blog posts. The site provides information and resources on a variety of conditions of interest to those in the 2e community. Go there

PARENTING RESOURCE. 2e Newsletter contributor Dan Peters along with his professional partner Susan Daniels have written the book Raising Creative Kids, published by Great Potential Press. Peters and Daniels often write and speak on 2e-related topics; their assessment and counseling practice is in California. Find out more about the book

ANOTHER CREATIVITY RESOURCE. Apparently we can "un-inhibit" the brain when it comes to providing creative responses. Researchers used trans-crainial direct stimulation (tCDS) to make a certain area of the prefrontal cortex less controlling, cognitively speaking, in one experimental group. The group whose left prefrontal cortices were affected by the tCDS provided creative responses that were more numerous and quicker. Read more

SENG MODEL PARENTING GROUP TRAINING. We recently blogged about an upcoming SMPG training in St. Louis; turns out there's one coming up in Chicago on April 29-30 for those interested in learning how to facilitate groups of parents of gifted and 2e kids. (SENG stands for Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted; we find the group's events and communications to be very relevant to the concerns of those who raise and educate twice-exceptional children.) For more information about the Chicago SMPG training, click here

STRENGTH FROM THE "FAMILY NARRATIVE." Researchers over a decade ago set out to measure what children knew about their families by taping dinner conversations and found out that "The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned," according to a New York Times article. The author then provided ways to help foster this family groundedness. Find the article.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

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

IT'S BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK, and you can find out more about this annual global event and how to observe it by going to the BAW Facebook page or to the website of the BAW founder/sponsor, the Dana Foundation. The purpose of the week is to increase public awareness of brain research.

"STUDY DRUGS" -- also called neuroenhancers -- are discouraged for healthy kids by the American Academy of Neurology. According to the organization, "[T]he practice of prescribing drugs to boost cognitive function, or memory and thinking abilities, in healthy children and teens is misguided." Read more.

KIDS WHO AVOID SCARY SITUATIONS are more likely to have anxiety, according to a Mayo Clinic study of more than 800 children ages 7 to 18. “This new approach may enable us to identify kids who are at risk for an anxiety disorder,” says lead author Stephen Whiteside, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist with the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center. Read more.

GIFTED BOREDOM. Sometimes, says a blogger at Psychology Today, we shouldn't accept at face value an expression of boredom from a gifted child. Perhaps the complaint masks perfectionist tendencies which prevent the child from starting an assignment; perhaps the child doesn't see the purpose of an assignment; or perhaps the child is confused about the nature of the assignment. The blogger continues: "Sometimes, in an effort to advocate for our child’s happiness, we forget that being bored is a part of life—and that extremely valuable lessons can come out of facing it head on." Read the blog.

PSYCHOLOGIST PRESCRIBERS. The Illinois legislature is considering a bill allowing psychologists to prescribe medications under the condition that the psychologists acquire a master's degree in psychopharmacology, 462 hours of instruction. Nadia Webb, who has contributed to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, is quoted as saying that there are at least 300 certified psychologists in the U.S. Louisiana and New Mexico have passed legislation similar to Illinois'. As parents with gifted kids who need Ritalin or other meds know, getting a diagnosis and then a prescription is often a two-step process involving a psychologist and a psychiatrist; legislation such as is proposed for Illinois can simplify the process. Read more.

2e IN IOWA? Courtesy of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa is offering scholarships for twice-exceptional students who want to attend the Center's summer programs. Find out more.

WRIGHTSLAW has issued Part 2 of its multi-part series on assessment. The latest issue of Special Ed Advocate covers the most common types of assessments and who does them. Find Special Ed Advocate.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. At the website of this organization is an "Ask the Expert" piece where a mom describes trying different meds for AD/HD, under the direction of a pediatrician, and not getting results. Should Abilify be next, she asks? Read the response.

SENG BOOTCAMP FOR ADVOCATES. A SENG webinar on March 16 covers advocating for the social and emotional needs of the gifted child. The 1.5-hour session is $40. Find out more. Separately, SENG is also offering training for SENG Model Parent Group facilitators on May 10-11 in St. Louis. Trained facilitators start groups to "help parents understand and develop skills for nurturing the emotional development of their gifted children," according to the organization. Find out more.

Monday, March 11, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

EXERCISE AND SELF-CONTROL. A Dutch analysis of past studies of exercise suggests that short-term, moderately intense exercise may boost self-control in children and young adults. The lead researcher is quoted as saying, "Tests conducted immediately after short bouts of exercise showed a clear improvement among higher-order functions like self-control, a cognitive [brain] function that is really important for daily activities in terms of both social life and academic performance." Read more. Separately, a different study indicates that exercise regulates the body's hormonal response to stress; less active kids produced excess levels of cortisol in response to everyday stresses. Read more. And get those kids outside for exercise! 

CHEWING GUM AND CONCENTRATION. Chewing gum apparently helps improve concentration in visual memory tasks and audio memory tasks. The results showed that participants who chewed gum had quicker reaction times and more accurate results than the participants who didn't chew gum. This was especially the case towards the end of the task. Find out more.

THE GIFTED CREATIVE, ECCENTRIC KID may fly under the radar, unrecognized. A University of Kansas researcher analyzed the profiles of creative people such as Mark Twain and Woody Allen to try to find ways to help teachers identify gifted and creative kids. One of the findings was that "a third of students who fit the profiles for creative giftedness had never been identified for gifted programs, largely because their grade point averages were not higher than average—in part because these students tended to dedicate themselves to only subjects that interested them." Sound familiar? Read more.

AD/HD RESEARCH is the topic of an article at Forbes, covering topics such as inhibiting the pattern of the way AD/HD's effects lead to poor self-esteem. An expert quoted in the article notes the disparity between labeling and early intervention in conditions like diabetes (no problem with labeling) with current practice in AD/HD (suddenly labeling is a problem). Find the article.

DYSLEXIA AND AURAL INPUT. The brains of dyslexic children process the sounds of speech less consistently than the brains of typically developing children, according to research from Northwestern University. The study compared brain waves measured with scalp electrodes as the children listened to particular syllables. Read more.

DYSLEXIA ON LINKEDIN. If you're on LinkedIn, there's an interesting CEC thread on dyslexia. Find it.

AD/HD SUB-TYPES manifest themselves in the brain in different ways, according to new research discussed in an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. Find out more.

AD/HD CO-MORBIDITIES. This is not a new item, but a page at the site of ADDitude lists some of the common co-morbidities of AD/HD along with symptoms and recommended resources for more information. According to the page, half of children with AD/HD suffer from co-morbid conditions such as anxiety, depression, or OCD. Find the page.

DSM-5 CHANGES. An article at the site of the Journal of the American Medical Association describes the overall changes in the new version of the DSM-5 and gives a little more detail on changes for several disorders of interest to the 2e community, ASD and "disruptive mood dysregulation disorder -- the latter a diagnosis to try to differentiate mood issues from pediatric bipolar disorder. Find the article.

BULLYING. A TED Talk by poet Shane Koyczan combines his stories of his growing up lonely, different, and taunted with his animated poem of "bullying and survival." It's entertaining and, as the website says, haunting. See it. (Standing ovation at the end.)

PARENT GROUPS. Help us figure out how prevalent  support groups 
are for parents of 2e kids. Take a quick poll at our homepage. Thanks!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ADDERALL MISUSE. Those of you with kids on stimulant meds for AD/HD might be interested in a couple recent articles on the misuse of those drugs, both pretty scary. One is a first-person account by a young woman in New York and the effects of her dependency; the other is an op-ed piece that contains lots of first-person language from a smart young man who used Adderall to go from D's to straight A's -- but paid a price.

SEQUESTER AND EDUCATION. In the U.S., government games have given us a "sequester" of spending federal cuts, some of which affect special education. The Council for Exceptional Children provides some detail on where those cuts will come from and how much is involved (hint: billions). Find out more.

WOLCOTT SCHOOL. We recently blogged about a new school in Chicago, set to open in the fall, whose target audience seemingly includes twice-exceptional students. The high school, Wolcott School, is having an open house Sunday, March 10, for prospective families; find out more. Separately, the school's founding head is profiled in an article in a suburban Chicago newspaper; find it.

AD/HD AND SPEECH/LANGUAGE/COMMUNICATION is the topic of a parent and educator workshop series presented by the Child Mind Institute in Manhattan. The event is today, and will be streamed live for those not lucky enough to live in Manhattan. Find out more.

SELF-INJURY. The Child Mind Institute has posted on its website an article on self-injury. Find it.

CENTER FOR TALENT DEVELOPMENT. The CTD at Evanston's Northwestern University got a write-up in the Chicago Tribune recently for its weekend courses for gifted kids. According to the article, "The Accelerated Weekend Experience provides students the opportunity to delve into a favorite area of interest with a community of peers who share their passion for the subject." Read more.

NCLD dispels seven myths about AD/HD on its website, myths such as "girls have lower rates and less severe AD/HD than boys." Find the article.

ON FACEBOOK. Recent "arrivals" on Facebook from the 2e community include Carla Crutsinger and Brainworks ( and speaker/writer Jonathan Mooney ( Fans of those people will know what to do.

TAMARA FISHER points us to "An Administrator's Toolbox for Gifted Education," a resource compiled by the National Association for Gifted Children. Fisher describes what's available and the benefits of the toolbox. Read Fisher's blog.

ASSESSMENTS is the subject of a four-part series in Special Ed Advocate, starting on March 5th. Wrightslaw says of the series, "you'll get an overview of developmental assessments, read about the most common types of assessments, find out how to choose an evaluator, and learn how to understand your child's test scores." Find the first issue.

HOW'S YOUR TEENAGER'S AMYGDALA? It could be growing new cells, according to research conducted at Michigan State University, which might aid in social behaviors and mating behaviors. Find out more.

2e PARENT SUPPORT GROUPS. What's your situation when it comes to a local, live support group for parents of twice-exceptional children? Tell us in quick poll on our homepage, please.

Monday, March 4, 2013

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

AD/HD LASTS. The first large, population-based study to follow children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) into adulthood shows that ADHD often doesn't "go away," and that children with AD/HD are more likely to have other psychiatric disorders as adults. Although numbers were small, they also appear more likely to commit suicide and are often incarcerated as adults. According to the study's lead researcher, "Only 37.5 percent of the children we contacted as adults were free of these really worrisome outcomes." The study is published in the April 2013 issue of Pediatrics, posted  online March 4. Find out more.

VIDEO GAMES GOOD? Maybe for kids with dyslexia. A study indicates that action video games can improve reading skills in dyslexic children. According to one of the study authors, "Dyslexic children learned to orient and focus their attention more efficiently to extract the relevant information of a written word more rapidly." Read more.

IQ, SUCCESS. Education Week reports on the reignited focus on the inheritability of intelligence and on the relationship of IQ to success. Briefly providing some history on both sides of how intelligence influences success, the article states, "Although word-smarts and number-smarts, the traditional metrics of intelligence, are important, they are unreliable predictors of future success in the workplace and in the personal lives of students. That's because a host of other factors unable to be measured with precision comes into play in the real world." Read more.

RTI MYTHS. The site RTI Action Network dispels 11 common myths about RTI, focusing on the relationship (or lack thereof) of RTI to IDEA. If RTI is a topic of interest at your home or in your teachers' lounge, find the article.

LDs & ATTACHMENT THEORY. LDs can cause anxiety, frustration, depression, and other problems in a child. While a researcher has found that "teens with learning disabilities were less likely to have secure attachment relationships to their mothers and teachers compared to peers without learning disabilities," attachment theory suggests that the right involvement of parents and teachers can protect against some of the social and emotional damage of LDs. Read more.