Thursday, June 27, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

TOURETTE'S AWARENESS. The Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada held a Twitter-based event to raise awareness of what it's like to have Tourette's, a condition that causes verbal and physical tics. The event illustrated verbal tics, such as "Build a biscuit, put a sheepdog on top." Read more about the event at CNN.

RABINER ON THE DSM-5. David Rabiner has written on changes in the DSM-5 that affect ADHD, posting his commentary in his newsletter and also at He covers the core symptoms in the new edition (basically the same as before), the list of hyperactive symptoms, revisions in the age-of-onset criteria, the "multiple settings" requirement, and more. He sees the most significant change as the way the DSM-5 lowers the bar for diagnosis by changing a requirement of "clinically significant impairment" to simply "interference" with social, academic, or occupational functioning. Read more.

AUTISM AFFECTS a broad range of sensory and motor skills, according to a study reported at Part of the problem is an impairment in the way the cerebral cortex talks to the thalmus, a structure deeply involved in sensory/motor activity. Read more.

TBI. As we prepared this post, we found three items on brain injury. One noted that children with ADHD are more likely to suffer effects from mild TBI; read it. A second reported on a study of the incidence of TBI in Canadian students in grades 7 to 12; 20 percent of these young people reported such an injury at some point. Find out more. Third: another study showed that soccer players who frequently head the ball "have brain abnormalities resembling those found in patients with concussion," which is a mild TBI; find the write-up.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. On the site of this organization right now is an article titled "Why Childhood Anxiety Often Goes Undetected (And the Consequences)." Among those consequences: the possible development of conditions such as OCD or panic disorder, and a higher likelihood of developing depression. Find the article.

DYSLEXIA AND CREATIVITY. A three-part series at covers "The Dyslexic and Creative Mind." If dyslexia is in the mix for that twice-exceptional child you know, check out the series.

TEMPLE GRANDIN presented a talk on autism at the Commonwealth Club in Palo Alto on June 4. The event was recorded on audio; if you're a Grandin fan, find it.

NCLD. The National Center for Learning Disabilities currently has on its site recommendations for books by authors with LDs. The recommendations are groups by age range. Find the list.

HEATED DISCUSSIONS. The definition of giftedness is always a topic that elicits a variety of opinions from those in the gifted and 2e community, and one such discussion is going on right now in a LinkedIn group; find it. Separately, another LinkedIn discussion has provoked sharp comments over the value of a patented glasses lens technology for "treating" dyslexia; find it. LinkedIn membership (free) is required to view or comment in these discussions.

AND FINALLY, THIS. According to a news release, an organization called KidLead is offering "the first-ever leadership program for preschoolers and early childhood students." The curriculum is aimed at kids as young as two years old. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

BOYS, BEHAVIOR AND EDUCATION. A female middle-school teacher noticed that she disciplined boys more than girls, usually for behavior issues. From that observation, she segues into how to engage boys in learning, citing sources and giving examples. If you're raising or teaching twice-exceptional boys, you might be interested in this article. Read it.

DYSLEXIC MENSAN. A Colorado news organization writes about a man who discovered at 70 that he was dyslexic, and then discovered at age 76 that his intelligence is in the 99.6 percentile. He had dropped out of high school before graduation, thinking he'd never be able to pass final exams. Later, in the Air Force, he discovered that he loved teaching, and was good at it. Read the article to find out more about this twice-exceptional person who found success.

MAX, SON OF MEL Brooks and Anne Bancroft, has "the stature and frenetic affect of his father," writes The New York Times. He also has anxiety issues... and dyslexia. The younger Brooks has written a book, The Zombie Survival Guide, skits for Saturday Night Live, and the book on which the movie "W.W.Z." is based. Read more.

DEBORAH RUF RIFFS against same-age classrooms in a blog at her TalentIgniter website, noting how while we typically relate best to those within 12 IQ points of us, a typical same-age classroom has an IQ spread of 70 to 80 points. Ruf concludes, "School is not a very happy time or place for many, many bright children." Read the blog and subsequent reader comments.

MINDFULNESS TRAINING in children can reduce symptoms of low-grade depression, according to a British study. Find a write-up of the study.

AUTISM, GLUTEN. Columbia University Medical Center researchers have found elevated antibodies to gluten proteins of wheat in children with autism in comparison to those without autism, according to a news release from the university. The results also indicated an association between the elevated antibodies and the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms in the affected children. They did not find any connection, however, between the elevated antibodies and celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder known to be triggered by gluten. Find the release.

AUTISM RESOURCE. Autism Speaks funded the creation of a tool kit called "Autism and Medication: Safe and Careful Use." The purpose of the tool kit is to make sure that families and healthcare providers have information necessary to choose safe and effective meds for kids with autism. Find out more.

BRAIN MAVENS: TED Talks has "bundled" eight presentations on brain-related subjects ranging from "The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain" to brain plasticity to "the quest to understand human consciousness." Find them.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

DOES RITALIN WORK? A study in Quebec, Canada, raises questions about whether Ritalin improves outcomes in kids with ADHD, according to an article at A 14-year longitudinal study of behaviors and educational outcomes (test scores, matriculation to higher education, etc) after Ritalin became more available to treat ADHD in Quebec found "little overall improvement in outcomes" over the short term. Why not? Read more.

POLLUTION, AUTISM. Time Magazine reports on "the first national study of in utero exposure and autism rates," a study showing that moms living the areas of the country with the highest quintile of pollution were twice as likely to have a child on the spectrum than moms in areas with the lowest quintile of pollution. The article also noted that air pollutants may contribute to higher rates of cancer, hyperactivity, and obesity. Find the article.

READING BUT NOT COMPREHENDING. Researchers at Vanderbilt's college of education have been studying Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits (S-RCD), where students can read well but not understand what they're reading. Supposedly affecting three to ten percent of "good" readers, the condition is distinct from dyslexia, as shown by brain imaging. Find out more.

SIBLING BULLYING can be even more stressful to the victim than bullying by a non-family member, according to an article in The New York Times. The article says, "those who were attacked, threatened or intimidated by a sibling had increased levels of depression, anger and anxiety." Read more at The Times site or in a news release. Separately, The Times also reported on how bullies may use food allergies to attack a victim by switching foods or deliberately exposing a child to an allergen. Got allergies at your house? Find out more.

HIGH-FAT DIETS in adolescence can lead to impaired memory and learning ability in adulthood, according to a recent study of mice. So, while it might be too late for us, it's not too late for you to get that twice-exceptional child you raise or educate into a lower-fat diet. Read more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. The June newsletter is out, reviewing the Conference on Dyslexia and Talent and pointing to videos recorded at that conference. The newsletter also notes a newly posted webinar that is an introduction to dyslexia and the dyslexic advantage. Find the newsletter.

EDUCATION WEEK has posted a blog whose author describes the differences that can occur in classrooms when teachers take developmental considerations and individual needs into account. The author asks, "What if compliance is incompatible with students' developmental needs or abilities?" Find the blog.

WRIGHTSLAW has published Part 2 of a series about IDEA requirements and your child's needs, including a checklist to make sure your IEP is truly individualized. Find Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate.

Monday, June 17, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e; Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

TANTRUM OR DISORDER? If you've had the privilege of dealing with a strong-willed twice-exceptional child, chances are you've wondered during an outburst, "Is this normal?" The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in the U.S. has now added a new disorder: disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. An article at notes that the new disorder "has prompted protests that psychiatrists are turning a normal part of childhood into a mental disorder," but that "proponents say it will address the skyrocketing rate of another diagnosis that is leading to the inappropriate use of powerful medications on children." Read the article and decide for yourself. Separately, if you're not yet tired of the news about the new DSM, an article at covers not only reaction to the fifth edition but also information about alternative classification systems, such as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the National Institute of Mental Health's efforts to explore more biology-based classification. Find the article.

GENES, NICOTINE, AND DYSLEXIA. A recent study at the Yale School of Medicine has identified genetic variants that predispose children to dyslexia. If this interests you, you're going to have to read the article, but here's a hint: the genetics involve a READ1 gene regulator on the DCDC2 gene and another gene called KIAA0319. And the nicotine? An earlier study by this group of researchers linked prenatal exposure to nicotine to problems in reading and language processing. Find the study write-up.

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. The ADDitude webinar last week with Dr. Larry Silver titled "Understanding Comorbid Conditions Associated with ADHD" has been recorded and is available, along with the webinar slides, at the ADDitude website.

EDUCATION WEEK WEBINAR. Education Week is hosting a free webinar on personalized learning, as enabled by technology. Since personalized learning -- individualized instruction -- is commonly seen as very beneficial for twice-exceptional students, this webinar might be of interest. Note however, an Education Week disclaimer that it is serving only as host and that "the opinions expressed in [the] webinar are those of the sponsor and do not reflect the opinion of or constitute an endorsement by Editorial Projects in Education or any of its publications." Registration is required. Find out more.

HARRY POTTER FANS. Those in the Millennial Generation, born 1982-2002, who were Harry Potter fans and read the books in the series apparently have characteristics that differ from "typically developing" [ :-) ] readers. Whether there's causation involved is open to question, but a study contends that "readers of the seven-book series and viewers of the movie franchise tend be more open to diversity; politically tolerant; less authoritarian; less likely to support the use of deadly force or torture; more politically active; and are more likely to have a negative view of the Bush administration." Find out more.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

2e? TRY OPERA. The University of British Columbia is studying why gifted students with learning disabilities seem to excel in the university's "demanding" opera program, according to the CBC. One goal of the study is to improve education in any field. A study co-author gives what sounds like a general prescription for 2e kids when she says, “Our early findings suggest that students’ passion carries them through many of the challenges they face and gives them the drive and determination to succeed. But they also need to be understood and supported in areas where they’re challenged.” Read more.

OCD. A mouse study has found that stimulating specific brain circuits produces "progressive repetitive behavior." The hope is that the particular circuits could be treated to stop changes leading to pathological behaviors. Read more. Separately, another study suggests that the brain circuits involved in OCD are also involved with eating disorders. Read more.

ABILITY GROUPING is apparently back in vogue after several decades on the outs. An article in The New York Times explores why teachers are coming back to ability grouping. find the article.

BUILD GIFTED SERVICES, AND THEY WILL COME. Miami-Dade schools now serve more than ten percent of their students in gifted programs, double the rate of the rest of the state. A Miami Herald article gets into the definition and criteria of giftedness as used by the Miami-Dade schools and schools in the rest of Florida. Find out more.

MEDS OR TALK FOR DEPRESSION? A brain scan may be able to predict whether depressed patients will respond more effectively to drugs or to psychotherapy. Since, according to a write-up of a study on the topic, initial best-guess treatment achieves remission in only about 40 percent of patients, having a clue about potential effectiveness of a therapy saves time and suffering. Read the write-up to find out what a scan can reveal.

CHICAGO-AREA EVENT. If you're in the Midwest, don't forget the June 29th "Opportunities for the Future" conference to be held at Northwestern University by the Center for Talent Development. Del Siegle and Betsy McCoach present two sessions on achievement, and the afternoon program offers seven other topics as well. Find out more.

THE PURPOSE OF IDEA "is to meet the unique needs of your child - not the class, not the teacher, not the school, not the district budget" -- that according to the current edition of Special Ed Advocate from Wrightslaw. The issue promises to help you "Find the legal authority in IDEA." Find the newsletter.

ACCEPTING A DIAGNOSIS. What happens when a child refuses to accept a diagnosis of anxiety and depression (common 2e afflictions) and doesn't want treatment? A column at the site of the Child Mind Institute addresses this question. Find the column.

JAMES WEBB INTERVIEW. The Global Center for Gifted and Talented has interviewed author/psychologist/publisher James Webb in conjunction with the first Gifted Awareness Week in Germany. Webb offers a message in support of the week, describes the importance of gifted education, and discusses his work. Read the interview.

AND FINALLY, THIS. We skim a lot of headlines as we look for items for the blog and briefing. Sometimes those headlines require a second reading to make sure we're not misunderstanding. Two recent examples:
  • Winners Announced in Bullying Academy National Contest [A bullying contest? Really? How tacky.]
  • World Day Against Child Labour [And delivery too?]
That's all!

Monday, June 10, 2013

News, Resources from 2e Newsletter

ADDERALL FOR FINALS WEEK is the subject of an article by an M.D. writing for the Huffington Post. Turns out the mother of a young patient of his wanted him to prescribe Adderall so the young man could do better on his finals. The doctor declined, and very eloquently explains the concerns that went into his decision. One item in the article: The U.S. has four percent of the world's population and uses two-thirds of the world's Adderall. Find the article.

VISION PROBLEMS AND DYSLEXIA. A new fMRI-based study indicates that visions problems don't lead to dyslexia, and that "visual system function shouldn't have a role in diagnosis or treatment." Rather, visual problems in dyslexics are the result of the disorder, not a cause. While the study found that kids with dyslexia might have deficits in their brains' visual system activity, that level of activity could be increased with tutoring; again, the deficit was a seen as a result of the dyslexia and the lack of reading experience in this population. Read more.

GIFTED AND 2e VIDEOS. Since posting last time about a video titled "Taming the Worry Monster," by Dan Peters, we've become aware that other videos on gifted- and 2e-related topics from Dan are available. One is on misdiagnosis of gifted children; another is on asynchronous development of gifted kids.

TED TALK. A TED talk by Andrew Solomon is disturbing but provides insight into the situation that 2e families find themselves in. It's about differences -- more broadly than in our 2e community -- but very relevant. He addresses the questions, "What is it like to raise a child who's different from you in some fundamental way (like a prodigy, or a differently abled kid, or a criminal)?" and "What's the difference between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance?" Find the talk.

ADHD AND COMORBIDITIES. Dr Larry Silver is scheduled to present a free webinar on June 11 titled "Understanding Comorbid Conditions Associated with Attention Deficit." Sponsored by ADDitude, Dr. Silver is clinical professor of psychiatry and an engaging speaker. Find out more

LD ONLINE has posted articles concerning summertime reading for kids with learning issues. One is titled "Summer Reading Strategies for Children with Dyslexia." Find the articles at the LD Online site; if you wait until after this week, you'll probably have to search for the articles separately, but right now they're on the home page. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

News & Resources from 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

AUTISM, ADHD COMORBIDITY. The Kennedy Krieger Institute says that about one third of children with autism also display symptoms of ADHD. What's more, the combination seems to lead to increased impairment in several areas of functioning, more impairment than is found in children who have just autism. Read more.

ADDICTED TO THAT PHONE? Teens who spend too much time on their smartphones or on the Internet exhibit signs of psychopathology and problem behavior, according to a Korean study. The problems include "increased likelihood of somatic symptoms, withdrawal, depression or anxiety, thought problems, delinquency, attention problems, aggression, and internalizing or externalizing problems" -- quite a list. Find out more.

JOB DEMAND FOR AUTISTICS. Some employers actively recruit people on the spectrum, seeking "neurobiological diversity" in their workforces and looking for people who "think differently." Two such employers are the software company SAP and the U.S. home mortgage company Freddie Mac. Read more.

NCLB WONK? CEC's Policy Insider has information about pending revisions to NCLB/ESEA. CEC offers a "short list" of changes as well as links to a summary of the propose new legislation and the full bill (in case you're really serious). Go to Policy Insider.

YOGA FOR ADHD? Research at the University of Illinois indicates that 20 minutes of yoga can help practitioners to better focus, as well as to accept, use, and retain new information. Whether the results are from the "mindfulness" aspects of yoga or from something else is unclear. Find out more. Separately, scientists have also discovered how meditation can reduce anxiety by identifying the brain functions involved. The study revealed that meditation-related anxiety relief is associated with activation of the anterior cingulate cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex, areas of the brain involved with executive-level function. Find out more.

BIPOLAR DIAGNOSIS WITH MRI -- it's possible, say researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center. They used scans to differentiate people with bipolar disorder from neurotypical people with an accuracy of 73 percent, supposedly comparable to other medical tests. Read more.

DBS FOR OCD? By activating a brain circuit that controls compulsive behavior, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can block a compulsive behavior in mice -- a result that could help researchers develop new treatments for diseases such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette's syndrome. So says a press release from MIT about a study where researchers used optogenetics -- light-activated stimulation -- to control neuron activity. The technique is not yet ready for use in humans. Find out more.

BLOOD SCREEN FOR ASD? A blood marker for autism has been discovered by researchers. They found that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) showed significantly decreased metabolism of the amino acid L-tryptophan when compared to both typical controls and individuals with other neurodevelopmental disorders. Cells from individuals with autism metabolized L-tryptophan at a decreased rate whereas cells from individuals without autism did not show this change, according to a press release. The study could lead to a "simple, early blood screening test for autism." Find out more.

ADDITUDE has two items on its site that might be of interest to those who raise or teach children of the ADHD persuasion. One item deals with positive ways to explain to a child an ADHD diagnosis. The second concerns misdiagnosis -- when something else is confused with ADHD.

HE'S EVERYWHERE! Psychologist Dan Peters has recently blogged about the recent Eide conference on dyslexia and co-authored an article in the current issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter. Now you can find him on video at the site of the organization Boulder Valley Gifted and Talented talking about "taming the worry monster -- anxiety in gifted children." Find the video.

DEPRESSION WEBINAR. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is sponsoring a webinar on June 11 titled "Depression in Children and Adolescents," to be presented by Dr. Karen Dineen Wagner. Find out more.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has posted a two-part lecture. The first part was on mood disorders in kids, by a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics. The second part featured musician Naomi Judd, who discussed her issues with anxiety and depression. Find the lectures and watch them, or read more about them here and here,

AUTISM AND DSM-5 AND TEMPLE GRANDIN -- how's that for using everything contemporary in one headline. But a LinkedIn discussion pointed us to an article at where Grandin discourses on the DSM and on labels.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Channel-flipping leads to ADHD -- that's the assertion in a recent "Candorville" cartoon. Find it.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

From the Publishers: News Items, Resources

ADHD AND SLEEP. The brains of children with ADHD appear not to consolidate emotional memories during sleep as well as the brains of typically developing children, according to a study reported at HealthDay says, "This deficit in sleep-related emotional processing may worsen the emotional problems of children with this condition." Read more.

STRATEGIES TO HELP WITH MATH STRUGGLES are presented in an article at the site of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. The author explains how slower processing speeds or executive-function problems can cause more trouble with math in later grades, and what can be done to help. Find the article.

FONTS AND DYSLEXIA. A difficult font can evidently help dyslexic children comprehend better. The rationale? “Our study suggests dyslexic pupils benefit significantly from reading information in a hard-to-read font and supports the idea that it is the greater cognitive processing that helps students remember what they have read,” said the researcher. Find out more.

AUTISM AND DSM-5. Using criteria in the DSM-5 might drastically reduce the incidence of autism diagnoses, according to Family Practice News. "Only 35% of a sample of children diagnosed with ASD before age 3 based on DSM-IV criteria retained the diagnosis when DSM-5 criteria were applied," reports the publication. If this issue is a concern of yours, find the article.

2e COLLEGE RESOURCE. Hoagies' Gifted has a page with information and resources for twice-exceptional students in college, points out an advocate for 2e kids. (Thanks, Marcie.) Find the page at the Hoagies' site. Way to go, Carolyn K.

CEREBRUM monthly offers major articles, some of which are relevant to raising or educating twice-exceptional kids. This month, the feature article at the site is called "Inside the Letterbox: How Literacy Transforms the Human Brain." The editor's note for the article says: "Few issues are as important to the future of humanity as acquiring literacy. Brain-scanning technology and cognitive tests on a variety of subjects by one of the world’s foremost cognitive neuroscientists has led to a better understanding of how a region of the brain responds to visual stimuli. The results could profoundly affect learning and help individuals with reading disabilities." Find the article.

THE COLORADO ASSOCIATION FOR THE GIFTED AND TALENTED has scheduled its annual conference for October 7 and 8 in Denver. While aimed at educators, the conference also features a parents' institute. Invited speakers include Deb Delisle, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, US DOE; Jim Delisle, a Colorado GT favorite; and Susan Jackson, GT consultant and researcher. Registration is now open. Find out more.

STABILITY BALLS FOR ALL. We've seen stability balls in use at places like the Brideun School for twice-exceptional kids. It appears that all children might benefit from these "seats." An article in the Bangor Daily News tells more. (Thanks, Dan, for the pointer to this article.)

GOT A COMPLAINT? A real complaint about how your child's education is being handled (or mishandled)? Wrightlaw's Special Ed Advocate addresses how to file complaints, "warnings to heed, and questions to ask" before you file. Find the newsletter

ABILITY GROUPING of gifted children is the subject of a podcast at Prufrock Press. Joel McIntosh and Todd Kettler discuss the topic. The podcast is available at Prufrock or at iTunes.