Thursday, October 31, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

THE WORLD SERIES IS OVER, but a blogger at The New York Times muses on the situation of a Boston Red Sox star who has ADHD and takes stimulant meds. The blogger wonders whether the gifted ball-player would have achieved to his potential without meds, or whether all baseball players would perform better using stimulants. Also mentioned in the blog: some of the player's impulsive, presumably ADHD-related moves over the years. Find the blog.

EDUCATION WEEK has made available a special report on common core standards. One part of the report covers how learners with special needs and gifted students are affected; another part is titled "Common Core Needs Tailoring for Gifted Learners, Advocates Say." Find the report.

WE'VE BASHED VIDEO GAMING, occasionally, on the assumption that kids don't really need to spend that much time fixated on a screen and, as often happens, exposed to violent or immoral actions by video game characters. A recent report indicates, however, that 30 minutes of "Super Mario 64" (quite different than "Grand Theft Auto," we guess) per day can increase gray matter in brain regions that are involved in spatial navigation, memory, strategic planning, and fine motor skills. The researchers posit possible applications in therapeutic interventions for disorders in which the brain volume of certain regions is less than normal, such as in schizophrenia or PTSD. Find out more.

VIDEO GAMERS, some of them, are apparently making their own transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) devices in an attempt to establish new neural pathways quickly and achieve virtuosity with a game more quickly than by practice alone. While some studies indicate that tDCS may improve cognitive function, motor skills, or mood, the do-it-yourself ventures by some users has experts concerned. Are nine-volt batteries disappearing fast in your house? Find out more.

NAGC is next week. If you've used their online tool to create a potential agenda for yourself -- or just to see what sessions are of interest to you, whether or not you're attending -- you can now download a mobile app to access your agenda on the go. We expect to see lots of attendees next week walking around with heads buried in their smartphones -- but what's new about that? (Just don't get between a determined 2e Newsletter session reviewer and his or her impending next session.) Find out more.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES are not the same as learning styles, says Howard Gardner in a post at The Washington Post. He differentiates the two, and also offers "three primary lessons for educators." Find the posting.

RETURN TO LEARN is the name of a checklist for doctors, educators, and parents to use in determining how and when a student should resume school work. The checklist is the work of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The guidelines include accommodations for recovering concussed students, such as providing rest times in the school nurse's office, or attending school for only half a day. Read more.

NAGC has issued a position statement titled "Ensuring Gifted Students with Disabilities Receive Appropriate Care: Call for Comprehensive Assessment." The statement includes five recommended strategies for identifying and supporting twice-exceptional students. The statement says, "schools must look beyond using a single approach that may identify only the disability or the giftedness." Find the statement.

SUNSHINE, ADHD. In parts of the world that are sunnier, fewer people are diagnosed with ADHD, according to a recent study. Solar intensity, believe the study authors, might account for roughly a third to a half of the variance in ADHD prevalence between regions. The lead author is quoted as saying, "The preventative effect of high solar intensity might be related to an improvement of circadian clock disturbances, which have recently been associated with ADHD." Read the study abstract.

ADVOCACY POLL ON OUR WEBSITE. We plan to close the current poll soon, so if you're interested in letting us know (anonymously, of course) how you advocate for your 2e child at school -- eg, by yourself, with help, etc, please take the poll at Thanks!

BOOKLET SALE ENDING SOON. Our Fall any-booklet-for-$11 sale ends this Saturday, November 2. If you've been meaning to order any of the nine titles in the Spotlight on 2e Series, maybe now's the time. Find the sale.

Friday, October 25, 2013

SURVEY OPPORTUNITY. The 2e Center for Research and Professional Development at Bridges Academy, for which we serve on the Advisory Board, is conducting a survey to explore the general awareness of the twice-exceptional population and to gain knowledge about existing needs. The survey is short, less than 15 minutes – but your input will be valuable in shaping future activities of the Center. Please do a favor for the 2e community and let the Center know what you think!

DECODING DYSLEXIA is the name of a national movement encouraging legislation to help serve kids with dyslexia. An article in the Chicago Tribune describes how it can work at the state level. The article describes how the law, a state's education code, educators, and parents must come together to effectively support early recognition and intervention for dyslexia. Find the article.

THEATER AS INTERVENTION. Vanderbilt University researchers have developed an intervention to teach communication skills to those on the autism spectrum. The intervention uses a theater platform along with typically developing peers to improve social perception and interaction skills. Find out more.

SHANGHAI SECRET. An observation by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman after visiting Shanghai and observing schools in action: "When you sit in on a class here and meet with the principal and teachers, what you find is a relentless focus on all the basics that we know make for high-performing schools but that are difficult to pull off consistently across an entire school system. These are: a deep commitment to teacher training, peer-to-peer learning and constant professional development, a deep involvement of parents in their children’s learning, an insistence by the school’s leadership on the highest standards and a culture that prizes education and respects teachers. Shanghai’s secret is simply its ability to execute more of these fundamentals in more of its schools more of the time." Interested in excellence in education? Read the column

THE ARTS AND PATENTS. A study by researchers at Michigan State University found that STEM graduates from that school who held the most patents or owned businesses had up to eight times more exposure to the arts as children than the general public. One hypothesis: the arts foster out-of-the-box thinking. Read more

OCD, TOURETTE'S, GENETICS. An international research consortium led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Chicago has answered several questions about the genetic background of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette syndrome (TS), providing the first direct confirmation that both are highly heritable and also revealing major differences between the underlying genetic makeup of the disorders. OCD seems to be associated with a few chromosomes, Tourette's with many. Find out more

CONCUSSIONS AND SCHOOL. Aside from the playing field, sustaining a concussion has impacts in the classroom. Concussed students may require accommodations and understanding on the part of educators. Read more in the MotherLode column in The New York Times

TIPS FOR TEACHERS. has an article with seven tips for teachers to help students on the spectrum get as good an education as possible and reach their potential. The tips cover dealing with parents, inclusion, setting expectations, and more. Find the article

THE LABELING DEBATE is treated in a Q&A column at the site of The Child Mind Institute. The Q: son has separation anxiety; what about labeling if he sees "somebody"? The A: "Sometimes naming a problem is a good thing." Read more

ADHD COMORBIDITY. ADDitude, under the theme "ADHD Rarely Travels Alone," describes 10 conditions that can show up with ADHD. Find them

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. ON October 29, ADDitude presents a free webinar by Dr. Ned Hallowell titled "Live a Great Life with ADHD: Best Medical and Alternative Therapies." Topics are to include alternative treatments, ADHD-friendly foods and supplements, and brain training programs. Find out more

NEED A DUE PROCESS HEARING? Or, need to express a complaint to the state? Wrightslaw, in the current Special Ed Advocate, offers advice on crafting effective letters to accomplish those goals. Find the newsletter

SIX-WORD STORIES. The National Center for Learning Disabilities asked parents to submit stories of six words about their experience with LDs. Almost 1800 people responded. The winner: "Family motto, 'label jars, not people.'" Lots of the entries will resonate with parents and educators of twice-exceptional children. Your can find the stories at the NCLD website

GOT A YOUNG BUSINESS-PERSON? The Fairholme Foundation has announced the launch of the third year of competition for the Warren Buffett Secret Millionaires Club "Grow Your Own Business Challenge." The national online competition is open to kids 7-14, who are invited to create a new business idea. The competition launched  on October 22 and ends on January 31, 2014. In May of 2014, five individuals and three team finalists in the competition will be flown to Omaha, Nebraska, to present their winning ideas to Mr. Buffett and a panel of VIP judges. One Grand Prize individual and members of one Grand Prize team will each be awarded $5,000. Find out more.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

News, Resources Gathered by the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

DIFFERENTIATING ADHD SUBTYPES. EEG brainwave tests may distinguish between inattentive-type ADHD and combined-type ADHD in adolescents; furthermore, the tests may also rule out "normal" adolescents. The brainwave differences come during tasks involving visual processing and motor planning. The discovery may also aid in the development of appropriate treatments for each subtype. Read more.

ADHD DIAGNOSIS. Recently we blogged about how varying state educational standards might "encourage" higher rates of ADHD diagnosis. On October 15, a New York Times article offered two other reasons for the increase in diagnosis: policy changes that "incentivize" diagnosis, as embodied in IDEA; and FDA changes that allowed drug companies to market directly to the public. Find the article. You may also find commentary on the article at the site of the Child Mind Institute.

LETTING YOUR (DYSLEXIC) CHILD FAIL? A blogger at the New York Times addresses whether and when it might be okay to let a child with a learning disability "fail." Should a child be allowed to fail and "learn from it" in middle school instead of later on? The blogger recounts how early support -- when a child begins to struggle in elementary school -- is critical. Find the blog.

WRIGHTSLAW ON DYSLEXIA. The current issue of Special Ed Advocate covers what school is required to to for dyslexic students and offers tips for parents on dealing with school. Find the newsletter.

ADDITUDE is offering a free webinar on diagnosing ADHD on October 21 at 1pm ET. The three topics addressed are:

  • Learning about the steps to getting a foolproof diagnosis
  • Getting the latest information about new diagnostic techniques
  • What you should do before visiting with an ADHD professional
It's not clear whether the intended audience is adults informing themselves for the sake of their children, or adults who might have ADHD. Find out more.

OUR NAGC EVENT ALERT that went out today mentioned some NAGC session presenters who might be familiar to readers of 2e Newsletter, but omitted others, to our embarrassment. So: our apologies for omitting some of the most interesting members of the 2e community from the alert, professionals whose columns and articles we’ve published, sessions we’ve covered, news we’ve written about, and whose good graces we’d like to keep. The full list of "familiar" 2e-related presenters should have read as follows: 
Lois Baldwin, Linda Collins, Lori Comallie-Caplan, Terry Friedrichs, Bobbie Gilman, M. Layne Kalbfleish, Agnes Meyo, Megan Foley Nicpon, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Dan Peters, Sylvia Rimm, Julia Link Roberts, Bob Seney, Linda Silverman, Beverly Trail, and James Webb. It wasn't malicious! We look forward to seeing all of the presenters in Indianapolis in November. 

AND FINALLY, THIS: RATS, OREOS, COCAINE. Research by undergraduates at Connecticut College seems to indicate that lab rats behave toward Oreos like they do toward cocaine and morphine. A hypothesis is that sugars, fats, and salt may activate the brain's pleasure center the same way drugs do. One more thing pointed out in a write-up of the study: It appears that rats, like humans, will go for the Oreo filling first. Read more.

Monday, October 14, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

FALL BOOKLET SALE. If you've been waiting for a sale opportunity to fill in the gaps in your collection of booklets from the "Spotlight on 2e Series," now might be the time. Our Fall Sale offers any booklet for $11; paid newsletter subscribers get an even better price, $10. Find out more

WOLCOTT SCHOOL in Chicago opened this fall, providing Chicago-area parents of twice-exceptional children with a new potential educational option. According to the school's website, the college preparatory school "offers an exemplary high school program for students with learning differences, tailored to the strengths and aspirations of each student." We don't see the words "twice exceptional" at the site -- but, as the saying goes, "If it quacks like a duck..." Find the site.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE WEBINAR. The next in a series of webinars sponsored by Dyslexic Advantage is presented by a game designer and is an opportunity to talk to the designer and "find out his personal experiences with dyslexia, how he got [to] programming and designing games, and what it was like to work and become the Creative Directors for some of the most famous games on the planet." Find out more.

SENG CALL FOR PROPOSALS. The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted issued a call for proposals for its 2014 conference in San Jose. Proposals are due by December 18. Got an idea for a presentation? Pitch it!

NCLD has begun a pilot program in Chicago to support parents. The organization is looking for confidential survey input from Chicago-area parents as part of this program. Participate!

DITD NEWSLETTER. The Educator's Guild Newsletter for Fall is out, featuring a Q&A with psychologist Thom Greenspan of Minneapolis; the topic -- perfectionism. Got a perfectionist student? Find the newsletter.

ACA AND AUTISM. Autism Speaks has issued guidelines on how the autistic community may be affected by the Affordable Care Act. If this is of concern to your family, find the resources.

ADHD: CAUSED BY STATE DOEs. Well, maybe not caused. But a couple of economics professors have analyzed the state variances in ADHD diagnosis and concluded that high-stakes testing can influence the rate of ADHD diagnosis in particular states. High stakes can "encourage" diagnosis and medication for the resultant higher performance; conversely, those stakes may also encourage a diagnosis in order to take advantage of educational accommodations. Don't buy it? Read more.

HISTORY OF LDs. This year is an anniversary of sorts, fifty years after a special ed expert defined the term "learning disability" at a conference. NCLD offers a page titled "The History of Learning Disabilities" noting that landmark and other LD trends since. Find the page.

GIFTED ED ENDORSEMENT. The college of education at Vanderbilt University has announced an add-on endorsement covering gifted ed. The courses required for the endorsement include at least a mention of twice exceptionality. Find out more.

ENCOURAGING GIFTED CHILDREN. The news program "60 Minutes" has reported on a family in Maryland and the ways in which the parents keep their kids engaged and challenged mentally. One of the children, at 14, won a grand prize in the Intel Science Fair. Read more.

REGULAR BEDTIME can forestall or correct behavior problems, according to a new study of 10,000 seven-year-olds. Researchers suggested several reasons for the connection: "First, switching bedtimes from night to night interferes with circadian rhythms [the body clock] and induces a state akin to jet lag. Second, disrupted sleep interferes with processes to do with brain maturation." Find out more.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

GAP YEAR/NAP YEAR. A writer in the Washington Post describes her son's struggles with school, despite his superior intelligence. School work was a burden. Meds for ADHD only gave him tics. A Quaker school offered respite for awhile, but the young man "crashed and burned" in his junior year because of a self-imposed heavy course-load. He finally graduated from high school, then took a gap year in which, according to his mother, he mostly slept to recover from "post-traumatic school disorder." His LD? A relatively uncommon one involving a discrepancy between processing speed and higher-level reasoning, or "Learning Disorder NOS." If you love stories about long struggles, check out the article.

NAGC CONFERENCE COMING UP. The November conference of the National Association for Gifted Children has dozens of sessions that could be of interest to parents and educators of twice-exceptional children. An agenda tool allows you to select and save sessions you might be interested in. Check it out.

BRAIN TRAINING: EFFECTIVE? Maybe for working memory, but probably not for "intelligence" -- that's the conclusion of a recent study. The claimed benefits for working memory training are often based on the strong correlation between working memory capacity and "fluid intelligence" -- reasoning and problem-solving ability. However, this study showed that no subjects training on working memory tasks showed any improvement on measures of fluid intelligence. Find out more.

ADHD AND SUPPLEMENTS. ADDitude offers a slideshow with suggestions on supplements for kids with ADHD, such as omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and more. Find it.

RAISING BOYS. The author of the book Queen Bees and Wannabees, about raising girls, has a new book out: Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends and the New Rules of Boy World. She contends that boys need more attention, as evidenced by a falling college-attendance rate, a higher suicide rate, and a higher rate of incarceration. And she offers advice for understanding and communicating with boys. Find out more.

CREATIVITY. Prufrock Press is making available on its website three chapters of a new book, Organic Creativity in the Classroom, in which 23 authors share teaching stories and helpful strategies that can be used to encourage students to become more creative within specific domains. Find the free download.

Monday, October 7, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

HOW'S YOUR CORPUS CALLOSUM? That's the bundles of nerves that connects the left and right hemispheres of your brain. It turns out that Albert Einstein had more extensive connections there than most people, which researchers believe might have contributed to his brilliance. Read more.

CARING FOR AN ATYPICAL CHILD. On her blog, a psychologist has a posting titled "Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First." You know the origin of the command. The psychologist applies it to parents of atypical children, suggesting that such parents take measures to reduce the stress they face. She points how how the child's service providers probably never ask how the parent in the family is doing. Included in the post is a "self care menu." Find the blog.

NEW YORK GT SYMPOSIUM. A one-day event titled "The NYC Gifted and Talented Symposium" is scheduled for October 26th. Several sessions deal with twice exceptionality, including one presented by Melissa Sornik, There's also a strand on social and emotional needs of the gifted. Organizers say that a curated exhibit hall will offer a sampling of NYC’s best schools, programs and services for high potential youth, while the Education Technology ‘Ed Tech’ Discovery Showcase will provide opportunities to explore web and app-based learning tools to support children and students. Find out more.

DAN PETERS has authored two books forthcoming from Great Potential Press, both on the topic of overcoming anxiety and turning a "worrier" into a "warrior." One books is directed at parents; the other is for kids. Find out more.

THE NEW ADHD is the title of a slide presentation at the site of ADDitude. Professor Thomas Brown, of Yale University, provides the update. Go there.

REFORM EDUCATION. Lose the grades, lose the exams, and don't worry if all the kids in a class are not the same age. That's what the Equinox Summit: Learning 2030 recommends in a new learning roadmap released recently. The recommendations also propose eliminating grades 9 through 12 in favor of groupings of students based on ability and area of study. Says one summit participant, "The current model of grade levels and ages is flawed. We need to progress students through high school, not by their ages, but by the stages they're at." Find out more.

WASHINGTON, DC-AREA EVENT. The Weinfeld Group is co-sponsoring a presentation in Silver Springs, Maryland, on October 10th on the topic of how the Common Core Standards will work for "uncommon" students. According to the organizers, the presenters will review the CCSS and identify language barriers that may challenge students who have ADHD and LDs. Suggestions for academic supports will be discussed. Find out more.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

News Items, Resources from 2e Newsletter

GIFTED EDUCATION is the topic of an article in Education Week, and it covers trends, issues, funding, and other aspects of providing enrichment to the gifted -- or to as many students as possible. The article includes quotes from experts familiar to readers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, such as NAGC's Nancy Green and Neag's Joseph Renzulli, Find the article.

PREDICTING ADHD. An article at Science Daily suggests that parents rely on multiple sources of information to assess the possibility of ADHD in preschoolers. Those sources should include in-home observation, feedback from preschool, and input from a clinician. Find out more.

SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS. What do they do? Check out an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute for input from three school psychologists on how they might get involved in assessing, counseling, or consulting on behalf of students.

ADHD SELF-TEST FOR WOMEN. Here's an invitation from ADDitude: "Do you have signs of attention deficit disorder? Does your daughter? Only a mental-health professional can tell for sure, but completing a do-it-yourself symptom checklist will give you an idea of whether you have adult ADHD." Find the test. (You don't have to reveal the results.)

NCLD offers a chart comparing Section 504 and IDEA: purposes, who's protected under each, services available, and lots more. If you're concerned about getting your child the best possible FAPE, check out the chart.

TEDxYouth2013 is to be held in New Orleans on November 16th before a local audience of selected middle and high school students. The event will be be available via webcast to the public, and also will be used as the basis for over 100 separate YouthDay events around the world. The program itself will consist of three speaker sessions, featuring scientists, designers, technologists, explorers, writers, artists, and performers who will share short TED Talk lessons on their area of expertise. A TEDs spokesperson says, "Thanks to organizers around the world, youth audiences across continents will be dazzled by mind-shifting stories, inspired with creativity and have a chance to deeply explore an exciting range of topics and questions that make them think locally as well as globally." Find out more.

ASD: MULTI-DIMENSIONAL? A discussion on LinkedIn right now, sparked by a YouTube video, considers whether autism should be thought of as a one-dimensional spectrum or two, a "multi-dimensional space," as psychologist Aimee Yermish says in the discussion. The advantage of two dimensions: to be able to better accommodate all of the variations presented by those on "the spectrum." Find the discussion.