Wednesday, November 27, 2013

News Items, Resources from the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

ADHD: 11%. That's the incidence in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States; 6.4 million kids between 4 and 17. About 3.5 million of those are taking medication for the condition. This information is part of a follow-up by CNN on last week's announcements by the CDC. Read more.

ADHD TRAINING PROGRAMS are ineffective, according to a psychology professor who analyzed the data involving 25 studies of those programs. The programs are supposed to help improve cognitive abilities, academics, or behavior. One note: the analysis seems to indicate that training programs can help short-term memory, but not working memory, a deficit in ADHD kids. Read more.

BIOFEEDBACK FOR ASD. A researcher at the Rochester Institute of Technology has developed a method for helping people with ASD regulate the "fight or flight" mechanism, among other things. The method employs biofeedback and hypnosis. One of the uses of the treatment model is helping students with ASD at the Institute develop coping skills. Find out more.

TEENS, SOCIAL MEDIA. An article at the site of the Child Mind Institute explores the effect of social media on teens, in particular on their anxiety and self-esteem. The article offers tips for parents for minimizing the risks to children associated with social media. Find the article

NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTORS EDIT BOOK. Katharina Boser and Sarah Wayland, both of whom have contributed to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, have edited, along with Matthew Goodwin, a book titled Technology Tools for Students With Autism: Innovations that Enhance Independence and Learning. Amazon calls the book “in-depth guided tour of technologies that support learners with autism and help them fully participate in their classroom and community.” Find out more from the publisher.

VIDEO GAMES is a recurrent topic in this blog -- are they bad, good, neutral? Today, November 27, the Diane Rehm show on NPR addresses the impact of video games on mental health; find the discussion. Coincidentally, two days ago a review of research published by the American Psychological Association concluded, "Playing video games, including violent shooter games, may boost children’s learning, health and social skills." Find out more about that review.

AUTISM WEBINAR. On December 10, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is offering a free webinar titled "Autism: Progress and Promise for the Future." The highly credentialed presenter is Fred R. Volkmar, M.D., primary author of the DSM IV's section on autism and PDD. Find out more.

SENGINAR. The title of a December 3 webinar by SENG is "It Takes More than Cheering from the Sidelines: Supporting Gifted Students in Competitions." From the blurb: "Discuss strategies for supporting gifted and talented students who are competing in academic, artistic, leadership, and service-related competitions as individuals or in teams. Preparing students for competitions and working with them after the event are as important as cheering them on as they compete." Find out more.

ART AND SMART. A study involving exposure to art was able to find a causal link -- not just a correlation -- between arts education and outcomes such as strong critical thinking skills, social tolerance, and historical empathy -- not to mention a taste for art museums. Find out how researchers determined this link.

AND FINALLY, THIS. You probably know, if you've followed links from this blog, that some of the items we link to are press releases. In the case of research-related items, those releases are usually from universities or research institutions. We point to what we believe are reliable sources. However, a cartoon called xkcd recently touched on the topic of press releases, prompting us to make explicit the sources of some of our news. Find the cartoon -- and, hopefully, get a laugh.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to our friends and readers in the United States!

Friday, November 22, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

NVLD: NOT THE SAME AS ASPERGER'S. A Michigan State University study has discovered the first anatomical evidence that the brains of children with a nonverbal learning disability may be different than those of other children, notably those with Asperger's or high-functioning autism, often confused with NVLD. Understanding the biological differences in children with learning and behavioral challenges could help lead to more appropriate intervention strategies. Read more.

INCIDENCE OF ADHD DIAGNOSIS. On November 22, the Centers for Disease Control released data indicating that an estimated two million more children in the United States (U.S.) have been diagnosed with ADHD between 2003-04 and 2011-12. One million more U.S. children were taking medication for ADHD between 2003-04 and 2011-12. About half of the children were diagnosed by 6 years of age. Find out more.

TANTRUMS AND MELT-DOWNS. The Child Mind Institute offers guidelines for handling tantrums in children. The Institute sees tantrums as a learned response to certain situations; so the challenge is, how do you get the child to unlearn that response. Find out how.

GENETICS, BRAIN FUNCTION, AND AUTISM. UCLA researchers have grouped  autism-risk genes by function, and identified when and where the genes affect brain development. According to the lead researcher, "“We need to figure out where genetic changes appear in the brain, at what stages during development and which biological processes they disrupt. Only then will we understand how mutations cause autism.” Read more.

CCSS AND IEPS are the topic of an upcoming online chat sponsored by Education Week. The topic covers part of the 2e equation, so parents and educators of 2e kids might be interested in this presentation. From the blurb for the event: "The Common Core State Standards mean big changes for teachers of students with disabilities, who face the challenge of providing grade-level content to students with disabilities through individualized education programs (IEPs). Experts Carol Kosnitsky, a New Hampshire-based special education consultant, and Barbara Van Haren, a director of special education in Pewaukee, Wis., have experience working with teachers who are learning how to weave core standards into IEPs. They will answer your questions on this vital topic." Find out more.

SENG HONOR ROLL The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted takes nominations from parents who want to recognize educators committed to helping gifted children and young adults. (Part of the recognition is a one-year subscription to 2e Newsletter, courtesy of us, because we support SENG's goals.) A minimum donation is required. If you're enthusiastic about the way a teacher has helped your young person, find out more.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

From the Publishers: Items on Giftedness, LDs, Education, Parenting...

PSYCHOBIOTICS? Did you know your "gut" contains about 1 kilogram of bacteria which can be "modulated" by diet, for example by ingesting probiotics such as those found in yogurt? And that the right probiotics can have effects on the psyche, especially on feelings of stress and depression? Find a primer on this topic at Science Daily, then go on to read more at the site of NPR, where a blogger provides more detail on the workings of gut bacteria, including how the gut may communicate with the brain. (Then go have a yogurt.)

PRETEND PLAY provides a lot of benefit and fosters child development, according to a blogger at Scientific American. Among the area of benefit are language usage; the ability to switch perspectives; social skills; and the expression of positive and negative feelings. The blogger also discusses environments that foster pretend play. Read more.

RECOGNIZING FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES. The Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG) recently recognized a state legislator as a "2013 Friend of the Gifted" for the legislator's support of gifted-friendly legislation. The news item begs the question, do state gifted associations across the country monitor legislators and reward or acknowledge those who advance the gifted (or twice-exceptional) cause? Seems like the CAG has the right idea. Read more.

NCLD WANTS INPUT. The National Center for Learning Disabilities, as part of a coalition of non-profits, is building a new website for parents of kids with learning or attention issues. NCLD is requesting parent input via a survey on what the site should be like. If you like what NCLD does and want to suggest that the new site include material on twice-exceptionality, consider taking the survey.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. This newsletter's winter edition is just out, featuring an article on identifying and educating "gifted African-American students who may have characteristics similar to ADHD." Another article is an exerpt from "Exam Schools" by Chester Finn. Find the newsletter.

LD ONLINE, in its current newsletter, focuses on career and college prep for high school seniors with LDs or ADHD. Got one of those? Find the newsletter.

SHARPBRAINS has, on its site, a collection called "Top 15 Articles on Neuroplasticity and Brain Health." While some of the article apply to adults, some -- like "Mindfulness and Meditation in Schools" -- apply to young people as well. Find the collection.

GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER, a non-profit, has received a challenge grant. If the Center can raise $10,000, a donor will match that amount to provide funding for the Center's work. If you believe in the work the Center does, consider donating.

SENG is conducting its Annual Appeal, and Lori Comallie-Caplan, outgoing (in several ways) SENG Board "Champion" for Model Parent Group programs, encourages gifts to help the SMPG programs going; find out more.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

News Items, Resources from 2e Newsletter

COLLEGE, DEPRESSION. The Child Mind Institute notes in an article on its site that this is the time of year when college freshmen might encounter symptoms of depression. The article notes things parents can watch for and how to get help. Find the article.

TEEN NIGHT OWLS are more likely to develop emotional and academic problems than peers who go to bed earlier. A longitudinal study tracked 2,700 teenagers and compared sleep habits to academic success along with social and emotional development. In a write-up of the study, its senior author, from UC/Berkeley, noted that Berkeley has "sleep coaches." Find the write-up.

MINDFULNESS can evidently impede certain types of learning, specifically "implicit" learning by which one learns habits and which occurs automatically. If you practice mindfulness, perhaps check out this research about it.

MIS-EDUCATION is the topic of an article at the site of station KQED in Northern California. The article reports on the research of a Stanford educator and author who is critical of such things as: the misalignment of educational values/goals between parents and children; anxiety around school success; academic pressure that leads to cheating; and how the educational system produces "robo-students." The article covers the educator's recipe for "restructuring school for success"; find it.

NCLD. We often point to articles and resources at the NCLD site. The current NCLD monthly newsletter offers a good overview of what the organization does. We suggest that you might be interested in reading about the mission and accomplishments of this organization, which does a great job of covering part of the 2e "equation." Find the newsletter.

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. On November 18, ADDitude is presenting a free webinar called "Stop the Bully: Help Your ADHD Child Manage -- and Overcome -- Teasing and Aggressive Kids at School." The title says it all; so if bullying is an issue for your smart, ADHD child, find out more about the webinar.

SCHOOL/PARENT COMMUNICATION. Not feeling good about your child's school? Maybe it's because you feel they don't seek your input, don't do a good job of outreach. A Harris Poll finds that when asked to give a letter grade to rate their overall satisfaction with their child's school, parents who feel the school seeks their opinions an "adequate amount" are roughly twice as likely to grade that school in the "A Range" (57%), compared to parents that say the school does not seek their opinion as much as they would like (with 29% grading the school an A or A-). Find out more from Harris.

MARLO PAYNE THURMAN, doctoral student, founder of Brideun Learning Communities, and contributor to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, is now on the faculty at the University of Northern Colorado. Way to go, Marlo! If you're on LinkedIn, you can find out more.

ALSO ON LINKEDIN: In the group "Advocates for Students with Attention Issues: ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Giftedness, Learning Disabilities" is a discussion on IEPs for a bright high school junior with attention deficit. Want to follow or contribute? Go to the discussion.

A LITTLE LATE ON THIS ONE. A couple months ago, writer Michael Shaughnessy published an interview with James Webb, of Great Potential Press, about Webb's new book, Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope. In the interview, Webb elaborates on each part of the title as it relates to young people, and discloses some of his personal reasons for writing the book. What Webb discusses might apply to your own bright child. Check out the interview.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- nothing to do with giftedness or learning challenges, just something interesting about the way some people's minds work. A five-year study of 80 children with grapheme-color synesthesia revealed that synesthetic colors emerge slowly during childhood, building up an incremental inventory of colorful letters and numbers, according to the study author. Grapheme-color synesthesia is a condition in which letters and numbers are associated with colors by the beholder. Find out more.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

BACK FROM NAGC. We spent part of last week in Indianapolis at the NAGC Convention. In the upcoming issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, watch for coverage of some of the sessions we covered on topics such as gifted underachievement, "I Hate to Write," an in-development screen to find gifted Aspies, aggression in 2e kids, and more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE WEBINAR TOMORROW. It's on the topic of "Neurodiversity in the Classroom -- Strength-based Strategies," and it's to be presented by Thomas Armstrong. Find out more.

BELIN-BLANK RESOURCE. Sometimes we have to go to conferences to find out what's posted online. At NAGC we found out that the Belin-Blank center has a PDF resource on its site titled "The Paradox of Giftedness and Autism: Packet of Information for Families." Find it.

SAGE RESOURCE. For some reason, the publisher SAGE is offering free access to some of its publication for a few weeks. Among the titles are several on bullying and some "must-read" articles, one of which is titled "High-Ability Students' Time Spent Outside the Classroom." Find the publications.

FACE-TO-FACE TALKING. Sometimes we discover interesting things in The New York Times obituaries. Clifford Nass, a Stanford professor, died recently, and his obit tells us his thoughts on face-to-face versus machine communication: “We’ve got to make face-to-face time sacred, and we have to bring back the saying we used to hear all the time, and now never hear, ‘Look at me when I talk to you.’” Find the obit.

TEENS, IMPULSE CONTROL. They don't have as as much, when faced with danger, as younger children or as adults, possibly because of lowered activity in a brain region called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. A researcher speculates that "dangerous activities bring their own emotional reward" to those teens. Read more.

CONTROLLING ADHD. A young woman who works for the NCLD describes how she was able to control her ADHD during high school and college, providing insight into what it feels like to have ADHD. Find the account.

Friday, November 8, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

ADHD DIAGNOSES are on the rise, and the results may be kids who are unnecessarily dosed with ADHD meds as well people who are skeptical of the ADHD diagnosis itself, according to a study in the British Medical Journal. That skepticism, according to the study's lead author, may lead "to the harm of those with severe problems who unquestionably need sensitive, skilled specialist help and support." Find out more.

AUTISM MARKER -- a baby's gaze. Evidently when and how long a baby looks into others' eyes can indicate the likelihood of a later autism diagnosis. From a write-up of the study: "infants who later developed autism began spending less time looking at people’s eyes between 2 and 6 months of age and paid less attention to eyes as they grew older." One implication might be a "window" of development a few months after birth when intervention could be effective. Read more.

AUTISM AND GI PROBLEMS are linked, in that children with autism are more likely to have digestive issues that others. While parents of ASD kids have pointed out this connection for a long time, the study's lead author said that little had been known about the true prevalence of the problems, also noting that the connection may be bidirectional. Read more.

NAGC POSITION STATEMENT ON 2e. We noted recently NAGC's publication of a position statement titled "Ensuring Gifted Children with Disabilities Receive Appropriate Services: Call for Comprehensive Assessment." Turns out that position statement was authored by the Gifted Development Center, founded by Linda Silverman. Our compliments on their authorship.

ALSO FROM GDC, an article titled "Critical Issues in the Identification of Gifted Students with Co-Existing Disabilities: The Twice-Exceptional." Published by SAGE Publications and listing 17 expert authors, the article addresses under-identification and offers five case studies to illustrate the challenges 2e students face, according to the GDC. Find the article.

NCLD'S current newsletter features ADHD, with articles on the subtypes, gender differences, meds and personality change, misdiagnosis, effects on learning, and the link with executive function. Find the newsletter.

ADVOCACY AND SCHOOL CHANGE. Education Week is sponsoring a free webinar titled "Empowering Parents to Transform Schools," scheduled for November 15, 2-3 pm ET. Find out more.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

"TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL: IS IT A GIFT?" That's the title of and the question posed by a blog at the Huffington Post, a story of a very bright child who, at four, "morphed into a demanding dictator." Highly intelligent, he was able to craft letters to a peer who couldn't yet read -- but when the peer's parents read the letters, they found that the young writer was insulting their son. Read more.

SO HOW'S YOUR FOCUS? (Oh, wait -- let me check this text message. Now, what were we discussing?) In the UK Independent, a science writer "argues that we've become a species crippled by distraction and looks at new techniques to help wean children –- and adults -- off their phones and consoles." Got this problem at home? Read more.

NOT BACK TO SCHOOL is the catchy title of the most recent newsletter from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. If you'd like to find out more about GHF, check out the newsletter.

BULLYING MEETS WRIGHTSLAW in the current issue of Special Ed Advocate. The publishers promise "information about bullying and harassment, prevention, legal decisions about harassment, and effective ways to respond to bullying." Find it.

STUDY SPACE AT HOME. If you'd like tips on creating a study space for your young student that encourages actual studying, check out an article at the New York Times. Two of the tips: understand your child's learning style; and brainstorm with the child to design a "cool space" -- whether with beanbag chairs, standing "cafe-height" tables, or whatever. Read more.

READY FOR SCHOOL? NAGC is set to release a report on state practices in admitting academically ready chidren to kindergarten. Apparently, many states sort students by age rather than ability. Read more.

MEDIA USE: HOW CAN THIS BE? A USC study estimates that by 2015 Americans will consume media for more than 15 hours a day. The study breaks media into 30 types and gives some astounding figures on the aggregate amount of data consumed every day. Find out more.

DILBERT, in today's comic, admits he's "not good at reading people." Is he an Aspie? Or just naive?  Find the strip.