Tuesday, April 29, 2014

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

AUTISM, ANXIETY. Psychologist Dan Peters has had two pieces recently in Psychology Today dealing with autism and anxiety. On April 7, Peters explained how the nature of ASD can cause anxiety -- not understanding why people get mad at you, not understanding what people want from you, or being easily overwhelmed. Peters offers tips for helping an ASD child experience less anxiety. Find the April 7 piece. On April 24, Peters interviewed Dr. Catharine Alvarez, an autistic advocate, on anxiety and autism. Dr. Alvarez says, "My own experienices with autism and anxity lead me to believe they interact with each other in ways that can be disabling." She prefers the term "autism acceptance" to "autism awareness," and provides insights from her own life into the link between anxiety and autism as a child and as an adult. Find the April 24 interview.

NCLD has posted "5 Ways Dyslexia Can Affect Your Child's Social Life," including trouble finding the right words, trouble with text-based social media, and trouble remembering things accurately. Read more.

CBT FOR YOUNGER OCD KIDS. A recent study indicates that a cognitive behavioral therapy can help children as young as five deal with symptoms of OCD. The treatment is family based, with heavy parent involvement. Read more.

DROPPING IQ SCORES? Is it possible? Wrightslaw, in Special Ed Advocate, gives several reasons why scores may vary from one evaluation to another -- and what you can do to get an accurate picture of your child's abilities. Find Special Ed Advocate.

GI PROBLEMS, ASD. A recent study seems to support parental observations that kids with ASD seem to have a lot of gastrointestinal problems. No cause/effect relationship is implied, just the link. An article at HealthDay.com describes the study; find it.

Friday, April 25, 2014

News, Resources from 2e Newsletter

THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY has passed legislation to help students with dyslexia be identified and properly served. According to the Press of Atlantic City, students who manifest a reading problem will be screened by second grade, and educators will receive two hours per year of professional development in reading disabilities. Find out more.

A "RESERVOIR" OF SELF CONTROL? Researchers hypothesize that self control can be depleted by long periods of exerting self control, and that drugs like Ritalin can prevent that depletion. The suggestion: "methylphenidate may help to boost performance of the specific circuits in the brain's prefrontal cortex that are normally compromised after sustained exertion of self-control." Read more.

EXECUTIVE FUNCTION ISSUES is the topic of an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute -- specifically, how to know whether your child has those issues. The article is "a guide to tests that identify problems with organization." Find it.

NCLD has posted an article about the benefits of mentoring for kids with learning and attention issues, pointing out the benefits, types of mentors, and how to find one. Find the article.

GIFTED ED AS SPECIAL ED. A dialog in the Albuquerque Journal has a reader giving reasons why gifted ed should be, in New Mexico, anyway, subsumed in the existing administrative framework for special ed. The writer, attorney Mike Osborn, also points out in his letter the challenges that gifted students can face. (Way to go, Mike!) Find the letter. Or, read the editorial that prompted the letter, an editorial asserting that New Mexico "has historically tried to game the system by lumping 'gifted' students in with disabled students, skewing the real and perceived needs."

NEUROTIC is not a term we hear much anymore -- not since we stopped watching Woody Allen movies, at least -- but  some researchers are still looking into the topic. They define it as "a personality trait defined by the experience of chronic negative affect -- including sadness, anxiety, irritability, and self-consciousness -- that is easily triggered and difficult to control. Neurotic people tend to avoid acting when confronted with major and minor life stressors, leading to negative life consequences." The researches studied about 4,000 college students in 19 countries to find out more about how neurotics deal with life. If you know a kid who fits the definition above, check out the research.

GHRELIN AND DEPRESSION. Ghrelin is a hunger hormone, but a new study suggests that stimulating its production can quickly affect depression. How? In the words of the researchers, “After identifying the mechanism of ghrelin’s anti-depressant actions, we investigated whether increasing this ghrelin effect by directly enhancing hippocampal neurogenesis with the recently reported P7C3 class of neuroprotective compounds would result in even greater anti-depressant behavioral effects.” Evidently it did, so there you go. Read more.

EDUCATION WEEK has posted a ton of materials on Common Core in a special report. If you're interested in this topic, check out the report.

NAGC has posted information about highlights of its November, 2014, conference, to be held in Baltimore. 
Find the highlights, which include information about keynotes, certain "Signature Sessions," pre-convention sessions, and registration.

NCLD reminds us about its LD Advocates Guide, a 30-page piece published in 2012 containing basic material about LD advocacy along with sections on working with policymakers and working with the media. Also included: a glossary, a resource listing, and appendices relating to special ed law. Find it.

SPECIAL ED INFOGRAPHIC. Someone at special-education-degree.net has compiled an interesting infographic illustrating "the cost of compassion" -- how government supports special needs children's programs. The graphic shows such things as the percentage of public school children served under IDEA; how much various states spend on special needs; and some sources of help for parents. Find the infographic.

NEW WAYS TO STUDY WITH ADHD is the topic of a 12-slide piece at ADDitudemag.com. Maybe you know these -- maybe there's something new. Find it.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- our culture for the day. Sometime this week was probably the birthday of "Gulielmus filius Johannes Shakspere," according to old baptism records -- good old Bill the playwright. This year is the 450th anniversary of his birth. Want to read more? Google the topic, then have a good time seeing what it means to different people and institutions. As for us: we just hope that no one ever says about this blog that "it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." (Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5, not a particularly cheery scene but one that sticks in one's mind.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

ADHD, ANXIETY. About half of kids with ADHD also have anxiety disorders, and the combination can have an effect on quality of life, social interactions, and general functioning, according to an article at DailyRX.com. The children faring poorest had at least two anxiety disorders in addition to ADHD. Read more. Separately, other research shows that language problems are three times more common in children with ADHD than in those without; read more.

MORE ON SCT. We blogged and posted on Facebook about sluggish cognitive tempo, pushed by some to be a new type of ADHD. We were somewhat skeptical, as were some readers. But the founder and CEO of PsychCentral.com, in a posting, provided additional context, noting that the concept has been around for a long time. If the issue is of interest to you, find out more at PsychCentral.

DSM-5, AUTISM, AND YOU. The National Institutes of Health are (is?) requesting public comment on the changes resulting from the revised diagnostic criteria for autism in the recently-released Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. According to the NIH statement, input is sought from "the scientific community, health professionals, self-advocates, and patient advocates" about:
  • How to address direct implications of changes in DSM-5 criteria for ASD on research methodology, including participant selection and characterization, measurement tools, data analysis, and interpretation of results. 
  • Specific methods by which questions or concerns about the impact of these changes can be resolved within the context of research investigations/studies.
  • Specific research questions and methodologies that could inform questions or concerns about the impact of changes in DSM-5 criteria for ASD on clinical practice and policy.
Disability Scoop pointed us to this matter.

ANTI-DISTRACTION SYSTEM DISCOVERED? Simon Fraser University has announced that two psychologists at the school have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors’ perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders. This discovery opens up the possibility that environmental and/or genetic factors may hinder or suppress a specific brain activity that the researchers have identified as helping us prevent distraction. It is supposedly the first study to reveal our brains rely on an active suppression mechanism to avoid being distracted by salient irrelevant information when we want to focus on a particular item or task. Read more.

QUAD MANHATTAN. This college prep middle and high school for 2e students has announced its head of school, Ellen Richer, EdD. According to the school, "Dr. Richer has integrated motivation research into curriculum and program design on literacy, best practices of differentiation for students across the spectrum, and best practices of student identification for enriched and gifted programming. Her experiences range from developing the Founding Gifted Educational Policies and Curricula for the Manhasset Union Free School District to developing and directing programs for gifted underachieving and at risk students in and out of the classroom." Find the school's website. Separately, Quad Manhattan was also the subject of a post at Huffington Post; find it.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. The April 21st edition of this newsletter announces the posting of videos from the organization's recent San Francisco events. Other items in the newsletter concern an online course called "Teaching Creative Writing to Dyslexic Students." Find the newsletter.

NCLD has posted a "Three Things to Know" feature bout auditory processing disorder; find it.

PARENT'S STORY. We recently discovered a blog called BrainHugger, written by a parent of a twice-exceptional child. A recent post is called "Jumping into a New Pool," and it relates the benefits that can arise from a fortuitous change in schools. Find the blog.

ASPERGER'S AND AUTISM IN COLLEGE is the topic of a video posted on YouTube. Produced by the University of the District of Columbia, the 27-minute program is part of a series called "Higher Education Today." We have to say that we did not watch more than the opening of the program, but if the topic is relevant in your house or on your campus, perhaps check it out.

TED ON PARENTING. TED has assembled a "playlist" of 10 presentations on the topic of parenting. We've pointed to one of them in the past, Andrew Solomon's somewhat chilling account of raising a child different in some fundamental way from you the parent. The other nine cover topics such as happiness as a "very high bar" for parents; agile family practices based on "agile programming"; "five dangerous things you should let your kids do"; and more. Find the playlist.

AND FINALLY THIS. If you believe that a list of "best high schools" might be at all relevant to your family, check out the US News current lists of best high schools, best magnet schools, best STEM schools, and best charter schools. Find the lists. Us? We'd love to think those those high schools catered to twice-exceptional students, but.... Let us know if we're wrong. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Resources, News Items from 2e Newsletter

FAIRFAX COUNTY, in Virginia, is making efforts to close an "excellence gap" by identifying and supporting students in groups generally under-represented in gifted programs -- low-income and minority children. The Washington Post tells the story of one of these gifted young people and what she's accomplished. Read more

ASD IN COLLEGE. A publication called eCampus News has an article on the current state of assistance for college students on the spectrum as well as tips for educators on how to best work with these young people. Also in the article: the suggestion that a college campus "may be just the place for students with autism." Find the article

"GIFTED": DITCH THE LABEL? An article in Education Week argues that the gifted label is irrelevant and that the focus should be, instead, on challenging all learners. The authors suggest an alternative to the traditional gifted ed process. They conclude, "By focusing less on the child's label and more on the child's needs, we will better serve those students in our schools who are ready and hungry for greater academic challenges." Read more

PARENTS OF 2e COLLEGE KIDS: A graduate student in Special Education and Transition at The George Washington University would greatly appreciate survey participation from parents of 2e children currently enrolled in college. The researcher is focusing on the utilization and impact of access to tutoring services by college students with learning disabilities. All responses will remain confidential. Since this is a time-sensitive project, surveys should be completed by April 22. The survey consists of 9 questions which will not require more than 7-8 minutes of time. See the survey

ANTIDEPRESSANTS. We know that anxiety and depression are causes of concern for those who raise twice-exceptional children. In an article in The New York Times, a psychiatrist discusses coming off antidepressants -- and how many young people may stay on them for years. Find the article

NCLD. The April newsletter from this organization is out, featuring articles on risky behaviour in teens -- causes, manifestations, and how parents can deal with it. Find the newsletter

GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER. Linda Silverman reflects on how a word choice -- "and" versus "or" -- can make a difference in perceiving and intervening with twice-exceptional children. Read more.

Monday, April 14, 2014

News, Resources from 2e newsletter

"NEW" KIND OF ADHD? A recent NY Times article covered how some are pushing for "sluggish cognitive tempo" as another ADHD subtype. The subtype seems to share some characteristics with inattentive: “They’re the daydreamy ones, the ones with work that’s not turned in, leaving names off of papers or skipping questions, things like that..." The article presents both sides of the argument for a new subtype. Read it -- besides the science, there's also a "follow the money" aspect.

AUTISM INCIDENCE. A Washington Post article is titled "We Need a Better Explanation for the Surge in Autism," the increased incidence we noted in a blog post a week or so ago. "There’s something wrong in the way that we measure the data or there’s something extraordinary going on," writes the author -- who then goes on to explore some options, genetic changes included. Find the article. Separately, SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy might be causing a tiny bit of the increased incidence. Mothers taking SSRIs in the first trimester were 3.2 times more likely to have boys with autism. Read more.

AN ARTICLE ABOUT POPULAR COLLEGE COURSES had a slightly 2e twist to it. The article listed 10 courses which were "not just a credit but an event." Among the 10 was a course on livestock handling taught by Temple Grandin at Colorado State University, and one titled "Self-theories" at Stanford taught by Carol Dweck, which focuses on helping freshmen change a fixed mindset. Find the article. Separately, Ms. Grandin is to speak and be honored at Columbia University Teachers College convocations in May; read more.

TBIs AND SOCIAL COMPETENCE. Head injuries can make children more prone to being loners, according to research. Injury to the right frontal lobe affects such factors as participation in groups and the number of friends. Interestingly, the researchers feel that working memory training might be able to treat the deficit. Find out more.

SENG WEBINAR. The next SENG webinar is titled "Beyond Academics: Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Students." From the blurb: "The gifted child’s asynchronous development is not just academic. But their needs are not so different: gifted kids need to be accepted for who and what they are, and to have the same social/emotional experiences as other kids. How can we accomplish this both at home and in school?" Find out more

MIND PRESENTATION. When we checked to see what was going on at the MIND Institute at UC/Davis, we noticed that a presentation from last fall has been posted (along with others); it's on ADHD. The synopsis says: "The latest findings in research and treatment, as well as perspectives from a parent and an adult recently diagnosed with ADHD." The presentation is over an hour in length. Find out more

DON'T FORGET that we have two brief videos posted on YouTube. One features Susan Baum on twice-exceptionality, the other features Matt Wanzenberg on the transition to college for 2e kids. Find them

AND FINALLY, THIS. Soon you might be able to see what your child will look like when he or she grows up, thanks to software under development at the University of Washington. Can't wait for the child to grow up to find out? Read more.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

GIFTS, GRADES, GROWTH MINDSET. A teacher blogs about a "brilliant thinker" in her class, a young man who often suffers meltdowns because of the gap between a "growth mindset" and a grade, a "number that define[s] who are students are." The fixed mindset that students may feel from teachers and parents gives the wrong message, says the blogger. "We must focus on the process." Find the blog.

HOW TO TAKE KIDS OFF MEDS is the topic of an article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. The article covers reasons to take a child off meds; things to keep in mind in making your decision; and what to expect during the transition period. Read the article. Separately, the Child Mind Institute is offering three goal-oriented summer programs -- one directed at writing abilities, one for selective mutism, and one dealing with anxiety. Find out more.

DISORDER AND THE PRENATAL BRAIN. Researchers have created a map of the fetal brain in mid-pregnancy that indicates where genes are on or off in specific parts of the brain. One finding: disorders might have their origins very early in development. It also points researchers to certain parts of the brain for given disorders. Read more.

OCD FOR EVERYONE? People who check whether their hands are clean or imagine their house might be on fire are not alone. New global research shows that 94 percent of people experience unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images and/or impulses. The study examined people on six continents, and found that the thoughts, images and impulses symptomatic of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are widespread, according to a study reported in Science Daily. Find the write-up. (Note: We offer this item not to downplay the seriousness of the symptoms that sometimes hinder twice-exceptional children, but to suggest that the findings mean that OCD is perhaps a spectrum disorder.)

ANTIDEPRESSANT: SNIFFING SPECIAL K? Researchers have published what they say is the first controlled evidence showing that an intranasal ketamine (street name: "special K") spray conferred an unusually rapid antidepressant effect -- within 24 hours -- and was well tolerated in patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. About half of patients treated showed improvement. Ketamine proved safe with minimal dissociative effects or changes in hemodynamic dimensions. Read a press release about the study.

BEING GIFTED IS NOT A GIFT -- that's the assertion of DutchAlien, the pen name of the mom in a highly gifted family that moved from the Netherlands to the U.S. a year ago. She laments on the burdens of being highly gifted in an "average" world, both for her and for her children -- especially as "aliens" in their new world. She also makes an interesting international comparison about expenses for summer camps and colleges costs here and in the Netherlands. Find the article.

CAMP SUMMIT, in northern California, is now accepting registrants for its summer program that runs from June 22-28. Located in the Marin Headlands, the camp is billed as being for the "gifted, talented, and creative" -- but is also known for being 2e-friendly. Find out more.

WEINFELD EDUCATION GROUP. The Weinfeld Education Group has appointed Dr. Christine Golden to be Director of Assessment and Behavioral Services. According to the organization, Dr. Golden will personally conduct intakes to match potential clients with appropriate providers and services, manage all aspects of the assessment and behavioral services division, and continue to provide assessments herself. She will oversee WEG's 16 neuropsychologists and psychologists. Read more.

BELIN-BLANK CENTER RESOURCE. A 54-page book titled Packet of Information for Professionals: The Paradox of Twice-exceptionality, by Susan Assouline and other authors, is available free of charge at iTunes. Note that the book as downloaded from iTunes requires an iPad or Mac plus iBooks. Find out more. (The book is also available as a PDF; find it.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

News, Resources from 2e Newsletter

MENTAL HEALTH ON CAMPUS. According to USA Today, about one in ten college students take advantage of on-campus mental health counseling. Once counselor noted that anxiety is the most common issue for the current generation of students, as opposed to depression in previous generations. Find the article

THE TWICE-BAKED POTATO is the name of a blog by the parent of a twice-exceptional child. A recent post explores "stages of grief" in having to accept that homeschooling is the best alternative for a son who had a "horrendous" year at school. For example: "Today, I am mad. I am mad that a group of supposed 'professionals' couldn’t focus on his strengths or interests. They were determined to make his difficulties and learning differences the target." Sound familiar? Find the blog

NCLD has posted a page explaining four ways in which dysgraphia can affect a child's social life. Is dysgraphia in the picture at your house? Check out the NCLD page

CHICAGO-AREA EVENT. On April 24, author and blogger Jen Merril will present a seminar titled "Finding Humor: Parenting the Twice-exceptional Child." The event is sponsored by the Chicago Gifted Community Center and will be held in the evening in the west suburb of Hinsdale. Find out more

SENG WEBINAR. On April 8 SENG will present an evening "SENGinar" titled "Social-emotional Development of Asian-American Gifted Students." Find out more

DAVIDSON THINK DEADLINE CHANGE. The registration for the Davidson THINK Summer Institute has been extended to April 30. Of the event, Davidson says, "This intense three-week residential summer program offers exceptionally gifted 13- to 16-year-old students the opportunity to earn up to six transferable college credits." Find out more.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A YOUNG SCIENTIST WITH LD is competing in the Intel Science and Engineering Fair for the second straight year, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Her research topic: autism, for which she has compiled a comprehensive survey that parents complete, with the goal of better identifying causes and symptoms of autism. The young scientist's own challenges are in the area of reading comprehension and sensory processing. Find the article.

SCREEN TIME FOR KIDS. A science writer at the Washington Post reviews AAP-recommended limits on media time for kids (none for 2 or younger, two hours for 3 to 18) and offers tips for ensuring "a healthy media diet." Is this an issue at your house? Find the article.

ADHD MEDS. A video at the site of thc Child Mind Institute covers options for ADHD meds. From the blurb: "Jeffrey Newcorn, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center talks about how every individual responds differently to treatment and has different circumstances, making close consultation with a doctor and commitment to the process keys to success." Find the video.

GENDER AND THE BRAIN is the topic of an article at Cerebrum, sponsored by the Dana Foundation. Some of the article deals with what is apparently a long-running battle between those who believe gender differences exist and those who deny it. Find the article.

AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH. A member of the board of education in Paterson, New Jersey, evidently decided to do what he could to increase awareness of autism with an open letter published at NorthJersey.com news. In it, he says, "I want to get the message out that children who are classified into the Autism Spectrum can learn just as well as children who were never classified." He covers stigma, the right to an IEP, and his reason for running for the school board -- his own son with ASD. His final words: "Educators should not limit a child's ability to learn because of an inability. Our children represent our future. If we fail to provide an efficient education to all our children, we will essentially destroy our future." Find the letter.

AN ARTICLE BY DEIRDRE LOVECKY, member of the Editorial Advisory Board of 2e Newsletter, appears in this month's newsletter from the Gifted Development Center. Her title: "Are Gifted Children Frequently Misdiagnosed?" She touches on misdiagnosis involving ADHD, eating disorders, OCD, and depression. Find the article.

WEBINAR ON 2e. NAGC is sponsoring a webinar by Megan Foley Nicpon and Dan Peters titled "A Twice-exceptional Discussion to Help Teachers and Parents Better Advocate for Services." It's on April 9, 12-1 pm, free to NAGC members. Find out more.

LEARNING AND THE BRAIN is presenting Dr. Judy Willis in two different summer institutes. One is titled "Neuroscience and Classroom Engagement"; the other is "Neuroscience and Executive Skills." Other institutes deal with mindsets and the neuroscience of reading. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Color blindness is not something we think of as an LD, but it can affect school performance. It turns out that 1 in 20 Caucasian boys have some type of color blindness, along with 3 percent of Asian boys, 2.6 percent of Hispanic boys, and 1.4 percent of African-American boys. One of the researchers who compiled these statistics spoke of the importance of identifying and accommodating color blindness: "That needs to start early on because labeling a child as not smart or bright enough is a huge stigma for the child and causes significant anxiety for the parents and family." Read more.