Friday, May 30, 2014

2e Achiever, "Respect the Nerd," and More

LEARNING, LD, AND VENTURE CAPITAL. The radio program Marketplace yesterday carried a story about how venture capitalists are currently attracted to education as a potential field to make money. Interestingly, an entrepreneur quoted in the story had this to say: “I have a bunch of learning disabilities. I have ADD and dyslexia. I was diagnosed in fifth grade, and school was always really hard for me.” So he and his brother started a company to develop a tool, Remind101, to help teachers help students stay organized. The brothers are now in Silicon Valley, having raised $19 million in venture capital. Find the story.

ALSO IN MONEY-MAKING VEIN, a for-profit after-school math program, The Russian School of Mathematics, has chosen "Respect the Nerd" as the theme of its upcoming award ceremony in Newton, Massachusetts. You can read more at the school's website, but we don't see the imposing theme image there, so here it is:

EPIGENETICS, AUTISM. Researchers have identified two groups of genes that were epigenetically distinctive in children with ASD compared with typically developing children. Moreover, these genes are known to be expressed in the brain and code for proteins involved in nerve transmission functions previously shown to be impaired in ASD. The research illustrates how environmental influences rather than heredity might lead some children to be at higher risk for ASD. Read more.

IQ, FLAME RETARDANTS. Researchers at Simon Fraser University have determined that prenatal exposure to flame retardants can be significantly linked to lower IQs and greater hyperactivity in five-year old children. The researchers found that a 10-fold increase in PBDE concentrations in early pregnancy, when the fetal brain is developing, was associated with a 4.5 IQ decrement, which is comparable with the impact of environmental lead exposure. Read more.

MEDS AND TODDLERS. We blogged recently about the New York Times article concerning toddlers on stimulant meds. The exact context for the article was an examination of practices in medicating kids in foster care. For those interested in the fall-out of the article, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has highlighted its guidelines for using psychtotropics for children in state custody; find those. In addition, an ACAAP member addressed the U.S. House Subcommittee on Human Resources during a hearing titled "Caring for Our Kids: Are We Overmedicating Children in Foster Care?" Find out more at the ACAAP site.

TEACHER'S REWARD. The phrase "reluctant learner" can often be applied to twice-exceptional children, so when we saw it in the title of a blog at Education Week Teacher we had to read the item. The teacher tells of her experience with a former student, Eddie. Writes the blogger, "Eddie distinguished himself almost immediately as the troublemaking ringleader. On any given day he could be argumentative, sarcastic, oppositional, sometimes lazy, and definitely mischievous." What comes next is unexpected and heartwarming. Plus the blogger also throws in 10 tips for dealing with "reluctant learners" -- Eddie's tips, not the teacher's. Find out how.

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