Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back to School, Impossible Figures, Sleep for Teens, and the Striatum

BACK TO SCHOOL. The U.S. Census Bureau issued a "back to school" feature, a series of tables telling us exactly who our students are by gender, race, age, and place in school. Out of almost 300 million non-institutionalized members of our population, about 78 million are in school. The most interesting statistics to us, however, concerned a couple sub-categories of those in college or graduate school. Forty thousand of those were ages 14 or 15; 229,000 were ages 16 or 17. You can find all sorts of back-to-school tables at www.census.gov/hhes/school/data/cps/2012/tables.html; good luck wading through them.

ALSO FOR BACK TO SCHOOL, the organization Mental Health America provides resources on student mental health, including tips on bullying, mental health and emotional development, and a parent back-to-school checklist. Find the resources.

IMPOSSIBLE FIGURES. "The Advantages of Dyslexia" is the title of an article at the site of Scientific American which points out how dyslexics are faster than typical perceivers in picking out problem areas in illustrations violating the laws of causality. (Think of Escher's illustrations.) The article's author, who works at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tested astrophysicists with and without dyslexia to see who could better spot graphical spectrum characteristics of black holes as opposed to "noise." Guess who was better. Whether or not your 2e child is an astrophysicist, you'll probably find this article interesting; read it. (Thanks to TheFreep for alerting us to it.)

PEDIATRICIANS ARE ON BOARD with later school start times for teens, as of Monday, August 25, when the APA issued a statement on the matter. They recommend starting classes in middle and high school at 8:30 or later, and that teens get 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night. Find the article in USA Today, then take it to your school board.

THE ABILITY TO READ emotions is apparently hindered by too much screen time, according to a UCLA study. Kids who abstained from screens for five days did "substantially better" than others at reading human emotions. What's more, says the study's lead author, using emoticons is no substitute. :-) Read more.

WRIGHTSLAW SUMMER SCHOOL. The final installment of Wrightslaw's summer school class on "Parental Rights and Responsibilities in the IEP Process" is now available in Special Ed Advocate. It's on asserting your rights. And when you complete the series, you get to download a certificate. Find Part 6.

AND FINALLY, THIS -- how the striatum in the basal ganglia acts as a sensory hub, integrating the various types of sensory information (touch, vision, sound, etc) to "select and generate adequate movements." Sound obscure? It turns out that the striatum is involved in conditions such as ADHD and Tourette's, not to mention Parkinson's and Huntington's disease. Find out more.

No comments: