Monday, December 14, 2015

ESSA, Discipline, RTI, Dyslexic Advantage, More

NCLB: GONE. ESSA: HERE. For those seeking to sort out the change in education law in the United States, an opinion piece at the site of The New York Times offers a good starting point, giving a perspective of federal education initiatives over the past few decades and some guesses on how the new law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, will meet the challenges facing our schools. Intrepid policy wonks can also delve into the details via:
  • A video of senators discussing the new legislation
  • An article at Disability Scoop
  • An article at Education Week explaining implications for both special ed and gifted ed
  • A summary of the new law at the site of

SO THIS GUY featured in Sunday's New York Times sports section is a six-nine basketball player at Seton Hall University. He's also in law school on a scholarship because he still had a couple years of eligibility by the time he got there. And he's supposedly ADHD. And oh, yeah -- he broke his neck in a car accident several years ago. The word that jumped out of the article was "discipline." (Readers who like detail in their prose will appreciate the opening sentences of the article.) Find the article.

CAUTIONARY TALE ON FIRST IMPRESSIONS. That's what you'll read in the Washington Post Parenting section. In it, a mother relates the experiences she and her son had during the first months at a new school after a stint of homeschooling. It's a paean to open communication between parent and teacher. Find it.

RTI. Skeptics of Response to Intervention now have ammunition in the form of recent study results raising "questions" about the effectiveness of the approach. The study, which included over 100 schools, compared similar groups of students who were not meeting expectations; some of the students received supports, some did not. The study found no significant reading benefits from interventions, although school-to-school differences in how RTI was administered could be a confounding factor in interpreting the results. Read more.

GENDER BIAS. Males are more prone to early-onset neurodevelopmental problems (including autism) than females, possibly because of differences in gray matter volume in the brain. Find out more. Separately, another study links gray matter differences to behavioral problems; find out more.

GOTTA SEE THIS! Whether or not dyslexia is an important "e" for you, take a look at the Winter Dyslexic Advantage Newsletter. It's extremely impressive for both the content it contains and the way it presents that content. Way to go, Eides!

ADHD? OR A CASE OF "MODERN LIFE"? Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, in a letter to the editor, distinguishes true ADHD from "screen sucking," or "an addiction to distraction." (Great phrases.) So put down that phone and take a minute to read the letter.

TEEN RESPONSIBILITY FOR HEALTH CARE. A report from the University of Michigan cautions parents against taking complete responsibility for their teens' health care. From the report: "Speaking with the doctor privately is important, not only to give teens a chance to disclose confidential information, but also to provide the opportunity for them to be an active participant in their own health care, without a parent taking over.” Read more.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Publicity for 2e School; Pediatricians on Board? And More.

REID DAY SCHOOL in Orange County, California, was profiled in a very nice article in the Orange County Register on Tuesday. We think the article will very much help those not a part of the 2e community to "put a face" onto twice-exceptional young people. Find the article.

PEDIATRICIANS AND IDEA? The American Academy of Pediatrics is, according to Disability Scoop, urging pediatricians to play a role in "ensuring that children with disabilities get the services they need from schools." As part of this, the AAP report provides a primer on IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In particular, the AAP says that doctors "should identify and refer children who ought to qualify for special education services and communicate effectively with school-based programs about kids’ needs." Having informed pediatricians willing to actively advocate for LD and 2e kids would be a great step forward. Read more.

PARENT SUPPORT GROUPS. Most parents of 2e children know the feeling of aloneness that comes after discovering one's bright child has learning challenge. That's why parent support groups can offer so much to adults in the 2e community. A new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute describes how these groups can help and offers some hints for finding support groups. Read the article.

UNDERSTOOD this week offers two features on dyslexia. One is a re-post of an entry on stealth dyslexia by Brock and Fernette Eide; find it. The other is a video titled "Inside the Dyslexic Brain"; find it.

ADHD -- MORE OF IT. The incidence of ADHD in the U.S. is now over 10 percent, according to an NBC News report and a new study just out. Some of the increase might be due to better screening in certain demographic groups. The figures represent the incidence in 2011, apparently the most recent year for which data is available.

SENGINAR. The organization SENG is presenting a webinar on December 17 titled "Perfectionism: The Occupational Hazard of Giftedness." That might not apply to the twice-exceptional kids you raise or educate, but if it does, find out more about the webinar.

EDUCATION TALK RADIO offers on December 11 a discussion by the executive director of NAGC, Rene Islas, and an NAGC board member, Susan Dulong Langley, on "The State of the Nation in Gifted Education." Looks like the discussion is at 9 a.m., and you can find out more about it and how to listen at the site of Education Talk Radio.

WRIGHTSLAW reminds us of an ugly but true fact, that FAPE doesn't necessarily mean obtaining the best education possible. Find out more in the current issue of Special Ed Advocate from Wrightslaw. Hint: there are certain words you probably shouldn't use in an IEP meeting. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dyslexia, 2e the Movie, Bipolar Disorder, More

DECODING DYSLEXIA is the name of an organization founded in 2011 by a group of parents frustrated with schools' interventions for their children's reading problems. Since then, according to Education Week, the group has grown to have a presence in all 50 states and has influenced legislation in the U.S. The group evidently even had some sway in the recent U.S. Department of Education "Dear Colleague" letter telling schools it was okay to use the terms dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Read more.

2e TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, is scheduled to be shown in San Ramon, California, on December 16 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time. The event is free; registration is required. Find out more.

BIPOLAR DISORDER IN YOUNG PEOPLE is the topic of a video by a professor of psychiatry at the site of MedScape. Near the beginning of the presentation, the professor says something that made us reframe our perception of bipolar disorder: "To begin, it's important to recognize that bipolar disorder is, in fact, a disorder of young people. The median age of onset is typically in the mid- to late-teens..." Find the presentation.

GROWTH MINDSET. Read how a 16-year-old woman's mother kept a traumatic, humiliating academic "failure" from having lasting effects. Now the young woman is a middle school counselor, and she addresses what she does to imbue a growth mindset in young people, and what parents and professionals can do to to help kids deal with frustration and potential failure. Find the article.

LOOKING TO DO SOME GOOD? Check out a posting in The New York Times Motherlode blog about a simple but likely effective way to encourage literacy and learning. Warning: it involves opening the wallet.

ALTSCHOOL is, of course, "alternative school,"  a small network of schools devoted to personalized learning. Founded by a former Google executive with "little use for traditional education," according to a news article about the schools, AltSchool "is serious about the idea that progressive education should not simply be the provenance of the well off." Find out more.

GANG: The annual SENG conference isn't until next July, but the cut-off date to submit proposals for presentations is December 31. We know there's lots of experience among the members of our 2e community, and if you think you have something to say that could benefit SENG conference attendees, we urge you to consider presenting. Find out more.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lots of Legislation, Quad Prep Conference, and More

EDUCATION LEGISLATION. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, passed the U.S. House on Wednesday and is expected to pass in the Senate. The bill is over 1,000 pages, and you can find it here. For those not inclined to wade through the legislation, the Washington Post this morning has a few articles that summarize the bill; here's one, and here's another. Look for other links on those pages as well. The articles are general -- no mention of "gifted" or "twice exceptional" in either -- so we'll wait for further interpretation by education experts. We searched through the legislation itself and found lots of mentions of "gifted" -- but no mention of "twice exceptional," although that term might not yet be in the federal lexicon.

MORE FROM THE FEDS. The Department of Education last month send out a "Dear Colleague" letter encouraging educators to use the terms dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Understood offers two resources to explain the move, one an FAQ at its site and the other an interview with the official who sent out the letter, Michael Yudin, available on the same page as the FAQs.

AND EVEN MORE! There's a bill pending in Congress to "[t]o require the President's annual budget request to Congress each year to include a line item for the Research in Disabilities Education program of the National Science Foundation and to require the National Science Foundation to conduct research on dyslexia." It's called the READ act, H.R. 3033. It goes to the Senate next. Find out more

DYSGRAPHIA AND DYSLEXIA DIVIDE PARENTS,SCHOOLS is the title of a story in the Spokane, Washington Spokesman-Review. The article's thesis is that "Students with dyslexia, dysgraphia and the disorder dyscalculia... rarely receive appropriate attention." The article mentions the "Dear Colleague" letter referenced above, and describes two case studies of how students with one or the other disorder were served. Find the article

QUAD PREP in Manhattan is having its second annual conference "Breakthroughs In Twice-exceptional Education" next March 18th. Early-bird tickets are now on sale, and a call for submissions has been issued. Find out more.

UNDERACHIEVING? So there's this guy awhile ago in California, growing up in Modesto. According to an article in the Washington Post, he "was wild about cars and racing, indifferent to high school, except when taking apart European engines in shop class." Indifferent to high school. How come? And what ever happened to him? Find out.

GOT A RISK-TAKING KIDDO? According to new research, he or she (although the research subjects were young males) might be smarter than more conservative peers, with more white matter in the brain. The Finish researchers speculate "that the explanation lies in the fact that these young men are active and seek out challenges -- both out of curiosity and a hunger to experience learning and a sense of mastery over their environment." Find a write-up of the study.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Several ADHD Items, U.S. Education Legislation, More

EDUCATION IN THE USA will change in response to legislation now in process at the federal government level. A bill called the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is ready for vote in House and Senate after a joint conference ironed out differences between the two august bodies. NAGC's Jane Clarenbach has posted about some of the implications for gifted education, which include recognition of the needs of gifted students in teacher training; retention of Javits funding; and certain reporting changes that NAGC thinks are advantageous. Find Clarenbach's statement. Separately, the Council for Exceptional Children reported on the progress and pointed to a House summary of the act; find the summary. Looks like the federal government will be less likely to impose state standards or national standards, to impose requirements for "adequate yearly progress" at schools, or mandate teacher evaluation systems. None of the materials we read mentioned provisions for the twice exceptional; maybe those'll emerge as time goes by. (Try holding your breath.)

CEC has posted information about its April convention in St. Louis, including descriptions of sessions. We found a handful of sessions on giftedness or twice exceptionality. See for yourself.

ADHD MEDS. A new study urges caution on prescribing methylphenidate (Ritalin, et al) for ADHD. From a write-up on the study at Science Daily: "When researchers combined data from identified trials, they found that methylphenidate led to modest improvements in ADHD symptoms, general behaviour, and quality of life. Analysis of adverse effects showed that children were more likely to experience sleep problems and loss of appetite while taking methylphenidate. However, the researchers' confidence in all results was very low..." [Highlight is ours.]  Read the write-up to learn more, but if nothing else this might suggest a query to the pediatrician who prescribes meds for your ADHD child. (But why should we worry about flawed research; it's only a few million of our kiddos we're talking about. :-( ) Read about another study on ADHD meds and sleep problems, published in the journal Pediatrics and described in the Albany Daily Star.

ADHD DIAGNOSIS. Who diagnoses ADHD in children, especially children under the age of 6? Mostly pediatricians and other primary care physicians. Parents and other caregivers identify the minority of cases. In contrast to some recent studies, this one found that diagnoses seemed to be fairly well substantiated and corroborated across environments. Read more.

GOT AN APATHETIC TEEN? His or her brain might work differently than brains in motivated young people. Find out how.

REMEMBER THIS RESOURCE -- Wrightslaw's Yellow Pages for Kids. We refer to it when we're trying to track down a resource or service provider in different parts of the country, because it's organized by state. The current Special Ed Advocate will tell you "how to use the Yellow Pages for Kids to find accurate information, resources, and help in your state," says Wrightslaw. Find out more.

DOUBLE-TAKE. We were scanning headlines in news digests as we looked for items for this blog and came across one that read, "Students Help UF/IFAS Professor Breed Better." Huh? Oh, wait, there were two more words after "Better" -- "Tastier Peppers." Okay, next item...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bullying, Visual Processing, Attention, Resources, More

ADHD MEDS, BULLYING. It seems that kids who have been prescribed stimulant meds for ADHD are at greater risk of being bullied. The reason: other kids might want to buy, steal, or coerce a change in possession of the meds, a condition called "diverting," where a prescribed medicine doesn't get to its intended user. Read more in Time Magazine.

QUICK TEST FOR VISUAL PROCESSING SPEED. Researchers at the University of Georgia developed a device using flashing light of two different wavelengths, creating a flicker. The rate of flicker is sped up until the study participant can no longer distinguish the two wavelengths, giving a "critical flicker fusion measure" that can predict the participant's level of executive functioning. Read more.

QUICK TEST FOR ATTENTION. A simple test using a raisin and a plastic cup can predict how well a toddler will perform academically at age eight, according to new research from the University of Warwick. Toddlers are shown the raisin that is placed within reach under the cup and instructed to wait until researchers told them it was okay to touch and eat the raisin. Toddlers who couldn't inhibit their behavior were found in a follow-up study to be performing less well in school seven years later than those who could wait the allotted time. Find out more.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. The Winter edition of this publication is out. In it, according to GEPQ:
  • Harry Roman examines some of the skills necessary for effectively teaching STEM topics to gifted students. 
  • Hanna David discusses research on what makes an effective teacher of the gifted. 
  • Kathryn P. Haydon discusses methods for developing creativity in the classroom and home. 
  • Michael Walters describes one of the great anthologies of world literature.
Find the Quarterly.

DISABILITY SCOOP has revamped its website. Among the articles currently featured is one titled "Greater Transparency Urged for College Disability Services." Find the article and the redesigned site.

GIFTED RESOURCE. The University of California/Irvine is offering a free webinar series on a variety of gifted topics that include leveraging technology to teach the gifted, the spiritual lives of gifted children, and teaching interdisciplinary concepts. The webinars will take place in February of 2016. Find out more. (Focus on the box on the right-hand side of the page; also described on the page is a for-fee, for-credit certificate program.)

RE-IMAGINING SCHOOL is the title of a playlist of 10 talks at, with speakers such as Sir Ken Robinson, Salman Kahn, and Dave Eggers. Doesn't look as if any of the topics are specifically 2e -- but we'll bet that each talk gives you at least one take-away idea or inspiration. Find the playlist. (If nothing else, Robinson's memorable piece is both funny and sad.)

PARENTAL ASPIRATIONS FOR KIDS. When parents have high hopes for their children's academic achievement, the children tend to do better in school, unless those hopes are unrealistic, in which case the children may not perform well in school. That's the net-out sentence in the write-up of a study published by the American Psychological Association. So be careful out there, parents! Find the write-up.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Jen the Blogger strikes again, this time on the "ups and downs," metaphorically speaking, of parenting twice-exceptional children. If you're the parent of a 2e child, you might identify. Find the blog.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

2e Adults, ADHD, PD, the U.S. Department of Education, and More

2e ADULTS. Know one? Are you one? Dan Peters and Paula Wilkes from California's Summit Center explore the topic in a Q&A at the site of Psychology Today. Find the blog.

MINDFULNESS, WORKING MEMORY. Mindfulness training might help improve working memory capacity, according to study from the University of Cincinnati. The study compared groups receiving mindfulness training, yoga sessions, and no intervention using tests of working memory before and after the interventions. Only the mindfulness group showed improvement in working memory, according to a write-up of the study. Read more.

ADHD RATES are rising globally, according to Katherine Ellison, author of Buzz. She also writes in the New York Times "Well" blog that "public understanding has not kept pace." Evidently recognition, treatment, and acceptance lag in the rest of the world. Find the blog.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has a new article titled "Why Autism Diagnoses Are Often Delayed." Apparently kids with autism are often first diagnosed as having ADHD or sensory processing issues, which prevents early intervention for ASD. Read the article.

OHIO 2e PD EVENT. Michael Postma, Ph.D. is presenting a one-day session titled "Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-exceptional Students" on December 10th in the Cincinnati area. The audience is specified as administrators, counselors, psychologists, classroom teachers, intervention specialists, gifted specialists, and more. Registration ends about a week before the event. Find out more.

WRIGHTSLAW. The current Special Ed Advocate covers considerations in drafting an IEP, and how a draft IEP is not "set in stone." Read more about the drafting process. Separately, if you're in Oklahoma don't forget that on December 3rd Wrightslaw presents training that's free to parents, family members, and those who work with kids with LDs and reside in Oklahoma. The training is sponsored by the Oklahoma Disability Law Center and held near Oklahoma City. Find out more.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. This organization's November e-newsletter is out, covering news of the Davidson Fellows award ceremony, the Google Science Fair, STEM, and more. Find the newsletter.

UNDERSTOOD right now is offering several things that might be of interest to those in the 2e community.

  • On November 23, Understood presents an interview with Michal Yudin of the U.S. Department of Education on the use of the terms dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Find out more
  • Understood also offers "At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for Slow Processing Speed" on its website; find it.
  • Also on the site: "Respecting a Child's Processing Speed in a Fast-paced World"; find the article
IDEA RESOURCES. One of our sources pointed us to a page at the site of the U.S. Department of Education. The site notes the 40th anniversary of IDEA. It also lists some "select federal resources" associated with the anniversary. Of special interest is a "Dear Colleague" letter from this November 16th emphasizing that "an individualized education program (IEP) for an eligible child with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must be aligned with the State’s academic content standards for the grade in which the child is enrolled." This is to discourage lowering of expectations, and it certainly applies to 2e students. Find the letter and the resources.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Dyslexia, RTI, Depression, More

DYSLEXIC ACHIEVER. That's the label for actor and screenwriter Justin Theroux. In an interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross he described his early struggles with dyslexia, according to Understood. Find out more. Separately, Understood on November 17 offers a webinar titled "If My Kid Is So Smart, Why Is He So Slow?" The webinar deals with processing issues. Find out more.

FOLLOW UP ON HANDCUFFING LITTLE KIDS. In several places we've noted the handcuffing of the Kentucky 8 YO boy with ADHD, and in our current issue of the newsletter Bill Dickerman reflects on the incident. Now, the New York Times weighs in; find it.

GOT A STRONG-WILLED 2e KIDDO? A writer on parenting at the Washington Post suggests you look past the immediate disadvantages to you and take a longer view of the advantages. Read more.

RTI falls short of its promise, according to Education Week. Experts have told us how RTI might be bad for identifying and serving the twice-exceptional, but this article seems to imply that RTI might not be as generally helpful as forecast. Read more.

$2M FOR KETAMINE STUDY. The Australian government is funding a $2M study to see if the drug ketamine is an effective, safe treatment for depression that does not respond to other treatments. A trial of 200 patients is scheduled to start in April of 2016, according to ABC News Australia. Find out more.

PARENT-TEACHER COMMUNICATION. The website Raising Digital Natives offers nine tips for parents who communicate with school. Number 1: "Start with empathy" because of the nature of the teacher's job. Read the tips.

Friday, November 6, 2015

2e-Friendly Schooling, A.T. for Dyslexia, U.S. DOJ/ADA on Accommodations, More

A FAMILY IN ORLANDO, Florida (ZIP 32814) is looking for a 2e-friendly middle school, public or private, for sixth-seventh-eighth grades for their son. Gang: can anyone offer what would be a much-appreciated suggestion for this family? Email Mark at you-know-where. Thanks for any input!

ARIZONA 2e-FRIENDLY SCHOOL. Raising Arizona Kids contains an article about a Phoenix school that serves the twice exceptional and includes comments from neuropsychologist Paul Beljan, a frequent presenter and writer on 2e topics. In the article, Beljan provides some insightful (and scary) comments related to misdiagnosing giftedness as pathology. And it's great to know about this 2e-friendly school! Find out more.

TECHNOLOGY ASSISTS FOR DYSLEXIA. KQED News, in an article titled "Tech Tools that Have Transformed Learning with Dyslexia," describes a very bright fifth-grade boy who had great difficulty writing and whose teacher got him started with an iPad. This and other students had great results with the tool. The boy's teacher is quoted as saying, “The same kid who would give me one incomplete sentence is now telling me in complete paragraphs exactly what he knows.” Find out more.

ELIMINATING THE ASPERGER'S LABEL. Apparently, whether a child is labeled with Asperger's, or on the autism spectrum, or with no label at all makes no difference to the way the child is perceived by others. Researchers who used a survey to gather reactions to the various ways of describing ASD found that the label "had no bearing on the likelihood that those surveyed would harbor stereotypes, prejudice or discriminatory attitudes." Read more at Disability Scoop.

OXYTOCIN, AUTISM. A small study in Australia suggests that doses of oxytocin administered via nasal spray can provide "significant improvements in social, emotional and behavioral problems." Not clear from a write-up of the study: how severe the study subject's problems were. The write-up notes plenty of caveats, including a lack of knowledge of the long-term effects of the hormone. Read more.

KIDS AND MEDIA USE. The American Academy of Pediatrics is revisiting its 2013 recommendation that children older than 2 get two hours or less of screen time per day, according to the Huffington Post. The new guidelines are expected to be released on 2016, and it sounds as if they'll take into account recent changes in the use of technology and associated opportunities, as well as the effect of parents' own screen use on the family. Find out more.

MULITPLE MEDS. Is that 2e kiddo you raise on more than one medication? A new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute addresses that situation, which is called "polypharmacy" and is becoming more common. Find out more about risks and things to consider.

UNDERSTOOD has on its site a video of actress Wendy Davis talking about her ADHD and her daughters. Understood says, "In this series of videos, hear her story about growing up with ADHD, how it helped her as an actress, and how she responded to her daughter getting the same diagnosis." Find the videos.

ADVOCATE FOR GIFTED AND SPECIAL ED. As the parent of educator of 2e children, you have a foot in two camps -- gifted ed and special ed. The Council for Exceptional Children offers you a chance to "tell Congress to invest in programs for children with exceptionalities." Find out more and take action.

ADA RESOURCE. If you'd like to go right to the source to discover the U.S. government's policy on accommodations for standardized and high-stakes testing, there's a PDF on ADA requirements located in the Disability Rights section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice that might interest you. It tells what kinds of tests are covered (like the SAT); examples of accommodations, including extended time or a distraction-free room; eligibility for accommodations, even for those with "a history of academic success"; documentation to support a request for accommodations; and more. Find the document.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Another Muppet with ASD, Gifted Ed, Working Memory, More

MUPPET UPDATE. In the blog MotherLode, Jennie Baird notes that the recent heavy news coverage about a new, autistic character in the Muppet family overlooks an existing character -- Fozzie Bear -- is perceived as "on the spectrum" by many, including the writer's 14-year-old son with high-functioning autism. The blog posting delves into the family's history with the young man's diagnosis and the fact that he is now an honors student who can, in the writer's words, "'pass' as a regular, funny, quirky teenager." Read more.

GIFTED ED FOR MORE. An article in Education Week addresses the prevailing advantage kids have who come from families that are "whiter and wealthier" in getting into gifted and honors classes at school. A school system in Elk Grove, California, is used as an example of how things can go wrong unintentionally and what can be done to change the situation to make access to gifted ed more equitable. Measures include a more universal screening for the gifted program. Find the article.

THE HEART AND ADHD MEDS. Patients with what's called "long-QT syndrome" (based on a characteristic of an electrocardiogram) and who took ADHD meds were at greater risk for later "cardiac events." The study write-up didn't seem to imply these events occurred in young people, but if nothing else the write-up would seem to encourage parents to know their child's heart health and condition before diving into meds. Find the write-up. (The Mayo Clinic says that signs and symptoms of long-QT syndrome may occur any time from early in life to old age.)

WORKING MEMORY. Working memory, something many 2e kids have issues with, is apparently more complex than previously thought, according to a recently-published study. Evidently it depends on rhythmic activity in the hippocampus. If the topic of working memory is important at your house, check out the study. Separately, the title of another article on working memory says all you need to know to decide whether to find out more: "Working on Your Tot’s Memory Now Can Help His High School Success."

THE REPRODUCIBILITY PROJECT. No, not that reproducibility. Rather, the reproducibility of scientific studies. We've written about this before and how it should make us at least a little hesitant to blindly accept study results as valid and unimpeachable, but a new article at the site of the Dana Foundation covers the issue. Find the article.

DYSLEXIA: INTERVENING EARLY. Don't wait to intervene with young people with dyslexia -- that's the message from a new study. The authors conclude that implementing effective reading programs as early as kindergarten or even preschool offers the potential to close the achievement gap that arises in children with dyslexia. Read more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. If dyslexia is an "e" of concern to you, it's likely that the organization Dyslexic Advantage and its newsletter will be of interest. The most recent newsletter, which you can sign up for at the site of Dyslexic Advantage, covers: the recent Dyslexic AdvantageLeadership Conference on Dyslexia and Innovation; the passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of Project READ; a new dyslexia law in California; and much more.

BEACON SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE. The Beacon School, an accredited, coed, independent school for intellectually curious learners in grades 3-12, will be hosting an Admissions Open House event on Sunday, November 8, 2015, from 1:00pm until 3:00pm at 111 West North Street in Stamford, Connecticut. Beacon School bills itself as 2e friendly. The open house is for admissions for the 2016-17 school year. For more information on Beacon School, contact Meredith Hafer, the Head of School, at 203-200-7244 or

BELIN BLANK CENTER. According to this organization, part of the University of Iowa, on September 9, 2015, the Center celebrated the appointment of Dr. Susan Assouline, Director of the Center, as the Myron & Jacqueline Blank Endowed Chair in Gifted Education. Find this and other Belin Blank news in the organization's most recent newsletter. And congratulations to Susan, a member of the 2e Newsletter Editorial Advisory Board.

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, has a screening in Australia on November 27 on the campus of Sandringham College. The event is sponsored by Kids Like Us. Fnd out more on page 12 of Jo Freitag's Gifted Resources Newsletter.

WRIGHTSLAW, in Special Ed Advocate, tells us that teachers as well as parents often have trouble implementing IEPs due to misinformation or lack of guidance from school administrators. Wrightslaw says, "In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate you'll find strategies teachers and parents can use to get better special education services for children. Learn how to handle obstacles within your school system."

GOING TO NAGC NEXT WEEK? The 2015 conference mobile app is available at this site. The app, among other things, allows you to browse and choose conference sessions and contains a map of the conference location, always a handy thing to have.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2e Newsletter, ADHD, ASD, Dealing with School, More

OUR WEBSITE now has some features from the September/October issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter posted in the public area. Find a commentary on ADHD eight-year-olds in handcuffs; news and findings from the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development; and more. Go to our home page.

VIDEO GAMES (SIGH) AND ADHD. A video game maker has developed a product that is says can improve working memory and attention, as well as some symptoms apparent to parents. Coming up: a full, randomized trial of the game. Read more.

PUSHING THE SEASON IN HOMESCHOOLING. The Gifted Homeschoolers Forum has announced its Spring, 2016, lineup of online classes. If you're homeschooling that 2e kiddo, maybe GHF has a resource for you. Find out more.

ASD OVER-DIAGNOSED? A government study suggests that more than nine percent of autism diagnoses in children may be incorrect. Reasons for over-diagnosis range from imprecise screening, choosing the wrong reason for language delays, or -- in some cases -- the availability of more services to kids with the ASD label. Read more.

GET READY FOR PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES with a worksheet from the organization Understood. The worksheet helps organize discussion in the areas of homework, class participation, academics, and more. Find the worksheet.

IEPs, 504s. Know the difference? The current issue of Special Ed Advocate from Wrightslaw can help. Find it.

NEAR DURANGO? Liberty School, a private school in Durango, Colorado, is hosting a fundraiser on November 14. The school serves dyslexic, gifted, and twice-exceptional children. Find out more.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dyslexia, ADHD, ASD... The Usual

SEEING A CLINICIAN. Many families with twice-exceptional children see professional service providers of one sort or another, often on a recurring basis. A new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute offers "tips for knowing whether your clinician is following best practices" to provide good care. For example, does the treatment have a specified goal? It's your kid and your money -- find the tips.

SENG has announced that its Interim Executive Director, Elizabeth Ringlee, has been appointed Executive Director. We offer our congratulations. Find out more about SENG.

DYSLEXIC "TRIBE." Psychologist Dan Peters describes in the Huffington Post what it was like to attend the most recent Dyslexia and Innovation Conference, put on by Dyslexic Advantage -- finding a tribe and returning "home." Besides that, he shares some of the things he learned at the conference, for example how Singapore has teacher training for dyslexia as well as national programs for the condition. Find the article.

UNDERSTOOD LIVESTREAM TODAY. The organization Understood is offering a live online event today at 6:30pm ET on the topic of ADHD. Find out more. Separately, the organization offers an article on how to create a sensory-friendly Halloween; find it.

2e, THE MOVIE. Another screening of this movie has been added to the schedule, this one on Tuesday, October 27, at 6:30pm, at the Harkins Theather, Tempe Marketplace 16, 2000 E Rio Salado Parkway #1160, in Tempe, Arizona.

ADHD AND GENDER. Evidently ADHD is structurally and functionally different in girls than it is in boys, according to new research reported at HealthDay News. The differences were in the white matter that faciliates communication between different regions of the brain. Researchers speculated that the brain differences might explain differences in the way ADHD behaviors manifest in boys and girls. Read more.

AUTISM ON SESAME STREET. A new character on Sesame Street, according to the New York Times, gets upset over loud noises, knows the words to lots of songs, and flaps her arms when excited, among other behaviors. This new character, Julia, has appeared in a digital storybook and has generated coverage in the NY Times, the LA Times, Disability Scoop, and Medical Daily. That's quite a splash in the news for a fictional character, albeit part of America's most storied kids' program.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Things to Worry About, Not Worry About, and Take Action On

AUTISM AND THE "SOCIAL BRAIN." New research indicates that high functioning children with ASD are characterized by brains that are organized differently. In particular, the "pruning" of neurons that occurs in most children as they grow older doesn not occur, resulting in lots of neurons and lots of blood flow to the frontal areas of the brain. Also noted: less connectivity between nodes in the front and back of the brain, suggesting "impairment in the default mode network in people with ASD," according to a write-up of the research. "The default mode network is a major brain network used in social and emotional processes, self-reflection and the ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others." Read more.

DON'T WORRY ABOUT teen mood swings, says a new study. They decline as the perpetrator gets older. The study also identifies when such mood swings might be a cause for worry, however. Read more.

DON'T WORRY ABOUT late blooming, says a blogger at Motherlode in The New York Times. Citing the tale of Leo the Late Bloomer as well as her own experience as a mother and as a middle school teacher, the blogger explains 
why you might not need to worry about a child developing on his or her own schedule. Find out more.

DO WORRY ABOUT whether the rewrite of the U.S. Elementary and Secondary Education Act will make schools responsible for achievement in all students, including those with LDs. That's the message from the National Center for Learning Disabilities, which urges parents to urge lawmakers to write and pass a bill that will serve kids with LDs effectively. In the words of the NCLD, "This means that schools should be required to provide evidence-based interventions and support when students—including those with disabilities—aren’t making progress." You can take action here.

WORRIED ABOUT ADHD and your child? Understood can help, with a live streaming event covering "science, skillbuilding, [and] success" when it comes to ADHD. From the event's blurb: "On October 26, Understood will gather top experts for a unique panel discussion on the science of ADHD and ways parents and educators can help children build skills, and you can join thousands of parents across the country for this livestreamed event." Find out more on Understood's Facebook page.

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, is scheduled to be shown at a recently-announced screening on October 28 at Bluffton University, Stutzman Lecture Hall, at 7:30 pm. It's free. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion. Presumably, if you know where Bluffton University is you're close enough to attend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

ADHD & Meds, New to 2e, and Conferences

ADHD MEDS, ANXIETY. Apparently stimulant meds used to treat ADHD reduce anxiety in children, something we, anyway, wouldn't have intuitively guessed. This finding comes from a meta-review appearing in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology and reported at PsychCentral. Read more.

A MOM'S ACCOUNT of the beginning of her journey in the 2e world appears in the publication Edge Magazine Online, apparently an East Coast oriented venture with a variety of features. (There's no "About Us" section to help dummies like us figure out what Edge is.) In the article "A School for Little Man," Lavinia Lee Mears describes he son's strengths... and challenges. We read her reaction to the evaluation of her son... and read her "lessons learned" as she jumps into dealing with schools, IEPs, and everything else. Find the article.

UNDER THE RADAR. The Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted (WATG) is holding its annual conference on November 5th and 6th, with the 6th featuring sessions for parents. Also featured, a teen conference. We missed notice of this conference and have not heretofore included it in our listings, sorry! Find out more.

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, will be screened as part of the New England Conference on Gifted Education and Talent Development, held October 22-24, in Cromwell, Connecticut. In case you're looking for another reason to attend this event, the movie screening will be moderated by Susan Baum, a member of the 2e Newsletter Editorial Advisory Board. Find out more.

AND ONE MORE CONFERENCE. Don't forget the International Dyslexia Association conference coming up October 28-31 in Grapevine, Texas. According to the website, it's actually two conferences, one for professionals and one for families. One 2e-related session is a symposium chaired by Professor Jeffrey Gilger, a researcher who emphasizes twice exceptionality in his work. Also participating: Susan Assouline, a member of the 2e Newsletter Editorial Advisory Board, and Betsy McCoach. Find out more about the symposium.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

ADHD Meds, Linda Silverman, Anxiety, Depression, and the ICD-10

ADHD MEDS. If that 2e child you raise has ADHD, you're probably familiar with at least some of the medications prescribed to help him or her function best. The site of the Child Mind Institute has just published an article on ADHD meds, subtitled "A look at the alternatives, and how they work." If you're looking for more information, this could be a good starting place. Find the article.

LINDA SILVERMAN INTERVIEWED. Pyschologist Linda Silverman, a member of the 2e Newsletter Editorial Advisory Board, was recently interviewed in print and audio by two different publications, The Sun ("print" online) and New Hampshire Public Radio. Silverman is head of the Gifted Development Center in Colorado, which performs testing and evaluation of gifted and twice-exceptional children. According to GDC, the radio interview "focused on defining giftedness, the characteristics of giftedness, parenting the gifted, twice exceptional children, what can happen if gifted children are not identified or served, and the use of IQ tests with culturally diverse and socio-economically disadvantaged children."

DIFFERENTIATION. A blogger at Edutopia offers "five collaborative grouping strategies" to help educators work together to provide differentiated instruction. If this topic is of interest to you, check out the blog.

HELPING YOUR CHILD COPE WITH ANXIETY is the topic of an article at PsychCenteral. Included in the strategies: help them label; encourage them to face their fears; expose them gradually to their fears; and reflect back questions. Find the article.

ABOUT DEPRESSION. Medical Daily has posted a video about six myths of depression. Myth 1: that it's rare. Find out more about the myths.

QUAD PREP: BREAKTHROUGHS 2016. The Quad Preparatory School has announced the date for its second annual "Breakthroughs" conference: Friday, March 18. It will be hosted at the Cooper Union. The "call for submissions" for the conference opens October 15, so be alert if you're interested in presenting. If you're interested in attending, check back at the site of Quad Prep later for more information. Quad Prep serves twice-exceptional students in New York City; the conference focuses on "breaking through walls" for twice-exceptional education.

AND FINALLY, THIS. October 1 was the roll-out of new medical diagnostic codes under the ICD-10 system. The codes are used by physicians, healthcare organizations, and insurers to classify injuries and illnesses. ICD-10 has more than four times the number of codes as its predecessor system, which in theory should help everyone be specific in classifying and analyzing medical conditions, but The Washington Post had a little fun with the new codes and their specificity, noting codes such as "bitten by a squirrel" or "injured while knitting or crocheting." Our favorite, however, was "walked into lamppost, initial encounter W22.02XA" -- something that actually happened to one of our children. Read more and pick your favorite. (Codes can be combined, eg to designate the type of injury and where it occurred, which brings up the possibility of a code for something like falling off a swing while under the influence of ADHD. :-) )

Friday, October 2, 2015

Who Are the Gifted, Three "Awareness" Events, and More

"WHO ARE THE GIFTED AND TALENTED, and What Do They Need?" That's the title of a piece at the site of NPR that covers the definition of giftedness, the identification of the gifted, and how schools should serve the gifted. The piece quotes experts familiar to the readers of 2e Newsletter, including Linda Silverman, Scott Peters, and Scott Barry Kaufman. The piece notes the lack of state standards for treating gifted students. However, Kaufman is quoted as saying that in a perfect world, every student would have an IEP. And Peters, referring to past emphasis on getting everyone to a minimal standard of proficiency, says "There seems to be a change in belief now — that you need to show growth in every student. That's huge." It is. Read more.

IT'S ADHD AWARENESS MONTH, and ADDitude has suggestions about what you can to to observe the month. Find out more. Separately, next week is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation can tell you more about that; go there. It's also Dyslexia Awareness Month.

TOOLS FROM CHADD. The organization Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder has announced a new benefit for its parent members to help improve ADHD treatment monitoring. DefiniPoint is a HIPAA secure suite of online tools that improves communication, enabling clinicians to easily gather feedback from parents and teachers about the efficacy of ADHD treatment. With this information clinicians are able to make a more informed decision on the child’s ADHD care, says CHADD. Find out more about DefiniPoint. Find out more about CHADD.

WORKING MEMORY TRAINING -- does it work? A study funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research indicates that CogMed's working memory training may not work, at least not in college students with ADHD. Read more.

THEATER-BASED TRAINING FOR AUTISTIC CHILDREN can help them improve social skills, according to a study funded by the U.S. NIMH. According to a write-up of the study, "The treatment group showed notable changes in the ability to identify and remember faces...more group play with children outside the treatment setting, as well as improvement in social communication at home and in the community that was maintained for at least two months." Find out more.

DEPRESSION. Researchers are getting closer to explaining how a new class of antidepressant works, one that targets glutamate. The explanation involves a neuronal receptor called mGluR5 and gets a little technical (this study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry), but you can find out more at NewsWise.

FORGET DRUGS for treating depression, let's use ultrasound! That's what one clinical trial is doing. The technique focuses ultrasound to destroy (ablate) a small area of brain tissue linked to severe depression. Read more.

SENG PARENT GROUP IN CALIFORNIA. Judy Wiener will lead a six-week discussion group for parents of gifted kids in the Oak Park, California, area. The group is sponsored by the school district's GATE advisory council, and a fee applies. Find out more.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Special Ed, ASD, Anxiety, Gifted Adults, More

ANYONE WHO'S HEARD JONATHAN MOONEY talk about the "short bus" will appreciate an opinion piece in last Sunday's New York Times. Titled "A Special Education," it describes the writer's early experience with special ed in upstate New York. Some of the experiences are funny, some sad, some pivotal. As an adult, the author now describes himself as "a writer and musician." Read this special opinion piece.

NEW ASD THEORY. Researchers at Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory think there's a set of genes affecting brain development that might be vulnerable to spontaneous mutation and, as such, the cause of about half of the cases of ASD. This view is different than one in which a group of individually harmless mutations cause ASD when they occur in combination. Read more.

THE ANXIETY CYCLE. Are you anxious? Is your spouse? Do you worry about affecting your children, or "infecting" them with anxiety? The University of Connecticut and Johns Hopkins tested a family-based intervention therapy to try to forestall anxiety in the children of parents with anxiety disorders, and it was apparently successful. According to a write-up at Science Daily, "The families who participated in therapy were taught to identify the signs of anxiety and how to reduce it. They practiced problem-solving skills, and exercised safe exposures to whatever made their child anxious." Read more.

A RECOMMENDATION. A stalwart newsletter supporter recently emailed us with this message: "A book you need to get and read: NeuroTribes. The best thing I've read in several years (and I read a lot)." Find out more at Amazon, and thanks, Steve.

FOR EDUCATORS, and maybe parents too. A recent playlist of the week from TED consisted of nine talks from inspiring teachers. TED says, "A great teacher can change the trajectory of your life. Here, talks from teachers you'll wish you had." Find the playlist.

SENG WEBINAR. Coming up on October 6th is a webinar from Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) titled "If I'm So Smart, Why Am I So Dumb?" It's for gifted adults, which probably includes our entire community here. SENG says the presenter "will present strategies and resources that have helped these adults live more meaningful and fulfilling lives." Find out more.

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, will be screened at 6:30 on October 1 at Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall on the University of Denver Campus 1999 E. Evans Avenue, Denver. There's no charge, but registration is required.

UNDERSTOOD is offering on October 1st live, 24-hour access to experts who'll answer questions via Twitter or Facebook or video chat. Find out more at Understood.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Anxiety and Depression; Finding the Gifted; tCDS for ADHD; and Big Macs

ANXIETY *AND* DEPRESSION. We know lots of 2e kids have anxiety, and lots have depression. We suspect that many kids have both. A series of "cartoons" at Medical Daily illustrate what it's like to have both. The cartoons are by the creator of the comic strip "The Awkward Yeti." Find the cartoons and explanations.

GIFTED, RICH, POOR. The Washington Post writes about a program in Broward County, Florida, where schools in 2005 began testing all students in second grade to screen for possible giftedness. The screenings and follow-up tests were "a huge success in identifying poor, minority students qualified for gifted programs," although recently the racial and economic discrepancies have started to widen again. The article explains some reasons why most school districts don't find gifted kids who are poor or minority. Find it. As to the backsliding, one administrator in the Broward district is quoted as saying, “This is very common in education. Things just move around and around in a circle.”

tDCS FOR ADHD? Can transcranial direct current stimulation help cognitive performance in those with ADHD? What is apparently the first study to test the hypothesis says no. Find the results and statistics and explanations in a study at PLOS One.

AND IF THAT STUDY INTERESTED YOU, read another, this one about teachers' attitudes toward kids with disabilities of all sorts, including LDs and ADHD. The study results indicate that four factors can make teachers less amenable to the inclusion of kids with disabilities. Those factors are teacher age, gender, training, and sense of self efficacy. Find the study and wonder how it affects your twice-exceptional child.

IT'S STILL BACK-TO-SCHOOL TIME, we guess, and the website Understood offers some "conversation starters" for parents to use with teachers in discussing supports and services, evaluation reports, teaching approaches, behavioral problems, and social/emotional issues. If any of those apply at your house and you anticipate upcoming conversations with an educator, perhaps check these out.

ALSO ON PARENT-TEACHER COMMUNICATION, Wrightslaw this week in Special Ed Advocate offers advice for parent-teacher team building. Find it.

ASSUMING THAT ADHD is the cause of attention problems in a child can be a bad idea sometimes, according to a new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. The article discusses other possibilities, including anxiety, OCD, stress, and LDs. (ADHD is technically an "other health impairment," not a specific LD.) Find the article.

AUTISM RESOURCE. The National Autism Center has published a new version of its autism manual for educators. The Center says on its website: Since the manual was first published in 2010, tens of thousands of copies have been downloaded or purchased by teachers and front-line interventionists from across the country and throughout the world. Responses to a national survey indicate that the first edition of the manual made a significant impact on improving educators’ knowledge about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and providing effective interventions for students on the spectrum. The free manual and other resources are available at the Center's website.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Maybe you can't "guilt" kids out of nasty habits, but maybe you can "gross" them out of the habits. If you have a child enamored of Big Macs or similar fast foods, check out an infographic titled "What Happens One Hour After Eating a Big Mac?" It covers the effect of the calories, sugars, sodium, and trans fats. It also covers digestion time (long). Mmmmmm. Find the infographic.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Resources, Follow-ups, and Items that Disturb

ON A SHOESTRING. We deeply appreciate the support of our readers in snazzy Zip codes, and we also appreciate that some families have less resources than others. There's a "blog hop" at the site of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum titled "Parenting Gifted/2e Kids on a Shoestring." Represented in the blog hop are 11 writers offering their tips for parents. Find the blog hop. (And from Danny and the Juniors: "Well, you can swing it you can groove it/You can really start to move it at the hop...")

FOLLOW-UP. We wrote about a study indicating that not all ADHD diagnoses are performed in accordance with guidelines issued by the American Pediatrics Association. The Boston Globe has a follow-up article for those interested in the discussion, suggesting that we could also look at the study results from a more positive point of view; find it. And for those of you who want to test yourselves on your knowledge of ADHD signs and symptoms, Medscape offers a quiz at its website.

ANOTHER FOLLOW-UP. We mentioned last week the young man in Texas who was handcuffed and interrogated by police after he brought a homemade digital clock to school and teachers confused it with a bomb. A writer in the Dallas News used that incident to point out the need for special services to gifted kids, and how those gifted kids might have trouble fitting in. Read the article. Separately, another piece highlighted a school's reaction to an 11-year-old (and supposedly gifted) student in whose backpack the assistant principal found a lighter and a marijuana-looking leaf (in reality from a maple tree), both possibly planted there by classmates. The reaction: suspension from school for a year. Read more.

AUTISM AND VACCINES, back in the news. Yep, anyone who watched or read about last week's presidential candidate debate probably heard that the topic had been raised. Disability Scoop reacted; so did The Washington Post.

DYSLEXIA AND THE ADA. The Dyslexic Advantage blog highlights five "must-know facts" about dyslexia and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The facts cover testing/retesting for dyslexia, protections in taking exams, and more. Find the facts.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. This organization's September eNewsletter is out, featuring information about scholarships, resources, legislation/policy, and much more. Find the newsletter.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Meds for Kids, College Helps Aspies, More

TWO CAUTIONARY STORIES are in the news this morning about drugs for kids. The first is about the antidepressant Paxil and how original drug trial data has now been reanalyzed to show that it was more dangerous for teens than originally thought. The second is about the antipsychotic Risperdal and how it might have been over-marketed for uses other than its original use (treating schizophrenia in adults), uses that included treating autism in kids. 

ILLINOIS COLLEGE HELPS ASPIES. Eastern Illinois University, in Charleston, has launched a new program to help undergraduates who have autism and might need extra support. The program offers extra acclimatization, mentoring, and support groups, among other features. Read more.

ADHD/AUTISM DIAGNOSIS INTERFERENCE. Being diagnosed with ADHD can delay a diagnosis of autism in children who have both, according to a study published in Pediatrics and written up at Medscape. Compared to children who had only ASD, children with comorbid ADHD and ASD were diagnosed with ASD about three years later. The upshot? More vigilance for ASD when children present with ADHD symptoms. Find the write-up.

BPD: A "TANGLE" OF SYMPTOMS. An article in the Washington Post describes one young woman's struggle with borderline personality disorder and the efforts of scientists to understand the symptoms and appropriate treatments of the disorder. Of note is that BPD sufferers commit suicide at a rate higher than sufferers of depression or schizophrenia, and that BPD might affect 16 million Americans. Find the article.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. Don't forget that this site has a variety of tools and resources besides the articles we often point to. For example, there's a Parents' Guide to Getting Good Care (for children). It includes a mental health guide, symptom checker, guide to mental health specialists, guide to learning specialists, guide to evidence-based treatments, and more. Find the Guide.

ADHD OR OCD -- ADDitude offers on its site a 10-slide guide for differentiating the two conditions. Go there.

TALKING TO TEACHER about executive function issues is the topic of a nine-slide guide at the site of Understood. Tip 1: Request a meeting early in the school year. Find this and the other tips.

WRIGHTSLAW. Need to get organized to advocate for your child's special needs treatment this school year? Wrightslaw offers a checklist to get you on track, along with other tools to help make this year successful. Find out more.

AND FINALLY THIS -- for educators. Fed up with the rat race? Want to teach where parents live a self-sufficient, "alternative" lifestyle in an "idyllic" but out-of-the-way Scottish community? Where your class size will be only five children? There's a place for you -- find out where.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Truly Individualized Learning; The Science of Adolescence; and More

INDIVIDUALIZED LEARNING through brain imaging is the goal of a researcher at Ohio State University who has just received a National Science Foundation Grant. The project will look for the neural underpinnings of student strengths and weaknesses, hoping to discover biomarkers that would then allow the development of truly individualized learning plans to help learners reach their potential. Read more.

THE SCIENCE OF ADOLESCENCE was the topic of a recent Diane Rehm show. Program guests discussed what neuroscience has taught us about the teen brain. Parents and educators can see the transcript at the site of the show.

TEMPLE GRANDIN FANS might be interested to know that she'll be in Florida on Septermber 24 touring the beef and dairy teaching units at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, after which she'll present a free lecture titled "Helping Different Kinds of Minds Be Successful." Find out more.

BACK TO SCHOOL MEANS... homework. Which can involve parents directly or indirectly. This week at least two sources offer advice to parents on homework:
THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has posted a new article on the phenomenon of losing interest or motivation at school, including tips for figuring out what might be at the root of the problem. The article notes that skills deficits can be a problem, as with an LD; and that emotional difficulties such as depression or anxiety might be the cause. Find the article.

ADDITUDE has recently featured two articles that might be of interest to parents and educators of twice-exceptional children. One artlcle covers the confluence of ADHD and executive function disorders; find it. The other article is titled "A Complete Guide to Natural ADHD Treatments"; find it.

IN CALIFORNIA? Doesn't matter, 'coz this event is a webinar. On September 28, Susan Daniels, of the Summit Center in California, is presenting "Living with Intensity: Understanding the Gifted Child," discussing overexcitabilities in the context of giftedness. Find out more.

NEW MEXICO IN THE WINTER? Why not? And that's where neuroscientist M Layne Kalbfleisch has scheduled two February workshops. The blurb for the first promises, "Workshop participants will learn basic principles of the brain’s function and plasticity – how it learns, remembers, creates, and imagines in childhood and across life; the difference between good and bad stress; and new skills to keep it healthy, enhance memory, and support skill and talent." The second workshop builds on content and experiences from the first and is called "a deepening retreat." Both events are at the Ghost Ranch.

2e: THE MOVIE. Upcoming screenings include:
  • October 13 at 7pm at the ArcLight Cinema in Bethesda, Maryland. Tickets $8.50. Find out more
  • October 28 from 7-9 at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, New York. Suggested donation $10. Pre-registration required. Find out more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Javits Grant, ADHD Diagnosis, More

JAVITS GRANT IN FLORIDA. Seminole County Public Schools has received a Javits Grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase the representation in gifted programs of underrepresented groups. The five-year, $2.4 million grant will "include alternative methods of identifying giftedness," which sounds like it might be of benefit to twice-exceptional students as well as other underrepresented groups. Read more.

EARLY ADHD DIAGNOSIS: VALID? According to Healthday, many -- about a third -- of kids in the U.S. diagnosed with ADHD are labeled before the age of six. The problem? Apparently there's a lack of tests to reliably diagnose that early. The HealthDay article describes a government report on the matter. Also mentioned: that psychiatrists are involved in only about one-fourth of those early diagnoses. Find the article. Or, read more directly from the Center for Disease Control.

DEPRESSION: EVIDENCED-BASED THERAPY. Cerebrum republished an article from a couple years ago on whether certain patterns of brain activity can indicate what kind of treatment will be most successful. Find the article.

2e NEWSLETTER WEBSITE. The public area is now updated with articles from the July/August issue. Non-subscribers may read news from the 2e Center for Professional Development, a brief roundup of 2e-friendly private schools (more every year!), news, events, and columns including Dear Dr. Sylvia, Bob Seney on Books, and Parent's Perspective. Go to the website.

ABOUT CHILDREN. We used to enjoy a site called StoryPeople and just rediscovered it, finding this tiny "story": "I hope it will be said we taught them to stand tall & proud, even in the face of history & the future was made new & whole for us all, one child at a time." The site's creativity also lies in the illustrations they provide with each story. See the illustration for this story.

FALL BOOKLET SALE. Through the end of September, non-subscribers to 2e Newsletter may purchase any Spotlight on 2e Series booklet for $11, plus shipping. To take advantage of this offer, go to this special page. (Newsletter subscribers received information about the sale this morning.)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hyperactivity in ASD, Getting Kids to Talk about their LDs, and More

HYPERACTIVITY IN ASD may be reduced by a drug called guanfacine, according to Psychiatric News. An "alert" from that publication reported on a study involving the effects of an extended-release form of guanfacine on children with ASD who were also hyperactive, impulsive, and distractible. The non-placebo-treated children showed a steep drop in the "aberrant behavior checklist." Read more. (Thanks to Kim for pointing us to the article.)

TALKING ABOUT LDs. It can be tough for a child to talk about his or her own LD, even though such self-disclosure can be a start to good self-advocacy. A new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute offers help to get kids talking -- why speak up, how to help kids speak up, what the kids should say to teachers, and help in talking to peers. Find the article.

DEPRESSION IN 13 CHARTS. That's what StumbledUpon pointed us to at the site of The Idealist Revolution -- 13 graphics that help non-depressives get a feel for depression. If this is an issue in your family, find the charts. (We especially liked numbers 1 and 9.) Separately, the Brain and Behavior Foundation presents a free webinar on September 8 titled "New Approaches to Treating Depression." Find out more.

FRESH AIR ON WEDNESDAY featured an interview with the author of NeuroTribes, and examination of the history and myths of autism. The book's subtitle is "The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity." Find the audio interview and textual highlights.

EXERCISE AND TEENS. Bad news. Evidently "guilting" teens to get more exercise doesn't work, according to a study on middle-schoolers by researchers from the University of Georgia. But you probably knew that based on your experience trying to "guilt" young people into doing anything. Read more.

FOLLOWING THE TEEN HERD -- at least, to the extent of having close friendships -- may have benefits for physical health in early adulthood. Researchers found that physical health in adulthood could be predicted based on the quality of close friendships in adolescence. In addition, efforts to conform to peer norms were actually linked to higher quality health in adulthood. Read more.

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION FOR THE GIFTED. This organization's summer newsletter is out; find it. In addition, the organization has issued a call for presenters at its 2016 conference in February. The last day for submitting proposals is October 10. Got something to say? Find out more.

KENNY'S DREAM FOUNDATION is a non-profit organization formed in 2014 to help those affected by Tourette Syndrome (TS), It was formed in memory of Kenny Boyajian and is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to help those affected by Tourette Syndrome, by providing scholarships and camp tuition to children and adults with TS, while promoting awareness and acceptance. Find out more about the organization.

WRIGHTSLAW is on Session 5 of its 2015 Summer School on advocacy. In this session, according to Wrightslaw, "You'll find what you need to learn to become an advocate and where you can get training. You'll also find a reading and resource list." Go to summer school!

IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA? The Summit Center is hosting an October/November discussion group for parents challenged by gifted and 2e children. The groups follow the SENG Model Parent Group format. Find out more.

Monday, August 31, 2015

2e School in Connecticut, Advocating for Your Student, and More

2e SCHOOL RESOURCE IN CONNECTICUT. An article in the Greenwich Free Press profiles a teacher who has created three different day schools plus an educational consulting business. Each successive school opened by Vicky Newman is dedicated to serving students of a particular profile who wouldn't have been served well by predecessor schools. The 2e-oriented school is Beacon School, which, according to the Free Press, serves 38 students in grades 3-12. Find out more.

NAGC RESOURCE. On September 9, NAGC presents a Webinar on Wednesday on the topic of parent-to-teacher communication and parent advocacy. From the blurb: "This webinar will focus on the first steps that parents need to take when trying to establish collaborative partnerships with classroom teachers." WOWs are free for NAGC members, $29 for others. Find out more.

TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION has been suggested and used as a potential therapy for depression. Now, UK scientists believe they understand something about how the therapy works -- by causing biochemical and connectivity changes in the brain observable with MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Read more at Science Daily.

FOUR-DAY SCHOOL WEEKS -- no ill effects, maybe a boost in math. To see whether a four-day school week would have negative effects on academic accomplishment, researchers compared test scores from students in a four-day and a five-day program, Teachers were reportedly enthusiastic about the four-day schedule, even though it entailed longer days. So is it real? Or the Hawthorne effect? Find out more.

LD AND SUCCESS. The Seattle Times reported on the results of the survey by the National Center for Learning Disabilities on what matters most in preparing for jobs and college. The answers are apparently the amount of self-confidence held by the young people involved along with the amount of support received from family, friends, and community. Read more.

AIR POLLUTION: BAD FOR GRADES. A University of Texas study indicates that exposure to toxic air pollution at home (from traffic exhaust, for example) is linked to lower grade point averages, even when factors such as family income and parental education level are taken into account. Read more.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Caution, and Items on ADHD, Depression, and More

WE SUMMARIZE lots of studies from the social and medical sciences as we post content here and in other places. We like to believe that the results of those studies are valid and reliable (reproducible). In yesterday's journal Science, research psychologists reported on their efforts to reproduce results from some core studies. They found that in rigorously re-created studies, often the findings were "not nearly as strong as originally claimed," according to the New York Times. What does this mean for those of us in the 2e community? Perhaps that we dial down our willingness to unhesitatingly accept study findings we read in press releases or even in journals -- or, at least, to use those findings as hints and clues to possible action rather than imperatives. It's not easy, especially when many in the community are faced with issues that don't seem to fit "standard" orthodoxy in the first place, and when we're predisposed to want to accept any possible answer to those issues. Read more and ponder.

ADHD 1. ADDitude has posted a "slideshow" called "10 Things I Wish I Knew about ADHD as a Child," and perhaps your child is old enough to appreciate the piece. One of the 10 is "I wish I knew that I was smart." Find the slideshow. (Not sure when the piece is from; ADDitude is stingy with dates.)

ADHD 2: A FOLLOWUP. Several years ago a psychologist wrote an article on the difference between the rate of ADHD diagnosis the U.S. and France. In France, the rate was about .5 percent, much lower than in the U.S. Now an article at the site of the Genetic Literacy Project revisits the issue, covering differences in medical guidelines, medical practice, and even law. (No stimulants for kids under 6 in France.) Find the article.

ADHD 3: "GROWING OUT OF?" We've posted in the past on the topic of "growing out" of ADHD. Now an English study indicates that for those diagnosed in adolescence, as adults "the group... still had problems in terms of reduced brain volume and poorer memory function, irrespective of whether or not they still met diagnostic checklist criteria for ADHD." Maybe not so good news for that bright kiddo you raise or teach. Read more, or just wait for another study with better news.

DEPRESSION: PARENTS' FAULT -- at least insofar as genetics might be concerned. A parent's depression can raise a child's risk three-fold, even more if the parent's depression came before the age of 20, according to an article at Live Mint, a website in India. Think you might have given your kid a bittersweet gift? Read more.

DEPRESSION, SSRIs. An article at Science Daily provides support for the "traditional" view of depression, serotonin, and SSRIs, using evidence from positron emission tomography (PET). Into the biochemistry of depression? Find out more.

BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR FOUNDATION. This organization supplies us today with two resources. The first, an upcoming webinar in the Meet the Scientist series titled "New Approaches in Treating Depression." It's scheduled for September 8 at 2pm ET; find out more. Second is an article titled "Advice for Parents on Suicide and Suicidal Behavior in Young People"; find it.

PERSISTENCE, MOTIVATION, GROWTH. Education Week offers a free "Spotlight" on this topic, a PDF containing six articles on the topics of learning to fail, student motivation, growth mindset, learner independence, and "joyous effort" (great phrase; go, 
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi). Find the PDF.