Monday, January 12, 2015

Dyslexia, Depression, Gifted Ed & Scrooge, More

2e IN CONNECTICUT just got a little easier, thanks to a bill signed by Governor Dannel Malloy (who has an LD). Dyslexia is now recognized as a "primary disability" in that state, and the bill requires teacher education programs to teach how to recognize and intervene in cases of dyslexia. An article in the Monroe Courier describes the legislation and also mentions the resource Smart Kids with Disabilities, based in Connecticut. Read more. Separately, research reported at Science Daily suggests that dyslexia "disables" teachers -- that teacher perceptions of their own efficacy in dealing with dyslexia in a child can be influenced by the use of the label dyslexia, seen as an "essential problems," versus the label "reading difficulty," which seemed more likely to invoke belief that the child could be helped. The lead researcher is quoted, "These findings challenge the value of labels like 'dyslexia.'" Find the article.

DID YOU EVER let your child "cry it out" to get to sleep, perhaps on the advice of a parenting expert? A writer at the Huffington Post casts a skeptical eye on the way such experts interpret neuroscience in providing advice, noting how some claim that letting the child cry can damage the child. The writer states, "So parents are left in the dark and at the mercy of an author who is interpreting someone else's interpretation of neuroscience research unrelated to actual sleep research." Read more.

GIFTED ED MYTHS are the topic of a blog at, but you probably won't be fooled by most (if any) of them. Do you believe, for example, that GATE students can speak up for themselves? Don't need scaffolding? Neither do we, but apparently many people do. Find the myths and rebuttals.

THE SCROOGE AWARD might be going to the State of Kansas for cutting gifted ed funding. According to The Kansan, the Kansas Association for the Gifted, Talented, and Creative is watching legislation that might move gifted ed outside of the special ed umbrella and cost it funding. (We've noticed that Kansas, after a few years of tax cuts, now faces budget shortfalls.) But that's okay, because gifted kids (and 2e kids) can fend for themselves, right? Read more.

DEPRESSED is what we get when we find news items like the one above. An article in the Providence Journal notes that "depression is far more complex than patients were led to believe." The author, a psychiatrist, calls the "chemical imbalance" hypothesis for depression -- you know, altered levels of neurotransmitters -- "inaccurate, oversimplified, and reductionistic." Now, that surely sounds like an imperative to do more homework on the dynamics of depression. Find the article. Separately, an article in The New York Times compares drugs versus therapy as treatments for depression. The author, an MD, describes some of the factors which might make one or the other a more successful treatment, but concludes that with regard to certain important questions about treatment mechanisms, "we don't have a clue." Find the article.

FOLLOW-UP. The New York Times has posted several letters in response to the recent article on homeschooling. (See our blog entry from January 6th.) Each letter offers a point of view perhaps not present in the original article -- including one rather chilling perspective from a teacher. Find the letters.

LD APPS. Understood offers a list of 10 apps for kids with learning and attention issues. For example, one, created by the parents of a child with dysgraphia, helps kids deal with math without using a pencil, improving their expressive skills in that topic. Find the apps.

DON'T FORGET -- March 19-21 in Brisbane is an international conference on gifteness and talented development. Find out more. And if you can't make it to Australia, then check out the March 9th 2e conference in New York City, hosted by the Quad Preparatory School. Find out more.

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