Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Misdiagnosis, ADHD, Testing, Mindfulness, More

SOME PERSPECTIVE on creativity, giftedness, and mental health is provided by a blogger at PsychCentral, who points to writings by creative people with mental health issues. The blogger touches on "giftedness misunderstood," where aspects of giftedness might be pathologized. Psychologist/author/publisher James Webb is quoted in conjunction with "misdiagnosis," a persistent them of his writings and presentations. The blogger points to a variety of books, articles, and Facebook pages dealing with the intersection of creativity and mental health problems. Find the blog.

ADHD. Unaccommodated ADHDers (those without IEPs or 504s) can still be helped by caring educators, according to an article at the site of Edutopia.org. The writer suggests ways to make learning child-centered, make learning individualized, use movement breaks and mindfulness, create a good learning environment, and -- in a sop to bureaucracy, it looks like -- document. Find the article.

TESTING seems to always be in the news. For families of kids who might not test well, it can be a big deal. In a speech this week, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, while distancing himself from much of NCLB, acknowledged that high-stakes testing is a difficult issue even while backing continued annual statewide assessments. Read more. Separately, a PBS NewsHour program offers an interview with the author of a new book called The Test: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing But You Don't Have to Be. The author makes some interesting assertions, among them:
  • That the tests are being used in ways not intended by their designers
  • That identifying failing schools might not do much good if the income level of the community argues against being able to improve test outcomes
  • That much of what contributes to later success in life is "not determined by academic measures at all," but rather non-cognitive measures such as persistence. 
Evidently the book also offers ways for parents to opt out of high-stakes testing. Find the interview.

ADHD. At PsychCentral you can find out how to "improve your child's ADHD with exercise." We've blogged about several studies on this topic, and some of those are mentioned in this nice overview article about what parents and educators can do for ADHDers using exercise. Find the article.

MINDFULNESS is also a recurring topic in education and child development, and Science Daily describes a study from the University of British Columbia that supports the use of mindfulness in improving children's learning abilities. Read more.

AUTISM. A genetics-based study funded by Autism Speaks indicates that when two siblings in one family have autism, it's most likely that different genes are involved in each sibling. Read about the study at Science Daily or at The New York Times. Separately, another study confirms significant differences in play behavior, brain activation patterns, and stress levels in children with autism spectrum disorder versus typically developing children. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Wrightslaw has introduced an e-version of its book All About Tests and Assessments. Find out more.

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