Friday, February 27, 2015

Gifted Ed, Eating, Sleeping, Underachieving, and More

COMMON CORE AND GIFTED ED. Evidently some states and schools districts are using the supposed rigor of the standards or the cost to implement them as an excuse for cutting gifted programs. An article at THE Journal describes a Fordham Institute study describes this trend and offers at least one countervailing possibility -- differentiated instruction. Read more at THE Journal or at the site of the Fordham Institute.

EATING DISORDERS IN COLLEGE isn't a topic we'd thought much about, but three articles at the site of the Child Mind Institute explain why college can precipitate such disorders, how you can recognize the problem, and what you can do to help. Find the articles. Separately eating disorders are also the topic of an article at, which points out that a young person might not be diagnosed by failing to meet one of a number of criteria -- say, body mass that still fell into the "normal" category. Read more.

BURDEN OF PROOF. In due process cases where parents challenge school districts over the appropriateness of the programming for their children, the burden of proof during the process lies legally on the parents, pitting them against districts that have attorneys and even legal insurance policies to back their case. Some states have changed that. Now, a movement in Maryland is underway to shift the burden of proof in that state to the schools. If you have a child with an IEP, this is of interest to you. Find out more. (Thanks to Rich Weinfeld for pointing us to this.)

EMOTION RECOGNITION "TREATMENT." Researchers have developed an approach to helping children with high functioning autism improve their ability to recognize emotions in others. According to a press release on the study, children in the treatment group demonstrated significantly improved emotion-recognition skills and lower parent ratings of autism symptoms. The approach included computer instruction, repeated practice opportunities for emotion recognition and expression between the children and clinical staff, and reinforcement for accurately recognizing and expressing emotions in facial expressions. Find out more.

STRATEGIES (73 OF THEM) FOR TEACHING THOSE WITH ADHD. These are all supposedly research-based, and they cover behavior management, classroom modifications, presenting lessons, keeping on task, and more. Find the strategies at LD Online.

SLEEP. According to sleep researchers at the University of Adelaide, we shouldn't provide melatonin to children to deal with sleep problems. The lead researcher said, "there is extensive evidence from laboratory studies that melatonin causes changes in multiple physiological systems, including cardiovascular, immune and metabolic systems, as well as reproduction in animals." Read more. Separately, Medical Daily has an infographic describing the dangers of sleep deprivation. While it's aimed at adults, it might provide perspective on the importance of good sleep for your children as well; find it.

CRUSHING TALL POPPIES. An entry at this blog deals with gifted underachievers and begs the question, "Why does school not fit them?" The blogger suggests that perhaps we have underachieving educational systems instead. Find the blog.

GIFTED RESOURCES NEWSLETTER. A new issue of this Australia-based newsletter is out, providing reminders of the International Gifted Conference to be held in Brisbane on March 21 (page 6) and also about Gifted Awareness Week in Australia, March 15-21 (page 9). Find the newsletter.

THE WOLCOTT SCHOOL in Chicago is for kids of average to superior intelligence who also have learning differences. On April 22nd, the school is offering a free program for parents and the public featuring Dr. Edward Hallowell. The topic: "Unwrapping the Gifts: A Strength-based Approach to Learning Differences." Find out more at the school's website.

COMPETITION. A math competition developed in Japan will be available to math lovers 13 and older in the U.S. for the first time this year. Sony's Global Math Challenge takes place on Sunday, March 22. According to the organizers, "Featuring beautifully designed brain teasers engineered to encourage a combination of intuition and intelligence, the GMC pits math minds from around the world against each other, with participation expected from the U.S., Japan, China, Spain, and beyond." Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS: MEDIA BASHING. TV causes high blood pressure in kids. More specifically, a study on European children concludes that spending more than two hours a day in front of a screen increases the probability of high blood pressure by 30%. The article also points out that doing no daily physical activity or doing less than an hour a day increases this risk by 50%. Find out more. (Any questions on where we stand on excessive media use?)

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