Friday, June 12, 2015

Aspie Valedictorian, NCLB, ADHD, Dyslexia, More

ASPIE VALEDICTORIAN. A young man in Washington state graduated first in his high school class, then disclosed during his valedictorian address that he has Asperger's -- which surprised many in the audience, according to a report at the site of Disability Scoop. It's a good story -- find it.

NCLB UPDATE. The Washington Post has an article about some of the negotiations going on in the rewrite of No Child Left Behind. It's of interest to those in the 2e community because some groups in Congress want changes that will require that "states take action at schools that are failing to serve subgroups of children, such as those who are low-income, African American or English learners, or those who have disabilities." (Those of you who read the article on IDEA and 2e in the current issue of 2e Newsletter know how states can short-change the twice-exceptional in the current environment.) If you're an education policy wonk -- or just interested -- find the article.

READING WITH DYSLEXIA. Want to see what it's like? Check out another article in the Washington Post, this one about a dyslexic designer who created a type font that gives neurotypical readers the experience that dyslexic readers might have.

DON'T SQUELCH THAT FIDGET? The constant movement of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be distracting -- but the fidgeting also may improve their cognitive performance, a study by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute has found. The take-away message: The hyperactivity seen in ADHD may help children think. The study of pre-teens and teenagers with ADHD examined how movement -- its intensity and frequency -- correlated with accuracy on cognitively demanding tasks requiring good attention. It found that participants who moved more intensely exhibited substantially better cognitive performance. Read more.

ADHD MEDS. Seems to us that all parents would want to know everything they can about the meds that go into their 2e kids' bodies, and that includes even long-used meds such as stimulants for ADHD. The Child Mind Institute has posted a new article about the effects of those meds. The article covers potential personality changes (shouldn't occur), short-term effects, long-term effects (an increase in dopamine transmitters), effectiveness over time, and predisposition to addiction (maybe linked to the disorder, not the treatment). Find the article.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ASD BRAIN is atypical even into young adulthood,according to a new study. Researchers found an exaggeration of the normal thinning of the cortex that occurs during this age range. Moreover, this increased cortical thinning was associated with greater executive function problems. Read a write-up of the study at Science Daily.

SCREEN TIME. We have several items concerning screen time and video gaming for you to digest, if screen time is allowed at your house. First, one study says that active video games may actually be a source of moderate or intense physical activity in children five to eight years old; read more. Next, children diagnosed with ADHD can improve their behavior and social interactions in the classroom by playing a computer game that exercises their concentration, finds new research; read more. Third, some are using video games to teach social skills like empathy, as described in an article at Newsweek. And fourth, excessive screen time can decrease bone density in teen boys, says a Norwegian study you can read about at So: what's your position on screen time?

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