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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

ADHD, TBI, More Back to School

ADHD AND GESTATION. A Finnish study indicates that babies born even slightly pre-term are at increased risk for a later diagnosis of ADHD. The study covered lots of years (14), lots of kids with ADHD (over 10,000) and four times as many children without ADHD. Even after taking into account many pregnancy and parental factors, premature birth was still associated with ADHD. Read more.

2015 LD INNOVATION SYMPOSIUM. The Landmark College Institute for Research and Training presents a symposium on October 2 featuring a variety of addresses and networking opportunities. Landmark, in Putney, Vermont, is one of just a few colleges catering to college students with learning challenges. Find out more.

CONCUSSIONS IN PERSPECTIVE. New York Times columnist Jane Brody points out a variety of factors concerning sports and concussions, including the past minimization of concussions but also the benefits of sports. If you're wondering about whether the risk of mild TBI in your child's prized brain is worth the exposure to various sports, check out the column.

BACK TO YOU-KNOW-WHAT. The website Understood offers some sample back-to-school letters of introduction to new teachers to explain learning-related issues or suggest accommodations that have worked previously. Understood even suggests involving your child in the letter-writing to build self-awareness. Find out more.

MORE BACK TO SCHOOL PREP. Wrightslaw, in Special Ed Advocate, presents Summer School Session 4, where "You'll learn the importance of asking questions and getting good advice from other advocates who will provide answers, creative ideas, and helpful suggestions about how to negotiate the maze of special education." Find it.

HELPNG KIDS FAIL is the topic of a new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. The article provides some examples of extreme reactions to failure, followed by tips from a clinical psychologist on helping children deal with failure in a particular area or task. Find the article.

LAUGHING AT CHAOS. Jen the Blogger highlights one of the positive moments we all enjoy (or hope to) as we raise twice-exceptional children. Read Jen's blog post, titled "Living with a Teenage Troll."

SENG. Sharon Barnes presents a SENGinar on August 27th titled "Tips for Helping Gifted Teens and Kids Cope with Trauma." Cost: $40. Find out more.

FOR EDUCATORS. Some enterprising souls at StumbleUpon put together a list titled "100 Incredibly Useful YouTube Channels for Teachers." This is not a new list -- it's five years old -- but who knows what potential resources lurk on YouTube? Take a look to see if you can use them. (Parents of gifted kids might also do well to see what they can find here for their kids or themselves.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Davidson Fellows, Back to School, More

BACK TO SCHOOL. Yeah, we mock the flood of articles this time of year, but the Washington Post has one that might get parents thinking. The writer reflects on things she tried last year to help her kids have a good school year. Some worked, some didn't. What she tried included "backing off," not rescuing, not obsessively checking grades online, and goal-setting. See what she found out, and see if you think her experience applies to 2e kids.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE also offers sound advice in two new articles. One deals with helping kids with ADHD succeed at school and the other with getting kids outdoors, something we often blog about.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. DITD has announced the 2015 Davidson Fellows, 20 truly gifted and high-achieving young people who will be recognized in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., and receive scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. The Institute notes that many of the winners' projects were inspired by personal experiences that drove them to find a solution to a problem -- for example, watching a family member suffer from cancer or witnessing children drink wastewater out of desperation. Project descriptions were certainly impressive -- for example, "Algorithms for Minimum Cost Linear Network Coding Design for Networks with General Connections." Read more. (The project titles reminded us of a long-ago Doonesbury cartoon.)

BRAIN STIMULATION: NOT SO FAST. We've noted the use recently of low-intensity transcranial brain stimulation devices to supposedly improve cognitive performance. A new study indicates that such devices may actually impair working memory. Find out more.

AUTISTIC TRAITS, CREATIVITY. A study indicates that people who have been identified with autism may score higher in certain types of creativity than neurotypical individuals. Read more.

AUTISM SUPPORT AT COLLEGE. A Tennessee college is implementing a pilot program this fall to better support students with autism. Supports include curriculum modification, tutoring, peer mentoring, and life coaching. Find out more.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY, the fall edition, is out. In it, Maurice Fisher announces links to some of the lifetime papers of a pioneer of gifted education, Virgil Ward. Fisher also mentions several books he considers noteworthy on the topic of creativity. Articles in the Quarterly include one on the study of philosophy for gifted students, by Joan Franklin Smutny, a member of the 2e Newsletter Editorial Advisory Board. Find GEPQ

THE JULY/AUGUST ISSUE of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter went to paid subscribers yesterday. The issue includes a description of one public school district's efforts to better serve twice-exceptional students; a brief round-up of 2e-oriented private schools; and more. Non-subscribers may see a preview of the issue at this link

TRULY "DOG DAYS." Little 2e news, or gifted news. We're struggling to find interesting things to post on the blog and put into the briefing. So far this week the highlight was: "Scientists uncover a difference between the sexes." Seriously. To be honest, the headline writer gave us our joke; the article seems to be real science about gender brain differences. But we'll take cheap jokes while waiting real news.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Anxiety, LDs in College, Advocacy, More

PSYCHOLOGIST DAN PETERS, a member of the 2e Newsletter Editorial Advisory Board, has just posted a new piece in the Huffington Post "Parents" section. In it, Dan -- counselor to and father of the kind of kiddos familiar to us all -- describes a real-life adventure reflecting what he teaches and preaches about anxiety and other issues. Find the piece.

LANDMARK COLLEGE caters to students with learning challenges. The latest issue of its magazine for alumni and friends contains a great story about how the right environment and the right educators can help a high-ability young person get back on track. The subject of the cover article transferred to Landmark after going on academic probation at her previous college... and that got her on the road to a master's and Ph.D. Find the article.

GAP YEAR AND DYSLEXIA. Dyslexic Advantage has posted a blog piece on the pros and cons of taking a gap year for a student with dyslexia. Find the list of points.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. This organization has two new articles on its website. One is titled "Supporting the Emotional Needs of Kids with Learning Disabilities," and covers what to do if kids feel they're "dumb," or that they stick out in class, or if they're worn out. The article is geared to all kids, not gifted ones, but the points are valid for twice-exceptional young people and their parents. Find the article. The second article is titled "School Success Kit for Kids with Auditory Processing Issues," and it promises "tools to help kids maximize classroom learning and stay on top of expectations." Can't ask for more than that -- find the article.

WRIGHTSLAW is on Session 3 of its Summer School 2015, and it covers tips for good advocating. As the blurb for the session notes, "there are better ways to obtain positive results than to roar through IEP meetings in a Mack Truck." Find out what those ways are.

BULLYING is the sole topic of a six-talk TED playlist. The exact title of the playlist is "Stand Up to Bullying," and it features talks by a poet, the son of a terrorist, the writer Andrew Solomon, Monica Lewinsky, the founder of a text-message crisis line, and a singer. Find the playlist.

SUMMIT CENTER WEBINAR. California's Summit Center is offering three webinars in the near future. The first is titled "Organizing Chaos: Solutions for Everyday Life in a Gifted Family." The host is Kathleen Crombie, who provides "Therapeutic Organizing" to gifted adults, children, and families. Find out more.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Giftedness, ADHD, Twice Exceptionality, More

GROWING OUT OF ADHD. A UK study indicates that children with higher IQs are more likely to be in the group that "grows out" of ADHD. It's of note (to us, anyway) that the researchers were apparently measuring inattention rather than hyperactivity. The researcher wonder if cognitive training and neurofeedback might help kids with ADHD grow out of it. Read more.

GIFTED IN MINNESOTA. If you're a gifted child in Minnesota, you might consider yourself lucky to attend Minnetonka Public School #276 with its Navigator Program. For kids with an IQ of at least 140 the program provides challenge and community. Social/emotional development is also attended to. Read more.

GIFTED IN SOUTH DAKOTA. If you're a gifted child in South Dakota, you might consider yourself lucky to attend the annual one-week Governors Camp for the Gifted. According to one participant in the program, "For one week of the year, gifted children get to live, learn, grow and cry together. For one week a year, gifted children get to be accepted for who they are." The writer thinks the state could do better for its gifted students. Read more.

IRATE PARENT OF GIFTED CHILD writes, "Children who have a disability and are also smart are called twice exceptional, a term that makes me want to punch something." The child in question is five years old, gifted, and legally blind, but cannot get accommodations she has no "developmental delay." Read the story if you like long tales of travail and battles with the school system.

THERE ARE MORE THAN 1,000 GENE MUTATIONS that cause autism. Researchers at the University of North Carolina have now explained how one such mutation can actually disrupt normal brain development and cause symptoms of autism. What's more, a drug exists that could potentially control the maladaptive mechanism present with this particular mutation. Find out more.

DID YOU READ TO YOUR KIDS? Good for you -- MRI scans now prove that such activity has benefits that include better language skills. Kids who are regularly read to have more activity in a brain region that does "semantic processing." Read more.

INTEGRATED HEALTH CARE for mental health issues in children and adolescents boosts the likelihood of a successful treatment outcomes. The combination of care from a mental health care professional along with attention from a pediatrician or primary care physician apparently helps treatment of a wide array of disorders commonly affecting young people. Find out more.

SENGINAR. On August 27th the organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted has scheduled a webinar titled "Tips for Helping Gifted Teens and Kids Cope with Trauma." The presenter is Sharon Barnes. Find out more.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The 2e Movie, Back to School, and the Dreaded Weed

2e: TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL, the movie. Producer Tom Ropelewski is doing follow-up interviews with subjects from this movie, and has posted snippets from those interviews. Some of the subjects of the original documentary have now graduated from college. Find the snippets.

UPDATE: REID DAY SCHOOL. The nascent Reid Day School in Orange County, California, is set for opening on September 8 to serve twice-exceptional children and their families. According to the head of school:
  1. Five students are enrolled to start on the first day of school. The school will have rolling admissions and will likely add another section of students, since the class sizes will not exceed six. 
  2. The school is adding a 1st- to 3rd-grade section. 
  3. The programs are part time or full time, including some "hybrid" options to provide homeschool support but include children in onsite enrichments. 
Find out more.

GIFTED EMPATHY. Emily VP has done a blog post relating how gifted children often have the empathy and perspective to form friendships with "differently abled" children, those with issues ranging from selective mutism to other special needs. The author notes of gifted and special needs kids, "Both may sense or perceive the world differently, and may process information differently." Find the blog.

BACK TO SCHOOL. Yep, it's getting to be that time, and among the barrage of "helpful" articles and press releases is one from an authoritative source, the Child Mind Institute. It's titled "School Success Kit for Kids with Executive Functioning Issues." Find it at the site of the Institute.

ANATOMY OF AN IEP -- that's what the website Understood offers for those who have yet to experience the joys of reading, interpreting, reacting to, and providing input for an Individualized Education Program. If an IEP might be in your future, check out the feature.

WE DON'T ENDORSE pot use by adolescents, but a recent study indicates that teen users might not be putting themselves at risk for health problems such as depression, anxiety, lung cancer, or certain other later-in-life problems such as high blood pressure. Read more. If the results are true, it might be one less thing to worry about concerning pot and your teen -- other than running afoul of the law, driving under the influence, or making decisions even stupider than teens are capable of 
making normally.