Monday, November 30, 2015

Several ADHD Items, U.S. Education Legislation, More

EDUCATION IN THE USA will change in response to legislation now in process at the federal government level. A bill called the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is ready for vote in House and Senate after a joint conference ironed out differences between the two august bodies. NAGC's Jane Clarenbach has posted about some of the implications for gifted education, which include recognition of the needs of gifted students in teacher training; retention of Javits funding; and certain reporting changes that NAGC thinks are advantageous. Find Clarenbach's statement. Separately, the Council for Exceptional Children reported on the progress and pointed to a House summary of the act; find the summary. Looks like the federal government will be less likely to impose state standards or national standards, to impose requirements for "adequate yearly progress" at schools, or mandate teacher evaluation systems. None of the materials we read mentioned provisions for the twice exceptional; maybe those'll emerge as time goes by. (Try holding your breath.)

CEC has posted information about its April convention in St. Louis, including descriptions of sessions. We found a handful of sessions on giftedness or twice exceptionality. See for yourself.

ADHD MEDS. A new study urges caution on prescribing methylphenidate (Ritalin, et al) for ADHD. From a write-up on the study at Science Daily: "When researchers combined data from identified trials, they found that methylphenidate led to modest improvements in ADHD symptoms, general behaviour, and quality of life. Analysis of adverse effects showed that children were more likely to experience sleep problems and loss of appetite while taking methylphenidate. However, the researchers' confidence in all results was very low..." [Highlight is ours.]  Read the write-up to learn more, but if nothing else this might suggest a query to the pediatrician who prescribes meds for your ADHD child. (But why should we worry about flawed research; it's only a few million of our kiddos we're talking about. :-( ) Read about another study on ADHD meds and sleep problems, published in the journal Pediatrics and described in the Albany Daily Star.

ADHD DIAGNOSIS. Who diagnoses ADHD in children, especially children under the age of 6? Mostly pediatricians and other primary care physicians. Parents and other caregivers identify the minority of cases. In contrast to some recent studies, this one found that diagnoses seemed to be fairly well substantiated and corroborated across environments. Read more.

GOT AN APATHETIC TEEN? His or her brain might work differently than brains in motivated young people. Find out how.

REMEMBER THIS RESOURCE -- Wrightslaw's Yellow Pages for Kids. We refer to it when we're trying to track down a resource or service provider in different parts of the country, because it's organized by state. The current Special Ed Advocate will tell you "how to use the Yellow Pages for Kids to find accurate information, resources, and help in your state," says Wrightslaw. Find out more.

DOUBLE-TAKE. We were scanning headlines in news digests as we looked for items for this blog and came across one that read, "Students Help UF/IFAS Professor Breed Better." Huh? Oh, wait, there were two more words after "Better" -- "Tastier Peppers." Okay, next item...

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