Friday, December 30, 2016

The Difference Teachers Can Make, Gifted and Well Adjusted, Year-end "Best of," and More

THE DIFFERENCE A TEACHER CAN MAKE. A teacher tells in a blog posting about a student who entered his school as a freshman. "He was intelligent but feared school, and as a result, he under-achieved. On the first day of enrollment at Midwest Academy he was unable to leave his parents’ car to enter the building. I was sent to fetch him." What happened next was the start of a long process by which the student eventually overcame his fear of school and found some success. Read more, and thanks to Nancy M for pointing us to this story.

OVERCOMING THE STIGMA OF MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. Carrie Fisher was noted as a mental health advocate, speaking candidly about bipolar disorder and how it affected her life. Read more.

GIFTED ... AND WELL ADJUSTED? Gifted individuals are more likely to be well adjusted, according to research recapped in a Psychology Today piece posted earlier this year. Two caveats:
  • "...specific subgroups of gifted children that teachers fail to identify, due to underachievement or in education undervalued talents such as creativity, are at risk for lower levels of psychological well-being.”
  • "Overall, gifted students go on to be high achieving well-adjusted adults. However... this does not mean gifted student’s don’t face problems or challenges. Many do, and without appropriate academic challenge and acknowledgement of the psychological issues they might face, this can potentially do harm."
Find the article.

WHEN IS THE BRAIN "DONE"? There's no simple answer, according to an article in The New York Times. The ongoing development of neural networks confers different capabilities at different times. An expert quoted in the article said, “Sixteen-year-olds are just as good at logical reasoning as older people are." But not when it comes to keeping their emotions under control. And, "In the frontal lobe, in the front of the brain, new links are still forming at age 30, if not beyond." So when will that 2e kiddo's brain be "done"? Who knows. Find out more.

IT'S THE END OF THE YEAR, and lots of media outlet compile "best of" or "most read" lists. Here are a few that might be of interest to the curious, intelligent members of the 2e community:
  • The Washington Post "On Parenting" column shared the 10 most-read pieces of 2016. One was "6 ways good parents contribute to t heir child's anxiety." 
  • The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation chose the top 10 advancements and breakthroughs by those who received foundation grants. Research findings were in the areas of treatment-resistant depression, ketamine for depression, the gut-brain connection in certain psychiatric disorders, how treating metabolic deficiencies can help depression, and more. 
  • Education Week posted its most-viewed education stories (including one on the growth mindset and a couple on the potential effects of the election on education in the U.S.) and top education commentaries (including iconoclast Jim Delisle on "Why I'm Tired of Grit"). 
TEN YEARS AGO, the November/December issue of 2e Newsletter featured the topic of Central Auditory Processing Disorder. See what we included in that issue. And if you want to see what we were writing about in this blog five years ago, at the end of 2011, you can find that here.

DON'T FORGET the set of videos on 2e topics we've posted. You can access them here.

AND HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR! Back in January. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2e-Friendly School, ADHD Matters, Dyslexia, and More

LONG ISLAND 2e-FRIENDLY SCHOOL OPENING. The Long Island Whole Children's Academy will welcome its first class this January, according to NY Metro Parents. Founded by Ellen Richer, former head for school for Quad Prep in Manhattan, the school will serve students in third through eighth grades at its campus in Melville, New York. Find out more.

TEST ACCOMMODATIONS: No Help for Students with ADHD? A blog posting at Education Week reports that accommodations do not improve standardized test scores for test-takers with ADHD. A study found that students with ADHD who received accommodations such as extra test time did no better than students with ADHD who did not receive accommodations. Find the blog.

AND MAYBE NEUROFEEDBACK DOESN'T WORK. We missed this last April, apparently. A study reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found no significant effects of neurofeedback on the symptoms of ADHD. The study was a meta-analysis, and it focused on trials that were randomized and controlled. Trials that were "blinded" -- where the person rating behaviors did not know what kind of intervention the subjects had -- showed no significant differences in behavior. Commenting on the study, Journal Watch said: "Findings from randomized, controlled studies with blinded raters are negative and do not support the use of electroencephalography-based neurofeedback training for ADHD. Families seeking nonpharmacological interventions — because of family preference or the children's intolerance of ADHD medications — need to be informed of these results."

PREVENTION DRUG FOR DEPRESSION, PTSD? A drug under investigation in mice for its effects in enhancing resilience -- thwarting depression and PTSD -- is discussed in a TED talk from September of 2016. The presenter notes that current anti-depressants probably treat symptoms, not the cause -- comparable to using a painkiller to dull pain stemming from an infection. In contrast, the drug, Calypsol, acts like a vaccine, in a preventative manner. Find the talk and the transcript.

DYSLEXIA AND ADAPTIVE LEARNING. A recent study was reported at the site of Time, and the study indicates that dyslexia may be due to inefficient "adaptive learning." Says Time, "When the brain sees something new, whether it’s a word, object, voice or experience, it expends a lot of neural energy to gather as much information about the novel stimulus as possible. But if it does this every time it hears the same voice, or encounters the same dog barking, for example, that wouldn’t be efficient." So reading is compromised by problems with adapting to new (or un-new) stimuli such as sounds and words. Read more. Find another write-up of the study, which was published in Neuron, at Science Daily.

WEBSITE ADDITION. We've added an "Advocacy" page to the resources section on our website. The page provides resources and news aimed at helping parents become effective advocates for their children and to help young people who are twice-exceptional become effective self-advocates. Find it.

TiLT PARENTING has added a resources section to its website: "some of our favorite podcasts, posts, books, and websites specifically geared to support a variety of neurodifferences." The section includes material on twice-exceptionality, and TiLT calls the section a work in progress. Find the new section.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Synesthesia is a condition where sensory input is experienced in ways outside the norm. For example, hearing a sound might lead to the visualization of a particular color. Apparently a gastoral synesthete who is a world-class chef experiences all sensory input as tastes. Read more.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Education, Psychotherapy, Books, The Senses, and More

SINGLE-SESSION TREATMENT? Can one session of psychotherapy successfully treat childhood disorders? A recent study indicated that such sessions could be effective for treating anxiety and conduct disorders, but not depression substance abuse, or eating disorders. The study was in the November 25 Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Journal Watch, from the NEJM, commented this way on the study: "...these data supporting the effectiveness of single sessions for treating childhood anxiety and conduct disorders may be profoundly useful to clinicians. The finding that less-costly single psychoeducational sessions were as effective as those requiring specialized training (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy) further strengthens the feasibility of implementing single-session treatments."

A LIST OF GREAT CHILDREN'S BOOKS written by dyslexics is what Dyslexic Advantage offers for "holiday reads." Dr. Fernette Eide's list includes Peanuts, books by Roald Dahl and Henry Winkler, and more. Find the list.

UNDERSTOOD notes that ADHD and sensory processing issues can have some of the same signs, and offers a table differentiating the two. If you're wondering what's behind the meltdowns in your house, or fidgeting and squirming, or issues of personal space, check out the table.

SENSORY EXPERIENCE in general is the topic of an article at the site of the Dana Foundation. The article addresses the question of how much sensory stimulation is optimal for development of the brain. A couple mouse studies provide clues. In one study, lab mice were given a much larger environment to live in and explore than such mice usually have. In another study, mice were exposed to an environment comparable to what we'd call "overstimulation" for our kiddos. Both studies resulted in brain changes, and you'll have to read the article to find out more.

GIFTED CHALLENGES. Psychologist Gail Post has blogged about what are, in her opinion, the best articles on gifted education of 2016. Among the topics: acceleration, resilience, grit, cultural disparity when it comes to gifted ed, and the "play gap." Find Post's post.

ADHD IN PRESCHOOLERS is the topic of a new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute, covering how it might be diagnosed, behavioral treatment, and considerations for meds. Find the article.

WCGTC is the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, a global organization that holds a biennial conference somewhere on the planet. (Next July the conference is in Australia.) If you're interested in what's going on with WCGTC, check out the organization's December newsletter -- especially if you're an international member of the 2e community.

TiLT PARENTING, in its most recent podcast, addresses a topic that is a fact of life for some families of gifted or 2e kiddos -- parents who are no longer together, and what they can do to best support their -- in TiLT's words -- "differently-wired kids." If this topic is relevant at your house(s), check out the podcast.

UPCOMING EVENT. The Summit Center has scheduled a one-hour webinar on January 25 addressing the topic of supporting smart girls. The intended audience consists of parents of girls 6 to 16. Dr. Lisa White presents, and a fee applies. Find out more

QUIZ. What Oklahoma school district is in potential hot water with the DOE OCR for discrimination against a 2e kiddo? Hint: You should have read Tuesday's blog post.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Sometimes we get lost in the weeds of education. An article at the site of The Washington Post would snap our focus back on a simple question with a complicated answer: What are schools for? The writer proposes one overarching aim: "Maximize learner ability to make sense," which has lots of aspects that go beyond what the writer contends are the currently-emphasized skills of recalling and applying information. So if you'd like a brief respite from IEPs, 504s, diagnoses, accommodations, enrichments, and everything day-to-day, check out the article.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Don't Cross the Mom of a 2e Kiddo, Plus Items on Anxiety, ASD, and More

DON'T CROSS THE PARENT of a 2e kiddo. A school in Oklahoma might have done that by refusing to acknowledge that a mon's gifted son also had ADHD and should have accommodations. She told the school she was filing a civil rights complaint. They fired her from her substitute teacher work. Now the DOE OCR is checking into the matter. Read more.

CBT FOR ANXIETY. New resesarch indicates that CBT alone might be the best treatment for social anxiety disorder, skipping the meds. According to a study write-up, "Nearly 85 per cent of the study participants significantly improved or became completely healthy using only cognitive therapy." Read more.

U OF IOWA COURSE ON 2e. The University of Iowa is offering a between-semesters online course for educators titled "Nurturing the Potential of Twice-Exceptional Students / Practical Guidelines for Understanding and Supporting 2e Students," to be taught by Alissa Doobay, Ph.D. Doobay is a frequent presenter at conferences as part of the Belin-Blank team. The course starts on December 28. Find out more.

ASD, ONE PROTEIN. A significant portion of those on the spectrum might be lacking a single protein in the brain, one called nSR100, or SRRM4. It evidently plays a part in brain development. Its identification by Canadian researchers could lead to new treatments. Read more.

HUMOR AND LD? In the most recent issue of Special Ed Advocate, Wrightslaw promises this: "we invite you to lighten up and laugh. If you have a sense of humor, spend some time on the Lighter Side of Special Education." Find out if your sense of humor matches theirs.

PERSPECTIVES. The worlds of giftedness and twice-exceptionality can sometimes seem pretty insular, due to no one's fault in particular. We invite you to check out what are, to us, some out-of-the-ordinary perspectives from individuals of color and/or disadvantaged backgrounds to understand what they've faced as they strive to achieve and learn.

  • A young man attending an excellent east-coast college, described as having a "love of learning," tells what it's like when he goes home for breaks. As the title of the article says, "most people at his prestigious college have no idea what he's facing there." Find the article
  • "As a black woman from a tough part of the Bronx who grew up to attain all the markers of academic prestige, Dena Simmons knows that for students of color, success in school sometimes comes at the cost of living authentically. Now an educator herself, Simmons discusses how we might create a classroom that makes all students feel proud of who they are." This is a TED Talk; find it. (There's also a transcript.)
  • And a young woman who grew up in poverty wrote this: "As a Wellesley student, a woman who will, and is a part of academia, I am also a hillbilly, an Appalachian, and a Kentuckian. While the students in my classes who came from strong school backgrounds are able to transition to college and even find work study jobs while succeeding, I struggle to keep up with the new formats and challenging material..." Read more
Thanksgiving is past, but these pieces might make you thankful -- and inspired.

Monday, December 19, 2016

FAPE (Again), The Time of Year, and More

"SOME" BENEFIT VERSUS "MEANINGFUL." That's the crux of the Supreme Court case that Disability Scoop and other news media have been writing about over the past month or two. Another issue is the cost burden on public schools of providing "meaningful" benefits to students who might require intensive services and/or therapy. Read more in Disability Scoop.

DR. DAN has an article at the site of The Huffington Post; it's called "Parenting in Uncertain Times," which we're certainly in the midst of right now. If you think your family might be in need of "positivity and peace"as we approach the New Year, perhaps check out Dan Peters' tips.

AND SPEAKING OF THE NEW YEAR, Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities offers, from its Parent Advisory Committee, "New Year's resolutions for making a positive change in their children's lives." For example: Stay involved. For example: Follow my instincts. Read more.

THE END OF THE YEAR is often a time for giving. We urge you to consider giving to a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the 2e community. (Not to us, thanks -- we're supposedly "for profit." 😃 ) Consider organizations such as (in alphabetic order): the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development at Bridges AcademyDyslexic Advantage; Gifted Homeschoolers Forum; Hoagies' Gifted; various NAGC funds; or the organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted. You might also contribute to a 2e-friendly school you think could use your support.

RESEARCH PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITY. Megan Foley-Nicpon at the U of Iowa Belin Blank Center is directing a study on the effectiveness of the CogMed Working Memory Training Program for kiddos with ADHD. The study will be handled online, so participants can live anywhere. Study participants will be recruited from all ability levels. Find out more.

  • Evidently there's a debate about whether dyslexia is real. Really? Education Week Teacher reports on some recent conference presentations asserting that dyslexia was mythological. The writer was, understandably, a little incredulous, but went on to stress the importance of being able to identify dyslexia in the classroom and then to provide supports that can allow dyslexic students to succeed. Find the article. In the meantime, we'll wait for Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide, and others, to comment on the mythology of dyslexia. 
  • A friend of 2e Newsletter (thanks, Jill) recently pointed us to a new book titled Dyslexia: Profiles of Success. It's from the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, and it profiles 61 achievers in a variety of fields. The book is $20. Find out more

AND ON DEPRESSION. Bear with us, lots of items here, it's just that we've heard from parents over the years that depression and anxiety are big bugaboos for 2e kiddos.
  • Four depression subtypes. Research has identified biomarkers for four specific types of depression, which should help in the diagnosis and treatment of depression. According to Medical Daily, "The study found that distinct brain patterns differentiated the four biotypes. These subtypes were linked with specific symptoms...." Read more
  • Response to rewards. According to research from Washington University in St. Louis, the brains of depressed children react "less robustly" to rewards than the brains of neurotypical children. Read more
  • Situational depression. An article at Medical News Today differentiates clinical depression and situational depression, a "natural response to a traumatic event." The article explains how clinical depression is diagnosed, how to treat situational depression, and options for treating clinical depression. Find the article
  • Anxiety, irritability. Last week we wrote about a study that noted how anxiety and irritability can be indicators of depression in children. Journal Watch, from the New England Journal of Medicine, issued some commentary on that study: "Observable antecedents of depression in children and adolescents are especially of interest to pediatric practice, where prevention is a major goal. It is not surprising that fear and anxiety occurred prior to the onset of depression; depression and anxiety often coexist, and fear (in excess of developmentally normal fears) is a core component of anxiety. Irritability, a state of abnormal excitability and agitation, may be a symptom of an emerging depression."

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dyslexia, ASD (and Buzzies), and More

DYSLEXIA SCREENING IN OREGON. A recently-enacted law in Oregon requires that every student in kindergarten and first grade be screened for dyslexia, with the aim of implementing early intervention if needed. Other recent legislation in the state addresses teacher training for dyslexia. The Bulletin says that Decoding Dyslexia Oregon pushed for the legislation -- another example of good grass-roots advocacy, we say. Read more.

THE BUZZIES. Fox News in Wisconsin reports on a doctor -- and mom of 2e children -- who invented a device using bilateral stimulation to "interfere with your body's stress response" and make it possible for children with autism to focus better. A set of Buzzies consists of two devices, one worn on each side of the body. Find the article. Find a site that sells Buzzies. (Caveat: We have no first-hand experience with Buzzies; do your own due diligence. 😐 )

SMARTKIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES offers "6 great gifts for children with LD and ADHD." But these are not "traditional" gifts. Find out more.

TiLT PARENTING offers Episode 37 in its podcast series, this one about girls on the autism spectrum and featuring a behavioral and educational consultant. From the preview: "In our conversation we talk about what high-functioning autism looks like in girls, the importance of letting kids in on their diagnoses as early as possible, why schools are missing catching autism in girls, and what the real challenges are for girls versus boys with the same diagnoses—low self-esteem." Find the podcast.

NEED A SECTION 504 PRIMER? Wrightslaw devotes a recent issue of Special Ed Advocate to Section 504, "the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities." As Wrightlaw notes, "Compliance is not optional." Find Special Ed Advocate.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE is on Facebook, of course. (And Twitter, and Instagram.) Social media mavens can find the Facebook site here. It's a great resource for families and for educators. The website is here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lots of Research, A Little Politics


  • Patients with depression can be categorized into four unique subtypes defined by distinct patterns of abnormal connectivity in the brain, according to new research. Find a write-up
  • What to look for to find depression in kids? Watch for anxiety and irritability, according to British researchers. Find out more
  • Early-onset major depressive disorder (MDD) is common in individuals with a family risk of depression. So what signs or symptoms might precede that initial onset of MDD during adolescence among a high-risk group of children with depressed parents? Read more
AUTISM. In children on the spectrum, anxiety is often masked by the symptoms of autism. But a new variant to a standard anxiety screening method has now proven effective in separating the two and it is leading to important diagnoses. Find a write-up.

PERSONALITY. A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has identified six loci or regions of the human genome that are significantly linked to personality traits, report researchers. The findings also show correlations with psychiatric disorders. Find a write-up.

  • Genetics is part of ADHD, and new research provides more information on exactly how a "risk gene" might work. Read more
  • "There is growing evidence that the first approach in addressing ADHD should be either nonpharmacologic therapy, especially in younger children, or a combination of medication and lifestyle changes." This is from an article at Medscape on ADHD and whether to use meds. Find it
GENDER. Slight gender variations in attention scores have been well documented, but a new study from Harvard Medical School suggests that these minor gaps widen significantly in places with lower gender equality. Read more.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to poorer reading skills in the first three school years in 6-8 year old boys, according to a new study. The study investigated the longitudinal associations of physical activity and sedentary time with reading and arithmetic skills in 153 children aged 6-8 years old in Grades 1-3 of the primary school. Find a write-up.

PARENTING. When children are falsely successful at games and other challenges, it can lead them to ignore important information in and about the world around them, according to a new study. Find a write-up. And do you ever wonder what your picky eater will do when he or she grows up? The New York Times addresses that question; find the article.
GUT FEELINGS. The microbiome may affect mental illness and interact with treatment. All of us who have experienced a 'nervous stomach' under periods of stress suspect that there is a link between our gut and our mood. Now researchers have received strong scientific support for exactly this link. Find a write-up.

AND SOME POLITICS. Like it or not, the new administration in the U.S. federal government will likely mean changes that affect the 2e community. Here is one area of concern. The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights handles double the number of complaints now as it did eight years ago. This is relevant insofar as the OCR enforces equal access to education for all, including kiddos with disabilities. Read more. Education Week also has an article on the future of the OCR; find it.

Monday, December 12, 2016

2e in Texas, 2e-friendly Resources, and -- Harry Potter

2e IN TEXAS. Evidently 2e students in Texas -- or any student needing special ed supports -- might not have been well served by the Texas Education Agency during the time the agency imposed percentage caps on the number of students eligible for special ed services. The U.S. Department of Education is stepping in and holding "listening sessions" for Texas parents (those are this week; see below), but according to, parents have already been airing complaints on the DOE site. Here's an example: "My 8 year old son has been formally diagnosed as ADHD, general anxiety, social anxiety, mild depression (that’s a new one after his first grade year), and a severe sensory deficit. He’s also highly gifted." He was evidently denied services. Find the article. The unit of the DOE that will be conducting the listening sessions during the week of December 12 is the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS). Texas parents can find a schedule of the listening sessions -- dates and locations -- at the OSERS site. As of this Monday morning, you can also read 97 comments from what appear to be mainly parents, many of the comments quite lengthy. (We didn't read all 97, sorry.)

2e-FRIENDLY SCHOOL FORMING. The Edison Academy in San Luis Obispo, California, has sent out a call for input, saying, "We are in the beginning stages of forming a public charter school and need your input." The call for input also lists the educational principals of the proposed school, and they sound good. For example: "Providing dual differentiation: curricular modifications that simultaneously take into account both a student’s cognitive abilities and learning challenges." Find out more.

2e-FRIENDLY SCHOOL IN NEW YORK. A representative of West Hills Academy, in Huntington, New York, contacted us to let us know about the school. The representative wrote: "West Hills Academy, built on 24 years of education experience, is a private school for students in grades K-8. We specialize in meeting the needs of students who are struggling with the everyday challenges of the traditional school setting. We understand the importance of getting to know the child YOU know and creating a customized and flexible learning environment in which that child can reach his or her full potential." Find out more. (West Hill's parent organization is the Gersh Academy.)

2e SUMMER CAMP EARLY BIRD OFFER. Quad Manhattan, an after-school and summer "meeting place" for 2e kids, has announced an early-bird discount for next summer's camp. The offer is good through January 3. Find out more about Quad Manhattan; find out more about summer camp. Contact the camp director for more information about the early-bird offer.

2e-FRIENDLY FACEBOOK GROUP. Marcie Carlstedt Booth has established a closed Facebook group, Twice Exceptional/ 2E Network International. It is an outgrowth of her efforts in the Los Angeles area to serve families of bright children who have special needs. You may also contact Marcie by phone with questions: (818) 667-1950. Find the Facebook group.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Education Week Teacher has a blog in which the blogger posts "10 Offers of Wisdom from Fictional Characters." One of the 10 is from the character Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series. Here's the quote and her explanation of it:
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." There are many great quotes JK Rowling has given to Dumbledore throughout the series, but this one is poignant in how we teach kids. It shows how Dumbledore believes in a growth mindset and despite the natural abilities we each come to an experience with, it is the choices we make in important moments that define us, not those talents.
Find the 10 quotes.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Advocacy, FAPE, ASD Diagnosis, PISA, and Resources

SCOTUS AND FAPE. Disability Scoop has published an article on the current status of the US Supreme Court's acceptance of a case involving free and appropriate education. This case is the Colorado case, where parents complained that schools did not offer FAPE to their son with autism and put him in a private school, then asked for reimbursement. According to Disability Scoop, many individuals and groups have weighed in, asking the court to side with the family when the case is heard in January. Read more.

THE DOE OCR? The Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education sticks up for many students, occasionally for "our" students -- ones discriminated against because of a learning disability. The Atlantic has published an article in which experts speculate on whether the new president and his secretary of education will make changes that would affect the OCR. Read more.

DIAGNOSING ASD WITH DSM-5. Those involved in diagnosing ASD might be interested in a Belin Blank study concerning the instruments used to make such a diagnosis under DSM-5. The study indicated that the ADOS (Autism Diagnosis Observation Scale) instrument alone is insufficient for making such a diagnosis, and should be used along with the ADI-R (Autism Diagnosis Instrument -- Revised). Find the study abstract.

PISA TIME AGAIN. The results of the latest Program for International Student Assessment, PISA, are out, and things aren't looking exactly rosy for U.S. students, who tend to score in the middle of the pack. You can read more at the site of The New York Times, which observed the following about what makes for good results: "Generally speaking, the smartest countries tend to be those that have acted to make teaching more prestigious and selective; directed more resources to their neediest children; enrolled most children in high-quality preschools; helped schools establish cultures of constant improvement; and applied rigorous, consistent standards across all classrooms." (We -- the U.S. -- get 1 out of 5 on those criteria.) The Education Week "Inside School Research" blog also discusses the results. So does Science Magazine.

ONLINE DYSLEXIA SCREEN. Our friends at Dyslexic Advantage are looking for volunteers (dyslexic and non-dyslexic) to help with the development of an affordable online test for dyslexia. If you, or a dyslexic kiddo you know, or someone else with an interest in dyslexia can help out, it'll be a service to the 2e community. Find out more; respond to the email address if interested.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has posted a new article with tips for achieving stress-free holidays when your family might include kiddos of a certain persuasion. Find the article.

UNDERSTOOD is hosting an "Experts Live" webinar on December 22 titled "Twice-Exceptional: Helping Gifted Kids with Learning and Attention Issues." Amanda Morin presents. Find out more.

LANDMARK COLLEGE has issued new editions of two e-newsletters, one on the college and one on the college's Institute for Research and Training. In the college newsletter, Landmark College students tell their stories on video, and the college announces other news, such as a $131,220 grant to "integrate, articulate and apply an approach to teaching and supporting writing across the curriculum that is unprecedented in higher education and holds potential for broad dissemination." Find the Insider. LCIRT announces a newly launched blog and upcoming events. The blog already features a variety of posts on topics such as cognitive flexibility, dyscalculia (is it real?) and mindfulness. Find the newsletter.

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. On December 14m ADDitude will present a free webinar by Jerome Schultz titled "An Educator's Guide to Teaching Students with ADHD." Find out more.

WITH UNDERSTANDING COMES CALM. This organization is sponsoring a May 2 screening of the movie "2e: Twice Exceptional" in Silver Springs, Maryland. Find out more. Separately, the founder of With Understanding Comes Calm, Julie Skolnick, is part of the group putting on Camp Summit East this August 19-26. The camp is for gifted kids and is 2e-friendly. Find out more at the site of the Summit Center, founders of the camp.

TiLT PARENTING has released Episode 36 in its podcast series, a conversation with the son of TiLT's founder, 12yo Asher, about diagnoses, labels, and stigmas. Debbie Asher says of the podcast, "In our conversation, we talk about how Asher feels about his diagnoses, why he believes parents should tell their kids exactly what’s going on with them, and why he’s totally fine for others to know about the ways in which he’s differently wired." We've heard Asher on previous podcasts, and he is bright, funny, honest, and engaging. Find out more.

DUKE TIP is sponsoring a writing and illustration contest as part of its 4th-6th grade talent search. If that bright kiddo you raise or teach might be motivated to participate, check it out.

Monday, December 5, 2016

SAT Accommodations, Parenting, Advocacy, More

SAT ACCOMMODATIONS. The College Board, owner of the SAT and other standardized tests, will make it easier for students with disabilities to receive accommodations to take its tests. According to the College Board, "Beginning January 1, 2017, the vast majority of students who are approved for and using testing accommodations at their school through a current Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan will have those same accommodations automatically approved for taking the SAT®, PSAT™10, PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT Subject Tests™, and AP®Exams." Find the press release. Find a write-up in The Washington Post.

PARENTING STYLE. Psychology Today explains the results of a study of the link between parenting style and children's behavioral problems. According to Psychology Today, "The main finding was that children whose temperament is more “difficult” (they were easily upset, less able to self-regulate) both benefit more from positive parenting and suffer more from negative parenting." Is volatility or self-regulation an issue at your house? Read more.

ADVOCATE! That's the verb form there, imperative mood, to be exact, and it's what the Council for Exceptional Children urges us to do: to "tell Congress to invest in education programs for children with exceptionalities now!" And you, dear reader, should be doubly motivated, seeing how that kiddo you raise or educate is multiply exceptional. Find out more about what CEC wants you to do.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has published a parents' guide to OCD on its website, covering what it is, signs, treatment, related disorders, and working with school. Find the guide.

ONLINE CBT FOR OCD. A recently-published study tested web-based cognitive behavioral therapy on adolescents with OCD. About 30 percent of treated subjects showed improvement effects ranging from moderate-large to very large. Commentary in Journal Watch, from the New England Journal of Medicine stated, "Study limitations included the lack of either an active Internet-based intervention or an in-person control group. If future studies are confirmatory, these positive findings will be especially important for children with OCD because multiple factors impede implementing in-person CBT."

SENG WEBINAR. This Thursday, December 8, SENG offers a webinar titled "Communicating and Collaborating with Your Child's Teacher," to be presented by Dina Brulles. Find out more.

AND THE DOE OCR? The Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education sticks up for many students, occasionally for "our" students -- ones discriminated against because of a learning disability. The Atlantic has published an article in which experts speculate on whether the new president and his secretary of education will make changes that would affect the OCR. Find the article.

GIFTED AND DISTRACTIBLE. This newsletter from With Understanding Comes Calm is out in its newest edition, with pointers to all kinds of resources and news. Find it.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Be careful -- that toddler you're talking to might be better than you think at sensing pretend or statements that aren't true, according to a new study. Find out more.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Advocacy, Dyslexia, ASD, Parenting, More

SOMETHING TO WATCH? As the new administration takes shape in Washington, D.C., some observers express concern about the possible U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. He would be responsible for "defending and enforcing federal education laws that guarantee students with disabilities the 'free appropriate public education' (FAPE) they are legally due," as Forbes puts it. But he has apparently in the past expressed skepticism about "special treatment for certain children" -- this according to the Huffington Post, which cited a speech in which Sessions was "arguing that federal protections for students with disabilities was a reason U.S. public schools were failing." Perhaps this is something to pay attention to and then act on if you believe that his appointment would be inimical to your best interests as the parent or educator of a 2e kiddo. (This has nothing to do with political beliefs, just the best interests of the 2e community.)

NPR is doing a series called "Unlocking Dyslexia," which 2e Newsletter publisher Linda Neumann has been listening to and enjoying. Find Part 1 of the series, titled "Millions Have Dyslexia, Few Understand It."

DISABILITY SCOOP reports that Ford Motor Company, after launching a pilot program that involved hiring four employees on the autism spectrum, is expanding the program to include a dozen or two more. The first four employees had either a high school diploma or a bachelor's degree and are slated to earn between $31,000 and $38,000 per year. Read more.

PARENTS: EASE UP? According to Arizona State University, new research there suggests parents shouldn't obsess over grades and extracurricular activities for young schoolchildren, especially if such ambitions come at the expense of social skills and kindness. Doing so may work against helping kids become well-adjusted and successful later in life. Read more.

TOURETTE'S: A FIRST-PERSON VIEW. The New York Times has published a man's account of living with Tourette's -- others' reactions, his frustrations, how he's tried to deal with his condition. It's not a happy piece, but an insightful one. Find it.

CEC WEBINAR. The Council for Exceptional Children is presenting a webinar on December 8 titled "Supporting Executive Function in the Classroom: Improve Student Learning." From the event blurb: "This webinar will focus on ways in which teachers can use appropriate strategies to support children’s developing executive skills, while helping improve academic performance as well." A fee applies. Find out more.

TiLT PARENTING. This website, for parents of differently-wired kids, has released Episode 35 in its podcast series, a conversation with the founders of Wolf + Friends, which can evidently be a resource for the parents of differently-wired kids. Find out more. In addition, TiLT has scheduled a live webinar, "TiLT Parenting's Holiday Survival Plan." for December 7 at 8 pm Central European Time. It's free, but participation is limited to 100 attendees. Find out more.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Depression, OCD, a Ted Talk, and More

STARTING ON A HAPPY NOTE, we have three items on depression, a frequent bug-a-boo to 2e kiddos:
  • Mental disorders and physical diseases frequently go hand in hand. For the first time, psychologists have identified temporal patterns in young people: arthritis and diseases of the digestive system are more common after depression, while anxiety disorders tend to be followed by skin diseases. Find a study write-up
  • Evidently drugs don't work for half of those who try them for depression, but Medical News Today reports that an eight-week intervention centered on breathing-based yoga can improve symptoms of depression when combined with the meds patients previously took. Read more
  • The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is sponsoring a free "Meet the Scientist" webinar on December 13 titled "Neuroinflammatory Hypotheses of Depression." Find out more

OCD PRIMER. Medical News Today has recently posted an article explaining what OCD is (including PANDAS), along with common treatments. Find the article.

HELP FOR KIDS THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IGNORES is a TED Talk that is ostensibly about high school drop-outs from disadvantaged backgrounds, but it obliquely touches on two things that 2e kiddos, because of their "alienation" from the norm, can use. One is a teacher who believes. The presenter, Victor Rios, remembers such a teacher; her mantra was, "Victor, I'm here for you whenever you're ready." Another factor is perspective, focusing on (yes, it's trite) the positive. An example of that from the talk, recounting the pivotal point where one young man realized he had a purpose in life: "He told us his story. We refined his story to go from being the story of a victim to being the story of a survivor [who] has overcome adversity. [Italics ours] We placed high value on it." Listen to the talk or read the transcript here.

SENG. The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted has announced that early-bird registration for its annual conference is open. The conference is scheduled for August 3-6 in Naperville, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. Find out more.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE has issued its November eNews Update. It includes news of the Davidson Academy's online high school, opening next fall; about Davidson programs such as the Davidson Fellows Davidson Young Scholars; and a smattering of what's new in gifted ed. Find the newsletter.

CHICAGO-AREA ASD CLINICAL TRIAL. Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago, is conducting a clinical trial on the effect of oxytocin combined with social cognitive skills therapy for children 8-11 with autism spectrum disorder. Find out more at the site of Rush or in a blog at the Huffington Post.

  • November 29, workshop titled "Bright Kids Who Can't Keep Up: Helping Your Child Overcome Slow Processing Speed, and Succeed in a Fast-Paced World," Freeport, Maine. Find out more.  
  • November 30-December 2, Annual Conference of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented, Dallas, Texas. Find out more
  • December 6, 7:00 p.m. live event "Strategies for Improving Executive Function Skills to Plan, Organize, and Problem Solve for School Success," west suburbs of Chicago. Find out more
  • December 6, live event, "An Introduction to Cognitive Profile," by the Auburn School, Baltimore area. Find out more
  • December 9, creativity lab/workshop for kids, Reid Day School, Costa Mesa, California. Find out more

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

ADHD, Harry Potter Character, Holidays, and More

UNDERSTOOD offers a blog posting by a writer and disability activist who explains how a character in the Harry Potter series -- Neville Longbottom -- helped her come to grips with her own learning and attention issues, giving numerous examples from the series. If you have a Harry Potter fan in that 2e kiddo you raise or teach, perhaps this would be an entree into conversation -- or understanding. Find the posting.

INTELLIGENCE THEORY is the subject of any article by Russell Warne in High Flyer. The article is based on one published in Gifted Child Quarterly advocating the use of the Cattell-Horn-Carroll theory of intelligence. The blogger writes, "Leading psychologists view intelligence as a general ability (labeled g) that sits atop a three-level hierarchy of mental abilities... It is important because it includes every cognitive ability yet discovered by psychologists, including verbal ability, abstract reasoning, vocabulary knowledge, mathematical ability, spatial reasoning, reaction time, short-term memory, and more. General ability, “g,” includes them all." Find the blog.

ADHD. David Rabiner recently presented a webinar titled "Attention Problems and Academic Achievement: Can Attention Skills be Trained." That webinar is now available online for viewing free of charge; find it.

GIFTEDNESS AND THE HOLIDAYS. Psychologist Gail Post writes about why gifted children often encounter trouble at holiday times, and what parents can do to help avoid that trouble. Find her blog.

ASD, VITAMIN D. A very brief study write-up at Science Daily describes research indicating that vitamin D supplementation can help improve symptoms of autism, including hyperactivity and social withdrawal. Find the write-up.

PARENTING. Two items of interest to parents appeared in the media recently. In one, a mouse study indicated that video game-like experiences change the circuits in a growing brain. The results, according to NPR: "On the plus side, it meant that these mice were able to stay calm in an environment that would have stressed out a typical mouse... But it also meant they acted like they had an attention deficit disorder, showed signs of learning problems, and were prone to risky behavior." Read more. The other item was a Wall Street Journal article about research on how different parenting styles can affect not only the mental and emotional health of children, but also physical health. Find the article.

Monday, November 21, 2016

ASD, ADHD, Late Diagnoses, More

WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY supports students on campus who have ASD with the Kelly Autism Program. A member of that program is featured in the lead of a New York Times article about how colleges are supporting these students, with counselors, peer mentors, and more. Find the article.

AUTISM: LATE (REAL LATE) DIAGNOSIS. A reader pointed us to an article in the UK Guardian (thanks, Nancy) describing what it's like to receive an autism diagnosis late in adult life. Included are some heart-rending stories of how the subjects were treated as children by adults who didn't understand them, leading to bad memories that have persisted for four or five decades. The article includes a poem by one of these newly-aware adults:

Childhood nights were dreams
of being a sheep
then up and out of a morning,
a quick check to see

if by any chance in the night
there had been a change
of being just like all my friends
and not the odd one out

Find the article.

BY COINCIDENCE, Newswise just carried a story about a study published in the journal Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. The article starts off: "For most of his life, Kevin Hughes has felt like an outsider. A loner as a child, the 65-year-old comedian struggled socially as a teenager and lacked friends as an adult, often offending people without knowing why." Do you see where this is going?  Find this article.

SENG CALL FOR PROPOSALS. Presenters' proposals for the 2017 SENG conference, to be held next August in the Chicago area, are invited by December 30. We've said this before, but if you feel you have something to say to others in the 2e community, please consider submitting a proposal for conferences like this, or NAGC, or CEC. Of the "strands" planned for the SENG conference is this one: 'Multiple Exceptionalities -- gifted with behavioral, learning, physical and/or social challenges." Find out more.

ADHD DIAGNOSIS. Young adults diagnosed with ADHD may display subtle physiological signs that could lead to a more precise diagnosis, according to researchers. In a recent study, young adults with ADHD, when performing a continuous motor task, had more difficulty inhibiting a motor response compared to young adults who did not have ADHD. The participants with ADHD also produced more force during the task compared to participants without ADHD. This according to a study write-up at Science Daily. Find the write-up.

AND FINALLY THIS -- FOR DADS. Also from Science Daily: The warmth of a father's love has a special influence on young people, and makes them feel optimistic and determined to strive for greater things. It also boosts the math grades of teenage girls and the language ability of boys. Read more.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Depression, Disillusionment -- And Some Resources!

DEPRESSION is in the news this week. First, the results of a study indicating that depression is becoming more common in U.S. teens -- but that the proportion of those teens seeking treatment or help for their depression has not changed. Read more. Second, another news outlet's take on that same rsearch focused on how depression increased disproportionately in girls; find it. Third, a recently updated or posted article at describes treatment options for children with depression -- including therapy and drugs. Find the article. And fourth, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, which pointed us to a couple of the items above, reminds us that it has its own "Depression Resource Center"; find it.

GIFTED, 2e IN THE NEWS. An article from Dixie State University highlights a mother-daugher pair who are both enrolled at the university. The daughter, 11, is quite gifted and a freshman education major at the school. A twist: there's 2e in the family. Find the article.

NAGC has posted an article by James T. Webb of Great Potential Press. Webb is a psychologist, publisher, and author. The title of the article is "When Bright Kids Become Disillusioned." The article is aimed at educators, and offers a number of ideas for how teachers can deal with disillusionment in students. Find the article.

DAVIDSON ACADEMY has announced the launch of an online high school option beginning in the 2017-28 school year. This gives highly gifted students two educational options for students – the online high school for those living anywhere in the U.S. and the day school on the University of Nevada campus in Reno. Find out more.

GIFTED HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM is 13 years old (same as 2e Newsletter), and reaches millions of eyeballs each week, according to a recent communique. Separately, GHF offers on its website an excerpt from the book Writing Your Own Script; the excerpt deals with finding mentors for gifted and 2e young people. If you're interested in exploring this kind of resource for that 2e kiddo you raise or teach, check out the excerpt.

DON'T CALL DAN PETERS on Tuesdays at 11:30 Pacific time; he'll be busy conversing and answering questions on Facebook during that time. The psychologist, author, and founder of Parent Footprint says "bring your parenting questions" to Facebook.

WRIGHTSLAW says this about the reading program your student with dyslexia might be receiving at school: "If a child isn’t learning in a particular program, that program doesn’t 'work.' The school must provide a different program that does work." Read more.

EXECUTIVE FUNCTION WEBINAR. Landmark College's Institute for Research and Training is presenting a webinar tomorrow, Friday, titled "Supporting Executive Function: Strategies and Skills for the Classroom." Find out more.

TiLT PARENTING. Ever had difficulty communicating with family about your child's giftedness or exceptionallities? TiLT's newest podcast is titled "Navigating Multigenerational Dynamics with Our Parents and In-laws." Here's what TiLT says about the podcast: "In this episode of the TiLT Parenting Podcast, I sit down with my dear friend and super talented life coach Kanesha Baynard to talk about the relationship we have with our parents and in-laws while also navigating our own journey as parents." Find the podcast.

Monday, November 14, 2016

NYC 2e Conference, World Conference, Scholarships, and More

2e CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK. Quad Prep and the organization AEGUS (Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students) have announced the dates for the third annual conference "Breakthroughs in Twice Exceptional Education." The conference will be held March 15-16 at the Cooper Union in New York City, the same site as the previous conference. Find out more.

WORLD CONFERENCE. The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children has announced a call for proposals for its 2017 conference, to be held in July of 2017 in New South Wales, Australia. If you have something to say -- especially on the topic of twice exceptionality -- and you want to say it to educators from all over the world, consider submitting a proposal by December 15. Find out more.

SCHOLARSHIPS. The organization Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities has posted information about scholarships for students with LDs, pointing to a list of nine such scholarships. Among the nine: A "Smart Kids" scholarship that we've mentioned in the past. Find the post.

TiLT PARENTING has posted podcast Episode 33, in which the podcast founder and her 12yo son discuss life with ADHD. From the podcast preview: "In our conversation, Asher shares how he felt when he first found out he had ADHD, what it means to him, and the areas of his life where it impacts him the most. I talk about my steep learning curve with understanding ADHD when I first began homeschooling Asher, and reflect on the ways in which I’m still struggling to embrace all aspects of his ADHD. We also have a frank conversation about why Asher has chosen to not take medication for ADHD and what he’s doing instead." Find the podcast.

CREATIVE WAYS TO TEACH TECHNOLOGY. A TED talk deals with "Easy DIY projects for kid engineers," by a teacher who created engineering projects to challenge her students. The presenter offers three principles for success in the design of such projects. Find the TED talk. (You can also read the transcript rather than watch if you prefer.)

HELP A 2e-FRIENDLY SCHOOL. If you're so inclined, you can help a 2e-friendly school in Orange County by contributing to its fund-raising campaign. The campaign will benefit Reid Day School, profiled in January in 2e Newsletter. Find out more.

Friday, November 11, 2016

NAGC, Anxiety, ASD, Some Events, and More

NAGC. We attended NAGC's annual convention, this one at Disney World last week. Watch for coverage of 2e-related sessions in the upcoming November/December issue of 2e Newsletter. NAGC has introduced a new strategic framework, announced at the convention, centered on Minds, Policies, and Practices. Find out more. As part of the framework, NAGC has launched a campaign called "Giftedness Knows No Boundaries." Of the campaign, NAGC Executive Director Rene Islas says, "Through this campaign we will allow the public to look into the eyes of gifted children and hear their pleas to "see me, understand me, teach me, and challenge me." Find out more about the campaign, and spread the word if you think it's a good idea. Separately, we noted earlier in the week how Susan Assouline was recognized at the convention with NAGC's Distinguished Scholar Award. In addition, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, director of the Northwestern University Center for Talent Development and a past president of NAGC, received a Distinguished Service Award. Find out more about NAGC award recipients.

ANXIETY IN YOUTH is the topic of an article written by a psychiatrist in Vogue. The writer notes that up to 20 percent of children and adolescents will face anxiety-related issues, yet four of five children with anxiety won't receive treatment. He offers this possible reason for what he calls a health crisis: "We are both putting stress on our children and trying to protect them from the uncomfortable feelings that can be an appropriate response to stress." Read more.

AUTISM NEWS. Disability Scoop reports that a Phase III trial is underway for a drug that might treat aspects of autism. The drug is based on the fact that "many children on the spectrum are deficient in an important enzyme used to digest protein into its building blocks." The drug, an enzyme, is being offered to young patients on the spectrum, including those who are high-functioning, to see if it leads to symptomatic improvement. Find out more. Separately, a recent study reviewed in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology described a trial of the drug Arbaclofen to treat symptoms of ASD, specifically social withdrawal/lethargy. While the trial did not find improvement in that symptom, apparently the drug had other beneficial effects, for example on social skills. Journal Watch, of the New England Journal of Medicine, comments this way on the use of the drug: "Arbaclofen was associated with improvements in social behaviors and global severity, but not in the primary outcome of social withdrawal and lethargy. For people with ASD, gains in even one area, especially social behaviors, are important. Therefore, it seems reasonable to offer a trial of arbaclofen to children with ASD (through caregivers) and to high-functioning independent ASD patients, so long as realistic expectations are established." (Journal Watch is available by subscription only.)

GHF. The Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, looking ahead, has announced the opening of registration for online classes in the spring of 2017. On its website, GHF says, "Our small online classes provide abundant opportunities for interaction among students and instructors. Our classes offer students the opportunity to learn advanced, interdisciplinary content without being overburdened by heavy workload demands." Find out more.

DAVID RABINER, ADHD expert, is presenting in a free online webinar titled "What you need to know about attention and ADHD," a 1.5-hour event to be held on November 17. Find out more.

PROCESSING SPEED. Transdisciplinary Workshops has scheduled a workshop for November 29 titled "Bright Kids Who Can't Keep Up: Helping Your Child Overcome Slow Processing Speed, and Succeed in a Fast-Paced World." All you have to do is make your way to Freeport, Maine (and pay the registration fee). Find out more.

IS DYSLEXIA AN LD? Yep -- but some schools might try to avoid serving dyslexic students with an appropriate special ed program, according to Wrightslaw. Wrightslaw offers you ways to counter such reluctance. Find out more.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Texas, Landmark, U of Iowa, DITD

FOLLOW-UP. Remember how the state of Texas figured that no more than 8.5 percent of its students should be eligible for special ed services? They're changed their tune, according to the Houston Chronicle. Even so,"State officials vigorously defended a policy that arbitrarily set 8.5 percent as the ideal number, saying the policy was not a 'cap,' was not meant to save money, and did not seriously punish school districts that failed to comply." Read more.

LANDMARK COLLEGE has an Institute for Research and Training, and the Institute's most recent e-newsletter has items about mindfulness and education, an executive function webinar, and some recommended articles on topics such as devices, neurodiversity, and ADHD med rebound. Find the newsletter.

ASSOULINE RECOGNIZED. Susan Assouline, Director of the Belin Blank Center at the University of Iowa, has been presented with NAGC's Distinguished Scholar Award. The award goes to "an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of gifted education and demonstrates a continuous record of distinguished scholarship and ongoing scholarly productivity as recognized by experts in the field." The Center is one of few places in the country to conduct ongoing research into giftedness, LDs, and twice exceptionality. Congratulations, Susan! Find out more.

DIDT EDUCATORS GUILD. This group at the Davidson Institute has issued its fall newsletter. The lead topic is motivation -- or the lack of it -- as applied to gifted students. The article differentiates intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and provides pointers to more information. Also highlighted in the newsletter are professional development opportunities for gifted educators as well as general resources. Find the newsletter.

AND FINALLY, THIS. According to new research, a far wider swath of brain areas is activated when children hear their mothers than when they hear other voices, and this brain response predicts a child's social communication ability. Read more.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

First-person Story, Sports and Autism, SCOTUS and LDs, and More

THIS WILL RESONATE. An article from The Hechinger Report, an education newsletter, is a first-person account by a high school junior of his school experiences. The line that hooks: "I spend half my days in accelerated classes and the other half in special ed." Find the article.

WE OFTEN THINK that sports are mutually exclusive with autism or with twice-exceptionality. An article at Sports Illustrated suggests otherwise. Find the article.

LEGAL WONKS know that the US Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases that will affect special ed and, therefore, possibly the education of our 2e kiddos. Policy Insider, from the Council for Exceptional Children, offers perspectives on one of those cases, Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools. The case relates to a school's refusal to allow a service dog for a girl with cerebral palsy, and involves some technical questions about how families go about getting educational justice. Find out more.

TIME MAGAZINE addresses teen anxiety and depression and offers tips for parents. Find the article.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has posted a new article about how parents can help kids with self-regulation, often an issue with highly intense young people. The piece covers what it is, what dysregulation looks like (you probably know that), why kids struggle with regulation, and what to do about it. Find the article.

GIFTED AND DISTRACTIBLE. Julie Skolnik's most recent newsletter is out, with items on a variety of events, resources, and topics of interest, especially for parents in the Washington, DC, area. One item: the announcement of Camp Summit's East Coast plans for this summer. Find the newsletter.

TiLT PARENTING, for parents of differently-wired kids, offers Episode 32 in its podcast series, this one titled "How to Eliminate Control Battles with Your Differently-wired Teen." The subject-matter expert is author and therapist Neil Brown. Find the podcast.

2e RESOURCES. Landmark School is a day and boarding school for students in grades 2-12 who have language-based LDs. The school has, over the years, developed resources which it makes available to the public. Some of those resources are information booklets such as "Receptive and Expressive Language Disorders," priced at $10. Another resource is the Landmark Outreach Online Program, courses for educators who work with students who have dyslexia or other language-based LDs. For example, one course is "Executive Function: Impact on Academic Proficiency."

Monday, October 31, 2016

Educating Pediatricians, Managing IEPs, and More

IN THE (AAP) NEWS. The annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatricians was last week. Psychologist Dan Peters made the AAP News with his presentation on giftedness and how that can be "misdiagnosed" as ADHD, ASD, or a mood disorder. He also addressed the importance of meeting the social-emotional needs of gifted children. Read more about what Peters advised pediatricians to watch out for. Separately, another presentation at the conference dealt with behavior problems in children with high-functioning autism; find a write-up of the session.

ASD, ADHD. Pediatric researchers report that children with ASD may mistakenly be diagnosed with ADHD because they have autism-related social impairments rather than problems with attention. This is important for determining the right services and treatments for a child, say the researchers. Find a write-up of the research.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has posted a new piece about myths associated with learning disabilities. Read it to see if you on your 2e journey have so far encountered any of the four myths discussed.

GOT A KIDDO WITH AN IEP? Understood offers information about ways to assemble and organize an IEP binder. Find the information.

LD ONLINE provides resources from the Landmark School Outreach Program. Landmark School is a Massachusetts day and boarding school for students with language-based learning disabilities who are in grades 2-12. The resources consist of teaching strategies to help students establish communication skills for addressing challenging situations. For example, one strategy is scripting, providing a student with the words to use in a particular difficult situation. Find the resources.

THE CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION FOR THE GIFTED has issued a call for presenters for its next annual conference, March 3-5. If you've got something to contribute that would further the goals of the 2e community, we urge you to consider submitting a proposal. (Plus you'd get half off your conference registration.) Find out more.

IN ORANGE COUNTY? The Reid Day School is offering an evening presentation on November 10 titled "The Social and Emotional Needs of Bright Children," with Dr. Marc Lerner. Find out more.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Success Stories, Destigmatizing LDs, and Brain Stuff

LD VICTORIES. The Child Mind Institute has published a group of videos called "Our Stories" in which young people, parents, and advocates describe "victories" in children who have learning differences or mental health issues. The Institute invites us to see and read the stories, then to share. "Together," says the Institute, "we can start a new conversation and change the way we treat children struggling with mental health and learning disorders." Find the stories.

DESTIGMATIZING LDs. Education Week Teacher carried a "first person" account by a teacher who came up with a way to let learners know it was okay to have a learning difference, and okay to talk about it. Her technique was simple but effective: have selected older students in the school talk on a panel to younger students, sharing experiences, offering advice, and answering questions. One of the younger students commented afterward, “I am very grateful for the 8th graders who shared. I had planned to keep my dyslexia secret all year.” Find the article.

DO A WEBINAR FOR CEC. The Council for Exceptional Children has issued a call for proposals to give webinars in 2017. We urge members of the 2e community to consider proposing a webinar on a 2e-related topic. Interested presenters may find a list of CEC's suggested topics and submit a proposal at this page. We know there's lots of experience, skill, and talent out there. Go for it!

NEURODEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS, MEDICAL CONDITIONS. On the site of the Dana Foundation is an article about how neurodevelopmental disorders like bipolar disorder and major depression may be linked via genetics to medical ailments. An example: autism and gastro-intestinal problems. From the article: "...a new study suggests that looking at the genetic intersection of NDDs and commonly shared physical ailments could offer new insights into the origins of these conditions and, ultimately, help direct more effective and precise treatment." Read more.

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, is being screened on November 3 at 7 p.m. in Montclair, New Jersey, as part of ReelAbilities Montclair. Find out more.

GOT AN IEP at your house? Wrightslaw suggests that parents involved in the IEP process need to know how to use psychological and educational achievement test scores to measure educational growth, and, in Special Ed Advocate, explains what to know. Find it.

2e PARENT ONLINE MEETUP. The organization Twice Exceptional Children's Advocacy reminds parents that TECA's next Online Parent Support Group will be held on Wednesday, November 2, at 8:00 p.m. The purpose: to talk in a safe, supportive, private environment about the unique struggles and joys of raising a 2e child. A fee applies. Find out more,

  • Unlike physical disorders where blood tests or other objective tests enable a reliable diagnosis, there are no such measures to determine whether someone is depressed. The standard rating scales used by healthcare professionals and researchers to diagnose this disease often differ in the symptoms they list, perhaps explaining why a one-size-fits-all treatment has to date been so ineffective. Read more
  • Studying brain tissue from deceased donors, scientists have found common groups of genes disrupted among people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. The commonly affected genes sets, identified with RNA sequencing methods, engage in making proteins, controlling brain cell communications and mounting an immune system response, the researchers say. Read more
TOURETTE'S RESEARCH. Researchers have identified areas in the brains of children with Tourette’s syndrome that appear markedly different from the same areas in the brains of children who don’t have the neuropsychiatric disorder. Read more.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

David Flink Interview, Parenting, Boredom, Screen Time, and More

FOR YOU -- AND YOUR 2e KIDDO. David Flink, while still in college, founded the mentoring organization Eye to Eye, which matches college students who have LDs with younger, similar students who can use mentoring. In a TiLT podcast, David is interviewed by 12-year-old Asher, the son of TiLT's founder. (TiLT is for parents of "differently wired" kids -- probably like yours, if you're reading here regularly.) We suggest that the 2e kiddo you raise or teach might enjoy listening to this podcast for several reasons. One, Asher is obviously a very bright young person with a sense of humor who speaks frankly and with wit about his own ADHD. Two, David relates remarkably well to kids like Asher, and the conversation is interesting and substantive as he shares his early experiences as well as his current work. Near the end of the podcast Asher asks what advice David would give to kids like Asher, and David give three key and inspiring points:
  1. Be proud of who you are.
  2. Know that you are learning-enabled.
  3. Get your community in line. Find your people, you're not alone.
Listen to the podcast. Separately, TiLT's newest podcast is titled "The Unique Challenges of Raising a Differently-Wired Child of Color." Find it.

STRESS. Our friends at the Belin-Blank Center have posted tips for recognizing and helping manage stress in students. Find it.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has just published an article in which a young college graduate recounts ways her mother helped as daughter grew up with dyslexia. Mom found ways to help daughter keep up with books friends were talking about; learn math and spelling skills; engage in activities that fostered self-efficacy; and more. Find the artlcle.

THE GIFTED SIDE OF 2e is what psychologist Gail Post writes about in her most recent blog posting, titled "Boredom, school, and the gifted child." She lists four things that must change to eliminate boredom in the classroom for the gifted kid:

  1. Recognizing that gifted kids are different
  2. Providing appropriate services
  3. Eliminating certain misconceptions concerning giftedness
  4. Adopting legal provisions for gifted services. 
If your kiddo is bored, see what Gail Post wants to do.

SPECIAL FONTS FOR DYSLEXIA? There are differences of opinion on whether they help. Find out more.

SCREEN TIME FOR KIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidelines for the amount of and kind of screen time kids should be exposed to. According to USA Today, one of the guideline's authors says screen time, “is not evil, it does not need to be avoided. It just needs to be balanced with all the other things kids need.” Find out more in USA Today, The Washington Post, or the LA Times.

POSTING ABOUT KIDS. Parents who post online about their children create a digital footprint, often starting shortly after birth. A presenter at the AAP's annual conference in San Francisco discusses the risks involved in disclosing information about children and offers guidelines for parents about sharing. He notes that the first kids to be spotlighted on social media by their parents are now entering adulthood. From a write-up of the presentation: "The authors propose public health based, best-practice guidelines that include encouraging parents to familiarize themselves with the privacy policies of the sites they use, to post anonymously if they choose to share about their children's behavioral struggles, and to give their child 'veto power' over online disclosures, including images, quotes, accomplishments, and challenges. They also advise never to share pictures that show their children in any state of undress or share their child's actual location in a post." Too strict? Just right? Read more.

ADHD INTO ADULTHOOD. Sixty percent of children with ADHD in a recent study demonstrated persistence of symptoms into their mid-20's, and 41 percent had both symptoms and impairment as young adults, according to a new study. One key in the research: asking family members about an adult's potential ADHD behaviors. Read more.

THE BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION has recently published two articles on the topic of depression:

  • One is about efforts to develop a fast-acting drug that can alleviate treatment-resistant depression, based on research indicating that the drug ketamine's antidepressant effects are actually caused by a metabolite of the drug and not the drug itself, which is addictive and has undesirable side effects. Find the article
  • The other article is about a mouse study of SSRI antidepressants indicating that the drugs can decrease bone density. More research needs to be done, and the article states, "The [research] team is not able to say whether the mechanisms observed in the mice are the same as those operating in humans." But this could be a heads-up for any family with a member who takes an SSRI. Find the article.