Monday, February 29, 2016

ESSA and UDL, Dyslexia, SENG Conference, More

UDL AND ESSA. An article in Education Week about what's in the Every Student Succeeds Act notes that the act contains references to universal design for learning. UDL is a strategy that encourages the use of multiple ways for students to receive and express content, and, as such, is of benefit to 2e learners. From the article: "Universal design for learning is for any student. But it is seen as particularly important for students with disabilities, English-language learners, and others who might struggle with more traditional methods of teaching and testing." Read more.

DYSLEXIA: WHERE WE'RE AT. An article at the site of KQED, a public media outlet for northern California, reprises findings from a five-part series on the topic of dyslexia and offers five take-aways to keep in mind. Number 1: dyslexia isn't a disorder, "it's a different brain." The other takeaways cover assistive technology, teacher training, the danger of overlooking talents in people with dyslexia, and how dyslexia-induced failure can follow young people into their adult lives. Find the article.

SENG has begun publicizing its annual conference, this year scheduled for July 21-24 in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Of note: "The James T. Webb Scholarship currently extends the opportunity for identified gifted and talented students from culturally diverse populations and their parents to participate in the SENG Annual Conference." Find out more about the conference. Separately, Meredith Warshaw, a member of the 2e Newsletter Editorial Advisory Board, has a short piece in the current SENG Vine newsletter. It's titled, "The Challenge of the Highly Gifted Special Needs Child." Sound familiar? Find it.

ADVOCACY. Twice Exceptional Advocate Moms (TEAM) is the name of a group of parents and caregivers in the metropolitan area around Washington, DC. Among upcoming "meetups" is one featuring Rich Weinfeld on the topic of "developing 2e and Asperger's programs in schools." Find out more. (If you are a part of a similar group in another location, please let us know and we'll share information with readers in this blog and our semi-monthly briefing.)

ADOLESCENTS AND THE INTERNET. If you feel that your teen's Internet use is a problem -- even a compulsion or an addiction -- you might be interested at an article at the site of Psychology Today. It discusses the results of a study on the topic and offers some advice for dealing with the issue. Find the article.

ADDITUDE has released its annual guide to camps and schools for children with learning differences. Find it.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Processing Speed, ADHD, Introversion, and "Average"

PROCESSING SPEED is of concern to many who raise and teach 2e kiddos. We know this coz there's an article on our site that gets LOTS of hits. Understood this week features three articles on the topic in its email newsletter:
  • Four ways Brain Structure and Chemistry Can Affect Processing Speed -- read it
  • Information Processing Issues: What You Need to Know -- read it
  • Classroom Accommodations for Slow Processing Speed -- read it
ADHD; OUR FAULT? Do unrealistic adult expectations of young children contribute to the increase in ADHD diagnosis? That's the suggestion from research published in Pediatrics this week. The lead research is quoted, "You may have a young child who has difficulty paying attention to boring things. That's only a problem if you're trying to force that child to pay attention to boring things." Find out more. Separately, another new study links noncorrectable vision problems and ADHD in children. The finding suggests that children with vision impairment should be monitored for signs and symptoms of ADHD so that the dual impairment of vision and attention can be addressed. Read more.

THE AUTHOR OF QUIET (full title, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking is interviewed by NPR on the topic of supporting introverts. If you raise or teach a quiet 2e kiddo, this might be of interest. Find it.

FOLLOW-UP. NPR also interviewed the author of The End of Average, which we mentioned in our previous blog posting. In it, author and educator Todd Rose addresses topics such as individual differences, how we can "generalize across time, but not across people," standardized tests ("a sense of false precision"), and treating students as individuals. Find the interview.

ADHD, LYING. A columnist at The Washington Post takes on a questions from a reader about a 6yo with ADHD who is also "pretty intense." The columnist writes, among other things, "By virtue of her brain feeling more (the intensity) and her impulse issues (ADHD), your daughter is going to walk into trouble over and over. Her prefrontal cortex (pretty immature in even the average 6-year-old) is overloaded with sensory information. Before her brain can even sort through consequences, empathy and compassion, her body has acted." Find the column.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The End of Average, NYC Confeence, Movie Screenings, A Love Letter, and More

THE END OF AVERAGE is the title of a book written by a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. One the one hand, the traditional way of using data was to "rely on group averages to understand individuals and predict individual performance," according to a reviewer of the book. But as parents of gifted or 2e children -- or of any child -- know, "average" doesn't help much in raising or teaching kids. The book's author posits that "all human characteristics are multi-dimensional." You've likely seen this in the "jagged" assessment scores for that 2e child in your life. So, on the other hand, according to the reviewer, "really enormous data, with many observations of a single person’s biology and behavior taken over time and in different contexts, may yield a far better understanding of that individual than do group norms." Find the review.

AN EXAMPLE OF "The End of Average." Research into mood and psychotic disorders has advanced to the extent where biochemical hypotheses explaining the aetiology of a particular illness may be individualized to more accurately target one or more underlying pathology in a specific patient or subgroup of patients, hence achieving more effective disease modifying therapy. No more "one size fits all." Read more.

ABOVE-AVERAGE IN STUBBORNNESS? A study indicates that children who are stubborn or rule-breaking might be more successful as adults, at least insofar as earning more money. The researchers had various possible explanations for this correlation, not all of them high-minded. Read more.

NEAR MANHATTAN? The Quad Preparatory School has announced details of the upcoming March conference "Breakthroughs in Twice-exceptional Education." The opening reception will feature clincian/writer/speaker Michelle Garcia Winner on "social thinking." Scott Barry Kaufman is scheduled to present a keynote on the link between twice-exceptionality and creativity. Also scheduled: a screening of the movie "2e: Twice Exceptional." Find out more.

JEN THE BLOGGER riffs on giftedness during the life cycle in "A Love Letter to Giftedness." Among her musings: "I never expected to be homeschooling, and certainly not because of you (and your sidekick 2e)." Find the blog.

SQUIRMING IS OKAY if you're a kid with ADHD, according to research from Florida State University. The research shows that children often fidget or move when they are trying to solve a problem, and that movement may have a positive effect on children with ADHD. You can find a study write-up at Science Daily or find the results online, as published in The Journal of Attention Disorders.

HR 3033, THE READ ACT, has been signed into law by President Obama. The bill will "require the President's annual budget request to Congress each year to include a line item for the Research in Disabilities Education program of the National Science Foundation and to require the National Science Foundation to conduct research on dyslexia." Find out more.

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, has upcoming screenings at:

  • Harriton High School, 600 N. Ithan Avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, on March 1 at 7 p.m. More information by email from
  • Quad Preparatory School/Cooper Union during the "Breakthroughs in Twice-exceptional Education" conference, 41 Cooper Square, New York, on March 18 at 3:30 p.m.; information at
  • The Arena in Melbourne, Australia, sponsored by Kids Like Us, March 23 at 2:30 p.m. More information by email from
  • During the Reel/Ability film festival in New York City next month. Find out more

Friday, February 19, 2016

ASD, ADHD, Depression, 2e the Movie, and More

A NOVELIST WRITES in The Washington Post about his son, who early in life was placed in the middle of the autism spectrum and pronounced by one educator to have a "limited" future. But the son made it to college and blossomed. Read more about the trials, treatments, and successes along the way.

THE NEW YORK TIMES reported Thursday on a study of ADHD interventions. The study seemed to indicate that behavioral therapy, whether or not followed or augmented by meds, was the way to start for better long-term results. Interestingly, we saw no press releases prior to the Times article about the studies; they scooped us! Read more.

1. Researchers report the first-ever connection between noradrenergic neurons and vulnerability to depression. This breakthrough paves the way for new depression treatments that target the adrenergic system. Read more.
2. An immersive virtual reality therapy could help people with depression to be less critical and more compassionate towards themselves, reducing depressive symptoms, finds a new study. The therapy, previously tested by healthy volunteers, was used by 15 depression patients aged 23-61. Nine reported reduced depressive symptoms a month after the therapy, of whom four experienced a clinically significant drop in depression severity. Find a study write-up.
3. A clinical trial of an experimental drug for treatment-resistant major depression finds that modulation of the endogenous opioid system may improve the effectiveness of drugs that target the action of serotonin and related monoamine neurotransmitters. Find a study write-up.

CEC has recruited a new, young blogger for its "Asperger's 101" team. The young man's first post recounts his experiences growing up and how a label can be misleading. Find the blog.

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie. Producer Tom Ropelewski is still checking in with the subjects of this documentary to keep track of what they're up to, and he has posted a video update on vimeo; find it. Separately, the movie will have seven screenings during the Reel/Ability film festival in New York City next month. Find out more.

BIPOLAR DISORDER. A psychiatrist offers advice for parents on "caring for bipolar disorder." The detailed but accessible advice is posted at the site of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation; find it.

MORE ON PSYCHIATRY. The International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) has released an open, online course on child and adolescent mental health at an introductory level. There are currently about 20 videos available, each 10-15 minutes long. Topics include clinical assessment, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, ADHD, ODD, ASD, and many more. Find out more.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Psychological Well-being, Books, Sleep, Attention, and More

GIFTED AND WELL-ADJUSTED? An author in Psychology Today makes two points, together very interesting and relevant for the 2e community.
  • Point 1: "On average, a synthesis of the research shows that gifted children end up as psychologically well-adjusted and quite high-achieving adults."
  • Point 2, referring to the results of a recent study: "...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.”
Take note, and take care with that 2e kiddo you raise or teach. Read more.

@DRHALLOWELL tweeted (not to us, to all his followers): "Know a young adult with #ADHD, dyslexia, LD who is talented & gifted but simply can't find a place for themselves?" If you follow the link, you'll find a TEDx Talk titled "Capturing necessary brilliance: learning differences unleashed." Chances are you'll recognize the subject of at least some of the talk.

SLEEP PROBLEMS. Many doctors will ask about quality of sleep when children have problems at school, but new research shows it's just as important to pay attention to how high achievers are sleeping. A study in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology suggests that doctors and parents should pay attention to snoring, labored breathing, and other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in bright, high-performing children as well as those who struggle in school. Find the write-up of the study.

ATTENTION. Interactions between three brain networks that help people pay attention are weaker than normal in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a recently-published study. The degree of weakness was correlated to the severity of the children's inattention symptoms, the researchers found. Find a write-up. Separately, people vary according to different personality traits, such as extraversion or conscientiousness, and new research suggests that they also vary according to distractibility. The lead study author is quoted as saying, "This led us to hypothesize that there might be an attention-distractibility trait that all of us have to some degree, and the clinical end of the spectrum is seen as ADHD." Find out more. Separately again, the headline of an article at a pediatrics site asks "ADHD medication: How young is too young?" If this is an issue with your bright but attention-challenged kiddo, find the article.

GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. The spring edition of this publication is out. In it, publisher Maurice Fisher recommends books and articles he feels would be of interest to gifted learners and their teachers. (One of the books is the currently popular and acclaimed All the Light We Cannot See.) An article in the Quarterly explores "Logic in Wonderland," using Alice's adventures to teach logical constructs to gifted and talented middle-schoolers. Other articles cover service learning and talent development; ways of motivating gifted learners by way of Mars exploration; and an essay on Ralph Waldo Emerson. Find the Quarterly.

JACK KENT COOKE SCHOLARSHIPS. Applications are now being accepted for the Young Scholars Program, According to the organization, outstanding seventh-grade students with financial need can apply for the program, which provides many benefits and can lead to the Cooke Foundation’s prestigious college scholarship. Students selected as Cooke Young Scholars get individualized counseling to set academic goals, guidance on applying to colleges, and funding for summer educational programs, study abroad, internships, and school expenses. Find out more.

SOMETHING TO WORRY ABOUT. Evidently frequent marijuana use in teens can affect brain development when it starts early in the teen years. A write-up of research says, "The findings reveal that marijuana may have long-term consequences for adolescents. With that said, a longitudinal study is necessary to establish a causal relationship between brain alterations and marijuana use." Read more.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Emotions, Events, Depression, and More

PROMOTING "GROWTH MINDSET." A newly published study indicates that high school students exposed to the struggles of prominent scientists in history as well as their accomplishments improved their science grades but also that the students "related" better to those scientists, seeing them as "people, like themselves, who had to overcome failure and obstacles to succeed," according to a write-up of the study. Seems to us that highlighting the struggles as well as the successes highlights the growth mindset absent in many students of all abilities. Read more.

EMOTIONS aren't something we usually think about as a topic, rather as something that happens as the result of something else. An article at the site of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation provides a larger perspective, profiling a researcher on the topic and some of her findings. Some of the information in the article is general, some of it is specific to depression, including her discovery of a set of molecules that seem to be linked to depression in humans. Find the article.

MORE PLAY, FEWER LESSONS for preschoolers,suggests educator and author Erika Christakis. A press release from Yale University says this about her views: "She argues that preschool children would be better served if educators get 'out of their way' by allowing for more play-based — and less formally scripted — educational experiences, and by creating less cluttered and visually demanding environments in which these naturally curious youngsters can explore and 'think out loud.'" Find the press release, or listen to an NPR interview with Christakis.

U.S. EDUCATION DOLLARS for 2017 are covered at Education Week. Special ed gets more. Gifted ed stays the same. Find out more at Education Week.

TEMPLE GRANDIN IN SPOKANE. Author, speaker, and autism activist Temple Grandin is scheduled to present three lectures in Spokane, Washington, this month on the 19th and 20th. You can find out more about her views and about the lectures at

THE 2016 NAGC CONVENTION isn't until November, but the organization is already providing some interesting details about it. It's being held at Disney World, and some of the programming will take advantage of the Disney organization's expertise in learning and entertainment, according to Rene Islas, Executive Director of NAGC. You can find out more in a short YouTube "voicemail" from Islas.

UNDERSTOOD is offering a Twitter chat called "Debunking Dylexia Myths" on February 17 at noon Eastern time. Find out more.

EXERCISE, MEDITATION. A mind and body combination of exercise and meditation, done twice a week for two months, reduced depressive symptoms for a group of students by 40 percent, according to a study from Rutgers University. The study's lead author is quoted as saying, "It is the first time that both of these two behavioral therapies have been looked at together for dealing with depression." Read more.

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, has a scheduled screening at the Princeton, New Jersey, public library on March 6 at 3 p.m. In the area? Find out more at this page. (Scroll down to March 6.)

AND FINALLY, THIS. How's your memory? In particular, how's your memory for U.S. presidents? (International readers are excused from responsibility here.) We're talking about presidents like Alexander Hamilton. What? He wasn't a president? A study from Washington (he was a president) University in St. Louis found that many people will mistakenly identify certain people as past presidents, even some guy named Thomas Moore. The main lesson from the study seems to be that "our ability to recognize the names of famous people hinges on those names appearing in a context that's related to the source of their fame." But maybe you can use these findings to win some bets with your 2e kiddo about the presidency of, say, Alexander Hamilton. Read more.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Items about All the Usual Suspects

AN ADHD PRIMER, from Dr. Ned Hallowell, courtesy of The Washington Post. Valerie Strauss of The Post presented a list of questions about ADHD to Dr. Hallowell, whom she calls "one of the country's foremost experts on ADHD." His answers comprise, in effect, a primer on the who, what, and why of ADHD. One of Hallowell's first statements in the article: " is not a deficit of attention but rather a wandering of attention, and it is not a disorder in my opinion but rather a trait..." Find the article.

ADHD SYMPTOM PERSISTENCE. Sometimes ADHD symptoms decrease as children grow older, sometimes they don't. A study indicates that one factor affecting the duration of symptoms might be under control of parents -- "persistent parental criticism." Find out more.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. This non-profit organization's newsletter for February is out. It consists of all kinds of features likely to be of interest to those concerned with dyslexia, 30 pages in all, presented in an engaging, interactive format. Among the highlights: the Karen Eide Scholarship deadline is March 1st; this year the program will award 16 scholarship. Also in the issue: ADA guidelines, teacher resources, personal profiles, and more. Find the issue.

MORE ON DYSLEXIA. So there's this kid in New Mexico. He's eight years old. He has written a book (you can buy it on Amazon) titled How Relative is Relativity, about quantum physics. And he has been recognized in the state capitol for his accomplishments and for being twice exceptional -- because not only is he gifted, he has dyslexia. His next project is a novel about a girl who is twice exceptional. Read more.

ANXIETY "is poorly recognized [and] treated in children," goes the title of an article in Family Practice News. In reportage of a presentation held under the auspices of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (whose "News Clips" newsletter pointed us to this article), a psychiatrist is quoted as saying, "Pediatricians have an ASD... toolkit, they have an ADHD toolkit, and they now have a postpartum depression toolkit for moms, but they do not have an anxiety tool kit.” The psychiatrist, Dr. John Walkup, notes that anxiety is often confused with ADHD or ASD, but that both SSRIs and CBT (
cognitive behavioral therapy) -- or the combination -- can be effective. Find the article.

MORE ON ANXIETY. Evidently CBT can cause structural changes in the brain when it's used to treat social anxiety disorder. The volume of our old friend the amygdala decreases as anxiety decreases. Read more.

DEPRESSION. So far in this post we've touched on several of the bugaboos of twice exceptionality, so let's go one further. In an article in the "Well" section of The New York Times, a male writer addresses the topic of guys and depression -- and in particular, opening up about depression if you're a guy. If you raise or teach a young man who might be depressed, this article could be of interest to you; find it.

EARLY TO BED, RAISE THE GPA. A Norwegian study indicates that adolescents who go to bed between 10 and 11 p.m. get better grades than those who get less sleep. Is bed-time an issue in your house? Find out more.

2e: TWICE EXCEPTIONAL, the movie, is scheduled to be shown on February 20th by the Beth Sholom Congregation in the Washington, D.C., area. Find out more.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Depression, Dyslexia, Homeschooling, and Bill Gates

DISRUPTIVE AND CHALLENGING AUTHORITY. That's what this person did at age 12, and his parents sent him to a psychologist for pushing back and questioning the logic of their rules. Turns out this kid was Bill Gates. Read more. And this is interesting because it follows up on an item in our last blog posting about raising creative kids, which pointed out that truly creative kids can be difficult, not "sheep."

"ARIZONA IDOL" -- actually two education idols -- were honored by having a school named for them. The idols of school founder Dana Sempil Herzberg inspired her to rename her school for diverse learners, including those who are twice-exceptional. So the On-Track Academy in Scottsdale, Arizona, is now called the Jones-Gordon School. Read more.

HR 3033, the READ Act, has passed the U.S. House and Senate and will be sent to the President. The bill's full title: "To require the President's annual budget request to Congress each year to include a line item for the Research in Disabilities Education program of the National Science Foundation and to require the National Science Foundation to conduct research on dyslexia." Sounds like a worthwhile bill; it's given 30 percent chance of enactment. Find the text of the bill.

DEPRESSION is in the news this week:
  • Many depressed teenagers don't get follow-up treatment after diagnosis with depression, according to a study. Read more
  • Ketamine may get support soon from the American Psychiatric Association for use in treatment-resistant depression. Find out more
  • Researchers now report successful reduction of depressive symptoms in patients using a novel non-invasive method of vagus nerve stimulation, or VNS. Read a press release
  • Johnson & Johnson has a drug in clinical trials that seeks to treat depression by reducing inflammation in the body. Read more
  • And if you still want to find out more, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is sponsoring a "Meet the Scientist" webinar called "Early Emergence of Depression: Understanding Risk Factors and Treatment" on February 9th. Learn more
LDs, DISCIPLINE. Julie Skolnick has written an article about disciplining kids with learning differences, covering strategies, creation of a personal connection, anticipation of behavior, and more. Find the article.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Jen the Blogger tells all in "What I've Learned from Four Years of Reluctantly Homeschooling a Twice-exceptional Kid." Well, not all -- but a list of 10 things learned from her experience. Find the blog.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Educating Educators, ADHD, Creative Children, and More

PROGRESS. Northeastern Illinois University is establishing a gifted teacher endorsement to students pursuing a Master of Arts in Gifted Education. According to the university, it is the first university in Illinois to offer the endorsement. "Coursework includes a solid foundation in the nature of giftedness, identification of the gifted (including underrepresented groups and students with multiple exceptionalities), program planning, gifted curriculum, differentiated educational strategies and program evaluation." Find out more.

ADHD MICRONUTRIENT TREATMENT. A University of Canterbury (New Zealand) study showed improvements in children's symptoms of ADHD when they were treated with a mixture of 36 micronutrients. A larger trial is underway. Find out more.

ADHD MEDS. A Canadian researcher says that warnings about the danger of ADHD meds in terms of increasing the potential for suicide can be misleading. “Health Canada has issued a series of black-box warnings about the suicidal potential of ADHD medications. However, these warnings have failed to take into account epidemiological studies showing the opposite, that increased use of this medication has been associated with reduced suicide risk in adolescents." Is this a concern at your house? Read more.

RAISING A CREATIVE CHILD may be partly a matter of not instituting too many household rules, contends a writer at The New York Times, who notes that most prodigies go on to be "excellent sheep." Comparing the upbringing of notably creative architects with less creative peers, the author says, "Yes, parents encouraged their children to pursue excellence and success — but they also encouraged them to find 'joy in work.' Their children had freedom to sort out their own values and discover their own interests. And that set them up to flourish as creative adults." Read more.

MATH PROBLEMS? Or rather, problems with math at your house? Summit Center is offering a webinar on February 4 titled "Math Difficulties: Reasons and Remedies" by educational therapist Nancy Knop. Find out more.

RTI -- WHAT SCHOOLS CAN DO and not is the topic of the current issue of Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate. If that 2e child you raise or teach is entangled with RTI, check out this article.

SOMETHING ELSE TO WORRY ABOUT -- BPS, a BPA substitute, described by UCLA researchers as not necessarily safer because of its effects on reproduction. ("Meet the new boss...") Read more.