Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Parent Support Groups, Acceleration Conference, Astrology, and More

PARENTS' RESOURCE NEAR/IN NYC. Twice-Exceptional Children's Advocacy (TECA) is offering two parent support groups for parents of 2e kiddos. One is a formal monthly group with a maximum of 16 participants where parents are expected to attend all seven sessions. The other is a "drop-in" group that also meets monthly. Find out more.

PERFECTIONISM. A writer in The Washington Post offers details on her young son's perfectionism and how she has learned to deal with it. Find it.

ACCELERATION INSTITUTE. The Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa is offering a conference on acceleration based on the book A Nation Empowered. Scheduled for July 25-26, the event is aimed at gifted ed teachers, administrators, school counselors, and parents. A blog post by the Belin-Blank Center states: "Participants will meet the editors and authors of A Nation Empowered; interact with others who have successfully implemented acceleration in their schools; choose from multiple sessions focusing on practical applications of how to implement acceleration in schools; and create their own plan for next steps!" Find out more.

ADHD MEDS AND SLEEP. A newly published meta-analysis tackles the problem of sleep disturbances in children who take stimulant meds for ADHD. The analysis concluded that "children on these medications take significantly longer to fall asleep, have poorer quality sleep, and sleep for shorter periods." Boys are more affected than girls. If your kiddo seems to have sleep problems, talk to your pediatrician. Read more.

DEPRESSION AND "CALCIUM WAVES." Researchers have discovered that the benefits of stimulating the brain with direct current come from its effects on astrocytes -- not neurons -- in the mouse brain. The work shows that applying direct current to the head releases synchronized waves of calcium from astrocytes that can reduce depressive symptoms and lead to a general increase in neural plasticity. Find out more.

GRIT: NOT SO FAST? Retired professor and occasional contrarian Jim Delisle wrote a piece for Education Week titled "Why I'm Tired of 'Grit.'" He uses the example of the Beatles and another, similar band from Liverpool where both, under the principle of grit and practice, should have been equally successful. But Delisle writes, "The concept of 'grit' has given both pop psychologists and those who discount the importance of genetics yet one more mantra on which to hang their pseudo-theoretical hats." He also takes a swipe or two at Malcom Gladwell. Find the article; free registration might be required. And in last Sunday's New York Times, Angela Duckworth, founder and director of the Character Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, writes about her unease with the practice of using grit, character, and mindset to measure a school's quality. (Note: Duckworth is not against character development, just turning "measures of character intended for research and self-discovery into high-stakes metrics for [school] accountability." Find her opinion piece.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Researchers at the University of Southampton have discovered specific markers on DNA that link the season of birth to risk of allergy in later life.The cause is evidently epigenetic changes that influence later gene expression. A researcher is quoted: “It might sound like a horoscope by the seasons, but now we have scientific evidence for how that horoscope could work. Because season of birth influences so many things, the epigenetic marks discovered in this study could also potentially be the mechanism for other seasonally influenced diseases and traits too, not just allergy. Read more, and get out your astrologer's hat. 

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