Friday, June 3, 2016

Education Disconnect, ADHD, Actress Speaks out on Depression, More

GREAT ARTICLE in The Washington Post about a bright young man with Asperger's. The twist: the young man's mother is a journalist who has covered education, among other topics, for almost a decade. She writes, "there’s no bigger disconnect between my professional and personal experiences than hearing the adults in education talk about ensuring every child is ready for college at graduation while continually navigating the reality of low expectations." Find the article. (Thanks to Kelly P for pointing us to this.)

HEALTHY LIFESTYLE FOR ADHD. Another article in The Washington Post deals with the benefits of a healthy lifestyle for young people with ADHD, one that includes physical activity, plenty of water, good sleep, limited screen time, and limited sugary drinks. The article gives results of several studies published in the Journal of Attention Disorders. Find the article.

WANT TO ADVOCATE FOR GIFTED ED? You might start with a blog posting at NAGC titled "The importance of robust state gifted policies," laced with some first-hand experience by the president-elect of NAGC. Read the blog.

SUMMER CAMP. If you're sending your 2e kiddo off to camp this summer, consider letting the camp staff know how they can ensure a good transition. The site Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities offers a sample "Dear Camp Director" letter. Find it.

ADHD MEDS, ARRHYTHMIA. The effect on the heart of stimulant meds for ADHD is in the news again, this time because of a study published in the British Medical Journal that showed some increased risk of arrhythmias associated with treatment with methylphenidate (Ritalin, etc). However, commentary on the study in Journal Watch (from the New England Journal of Medicine) states: "Even if the findings are correct, the risk of adverse events... are quite small in an otherwise healthy child. Rather, this study reinforces what hopefully already is common practice: Parents (and adolescents) should be informed of the possibility of adverse events before medication is started, and medication should be used only when a comprehensive evaluation demonstrates that the benefits outweigh the risk. All children receiving stimulants need careful monitoring...." Read more at Science Daily.

ANOTHER HEALTH ISSUE REDUX. The American Association of Pediatrics responded to the results of a recent study indicating that some rats develop brain tumors when exposed to cell phone radiation. The AAP says, "In light of the findings, the Academy continues to reinforce its recommendation that parents should limit use of cell phones by children and teens." Of note is the amount of exposure to the rats to radiation -- nine hours a day beginning in utero. Nonetheless, check out the AAP statement.

ACTRESS KRISTEN BELL ON DEPRESSION. If it would help your depression-vulnerable young person to read that even "successful" people suffer from depression, perhaps check out a piece at what appears to be a celebrity-oriented website,

IN THE CHICAGO AREA? The west suburban Glenbard Parent Series presents notable speakers during the year on a variety of topics related to child raising, having featured in the past speakers such as Jonathan Mooney. An upcoming event is with Michele Borba, author of "UNSELFIE: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World." If you're in the area, check it out.

STUDIES THIS WEEK. Also in the news, a study on ADHD and one on high-functioning autism.
  • The ADHD study indicated that children with ADHD "struggle to match their behavior with the surrounding context," and have trouble figuring out what behavior might be rewarded. Said the lead researcher, "What we argue is that, for these children, we need to make explicit what the requirements are in any given situations. So, we are not relying on them to identify what the conditions are, but we are actually explicitly telling them: this is what you will be rewarded for. And we also need to tell them when we are no longer going to reward them for that." Read more
  • The ASD study found that children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder find it difficult to perform writing tasks. This can impair their academic achievements, social availability, and self-confidence. Read more

AND FINALLY, THIS -- a study summary of the teen brain on social media: "Teenagers' brains have been scanned while they used social media in a first-of-its-kind study. Among the new findings: The same brain circuits that are activated by eating chocolate and winning money are activated when teenagers see large numbers of 'Likes' on their own photos, and teenagers are definitely influenced by their online 'friends,' even if they barely know them." Read more.

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