Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Little News, Some Resources, and Some Back-to-School Humor

THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER... and there's almost no real news. We do, however, have pointers to a variety of resources.

THE NEWS -- Learning difficulties are somewhat more common in children conceived in the winter months, according to the BBC news. The difference was small, but researchers think it could be a relative lack of vitamin D during the winter. Read more.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. This organization has established a "Healthy Brain Network" to offer resources to help children develop well. Currently serving families in New York City, the network is slated to expand to other East Coast locations. Find out more.

TECA. The New York-based Twice-Exceptional Children's Advocacy group has launched its new website. See it, and find out more about TECA's activities. Separately, TECA offers online parent support groups. The next one is Wednesday, September 7. Find out more.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES offers two resources for parents. One is "5 Tips for Preventing First-Day Jitters"; find it. The other is an article on social rules and choices for kiddos with nonverbal learning disabilities; find it.

TiLT PARENTING has posted two more podcasts. One takes listeners behind the scenes of Understood.org, which we frequently refer to; find the podcast. The other is an explanation of the TiLT Manifesto, the founder's vision for "a more positive, more inclusive, and more all-around awesome experience for parents raising differently-wired kids, as well as my ideas for how we can get there together." If this sounds interesting, find the podcast.

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH. If you're considering attending this Washington, DC-area conference in September, be advised that early-bird registration ends this Thursday, September 1. You can save some bucks. Find out more.

DAVIDSON ACADEMY. This school in Nevada is now accepting applications for the 2017-18 school year, so plan ahead. If you have a potential Davidson student, find out more.

FLEXSCHOOL in New Haven, Connecticut, is opening this September. It's for gifted and 2e students, and readers of 2e Newsletter will recognize many of the names in the founding team. Find out more.

GREENWICH EDUCATION GROUP. This Connecticut organization, of which the 2e-friendly Beacon School is part, is offering a free event titled "Taking the Stress out of the College Essay." The event is on Wednesday, September 14, at two times in Greenwich. In the area with a college-bound child? Find out more.

COLLEGE. If you have a kiddo already in college but waffling on direction, TED offers a playlist of 12 talks that that might help make the choice of major. (Or maybe they'll help you figure out which major you should have had.) Find the talks

JEN THE BLOGGER rants in response to a blog in the media that evidently had a "giftedness doesn't matter" slant. Jen's slant: "Why does my child's giftedness bother you so?" Find her blog post. In another recent posting, she offers her observations on back to school.

SENG has a webinar on September 1 on the back-to-school topic, but with a gifted and social-emotional slant. Linda Collins is the presenter. A fee applies. Find out more. Separately, in its most recent newsletter SENG has reissued a piece written by Linda Neumann, publisher of 2e Newsletter, titled "You Don't Have to Go It Alone." The article describes how various professionals can help a parent raise a gifted or twice-exceptional child. Find the article.

AND SPEAKING OF BACK TO SCHOOL, the Washington Post has collected some humorous tweets by students reacting to this time of year. For example: "IM LAUGHING SO HARD!!! My mom misread when my little brothers school starts& it starts tomorrow but we went on vacation. We're driving back." Find the tweets.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Caught in the Act, Events, Something to Think About, and More

CAUGHT IN THE ACT. Three families in the Portland, Oregon, public school system have filed a complaint, saying that the district denied their children admission to a gifted program because of their disabilities, apparently learning disabilities. Of special interest is a copy of an annotated evaluation form for one of the students. On the form, a "flag" is circled, "Twice exceptional SPED and TAG," and a notation says "Asperger's." We'll keep you posted if we find out more. Find the article and see the form for yourself.

LANDMARK COLLEGE SYMPOSIUM. On September 30, the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training will hold its fourth annual LD Innovation Symposium. The Putney, Vermont, college caters to college students who learn differently. According to the college, the symposium is for "secondary and post-secondary educators, educational technologists, and administrators, as well as students, alumni, and parents." Find out more.

SENG has scheduled a 90-minute webinar (SENG calls it a SENGinar) on September 25. According to its description of the event, "Dr. Leslie Hosey will discuss the over-identification of under-served populations as having educational disabilities (e.g. Specific Learning Disabilities, emotional impairments, etc.). What are the effects of this over-identification? How do typical diagnostic protocols confound appropriate referral to gifted programs?" A fee applies. Find out more.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. Valerie Strauss' column in the Washington Post recently contained commentary about WEIRD societies -- western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic. The thesis is that in many ways members of these societies are outliers when compared to the rest of the world. Among those ways are child-rearing and education. For example, take a child we'd diagnose as having ADHD, a child who is probably energetic, sociable, independent, and even funny. The author's commentary says, "'Experts' in our WEIRD society tell us these children are learning disabled; they have poor impulse control; they lack organizational skills; they are oppositional. One in twenty, one in ten, one in seven of our precious bright-eyed children, we are told, have some kind of organic brain defect that disables them as learners. But any Maori parent knows that you have to watch a child patiently, quietly, without interference, to learn whether he has the nature of the warrior or the priest." Find the commentary.

GOT A MATH PHOBE IN YOUR HOUSE? TED has published a playlist of eight TED talks titled "Math in unexpected places." TED says, "These talks are here to set the record straight and illuminate the unexpected ways formulas and fractions influence everything, from love and war to origami and coral reefs." Find the talks. Maybe they'll help.

GIFTED CHALLENGES. The author of this blog, psychologist Gail Post, has compiled some of her writings on the topic of back to school for gifted teens, middle-schoolers, and their parents. Included are posts on gifted underachievement, procrastination, and surviving public school. Find the compilation.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES also offers some back-to-school advice on making the move to high school. Find it.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Maybe it's too late to cancel that vacation -- or maybe you've already taken a family vacation this year -- but new research indicates that "divorce is seasonal during the periods following winter and summer vacations," the months of March and August. According to a write-up of the research, "The seasonal nature of divorce filings may reflect the disillusionment unhappy spouses experience when vacation time does not live up to their high expectation, the research team points out." Find the write-up, but know that this research only applies to other families, not yours. Yours is just fine. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

New Newsletters, Books, ADA Regs, and More

NEW ADA REGULATIONS. According to Disability Scoop, new regulations clarify exactly who is protected under the American with Disabilities Act. Prominent in the list of conditions are ADHD and learning disabilities. Read more.

JAMES WEBB FANS, you can see a 22-minute podcast of psychologist/author/presenter James Webb at the site of FamilyConfidential.com. The topic: guiding gifted kids, based on Webb's new book, A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children. Find the podcast.

SPD. On the site of the Wall Street Journal is a recently-posted video titled "Treating Children for Sensory Processing Disorder." The 2:47 "Lunch Break" primer-level content is delivered by a WSJ reporter. Find the video.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. For this time of year, the Institute has posted an article titled "7 Things to Tell the Teacher About Your Child." While the article is not aimed at parents of 2e kiddos, all seven of the categories can apply to a twice-exceptional child, such as disclosing strengths and weaknesses. As the article says, "It’s just as important for parents to tell teachers about issues at home that may affect school performance as it is for teachers to report how children are doing in the classroom." Find the article.

DYSLEXIC ADVANTAGE. The crew here seems to crank out content-laden e-newsletters with amazing ease. The August issue is out on -- yep -- back to school. If you're sending a dyslexic child off to school this fall, be sure to check out the newsletter.

GIFTED CHALLENGES. This blog, by a psychologist/advocate/consultant/parent, devotes a posting to the recently-published book Your Rainforest Mind, reviewed a few weeks ago by the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. The blog post is in the form of an interview between psychologist Gail Post and author Paula Prober. If you've been curious about the book, find the blog posting.

LANDMARK COLLEGE. This school, which caters to students who learn differently, has issued its most recent newsletter. In it, the school announces a new B.S. program in computer science; sets forth upcoming events, including the college's Fourth Annual LD Innovation Symposium; and relates other news. Find the newsletter.

NOW THEY TELL US. Several recent studies relate in utero exposure to certain substances to "e's."
  • Using the common pain-relieving medication acetaminophen during pregnancy was associated with increased risk for multiple behavioral problems in children, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics. Find the study write-up.
  • An unhealthy diet -- high in fat and sugar -- during pregnancy has been linked to symptoms of ADHD in the child's early life. Find the study write-up
  • Boys exposed prenatally to a BPA, a common chemical used in plastics, may be more likely to develop symptoms of anxiety and depression at age 10-12. Find the study write-up.

Monday, August 15, 2016

2016 Davidson Fellows, IDEA and Online Education, and More

DAVIDSON FELLOWS ANNOUNCED. The Davidson Institute for Talent Development has announced the 2016 Davidson Fellow scholarship recipients. Recipients were selected based on their engagement in projects that have great potential to benefit society. According to the Institute, it has awarded more than $6.7 million over 16 years through the Davidson Fellows scholarships, recognizing 286 of the nation’s best and brightest young students. This year’s 20 Davidson Fellows recipients, ages 18 and under, will each be awarded a scholarship in the amount of $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000. Find out more.

IDEA APPLIES ONLINE, says the U.S. Department of Education. In reporting on the DOE's guidance for online educational offerings, Disability Scoop notes that online entities have "obligations to make certain that kids needing special education services are identified, evaluated, provided an individualized education program, and served in the least restrictive environment." Find the Disability Scoop article. Find the DOE "Dear Colleague" letter.

ALABAMA SCHOOLS AND DYSLEXIA. The state of Alabama is "requiring teachers and administrators to receive training that will help them recognize when a student exhibits dyslexia characteristics," according to DecaturDaily.com. Until a state law change in 2015, schools were not required to screen, intervene, or even "acknowledge" dyslexia. Read more. On the site of Dyslexic Advantage you can see the status of dyslexia legislation in U.S. states. While most states now have such legislation, states including Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont still lack substantive provisions for identifying and intervening with students who have dyslexia. See Dyslexic Advantage's map.

PETER PAN AND "THEORY OF MIND." Yup, they might be related, at least if a neuroscientist's latest book premise is to be believed. According to The Guardian, Peter Pan's author, JM Barrie, identifies key stages of child development. The basis for the book, by Rosalind Ridley, consists of Barrie's original stories, not the Disney or stage productions. The Guardian article provides examples illustrating Peter Pan's cognitive stages. Find the article.

fMRI STUDIES: A PROBLEM? We've often written about studies based on functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI. Now, it seems, there might be a problem with many of the thousands of fMRI-based studies published in the past decades, and it has to do with differentiating "signal" from "noise" in the fMRI readings. The problem, by the way, has been apparent to some since as early as 2009, when researchers put a dead fish into an fMRI scanner. In theory, the lack of blood flow should have precluded any signal; however, according to Quartz.com, "To [researchers'] surprise parts of the brain lit up, as if the dead fish were 'thinking.'" If this bothers you, read more.

DEPRESSION has been in the news as the result of recent studies.
  • More teens are having episodes of depression. Find an article on the study. 
  • Identifying and treating metabolic deficiencies in patients with treatment-resistant depression can improve symptoms and in some cases even lead to remission, according to new research. Find the study write-up
  • An episode of major depression can be crippling, impairing the ability to sleep, work, or eat. But the drugs available to treat depression can take weeks or even months to start working. Researchers have discovered one reason the drugs take so long to work, and their finding could help scientists develop faster-acting drugs in the future. Find the study write-up
  • A simple and inexpensive therapy called "behavioral activation" is equally as effective at treating depression as the "gold standard" of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a large-scale study has concluded. Find the study write-up
MINDFULNESS has also been in the news.
  • Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are studying how cognitive therapy that uses mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, quiet reflection and facilitator-led discussion, may serve as an adjunct to pharmacological treatments for anxiety. Find the study write-up
  • Meditation has long been promoted as a way to feel more at peace. But research shows it can significantly improve attention, working memory, creativity, immune function, emotional regulation, self-control, cognitive and school performance, and healthy habits while reducing stress. Find the study write-up

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back to School, NCLD, LD Online, More

BACK TO SCHOOL. The Child Mind Institute offers a variety of articles to help parent help their kids back to school. One deals with back-to-school anxiety; find it. Other articles offer back-to-school tips for kids with issues that include ADHD, sensory processing and selective mutism.

NEW HEAD AT BEACON SCHOOL. Greenwich Education Group has announced the appointment of John Manganiello as head of the Beacon School, a 2e-friendly school in Stamford, Connecticut. He succeeds Meredith Hafer, who has been named as director of gifted education for Greenwich Education Group. Manganiello has worked in private school settings for more than 18 years. Find out more.

  • The good. A new study has found that children around the age of 10 who have a positive relationship with a teacher can show development of 'prosocial' behaviors such as cooperation and altruism, as well as a significant reduction in problem classroom behaviors such as aggression and oppositional behavior. Read more
  • The bad. Students who receive more negative attention from teachers experience increases in problems with emotional regulation, concentration, and disruptive behaviors. Read more
NCLD. If you follow this organization, you'll be interested in its summer, 2016, "Impact Statement" describing its accomplishments and upcoming activities. The organization has just named a new president, Mimi Corcoran. NCLD is a prime sponsor of the website Understood. Find the statement.

LD ONLINE has posted an article titled "Understanding and Addressing Processing Speed Deficits in the Classroom." Is this an issue in your house or classroom? Find the article.

TiLT PARENTING has posted Episode 20 in its series of podcasts in support of parents of "differently wired kids." This one is titled "How Positive Discipline Can Help Kids -- and the Whole Family -- Thrive." Find it.

AUDIOBOOKS are often used to help students who have trouble decoding text access academic content. In a recent Washington Post opinion piece, professor Daniel Willingham tells why listening to a book is not cheating. He explains the differences in accessing information via ear or eye, and writes, "Listening to an audiobook might be considered cheating if the act of decoding were the point; audio books allow you to seem to have decoded without doing so." Read more.

MINDFULNESS might prevent anxiety and mental illness in children, says a headline at Brain Blogger, which cites a recent study on the topic. Find out more.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dyslexia, Slow Processing Speed, Social Isolation, More

DYSLEXIA CAMP. During the summer, dyslexic kiddos in the Denver area can take advantage of the Rocky Mountain Camp, which provides Orton-Gillingham-based tutoring to assist with the development of language skills. An article about the camp at the site of Colorado Public Radio describes the camp and, in the process, gives some nice kid-based insight on what it's like to have dyslexia. Says one camper, “We see the words as they are but our brain instead of taking the highway, like other people do, straight to it [the word’s meaning] fast --we take the scenic route and sniff all the flowers on the way.” Find the article.

TiLT PARENTING. We know that slow processing speed is an issue of interest to many in the 2e community. An article on our website on the topic gets tons of hits each week. TiLT Parenting has just released a podcast on what it is and how to support kiddos who have it. Find the podcast.

GIFTED CHALLENGES. This blog, by psychologist Gail Post, has a follow-up to a previous entry on the topic of social isolation in teens. This post is titled "Tips for helping your socially isolated gifted teen." If this is an issue at your house, find the blog.

MAKING THE CHANGE to elementary school is the topic of a posting at the site of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities. If your young 2e kiddo will be making that transition, perhaps check out the blog.

CREATIVITY. The Midwest Torrance Center for Creativity and the Center for Gifted has published the first issue of the Torrance Journal of Applied Creativity. Joan Franklin Smutny and her co-editor, S. E. von Fremd, have put together an almost 200-page issue, with dozens of articles grouped into the topics of Paul Torrance, creative intelligence, models of creativity, creative applications, and creativity applied to psychology and spirituality. Find the issue.

  • A UK study tracking young people diagnosed with ADHD found that 78 percent of those diagnosed "didn't have it once they hit adulthood." Read more
  • Behavior modification and parent training for students with ADHD is the focus of an article in the Miami Herald. The article starts out, of course, with a description of the trials of a boy with ADHD and his challenges in the classroom, challenges that got him the label "bad kid." Also in the mix in the article: pharma companies, increased academic demands on kids, and how children learn best. Find the article
  • Is ADHD an American problem, not a global one? Not according to an article in the Global Dispatch. The article quotes a bilingual psychiatrist, Dr. Doug Berger, who practices in Tokyo, as saying, "I’ve seen many children, both Japanese and foreign, presenting with many years of trouble focusing and organization." Find the article.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Multi-cultural Therapists, Working Memory, New 2e-Friendly School, and More

MULTI-CULTURAL THERAPISTS. A couple generations ago in the U.S.,  "diversity" meant that maybe someone you knew had Greek heritage; things are vibrantly different now, and 2e Newsletter's subscription base reflects that. An article at GoodTherapy.org describes how to find a "multiculturally competent therapist." Should that be a concern for you, check out the article.

WITH UNDERSTANDING COMES CALM. This organization's most recent newsletter is out. In case you didn't attend SENG (we missed it), you can find coverage of some SENG happenings in this newsletter; find it.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. The Institute has posted on its website two articles of potential interest to parents and educators of 2e kiddos. One is a primer on working memory; find it. The other covers supportive strategies to help kids with working memory issues; find it.

NEW 2e-FRIENDLY SCHOOL. The Long Island Whole Child Academy, opening this fall, will serve students in grades 4-8 for its first year. The school’s goal is to provide a rigorous academic program that will become the gold standard of STEAM education for twice-exceptional students, according to the school's founder, Ellen Richer, Ph.D. Classes for the 2016-2017 school year will begin on September 14, 2016. The school’s location: at 175 Wolf Hill Road, Melville, New York. at St. Elizabeth's Church. Registration information is available at the school's website or by calling Dr. Richer at 347-668-3676.

DABROWSKI FANS. The 16th Dabrowski Conference was held in Calgary, Canada, last month. Linda Silverman, of the Gifted Development Center, recaps her experiences at the conference. Find her blog posting.

GIFTED HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM. This group's latest missive "A Word from GHF" is out, and its contents include an article titled "Homeschooling: How to Get Started in 7 Steps," should some of you parents of 2e kiddos be entertaining the homeschooling route. GHF positions itself as serving the gifted and 2e communities, and those who read "A Word from GHF" will recognize some familiar names from 2e Newsletter. Find "A Word...."

ADHD MEDS. ADDitude has posted something to share with physicians -- "11 Steps to Prescribing and Using ADHD Medication Effectively," written by an M.D. Find it. Separately, three studies to be published in the August 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry report that combining two standard medications could lead to greater clinical improvements for children with ADHD than either therapy alone. Find a write-up.

GENETICS UPDATE. Depending on how long ago you took a biology class, or how closely you've been paying attention over the past few years, the field of genetics might have left you playing catch-up. If you need an update, look to Joel Eissenberg, Ph.D., associate dean for research and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, to get up to speed on the advances that are changing not only science and medicine, but also fields like forensics and ancestry. Find the update.

DEPRESSION SCREENING. To identify depression in children and adolescents, physicians often use short questionnaires asking about symptoms of depression. But, according to new research, there is insufficient evidence to show that any of these questionnaires accurately screen 6- to 18-year-olds for the condition. The researchers believe that this calls into question the use of these assessment tools for this group and raises worries about possible misdiagnosis of depression in this age range. Find the research write-up at Science Daily.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Parenting 2e Kiddos, Growth Mindset, More

2e IN RENO. The Reno Gazette-Journal looked into how many students in the local county school district were classified as both gifted and with an LD, and found that three percent of the GT students also had an IEP. The IEP was usually for either a speech/language impairment or ASD. Read more.

SENG has announced the dates and location for its 2017 conference, August 4-6 in Naperville, Illinois. Separately, SENG has reprinted in its monthly newsletter a 2006 article by Dina Brulles on parenting twice-exceptional children; the article has both professional and personal perspectives. Brulles is director of gifted ed for an Arizona school district and also coordinates the graduate gifted program at Arizona State University. Find her article. Separately again, Brulles received some press for a talk she gave in Wahpeton, North Dakota, on educating gifted young people; find the article.

"WHEN GIFTED ISN'T A GIFT" is the title of a posting at GeekMom, part of GeekDad.com. The posting recounts a family's difficulties with the education system (starting in pre-school) caused by her asynchronously-developing, highly-intelligent son, who seemed to be perceived as a behavior problem by some adults. From the posting: "The problem is that the outward appearance of asynchronosity is like the iceberg that sank The Titanic. It shows as benign with the real depth of pain and difficulty lying where no one can see." Find the posting.

IN SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA, Jena Names is establishing Edison Academy (named after Thomas Edison) for gifted and twice-exceptional students, with the aim of providing a personalized, strengths-based education. Interested families may find out more this coming Saturday, August 6, at a meet-up at 1 p.m. at French Park in San Luis Obispo. Find out more.

GROWTH MINDSET. Carol Dweck has a TED Talk intro on this topic. If you're not among the 4.5 million people who have already viewed it, you can find it here, along with a transcript if you'd rather read than watch.

GIFTED CHALLENGES. The most recent posting at this blog by psychologist Gail Post is titled "Is your gifted teen socially isolated." Post addresses when isolation might or might not be a problem. Find Post's post.