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."