Monday, July 24, 2017

High Cognition, Depression, Research, Stress, More

HIGH COGNITION? According to Curious Mind Magazine, those who are highly intelligent might be night owls, live in organized chaos, and swear more than other people -- in other words, they can be "messy, profane night owls." The magazine cites research for each of these traits. Find the article. Separately, a New York University study indicates that high cognitive abilities are actually linked to a greater risk of stereotyping -- but also to the ability to "unlearn" those stereotypes with additional information. Find the study write-up.

DEPRESSION. A research fellow at the Yale School of Medicine writes in Scientific American about the use of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression. Yale has used the drug in a clinical trial in which adolescents participated. The author, who observed the trial, wrote this: " I could see the weight of depression lifted from these patients within hours. Adolescents who were previously ready to end their own lives became bright and hopeful. Psychiatry has never seen a drug intervention so powerful and fast acting." As we've written before, the drug has side effects and its long-term effects are unclear -- a concern if the drug is administered every few weeks. Still, the research on ketamine and related drugs is encouraging to those who know teens with severe, treatment-resistant depression. Find the article.

MORE ON RESEARCH. The Child Mind Institute has a project called the Healthy Brain Network Biobank, a collection of neuropsychiatric data from hundreds of children. The database is intended for "open sharing with multidisciplinary scientists to accelerate discovery in developmental neuroscience." But families who participate benefit as well: " Participating families are evaluated by licensed clinicians and receive a feedback report detailing the results of their evaluation. If indicated, we’ll refer them for treatment and services within their community," says the Institute, which also encourages donations to help support the project. Find out more, and consider how such a database might help in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting our 2e kiddos (as well as all children).

COPING WITH STRESS is the topic of a new study from Vanderbilt University. A study write-up describes the various coping mechanisms young people might use for stresses such as anxiety and describes which mechanisms are most effective (like constructive communication) and which are maladaptive (like avoidance). Find a study write-up.

EDUCATOR'S RESOURCE. Amazon is introducing "Inspire," a library of free, open-education resources. According to EdSurge.com, if you have an Amazon account you can see and download resources. Amazon is still apparently working on a "share" feature that is somewhat trickier to implement because of copyright considerations and teachers' propensities to distribute freely. Go to the EdSurge.com write-up; find Inspire on Amazon.

EDUCATION POLICY AND LAW.
  • Education Week describes how the U.S. Department of Education might lose $2 billion in funding for teacher-training programs. Is that the right way to help teachers learn about 2e kiddos, along with all the other things we expect teachers to know? Find the EdWeek article
  • The Washington Post reports on the new Secretary of Education's first speech dealing with special ed, and education writer Valerie Strauss is not impressed. Find the article.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Parenting, Panic, Emotional Development, Depression, and More

PARENTS OF GIFTED KIDDOS will likely appreciate an article from The Washington Post in which a mom (who doesn't like the "gifted" label) describes some of the conundrums we encounter with high-ability young people -- the intensity, early cognitive development, asynchronous development in other areas, and how to enable the child to grow up "normally." Also covered: the lack of a "community" of other parents with similar experiences. Find the article.

EDUCATION POLICY AND LAW. The U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, said in a recent speech that “When it comes to educating students with disabilities, failure is not an option. De minimis isn’t either." This according to Disability Scoop. DeVos then went on to apparently link serving those with learning disabilities to school choice: "Parents of children with disabilities know best. They should be the ones to decide where and how their children are educated." Read more.

PANIC ATTACKS are the subject of a new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute. The article includes a characterization of a true panic attack and its physical symptoms, and describes how it can lead to panic disorder and avoidance. Also covered: treatment. Find the article. Separately, Healio this week published an article describing how primary care pediatricians can diagnose and treat anxiety disorders in children. Find out what Healio thinks your pediatrician should know.

WRIGHTSLAW, as it does every year, is offering "summer school" for parents, "a series of self-study readings, written assignments, and maybe even a quiz or two, that will help you prepare for the next school year." Didn't do all the reading and research you meant to during the past school year on topics such as IDEA, IEPs,and special ed law? Check out "summer school."

EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE BRAIN is the topic of a new article at the site of the Dana Foundation. The editor's introduction says, "From our earliest days, the brain rapidly develops thinking, mobility, and communication skills. But not quite as quick to develop are the parts of the brain that regulate and process our emotions. New research is helping scientists learn about areas that are crucial to emotional development, and how our surroundings fit into the picture. The findings could have far-reaching implications for both parents and policy-makers." Find the article.

CERTAINTY VERSUS UNCERTAINTY in the process of raising a differently-wired kid -- that's the topic of a new podcast from TiLT Parenting. From the introduction to the podcast: "During our talk, Allison [Carmen] and I look at the very real toll of being addicted to certainty, especially for parents raising differently-wired kids, which, as we all know, comes with absolutely zero guarantees and certainty when it comes to what the current path or the future might look like. Allison shares her thoughts about how embracing just one simple word — maybe — can completely transform the way we’re experiencing our everyday lives." Find the podcast.

DAVIDSON INSTITUTE. This organization's July e-newsletter is out, with news from the field of gifted ed, from the various Davidson programs, and from the area of law and policy related to gifted ed. Find the newsletter.

LANDMARK COLLEGE is partnering with MIT to host the LD Innovation Symposium on September 29 in Boston, subtitled "Diverse Technologies for Diverse Minds." The keynote is titled "ADHD and Learning: A Perfect Storm," and Landmark promises additional details on other sessions soon. Find out more.

PANDAS/PANS. Researchers from the PANS Research Consortium have published guidelines for therapies to deal with PANS and PANDAS, which involve the sudden onset of OCD and other symptoms in children. Read more.

DEPRESSION. Scientists have linked specific wiring in the brain to distinct behavioral symptoms of depression. In a new study, researchers found brain circuits tied to feelings of despair and helplessness and were able to alleviate and even reverse such symptoms in mice, according to Science Daily. Find the research write-up. Separately, Medical News Today examines the link between diet and depression, based on recent research on the impact of diet and depression. The article also lists foods and nutrients that might help alleviate depression, foods to avoid, and other factors that might affect depression. Find the article.

ADULT ADHD is different than childhood ADHD, according to Medical News Today, which provides a list of symptoms along with guidelines for diagnosis and treatment. Read more.

Monday, July 17, 2017

ADHD, Growing Out Of, Summer, and More

THOSE WITH FAMILIES IN THE "ADHD ZONE" will likely be interested in an obit of Keith Conners (think "Conners Scale") appearing in The New York Times, which is really a recap of thinking about ADHD since the 1950s. The final quote from Conners in the obit: "The numbers [of diagnoses] make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous. This is a concoction to justify the giving out of the medication at unprecedented and unjustified levels.” Find the obit.

ADHD MEDS, IRRITABILITY. If you're in the ADHD zone and have concerns about whether ADHD meds can cause irritability in your child, you might be interested in the results of a Yale University study showing that while amphetamine-derived meds, like Adderall, are associated with increased irritability, methylphenidates, like Ritalin, are not. Find the study write-up and, as always, consult your pediatrician or psychiatrist.

DEVON MACEACHRON has posted a piece at her blog about "growing out" of LDs, ADHD, or Asperger's. Does that happen? The psychologist answers, "probably not," but she notes that career choices can help individuals find success in the right environment. She writes, "...children don’t usually grow out of it, but they may not be troubled by the different way their brain is wired when the demands of the environment change. In fact, having a differently wired brain may confer distinct advantages." Find the blog.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES offers ways to insert learning into common summer activities such as shopping at the supermarket, planning a vacation, cooking, and taking a nature walk. Unless you've shipped that 2e kiddo off to three-month summer camp, check out the tips.

AND FOR THE END OF SUMMER, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum has opened registration for its fall series of online education programs. For 2e kiddos attending regular school, these programs could be a means of enrichment. GHF says, "GHF Online is 2e-friendly and willing to work with you to make reasonable accommodations for your child's individual needs.." Find out more.

THE BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION has posted an article on its website on a topic we've mentioned in passing before -- biological overlap in disorders that are diagnosed and labeled separately. In particular, the article notes the differences and similarities in gray matter with bipolar and anxiety. Read more.

UNDERSTOOD is offering a "Live Expert Chat" on the topic of executive function tomorrow, Tuesday, July 18 at 3pm ET. The event's blurb says that professor/researcher Stephanie Carlson will be "on hand to explain what happens in the brains of kids with these issues, and what the latest research shows." Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS, in the spirit of "the tree doesn't move far from the apple." A LinkedIn post at the Gifted Talented Network pointed us to the Gifted Adults Foundation and a newly-issued leaflet called "Exceptional and profound giftedness in adults." You can find the leaflet -- and lots of others on related topics -- at the site of the foundation. See the last leaflet in the list.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Clinicians, Depression, Brain Stimulation, and More

MEMBERS OF THE 2e COMMUNITY are likely, at some point, to have to deal with clinicians about a child's cognitive or emotional issues. The "article of the week" at the site of the Child Mind Institute tells parents what to look for in a diagnosis -- how to judge that a clinician is taking care. It covers actions the clinician should take (for example, doing a broad evaluation), tools the clinician might use, and tips on finding a qualified professional. Find the article.

DEPRESSION AND GENDER. Medical News Today reports on research indicating that depression affects male adolescents and female adolescents differently. The difference was detected in a research setting while using fMRI. The research results would seem to encourage gender-specific treatment approaches for adolescents with depression. Read more.

BRAIN STIMULATION FOR LDs? A small study seems to indicate that a type of brain stimulation called transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) improved the ability of children with mathematical learning disabilities. While acknowledging that more research remains to be done, one of the study authors said, "Our research suggests that children with learning difficulties might benefit from combining their learning with tRNS, which has been suggested to improve learning and alter brain functions in healthy adults." Find the study write-up.

ARE YOU ORGANIZED? If so, good for you. If not, perhaps check out podcast Episode 65 in TiLT Parenting's series. The episode is titled "Bringing Clarity into Your Home, Spaces, and Life." It's a conversation with a "professional organizer," and you can bet there's a slant toward families of "differently wired kids." Find the podcast.

GOOD NEWS ON ADHD MEDS? An Indiana University study indicates that ADHD meds are tied to a lower risk (about one-third lower) of alcohol and drug abuse in teens and adults. The study used data on three million Americans identified with ADHD. Find the article.

UNDERSTOOD this week reposts an article from last year titled "7 Things I Wish People Knew about Parenting a Child with Auditory Processing Disorder." A parent offers advice about what works and what doesn't when communicating with a child with APD. Find the article.

EDUCATION POLICY AND LAW. Disability Scoop reports this: "Less than half of states are meeting their obligations to appropriately serve students with disabilities under the nation’s special education law." You can find out if your state meets its obligations in the Disability Scoop article. Separately, if you're looking for a brief (60-second) summary of what the current administration's plans for the U.S. education budget are, Education Week has just what you're looking for.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

2e Scholarship, the Terror of Not Being Able to Read, and More

HERE'S WHAT WE NEED MORE OF -- scholarships available to students at private, 2e-friendly schools. FlexSchool has awarded a student at its New Haven, Connecticut, campus a scholarship valued at half of the tuition for the student's high school tenure. The William Morse Scholarship is named in honor of a mentor to FlexSchool's founder, Jacqui Byrne. Read more about the scholarship and its inaugural recipient.

JONATHAN MOONEY, in a short piece newly posted at Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, describes the intense terror of read-aloud time at school when he was young and unable to read. Find it. Mooney, of course, went on to be a Rhodes Scholar finalist and a persistent advocate for kids with learning and attention issues.

MEDSCAPE offers us two items of possible interest depending on your family situation:
  • A "Midyear Review" provides guidelines on a variety of topics from a variety of medical sources. For example, one set of guidelines is on childhood obesity; another is on preventive health care for children, from the AAP; and yet another is "guidelines on depression with mixed features." Find the guidelines. (Free registration might be required.)
  • Also from Medscape, an article reporting on research that indicates medications can boost academic performance in ADHD patients. Find it
ONE OF THE NEWS SOURCES we scan is an e-newsletter from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and their most recent missive points to two articles of possible interest to parents in the 2e community. One offers tips to identify whether a teen might be misusing his or her ADHD meds, just something else for you to worry about; find the article. The other article is titled, "9 Books to Help Your Child with Anxiety," and it's from Romper.com. Check out the books.

RESOURCE. Don't forget that Wrightslaw has a "Yellow Pages for Kids," organized by state, that might help you find resources of various types as you raise or teach that 2e kiddo. Wrightslaw does encompass twice exceptionality on its site, having a topic area devoted just to 2e, but in checking out resources in the Yellow Pages we recommend making sure that the provider or vendor is conversant with both the gifted side and the LD side. Go to the Yellow Pages.

EDUCATION POLICY AND LAW. In an article datelined July 9, Education Week again visits the issue of protecting student civil rights in the new U.S. administration. The article covers a recent letter sent to the Department of Education by U.S. lawmakers concerned about staff cuts and rollbacks of earlier civil rights procedures. Remember that this issue is of relevance to the 2e community insofar as civil rights apply to those with disabilities, including learning disabilities. Read the article.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Gifted Ed, Scholarships, Dyslexia, OCD, Depression, Allergies, Sleep

AUSTIN SCHOOLS AND DYSLEXIA. The Austin, Texas, school district is making a special effort to identify and service students with dyslexia, according to the city's American Statesman news outlet. During the past school year, the school provided intervention services to about 8,600 students with dyslexia, this after admitting "We were missing a lot of kids." The number of students now served represents over 10 percent of the students in the district. Read more.

WHO GETS GIFTED ED? Education Week analyzed data from the what we assume is the civil rights section of the U.S. Department of Education regarding the incidence of gifted ed in the various states. According to Education Week, about seven percent of students are in gifted programs nationwide, even though many schools don't offer such programs. You can find out how your state does and read more at the site of Education Week or in the following graphic from the site: How Accessible Is Gifted Education in Your State?

THE ANNE FORD AND ALLEGRA FORD THOMAS college scholarships for graduating high school seniors with ADHD or an LD are awarded annually. The winners for 2017 have already been announced, but if you have a student who'll be a senior next year perhaps check out the scholarships at the site of NCLD and put it on your calendar for next year.

OCD AFFECTS THE WHOLE FAMILY. You know that if you've got it in your family, but a communique from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation documents just how and how much disruption can occur. Find out more.

DEPRESSION. A new study reported at Science Daily has pinpointed how one particular gene plays a central role in depression -- either protecting from stress or triggering a downward spiral, depending on its level of activity. Find the study write-up.

ALLERGIES can affect your kiddo's emotional and cognitive life, according to a couple recently-published items. An article in The New York Times is titled "As Pollen Counts Rise, Test Scores Fall"; find it. And UPI reports on research finding a link between food allergies and anxiety and suggesting several possible explanations; find it.

SLEEP AND YOUR KIDDO. We've been saving up items on sleep that describe ways in which sleep habits can help or harm that young person you raise or teach. Here they are...
  • A Washington Post article provides guidelines for the number of hours of sleep for different ages and points out some of the factors contributing to lack of sleep. 
  • Medical News Today reports on research that explains how poor sleep quality can affect learning.
  • The Brookings Institution has posted a report urging that we "start high school later for better academic outcomes," explaining why it's a good idea and noting that it should be feasible without undo expense. 
  • The UK Guardian, in an article, doesn't like the effect of late-night mobile phone use on teens' sleep or mental health. 
  • And a TED talk by a sleep researcher/clinician/mom discusses "how early school start times deprive adolescents of sleep during the time of their lives when they need it most."

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Growth Mindset, the Gut, Gifted Competition, and More

GROWTH MINDSET has been discussed, promoted, and presumably encouraged in young people for the past few years. An idea fostered by Carol Dweck, it has evidently been been subject to hype and false claims, according to an article in Education Week by a fellow education researcher and professor. If you're curious how the term and concept have been misappropriated, check out the article.

THE MICROBIOME. Researchers have identified gut microbiota that interact with brain regions associated with mood and behavior, identifying behavioral and neurobiological differences associated with microbial composition in healthy humans. Some of the conditions associated with maladaptive gut bacteria are depression and anxiety. Read a study write-up. And by coincidence, you have an opportunity to learn more about the microbiome and mental health in a free "Meet the Scientist" session put on by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation on July 11. Find out more.

NEW BOOK FROM GHF. Gifted Homeschoolers Forum has announced a new publication, From Home Education to Higher Education: A Guide for Recruiting, Assessing, and Supporting Homeschooled Students. According to GHF, the author reaches out to higher education professionals as well as homeschooling parents. The book encourages professionals to to recruit, assess, and assimilate homeschooled students so that they may better enter and thrive in colleges and universities. At the same time, says GHF, the book offers advice to homeschooling families to help them discover what admissions professionals want in an ideal applicant, better preparing them to write those essays, answer those questions, and work with the admissions professionals at their chosen schools. Go to GHF's site, but note that the book is not yet listed in the GHF Press section.

GIFTED CREATIVITY COMPETITION. The Midwest Torrance Center for Creativity has announced a competition for students 8-18 to submit works in the areas of writing, music, visual arts, and inventions. Deadline: August 21. Find out more.

EDUCATION POLICY AND LAW.
  • Education Week has published an article titled "What Can New Voucher Studies Tell Us about Students with Disabilities?" Two studies, according to the article, showed this: "Students who used vouchers in the state to enroll in private schools showed no academic gains in their early years of enrollment, and in some cases lost ground." Read more
  • The New York Times notes in an article that the U.S. Department of Education intends to scale back civil rights investigations -- investigations that cover many area but also include, for example, whether a 2e kiddo is discriminated against when he or she is denied gifted services. Read the article
  • And Education Week recaps the K-12-relevant highlights of the 2016-17 term of the U.S. Supreme Court. Find the article
AND FINALLY, THIS. Older dads may have "geekier" sons, according to research reported at Science Daily. Find out more.



Friday, June 30, 2017

Identifying Giftedness and LDs, Personalized Learning, and More

THE RECENT NCLD REPORT on the incidence of learning disabilities is the take-off point for an article at EducationWorld.com titled "Ways to Better Identify and Support Students with 'Invisible' Learning Disabilities." The author provides reasons even gifted kiddos may not be diagnosed and receive services, then riffs on three remedies to the situation as proposed in the NCLD report -- get the word out, develop structures, and follow up. Find the article.

BEING MISSED AS GIFTED. 2e kiddos face the double hurdles of being identified with an LD (see the item above) and being identified as gifted. The Brainware Learning Company offers reasons why bright children might not test as gifted, using findings by Scott Barry Kaufman. The article also posits a new view of giftedness that encompasses many "flavors" beyond fluid intelligence -- flavors such as spatial giftedness, verbal giftedness, and others you might see in the child you raise or teach. Find the article.

WHO GETS TO BE GIFTED is the name of a short documentary featuring leading experts on the topic. The film's blurb says: "In this powerful 12-minute piece, director/producer Marc Smolowitz sits down with five of our nation's most dynamic thought leaders to contemplate issues of race, gender, class and sexual identity, especially in relationship to gifted education, the IQ and 21st century ideas around what constitutes intelligence." Find the video.

A CUSTOMIZED EDUCATION would seem to be ideal for a twice-exceptional student -- or any student, really. The Chan-Zuckerberg duo, according to Education Week, "[is] gearing up to invest hundreds of millions of dollars a year in a new vision of 'whole-child personalized learning,' with the aim of dramatically expanding the scope and scale of efforts to provide every student with a customized education. The couple has selected a former Deputy U.S. Secretary of Education to head the initiative. Find out more.

NAGC, in a recent communique to members, said this: "We are celebrating the Fourth of July early! Yesterday, the State of Connecticut took a bold and important step in supporting the special needs for all children with extraordinary gifts and talents when Governor Malloy signed into law An Act Concerning Services for Gifted and Talented Students. Find out more about the bill.

TO BE GIFTED AND LEARNING DISABLED, the 3rd edition, is now available from Prufrock Press. The three authors are Susan Baum, Robin Schader, and Steven Own. Those in the 2e community may use a code for 20% off the price of the book on the Prufrock site. Go to the book's page and then enter code TBGLD20 at checkout to receive the discount.

NY METRO PARENTS has a (sponsored) article titled "Why Do So Many Gifted and Talented Children Hate to Write?" The authors state, "Gifted children need a structure from which to build, process, and organize their ideas, a creative infrastructure to distract them from the arduous task of doing so--along with a dab of mathematics." Read the article to find the structure.

POLICY AND LAW. Education Week takes a look at how assessments under ESSA will affect high school students with disabilities; find the article. And The Washington Post describes how the proposed healthcare bill might cut funds schools use to help special-ed students; find the article.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

IEP Success Story, ADHD, Tourette's, OCD, Podcasts, and More

OUTSIDE-THE-BOX THINKING benefits both the student and the school. Parent, advocate and author Amanda Marin writes at Education Week about a success story -- yes, success -- for a twice-exceptional student at the hands of a creative school administration and staff. The story involves a teacher frustrated by her inability to understand the student in question... a social worker... and a hard-working IEP team, all backed by a school principal who encouraged collaboration and innovative thinking. Find the story.

ADHD IN THE FAMILY. How does a family plan and organize when both child and parent have ADHD? That the topic of an article at the Huffington Post, and it offers ways to "re-frame ADHD more collaboratively." For example: Follow routines together; create reminders together; and more. Find the article.

ALSO ON ADHD.

  • A study write-up at Medical News Today noting that people who go to bed late have less control over ADHD symptoms. Find the write-up
  • "Five Must-read Articles, and an Online Course, to Help Children with ADHD" at the Huffington Post. Find it
  • "When ADHD is All in the Family," an article at ADDitude, offers more ways to deal with the shared diagnosis. Find the article
  • A long-lasting ADHD drug from Shire has been approved by the FDA, according to Reuters. Read more
TOURETTE'S is the topic of a couple recent articles.
  • A study write-up at Science Daily says that researchers have identified structural changes in two genes that increase the risk of developing Tourette syndrome; go to Science Daily
  • Another write-up at Science Daily notes that children with Tourette's may have an elevated rate of autism symptoms. This study was a follow-up to research by the same team showing that Tourette's, OCD and ADHD share common symptoms and genetic relationships. Find the write-up
OCD, INFLAMMATION. Certain psychiatric conditions -- depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder -- have been found to be associated with neurinflammation. A new study also links OCD to neuroinflammation, leading to new understanding of the condition as well as possible treatments. Read more.

DANGER. Still in the research realm, a new study by the University of Toronto found that the lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts was much higher for women who had been diagnosed with learning disabilities (16.6%) compared to women who had not (3.3%). Men with learning disabilities also were more likely to have attempted suicide compared to men without learning disorders (7.7% vs 2.1%). Read more.

SUMMIT CENTER has released two new podcasts. One is with Chicago-area coach/consultant/author Kimberlee King on a topic from her book, Parenting Is Hard; Suffering Is Optional. According to the podcast's intro, "Kimberlee Anne and Dr. Dan [Peters] discuss many compelling topics in today’s podcast, including how to be happy despite chaos, judgment (don’t do it!), gratitude, radical self-acceptance, ego, present parenting, self-improvement, perfectionism, cutting the proverbial umbilical cord (especially if our kids have challenges) and so much more." Find the podcast. The other podcast is titled "Secrets of Simplicity and Living Better," with parent/author/entrepreneur Mary Carlomagno. Find the podcast.

TiLT PARENTING. Another week, another podcast or two from TiLT, for the parents of differently-wired (aka 2e) kids. The newest podcasts cover "How Parents Can Survive (and Thrive) Over the Summer Break" (Episode 62) and, in a conversation with TiLT founder Debbie's son, travel and vacation strategies (Episode 63).

AND FINALLY, THIS. Parents who are struggling to understand and raise their children naturally have a need to communicate with other parents about parenting, and about the challenges they face. A Washington Post article points out how what might seem like an invitation to give parenting advice might not really be such -- and how to avoid giving unwanted advice and provide what a challenged parent really needs. Chances are parents in the 2e community are probably more often at the receiving end of this dynamic -- but it doesn't hurt to be able to recognizes "non-listening styles" in others or in oneself. As the article concludes, “Most parents just want someone to listen to their experiences without judgment." Find the article.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"Gifted," ASD, Processing Speed, and More

GIFTED, the movie, sparked a conversation in the Toronto Star. First, a mathematics professor wrote an opinion piece taking umbrage at the Hollywood emphasis on nature rather than nurture in giftedness. In describing the development of himself and other exceptional students, he said: "Instead of inheriting a gift, we developed our grit." He suggests that all students be empowered through experiences with problem-solving, concluding, "...then all of our students will be gifted." The opinion piece generated a letter from the dad of a gifted girl pointing out how gifted children can be neuronally different and may also experience challenges from asynchronous development as well as from heightened sensitivities. M. Rene Islas, executive director of NAGC, also weighed in, asserting the uniqueness of gifted children and writing this: "Gifted children display cognitive, artistic, leadership or academic ability significantly outside the norm for their age. These traits require services that are typically not provided in regular school and classroom settings." Find the letters and see what you think.

THE DARK SIDE OF GIFTEDNESS. Are gifted individuals more prone to suicide? That's the question that an institute at the College of William and Mary will be attempting to answer, given the lack of prior research and data pertaining to the question. Tracy Cross, the executive director of the Center for Gifted Education at William and Mary, will lead the effort. Find out more.

ASD AND SUMMER. An article in The Hartford Courant covers a program that helps kiddos with ASD when routines change during the summer. The program is called "Summer Social Skills Immersion." Learning how to transition and be out in the community are focuses of the program. Find out more. Separately, an article in The New York Times describes how some airlines and airports are helping to ease the travel experience for passengers on the spectrum; find the article.

ASD AND THE GUT. Therapies to change the bacteria in the gut, through diet, pro-and prebiotic supplements, fecal matter transplants or antibiotics, could treat autism. A review of six decades of research linking the gut to brain development could pave the way for cheap and effective treatment. Find out more at Science Daily. On a related topic, an article in Journal Watch reacted to news of a recent study which yielded little evidence that special diets help address the symptoms of ASD. The Journal Watch reviewer noted that some types of supplementation were not examined. "Folinic acid has improved language in children with ASD and is important because it bypasses genetic defects that prevent normal metabolism of dietary folate. Other studies have found low levels of vitamin D in people with ASD, leading some authors to suggest ensuring adequate vitamin D in infants as a preventive measure. Finally, omega-3s have improved reading, spelling, motor skills, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity symptom scores in schoolchildren with developmental coordination disorder, suggesting that omega-3s might improve some behaviors and cognitive abilities in patients with ASD."

SLOW PROCESSING SPEED is the topic of several items at Understood. One article is on classroom accommodations; another offers "7 Ways to Help Kids with Slow Processing Speed Take Notes in Class"; and a third is an "expert's take" on whether slow processing speed can ever improve.

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH has announced the dates of its 2018 conference -- March 8 and 10 in Rockville, Maryland. Find out more.

TOMORROW, June 22, is SENG's webinar on gifted underachievement. Find out more.

EDUCATORS: If you're still looking for professional development opportunities, the Belin Blank Center at the University of Iowa says that it has openings in some of its workshops on gifted education. See the offerings.

DR SEUSS FANS, be aware that the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum has just opened in Springfield, Massachusetts, the boyhood home of Dr. Seuss. Read more about what it's like.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Most moms of children ages 0-5 have been criticized about topics ranging from discipline to breast-feeding -- most frequently from someone in their own family, says the write-up of new research based on a University of Michigan poll. And it's probably even worse for moms of "challenging" kiddos of the 2e persuasion. The poll included questions about what moms do in response to critical comments. Said the lead researcher, ""Family members should respect that mothers of young children may have more updated information about child health and safety, and 'what we used to do' may no longer be the best advice." Find the study write-up.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Accommodation and Self-Advocacy, Depression, ASD, Law and Policy, More

STANDARD TEST ACCOMMODATIONS. In The Hechinger Report, a young man writes about being refused extra time in a state test that is the gateway to a prestigious scholarship competition. He is multi-exceptional, and makes exceptional use of analogies and metaphors in his arguments for accommodations in such testing. For example: "Does a person who needs glasses have an unfair advantage over someone who does not?" The author also confronted the testing body on a number of issues and received responses unsatisfactory to him... or received no response at all. The young man is already a great advocate for himself and for other 2e students. Find the article.

DEPRESSION is the topic of two articles in mainstream media outlets in recent days. Forbes ran an article titled "The Strategies that Science Actually Shows Are Effective for Depression," covering cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, short-term therapies, exercise, mindfulness and meditation, medication, and more. The article also states, "As always, finding a therapist you trust and connect with is often the first step to figuring out which route to take." Find the article. The second article was in US News and titled "Do Alternative Therapies Work for Depression?" It covered approaches such as St John's Wort, Omega-3 fatty acids, and SAMe in some detail, and in less detail covered yoga, sunlight, vitamin D supplements and meditation. The article's net-out: "The only proven alternative therapy for depression is exercise," followed by the same ask-your-doctor caveat as in the Forbes article. Find the US News piece. Separately, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation posted about animal research indicating that inhibiting an enzyme called GLO1 could be a way to quickly treat depression; read more.

FLEXSCHOOL has issued a press release about a newly formed advisory team to support its mission, which is "to create spaces where gifted and twice-exceptional students all over the world are accepted, valued, and supported." With operating campuses in New Jersey and Connecticut, the organization plans to open a Manhattan campus in 2018. Read more.

UNDERSTOOD. Don't forget that this organization offers frequent online events on topics of potential interest to the 2e community. For example, this week's events cover homeschooling and ADHD, AT for writing, and working memory. Find out more.

ASD. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers have identified certain brain regions that significantly correlate with an increase in social abilities following a virtual environment based training program. Adults on the autism spectrum who showed greater activity in the social brain network prior to the training improved more in emotion recognition than those who showed less activity. Find the study write-up. Separately, another study has found that individuals with ASD who avoid eye contact may do so because it is neurologically uncomfortable. Find the study write-up.

EDUCATION LAW AND POLICY. Education Week has recently run two articles on the law and federal policy as they affect education.
  • Perhaps you're aware that IDEA has never really been fully funded by Congress at the originally intended level, 40 percent of its total cost for special ed. Instead, the federal government pays only about 15 percent of its expenses, with states and districts paying the rest. Legislation on the table now would require the feds to meet the 40 percent standard. Read more
  • Will students who use vouchers to receive a private education receive IDEA protections? That's the question explored at the second Education Week article. Find it
AND FINALLY, THIS. The organization Save the Children has issued a report ranking 172 countries in terms of the best and worst places to grow up, taking into account quality of life, mortality rates, nutrition, and more. All of the top countries were European except South Korea, which tied for 10th spot. Find the list at USA Today or in Save the Children's report

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

ADHD Diagnosis Rate, ASD in the Classroom, a Teacher's POV, and More

ADHD DIAGNOSES, MEDS. In 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines for diagnosing and treating ADHD. Since then, according to a recent research update from the AAP, both the rate of diagnosis and the use of stimulant meds have remained constant. Find AAP's research update. On the other hand, the title of a recent article at Psychiatric Times is "Are We Overdiagnosing and Overtreating ADHD?" The article covers several studies of incidence and treatment; however, it looks as if the data used is generally from 2011 or earlier. Find the article. (Free registration required.)

MORE ON ADHD. Understood has posted a piece titled "ADHD and Mood Swings: What You Need to Know." Got that problem at your house? Find the piece. Separately, in our previous blog posting we referred to a study write-up that indicated car crashes might not be as big a danger for teens with ADHD as previously thought. A few days later, we see a study saying this: "Adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are licensed to drive less often and, when this group is licensed, they have a greater risk of crashing." Read more.

ASD IN THE CLASSROOM. The New York Times reports on an approach in the classroom to helping students on the spectrum adapt and learn. It's called ASD Nest and is in use in dozens of schools in New York City. Eligible students are evaluated as being capable of grade-level work. Read more.

EDUCATION WEEK offers "spotlights," collections of articles on particular topic. One is on special ed and includes articles of possible relevance to members of the 2e community, who have legs in both the gifted camp and the special ed camp. Some of the topics in this spotlight include personalized learning for kids with LDs, vouchers and special ed, and RTI. Find the spotlight.

THE RISE ACT. NCLD is advocating for the RISE act, legislation that would help ease the transition to college for students with learning and attention issues. At the NCLD site you can find out more and have your chance to advocate for the bill.

TiLT PARENTING has introduced a new podcast, this one about nurturing character in differently-wired kiddos. Find the podcast.

AND FINALLY, THIS. It's a safe bet that many parents might not appreciate what it's like to be a teacher -- what makes the job tiring... and what makes it rewarding. There's a short but expressive video on the topic that's worth watching. So far it's received almost 20 million views. You can find it at the site of Education Week, where there's other commentary on the topic, or at the Facebook page of the video's creator.

Monday, June 12, 2017

2e Stories, Anxiety, James T. Webb Interview, Attention, and More

DON'T FEEL BAD if you had trouble figuring out what was going on with your 2e kiddo before you knew he was twice-exceptional. At the Huffington Post you can read about a family in which the two parents have a combined three advanced degrees in education -- but who went through the same puzzle-solving most of the rest of us did before encountering, for the first time, the term "twice-exceptional." And the mom transitioned into a role familiar to those here: “warrior-research mother.” Find the story.

LABELS FOR DIFFERENTLY-WIRED KIDS. TiLT Parenting pointed us (thanks, Debbie) to an essay by a mom in Singapore who with her family this summer "will traverse twelve time zones to the other side of the globe as a step towards acceptance." In the family is a very bright 7yo differently-wired boy who on the trip will receive an assessment. The essay is in the form of a letter to the boy's teacher and is titled "Please Don't Label My Son." And the "acceptance part of the journey? "If we are to 'help' my son — accept and embrace him with empathy and unconditional love — we must learn to quiet the noise of our interpretations so that we can understand the nuances of his." Find the essay.

THE "GIFTED" LABEL. We in the 2e community get to explain two (or more) labels to our offspring. Psychologist Gail Post writes at her blog about how to explain the "gifted" label. Find the blog.

AN ANXIOUS NATION was the title of an article from The New York Times before some editor changed the title, using a reference to the "United States of Xanax."  (We like the first title better.) The article is about the ubiquity of anxiety in social media, blogs, Broadway shows, TV, and books. How ubiquitous? "According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, some 38 percent of girls ages 13 through 17, and 26 percent of boys, have an anxiety disorder." This article provides some reasons for the prevalence of anxiety, and notes the benefits of efforts to bring anxiety into "the open." You won't, however, find much help for that 2e kiddo you know who worries a lot. Find the article.

JAMES T. WEBB, psychologist and founder of the organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted, is interviewed by Adrienne Van Den Bos. You can find a PDF version here, or, if you're on LinkedIn, find a a link here.

ATTENTION. We have three items for you from the past few days on the topic of attention:

  • TED, in its weekly playlist, pointed to a talk by a neuroscientist who explains what happens when we pay attention; find it
  • US News published an article about how ADHD symptoms manifest differently depending on gender; find the article
  • And NewsWise reported on a study indicating that car crashes might not be as big a danger for teens with ADHD as previously thought; read more.
UNDERSTOOD has issued the following request. "Please share your thoughts on the IEP process. We want to hear from both parents and educators about your experiences. What do you think about the process for having a child evaluated? How is your school using the IEP to provide individualized teaching and personalized learning? Understood appreciates your help in completing a brief 5-minute survey." Go to the survey.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Remember the Georgia teacher who recently gave an end-of-year award to an ADHD student for being "most likely to not pay attention"? Last week a middle-school teacher in Texas handed out some awards in a similar vein. The student who got the "most likely to become a terrorist" award was not amused... nor was the school district, especially (presumably) after the incident received local television coverage. The teacher is no longer employed by the district, according to reports. Read more.




Thursday, June 8, 2017

2e IEP, Anxiety, Resources/Events, Puberty, and More

UNDERSTOOD, in its "My Parent Journey" feature, has a blog post from a dad describing how his family was able to get, over the years, an IEP that worked both for his 2e son's learning challenges as well as for his giftedness. The story is interesting in that it wasn't until high school that the lack of challenge motivated the family to request enrichment -- and the school went along, offering a method it had never done before. Find the story.

PARENT AND TEACHER with different views of the same child -- that's the gist of a story in The Washington Post. The teachers was very experienced, with a reputation for being good with gifted students. The parent of the boy in question, who was on the spectrum, was, ironically, a psychologist specializing in the early identification of autism. But the teacher said "I don't see [him] as a boy with autism." How did the year turn out? Read the story to find out.

ANXIETY. Two recent articles cover anxiety in kids. One, in Time, is titled "The New Way to Prevent Anxiety in Kids." It focuses on therapies that can prevent anxiety in children, and describes anxiety as a "gateway illness" leading to depression and other problems. Find the article. The second article is at PsychCentral, and focused on anxiety in preschoolers -- its prevalence and how parenting behaviors and family history might be involved. Find the article.

WALLACE RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM ON TALENT DEVELOPMENT. Organizing is underway for the 2018 edition of this event, sponsored by Belin Blank and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Prospective presenters should know that organizers have issued a call for papers. Is there a presentation YOU should pitch? Find out more.

WRIGHTSLAW has published Special Education Legal Developments and :Cases 2016. If you're an advocate, know that the book contains, according to Wrightslaw:
  • All key decisions from the Courts of Appeals in 2016
  • Four decisions that were selected as "Cases of the Year for 2016."
Find out more.

A REMINDER: The Landmark College Summer Institute runs from June 25-28, aimed at educators and professionals supporting students who learn differently. Find out more.

MEET THE SCIENTIST WEBINAR. On June 13, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation presents a webinar on a drug which might hold promise as a rapid-acting treatment for OCD. Find out more.

TiLT PARENTING offers podcast Episode 60, "A Deep Dive into Assessments, Diagnoses, and Labels," with psychologist Linda Neff. Remember that TiLT is for those who have "differently-wired" kiddos, aka twice-exceptional. Find the podcast.

AND FINALLY, THIS. The hormones associated with puberty affect learning. That's probably not news to anyone who's ever taught or parented a middle-schooler, but it appears that those chemicals do have specific effects on the frontal cortices... of mice -- female mice. Extrapolating the effects to human girls can shed light on how they learn. Find a study write-up.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Conference, Aspie Comedian, Dogs and Reading, and More

22nd BIENNIAL WORLD CONFERENCE. The program for this event, to be held July 20-23 in Sydney, Australia, is online at the conference site. A quick scan indicates that there are 10 sessions or events with "twice-exceptional" in the title, including a keynote by Karen Rogers titled "Finding and Supporting Twice Exceptional Learners in Schools." Find the program, and send us a postcard if you attend.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION has revamped the site devoted to the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, IDEA. Disability Scoop quotes the department as saying, "The site features better search capabilities, enhanced accessibility and more content." See for yourself; the department invites you to provide feedback.

A 28YO COMEDIAN WITH ASPERGER'S is featured in the Bangor (Maine) Daily News. In the article, he addresses his background, his ASD ("another way of looking at the world"), and his comedy. Read more.

#MYYOUNGERSELF. This campaign is almost over, and the Child Mind Institute has posted a thank you and a request to "keep the movement alive" by sharing its videos, in which prominent people discussed their issues such as anxiety, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. See the thank-you. If you haven't checked out the videos, maybe now's the time.

DOGS AND ACADEMICS. Second-graders of at least average reading ability improved their abilities and attitudes about reading when they read for 30 minutes a week to therapy dogs. Read more.

GIFTED AND DISTRACTIBLE. The June edition of this newsletter is out. Julie Skolnick says, "In this issue of Gifted and Distractible check out articles and information relevant to: end of year considerations - test stress and advocacy... making the most of summer vacation to engage gifted minds in meaningful endeavors, address sleep hygiene, and taking a moment to consider what it's like being a gifted adult." Find the newsletter.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES. A new, brief article at the site of this organization covers some of the reasons why a career in technology might be appropriate for 2e kiddos; find it.

FAITH-BASED SCHOOLS. Commentary at Education Week by a University of Notre Dame official argues that faith-based schools "have always mattered a great deal to our K-12 landscape. In many ways, they matter now more than ever," citing their service to marginalized children and families and to at-risk communities. If you're interested in the many factors involved in school choice and potential shifts in Federal education policy and practice, perhaps check out this article.

RESOURCE. The UC Davis Mind Institute provides many resources of potential interest to parents, educators, and clinicians in the 2e community. One resource is a collection of videos on topics such as ADHD, ASD, assistive technology, LDs, and more. Find the videos.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Diagnosing 2e; Homeschoolers as "Missing Voices"; Survey Opportunities; and More

PSYCHOLOGIST DEVON MACEACHRON specializes in twice exceptionality, and she has written an insightful blog posting on the topic of giftedness and dyslexia. The posting, however, applies to other "e's" beside dyslexia and brings some clarity to how learning disabilities should be diagnosed in high-ability kiddos, endorsing the discrepancy model (the difference between potential and performance) as a key to ferreting out LDs. Find the posting. (Thanks to the Eides and Dyslexic Advantage for making us aware of MacEachron's post.)

A GIFTED AND DYSLEXIC young man shares his experiences at the site of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities. Despite early academic success, he wound up in the "low math group" and took hits to his self-esteem. Until an eighth-grade diagnosis with dyslexia, sports maintained his self-confidence. Read his story.

GIFTED HOMESCHOOLING. The Gifted homeschooler's Forum (GHF) says that as part of its mission it "seeks to advocate for the gifted/2e community, providing an informed voice to organizations and policymakers who otherwise would hear little to nothing from this unique demographic." GHF surveyed its constituency about educational choice and found this: "The most significant result of this research is the documentation of a melding of educational options. Families surveyed by GHF are not making choices based on ideology so much as they are seeking the best fit for each child, based on the needs of that child and of the family at any given place and time.​ Families of all kinds deserve a seat at the education policy-making table, and families who homeschool should not be permanently marginalized—left unheard—because they have chosen to do what they believe is best for the academic and developmental needs of their children." Read more.

NAGC, in its periodic survey of news, pointed us to three items of possible interest to those in the 2e community:
  • A CNN article titled "How to Make Sense of the School Choice Debate; find it
  • A Politico article, "Five Programs Trump Wants to Scrap You Might Have Missed" (hint: one is the Javits program); find it
  • A letter from Senators to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee supporting funding for the Javits program; find it

GENERIC STRATERA for ADHD has been approved by the FDA. Find out more.

TEEN GIRLS AND DEPRESSION. Teen girls experience depression at a much higher rate than boys, 36 percent to 14 percent, according to research reported at The Washington Post. If this statistic is of potential relevance in your family, find the article.

DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION may soon be done in human brains without invasive wiring. The trick involves beaming two currents of different frequencies that intersect at the desired location. The technique is called "temporally interfering stimulation." Beside Parkinson's disease, the technique, now being tested in mice, might be useful for treating OCD and depression. Find out more in a study write-up or a New York Times article.

SURVEY OPPORTUNITY 1: LD Online is looking for input on the topic of assistive technology for students with learning challenges -- "why you are looking for AT/IT, where you look for information, what works in your classroom or at home, and more." Find out more.

SURVEY OPPORTUNITY 2. A researcher at the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training seeks input on the topic of LDs and stigma -- in particular, "Does the age of diagnosis of an individual with LD/ADHD cause a difference in the amount and type of stigma the individual perceives throughout their life?" The survey is for different learners of all ages and should take 5-10 minutes, according to the researcher. Deadline: June 7. Find out more.

SUMMER CAMPS AND PROGRAMS. Our May/June issue, just out, included the annual listing of camps and programs. After we published, TiLT Parenting issued a podcast from the point of view of TiLT's founder's 12yo son on prepping for a successful time at sleep-away camp. Find the podcast.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Readings, Research, and Research Participation Opportunities

TODAY'S BLOG features readings from organizations we cover often, such as Undestood and the Child Mind Institute; recent research results of possible interest to the 2e community; and a couple research participation opportunities


SENG offers, from its archives, an article titled "Depressive Disorder in Highly Gifted Adolescents," written by two authors who have contributed much to the gifted and 2e community -- P. Susan Jackson and Jean Sunde Peterson. It was originally published by SENG in 2011, but if you missed it then check it out.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE offers an article on techniques for calming anxiety-prone kiddos. Find it.

UNDERSTOOD features astronaut Scott Kelly talking about his attention issues. What could be better for a bright kiddo with ADHD than to read an astronaut say something like, "Every year, I thought, ‘This is the year I’m going to start paying attention and doing my homework.’ And that would last all of two days.” Find the article.

WRIGHITSLAW, as it periodically does, focuses on families in the military who have special needs kids and describes the challenges they face. Find Special Ed Advocate.

AND NCLD, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, has a concern, urging NCLD fans to tell the U.S. Congress to take action against the 2018 budget proposed by the nation's president because of what they see as the "devastating impact it would have on students and schools." Find out more.


PANDAS IS REAL, IT SEEMS. A recent study links strep throat infections to a higher risk of mental disorders, especially OCD and tics. Read more.

SPECIAL DIETS FOR ASD might not be effective, according to newly-published research. Evaluated by the research were tactics such as gluten-free foods and fish oil supplements. Read more.

BRAIN STIMULATION using external direct current may not be effective for cognitive training, says new research. The study examined the use of transcranial direct current stimulation during cognitive training to see if it would "enhance brain plasticity and enable transfer from working memory to other cognitive processes." Evidently it did not. Read a study write-up.


RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY FOR TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL STUDENTS. [Note: this information is from the University of Iowa. Please contact the researcher directly with any questions.] Did you know that researchers know very little about twice-exceptional students compared to other groups of children and adolescents? Interested individuals are invited to participate in a research study examining the perceptions of friendship quality amongst middle school students. This information may help researchers better understand how twice-exceptional students, an under-researched group, perceive their friendships compared to their peers.We are looking for students in Grades 6, 7, or 8 (or the equivalent) who have completed standardized assessments (e.g., Iowa Assessments, Wechsler Assessments, CogAT, etc.) and would be interested in participating in our study. You will also be asked to provide demographic information about your child along with documentation of their cognitive ability (such as Iowa assessment scores from school) and ADHD diagnosis (if it applies). To participate, students will complete an online survey. The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete.If you are interested in learning more, please contact the PI (Staci Fosenburg, staci-fosenburg@uiowa.edu) for more information about how to participate in this study. Thank you!

ASD USUAL CARE STUDY. Lerner Labs at New York's Stony Brook University has this announcement: "We are working with colleagues around the country to develop the most comprehensive picture to date of the specific practices used in mental health services for children and teens with ASD. Soon we will be seeking input from providers who work with youth with ASD around the country! If you work with youth with ASD and would like to be contacted about participating in the ASD Usual Care Study to share your insight with us, please let us know at lernerlab@stonybrook.edu!" Find more information.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dyslexia, Processing Speed, Reading, Education Policy, and More

#MYYOUNGERSELF. We've mentioned the Child Mind Institute campaign in May in which prominent individuals with LDs or mental health issues give advice on those issues, as if to their "younger selves." Understood describes fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger's advice, based on his struggles with dyslexia. Find Understood's description... and remember that the CMI campaign goes on through May. Separately, Education Week writes about the problem of unidentified dyslexia in the student population; find the article.

SLOW PROCESSING SPEED, that bugaboo of gifted kiddos, was the topic of a TiLT podcast a while ago, and now TiLT has provided a transcription of that podcast for those of us who prefer to read rather than listen. The podcast was a conversation between TiLT founder Debbie Reber, parent of a "differently-wired" kiddo, and Ellen Braaten.  Included in the conversation: how to support kids who process slowly. Find the transcription.

READING. We talk and write about reading problems a lot in the 2e community. Professor Daniel Willingham, in a new book, focuses on what research about reading means for educators -- and, implicitly, for parents of kids with reading problems. In an interview with Education Week, Willingham describes the process of reading from a psychological/cognitive point of view, including how we use sight and sound to decode. Find the interview.

AND IF YOU LIKE TO READ ABOUT READING, check out a writeup of a study in which scientists found that learning to read as an adult reconfigures evolutionarily ancient brain structures hitherto assigned to different skills.The findings were from a large-scale study in India in which completely illiterate women learned how to read and write for six months. Find a study write-up.

EDUCATION POLICY. The Council for Exceptional Children, in the most recent "Policy Insider," comes down hard on the 2018 budget for what it means to the gifted and LD communities. The communique starts off: "Yesterday, the Trump Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget, dismissing the needs of children and youth with exceptionalities, particularly those with disabilities and gifts and talents. The Council for Exceptional Children is disheartened to see that this Administration has made deep cuts to the U.S. Department of Education funding, level funded the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, slashed Medicaid funds, eliminated funding for the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program – the only federal investment in students with gifts and talents, and created a new private school voucher program that takes scarce taxpayer funding away from public schools and jeopardizes the civil right of a free appropriate public education for children and youth with disabilities." Read more.

NEW (OR NEWLY APPLIED) TREATMENTS FOR...
  • OCD -- rapastinel. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation reports that in a single-dose small trial, "The drug was well tolerated—no patient reported dissociative side effects — and within hours of treatment, the severity of patients’ symptoms had declined significantly. The drug reduced the severity of patients’ obsessions and compulsions, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression." Read more
  • ASD -- suramin. In a small, randomized Phase I/II clinical trial, researchers say a 100-year-old drug called suramin, originally developed to treat African sleeping sickness, was safely administered to children with autism spectrum disorder, who subsequently displayed measurable, but transient, improvement in core symptoms of autism. Read more
  • Depression -- probiotics. Researchers found that twice as many adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) reported improvements from co-existing depression when they took a specific probiotic than adults with IBS who took a placebo. Read more

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Education Budget, Resources, and "Most Likely Not to Pay Attention"

K-12 EDUCATION BUDGET. In our previous blog posting, we pointed to a Washington Post story about the potential impact on education stemming from budget changes for 2018. The Post has issued a follow-up, claiming that the administration is proposing to eliminate: "Mental health services. Civics and arts programs. International education and language studies. Anti-bullying activities. Gifted and talented initiatives. Full-service community schools." Find the article. In a similar vein, Disability Scoop notes that "Deep cuts to Medicaid and other programs that people with disabilities rely on are at the heart of President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal." Find the article. (Our reaction? Onward and downward. 😧) 

THANKS TO ALL who took advantage of our Spring Sale on "Spotlight on 2e Series" booklets. Many purchasers were repeat buyers. And some school districts took the opportunity to stock up on 10, 40, or even 50 copies. It's always gratifying to us that so many in the 2e community seem to find the booklets useful.

AND ANOTHER "DEAL." Prufrock Press is publishing the third edition of To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled, by Susan Baum, Robin Schader, and Steven Owen. The book is scheduled for release at the end of June. Members of the 2e community interested in purchasing this book can go to the Prufrock site, add the book to the shopping cart, and then use the code TBGLD20 to receive a 20 percent discount.

RESOURCE FROM AACAP. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has posted a guide for families titled "Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth." If gender identification is an issue at your house, check out the guide.

FIDGET SPINNERS have been in the news lately, and the headline in a new posting at Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities tells why, asking whether the devices are a "Distraction or Learning Tool?" Read more about the pros and cons of this device.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Teachers at a Georgia middle school used the occasion of end-of-year recognitions to present one student with ADHD a trophy inscribed "Most Likely Not to Pay Attention." The teachers have evidently been fired. Readers on our Facebook page, where we "shared" the item yesterday, were not amused and stated so. Find out more.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Child Behavior, Policy and Education, Sleep, Therapists, Booklet Sale, More

NAUGHTY? OR NATURAL? An article in Psychology Today explains how some child behavior can seem "bad," but may instead be natural. Says the article, "When we recognize kids' unwelcome behaviors as reactions to environmental conditions, developmental phases, or our own actions, it lets us respond proactively, and with much more compassion." Some of the behaviors are in the categories of impulsiveness, reaction to stimulation, and the need to move. Find the article.

SLEEP FOR KIDDOS. Besides the factors mentioned in the item above, sleep can affect children's behavior and academic performance. Psychology Today also has an article addressing the minimum sleep requirements of children and adolescents, The article reports on a recent study which indicates that the "right" amount of sleep is different for socioemotional development than it is for academic performance, and that variability in sleep duration can be detrimental to mental health. Read more.

TEEN CHEF. A young man on the spectrum is the subject of an article in the Orange County Register. He has created a couple special sauces featured on a local restaurant's menu, and his family has had some of his recipes commercially produced and bottled. The young man is a high school senior. Find the article.

BULLYING. Depending on what you read recently, bullying among students is either still at a fairly high level (about 1 in 5 of students 12-18) or has declined by half since 2005. An Associated Press article provides the first perspective; an article at Business Insider provides the second.

POLICY AND EDUCATION 1. NPR reports on how vouchers may bring "choices, not guarantees," to families with special-needs kids. The problem: finding a school that will accept the special needs child, especially if behavior issues are involved. Read more.

POLICY AND EDUCATION 2. The Washington Post examines the current president's education budget, noting "deep cuts to public school programs in pursuit of school choice." The cuts come in the areas of college work-study programs, public-service loan forgiveness, mental health services, and advanced coursework as part of a $10.6 billion cut, says the Post. Find the article.

GIFTED CHALLENGES. In a new blog posting, Gail Post writes about finding a therapist when you (or, presumably, your offspring) are gifted. Trust your gut when it comes to feelings about a prospective therapist, she writes, and know that therapy is hard work. Number 10 on her list -- "Try to find a therapist who 'gets' giftedness." We would add, "or twice exceptionality." Find the blog posting.

TiLT PARENTING. Episode 57 in TiLT's series of podcasts is titled "Using a Strengths-based Approach to Support Differently-wired Kids." In the podcast, TiLT founder Debbie Reber talks to Giselle Marzo Segura, "a designer, teacher, mentor, writer, and solutions thinker." Find the podcast.

HATING MATH WORKSHEETS? In the Facebook group Twice Exceptional Children we found a "share" of an intriguing home-made device that might make rote memorization more fun for that math-hating 2e kiddo you know. You make it with foam drink cups and a marker, and it seems as if it would be more engaging than flash cards or worksheets. Take a look at the Facebook page of "Planning Playtime: Learning Through Play" and look for a post called "a fun, interactive math activity."

OUR SPRING BOOKLET SALE ends Sunday. Go to our website to see what you can get for $11 (any booklet). Paid newsletter subscribers, check your inbox for your link to even lower prices.

Monday, May 15, 2017

2e Conference, Advocacy, New Edition of "To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled"

GIFTED PLUS CONFERENCE IN TEXAS. The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented has scheduled a conference for June 22-24 on serving gifted students who are twice-exceptional, ELL, or members of other underserved gifted populations. A "Twice Exceptional Summit" is to be held on June 22 and other Gifted Plus events on June 23-24, all in San Antonio, Texas. Find out more.

TO BE GIFTED AND LEARNING DISABLED is a book that is one of the seminal works in the 2e field. Prufrock Press is releasing a third edition of the book on June 30, adding Robin Shader to the previous editions' authors Susan Baum and Steven Owen. This edition update the 2004 second edition. Prufrock states, "This updated third edition provides a comprehensive look at the complex world of students with remarkable gifts, talents, and interests, who simultaneously face learning, attention, or social challenges from LD, ADHD, and other disorders. Through case studies and years of research, the authors present a rationale for using a strength-based, talent-focused approach to meeting the needs of this special population." Find out more.

IT'S NOW OKAY TO HAVE AN LD IN TEXAS, even if your particular LD puts your school district over an 8.5 percent "cap" on special ed enrollments, thanks to legislation recently passed on that state. According to The Houston Chronicle, "As many as 250,000 more students with dyslexia, autism, speech impairments and other disabilities would have received special education services had the state stayed at the national average." Read more. (Please note that this legislative action is an example of how the independent press -- in this case, The Chronicle -- investigate and reports on governmental malfeasance.)

ADVOCACY. For educators looking to gain the skills to be more effective advocates for special ed, the Council for Exceptional Children offers a "Special Education Legislative Summit" on July 9-12 in Alexandria, Virginia. CEC says that participants will learn to help make the case for funding, FAPE, and civil rights for students receiving special ed services -- which, obviously, can include 2e students. Find out more.

ALSO FOR ADVOCATES. William and Mary Law school offers its five-day Institute for Special Education Advocacy starting in late July. It's for experienced advocates, law students, and attorneys. Find out more.

WRIGHTSLAW. Want to find out what others look for at the Wrightslaw site? The current issue of Wrightslaw's Special Ed Advocate lists the five most popular articles, topics, and blog posts from the past half year. Go there.

GIFTED AND DISTRACTIBLE. The May edition of this newsletter from With Understanding Comes Calm is out, with information on a variety of 2e-related topics, including the recent screening of the movie "2e: Twice Exceptional"; Camp Summit East; and a preview of the annual SENG conference. Find the newsletter.

ADHD MEDS, DRIVING. In a study of more than 2.3 million drivers in the United States with ADHD, rates of motor vehicle crashes were lower when drivers had received their prescribed medication, according to a new study. Find a study write-up.