Thursday, September 21, 2017

Mental Health, Adolescence, Asperger's, and More

25, THE NEW 18. Yup, extended adolescence, and it's the topic of an article at Scientific American. If you thought your 2e kiddo would be (mostly) out the door and off your mind at 18, maybe think again. The article was sparked by research indicating that teens today are less likely to engage in "adult" activities such as sex and alcohol than teens in previous generations. One possible explanation: growing up in a relatively affluent, stable environment, which might lead to a "slower developmental course." Do you buy that? Should you worry about this? Check the article

MENTAL HEALTH. In the story above we found a quote about strategies for setting up older teens for success, from a psychologist who says that "one such strategy might be expanding mental health services for adolescents, particularly because 75 percent of major mental illnesses emerge by the mid-20s." By coincidence, UCLA has announced that it will make mental health screening and treatment available to all incoming students. Read more.

MORE COINCIDENCE. The Child Mind Institute this week features its annual Children's Mental Health Report, with a focus on adolescence. It echoes some of the themes in the Scientific American article, namely that:
  • The brain develops until at least age 25.
  • Most mental health issues surface before age 24. 
  • Awareness and programs can change lives. 
Find the report.

WHERE'S THE "ASPERGER'S" DIAGNOSIS? Not in the DSM-5. Still in the ICD-10. But, possibly, taking on "a culture of its own," according to a piece at Psychiatric Times. Read more.

INTERESTED IN tDCS, transcranial direct current stimulation of the brain? It's become a "thing" over the past few years for brain enhancement. Cerebrum presents an article it describes this way: "Originally developed to help patients with brain injuries such as strokes, tDCS is now also used to enhance language and mathematical ability, attention span, problem solving, memory, coordination, and even gaming skills. The authors examine its potential and pitfalls." Find the article.

JEN THE BLOGGER discourses on whether homeschooling should focus on the acquisition of skills or the accumulation of facts, and offers some perspective on what 12 years can mean in the development of a kiddo in our community. Find "Laughing at Chaos."

GIFTED CHALLENGES. Psychologist Gail Post describes what a recently-issued statement on the importance of social-emotional learning can mean for gifted kiddos. The statement set forth four conditions for students; those who meet the conditions "are more likely to maximize their opportunities and reach their potential." But Post notes how gifted kiddos can be foiled by the four conditions, foiled in ways that are logical when one things about them but ways that one might not have thought of, which is why we should appreciate having professionals like Post around. Each of the four foiling conditions seems to us to apply to 2e kids as well. Find this thoughtful post.

PRIVATE EVALUATIONS VERSUS SCHOOL EVALUATIONS. Understood offers a list of the pros and cons of having a child evaluated by the school as opposed to a private assessor. Find it.

TiLT PARENTING's most recent podcast is a conversation between TiLT's founder Debbie Reber and a woman who is a life and leadership coach, founder of Mother's Quest, and -- mother of two differently-wired sons. Says Debbie: "In our honest and open conversation, Julie shares how she has embraced who her children are, how they’ve handled the issue of diagnoses and labels, and her big why for creating Mother’s Quest." Find the podcast.

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED about the disparity between a child's ability to focus on schoolwork versus a video game? New research described at Science Daily might shed some light on it for you. Find the write-up.

RESEARCH PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITY. The Social Competence & Treatment Lab at Stony Brook University is now recruiting participants for a new employment study, "Improving Outcomes for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder." The autism population, says the lab, is statistically the least employed population worldwide, and the lab has launched a nationwide, online survey intended for employers, parents, and individuals with ASD. The lab says the survey takes about 15 minutes. Find out more.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Lang School, Parenting Anxiety, Student Anxiety, ADHD, More

THE LANG SCHOOL for 2e students (profiled in the March/April, 2016 issue of 2e Newsletter), like other similar schools, was founded by a parent, Micaela Bracamonte, who wanted an education for her children that would fit their strengths and challenges. A story at the website portrays Bracamonte's vision, drive, and independence as she built her school. Those in the 2e community will find a lot to relate to in the story, which will, hopefully, open more eyes about twice-exceptionality and its ramifications. Go to

PARENTING ANXIETY. Any sane parent feels anxiety about at least some of her or his parental duties and to the child's development. A parent writing into a column at The Washington Post says, "I manage my parenting anxiety by not reading parenting books. It’s too much contradictory information, and I get nuts about it." The columnist offers suggestions for dealing with the consequences of "too much information." Find the column.

WHAT DO YOU DO when other parents suggest that your child has ADHD? You might have your own favorite response -- but US News has some tips -- like, "consider the source"; how to handle rude people; and more. Find the article.

MORE ON ADHD. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation reports on research providing more clarity in how to diagnose ADHD in a child, in particular when using the Achenbach Scales. Read more.

PARENTS AREN'T THE ONLY ONES who deal with a child's "e's." Education Week has published an article by a teacher who has witnessed the upsurge in students with anxiety over the past decades. The teacher describes the manifestations of the problem -- absenteeism ("I just couldn't face school today"), missed assignments, panic attacks, separation anxiety, and more. The teacher/writer blames our culture for some of this. He also describes briefly how he has changed his engagement style to adapt. Find the article.

ADVICE FROM TEACHERS for other teachers and for parents -- that's what the current TED Talks playlist promises. Among the playlist titles: "3 rules to spark learning"; "Help for kids the education system ignores"; and "How to fix a broken education system." Find the playlist.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has a new article up, "The Benefits of Later School Start Times." If you need convincing, or want something to help your school district be convinced, check it out.

YOUR CHANCE FOR INPUT. The biennial World Conference of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children is seeking input on speakers or topics to include. Here's your chance to show how important twice-exceptionality is to you and the 2e community. Find out more and let them know what you think. (The next conference is in Nashville in 2019 -- but now's the chance to advocate.)

SENG has an upcoming webinar this Thursday, "Parenting Adventures in the Digital Realm: From Surviving to Thriving." From the event blurb: "How can we best support our kids in developing the skills necessary to participate creatively and make healthy choices in the digital realm? In this interactive presentation, we’ll explore how to nurture conversations and family practices that reduce conflict, support dialog, and build trust." Find out more.

DO YOU PRAISE THAT KID for being "smart"? He or she might be more prone to cheat if so, according to a new study. Find the study write-up.

DOUBT ON ANTIDEPRESSANTS? Although the clinical efficacy of antidepressants in children and adolescents is proven, it is frequently accompanied by side effects. In addition, the influence of the placebo effect on the efficacy of antidepressants is unclear. A meta-analysis of data from over 6,500 patients has now shown that, although antidepressants are more effective than placebos, the difference is minor and varies according to the type of mental disorder.Find the study write-up.

REMEMBER GOOGLE GLASS, the wearable communications/computing/display technology? It's still around. Now a prototype software application, to be used with the optical head-mounted display, has been designed as a social-skills coach for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Read more.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Going to College, U.S. Education, 2e Resource, More

SENDING THAT 2e KIDDO off to college this fall? At Quartz, you can read how helicopter parenting is bad for college kids, but "a little hovering is just right." Not to put the pressure on you to find the right amount of involvement for your kiddo, but here's what the article's author says: "As a psychotherapist who has worked with students and their parents for more than three decades, I have found that making a healthy, successful transition from home to college is one of the most important tasks of adolescent development — for students and parents alike. But it is also one of the most difficult." Find the article. Separately, The Washington Post's "On Parenting" feature offers tips from college advisers to help freshmen succeed. Find the article.

U.S. ED POLICY AND LAW. Something nice -- or, at least, not bad -- happened this week. As CEC's Policy Insider reports, "The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. No amendments were included. This bill provides $63.8 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education, a $29.0 million increase compared to FY 2017. The bill also maintains funding for many programs that were eliminated in the President’s budget." As they way in Lake Woebegone, things could be worse. Read more.

HOWEVER. Two items at Education Week paint a not-so-rosy picture about education in the United States:
  • Teachers in the U.S. face a big pay disparity compared to professionals with similar education levels. Find out more
  • The U.S. trails other nations when it comes to enrolling children in preschool. Find out more
TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY (TECA), after a summer break, is resuming its online parent support groups, offering one group for parents of teens and one for parents of pre-teens. Find out more.
ZZZZZZZZZZZZ. The New York Times reviews the case for later school start times as a way to let teens get the nine or ten hours of sleep they should have. Got a teen? Read the article.
DON'T FORGET NAGC'S campaign "Giftedness Knows No Boundaries," which invites participants to "see, understand, teach, and challenge gifted and talented children from all backgrounds." Find out more at NAGC.
READING. American Public Media has published an article on how American schools fail kids with dyslexia. Says the article, "...across the country, public schools are denying children proper treatment and often failing to identify them with dyslexia in the first place." Find it. Separately, an article at Science Daily about gender differences in reading abilities asks "How should we handle boys who can't read?" Find the article.
ADHD RESEARCH. Here are write-ups of three recent studies:
  1. Gut health and ADHD. "Imbalances in microbes are also seen in many disorders associated with inflammation, which is possibly relevant to ADHD because low-grade neuroinflammation, or activation of immune cells in the brain, has been suggested to contribute to ADHD." Find the write-up
  2. The eyes and ADHD. "A technique that measures tiny movements of the eyes may help scientists better understand and perhaps eventually improve assessment of ADHD." Find the write-up.
  3. Inattentiveness. "Children with or without attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), who demonstrate inattentiveness during childhood are associated with a worse academic performance up to 10 years later in life." Find the write-up

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Due Process for 2e, Success for ADHD Students, and More

DUE PROCESS. Special ed attorney Matt Cohen won a due process hearing for parents of a bright elementary school student with ADHD, writing difficulties, and other issues. Here's what the firm says in their newsletter about the case: "The parents repeatedly sought assistance from the district for an IEP or a 504 plan to help their son. He was not provided a 504 plan for approximately a year after they began seeking help and was denied an IEP repeatedly over a two year period, despite extensive evidence of the struggles he was having during and after school. [Chicago Public Schools] staff defended the refusal of both a 504 plan and an IEP on the grounds that the student was bright, was getting passing grades and had generally high achievement test scores." The firm's newsletter is not posted at their website, but you can read the hearing officer's opinion here.

STUDENTS WITH ADHD -- that's the topic of an article at Education Week Teacher called "10 Tips for a Smooth School Year for Students with ADHD." The article is directed at educators, but parents should find it useful as well. Separately, US News offers parent its tips to ensure (dangerous word) the success at school for a child with ADHD. Find the US News piece.

ESCAP, the European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, has published a journal issue focusing on the role of nutrition on child and adolescent mental health disorders. Among the article topics: the microbiome; vitamin D; and elimination diets. The issue also contains an article on sleep and ADHD. Find the journal and read the article abstracts; sadly, the full articles are not available to non-subscribers, but perhaps your local library might be able to provide you with access.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has posted "Normal Is Overrated," observations by a kiddo you'll emphasize with -- bright but with reading issues, ADHD, and a growth disorder. (He was, for awhile, a "runt.") Find the piece.

GIFTED AND DISTRACTIBLE, the newsletter from With Understanding Comes Calm, is out in its September incarnation. You can read how Julie Skolnick has been spreading the word about 2e, about 2e-related events in the Maryland area and elsewhere, and more. Find the newsletter.

TiLT PARENTING's newest podcast is with one of the co-authors of the new book Child Decoded: Unlocking Complex Issues in Your Child’s Learning, Behavior, or Attention. Debbie of TiLT calls the book "an owner's manual" for parents of differently wired kids. Find the podcast.


  • Medical News Today describes research shedding light on the way serotonin works in the brain; find it
  • NewsWise describes research into drugs like ketamine for depression relief; find it
OUR THOUGHTS ARE WITH all of the families affected by the recent hurricanes in the U.S. southlands. We wish them a speedy resumption of normalcy... and the fortitude to get through disruptions that the rest of us can only imagine.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Dysgraphia, Misdiagnosis, Events, Research, More

DYSGRAPHIA can be under diagnosed, and a writer at The Huffington Post gives reasons why, leading with this question about her own child who read many grade levels above her age: [H]ow could a child with such advanced reading and comprehension levels disregard proper syntax and grammar when writing?" The writer notes that under-diagnosis can occur because "The testing used to assess written expression disabilities often doesn’t score handwriting or spelling problems..." The writer says that 2e kiddos are especially prone to being missed with the diagnosis, but goes on to offer things to look for and some amelioration for parents who feel guilty about missing the problem. Find the article.

THE UNMOTIVATED STUDENT is the topic of a feature at Education World. Do you know a student meeting the following description? "Although his test scores often convey high potential, his classroom performance suggests something else." The author goes on to offers seven tips for addressing the problem, starting with interrupting the "cycle of failure" for students who are demoralized. Find the article.

MISDIAGNOSIS of the gifted and 2e is the topic of a blog posting by psychologist Devon MacEachron, and she gives her "top 10 reasons" why these learners can be misdiagnosed. One of the reasons ("interaction of the organism with its environment") contains this quote: "“I don’t have a learning disability – my teacher has a teaching disability." Find the blog.

THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE has posted three articles that might be of interest to those in the 2e community:

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has a new post titled "Think Twice before Exiting Special Ed." The post advocates a measured approach to giving up the supports of special ed. If your kiddo is receiving such services, perhaps check out the post.

  • The organization Twice Exceptional Children's Advocacy has announced the keynote speaker for its October conference: Katherine Ellison, author of Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention, and ADHD: What Everyone Needs to Know. Find out more about the conference. 
  • If you were considering signing up for the Landmark College online course "Understanding and Supporting Diverse Learners," you still have a couple days. The deadline has been extended until September 10. Find out more
  • We've just learned of an October event in Bellevue, Washington: "Autistics Present: A Symposium on Autistic Culture and Diversity." Find out more on Facebook.

  • The Washington Post reports on research on the treatment of anxiety in children using medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, or both. Meds varied, with SSRIs appearing to be most effective, and the combination of SSRIs with CBT more effective than any other option. Read more
  • Those interested in how seratonin works in the brain will be interested in new research described at Science Daily; find it
  • Other newly-published research indicates that a "tailored physical activity intervention" can improve self-control. The write-up seemed to indicate that the study subjects were adults. Find out more

EDUCATION POLICY AND LAW. A U.S. Senate committee has approved legislation that, according to Education Week, "seeks to bar the administration from using federal funding for vouchers or public school choice." The committee also rejected some proposed heavy cuts to education funding. Read more.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

TEDx Talk on 2e, Depression, Girls on the Spectrum, More

AS WE MENTIONED in our coverage of August's SENG conference, Scott Barry Kaufman has done a TEDx talk. Here's what he says about it: "My new TEDx talk on redefining intelligence, maximizing human potential, and appreciating twice-exceptional children, is up! Please share if you can, as I'd like to get the word out there about this very marginalized group of children." Find the talk. The release of the talk was announced in the Beautiful Minds, a newsletter from Kaufmann which contains links to podcasts, interviews, talks, and articles. Find the newsletter.

GIRLS ON THE SPECTRUM. Disability Scoop reports on research about the gender differences in ASD, writing "New research finds that girls on the spectrum have more difficulty with planning, organizing, making small talk, and other adaptive skills needed to get up, get dressed, and make it through the day." Read more.

DEPRESSION. What to know how psychiatrists evaluate for the possibility of treatment-resistant depression (TRD)? Find out at the site of Psychiatric Times. Separately, a small study found that neurofeedback seemed to improve symptoms and recovery in TRD. Read more.

BRAIN WONKS will probably appreciate an article at Science Daily on recent research into mapping regions and functional connections in the brain. According to the write-up, the research "will provide new insights into a wide range of psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety, substance use, and cognitive impairment." Of special interest are networks involved in cognition and attention. Find the write-up.

BELIN-BLANK has announced a series of podcasts called The Window and says this about it: "The Window podcast is designed to engage thought leaders on issues relating to maximizing human potential and directing talent toward a larger social good." Find out more.

SLEEP, ADHD. Here's a rather strong statement about the connection between ADHD and sleep from Medical News Today: "Researchers suggest that there may be a stronger link between ADHD and sleep problems than hitherto believed, and that the two may not be completely separate issues after all." Read more.

TiLT PARENTING. A new podcast is out and it's titled "Non-violent Communication, Whole Person Learning, and Neurodiverse Students." Here's one of the things TiLT founder Debbie says you'll learn: "What it looks like when education is grounded in compassion and the principles of nonviolent communication, ecological literacy, and whole person learning (social, emotional, physiological, and academic)." Find the podcast. (Wikipedia says that non-violent communication "is a communication process developed by Marshall Rosenberg beginning in the 1960s. It focuses on three aspects of communication: self-empathy (defined as a deep and compassionate awareness of one's own inner experience), empathy (defined as an understanding of the heart in which we see the beauty in the other person), and honest self-expression (defined as expressing oneself authentically in a way that is likely to inspire compassion in others).")

EDUCATION IN FINLAND has often in the past been held up as a benchmark. Education Week reports on a visit to Finland by five "teachers of the year" from the U.S. Find out what they observed and thought.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Giftedness, Disabilities, 2e Center Symposium, More

UNDERSTANDING GIFTEDNESS. A press release from California State University highlights the work of a psychologist who has spent almost 40 years in a longitudinal study of giftedness -- the various types, predictors of later success, and more. He began following his subjects when they were a year old; now they're 38. One interesting part of the article concerns the researcher's work in the area of intellectual giftedness versus motivational giftedness. Read more.

UNDERSTANDING DISABILITIES. Having a physical, emotional, or cognitive disability can have several consequences, and how the disabled person deals with those consequences can affect his or her acceptance of the disability. One consequence is stigma. New research indicates that disabled persons who feel stigma are more likely to self-identify with their disability and, ultimately, even take pride in it and deal with it 
more successfully. While the disabilities of 2e kiddos are less "obvious" than other types of disabilities, this study write-up might offer constructive ideas for parents and even for older 2e kiddos. Find the study write-up.

2e CENTER SYMPOSIUM. There are still seats left for this October event presented by the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development at Bridges Academy. The title: "Vision and Leadership in 2e Education." The audience is expected to be international in scope. One highlight will be the induction of the first "pioneers" into the 2e Hall of Fame. Find out more.

GIFTED PD. Iowa's Belin-Blank Center offers professional development opportunities this fall for educators of the gifted. Classes and workshops cover a variety of topics, including writing and perfectionism (separate classes), and we'd bet that a detailed look at the syllabuses (syllabi?) might uncover 2e-related topics. Find out more.

SOCIAL (PRAGMATIC) COMMUNICATION DISORDER is an autism-related diagnosis new with the DSM-5. An article at explains more about it and describes research indicating that the diagnosis is useful, suggesting that "SCD captures children with autism features who would not otherwise receive an autism diagnosis." There has been some debate about whether SCD was really a standalone condition or simply "mild autism." Read more.

INATTENTION. According to a study write-up at Science Daily, researchers have found that inattentiveness in childhood is linked to worse academic performance up to 10 years later in children with and without ADHD, even accounting for intellectual ability. The results highlight the long-term effects that childhood inattention can have on academic performance, and suggest that parents and teachers should address inattentiveness in childhood. Find the study write-up.

BRAIN STIMULATION. Can it help children with LDs, specifically those who have difficulty with math? Maybe so, according to an exploratory study. Find out more.

SLEEP, MOOD, TEENS. Most teens need eight to ten hours of sleep for optimal mood and functioning, according to new research. Read more.

TiLT PARENTING has issued podcast Episode 72, a "solocast" from Debbie about her homeschooling curriculum and schedule. Find it.

JEN THE BLOGGER weighs in on emotional intensities that might be part of the makeup of parents of 2e kiddos. You know, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree? Find the blog.

Monday, August 28, 2017

2e Kiddos: Education, Post-College, Moving, Counseling, More

NOT ALONE. 2e kiddos who take antidepressants are among about 13 percent of the population who take such meds, according to Time. The National Center for Health Statistics released the number (counting only people only 12 and older), which is up two percentage points from a decade ago. Read more.

AND IF YOU'RE WORKING WITH a mental health professional for the benefit of your 2e child, you'll be interested in a new article at the site of the Child Mind Institute, "How to Work Well with Your Child's Therapist." Tips include: be forthcoming and transparent; have realistic expectations for treatment; and monitor and reinforce the treatment. Find the article.

WHAT DO YOU WORRY ABOUT for your child? A poll of parents finds that, overall, about 40 percent of parents worry about two common 2e-related issues, depression and stress. The number one concern: bullying or cyberbullying. The top 10 concerns differed among parents who are black, white, and Hispanic. Go to the Washington Post to find out how your worries compare to other parents'.

MOVING. Got a kiddo with intense emotions, or one with ADHD, and planning a move? An "On Parenting" column provides advice on how to help such children cope with moving and the transitions that go with it. Interestingly, the columnist begins with the parents -- the importance of being "organized, calm, hopeful, and tapped into your emotions." Family meetings are advised, as is tapping into the feelings of the young ones. Find the column.

  • Microlearning-- short bursts of content -- is advocated for some "non-traditional" learners in an article at Education Dive. Find out more
  • Understood offers a primer on RTI, response to intervention, an approach for helping struggling students achieve at grade level. Find the primer, but remember that there are "wrinkles" in applying RTI to 2e kiddos. 
  • On-line learning is more available at charter schools than at traditional public schools, according to Education Week, with availability at 29 percent and 20 percent respectively. Also mentioned -- somewhat different measures from a related study. Read more
AND SPEAKING OF non-traditional learners, Jen the Blogger writes about potential pathways for such kiddos. She observes how most members of her (and her husband's) family avoided the "traditional" route through four years of college immediately following high school, and how the route of one of her sons seems pretty flexible at the moment. If you're wondering where your 2e kiddo's educational path will go, check out the blog.

AND IF THEY DO GO to college, twice-exceptional young people will likely still find challenges in the transition to the workplace, starting with actually finding a job. Psychologist Devon MacEachron, who specializes in the twice-exceptional, has written a blog post about this transition, featuring a nifty three-part Venn diagram (strengths, interests, values); advice to acknowledge challenges; and case studies of 2e young people in such a transition. Find the blog.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Potpourri: Summit Center, Gifted Challenges, TiLT, Belin-Blank, More

TEACHERS AND ADHD STUDENTS. Education World has published an article titled "Strategies and Resources for Supporting Students with ADHD," focusing on the teacher's role in identifying, supporting, and teaching those students. The article also highlights a new book on using school teams to help students with ADHD. The article identifies teachers needs as being training; proven, evidence-based strategies for dealing with students with ADHD; and collaboration with caregivers. Find the article.

CBT VS NEUROFEEDBACK. New research indicates that CBT can achieve the same results as neurofeedback training in treating the symptoms of ADHD, and in a more efficient manner. Note that the research used adult subjects. Read more.

SUMMIT CENTER. The latest newsletter from the Summit Center yielded several tidbits.
  • Psychologist Dan Peters offers advice for parents on supporting children during the back-to-school transition. Find it
  • Summit Center will offer this fall a four-session monthly discussion group for parents of gifted and 2e children. The group will follow the SENG Model Parenting Group format and will start on September 14 in Walnut Creek, California. Find out more
  • Jade Rivera, according to Summit Center's newsletter, is opening a micro-school for gifted and 2e children in Oakland, California. Find out more
GIFTED STEREOTYPES AND RAMIFICATIONS are the subject of a new blog posting by psychologist Gail Post. Some, but not all, of the stereotypes may apply to that 2e kiddo you raise or teach. Find the Gifted Challenges blog.

TiLT PARENTING has another podcast out, this one an interview with the author of the book To Siri With Love, based on an essay about the author's ASD son's relation with Siri. From Debbie Reber's podcast blurb: "I had a chance to read an advance copy of Judith’s book, and was struck by its very honest, often humorous, and at times controversial peek into Judith’s world, as she shares stories from her life with Gus, his neurotypical twin Henry, and her husband... [I]in openly sharing what’s real in her world through this book, Judith hopes to help others, especially those who may not understand or relate to the experience of autistic people, feel more comfortable and accepting of those who are differently-wired." Find the podcast.

BELIN BLANK CENTER. This organization reminds us of two things regarding the Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development, scheduled for next April 29 through May 1:
  • Registration for the event is now open.
  • A "call for papers" from prospective presenters is open until September 15. 
Thinking of attending and/or presenting? Find out more.

SENG CONNECT. The organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted has established an online community, SENG Connect, which, in SENG's words, "provides gifted individuals and gifted families with a safe haven for discussion, support and learning....Topics such as connectivity, education, gifted adults, diversity, creativity, parenting, social/emotional well-being, and many others will be explored." Find out more.

FROM SCIENCE DAILY: "Gut microbes have been in the news lately. Recent studies show they can influence human health, behavior, and certain neurological disorders, such as autism. But just how do they communicate with the brain? Results from a new study suggest a pathway of communication between certain gut bacteria and brain metabolites, by way of a compound in the blood known as cortisol. And unexpectedly, the finding provides a potential mechanism to explain the characteristics of autism." Go to the research write-up.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Research Participation Opportunity, Back to School, Brain Manipulation, and More

[NOTE: This statement is from the researcher. Please direct any questions to her. --2e Newsletter]
Did you know that researchers know very little about twice-exceptional students compared to other groups of children and adolescents? You have the opportunity to help us learn more about how middle school students view their friendships!
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 perceive their friendships compared to their peers, which may later help clinicians develop and modify social skills interventions.
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.
The first 50 individuals to complete the survey will receive a $10 electronic Amazon gift card!
If you are interested in learning more, please contact the PI (Staci Fosenburg, for more information about how to participate in this study. Thank you!

BACK TO SCHOOL. Here are a few resources...
  • Gifted Homeschoolers Forum has posted its fall of online classes, which may be useful to homeschooled 2e kiddos or to "schooled" 2e kiddos needing enrichment. Find out more
  • Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities offers four tips to "start the year off right." Find them
  • Newswise offers back-to-school tips for parents of children who have ASD or ADHD. Find them
  • And Understood is presenting an "Expert Chat" on Thursday, August 31, on processing speed, with tips for helping your child keep up this year. Find out more

GET AHEAD OF THE GAME with the new school year. TiLT Parenting's podcast Episode 70 is on parental burn-out -- what it is and how to recover. Find the podcast.

FOR EDUCATORS. Landmark College, in partnership with MIT, is putting on an "LD Innovation Symposium" in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the end of September. The focus: how technology can improve teaching and learning for students with LDs. Find out more.

SENSORY-FRIENDLY CLOTHING. Target is introducing versions of some of its clothing for kids that address certain sensory-sensitive issues. For example, seams are flat and there are no tags. In addition, the chain will introduce this fall what it calls "adaptive styles." Disability Scoop says, "Those offerings will likely include items with zip-off sleeves, side openings to make dressing easier or openings in the back for those who are sitting or lying down." Read more.

CALIFORNIA ADDRESSES DYSLEXIA. According to Edsource, the state of California has released a set of 132-page California Dyslexia Guidelines to inform schools about dyslexia and highlight effective interventions. The guidelines are not mandatory, however. Farther down the article, the reader finds the fingerprints of the organization Decoding Dyslexia, which led the lobbying for the legislation. Find the article, and think good thoughts about Decoding Dyslexia and the state! Or, go straight to the guidelines.

SEL, ANXIETY, AND SCHOOL. Here's a good quote: “School culture is the foundation of academic achievement. How a child behaves isn’t something separate from how they perform academically.” And article at District Administration describes new approaches to address social-emotional learning and anxiety in the context of academic instruction. The four main suggestions start with "rethink behavior" -- eg, from what's wrong with the student to what happened to this student. Read more.

OCD RESEARCH. The Brain and Behavior Ressearch Foundation reports that new research has linked inflammation in certain brain "circuits" (in the basal ganglia, if you must know) to adult OCD. Caveats: the study was small and didn't by itself prove a causal connection. Nonetheless, researchers sound like they think they're onto something, for example paving the way to find a pharmaceutical treatment for OCD. Read more.

REDUCING FEAR WITH OPTOGENETICS. Scientists established a fear response in mice, discovered that synaptic connections related to the stimulus for the fear response had been strengthened, and then weakened those connections with optogenetics, using genetically modified neurons which could be switched off or on by light. Is this kind of neurological manipulation coming soon to a brain near you? Probably not, but read more.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dyslexia, Advocacy Opportunity, PD, and More

REMEMBER MEL BROOKS? He married Ann Bancroft, and they had four children. One of them, Max, is dyslexic. Here's part of what Max, age 45 and a dad, says about his dyslexia when he was growing up: "Dyslexia in the late '70s, 1980s was unheard of. Dyslexia — they didn't even call it a disability back then; it was just 'laziness,' 'goofing off,' 'you're not trying hard enough.' 'You can do it but you don't want to do it' — that was a big one of my teachers." His mother put her career on hold to help. Read more at NPR

ADVOCACY OPPORTUNITY: QUICK DEADLINE. We just heard from our friend Heidi, who is an adviser to the Untapped Potential Project (UPP). working to change education policy at the state level for kids who learn differently. UPP is asking for short video statements recorded on mobile phones. Here’s what UPP says: "UPP is submitting a video to potentially participate in America Succeeds Edventure Shark Tank. In our pitch, we would like to support the stories of individual families and their experience with the current educational system as well as build research on the 'State of 2E.' UPP is compiling clips from kids and families to help us tell the story of the problem. If you have a twice-exceptional child (or know a parent who does), we would appreciate it if you can send a video recording from your phone describing your child's experience in regards to the following questions:
  • Why didn't the current system work? 
  • Why did IEPs (or not qualifying) not do the job? 
  • Was the current system sympathetic to your needs? 
  • Were the proper accommodations made? 
  • How about the current charter school system as an alternative - did it work? 
  • How about private schools - were they the solution, and if so, tell us about the costs. 
  • What would be perfect? Is it some new system of personalization of all of the above or something else? 
"Please use all three of these methods in your video:
  • One word 
  • 3-4 words 
  • 2-3 sentences 
[NOTE: The three alternative deliveries give the video producers flexibility in terms of how they incorporate content into the final product. –2e Newsletter]
"Please send your video to by Friday, August 18th. Here's the link to a sample video; feel free to reach out if you have any questions!" [NOTE: If a minor 2e child supplies his or her own video statement, the parent will need to sign a release available from]

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY. Gifted Research and Outreach, a California organization active in the gifted and 2e communities, is offering a one-day continuing education event in LA titled "A Multidisciplinary Approach to Serving the Gifted Population." Some content is 2e-related, and participants will receive a copy of Great Potential Press' Misdiagnosis book. Find out more

AND MORE PD. September 4 is the deadline for applying to an online course from Landmark College, "Understanding and Supporting Diverse Learners." Says Landmark, "This course provides a core understanding of learning theories, frameworks, and best practices for working effectively with students who learn differently. Participants will explore definitions, research, historical trends, and legal mandates related to learning disabilities (including dyslexia and dyscalculia; ADHD; and autism spectrum disorder (ASD)). Students will deepen their understanding of innovative practices, incorporating Universal Design, executive function supports, and emerging educational technologies. They will explore how these approaches can be applied and adapted to provide optimal learning." Find out more.

GENERAL INTELLIGENCE. So what's the "g" factor? A researcher involved in a new study poses different ways to conceive of it: "Is it a causal factor, an artifact of the way we create cognitive tests, the result of our educational environment, a consequence of genetics, an emergent phenomenon of a dynamic system or perhaps all of these things to varying degrees?" Their conclusion: cognitive abilities such as reasoning skills and vocabulary reinforce each other in a "mutualism" model. Read more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. According to Science Daily, scientists have used magnetism and injected magnetic particles to activate tiny groups of cells in mouse brains, inducing bodily movements that include running, rotating and losing control of the extremities -- an achievement that could lead to advances in studying and treating neurological disease. This magneto-thermal stimulation, says Science Daily, "gives neuroscientists a powerful new tool: a remote, minimally invasive way to trigger activity deep inside the brain, turning specific cells on and off to study how these changes affect physiology." Find out more, and consider whether this tool would ever allow you to have a remote control for your misbehaving kiddo.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Neuromyths, Back to School, Mental Health Programs, and More

NEUROMYTHS. A survey has shown that many educators, and even those with neuroscience training, believe in neuromyths -- common misconceptions about the brain and learning, and that that neuromyth beliefs are remarkably prevalent. One example of a neuromyth: that kiddos with dyslexia will commonly write letters backwards. According to Science Daily, "The public believed 68% of the neuromyths, educators 56%, and surprisingly, respondents with neuroscience training endorsed 46%." Find the Science Daily write-up. Find the study article itself, or the list of neuromyth questions. Separately, find an article at TED on why some children write "mirror" words or even sentences. Separately again, read a short article in Costco Connection about dyslexia that includes common misconceptions about the condition, eg that dyslexics see things backwards. 

  • Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities offers four tips for "easing back-to-school jitters; find it
  • provides a parent to-do list; find it
  • And the University of Alabama/Birmingham offers a brief article titled "Easing the Back-to-School Transition for Children with Special Needs"; find it
RESEARCH ABOUT ONLINE LEARNING for students with LDs is the topic of an article from the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT). The research, according to LCIRT, is to "explore how our students most effectively communicate in online classes and explore ways to improve student effectiveness in these spaces." Read more.

SCHOOL-BASED MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMS can be effective in improving mental health and related outcomes, according to a research review in the September/October issue of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The programs deal with problems such as anxiety, behavior disorders, ADHD, and depression. The eight largest such programs have reached tens of millions of children. Read more at Science Daily. Separately, The CT Mirror notes that budget cuts in Connecticut might adversely affect gains that state has made in school mental health services; find out more.

THE G WORD is a documentary in production about giftedness, learning and high intelligence. Some of the content is drawn from Big Minds Unschool in California. Find out more about the documentary, whose producer was at the recent SENG conference.

  • We've written on the topic of reduced civil rights enforcement before, but an article at Politico notes that the current U.S. Department of Education administration is closing lots of education-related civil rights complaints. According to Politico, investigators have been told to "narrow their focus to the merits of a particular claim, rather than probing systemic issues." Read more
  • The Washington Post provides a summary of the accomplishments and agenda of the secretary of education over the past six months; find it
  • And the Associated Press recently interviewed the education secretary; find a transcript
AND FINALLY, THIS. Science Daily tells us that in the largest functional brain imaging study to date, researchers compared 46,034 brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) imaging studies provided by nine clinics, quantifying differences between the brains of men and women. One conclusion? "The brains of women in the study were significantly more active in many more areas of the brain than men, especially in the prefrontal cortex, involved with focus and impulse control, and the limbic or emotional areas of the brain, involved with mood and anxiety." Read more.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Anxiety, Genetics/Environment, Items from SENG, and More

STRESS AND ANXIETY. A psychologist from Boys Town writes in The Washington Post about stress and anxiety in teens, and what parents can do to help. Basic steps include: looking for signs; letting kids know it's okay to feel upset; and having more family time. Read more. Separately, an article at is titled "How family doctors can help kids and teens fight depression and anxiety." It is based on reportage from a panel session at a recent National Medical Association. Panel members urged practitioners to: look beyond the words, because irritability or boredom can be signs of depression; look for excessive cellphone use; and recognize that regular family dinners might not occur in some homes. Panelists noted that some families might not trust mental health professionals as much as the family doctor. Said one panelist, "“No kid should leave your office without a safety plan." Read more. Also on the topic of what the family doctor can do to find or treat mental health issues, The Agenda feature at notes an Alaskan healthcare system that built mental health into its primary care practice. Read more. (Also at "5 must-reads on mental illness."

WE'LL HEAR MORE ON THIS. The University of Chicago issued a press release about research results published this week. The research analyzed genetic and environmental influences on common diseases in almost half a million people in 130,000 families. The research revealed surprising correlations between diseases -- for example that migraines "appeared to be most genetically similar to irritable bowel syndrome." Here's what the press release says, in part: "...the team created a disease classification based on two measures. One focused on shared genetic correlations of diseases, or how often diseases occurred among genetically-related individuals, such as parents and children. The other focused on the familial environment, or how often diseases occurred among those sharing a home but who had no or partially matching genetic backgrounds, such as spouses and siblings." Among the conditions categorized are ADHD, anxiety phobic disorder, depression, mood disorder, and substance abuse. The release contains a chart showing the various relationships between diseases, genetics, and the environment -- but it's not for the faint of heart to try to figure out, although readers here certainly have as good a chance as anyone to make sense of it. Find the press release, and watch for further explanation of this (we hope) in the mainstream media over the next week or so.

THANKS TO THE SENG CONFERENCE, we have three items to offer:
  • Josh Shaine, the organizer of the Beyond IQ conferences, successor to the Hollingsworth conferences, has a Facebook group called Gifted "Underachievers" -- his quotes, not ours. If this topic interests you, perhaps check it out
  • The Fringy Bit is a group of resources from two family therapists from Wisconsin, one of whom we met at the SENG conference. "Kids on the fringe" are like the ones you raise and educate. The couple's goals are to provide support and connection to the Fringy Bit community -- support via podcasts, Facebook, a blog, and more. Find out more
  • The conference was also inspiration for Jen the Blogger to write about her gratitude for some things that happened during the conference, more specifically how one of her sons engaged with the 2e community there. Those active in the 2e community know that the individuals responsible for one's participation in the community are often wary of being associated with it themselves. But not so in this case. Find Jen's blog
TiLT PARENTING has released its newest podcast, this one about the experiences of Debbie's son at summer Space Camp. It's a follow-up to an earlier podcast about the son's preparations for the camp, eg in terms of predicting and planning for "tricky situations" that might arise at camp. Find the podcast.

AND FINALLY, THIS. A 9yo boy applied to become NASA's planetary protection officer, a new position at the agency. One qualification he listed, according to The Washington Post: "My sister thinks I'm an alien." He actually got a good reaction from NASA -- although not the job. Read more.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Laugh and/or Cry, Become an Assistant Head of School, See Us Live-streamed, and More

PARENTS, YOU'RE NOT ALONE. You know that from this site and others. But if you want to read what other parents hear about their kiddos and then either laugh or cry, check out the site of Romper. A mom of a 2e kiddo put together a page called "10 Special Needs Moms Share the Worst Thing They Heard About Their Child." Examples? He'll grow out of it. You vaccinated him, that's why he's on the spectrum. Or, if you loved him more.... Ugh and ugly but might make you feel better.

NOT NAPOLEON'S WATERLOO. A foundation in Waterloo, Iowa, has raised and funded education-related grants and initiative to the tune of over $1 million in the past five years. The latest donation is to support twice-exceptional students. Read more.

JOB OPPORTUNITY. FlexSchool New Haven in Connecticut, a school for gifted and 2e kiddos, is looking for an assistant head of school for the upcoming school year. If you're interested -- or if you know someone who might be -- find out about the mindset of the successful applicant, his or her responsibilities, desired qualifications, and more at our website.

2e NEWSLETTER co-publisher J Mark Bade finally made it to social media at last weekend's SENG conference when Julie Skolnick, of With Understanding Comes Calm, live-streamed on Facebook his response to the question, "What would you most want to see for 2e children." You can see the response at our Facebook page, or, with responses by Mike Postma and James Webb, at Julie's FB page.

AUTISM SPEAKS is revamping its strategic plan and scientific priorities and, according to Disability Scoop, "is collecting feedback on what type of research the group should be emphasizing or avoiding as it distributes funds going forward." If you have opinions on the focus of autism-related research, find out more.

TSK, TSK NYC. First it was Texas, putting a cap on the percentage of students eligible for special ed services. Now, it seems, New York City schools have been short-changing special ed students by not providing services in-house but rather issuing "vouchers" for obtaining those services from private providers. Trouble is, few providers accept the vouchers, and it's up to parents to coordinate and travel to services that should have been provided on school time; this according to Disability Scoop. Read more.

EXERCISE AND ADHD is the topic of an article at US News. Does it help? If so, what kind of exercise or sports? Find out more.

SUGAR AND MENTAL HEALTH are examined in an article at Medical News Today. Several studies indicate that sugar consumption can lead to -- not just be "linked to" depression. The article gets into "the science of sugar" and "sugar and neurons," as well as ways to cut sugar from the diet. Find the article.

HOW'S YOUR COMMUNICATION with your child? If you're like many parents of smart kiddos who also have learning challenges, communication at home is often less than ideal. Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities offers a new post, "10 Ways to Improve Communication with Your Child."

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Thoughts from SENG

The annual conference of SENG, Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted, is just over. We spent several days there covering sessions and keeping a presence in the exhibit area there in the Marriott Chicago hotel of Naperville. The program included lots of good speakers, some of whom you'll read about in upcoming issues of 2e Newsletter. Here are some thoughts and impressions...

The 2e community might have an emerging "poster child" in researcher/author Scott Barry Kaufman, who gave a keynote on Saturday morning. Simultaneously engaging, funny, and informative, Kaufman, whose CAPD landed him in special ed as a child, sensed the audience was, as he said, "my crowd." Kaufman has a new book coming ut soon, "Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties," that will include chapters by authors familiar to  many readers of 2e Newsletter. In addition, a TED Talk by Kaufman on twice exceptionality will be available in the next week or so.

The conference seemed well attended. As usual, attendees were all motivated by the chance to share information about gifted kiddos and the social-emotional, mental health, or learning issues they might have. Our impression is that parents find it easy to make connections at these SENG conferences, and that the professionals in attendance seem willing to be accessible. Our impression is that parents are probably the biggest segment of the audience, then educators, then service providers.

The conference is 2e Newsletter's opportunity to make connections as well. For example, at our exhibit table we met a counselor from Asheville and one from Denver. Since we sometimes get calls from parents looking for resources of one sort or another in different parts of the country, and new connections help us point to those resources.

Sometimes at the conference we are able to point parents to resources that are right there at the conference. We pointed one local family to a suburban counseling/psychological services group that apparently does a lot of work with 2e children. The group had an exhibit table and was also giving several presentations.

We hear lots of stories from families, some about successes for their 2e kiddo because of a school district willing and able to take on the kiddo's challenges. We also hear about districts unwilling or unable to serve our kids. And sometimes we hear truly scary stories, for example about children way too young who are encountering existential concerns.

We re-establish connections with others who serve the 2e community and get inspiration on ways to serve the community. And we always receive inspiration from the "high achievers" we talk to -- those whose lives are virtually consumed by the roles they've chosen in the community as leading-edge educators, researchers, presenters, or information disseminators. They all have our deepest respect.

SENG's interim director Mike Postma, on the job for a few months, gets LOTS of credit for pulling together the successful conference in the midst of staff changes and other challenges. Hats off to Mike!

And we always appreciate it when an attendee stops by our exhibit table to tell us they've found the newsletter informative and useful. Feedback like that at a conference like SENG can keep us going for another year!

Watch for more information about the conference in our next newsletter issue and for pics on our Facebook page as soon as we go through them.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Conferences, Resources, and Stuff from Other Blogs and Sites

  • The 2e Center for Research and Professional Development at Bridges Academy has released more information about its October symposium, "Vision and Leadership in 2e Education," to be held in Los Angeles. The event is intended for just about anyone in the 2e community. Find out more
  • Twice-Exceptional Children's Advocacy, TECA, has released more information about its October conference, "Building 2e Awareness and Community," in the New York City area. The event is directed at those in the 2e community in the New York tri-state area. Find out more
  • And SENG's annual conference kicks off today in Naperville, Illinois. Find out more

  • Understood provides back-to-school letters you can adapt and use to help this year's teacher understand your child's learning challenges. Find them
  • NCLD, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, now offers a resource on personalized learning. Says NCLD: "This resource hub contains information, case studies, and recommendations -- all with an eye on the needs and success of students with disabilities -- tailored for parents, educators, school communities and policymakers, wherever and however they may be approaching personalized learning. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this addition to is the culmination of a three-year exploration of how students with disabilities can benefit from efforts to customize their learning to align with their strengths and interests." Find it

  • Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities tells what to watch for in terms of red flags for dyslexia that should prompt early intervention. Go there
  • ADDitude, noting that pediatricians vary in their capability to serve as mental health resource, tells "how to solve the patient-provider mismatch." Go to ADDitude
  • With Understanding Comes Calm offers the newest edition of its Gifted and Distractible newsletter. Read Julie's piece "Running to Stand Still" about the emotion and dedication shown by parents in the 2e community. Find "Gifted and Distractible.
  • At the Gifted Development Center, Bobbie Gilman and Linda Silverman consider the situation where an anything-but-average child earns average test scores. Go to GDC
  • And TiLT Parenting has released Episode 5,000 -- wait, "only" Episode 68 -- in its rapidly growing podcast series. Says TiLT founder Debbie Reber, "In today’s episode, [consultant/author] Rachel and I will look at what the research has to say about the impact of video games in our kids' lives, bust some myths about the potential harms and benefits of video gaming, and answer questions posed by members of the TiLT Parenting Facebook page. Whether your child is into Minecraft, Clash of Clans, Slime Rancher, Hey Day, or any other online games, I guarantee you’ll take away some nuggets from today’s episode." Take Debbie up on her guarantee

AND IT'S OFF to the SENG conference!

Monday, July 31, 2017

SENG Conference, Ed Tech, Strength-based Parenting, More

SENG. The annual conference of the organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted begins later this week in Naperville, Illinois. For members of the 2e community, the SENG conference is a great place to learn about gifted and 2e issues and to meet parents, educators, and clinicians who are involved in those issues. It's a national and international conference but especially accessible this year to those who live in the Midwest. (And there are kids' programs during conference hours if you want to make attendance a family affair.) The program listing is posted at the SENG site. 2e Newsletter will attend. See you there?

EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY is the topic of an article in The Economist, which contends that technology (at last) has the capability to make personalized learning a reality. The author traces the roots of ed tech to BF Skinner and his 1950's teaching machine, and sets forth certain conditions for the success of personalized, adaptive learning this time around -- including teachers' willingness to use new technology. One point of contention (to us) in the article was this: "...'personalised learning' must follow the evidence on how children learn. It must not be an excuse to revive pseudoscientific ideas such as 'learning styles.'" We suggest that the experiences of those who raise and teach 2e students lead to caution in dismissing individual differences (capabilities and preferences) in the way students receive and express information. We also assume that a robust personalized learning system would be able to present information in several alternative ways. Find the article.

THE BRAIN'S EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT was the topic of a Cerebrum article we pointed to recently. Those who prefer to receive their information aurally 😊 may hear a podcast on the same topic and with the author of the article. Here's the Cerebrum site, and here's the site hosting the podcast.

STRENGTHS AND CHALLENGES are both in the mix in our interactions with 2e kiddos. The Washington Post ran an interview with the author of the  book The Strength Switch, subtitled "How the New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish." The intro to the interview starts this way: "You see your child made four As and one D on their report card. Do your eyes skim over those excellent grades and immediately focus on the D?" Well, parents? Are you like most of the rest of us? Want to change? Find the interview.

DEPRESSION. US News offers tips for treating depression in children in a recent article covering psychotherapy as well as meds. Find the article.

UNDERSTOOD is offering a free "live chat" this Thursday at noon Eastern time. It's titled "Talking to Your Child about Their ADHD and Dyslexia Diagnosis." Find out more.

EXECUTIVE FUNCTION. "As children age into adolescence and on into young adulthood, they show dramatic improvements in their ability to control impulses, stay organized, and make decisions," says the first sentence of an article at Medical News Today. So yes, parents and educators, things are supposed to get better over time. Want to find out how and why and what goes on in the brain to aid improving cognitive control? Read the article.

U.S. EDUCATION POLICY AND LAW. School vouchers have been proposed the the new education secretary as a way to improve the American educational system. Scientific American, in its August issue, writes about the evidence supporting (or not) the proposal, citing limited trials and mixed results. If you're lucky, you can read the Scientific American article for free; if not, you can read about it and get additional commentary in The Washington Post.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

"Giftedness," Homeschooling, Curiosity, and More

GIFTED CHALLENGES. In this blog, psychologist Gail Post offers "six reasons to stop treating gifted kids as 'special.'" For example: it can make love seem conditional on achievement. She writes about what "special" really means, and notes how the "special" or "gifted" label can cause backlash from neurotypical families. Post doesn't suggest ignoring the needs of gifted kiddos, saying it should be treated "as a trait that needs attention and care." Find the blog, and know that Post responds to comments posted there.

THE HECHINGER REPORT notes that homeschooling is thriving, witih about 1.8 million of kids in the U.S. homeschooled. The report says, "clearly it’s time for states to do more to acknowledge the viability of homeschooling as an educational option, and provide direction and information for parents seeking non-traditional schooling." Neither the word "gifted" nor "exceptional" appear in the article, but it's a good overview of the advantages of homeschooling, and it points out the double burden of expense (school taxes and family educational expenditures) faced by homeschooling families. Find the report, and if you're considering homeschooling your 2e student check out the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, GHF.

DO YOU HAVE A KIDDO who has “the recognition, pursuit, and intense desire to explore, novel, challenging, and uncertain events"? That's curiosity, and an article at The Atlantic explores how the motivation of curiosity plays into the development of giftedness. This is an interesting article about factors which contribute to "giftedness." Find the article.

MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT. A new article at the site Psychiatry Advisor offers advice for parents of children who are or might be seeking mental health services. The article addresses adolescent willingness to accept mental health services, how to react to suicide threats, and some of the risk factors for suicide. Find the article.

TiLT PARENTING offers a new podcast in which Debbie Reber talks with a mom, Tia, who has traded in her MBA and career in global advertising to raise three children, one differently wired -- "a twelve-year-old twice-exceptional daughter who has several processing and learning differences, including dysgraphia, dyslexia, and dyscalculia, as well as being gifted." Debbie says, "In our conversation, [Tia] shares her story, as well as tells us about her own roadblocks along the way of coming to terms with how unique her daughter was and finding a place of accepting what is." Find the podcast.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has posted a new, short article preparing for a smooth transition to college. Find it.

US NEWS has published an article parsing executive function and ADHD, and offering suggestions on how parents can improve executive functioning skills in their kiddos. Among the suggestions: use visuals and simple planners; consider timers; and use acronyms. Read more.

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, 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 write-up; find Inspire on Amazon.

  • 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.