Monday, February 27, 2017

ADHD, Parenting, Research Participation Opporunities, and a Seussian Take on IEPs

BEHAVIORAL THERAPY FIRST FOR YOUNG KIDS WITH ADHD. That's the conclusion from a report from the Centers for Disease Control on how to address ADHD in kids under six years old, according to an article in The Washington Post. Read it.

THERAPY DOGS IN SCHOOL. The Supreme Court has ruled on an appeal of a decision from a lower court on when parents are entitled to sue the school district over its prohibition of a service dog, in this case for a girl with cerebral palsy. In a decision that didn't really address the issue of the right to a service dog, the high court directed the lower court to rework its decision using guidelines handed down by the high court, says Disability Scoop. Read more.

ADDITUDE is offering a free webinar replay titled "Beyond Hello: Building Conversation Skills in Children with ADHD." In her practice, speech/language pathologist Anna Vagin, the webinar presenter, serves the twice-exceptional, among other audiences. Find out more.

SHARP BRAINS reports on a study that indicates sleep difficulties might impair children as much as ADHD does. The article notes that between 70 and 85% of children with ADHD might have co-occuring sleep difficulties, and that sleep difficulties "may be an important contributor to apparent ADHD symptoms, and could contribute to a child being incorrectly diagnosed." Read more.

TiLT PARENTING offered up two new items this past week: a podcast where 12yo Asher, son of TiLT's founder, answers readers'/listeners' questions -- for example, on how he stays positive when he gets in trouble just for being who he is. Find the podcast. Second is a blog posting by Debbie, Asher's mom, on the topic of how do do a "reset" in a difficult parenting situation. She describes a four-step process. Find the blog.

RESEARCH PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITIES. The Social Competence and Treatment Lab at Stonybrook University on Long Island, New York, currently has two studies in progress that might be of interest to some members of the 2e community:
  • One study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is to learn more about the role that different biological and psychological factors play in kids’ and teens’ “real world” social functioning. This study will help better understand how effective social competence develops, and to create more effective and precise treatments for youth with ASD. The study is recruiting children between 11 and 17 with ASD; it requires three in-lab visits totaling about 4.5 hours, according to the researchers. For more information, contact and refer to the "I-SPY" study. 
  • A second study, to better understand how attending to social interactions may affect behavior, seeks young people 18 or older with ASD. This, too, requires several in-person visits to the lab. Go to and see the "Paying Attention to Social Interactions" study.
KID PROJECTS. Got a 2e kiddo who likes (or who you wish liked) hands-on projects? TED has a playlist of eight talks "to inspire projects with kids." They include turning trash into toys for learning; hands-on science with squishy circuits; and more. Find the talks.

2e NEWSLETTER. Some of the material from our January/February issue is now available on our website, including columns by Sylvia Rimm and Bob Seney. Find the material.

AND FINALLY, THIS. Wrightslaw has on its website a poem, "IEPs According to Dr. Seuss," by an unknown author writing in the Seussian style. Find it, and thanks to TECA for pointing us to it. "I do not like these IEPs..."

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Breakthroughs Conference, Time-outs, 2e-friendly School, Cats, and More

THE ANNUAL "BREAKTHROUGHS" CONFERENCE in New York City is coming up in March. If you're considering attending, you can find the presentation titles and descriptions at the site of Quad Prep, co-sponsor with AEGUS of the conference. For example, Susan Baum, who is on the Editorial Advisory Board of 2e Newsletter, has a keynote titled "The Power of Strength-based, Talent-focused Education for Twice Exceptional Students." Among the many other speakers are Rose Blucher, Katharina Boser, and the director of the Lerner Lab, which does research on ASD. Find out more. The conference home page is here.

TIME-OUTS may be something you use to try to instill respect for rules at your house. According to the Child Mind Institute, the use of this technique has its critics. Find out more about the pros and cons of time-outs.

TOURETTE'S may not be, unfortunately, something most children outgrow. This according to the results of a recent 6-year study in Denmark, which found that the majority of those followed still had tics at age 19. Journal Watch noted the lack of
certain controls but commented this way: "...these data attest to the need for continued clinical attention to tics and comorbid ADHD and OCD as children age.... That ADHD persisted in a third of cases is important — for many Tourette patients, especially those with mild or moderate tics, ADHD symptoms may be more bothersome than the tics." (Journal Watch is by subscription only.)

GOT A HIGHLY SENSITIVE KIDDO? A writer at Psychology Today offers ways to turn what can be a challenge into an asset. Find the article.

ARE YOU REALLY "INTO" CHILD PSYCHIATRY? Pediatric News offers an article titled "50 years of child psychiatry [and] developmental-behavioral pediatrics." According to the authors, the evolution of the field "includes the approach to diagnosis, the thinking about development and family, and the approach and access to treatment during this dynamic period." Find the article.

A NEW ZEALAND WEBSITE called "Stuff" describes a 2e-friendly school there. Summit Point School in Auckland. The school's founder started with one- and two-day programs in 2013, and then, according to Stuff, "was pushed to open a full-time school by parents, who found their dyslexic children had a great need for help, both academically and emotionally." Find out more.

U.S. EDUCATION POLICY. If, for the sake of that 2e kiddo you raise or teach, you're keeping track of potential changes to educational policy in the United States, here are some sources of information:
  • An Education Week article on the the U.S. budget process and possible effects on K-12 education
  • A piece in the Huffington Post titled "What DeVos Means for Special Education" 
  • An article on vouchers -- and research into their effectiveness -- in The New York Times
  • An NPR piece on how new administration appointees might influence education
  • An Education Week article on efforts to overturn ESSA
  • And finally, a CEC announcement on how some enlightened legislators have introduced a bill to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education.
BUT KNOW THIS! New research has found no link between cat ownership and psychotic symptoms, casting doubt on previous suggestions that people who grew up with cats are at higher risk of mental illness. Read more.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Reading, Writing, RTI, and More

MOTHERWELL, a digital publication about modern parenting, has published a piece called "When reading at grade level is not good enough." Two factors are behind the title: the writer's own self-admitted perfectionistic tendencies, and the fact that her seemingly smart daughter doesn't have the same proficiency at or interest in reading as her peers. The mom's conundrum: "Like everyone else, I have to figure out how to parent my child without strapping my demons on her back, while simultaneously giving her what she needs to succeed." Read more.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES posted a new piece today, also on the topic of reading. It's called "Does Your Child's Reading Program Make the Grade?" It focuses on five key components of reading: phoneme awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. Find the article.

GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER. Psychologist Linda Silverman writes at this site about writing difficulties in gifted kiddos, a not uncommon occurrence. She covers causes, a diagnostic checklist, and possible accommodations. Find the blog.

INSPIRED ATTENTION. Kimberly King has posted a blog entry sharing her perspectives on twice-exceptionality as "a grown up twice exceptional person who works with 2e people and families. I [also] have a house full of them." She offers some new and interesting metaphors for twice-exceptionality and validates everyday thoughts and feelings of those in the 2e community. For example: "How can you love learning and hate school? Think of the tiger in Antarctica. Tiger loves to hunt and eat and cannot do so in an environment that does not value any of the tiger’s strengths and instincts, not to mention a tiger stands out like a sore thumb on white snow." Find the blog.

TECA. The group Twice-Exceptional Children's Advocacy has issued its February newsletter. In it is an article on self-help -- being able to take care of others well because you take good care of yourself -- and an article written by an attorney on preparing for an IEP meeting. Find TECA's newsletter.

POLICY WONKS may find an article at the site of Education Week about RTI -- variances in implementation across districts, its role in ESSA, and more. One contention is that RTI's "soft spot" might be in identifying students with LDs. Find the article.

THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA -- the Program for International Student Assessment, that is. We've noted previously that U.S. scores in this test tend to be middle-of-the-pack. Valerie Strauss, in The Washington Post, uncovers some reasons for that, and the reasons might not be so much the U.S. as the way some other countries administer the test. Find the article, titled "Three global indexes show that U.S. public schools must be doing something right."

LATER HIGH SCHOOL START TIMES. Higher attendance and graduation rates are the result, says an article from Reuters. "Mixed results," says an article at U.S. News. You figure it out.

BRAIN STUDY IN ADHD. A large study has found that overall brain volume is smaller in children with ADHD, particularly in five of seven regions: the caudate nucleus, putamen, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and hippocampus. The researchers "suggest that their findings show that ADHD is a brain disorder characterized by delayed development in several brain regions," according to Medical News Today. Find the study write-up.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Temple Grandin, FAPE, ASD, Anxiety, Depression, Gifted Ed, More

TEMPLE GRANDIN has been named to the National Women's Hall of Fame, according to Disability Scoop. She was chosen for her work as an autism advocate -- and also for her work in animal science. Read more.

HOW HYPER IS TOO MUCH? Here's the first sentence from an article at Psych Central that should let you know whether you want to read it: "Every day, millions of parents wonder if their son’s hyper behavior is a normal product of age and gender, or if it’s something that needs to be addressed with a doctor." Go to Psych Central to read more.

NPR, in its "How Learning Happens" feature, describes the use of improv to help children with autism show emotion and understand emotion in others. Find the feature

SUSAN BAUM is presenting in Greenwich, Connecticut, on February 22 on the topic "Gifted and LD: Finding and Supporting Your Child's Strengths." The event is sponsored by Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities. Find out more.

SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES offers a primer on the "appropriate" part of free, appropriate public education. It's set within the context of the current U.S. Supreme Court case, Endrew F, the resolution of which might provide more clarity in this matter. Find the primer.

GIFTED ED PD RESOURCE. Educators might be interested in the summer professional development program held annually at the Belin Blank Center at the University of Iowa. This year's program is July 10-14. The organization says, "This exciting professional development experience allows educators (classroom teachers, school counselors, and administrators) to learn more about gifted and talented students and ways to meet their needs. Participants live on campus for a week, collaborating with others who share their commitment." Find out more.

TiLT PARENTING turns out podcasts and blog postings almost faster than we can keep up with them. The most recent podcast deals with sex education for differently-wired kids (that's your kid). It features Amy Lang, an expert on the topic. Find the podcast. And in a blog posting, Debbie Reber and son Asher converse about vacations and what makes them go more smoothly. Again the perspective is that of a family of which a differently-wired kiddo is an important part. Find the blog.

MICHELLE RONSKLEY-PAVIA, an academic at Australia's Griffith University, has authored a number of papers and studies on the topic of twice-exceptionality. The latest is titled "Listening and responding to twice-exceptional students: Voices from within." Also at this site are her papers on topics such as acceleration, OEs, and more.

MEDITERRANEAN DIET, ADHD. We recently pointed to a study on the link between the Mediterranean diet and the incidence of ADHD. While the study showed that participants with ADHD were less likely follow to a Mediterranean-type diet, Journal Watch has issued some commentary on the study. Journal Watch says, "In this cross-sectional study, ADHD is associated with lower intake of a Mediterranean diet, but whether poor diet causes ADHD, or the reverse occurs, cannot be known without longitudinal data. A trial of Mediterranean foods may be useful for families reluctant to try medications, especially if they can deal with the logistics (e.g., what to do at birthday or pizza parties)." [What, no Mediterranean pizza?]

DEPRESSION is the topic of two recent articles:

  • People with depression can have trouble processing information and solving problems. Scientists studying a rat model for depression are identifying on a molecular level how the condition could affect thinking. The findings could lead to the development of new depression treatments that would address associated cognitive problems. Find the study write-up.
  • An article at NPR covers the topic of depression and teen girls, and how it can affect them especially hard. Find the article
ANXIETY. Likewise, anxiety is in the news.
  • U.S. News contends that dealing with anxiety can be taught like other skills. "We can start by creating a plan, modeling the steps by showing them and practicing the task together, and gradually children will practice the technique independently." Read more
  • And a recent study concluded this: "Decreased connectivity in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex may mediate emotion dysregulation among youth with anxiety and irritability." Find the study write-up
  • Finally, in a new study, researchers have described how two important molecules in the brain work together to trigger intense anxiety. Find the study write-up.

Monday, February 13, 2017

2e in Asia, Talking about Anxiety, ASD, and More

2e IN ASIA... and coming "home" for support. An American mom who has lived abroad extensively writes about how Singapore schools could not/would not support her twice-exceptional child, and the support the family received once they moved back to the U.S. Read more.

IDEA SITE BACK UP. The Department of Education website for IDEA went down last week, causing some consternation in light of recent administration transitions, but it was evidently a technical, not a political, problem. Find the affected site. Read some reactions to the problem at Education Week and at Disability Scoop. IDEA is important to the 2e community, of course, because learning disabilities are under its scope of governance. Disability advocates have been a little nervous, according to Disability Scoop, because "Last month, nearly every disability reference was removed from the White House website after the Trump administration took over."

TALKING ABOUT ANXIETY, OCD, and depression is the topic of an article at Vogue, which describes a live talk in New York by two women in media and a clinician titled "Growing Up with Anxiety." The point: “There’s this shame around [anxiety and depression] when it should be treated like it’s high cholesterol. It’s that treatable and it’s that common. The shame is keeping everyone from moving forward.” If you have a kiddo worried about his or her anxiety or depression or OCD, perhaps check out the Vogue article.

ON AUTISM. Two significant items concerning autism appeared in our inbox last week. One was an extensive article from the Dana Foundation on the causes of autism. The article starts with the results of a twins study that attempted to tease out genetic versus environmental causes, then turns to possible in-utero environmental influences that include infections and drugs/toxins, then turns to possible postnatal factors. Find the article. The second item of interest is from the American Academy of Adolescent and Child Psychiatry. The organization has developed a "Parents' Medication Guide" for ASD; the guide is for practitioners to share with patients. You can find a copy here.

PARENTING AND THE ART OF WAR. Well, it can sometimes seem like war. But the organization Twice Exceptional Children's Advocacy is offering an online workshop by that title. The March 8th event is to be conducted by Neil Weintraub and, according to TECA, "outlines a fresh paradigm for thinking about parent-child interactions." Find out more.

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN DYSLEXIA. A new study indicated that "Boys had lower average and more variable reading performance than girls, which was partially mediated by differences in processing speed and inhibitory control." Read more (but not much more) here or here.

THE BELIN-BLANK CENTER for high-ability kiddos, located at the University of Iowa, has posted a blog entry titled "How Should I Study?" It offers a variety of tips for making studying more effective. Find the posting.

STUDY PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITY, via Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities. A Harvard study is looking for Boston-area infants 2 to 8 months old for a study on the causes of dyslexia. Find out more.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Education Policy, 2e-friendly School, and Lots of Resources

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION has a newly-confirmed leader who went through a contentious confirmation process based in part, upon perceptions of her knowledge of the law when it comes to serving children with disabilities. The Council for Exceptional Children, CEC, which fought the confirmation, has issued a statement which reads in part, "Now is not the time to turn back the clock on over 6.7 million children and youth with disabilities. CEC will hold the U.S. Department of Education accountable to ensure that all children and youth are guaranteed a free appropriate public education." Find the statement. Separately, CEC has listed three points it intends to pursue going forward:
  • IDEA funding must be protected and increased, and it must be used for its intended purpose. 
  • Policies that restrict public education’s ability to do its job or that go against the principle of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) are unacceptable. 
  • Children and youth with exceptionalities and their families have civil rights that must be guaranteed. 

2e-FRIENDLY SCHOOL IN HOUSTON. A Ph.D. student is co-founder of a small, 2e-friendly school in Houston, Texas. Journey School was written up by The Daily Cougar of the University of Houston; find the article.
HARD-CORE ADVOCATES might want to know about the annual William and Mary Summer Institute of Special Education Advocacy, held this year from July 30 to August 4. It's for experienced advocates, law students, new attorneys, and attorneys who are new to special education law. Find out more at Wrightslaw, a co-sponsor of the institute.
THE CHILD MIND INSTITUTE offers "Lessons from a Depressed Childhood," a conversation between the institutes's president, Harold Koplewicz, and writer/critic Daphne Merkin. In the conversation is advice for both parents and children. Find the conversation.

CEC RESOURCE. The second issue of CEC's journal Teaching Exceptional Children is out, featuring the topic of mathematics. For example, one article is titled "Intensifying Intervention for Students With Persistent and Severe Mathematics Difficulties." Find the journal.
GHF RESOURCE. If you're looking for online courses aimed at gifted or 2e kiddos, check out GHF Online. Registration for spring classes is now open. Topics include Latin, chemistry, statistics, and more. Find out more.
LD ONLINE's February newsletter is out, and it features articles on reading comprehension. If that's an issue with the 2e kiddo you raise or teach, check it out.
TiLT PARENTING keeps cranking out information on how to raise and educate "differently wired" kiddos. TiLT has issued Episode 43 in its podcast series, "Why Fostering a Culture of Respect in Our Schools Is Critical," with Courtney Macavinta, an author and life coach. Find the podcast. And in a blog post, TiLT's founder tells about books that "have been leading me through my off-road parenting journey." Find the blog.
LANDMARK COLLEGE has issued its February newsletter. Landmark is dedicated to students who learn differently, and, according to the newsletter, the college has now partnered with area educational organizations to provide programming for middle and high school students who learn differently. Also in the newsletter: news of a new career readiness service, and news from the college's Institute for Research and Training. Find the newsletter.
AND FROM 2e NEWSLETTER. We've updated the sample issues available for download for those who want to know more about the content of 2e Newsletter before subscribing. The three new sample issues feature the topics of getting the proper diagnosis, attention and impulse issues, and college for 2e students. Find them. In addition, we've released second editions of two of the booklets in our "Spotlight on 2e" series -- Parenting Your Twice-exceptional Child (for parents) and Understanding Your Twice-exceptional Student (for educators, or for parents to give to educators). You can see the tables of contents for these second editions at our website.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Education Reform, Gifted Ed in Kentucky, Gifted as Adults, and More

GIFTED SUPPORT AT WKU. Western Kentucky University is in the news this month because of its support for Gifted Education Month in Kentucky, which concludes with the annual Kentucky Association for Gifted Education conference on February 27-28. From a news story: "Housed at WKU, KAGE provides a resource network for educators and parents as well as advocacy for gifted education. WKU is also home to the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, The Center for Gifted Studies and The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky." Now that's support for the gifted. Read more.

LET'S SWITCH FOCUS away from our gifted and 2e kiddos for a moment. An article at Bustle, a media outlet "for and by women who are moving forward as fast as you are," according to its website, is titled "How Being a Gifted Kid Affects You as an Adult." Chances are you fit that category. From the article: "Giftedness isn't a curse we carry into adulthood, but it does definitely change the game a bit, according to science. Here's how." Find out exactly how.

EDUCATION REFORM -- in New Zealand. After shocks to its economy in the 1970s caused by oil prices, leaders in New Zealand decided that its workforce "would have to be among the best educated and trained in the world," according to an article at Education Week. The article describes how the country is going about that, and the results so far (good). Of interest to education policy fans is that the solution described in the article is a combination of central government standards and local school responsibility. Find the article.

STILL RAGING IN TEXAS. From Disability Scoop: "Disability advocates this week threatened to sue the Texas Education Agency unless the state permanently ends its special education enrollment benchmark within the next month." If you're a frequent visitor here, you know what the issue is; if not, you should. Find Disability Scoop's latest coverage.

MORE ON EDUCATION POLICY. Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities has weighed in on the confirmation of the U.S. president's nominee for education secretary, which has turned into a contentious issue. The article recaps some of the contention; find it. Separately, you can find out more about various aspects of U.S. education policy in a variety of recently posted articles: about school vouchers at Education Week; about school choice at The Washington Post; and about possible education policy-related changes at Education Week.

SUMMER'S STILL COMING, but the Davidson Institute, in its most recent e-newsletter, highlights resources for parents looking to get their high-ability kiddos into some kind of camp or program. Also in the newsletter: more news about Davidson, including its new online high school. Find the newsletter.

ARE YOU RAISING A "CHANGEMAKER"? Then you might be interested in an upcoming webinar by SENG, Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted. From the webinar blurb: "Youth need to know when we push against an inequitable system, it pushes back. Together we can expedite equity by defining what it means to be a changemaker, explaining obstacles to expect along the way and sharing proven practices that support evolution. Please join us in supporting youth in being the change they wish to realize in the world." Find out more.

DEPRESSION. U.S. News has published an article titled "What Parents Should Know about Teen Depression." It covers how teens experience depression, how to tell if your teen is depressed, and how to help. Find the article. Separately, a new study published in Biological Psychiatry offers new insights into how antidepressants work; find a write-up.

ASD RESEARCH. A recent study found that, for high-functioning young kids on the spectrum, failing to have a positive connection with a teacher can exacerbate ASD-related problems. Says the lead researcher: "A major goal that follows from this research is educating and supporting teachers so they understand how important their interactions with children are during this transitional time." Find out more at Science Daily.

AND FINALLY, THIS. The January/Feburary issue of 2e Newsletter 10 years ago focused on the emotional side of 2e kiddos. Paid newsletter subscribers can find it in the subscriber-only area of the website; you know where that is, hopefully. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Highly Gifted People, Highly Sensitive People, and More

PSYCHOLOGY TODAY pointed to and summarized an article called "From Terman to Today: A Century of Findings on Intellectual Precocity." Psychology Today says the article "serves as an excellent resource for parents, students, and educators who are interested in the findings of two major longitudinal studies of the gifted which roughly span the last century, and more broadly the historical progression of research on the gifted." Read more.

HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSONS often inhabit the gifted and 2e communities, it seems. A TED talk by a woman entrepreneur addresses the topic and explains why we need to change the prevalent cultural narrative around highly sensitive people. She describes highly sensitive people this way: "I invite you to imagine living with all your senses on high alert. You also have a vivid inner world, where all of your emotions are magnified. Sadness is a deep sorry, and joy is pure ecstasy. You also care beyond reason, and empathize without limits. Imagine being in permanent osmosis with everything around you." Find the talk; there's also a transcript.

DYSLEXIA AND THE ARTS is the topic of a piece at NPR, where various artists describe how the condition has affected their creative process. The artists all presented narrative and visual works telling how they felt about dyslexia. Find the piece.

NEW AT TiLT PARENTING: "This episode is the first of several solocasts I’ll be doing focusing on homeschooling—not so much the nuts and bolts of it, although I will eventually share some strategies—but more the emotional side of what it was like to make the decision to homeschool. Because, as I’ve said in previous episodes, I was very much a ‘reluctant homeschooler.’" Find Episode 42 from the parent of a "differently-wired kid."

UNDERSTANDING THE 2e BRAIN is the title of a recent post at the site of Gifted Ed Matters. Written by Michael Postma, Ph.D., the blog post focuses on the role of chemistry in the often-baffling behavior of those 2e kiddos. In the blog, he describes some of the work of psychologist Beth Houskamp. Find the blog.

GIFTED AND DISTRACTIBLE has published its February newsletter. According to its publisher, "This month's Newsletter focuses on 2e kids and the classroom - addressing perfectionism, letting go of our adult egos, successfully diffusing challenging behavior, and noticing gender bias. The bottom line? Making personal connections allows us to be our best selves and brings out the best in others. " Find the newsletter.

  • The Mediterranean diet might protect against ADHD, according to research published in the journal Pediatrics and summarized at Medical News Today, which says "Compared with children who had high adherence to a Mediterranean diet, those with a low adherence were more likely to have received a diagnosis of ADHD, the researchers report." Read more
  • Treating the gut microbiome to increase microbe diversity resulted in reduced gastrointestinal symptoms associated with ASD as well as improving sleep habits and social skills in a recent study. Read more
  • An international team of scientists has unlocked some of the genes responsible for cognitive ability. The findings bring scientists a step closer to developing new -- and potentially better -- treatments for cognitive disorders of the brain, such as schizophrenia and ADHD. Find the study write-up.