Monday, June 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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