Monday, November 20, 2017

Serving Those with LDs, 2e and Honors Classes, Dyslexia, and More

LDs AND INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM. Remember last year's investigation by the Houston Chronicle revealing that school districts in Texas were capping the number of students enrolled in special ed services? As a result of that investigation, the Texas Education Agency has now stated that it is obligated to serve all students needing special ed, and the number of students served has grown by about 14,000. Read more.

ENDREW F. Two recent items deal with the Endrew F case decided this year by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Hechinger Report clarifies what the ruling meant in terms of the rights of students with disabilities, in this case ASD. For example, Hechinger says, "...parent-advocates should hesitate to 'overreach' and leverage the case as a tool to make unreasonable demands, which may not accord with the Endrew holding and may only perpetuate a counterproductive 'parent versus school' narrative." Read more. And Chalkbeat describes how the parents of Endrew are resisting being painted as the "poster family" for school choice by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Find out why.

DUKE TIP offers a Q&A column at its website, and a recent question dealt with getting a 2e student into honors classes -- the trade-off between challenge and engagement versus workload, plus the question of accommodations. Find the Q&A, and note that the column invites questions from readers.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. This organization presented a "summit" on the topic of mental health needs of children and adolescents and the need for parents, teachers, and children to be aware of mental health disorders. Hillary Clinton was one of three participants. You can read a summary or see a video of the summit at the site of the Child Mind Institute; go there.

DYSLEXIA is the topic of three recent items:
  • District Administration describes how schools that understand dyslexia and intervene early help students succeed. Read more
  • Education Dive tells how universal screening for dyslexia in kindergarten and first grade can help students succeed. Read more
  • And Medical News Today describes dyslexia in adults. Read more
BLOGS
  • Jen the Blogger turns to verse with a piece called "I See You" about recognizing the twice-exceptional, believing in them, and advocating for them. Find it
  • Julie Skolnick reflects on "letting go" of your 2e kiddo; her starting point is her daughter's junior year in high school, which gets her thinking... Find it
PROFESSIONAL'S RESOURCE. One of the contributors to 2e Newsletter pointed us to the second edition of the book The Clinical Practice of Educational Therapy: Learning and Functioning with Diversity. Our contributor says this about the book: "The intended audience is allied professionals in related fields who have interdisciplinary perspectives.... In particular, there is a case study in chapter 5 is of a 2e student across the lifespan." Find out more at Amazon.

EDUCATION LAW AND POLICY. Regardless of our individual political views, we in the 2e community are all advocates for governmental efforts to recognize and serve twice-exceptional students, we believe. As advocates, it's incumbent upon us to pay attention to what's happening at the federal level and express our support or our displeasure with what we see. Here are recent items concerning law and policy in education in the United States.
  • The president has nominated a candidate to be the top official responsible for special education. The post, according to Disability Scoop, is "tasked with overseeing the federal government’s implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other laws." Read more
  • In Teen Vogue, the former Secretary of Education offers his views on how education in the U.S. has changed over the past year. His opinion: "The promise of the American Dream is under assault, and we need action to preserve it." Find it
  • And an article in The Washington Post describes how the current Secretary of Education is moving toward her goal, "to return control of education back to states, localities and parents." Read more

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Special Ed, OCD, ADHD, Depression, and More

SPECIAL ED: FAILING STUDENTS? A story from The Hechinger Report concludes that most students with disabilities are capable of graduating from high school on time, but many don't. From the article: "There are 6.6 million public school children enrolled in special education in the United States, 13 percent of all public school students....Their disabilities shouldn’t keep them from achieving the same standards as their peers — and experts estimate that up to 90 percent of students with disabilities are capable of graduating high school fully prepared to tackle college or a career if they receive proper support along the way." Read more. Of note is a chart accompanying the story that shows the range of graduation rates, by state, for students with disabilities. Highest: Arkansas, at 82 precent; lowest, Nevada, at 29 percent.

FOLLOW-UP TWO on John Green's YA novel on OCD, Turtles All the Way Down: the Child Mind Institute says, "What we wished, reading it, is that Aza [the book's main character] could have gotten better treatment. And so, with Aza in mind, this week we share resources on childmind.org that explore OCD: what it is, what it looks like in the classroom and how the gold standard treatment for OCD — exposure therapy — works."

ADHD
  • Should parents try to diagnose ADHD early, or is it better to wait? That question is addressed at US News; find it
  • Cutting back on yelling, criticism and other harsh parenting approaches, including physical punishment, has the power to calm children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a new study. Find a write-up of the study
  • A new study indicates that subjects with different types of ADHD have impairments in unique brain systems, indicating that there may not be a one-size-fits-all explanation for the cause of the disorder. While the subjects were supposedly clinically indistinguishable, each of the three different subgroups defined by the study showed dysfunction in different brain regions. Read more
DEPRESSION. This doesn't sound as if it would lead to effective treatments: "Adolescent patients included in clinical trials of therapies for major depressive disorder differ considerably from depressed adolescents encountered in daily practice, researchers report. Read more.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY is the topic of the most recent LD Online Newsletter; find it.

UNDERSTOOD offers "6 Steps for Requesting a School Evaluation." Is that on your to-do list? If so, find the steps.

tDCS -- transcrainal direct current stimulation -- is being examined for use in treating many conditions, as readers here know. An article at Psychiatric Times give a good background on what studies and science say so far about the technique. Find the article.

BLOGS
  • Jen the Blogger compares raising 2e kiddos to a marathon her most recent posting, "The 23rd Mile." Read it
  • A blog at the site of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum is titled "That Mom" -- and it's about how moms of gifted kids need "community" (as in a mom's group) just like moms of neurotypical kids. However, according to the blogger, because her parenting concerns turned out to be different than the others in her mom's group, her community quietly edged her out. Find the blog.
TiLT PARENTING's newest podcast is "The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius," and it features psychiatrist Gail Saltz. The podcast title is also the title of Dr. Saltz' new book. Find the podcast.

AND APROPOS OF NOTHING, except maybe for a laugh from the audience here. "In many species, males tend to do somewhat stupid things that end up getting them killed in silly ways, and it appears that may have been true for mammoths also," says a researcher about her findings on the causes of death for these creatures. Read more.



Monday, November 6, 2017

Mentoring with LDs, ADHD Therapy, Brain Stuff, and More

EYE TO EYE is a mentoring organization that connects children with LDs to college student who have the same learning challenges. Its founder is David Flink. Its second employee was Marcus Soutra, who was recently profiled by his college's news organization in conjunction with the bestowal of the college's Alumni Achievement Award. So know, O Good Reader, that there are organizations and people out there willing to help that 2e kiddo you know as he or she grows up through the grades. Find the college's article. Find out more about Eye to Eye.

NEW THERAPY FOR ADHD? From Healio: "Data presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry annual meeting indicated efficacy of monotherapy external trigeminal nerve stimulation for ADHD in children." This therapy would present an alternative to meds or behavioral therapy. The treatment is apparently still awaiting FDA approval. Read more. Find out more about the trigeminal nerve at the site of the therapy's developer.

CONNECTOTYPES -- a new word to us, evidently meaning "a distinct pattern of functional brain connectivity... or brain fingerprint." Research described at Science Daily says that connectotypes are individually unique but show family and heritable relationships. The hope is that connectotypes will help provide personalized, targeted treatments for conditions such as ADHD and ASD. Read more.

BRAIN-BASED TEACHING. Education World offers a three-part series in which, it says, "neuroscientist Marilee Sprenger reveals the latest research on the brain and discusses how it affects teaching and learning." Find the series.

UNDERSTOOD EXPERT CHAT. On November 13, Understood presents an "expert chat" featuring Ellen Braaten on "How Anxiety and Slow Processing Speed Fuel Each Other." Find out more.

MINDFULNESS IN KIDS is the topic of an article at the site of The New York Times. If you've been wondering what it is, or about its benefits -- eg, minimizing anxiety -- perhaps check out the article. (And if you wonder exactly why kids and young people might be helped by mindfulness, read the story at the UK Daily Mail about rising rates of depression and mental illness in US teens.)

TiLT PARENTING. TiLT founder Debbie Reber is finishing up a book, Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World. In it, she says, "I lay out a new vision for not only redefining the way neurodiversity is perceived in the world, but shifting the parenting paradigm so parents raising extraordinary kids can do so from a place of peace, joy, and most importantly, choice." She's also forming a "Book Team" to help spread the word about the book. Find out more.

UPCOMING EVENTS
  • The Utah Association for Gifted Children holds its Winter Symposium on Saturday, February 10, featuring Shelagh Gallagher. More information
  • The Oklahoma Association for the Gifted, Talented, and Creative holds its annual conference on February 16 at Oklahoma State University. More information
EDUCATION POLICY, LAW, ADVOCACY
  • The Hechinger Report notes how the U.S. in recent years has reduced the amount it spends on education; at the same time, other countries are increasing what they spend on elementary and high school education. Read more
  • CIVIL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION. A group of education organizations and civil rights groups have formed the Education Civil Rights Alliance, which will, according to US News, "focus specifically on safeguarding the rights of students with disabilities, immigrant students, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students...." Twice-exceptional students are afforded special protection under the law because of their disabilities. Read more

Thursday, November 2, 2017

2e Success Story, Un-Success Story (So Far), Good Blog Postings, More

FAMILIAR TUNE, NEW TWIST. A high school dropout turned cook turned ice sculptor turned Harvard graduate turned advocate is profiled in the LA Times, and it's a good story. One turning point is, hopefully, familiar to those here: "Most of my life, they focused on what I was bad at,” the subject of the profile, John Rodriguez, is quoted as saying. “When you focus on what you are good at, things just start happening.” Even after he'd achieved success doing things he was good at, there was still another turning point: when he was sitting in a college counseling office and saw a poster with the title "Signs that you have dyslexia." Read the profile.

FROM DECATUR, ILLINOIS: A mother writes a long, reasoned letter to Decaturish.com describing her positive experience with the Decatur school system as an employee but also relating how the school has not addressed her son's dyslexia, with effects on son and mom that are familiar to readers here. She describes her own efforts to help her son (Orton-Gillingham, tutoring) but remains frustrated by the district's inaction: "Some acknowledgement of my child’s true learning obstacles must occur within the school day for him to really be able to compensate for his learning difference." Find the letter.

GIFTED CHALLENGES. Psychologist Gail Post writes on the topic of "Get your gifted boy through middle school." Starting from the thesis that boys are not necessarily "built" for school, she covers pitfalls, challenges, and ways to help. Underachievement (not via LDs) is one pitfall; others are peer pressure; gifted sensitivity; and identity formation and existential depression (with a nod to James Webb). Find Post's blog.

PLATO PARENTING is a term coned by psychologist Devon MacEachron, who practice specializes in gifted and 2e children. Based on "know thyself," her parenting tips are intended to help that gifted or 2e kiddo "develop into the happy, productive young adults they are meant to be." Can't argue with that. Find out more about Plato Parenting, and watch for an article by MacEachron in an upcoming issue of 2e Newsletter.

DIFFERENT PERCEPTIONS OF GIFTED PROGRAMS. Ethnicity has a lot to do with how parents perceive the value of gifted programs, whether the parents might "game" the system for entrance to such a program, and even what parents look for in terms of a good classroom for their child. An article in The Atlantic provides interesting perspectives on how white, Hispanic, and black families view gifted programs. Find the article.

WRIGHTSLAW, in Special Ed Advocate, offers information about FAPE and how it might affect your child. Included are articles on the legal concept of FAPE, the Endrew F case, and what the law requires. Find Special Ed Advocate.

TiLT PARENTING's most recent podcast: "Dr. Ross Greene Explains How Collaborative and Proactive Solutions Benefit Atypical Kids." Find it.

NEWSLETTERS
  • The most recent communique from the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children is now available; find it. Also from WCGTC: the next conference is scheduled for July 24-28, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee. That's in the U S of A. 
  • Gifted and Distractible's monthly newsletter is out. "'Letting Go' is the subject of Julie's blog this month. Many people are recalibrating expectations and adjusting to ‘new norms’ globally -- in the face of natural and man-made disasters. Letting go is an essential strategy to successfully move forward." Find the newsletter.
TECA reminds us of its online parent support groups, one for parents of teens, one for parents of 13-and-unders, and one for all parents. Find out more.

RESEARCH AND STUDIES
  • YOU'RE SO SMART! An Education Week article reminds us of the dangers of praising children simply for being smart. According to a study, one such danger is cheating. Read more
  • Science Daily has a recent study write-up on detecting the risk of dyslexia before a child learns to read; find the write-up.
  • Also from Science Daily: "Depression is on the rise in the United States. From 2005 to 2015, depression rose significantly among Americans age 12 and older with the most rapid increases seen in young people. This is the first study to identify trends in depression by gender, income, and education over the past decade." Find the write-up
POLICY, LEGISLATION
  • Those on either "side" of the issue of public funding for private and charter schools might be interested in a Politico article about some of the backers who favor of that funding; find it
  • The educational process in the U.S. is becoming politicized. Politico also offers an "Essential Guide to Legislation" explaining the federal (House, Senate) legislative process. Current or prospective advocates on particular issues might be interested in this. Find it
AND FINALLY, THIS. Next time you plan to approach a teacher, perhaps related to issues of twice-exceptionality, perhaps keep in mind the results of a recent survey indicating that teachers feel more stressed than average people. A little empathy can go a long way. Read more.