Monday, January 29, 2018

Dyslexic Achiever, Parenting, Hyperfocus, and More

DYSLEXIC ACHIEVER. An alert reader noticed in an obituary of Ikea's founder that he was dyslexic... and also a somewhat unusual person. Thanks to Nancy M for bringing this to our attention. From the obit: "He grew up on a farm in the lake-dotted province of Smaland, in southern Sweden, a dyslexic boy who milked cows and found it hard to concentrate in school. His family was poor, and he earned money selling matches and pencils in villages." Read more.

PARENTING. New research indicates that the educational attainment of children may depend not only on the genes their parents pass down to them, but also on genes that are not passed down. Many different inherited gene variants influence how much education a child attains, but the variants don't account for all -- or even a majority -- of the results. Another major factor is genes in the parents that cause the parents to influence the child's education -- something called "genetic nurture." Read more.

MORE PARENTING. The Weinfeld Education Group has posted a conversation with one of the presenters at its next "Diamonds in the Rough" conference, a presenter who has co-authored a book called The Self-Driven Child. The authors' thesis is that "your kids are going to be more successful and less stressed, by you doing less"; that by exerting more control over your child, there's less left for the child to exert; and that parents should act more as consultants than task masters. Find the interview.

CHILDHOOD TRAUMA can consist of things such as parental divorce, death in the family, and more. NPR interviewed a pediatrician, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who has written a book called The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity. She writes of childhood trauma, "It can tip a child's developmental trajectory and affect physiology. It can trigger chronic inflammation and hormonal changes that can last a lifetime. It can alter the way DNA is read and how cells replicate, and it can dramatically increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes — even Alzheimer's." In her practice, she uses a screen to try to determine how much trauma a child has been exposed to. Find the interview.

DEBUNKING MYTHS about Gifted Students is the title of a recent (last month) article at Edutopia. Among the myths: Gifted students don't need scaffolding. Find t he article.

ARTICLES ON THE GIFTED draw the attention of psychologist Gail Post. At Gifted Challenges, she points to 10 "no-frills articles" on college planning for gifted kids. Find her blog post.

DEVON MACEACHRON blogs on ADHD, gifteness, and the ability to hyperfocus. The starting point is something she says she often hears from parents: "I don’t think my child has a problem with attention – he can focus really intensely on his cartoon-drawing (or video-gaming or Lego-building or reading) for hours at a time! In fact I can barely get him to stop. But his teachers complain he’s inattentive and distracted in the classroom. " If that's a familiar contradiction to you, find MacEachron's blog.

AMERICAN PRIORITIES. The Pew Research Center has done a poll which indicates that the second highest national priority for Americans is education, just below terrorism and above the economy. (And we say, if that's the case how come we're not doing more about it?) Education writer Valerie Strauss discusses the research at the Washington Post; or you can find out more at the site of the Pew Research Center.

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