Thursday, June 21, 2018

Brain Balance Centers, Self-Advocacy, SPD, and More

BRAIN BALANCE CENTERS. If you're considering obtaining treatment from a Brain Balance Center for your child, you might be interested in a recent NPR story on the organization. We also pointed to psychologist Devon MacEachron's blog posting on this alternative therapy several weeks ago.

EDUTOPIA presents a piece on self-advocacy for young people with LDs -- why it's important, what the research says, and how we can change things to allow young people to become better self-advocates. One "take-off" point: using the IEP as a learning experience for this skill. From the article: "Research shows that students who practice self-advocacy skills (those skills associated with understanding one’s rights and needs and communicating and acting on that understanding) and self-determination (the capacity to be the primary agent in one’s learning and life) have improved educational and life outcomes when compared to those who don’t." Find the article.

SENSORY PROCESSING. Understood offers resources on sensory processing issues:
  • A fact sheet to "get essential information about how sensory issues can affect kids" -- and to give to teachers. Find it
  • Pointers to what Understood calls "eight sensory-friendly games to help meet your child’s sensory needs." Find it
  • And "7 Tips for Taking Kids With Sensory Processing Issues to the Movies." Find the tips
EDUCATION POLICY, LAW. The Council for Exceptional Children's "Policy Insider" provides information on what education funding will look like for FY2019. Basically spending is unchanged from 2018, although it could be worse. Find out more.

TiLT PARENTING's most recent podcast is a discussion with psychologist/author Dawn Huebner about her new book, Outsmarting Worry: An Older Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety. Find the podcast.

  • ADHD meds. "Results of a prospective longitudinal cohort study published in Pediatrics suggest that long-term medication adherence among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is correlated with treatment acceptance and parent perception of medication need." Find the study write-up
  • Southpaws and mental health treatment. "Treatment for the most common mental health problems could be ineffective or even detrimental to about 50 percent of the population, according to a radical new model of emotion in the brain." Find the study write-up
  • Vitamin, dietary supplements in young people. "A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that since 2003, the use of alternative medicines, such as herbal products and nutraceuticals, among children has doubled. The University of Illinois at Chicago researchers who conducted the study cite an increased use of Omega-3 fatty acids and melatonin among adolescents ages 13 to 18 as the primary driver of the change, despite clinical recommendations against use of such supplements in children." Find the study write-up

Monday, June 18, 2018

Impulsive & Excitable; ACT & SAT?; "To My Class Clown"; and More

AN IMPULSIVE, EXCITABLE 7-year-old is the focus of an advice column at the Washington Post. Mom says, "He was doing okay, but it gets worse as the school year winds down and they are doing more fun, less-structured activities. I can help him at home, but it seems like his excitability and inability to manage his emotions are getting worse as he gets older." The columnist reminds us that impulsivity is a hallmark of childhood and discusses the maturation process, then offers a plan for dealing with the issues. The plan includes getting some testing, involving the school, and more. Importantly, the columnist writes: "Know this exploration is not a way to change your son; instead this is what parents and caretakers do to support the child we have in front of us." Find the column.

COLLEGE: NEED THAT ACT OR SAT? The University of Chicago is joining a few other institutions in eliminating the requirement that applicants submit ACT or SAT scores. According to USA Today, "The new policy, which is being implemented starting with the Class of 2023, is meant to help even the playing field for students coming from low-income and underrepresented communities, university officials said." Read more.

CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. In light of a couple recent high-profile suicides, the Child Mind Institute reminds site visitors of its parent's guide to helping a child in distress, "What to Do If You're Worried About Suicide." Hopefully you're not in need of this, but here it is.

WCGTC BIENNIAL CONFERENCE. Time flies, and the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children has announced the dates a location for its 2019 conference -- July 24-28 in Nashville, USA. Find out more.

ADDITUDE points to an article posted on its site -- can't tell if it's new or not -- titled "Culture Vs. Biology: What Really Causes ADHD?" Their article "tease" invites the reader to "Contrast and compare the controversial new theory that our fast-paced, stressed-out, consumer-driven lives cause ADHD with other scientific evidence to the contrary." Find the article.


  • Reading, dyslexia. From Newswise: "Using MRI measurements of the brain's neural connections, or “white matter,” UW researchers have shown that, in struggling readers, the neural circuitry strengthened — and their reading performance improved — after just eight weeks of a specialized tutoring program." Find the study write-up
  • Depression. From Science Daily: "A simple, in-office EEG-based test can help determine if a depressed patient will do better on antidepressants or talk therapy." Find the study write-up
  • Autism. From the Deccan Chronicle: "Children with ASD are more than twice as likely to suffer from a food allergy than children who do not have it, according to the study from the University of Iowa.." Find the study write-up

EDUCATION WEEK TEACHER contains a letter written by a teacher to her class at the end of the school year. In it, she addresses her "class clown," her "quiet one," her "daydreamers and slow workers," and others -- and seems to have kind, understanding, encouraging words for all of them. Her great attitude toward her students is summarized in one of her concluding lines: "I wish I had more time with all you to watch you grow into the best versions of yourselves." Find the letter.

Friday, June 15, 2018

OEs, 2e in College, Resources, Events

THE CONCEPT OF OVEREXCITABILITIES is part of the gifted/2e culture -- a ubiquitous topic at conferences, in articles, and in conversations in the gifted/2e community. There's just one problem: The research supporting the concept may not be that strong.
  • Psychologist Devon MacEachron, in her most recent blog posting, examines the research and offers her perspective. MacEachron specializes in psychoeducational assessment and educational planning for children who are twice-exceptional. Read her blog
  • The author of the Homeschooling 2e blog reacted to MacEachron's article this way: "I KNOW overexcitabilities are real. I live with them." Find Homeschooling 2e
  • And if you're a believer in OEs, know that the 13th International Dabrowski Congress is scheduled for July 12-14 in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. Find out more

COACHING GIFTED COLLEGE STUDENTS is the topic of an article in Psychology Today by psychologist Dan Peters of California's Summit Center. In the article, he and colleague Paula Wilkes explore the issues that might affect gifted college students, how coaching can help, and the mechanics of the process. Find the article.

SUPPORTING COLLEGE STUDENTS WITH ADHD is the topic of a recent article in the Research and Training Blog at Landmark College. The article covers pharmacological support, educational support, psychosocial support, and behavioral support. Landmark is a college that recruits students who learn differently. Find the article.

TiLT PARENTING. If you're interested in finding out more about Debbie Reber's new book Differently Wired, check out a podcast at TiLT in which she discusses the book with a colleague. Find the podcast.

MORE ON GROWTH MINDSET. Education Dive takes a look at recent research on the effectiveness of this concept/practice. Read more.

UNDERSTOOD is offering an "experts chat" on the topic "How to Use and Incorporate Strengths in Your Child's IEP." The chat is scheduled for June 18. Find out more.

EARLY BIRDS: The Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) has opened registration for next February's conference in Fort Worth, Texas. The organization says, "Join over 1,000 educators, researchers, practitioners, parents, adults with learning disabilities and others who have an interest in the field." Register early.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Suing Over 2e, Failure/Success, Events, and Articles

PARENTS OF GIFTED AND 2e STUDENTS have filed a federal lawsuit against the largest school district in Portland, Oregon, over its ACCESS Academy, which serves K-8 gifted and 2e students. The school district had planned to split ACCESS into two campuses. The parent group, "Save Access Academy," maintains that such a split would reduce the benefits students received and would, furthermore, run afoul of:
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Section 504
  • The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  • Oregon law.
You may find the details of the parents' complaint in the lawsuit; other information is also in a news article on the topic. [Don't mess with parents of 2e kiddos!]

FAILURE can be daunting to young people with the "gifted" label. The Atlantic writes that knowing how students like Einstein experienced failure can improve highschoolers' grades. The Teacher's College at Columbia University has creted the Education for Persistence and Innovation Center to study failure and success. The head of the center says that her main purpose "is to help students realize that failure is a normal part of the process of learning." Find the article.

ADDITUDE WEBINAR. On June 26, ADDitude has scheduled a free webinar titled "Parent Different: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World." The presenter is Debbie Reber of TiLT, and author of the book Differently Wired. Find out more.

UNDERSTOOD has posted what looks like a new article on changing from stimulant to non-stimulant medication or vice versa. Find the article.

SMARTKIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES has posted a new, short article titled "Best Sports for Your Child with ADHD." Find it.

TiLT. Don't forget that Debbie Reber is on a U.S. book tour promoting Differently Wired. The schedule: June 15, Seattle, WA; June 18, Portland, OR; June 20, Campbell, CA; June 21, Washington D.C.; June 23, Naperville, IL; June 26, New York City; June 27, Maplewood, NJ. Find out more.

AND FINALLY, THIS. The New York Times has what it calls The Learning Network, a site about teaching and learning which uses Times content. During the year, the Times solicits entries for an annual Student Editorial Contest, where, says the Times, "teenagers were invited to write on the issues they care about most." The Times has published excerpts from some of those essays, and they provide a fascinating look at what's on the minds of the authors. Find the excerpts.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Parent's 2e Resource, Newsletters & Podcasts, Education, Anxiety

WOW! IS WHAT WE THOUGHT when we looked through the resource guide for parents on twice-exceptionality published by the Davidson Institute. It's a 57-page PDF available on this link. It's divided into eight sections:
  1. Defining Twice-Exceptionality, noting the varying definitions of 2e and offering a parent tool to "write your own 2e definition" 
  2. Identification and Assessment, with an "Expert Q&A" with Megan Foley Nicpon, some resource highlights, and a side note about that bugaboo, labels
  3. Moving Forward, including an explanation of the strengths-basd approach, and a tool for building a strengths-based plan
  4. The 2E School Experience, addressing concerns common to the 2e experience in school, plus a Q&A with Heidi Molbak
  5. School Advocacy, with some especially useful-looking tools on skills such as framing issues appropriately
  6. IEPs and 504 Plans -- what they are, the differences, and resources for using them
  7. Educational Alternatives, including Expert Q&As with Wes Beach and Suki Wesling
  8. Life Outside of School, with information and tools to support your child's emotional needs, developing executive functioning skills, resources such as SENG, and more. 
This is a very impressive document. Our compliments to the Davidson Institute!

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IN THE CLASSROOM. At teacher describes at Education Week what it was like to try a certain kind of love for her students. "I wanted a love that could embrace unappealing characteristics and behaviors with humor, tranquility, and curiosity. It would not be transactional or affected by my students’ daily or cumulative decisions. It would accept that they would all disappoint me at various times, some more than others," the teacher wrote. It sounds difficult. The teacher would have to "go toward the most difficult students with additional compassion, rather than retreating in frustration when my initial attempts to change them failed." The change in mindset improved the teacher's experience... and students' experiences as well. Read more, and consider the implications for teaching this way to twice-exceptional students.


  • The June "Gifted Resources Newsletter" from Australian Jo Freitag is out. Find it
  • Julie Skolnik writes about summer, her upcoming plans, articles she's found of interest, and an in-the-works October virtual conference titled "2 Days of 2e." Find the newsletter
  • And in TiLT's latest podcast, writes Debbie Reber, "we’re talking about bad behavior. Specifically, The Good News About Bad Behavior. That’s the name of a new book by journalist, author, speaker, and parent educator, Katherine Lewis, and in this episode, Katherine and I talk about what our kids’ behavior is telling us and how we as parents, teachers, and other adults in kids’ lives can best respond to it while encouraging our kids to develop into healthy adults." Find the podcast
EVENT. Next week is the Utah Association for Gifted Children summer conference, in Park City. Find out more.

EDUCATION. We offer these items as perspective for the services our gifted and 2e students may get or not get.
  • Education funding. In the U.S. we collectively spend over a half trillion dollars a year on education. Education Week explains factors affecting this flow of dollars. Find the article
  • Spending by state. Education Week also provides information on per-pupil funding by state. How does yours stack up? Find out
  • Why teachers are striking. The New York Times looks at the reasons teachers are protesting, going back to decisions made during the Great Recession. Find the article
ANXIETY. Here are some recently-published items on the topic of anxiety, a condition which is not uncommon among twice-exceptional children.
  • An article from UConn says, "For anxiety, a single intervention is not enough." Find it
  • The Clay Center for Healthy Young Minds published an article by Ellen Braaten on generalized anxiety disorder. Find it
  • Science Daily says this: "Neuroscientists have identified a neural circuit in the amygdala, the brain's seat of emotion processing, that gives rise to anxiety. Their insight has revealed the critical role of a molecule called dynorphin, which could serve as a target for treatment of anxiety-related disorders..." Find it.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Gifted Going to College; ADHD Treatments; Mental Health; and More

SENDING A GIFTED KIDDO TO COLLEGE is the subject of a new post by psychologist Gail Post at "Gifted Challenges." She describes families unprepared for the competitive nature of college admissions; and the lack of appropriate guidance from school or even parents. She offers tips on helping a young person plan for college and finding colleges t hat offer the right fit. Find the blog, and be advised that you, dear parent, have some important responsibilities. Related to this is a post a month or so ago at Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities about  the pitfalls of college for students with LDs; find it.


  • Reuters Health reports on a study: "Researchers examined results from 54 studies of non-pharmaceutical ADHD treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, parent training, special diets, and supplements like omega-3 fatty acids. Overall, these studies were too small, brief or varied in how they measured results for researchers to draw firm conclusions about which approaches might actually work for kids with ADHD." Read more
  • On the other hand, an article in the Orlando Sentinel described a family in which the parents wanted to avoid medication to treat ADHD, using therapies like a diet free of gluten, sugar, and dairy. The article says, "Most experts agree that the combination of medication and holistic approaches, including behavioral therapy, exercise and talk therapy, offer the strongest treatment plan for most children," and then goes on to quote experts who may prioritize yoga and herbal supplements above medications. Read more
  • And then there's the possibility of using virtual reality as an ADHD treatment to lessen distractibility. ADHD expert David Rabiner, in an analysis of a study involving VR, noted that while it might have improved task performance, it did not change parent ratings of ADHD symptoms -- this in contrast to studies involving medication. Read more
  • The upshot? Try to figure out what's right for your situation... with the guidance of a professional. 

MENTAL HEALTH issues are now "a leading cause of disease burden in children aged 5 to 14 years" in both Europe and the Americas, according to recent research. What's more, the prevalence is not decreasing, as it is with other preventable diseases. Read more. On the same topic, an article at Psychology Today suggests that integrative behavior health is a promising way to deal with mental health problems in young people. With this approach, behavioral interventions are delivered to children by a pediatrician. Read more.

PAYING TEACHERS. In an interesting choice of headline wording, Education Week says that "Nearly Half of Public School Teachers Are Satisfied with their Salaries." Why the headline wasn't "More than Half of Public School Teachers Are Not Satisfied with their Salaries" we'll never know. On the same topic at the Washington Post, a headline says, "New polls find more Americans say teachers are underpaid -- and many would pay higher taxes to fix it." You can find out more about how much teachers get paid, and paid in your state -- at this link

LAST WEEK, TED.COM featured talks that might be of interest to that young person you raise or teach -- or to YOU. The Talk of the Week is by a young woman who at age 13 became the youngest winner of Google's Science Fair by inventing a "smart bandage" to track wound healing. And the Playlist of the Week consists of four talks on introversion, often a trait in the gifted/2e community. Of the four talks, one might appeal especially to young, would-be activists... and another especially to young tech geeks.