Giftedness and Exceptionalities in the News
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Note: Some of these news items came to our attention through CEC SmartBriefs, Education Week, LD Online Newsletter, ScienceDaily, and other aggregators.
From Other Newsletters, Digests, Websites, and Blogs
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.
THE BELIN-BLANK CENTER. 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.
CHILD MIND INSTITUTE. 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.
DISABILITY SCOOP. 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.
EDUCATION WEEK. Policy wonks can 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.
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.
PSYCHOLOGY TODAY. 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.
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-occurring 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.
SMART KIDS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES posted a new piece recently 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. Separately, this organization 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.
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.
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 to do a "reset" in a difficult parenting situation. She describes a four-step process. Find the blog.
Resources for Parents and Educators
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.
RESEARCH PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITIES. The Social Competence and Treatment Lab at Stony Brook 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 LernerLab@stonybrook.edu 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 the lab's site 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.
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.
Know of a resource you think we should share? Let us know!
Research, Recent Studies
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
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.)
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.
March 1-3, Annual Conference of Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education, Little Rock, Arkansas. More information.
March 2-5, Annual Conference of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Dallas, Texas. More information.
March 3-5, Annual Conference of the California Association for the Gifted, San Diego, California. More information.
March 15-16, 2017, third annual Breakthroughs in Twice Exceptional Education conference, New York City. More information.
April 19-22, CEC 2017, Boston, Massachusetts. More information.
July 20-23, 22nd Biennial World Conference, Sydney, Australia. By the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children. More information.
August 4-6, SENG 34th Annual Conference, Naperville, Illinois. More information.
November 9-12, 64th Annual Convention of the National Association for Gifted Children, Charlotte, North Carolina. More information.
Please note: For a listing of upcoming local 2e-related events, see our Facebook page each Friday. For state association conferences relating to giftedness, see Hoagies' website. For additional conferences on learning differences, see the website of the Council for Exceptional Children.