Early Life Stress Can Leave Lasting Impacts on the Brain

stressEffectsOnBrainFor children, stress can go a long way. A little bit provides a platform for learning, adapting and coping. But a lot of it – chronic, toxic stress like poverty, neglect and physical abuse – can have lasting negative impacts.

A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers recently showed these kinds of stressors, experienced in early life, might be changing the parts of developing children’s brains responsible for learning, memory and the processing of stress and emotion. These changes may be tied to negative impacts on behavior, health, employment and even the choice of romantic partners later in life. Read more »

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Bright Kids NYC’s Gifted and Talented Scholarship Celebrates a Year of Success

brightHow do you support the needs of exceptional students across the largest city in US? The Gifted and Talented programs are one way the NYC Department of Education aims to do so. Each year families gear up for these assessments to be eligible for placement into the city’s top public schools. Last year Bright Kids NYC started the Gifted & Talent Scholarship as an ongoing pledge to provide families with the best preparation possible. After a year of success, Bright Kids NYC is pleased to announce that scholarship applications for the upcoming G&T Bootcamp season are now open.

Last year’s scholarship was awarded to nine students across various New York City Boroughs and backgrounds. 71% scored in the 90th percentile or above, qualifying for a district seat. “We at Bright Kids are extremely happy that we are able to offer the scholarship program again this year. It was a great success last year and we’ve incorporated feedback from past participants into this year’s program– so it’s only going to get better. Our hope in this second year is that we can help even more children earn top qualifying scores.”- Suzanne Lewis, Scholarship Coordinator. The goal of the Gifted and Talented Scholarship remains the same, to help families gain access to tutoring services that do not have the financial means to do so. Read more »

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Creatively Gifted Young Adults with Autism Find Opportunities Through Exceptional Minds Vocational School

 

Titcher

A year ago, autism was all about spotting the signs and early intervention. Today, autism has reached a new level of awareness as people and companies discover untapped potential in this growing, underutilized population. Nowhere is this more evident than at Exceptional Minds digital arts vocational school, where one exceptional individual with autism graduated on June 8th and began his career in movie post-production the next day.

Kevin Titcher, 23, began his duties as a production assistant in the editorial department at Stargate Studios, a global production house that is known for its visual effects and other work for movies such as Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Walking Dead. Read more »

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Emptying Your Cup: A Zen Parable for Academics and Professors

tea

A favorite parable of mine is a traditional Zen koan first translated into English by Nyogen Senzaki, a Rinzai Zen monk, in his 1919 book 101 Zen Stories. The koan is a cautionary parable about personal arrogance and the unwillingness to learn.

The koan has appeared in many slight variations over the years but the essence of it is this:

 

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Rather than listen to what the Japanese master had to say, the university professor immediately began dominating the discussion with his own ideas, viewpoints, and knowledge.

While the university professor continued to talk, Nan-in listened patiently and began preparing tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “Stop!” he said. “The cup is overfull. No more will go in!”

“Yes,” Nan-in said. “And like this cup, you too are overfilled with your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

 

The questions we must ask are these: Why is the antagonist of this story the university professor? And why, in this parable, does the professor fits so easily into such an unflattering role? Read more »

Categories: Commentary, Education, Philosophy | 3 Comments

My Dad

fathersday

My dad was always a proud and independent man, so it was extremely difficult for him to adjust to the debilitating paralysis that resulted after brain surgery in 1992. The paralysis affected his hands, making some of the simplest tasks extremely difficult (if not impossible). Several successive surgeries gave him limited use of his hands; the most important improvement to him being the ability to “hold a fishing rod.” Read more »

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On Character

“Each of us is meant to have a character all our own, to be what no other can exactly be, and do what no other can exactly do.”

William Ellery Channing

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On Uniqueness

“Let no one be like another, yet everyone like the highest. How is this done? Be each one perfect in himself.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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On Talents

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made.”

Ben Franklin

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Media Watch: Lifetime Cable Channel Orders Documentary Series about Gifted Children, Nationwide Casting Search Underway

The cable network Lifetime has giving an initial order of eight episodes to Child Genius, a documentary series that will follow a group gifted young children with genius-level IQs as they prepare to compete in a national intelligence competition. The series will also highlight the perspectives of the parents and family members who are impacted by these child geniuses. The new series is based upon the British series of the same name. Read more »

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On Knowledge

kahlil-gibran“No man can reveal to you nothing but that which already lies half-asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.”

- Khalil Gibran

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