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Study links cannabis use in teens with cognitive declines

New research from l’Universite de Montreal, cited in EurekAlert, followed a large group of Canadian teens for 4 years, looking at expected cognitive development and cannabis and alcohol usage. Results indicated a worrisome relationship between cognitive functioning and inhibitory control with cannabis use. The authors advise sharing this information with groups in this age group and greater investment in drug-prevention programs .


Physical literacy matters too!

Canada’s first “state of the nation” report on children’s physical literacy has been released by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s Research Institute.  Reported in EurekAlert, the large scale study’s findings are disappointing.  Our children are not doing well physically, and we know that physical and mental health are integrally related.  How can we, as school psychologists, help schools and parents put the needed emphasis on physical wellness?

Witnessing bullying is harmful too!

New research from l’Universite de Montreal, cited in EurekAlert, looked at the long term impact of having witnessed bullying in comparison with having experienced bullying in high school.  Results indicate that witnessing bullying has its own downsides over time.  The authors suggest that empowering students to be proactive rather than simply walking way is a much better strategy in terms of personal growth, and after-bullying sessions could be more helpful than bully prevention programs.

Should high school football be allowed?

Fall is here, school is back in session, and football teams are on the fields.  An opinion piece in Education Week suggests that high school football should be banned, based on what we know about the research on concussions.  If this is true, should the same argument be made for banning all high school (and elementary school?) contact sports for both boys and girls?  What do you think?

Early depressive symptoms related to academic and social skill deficits

New research from the University of Missouri, published in the Journal of School Psychology and cited in EurekAlert, has linked depressive symptoms in children in the early grades and academic and social skills deficits.  If ever there were a case to be made for early identification leading to prevention, this is it, and yet, with the dwindling numbers of school psychologists to assist teachers and parents in that identification and intervention, the numbers of kids impacted will only grow!

What is the impact of suspensions on students’ academic progress?

A new article in Chalkbeat summarizes the results of several recent studies in the US on the effect of suspensions on academic progress and test scores.  While the results overall seem to speak against suspensions, which makes sense, it is interesting that there are no studies that speak to the impact on student behaviour after suspension. Although we likely know the answer to that question too, it should be addressed along with academics when considering zero tolerance or suspensions.

How do we determine “learning disabilities”?

Research from Portland State University, cited in EurekAlert, looked at the over-representation of students from racial minorities and poor socioeconomic backgrounds in special education classes.  The author concluded that, without a clear and well-accepted definition of what a learning disability really is, many students are being misdiagnosed, and stigmatized, due to lack of opportunity rather than real learning problems.  Does your region have a clear definition of learning disabilities, or does this same problem apply to your schools as well?

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