Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Lori Anne Madison, a 6-year-old girl from Woodbridge, Virginia, is poised to become the youngest-ever contestant in the National Spelling Bee Tuesday. The Associated Press profiles Madison, who is home-schooled and is precocious in every way:
There’s been no need for Lori Anne’s parents to push her to do anything — because she’s already way out in front dragging them along. Some kids are ahead of the curve physically, mentally or socially from a very young age. Lori Anne is the rare exception who defies the norms in every category.
She hit all her milestones early, walking and talking well before others in her play group. She was reading before she was 2. She swims four times a week, keeping pace with 10-year-old boys, and wants to be in the Olympics. When her mother tried to enroll her in a private school for the gifted, the headmaster said Lori Anne was just way too smart to accommodate and needed to be home-schooled.
“Once she started reading, that’s when people started looking strange at us, in libraries, everywhere, she’s actually fluently reading at 2, and at 2 1/2 she was reading chapter books,” Sorina said.
That meant an unexpected lifestyle change for the mother, a college professor who teaches health-related courses. Lori Anne now studies at home, mastering topics other kids her age won’t touch for several years. She wants to be an astrobiologist — a combination of her two favorite subjects, astronomy and biology.
And she speaks so fast, with well-formed diction and a touch of know-it-all confidence — just like a teenager.
Image: ABCs, via Shutterstock.
Add a Comment
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
A new study conducted by the Interactive Autism Network (part of the Kennedy Krieger Institute) looked closely at why bullying in school continues to be a serious problem faced by children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The findings highlight two difficult truths – most autistic children have experienced bullying, and more than half feel they have been purposely provoked into fighting by bullies.
Almost two-thirds of autistic children had been bullied at some point in their lives, and they were three times more likely than neurotypical kids to be bullied in the past three months. This was even true for home-schooled autistic children, who were sometimes educated at home precisely because of the bullying issue. “After a horrible year in 3rd grade,” said one mother, “where he was clinically diagnosed as depressed (he has always been anxious), I pulled my son out of public school and am homeschooling him this year. He is doing much, much better without the constant name calling and being singled out for his ‘weird’ behaviors!”
The three most common types of bullying were verbal, or, in other words, psychological in nature: “being teased, picked on, or made fun of” (73%); “being ignored or left out of things on purpose” (51%), and “being called bad names” (47%). But almost a third of autistic children also experienced physical bullying – being shoved, pushed, slapped, hit, or kicked.
Even more disturbing was the fact that over half of the autistic children surveyed had experienced intentional triggering of meltdowns or had been “provoked into fighting back.” One mother said, “Often kids try to upset her because they find it funny when she gets upset and cries. She is overly emotional, and they seem to get a kick out of this.”
Bullying was most pronounced in regular public schools (43%), but better in special education public schools (30%), and lowest in regular private schools and special education private schools (28% and 18%, respectively).
Image: Clenched fists, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Thursday, March 15th, 2012
Lori Anne Madison, of Woodbridge, Virginia, has won the right to compete in the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee to be held in Washington, DC on May 29 to June , Fox News reports. Madison is home-schooled, and she reportedly credits her parents with a lot of her spelling bee success.
She told Fox that the bee that won her the slot at the national competition was formidable, since she was competing against middle-schoolers, but that she was up to the task. “I was confident because I have been in spelling bees with older kids before and I judge them by who they are, not about age,” she said.
Image: Letters, via Shutterstock.
Add a Comment