Monday, September 15, 2014

BEST Resources for the Different Types of Dyslexia

There are various types of dyslexia that can affect children and adults of all levels of intelligence and ability. However, very often, individuals with dyslexia possess an above-average intellectual level.

It is important to address their symptoms and accommodate their learning challenges so that they can progress in the classroom, in the workplace and in life. Doing so will enable them to actually reach their potentials. Persons with dyslexia often have exceptional talents and gifts that can positively influence their lives and our world. If we use the right strategies and accommodations to help dyslexics, not only will the 1 in 5 persons affected with dyslexia benefit, but all of society will enjoy the positive results of addressing their learning needs.

Different Types of Dyslexia Eligible for Special Education Services

Visual dyslexia is the term used for the specific learning disability called visual processing disorder. This form of dyslexia is the result of immature development of not only the eyes, but the entire neurological process that receives and manages information from the eyes to the brain.

A child's eyes that are not fully developed will send incomplete information to the brain. This incomplete information then results in poor comprehension of what the child has read or poor memory of visual information. Sometimes this process results in number and letter reversals as well as the inability to write symbols in the correct sequence. However, this does not always occur. In other words, letter reversals are not an automatic indication of this type of dyslexia, as some may believe.

Phonological (auditory) dyslexia is the specific learning disability involving poor auditory processing. The more severe condition is called Auditory Processing Disorder (OPD). This form of dyslexia involves difficulty with sounds of letters or groups of letters. With this form of dyslexia, sounds are usually perceived as jumbled or not heard correctly.

Dyspraxia refers to the learning disability term sensor-motor integration. It is a widely pervasive motor condition characterized by impairment or immaturity of the organization of movement with associated problems of language, perception and thought. Typically, the child affected by dyspraxia may appear clumsy with poor coordination.

This learning challenge called dyspraxia is separated into several groups. True dyspraxia is a lifelong condition that, to some degree, can respond to consistent, early and structured intervention. Developmental dyspraxia reflects neurological immaturity. It is evidence of a delay rather than a deficit that can be resolved over time with appropriate treatment. However, only time will determine the difference.

Verbal praxis refers to the weaknesses observed in the mechanisms of speech production which can cause articulation to be impaired and expressive language to be inhibited. Speech production and articulation are not considered learning disabilities but should certainly be addressed by a speech and language therapist.

Dysgraphia is the term referred to as an inability to hold or control a pencil so that the correct markings can be made on paper. These symptoms most often manifest themselves in poor letter formation in printing or deficient cursive writing skills. When talking about a specific learning disability, these symptoms would be identified as immature, fine-motor development.

Dyscalculia refers to an impairment of the ability to solve mathematical problems, usually resulting from brain dysfunction. Persons of any IQ can be affected and often have difficulties with time, measurement and spatial reasoning. Dyscalculia can be detected at a young age. Because of this, measures can be taken to ease the problems faced by younger students by implementing specific strategies or modifying the teaching methods. However, because dyscalculia is not as well-known as other learning disorders, it is often not recognized nor addressed.
(Source: TYPES OF DYSLEXIA by Understanding Learning Disabilities: http://www.understanding-learning-disabilities.com/types-of-dyslexia.html---Please see active link to follow.)

Our purpose here is not only to inform our readers about the various types of dyslexia but also to provide helpful resources to aid in addressing the unique learning needs of those affected. We have gathered together here some of the links we believe might be most beneficial. We hope you will agree and use them to help a struggling dyslexic child, teen or adult.

BEST Resources for the Dyslexias

Top 10 Resources on Dyslexia
by Reading Rockets via LDOnline.com
Resources and links to help you learn about dyslexia and how to help a reader challenged with its symptoms.
http://www.ldonline.org/article/42331/

TYPES OF DYSLEXIA
by Understanding Learning Disabilities
There are several types of dyslexia (or learning disabilities) that can affect the child's ability to spell as well as read. The types are identified by the nature of the problem within the central nervous system or brain.
http://www.understanding-learning-disabilities.com/types-of-dyslexia.html

Accommodating Students With Dyslexia
by Cecil Mercer, EdD via NCLD (National Center for Learning Disabilities)
Teaching students with dyslexia across settings is challenging. Listed here are some accommodations that general education and special education teachers can use in a classroom of heterogeneous learners.
http://ncld.org/students-disabilities/ld-education-teachers/accommodating-students-dyslexia

Types of Accommodations(for Dyslexia)
from Davis Dyslexia
Different kinds of accommodations that can be given to dyslexic students studying and taking exams?
http://faq.dyslexia.com/cgi-bin/faq_wiki.pl?Types_Of_Accommodations

For more information on customizable reading tools for various reading problems, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Monday, September 8, 2014

Helpful Literacy Tools & Resources for Autism

This past weekend, we had the great privilege of attending the 2014 World U.S. Asperger and Autism Association Conference in Kansas City, MO. What an outstanding event it was with 30 of the top autism speakers and experts in the world---all in one place!

Many parents, educators, occupational therapists and numerous other medical professionals from the Midwest and around the globe came to this one metropolitan center to hear these excellent speakers and authorities in order to return home better informed, re-energized and ready to help even more children and adults on the autism spectrum. The attendees were very dedicated individuals with exceptional patience and a unique commitment to teach and care for the growing numbers of individuals on the autism spectrum.

For this reason, we are honoring these special autism care givers with an article dedicated just to them. For the parents who have spent far too many sleepless nights caring for a sensory-challenged child with ASD, for the teachers who work tirelessly each day to help children with autism read with more success, for the medical professionals who treat these children, teens and adults and many other special care givers, we salute you ALL.

In their honor, we have written this article that includes many literacy tools and resources to help with the challenging work they do each day. We hope at least one item on the list here will help even in a small way to lighten their workload just a bit---if only for a little while.

Literacy Tools & Resources for Autism

Literacy Resources for Children on the Autism Spectrum
Compiled by Wendy J. Schroder, M.Ed.
A listing of books, curricula and programs, websites, software and iPad applications that can be used to promote literacy among children on the autism spectrum. This extensive listing can help practitioners or family members involved in teaching reading and enhancing comprehension.
http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/styles/iidc/defiles/IRCA/Literacy11final.pdf

The Virtues of the “Whisper Phone” for Independent Reading
Posted by Colleen Cadieux
Take a look at the “whisper phone” as an important tool for early and struggling readers. If you haven’t seen one yet, you should check out the simple instructions below, for making your own. The whisper phone supports the acquisition of phonemic awareness by allowing the student to hear his/her own voice while reading. Students are also able to focus on blending, proper sound use, and fluency in the text.
http://info.marygrove.edu/MATblog/bid/79584/The-Virtues-of-the-Whisper-Phone-for-Independent-Reading

Adapting Books (for Children on the Autism Spectrum)
It is important for children with autism to have early exposure to literacy (reading and writing) activities. It can be beneficial to use books that are interactive. For best results books should be about something your child is interested in and can relate to. If the child is interested, he will be motivated. Repetition is key; reading the books over and over again reinforces learning. The activities presented here can help children to develop their communication abilities. Also,there are examples of how interactive literacy activities can be created.
https://sites.google.com/site/speaking4autism/tools-for-literacy/adapting-books

Positively Autism---Teaching Literacy to the Student with Autism
This is a web page with a short list of links to literacy resources for autism.
http://www.positivelyautism.com/volume3_issue05/

Sites for Autistic Support Teachers
This large list of educational links for ASD educators includes literacy as well as some math resources.
http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/as/asteachersites.html

The Reading Focus Cards
From Brennan Innovators, LLC
Sensory-appealing and customizable reading tools and solutions for challenged readers of all ages.
www.FocusandRead.com/products

APP---Overlays! (for OS X 10.8 or later---Price: $6.99)
Created by Abbie Gonzalez
Use to help with reading or sometimes to help following large tables and lists of data. Battle the wall of text, eyestrain and distractions with this on screen overlay to help you keep your place!
- Keep your place in huge walls of text, tables and lists.
- Pick the color, height and transparency that helps you read better.
- Use a lightly colored overlay or a completely solid line to help you keep focused. Pick what works for you!
- Easily access preferences from the menu bar icon.
- Works in full screen applications, and even over virtual machines.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/overlays!/id868499627?mt=12

For more information on customizable reading tools for all kinds of learners, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Pixabay at http://pixabay.com/en/puzzle-puzzle-piece-puzzles-75658/ and
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Get & Keep Students Engaged ALL Year Long!

Let's face it. Today, it can be more challenging than ever to capture the attention or interest of students AND KEEP it in order to successfully engage them in meaningful learning. The number of distractions with which we are competing for their attention is daunting. As educators, we can spend a significant number of hours preparing lessons only to find that they fall short of getting the student attention we expected.

The stimulating videos and online resources our children and students are drawn to in their free time grab their interest and hold it. Their favorite music selections are loaded onto mp3 players or other tech devices that play almost constantly. A student's world is filled with so many kinds of sensory stimuli. In fact, some educational experts believe that this nearly constant need for visual and auditory stimulation may actually be contributing to some of the attention deficiencies we see in so many students today.

So, today, it is a fairly tall order for nearly every educator---even the very skilled, master teachers---to get and KEEP students truly engaged in significant learning. However, we have a more positive view of the current situation. You know the old adage, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" Although we would not recommend you "friending" your students to "join 'em", we do think an excellent approach for teachers to take is to appeal to what students VALUE in order to help students learn.

First of all, if students see that you truly RESPECT them and what they CARE about, they will be much more malleable and willing to take the needed steps to becoming involved in their own learning. On one recent school day, a teacher emptied her purse of a soft apple, a Power Bar and some Dum Dums when she knew that a "reluctant-to-learn" high school student in her class was hungry. He immediately brightened and opened his notebook. He knew through this teacher's actions (not words) that she genuinely cared about him and his hunger. When this happens, students soften and are much more willing to care more, too---about learning.

Learning about WHAT students VALUE is also a very important component when laying the groundwork for true student engagement. You just might need to ask some good questions of your students. These may not be the usual history or biology questions but inquiries into what they like AND what they don't like. Their opinions and insights should be of value to an "engaged educator"---truly! Of course, to allow students to be completely candid, these questions should be answered by them in writing. Here is a list of questions to consider asking your students as the new school year begins:

1. Describe your last [science/math/English] class.
2. What did you like best about the class?
3. What made the best class you have ever taken "the best"?
4. What made "the worst class" the worst?
5. What do you do when you are not in school?
6. What is important to you?
7. What do you expect of me, the teacher?
8. What would you like me to know about you that I haven't asked?
(Source: To Help Students Learn, Appeal to What They Value by Heidi A. Olinger---See link to follow.)

If you are a homeschooling parent, you most likely know many of the answers your child will provide for these questions. If so, waste no time in utilizing what you already know so well about your child. Incorporate the interests of your child in presenting new selections to read for a specific content area. Allow her to choose from an array of selections rather than just assign a text you "think" she will like.

Pay close attention to how your children or students learn best. What is the learning style of each child? Arrange classroom furniture or the homeschooling room to address the individual styles that are present. Be sure to include "listening stations" with headphones for auditory learners, floor pillows and lower lighting areas for tactile learners or those students who have sensory needs. We could go on here, but as educators, you most likely know how to create specific learning centers in your room to meet these learning style needs.

In addition, there are many other things you can do to promote much more effective student engagement in the learning space you have. To help you, we have included what we believe are some excellent resources for this purpose from Edutopia.com. It will be helpful to you to take a good look at these resources and consider implementing some of them from the very beginning of the new school term in order for them to be most successful. In that way, you will have a very good chance of GETTING and KEEPING the students truly ENGAGED in learning---ALL year long!

Sources & Resources to Get Students Engaged---NOW & All Year Long!

Student Engagement: Resource Roundup
from Edutopia.com
Keeping students captivated and ready to learn throughout the year is no small task. Here's a list of articles, videos, links, and other resources that offer strategies and advice for keeping them engaged in learning.
Resources Grouped by Topic:
-Tips and Strategies for Keeping Students Engaged
-Engagement Through Projects
-Engagement Through Technology
-Engagement Through Social and Emotional Learning
-Additional Resources on the Web
http://www.edutopia.org/article/student-engagement-resource-roundup#graph1

To Help Students Learn, Appeal to What They Value
by Heidi A. Olinger & Edutopia.com
The non-academic passions, social intrigues and fads we would dismiss as teachers are among the things students value and, ironically, are a springboard for learning. What are your ideas for uncovering and working with students' values? This article presents some great ways to discover what those student values really are.
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/appeal-to-what-students-value-heidi-olinger

Ten Simple Strategies for Re-engaging Students
by Andrew Marcinek & Edutopia.com (Updated January 2014)
Find the best way to connect with students and realize that not all connections will suit every student. Connections can be made through a variety of ways. Set a course for learning and be prepared for rough seas. Create a practical alternative or adaptation that blends elements of what we have been doing and what we would like to do better. The connections will follow.
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/reengaging-students-andrew-marcinek

For more information on customizable reading tools for all kinds of learners, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Reading Problems? Teacher Consultation Can Help Your Child!

You've done all you can to prepare your child for this new school year. Clothes for school have been carefully selected and purchased. The right school supplies have been bought and properly tucked away in your child's backpack. All the appropriate forms have been completed with care and returned to school. Is there anything else that you should consider as this new school year is getting underway?

These first weeks of school will be very important for your child's overall academic success. Teachers have been preparing for many weeks, even months, to create the best classroom with the most positive learning environment for your child and his classmates. You can support your child's teacher in her efforts by committing to communicate effectively with her from the very beginning of the year.

First of all, we are certainly not advocating that you become what is known as a helicopter parent, hovering over your child and over-communicating with his teacher. However, you can do much to establish a positive parent-teacher relationship by using the teacher's or school's preferred method of communication and providing important input about your child from the start.

Even though your child's school records should contain a complete history of his academic progress in the school, there may be important input you can provide to assist both the teacher AND your child for the rest of the year. If your son has a new diagnosis of a reading issue, vision problem, behavior challenge, learning difference or disability, mentioning this now to the teacher will be most helpful. This information can positively affect seating, learning style support and other important aspects of your child's learning experience. If you have found specific reading, learning or study strategies at home to be more beneficial to your child, share these with the teacher---respectfully and without a demanding tone or attitude. By doing this, you will be communicating to the teacher that you are a supportive assistant, a partner in her efforts to educate your child. This can be significant in helping to establish a very positive parent-teacher relationship that will only further benefit your child's academic progress.

The very same is true for educators. Consider sending parents a gentle invitation to inform you of any new diagnoses of a reading problem, a learning challenge or recent behavior changes. Many times, parents are reluctant to discuss such topics unless requested to do so, especially at the beginning of a new school term. Though it is early, if you have already discovered specific learning or study strategies in the classroom to be more beneficial to a particular student, please share these strategies with the parents---respectfully and with a tone suggesting you want to help rather than dictate. In doing so, you will be communicating to parents that you are a supportive assistant, a partner in their efforts to help and educate their child. This mutual effort and respectful attitude will definitely go a long way in helping establish a positive parent-teacher relationship further benefiting your child's academic progress.

This week, we have collected quite a few resources to help both parents AND teachers experience more positive outcomes when communicating with one another---especially from the very beginning of a new school year. So, please take a look at the tips, strategies and downloadable resources we have gathered to help you open the way to a great dialog with your child's teacher or your students' parents. As we all know, these positive outcomes will affect your children and students in a very good way---all year long and beyond!

Parents' Resources to Help You Talk More Effectively with the Teacher

Parenting Children with Dyslexia: Support the Teacher's Goals
by Abigail Marshall & Netplaces.com
Helpful advice for parents is offered here in how to effectively and respectfully talk to your child's teacher about his/her reading challenges.
http://www.netplaces.com/parenting-kids-with-dyslexia/working-with-your-childs-teacher/support-the-teachers-goals.htm

How to Help: Talk with Teachers to Resolve Problems -- Helping Your Child With Homework
from the US Department of Education
Homework problems often can be avoided when families and caregivers value, monitor and guide their children's work on assignments. Sometimes, however, helping in these ways is not enough. If you have problems, here are some suggestions for how to deal with them.
http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/homework/part8.html

Talk with Your Child's Teacher
by ColorĂ­n Colorado
There are many reasons parents may be reluctant to talk to teachers. The questions and answers included here, however, can help you get the most out of talking to your child's teacher or with other school staff members. This is also an excellent resource for parents of ELL or ELS students.
http://www.colorincolorado.org/families/school/whynottalk/

What Parents Need to Know About Dyslexia (Reading Disability)
by Sheryl M. Handler, M.D.
Many parents become concerned when they notice that their child is struggling to remember letters, words, or how to read and spell. Parents often experience additional frustration because schools may not identify the problem early or provide extra help to improve it. This article is designed to provide a general understanding of reading disability, the terminology, basic strategies, resources and support to help parents of children with dyslexia.
http://www.aapos.org/resources/learning_disabilities_/

Working with Teachers and Schools -- Helping Your Child Succeed in School
from the US Department of Education
Many teachers say that they don't often receive information from parents about problems at home. Many parents say that they don't know what the school expects from their children—-or from them. Sharing information is essential and both teachers and parents are responsible for making it happen. The questions and answers here can help you to get the most out of talking to your child's teacher or with other school staff members.
http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/succeed/part8.html

Teachers' Resources to Help You Talk More Effectively with Parents

Planning for Parent Conferences
from Scholastic Books
Helpful resources are provided here for teachers, including sample forms, tips on creating a warm atmosphere, how to communicate tactfully and more.
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/planning-parent-conferences

Parent-Teacher Conference Resources
Make your next parent-teacher conference a success with these planning suggestions, preparation advice, and conference forms. Use the great tips presented here for building positive relationships with parents to increase their involvement and improve communication.
https://www.teachervision.com/teacher-parent-conferences/resource/3713.html

Other Helpful Resources for Parents & Teachers

FREE Teacher Consultation about Reading Challenges
A FREE 15-minute phone conference with a certified K-12 educator is available from Brennan Innovators. Tips, strategies and tools can be recommended specifically to help your child, a student or you with reading issues. Just follow this link to access the correct phone number for the free conference:
http://www.focusandread.com/

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA)
This global organization offers many resources to parents, teachers and other adults on the tipic of dyslexia. It also has branches in cities across the U.S. Contact your local branch of the IDA through this link.
http://www.interdys.org

Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners
Orton and Gillingham were pioneering psychologists who first diagnosed, studied and developed treatment for dyslexia in the early 20th century. Orton-Gillingham refers to a particular approach to teaching children with dyslexia and reading difficulties related to decoding.
http://www.ortonacademy.org/

ISER
The best referrals come from those you know best. Your child's school should have a learning specialist, reading specialist or special education teacher who may have a list of tutors or programs to recommend for extra assistance for a learning challenge. Other parents whose children have struggled in reading are also an excellent source of first-hand referrals. For an article on how to choose a special-needs learning specialist.
http://www.iser.com/learning-specialist.html

For more information on customizable reading tools for various reading problems, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dyslexia Facts, Resources & Apps for This Back-to-School Season

With the new school year beginning for most students this month, we have paid particular attention to the visitors to our blog and the information they are currently seeking. You may be interested to know that 6 out of 10 searches on our Help for Struggling Readers blog currently involve the topic of dyslexia. During the past week when many schools began the new year, we noted that the top search keywords and phrases were devices to help with dyslexia, dyslexia testing, reading tools for dyslexia and apps for dysgraphia.

This is one reason why we thought it would be a good idea to present a few facts about dyslexia that could help many of the parents and students seeking assistance with dyslexia. We also are providing a few new resources to help as well. We hope that with this information and these ready-to-go resources at your fingertips, you or someone you know will experience a much more SUCCESSFUL back-to-school season!

Happy Reading, everyone!

Dyslexia Facts

1. If young students with dyslexia receive the needed resources and support from K-3 grade, those same students will experience much more reading and academic success in later years.

2. Students with dyslexia who receive this support after grade 3 will have a more significant challenge learning to read.

3. Many children and adults with dyslexia are particularly sensitive to light or contrast on a page, so helpful reading tools may alleviate eyestrain and make reading less cumbersome for some students.

4. Dyslexic students tend to be especially adept at understanding three-dimensional objects, spatial reasoning, and things they can see in pictures.

5. Persons with dyslexia have problems with symbols, so their math challenges often stem from difficulty with the symbolic representation of math concepts.

6. Many dyslexic students also have difficulty thinking with words, so rote memory of math sums (such as multiplication tables) can be particularly difficult.

7. Because students with dyslexia are "big picture" thinkers, they often have trouble with sequential, step-by-step logic or ordering (which is critical when following a series of steps such as learning to do long division, multiplication, etc.)

8. Researchers who have studied identical twins have found that where one twin is dyslexic, the other will have dyslexia about 55 to 70 percent of the time, depending on the type of dyslexia. This research shows that there is a strong genetic influence, but that environment and life experiences also play a role in the development of symptoms.

9. There is a wide range of careers and professions that can enable a dyslexic to be successful. A few examples are:

-Science/research
-Psychology
-Teaching
-Business/management/marketing/sales
-Interior design/garden & landscape design
-Culinary arts
-Woodworking/carpentry
-Art/painting/sculpting/acting/graphic art
-Architecture/design
-Mechanics/engineering
-Photography/music
-Athletics
-Computing/software design/electronics

10. "When we look at the gift (of dyslexia) as well as the disability we promote a wider understanding of dyslexia, more tolerance, and development of better educational and workplace tools for enable dyslexic people to learn and work more effectively." (Source: Abigail Marshall, DDAI---http://www.dyslexia.com/qagift.htm#981026)

Dyslexia Resources

Methods & Therapies to Help with Dyslexia
from Davis Dyslexia Association International
http://www.dyslexia.com/library/dyslexia_methods.htm

Horatio Humble Beats the Big D
by Margot Finke
A book about dyslexia for young readers ages 5-10 years.
Synopsis: When a young student named Horatio has difficulty reading, his parents meet with the teacher to discover why. Horatio hears the words Dyslexia and Special Ed. "No way! Kids will think I'm dumb." However, after working with the teacher, things begin to look much brighter for Horatio. This is an excellent book for children with dyslexia.
http://www.amazon.com/Horatio-Humble-Beats-Big-D/dp/1616331011

Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles
from Cut the Knot
Hands-on math resources for dyscalculia & other math challenges
http://www.cut-the-knot.org/

Links to FREE Software for Dyslexia
from Davis Dyslexia Association International
The programs on this page are available via the internet, without charge for the initial download.
http://www.dyslexia.com/helpread.htm

Reading Made Simple-Book 1: Sounding Out Words-2nd Edition
Written by Dyslexics for Dyslexics - A Parent/Teacher Guide [Kindle Edition] (Price: $0.99) by Russell Van Brocklen, Aliza Sager, Zack Erickson-Grabowski
This book describes a scientifically-based writing program. It is provided for parents, educators and tutors to learn how to teach dyslexics how to read a basic sentence simply and easily.
http://www.amazon.com/Dyslexia-Solutions-Reading-Made-Simple-ebook/dp/B00KKSLKU6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1402519450&sr=8-2&keywords=russell+van+brocklen

FREE Online Test for Dyslexia
from Davis Dyslexia Association International
This link offers a free on-line questionnaire that will provide a short learning profile and help determine the level and severity of dyslexia symptoms. The test takes about 5 minutes to complete and is confidential. This website does not require submission of any personal identifying information.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this online assessment is not a substitute for a formal diagnosis. It is intended primarily for educational purposes, to help individuals, parents and teachers better understand their learning profile and to learn more about dyslexia.
http://www.testdyslexia.com/

The Positive Aspects of Having Dyslexia
from Happy Dyslexic
Special characteristics, talents and abilities of dyslexics enable them to be successful in a wide range of careers. Lists of each are provided here.
http://www.happydyslexic.com/node/6

Dyslexia Solutions: Navigating to the Best Solution
from DyslexiaConsultants.com
Learn what you can do to overcome dyslexia and many of the types of learning disabilities children face today.
http://www.dyslexiaconsultants.com/

Dyslegia: A Legislative Information Site
This site is maintained by Davis Dyslexia Association International to report and track pending dyslexia legislation in the United States.
http://www.dyslegia.com/

Dyslexia Apps

APP: Dyslexia |Your News Read Aloud (FREE)
by Volacent---Limited
(For Android)
This app reads aloud any news, magazines and blogs websites of your choice and is perfect for persons with dyslexia. Start listening to CNN, FOX news, USA TODAY and many more. Provides the best clear & natural reading voice experience. Real time news articles are read aloud for you while driving your car, jogging, cooking or even drifting to sleep.
Note: After download you will be asked to upgrade.
http://www.appszoom.com/android_applications/news_and_magazines/dyslexia-your-news-read-aloud_fwndq_download.html

APP: Dyslexia and Dysgraphia (Price: $4.99)
by Katherine Johnson
(For iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad & iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.)
Do you or someone you know have a hard time reading, especially with reversing letters and numbers at an older age? Do you have poor handwriting? Do you have a hard time getting your thoughts down on paper? This app contains exercises that, if done daily for at least 30 days, have helped many people overcome just that!
https://itunes.apple.com/app/dyslexia-and-dysgraphia/id570607504?mt=8

APPS: List of Apps for Dyslexia (Price: FREE & Various prices)
from DyslexiaHelp and the University of Michigan
(For iOS and Android devices)
Frequently updated online list of apps to help with dyslexia challenges
http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/tools/apps

For more information on customizable reading tools for dyslexia, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Saturday, August 9, 2014

ADHD? How to GET & STAY Organized for the New School Year

School supplies bought? Check. Backpack purchased? Check? Back-to-school clothes ready? Check. Physical completed? Check. Organizational strategies in place? Not sure? We hope you and your child can say check to ALL of these questions now that most students will be returning to school in a few days. However, if your child is challenged with ADHD, the last question above here just might be the most important one---organizational issues.

Children and teens with even mild symptoms of ADHD will often struggle with organizing their time, their possessions and their activities. These students do need the help of parents and teachers who can provide the needed structure, tips and strategies to get and stay organized for the entire school year. This might involve helping a child or student create or access task lists, homework forms with check boxes, a book for assignments and other tools. However, even more parental or teacher assistance may be required if a student is severely affected by ADHD.

This week, we have created our own list of organizational strategies and tips to help your child or student with mild to severe ADHD prepare well for the new school year. In addition, we are also providing our readers with two additional lists that include organizational resources and apps for ADHD (to follow). We hope that once again, with these lists to assist, you will be able to effectively help a child or teen with ADHD get and stay organized for the entire school year!

Have a GREAT school year---and Happy Reading, too!

BEST ADHD Tips to GET & STAY Organized for the School Year

1. First and foremost, the key to helping children stay organized is frequent communication between teachers and parents. Students with ADHD need teachers and parents to provide support and teach them essential life skills, even if medication has been included in the management of the child's ADHD symptoms. Ask your child's teacher about his or her preferred method of communication. Then, respectfully communicate your child's needs and any pertinent updates when appropriate via this preferred method. Keep the lines of communication open and positive. This will be a critical contribution to your child's classroom success.

2. Secondly, your child will need basic supplies to GET organized. These must include a backpack (or equivalent), pencils, pens, folders, notebooks, binders, loose-leaf paper, highlighters, spare lead if you use a mechanical pencil, etc. Most of the time, teachers will provide a list of supplies needed at the start of the year. However, be sure to include a few things like a pencil and some paper for the first day if it is unclear exactly what to bring.

3. Thirdly, a binder with several, colored pocket pages can be most helpful, especially for a student with attention challenges who has difficulty sorting papers according to content or subjects. Color-code these with books and supplies by subject. This binder system (or large folder with 6-8 differently colored pocket pages) can help prevent a student from "stuffing" papers just anywhere (and increasing the chances of loss). Using a black marker, label each pocket page with the appropriate subject or class name. Proper sorting is an important step to organizing student work.

4. Always store and keep ALL supplies in the backpack to be ready for any assignment or learning activity---whether at home or at school.

5. PLACE the prepared backpack in the SAME location EACH morning before leaving for school. This might be on a particular doorknob or chair NEAR the door exited each day. Being ready for every school day means more than filling the backpack with the right tools. It is most important to ensure that the needed tools will always come WITH the student to the classroom---EVERYDAY.

6. Always use a daily planner or agenda to keep track of assignments. Some schools provide these automatically while others will not. If your school does not, consider it a priority to purchase one as soon as possible, preferably before the first day of school.

7. Use graphic organizers to help when trying to sort out information AND remember it. They help to visually categorize facts, dates, events, etc. so the facts are easier to understand, organize AND remember. These tools can be especially beneficial for visual learners. (See ADHD Resources to follow here.)

8. Set aside a quiet place at home for study and homework assignments. This might be located in the student's bedroom or family room. Be sure to include a good chair and table surface to help the student maintain good posture and sustained comfort. Regardless of the area chosen, the TV and other distractions should not be located in that same space or even nearby.

9. Plan to clean out the backpack and all folders or pocket pages every month (preferably on the same day of the month). Sometimes, homerooms will set aside a homework or study hall time, and you can clean out your binder during this time. Keep important papers in a separate binder or folder at home. Recycle any used or unneeded materials appropriately.

BEST ADHD Resources to Get & Stay Organized for the School Year

1. Create your own FREE customized graphic organizers with these online resources:

a. UDL Tech Tool Kit: Offers both low-tech and high-tech graphic organizers
http://udltechtoolkit.wikispaces.com/Graphic+organizers

b. Creately Templates Web-based software for creating interactive and colorful graphic organizers - Venn Diagram, Storyboard, Mind Map, Cycle Diagram, Fishbone Diagram, KWL Chart, T Chart, Y Chart and more.
http://creately.com/Free-K12-Education-Templates

c. 38 Examples of Graphic Organizers from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
A FREE service for students
http://webtoolboxes.wikispaces.com/Graphic+Organizers

2. FREE Back-to-School Printables (for Teachers & Grades Pre-K to 12)
These classroom management reproducibles, student worksheets, and activities will help you get organized for the school year.
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/free-back-school-printables

3. What Parents Can Do to Help Their Children Get Organized
by Sandra F. Rief, M.A. and from Pearson Education
Important topics in this article include how to organize your child's work space & materials, helping with time management & awareness as well as other ways parents can help.
http://life.familyeducation.com/parenting/organization/29675.html

4. Back-to-School-2013: Helpful ADHD Resources from Help for Struggling Readers
ADHD Resources for Back-to-School included here. Use this guide to help your child or students get organized for the new school year.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2013/07/back-to-school-2013-helpful-adhd.html

BEST Organizational Apps for ADHD

1. iRewardChart: Parents Reward Tracker Behavior Chore Chart (FREE)
by Gotclues, Inc.
iRewardChart makes it easy to reward your children for good behavior and keep them motivated in an organized fashion and on a consistent basis. Winner of "Best Parenting App" three years in a row 2010, 2011 and 2012 (2nd), via BestAppEver.com
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/irewardchart-parents-reward/id341306389?mt=8

2. Evernote (FREE) (2014 version)
Save your ideas, things you hear, things you see and things you like. This application works with nearly every computer, phone and mobile device available today. Evernote makes remembering easy!
VIDEO: https://evernote.com/video/
Download for Windows: https://evernote.com/evernote/
Download for Mac: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/evernote/id406056744?mt=12

3. Google Calendar (FREE) (for Android---Updated April 24, 2014)
The Calendar app displays events from each of your Google Accounts that synchronizes with your Android device. You can also:
-Create, edit and delete events
-View all your calendars at the same time, including non-Google calendars
-Quickly email all event guests from a notification with a customizable message.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.calendar&hl=en

4. Things 2 (from $9.99 to $49.99) (for Mac, iPhone and iPad)
by Cultured Code GmbH & Co. KG
This is a task-management tool that's easy to use, yet has all the power when you need it. Projects, tags, repeat tasks – will all be at your fingertips. No matter what device you're on, Things Cloud keeps your to-dos updated across them all - automatically.
http://culturedcode.com/

5. ADHD Organizer ($1.99) (for iPhone & iPad)
by Lexington Creative
The ultimate tool to help you lead a better life with ADD/ADHD! This app lets you set goals and record your success in achieving them. It also lets you find out what your main weaknesses are. This app can help you lead a better life with ADD or ADHD.
http://appfinder.lisisoft.com/app/adhd-organizer.html

Sources:
Helping ADHD Students Get Organized for School from ADDitude Editors
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/5943.html

Back-to-School Checklist: 8 To-Do Items for ADHD Students by Jennifer Jones, Ph.D.
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/6106-4.html

For more information on customizable reading tools for better focus & attention, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Back-to-School Reading Resources for ADHD

During the past week, we were very privileged to once again participate as educators in an excellent gifted education program called College for Kids. This program at the St. Louis Community College-Meramec was established 32 years ago with the inspiration and support of dedicated and committed parents of gifted children in the Greater St. Louis Area.

The courses in the College for Kids program are offered twice each year for gifted and talented elementary and middle school youth who have completed kindergarten through eighth grade. These courses, offered in the spring and summer, are designed to further challenge and advance gifted students' skills.

The students we worked with in the program this week were outstanding and most enjoyable to teach! We provided 2 classes each of ¡Hola, Mis Amigos!--Exploratory Spanish and Entrepreneurship. We certainly appreciated the enthusiasm and motivation demonstrated by these talented students. It was a GREAT week for ALL of us!

At the same time, we could not help but notice that even in this gifted population, there were more than a few students who also had additional needs. In our work, we have found that many parents and even teachers are not always aware that giftedness AND additional needs can sometimes co-exist for some students (called twice-exceptional). Very often, these needs involve attention and concentration issues for gifted children and teens. Many of their young minds require almost constant stimulation, which can in itself feed the ADHD they already may have.

For this reason and because of our experiences this past week, we thought it would be beneficial to our readers to provide a resource list for ADHD reading tips, especially during this back-to-school season. Last week's article was entitled Let's Deal with Distractions---ADHD Strategies for Home & School, which included a rather extensive list of general home and school resources for ADHD.

This week, we continue the preparation for school with our ADHD resource list for reading with more attention and concentration. It is important to note that these resources can be helpful not only to gifted children but to ALL children with focusing and attention issues. We hope the list and its "goodies" will provide you with the needed resources to help a child you know with the reading challenges of ADHD.

Helpful Reading Resources for ADHD

How to Improve Reading Skills in Children with ADHD or Learning Disabilities
by Matthew Cruger, Ph.D. and ADDitude Magazine
Guaranteed tips for improving reading comprehension in children with ADHD or learning disabilities like dyslexia.
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/983.html

Many ADHD Kids Also Have Reading Problems
by Denise Mann, WebMD Health News
About half of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may experience problems with reading, according to a new study in Pediatrics. It was found that 51% of boys with ADHD had reading problems, as did 46.7% of girls with ADHD. More information about this study and many reading resources for ADHD are offered here.
http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/news/20100927/many-adhd-kids-also-have-reading-problems

Print & Use Tools: Study Skills from School Famiy
FREE worksheets, lists and activities to help children (especially those with ADHD) become better organized, more motivated and more on top of school work.
http://www.schoolfamily.com/print-and-use-tools/category/77-study-skills

5 Back To School Tips for Your ADD or ADHD Child
by Dr. Robert Myers, Child Psychologist
Here are some back-to-school tips to make things seem a lot easier and smoother for parents and kids.
http://www.empoweringparents.com/5-back-to-school-tips-for-your-adhd-child.php

How to Teach a Child to Read With ADHD
by Karen Hollowell, eHow Contributor
Practical and easy-to-follow instructions for helping a child with ADHD learn to read more effectively.
http://www.ehow.com/how_6461861_teach-child-read-adhd.html

ADD/ADHD Resources for Teachers from TeacherVision
Articles and many FREE resources to help educators manage the special nature of students with ADD/ADHD.
https://www.teachervision.com/add-and-adhd/resource/5348.html

For more information on customizable reading tools for better focus & attention, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com