Tuesday, May 24, 2016

15 Helpful LD Transition Resources: From High School to Successful Employment

Part 2 & the last article in this series

In our last article, the first in this series, we presented information and resources for challenged high school students preparing for the transition to college. From study skills and test-prep resources to helpful apps and other links for high school students with LD (learning disabilities), the article entitled 25 Helpful LD Transition Resources: From High School to College provided much in the way of assistance for many teens and others considering secondary transition to college life.

This week's article is intended to help students with LD for whom employment after high school, whether full-time, part-time or a volunteer position, is a more appropriate option. It is important to remember that for a variety of reasons, the college experience is certainly not for everyone. Consider a teen's strengths as well as the challenges she may have. Keep in mind that the potential for her successful job placement will rely upon both of these considerations.

When considering and then looking for employment with your child, you need to think about what kind of job in which your child would be successful as well as the level of support he/she will need to secure and maintain a job.

There are five basic levels of employment support for individuals with learning and/or developmental disabilities:

1. Competitive Employment: A full-time or part-time job paid at market wages with no long-term support. The employer hires the individual based on his/her skillset and the needs of the business.

2. Supported Employment: A job in which the employee receives ongoing support that is funded through state developmental disabilities or vocational rehabilitation agencies. This job can be in an individual or group setting, depending on the support level needed. This type of position also meets the employer’s business needs and can still include “job carving,” where a job is created to meet the unique skillset of the individual.

3. Self-Employment: A job someone does on his own that provides an income.

4. Production Employment: A job in which employees with disabilities work at a site with other employees with disabilities and do defined tasks like collating, assembling, or packaging. This job setting provides a high level of supervision and job training.

5. Volunteer Employment: A job that someone does without pay, usually to benefit the community. Volunteer jobs can lead to paid employment by providing work experience, or they can be an end to themselves, providing the volunteer with community and purpose.

To further aid you or your teen in researching resources for employment after high school, you might consider those in the following list:

LD Transition Resources: BEFORE Successful Job Placement

Disability and Employment Community of Practice
The Disability and Employment Community of Practice is an online learning destination for public workforce system staff and partners, job seekers, community-based organizations, grantees, and the business sector, who provide services and programs to people with disabilities and/or other challenges to employment.
https://disability.workforcegps.org/
Resource Library link: https://disability.workforcegps.org/resources

Transition: School to Work
This webpage from LDonline provides answers to some frequently asked questions about transitioning from high school to job placement for teens with LD.
http://www.ldonline.org/questions/transition

Employment Services---from Easter Seals Midwest
Visit this site for information and resources related to teen transition services, career exploration and discovery, pre-vocational training, job-placement services and more in the State of Missouri.
http://www.eastersealsmidwest.org/What-We-Do/Our-Programs/Employment-Services

Get Your Child Ready for Work---from LDA (Learning Disabilities of America)
You can help your child become a satisfied and valuable employee by teaching him to develop the values and skills of a good worker, avoid the common pitfalls of youth with learning disabilities, and learn job-related skills at home. To learn more, read this article.
http://ldaamerica.org/get-your-child-ready-for-work/

Disability.gov
This is the U.S. federal government website for information on disability programs and services nationwide. The site connects people with disabilities, their families and caregivers to helpful resources on topics such as how to apply for disability benefits, find a job, get health care or pay for accessible housing. You can also find organizations in your community to help you get the support you need.
https://www.disability.gov/

Employment and Other Options---from AutismSpeaks
What will the day look like when high school ends? There are several different options for individuals with autism when it comes to what they will do when they leave the education system. Some individuals may want a structured vocational or day program, others may choose to focus on community experiences or some type of employment. These options may include sheltered employment, supported employment, or competitive employment. Other young adults with autism may want to attend college or another type of post-secondary education institution before they enter the world of employment. The downloadable PDF here will provide assistance and information needed.
https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/transition-tool-kit/employment-and-other-options
Link to FREE 12-page PDF printable: https://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/documents/transition/employment.pdf

Five Misconceptions about Job Advancement---from LDA
The basics of job advancement are similar for all people, but people with learning disabilities must particularly ensure that they assess their strengths, develop credibility, and take advantage of available leadership opportunities. The five misconceptions about job advancement can impede the process of getting promotions and advancing in careers for many people with learning disabilities. Learn more about these misconceptions in order to be more successful in landing a good job.
http://ldaamerica.org/five-misconceptions-about-job-advancement/

LD Transition Resources: AFTER Successful Job Placement

On the Job---from LDA
You’ve met the requirements! Now you have a job. When that happens, the focus of your life will change. You are no longer faced with the problems of finding a job. Now you are faced with the questions 1) how can I advance in my chosen career and 2) how can I prevent or minimize problems in the workplace which might cost me the job I worked so hard to get? These are issues for every person in the workforce and every individual with disabilities, but they are particularly challenging for an individual with attention deficit disorder or a specific learning disability. This article will provide some assistance with these issues.
http://ldaamerica.org/on-the-job/

Job Coaching and Supported Employment---from The Viscardi Center
This website and its organization, a 501(c)(3)non-profit located in Albertson, NY, provide information about a lifespan of programs and services that educate, employ and empower children and adults with disabilities.
http://www.viscardicenter.org/services/job-coaching-support-employment.html

Self-Advocacy in the Workplace: Requesting Job Accommodations---from LDA
Self-advocacy is knowing what you want, what you do well, and what you have difficulty doing. It includes knowing your legal rights, your needs, and telling that information to the appropriate person. Effective self-advocacy empowers people and gives them access to reasonable accommodations and strategies. In this article, learn some helpful tips for becoming an effective self-advocate in the workplace.
http://ldaamerica.org/self-advocacy-in-the-workplace-requesting-job-accommodations/

Other Related Resources

Find a Service for Autism (and other LD)---from AutismSpeaks
Select your state and all the listings for autism services (or other LD challenges)in that state will appear. Once you click on a category, you will be asked to enter a zip code in the state you picked. After you enter your zip code and hit the enter key, a map of all the listings of that category in the state will appear. Search for transition services, job coaching and more.
https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-guide

The Journey to Life After High School---from AbilityPath.org
A Road Map for Parents of Children with Special Needs---A FREE printable PDF document (81 pages) with helpful information and resources for both college AND employment after high school for students with special needs.
http://www.abilitypath.org/areas-of-development/transition-to-adulthood/life-after-high-school/life-after-high-school.pdf

Top 10 Skills Autistic Teens Need For Independent Living
As parents of children with autism and other special needs, we tend to be overwhelmed by all that we need to teach them. This article will help focus on the most important skills to address.
http://www.examiner.com/article/top-10-skills-autistic-teens-need-for-independent-living

When College Isn’t in the Cards---from The New York Times
This is an excellent article that provides a helpful explanation of reasons why college may not be the best path for many high school students (typical or LD).
http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/when-college-isnt-in-the-cards/?_r=0

Inexpensive Low-tech & Digital Reading Tools to Help Persons with LD on the Job
Research-based and sensory-appealing tools for MORE focus and BETTER reading comprehension/retention. The physical and digital tools provided via this site are customizable and teacher-designed yet inexpensive.
http://www.focusandread.com/products

Please READ our companion article to this post entitled 25 Helpful LD Transition Resources: From High School to College.

For information on customizable tools to improve focus and attention at work, school or at home, 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

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

25 Helpful LD Transition Resources: From High School to College

Part 1 of a two-part series

Many of our readers may be aware that it can be more than a little challenging to access the resources needed and the support required to significantly help students with LD (learning disabilities). As a student with special needs progresses through the educational system, more than a few parents discover that they must wear many hats. At times, these parents are compelled to both research and navigate various channels to locate much-needed LD resources and then advocate for their children so that they can actually access those resources. Sometimes after wearing the hats of researchers and legal professionals among others, these parents must also become persistent "warriors" who battle with school districts and their officials to provide their children with the resources deserved.

Later, when these same students with LD approach the ages of 17 or 18 and prepare to "make the leap" from high school to college or even a vocational school, the challenges become even more daunting for them and their parents. The resources available for assisting challenged students with this transitioning (as it is often called) at this level are too often limited. In addition with the current decreases in funding for these needs, those programs or resources that do exist are falling in number and/or experiencing a lower level of funding. This is particularly noteworthy when approximately 11.1% of all U.S. college undergraduates enrolled, had a disability in the 2011-2012 school year.

At a time when the number of individuals with diagnoses of ADHD, dyslexia and autism is markedly on the rise, it is a real concern for parents (as well as society) that needed resources are increasingly more difficult to locate and access for these students with additional needs. For this reason, we wanted to provide a list of LD Transition Resources for our readers, a list intended particularly for students making the transition from high school to college or a vocational school. This list is a general one that includes special needs study resources, names if colleges that accommodate students with additional needs, helpful apps for LD students at this educational level and more. We hope you will discover at least a few resources here to help a teen with learning challenges more easily make the leap from high school to to college.

Study Skills & Test-Prep Resources for Older Students w/ LD

1. Study Skills for Students
Proven tips and techniques for studying smarter... not harder. This article also includes an extensive list of links to General Study Skills Guides, Text-Taking Guides, Study Skills Resources by Subject and more!
http://www.educationcorner.com/study-skills.html

2. Organization and Study Tips and Ideas to Prepare for College
This web page provides ideas and information pertaining to organizational ideas and study tips that can be used in a college environment. Each individual students learns, processes, and retains information differently. As a result, it is recommended that students adapt the organizational and study ideas on this page to fit their own needs and strengths.
http://www.collegeacademicsupport.com/studytools.html

3. Helpful Focusing Tools for Books, Technology & More!
To study effectively---whether offline or online, it does matter which tools and strategies you use consistently.
http://www.focusandread.com/blog/post/3649064

4. 10 Helpful Steps for Test-Taking Success
Whether it's a unit test, mid-term or final exam that's looming, you'll experience much more success if you plan for it. Here are ten of the most helpful steps to improve your test-taking success (presented in a bulleted format for your convenience and ease of use).
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2015/12/10-helpful-steps-for-test-taking-success.html

5. Test-Taking Tips for Students with Dyslexia & Other Reading Challenges
Now is the time to prepare WELL for tests. Here are a few tips to share that could make your next testing session much more successful (AND even less stressful!), especially if you are a student with dyslexia or other reading challenge. We hope you will read and review these tips, making plans to follow through on their use.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2014/10/test-taking-tips-for-students-with.html

6. How to Get Your Student Accommodations on College Entry Exams (for High School Students w/ Dyslexia)
by Marianne Sunderland, author of Abundant Life blog
This is one article in a 10-article series entitled Preparing Your Student with Dyslexia for College Success. Includes information about how to get accommodations on ACT and SAT tests for students with this LD.
http://www.mariannesunderland.com/2013/10/22/dyslexia-accommodations-sat-act/

Colleges & Vocational Schools for Students w/ LD

1. The 18 Best Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
by Francesca Fulciniti, PrepScholar
http://blog.prepscholar.com/the-18-best-colleges-for-students-with-learning-disabilities

2. Colleges with Structured, Fee-For-Service Learning Disability or ADD Support Programs
A state-by-state list of colleges that provide fee-for-service programs for LD and ADHD. Special note: Remember to check admissions procedures for each college. In most cases, you must get admitted to the college through regular channels before you can apply to the special program.
http://www.ldadvisory.com/colleges_fee_for_service/

3. 10 Impressive Special College Programs for Students with Autism
http://www.bestcollegesonline.com/blog/10-impressive-special-college-programs-for-students-with-autism/

4. 15 College Programs for Kids With Learning and Attention Issues
https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/leaving-high-school/15-college-programs-for-kids-with-learning-and-attention-issues

5. Overview of College Resources for Students with Disabilities
Prospective college students with disabilities will find that many campuses are equipped with offices and services that address accessibility, accommodation, and assistive technology for a diverse range of needs. Student services offices and disability coordinators at many colleges work to make campuses inclusive environments through specialized advocacy, support & academic services.
http://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/disabled-students/


6. Online and Local Vocational Schools Locator Tool
This online tool can help you locate trade schools and vocational programs. Please contact those considered for special needs or LD accommodations and provisions. An online degree may also be an option for you. Online learning may be great for people who have busy lives. Many online students have children, demanding jobs, or both. If this sounds like you, it's possible that studying at an online trade school or vocational school may be right for you.
http://www.educationconnection.com/landingpages/vocational-generic/?trackid=58468742-d861-4e89-b09c-98fad73db000&key=go_vocational+school&v=google&a=mscansaroli.mobile%40gmail.com&c=vocational-new&cat=vocational+school&mt=search&ad=53866617177&est=vocational%20school&emt=p&device=c&aid=ec_google_degree-vocational_ads_desktop&mkwid=[distribution][uniq_id]_dc&pcrid=[creative_id]&pkw=[keyword_text]&pmt=[matchtype]&gclid=CPH3ksyj2swCFdM2gQodLMYAjw

Apps & Other Assistive Technologies for Students w/ LD

1. iPad Apps for Students & Adults with Learning Disabilities, ADHD & Autism Spectrum Disorders
This PDF file provides a list of all kinds of iPad apps to help older students and adults with LD. The list includes timer apps, life-skills apps, file-sharing apps, handwriting apps, math apps and more for use both in and outside the classroom (prices and direct links also included).
https://www.ldas.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ldapps.pdf

2. Low-tech & High-tech Reading Tools to Help Students & Adults with LD
Research-based and sensory-appealing tools for MORE focus and BETTER reading comprehension/retention. The physical and digital tools provided via this site are customizable and teacher-designed yet inexpensive.
http://www.focusandread.com/products

3. BEST ADHD Apps for Better Focus
List of PC, Mac, iPhone & Android apps (with links) that help promote more focus & attention for students with these challenges.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2015/04/best-adhd-apps-for-better-focus.html

4. Reading & Spelling Programs for Students with Dyslexia
from DyslexiaHelp at the University of Michigan
The following is a list of some programs that have been developed for struggling readers and writers. Some were created specifically for dyslexia, like Orton-Gillingham.
http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/tools/reading-programs

5. Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA)
CATEA is an established interdisciplinary research and design center devoted to applications of technology to alleviate problems of human need, providing service, research and education under the auspices of a world-class academic institution. Multiple Web resources, teleconferencing and new media production allow Center staff to provide technical assistance and information dissemination across the globe.
http://www.catea.org/

6. Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA)
RESNA is an interdisciplinary association of people with a common interest in technology and disability. Their purpose is to improve the potential of people with disabilities to achieve their goals through the use of technology. They serve that purpose by promoting research, development, education, advocacy and provision of technology; and by supporting the people engaged in these activities.
http://www.resna.org/

7. Abledata
ABLEDATA provides objective information about assistive technology products and rehabilitation equipment available from domestic and international sources. Although ABLEDATA does not sell any products, they can help you locate the companies that do.
http://www.abledata.com

Other Secondary Transition Resources for Students w/ LD

1. Advice for the College Student (w/Dyslexia)
This article provides a good overview of "the system" and what students w/ dyslexia and other reading/learning challenges can expect with a secondary transition.
by Judy York, Director,Resource Office on Disabilities, Yale University
http://dyslexia.yale.edu/Stu_college.html

2. LD Transitions: High School to College
Pinterest board with a variety of resources for secondary transitioning with LD (ADHD, dyslexia, autism and other challenges)
https://www.pinterest.com/brennajn2000/ld-transitions-high-school-to-college/


3. Helpful Links from the LDadvisory.com's Blog
by Elizabeth C. Hamblet, LDT-C, M.S. Ed., M.A.T.
A collection of various links to help LD students successfully navigate the transition from high school to college.
http://www.ldadvisory.com/links/

4. Secondary Transition Resources for Students with Learning Disabilities
by Joan Azarva, Ms.ED, Conquer College with LD
Here are 60+ articles with resources to help high school students who transition to college, finding themselves facing a whole new set of challenges. Unfamiliar with the college system, they are prone to making poor judgments. Because college proceeds so rapidly (a typical semester is fifteen weeks), a few poor decisions can produce dire consequences. This significant collection of articles by a well-known college transition counselor and author should help students with LD make better decisions that result in a much more successful college experience.
http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Joan_Azarva/110963

5. Vocational and Trade Financial Aid Options
http://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/vocational-trade-school/financial-aid-scholarships/

6. Online Colleges Scholarships and Financial Aid
http://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/financial-aid/

Next week's article: LD Transition Resources: From High School to Employment---Part 2

For more information on customizable reading tools to improve focus and 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

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

LD + Gifted = Twice Exceptional: What Should We Do?

The term twice exceptional, sometimes abbreviated as 2e, was coined by Professor James J. Gallagher of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and refers to students who are both gifted and have disabilities (e.g., auditory processing weaknesses, sensorimotor integration issues, visual perceptual difficulties, spatial disorientation, dyslexia and/or attention deficits). Such students need remediation for their learning deficits and enhancement for their strengths to achieve optimal results.
(Source: Segen's Medical Dictionary)

Dr. James John Gallagher, esteemed author and Kenan Professor of Education (Emeritus) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Carrboro, North Carolina), has spent a lifetime (40 years) advocating and supporting 2e students. Dr. Gallagher states:

"...Failure to help the gifted child reach his potential is a societal tragedy, the extent of which is difficult to measure but what is surely great. How can we measure the sonata unwritten, the curative drug undiscovered, the absence of political insight? They are the difference between what we are and what we could be as a society."
(Source: Dr. James J. Gallagher, author of Teaching the Gifted Child)

Twice-exceptional children are intellectually gifted children challenged with special needs (such as ADHD, LD, autism, etc.) These children have a difficult time in our education system because their giftedness can actually mask their special needs. In other words, their special needs hide their giftedness. Because of this, they are very often labeled as lazy, unmotivated, not engaged and/or not trying. Many people, including even some educators, do not realize that a child can be both gifted and learning disabled at the same time. Linda Silverman, Ph.D., director of the Gifted Development Center (GDC) in Westminster, Colorado, has found that fully 1/6 of the gifted children tested at the GDC have a learning difference of some type.

The challenges that face gifted children in a society currently looking for ways to cut educational spending are significant. However, when one adds the element of LD to some in this gifted population, funding that does exist is rarely adequate. Resources may be available, but not in the quantity or quality required to properly meet the needs of the many twice-exceptional students in our school districts today.

The most daunting challenge for twice-exceptional students has been best described by Marty Haugen, Ph.D. of The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Haugen tells us:

"The greatest challenge in serving students who are twice exceptional are the perceptions of most educators that giftedness and special needs are distinct, separate conditions."
(Source: Marty Haugen, Ph.D., Twice Exceptional Learners, from the 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter: http://www.fcps.edu/is/aap/pdfs/presentations/TwiceExceptionalLearners.pdf)

For these reasons and others, we have decided to provide in this article a number of twice-exceptional resources for parents, educators and other professionals who help, advocate and support this specific 2e student population. The resource links to follow here are intended to serve as a reference list for the future use of these individuals. Should our readers know of other such resources, please let us know, and we will add them to the list upon review.

Resources for Twice-Exceptional Children & Teens

Wright's Law for Twice Exceptional Children (2e)
Articles, resources and book titles to help parents and teachers advocate for twice-exceptional children and teens
http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/2e.index.htm

2e (Twice Exceptional) Books---by Hoagie's Gifted website
Book titles and direct links to resources for 2e students, their parents and teachers
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/2e_books.htm

2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter
FREE newsletter to which parents, teachers and other professionals can subscribe for information about helping 2e children reach their full potential. It is the only publication on giftedness plus learning challenges aimed at parents, teachers and others who work with 2e children. Subscribers to the 2e Newsletter receive: E2e, a free email briefing that comes twice each month and is loaded with pointers to articles and resources for the 2e community. A subscription also allows for access to the 2e Newsletter's archives. The 2e Newsletter has been published since 2003 and has covered a wide range of topics during that time, all available FREE to subscribers. Discounts for other related materials are also available via this same subscription.
http://www.2enewsletter.com/index.html

2e Resources---by the 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter
Direct links to books, schools, programs and other service providers for 2e children and teens.
http://www.2enewsletter.com/topic_resources.html

New! Fact Sheet on the Twice Exceptional Student from the International Dyslexia Assocation (IDA).
It can be a greater struggle to show that a student is eligible for services for treating dyslexia than for giftedness. A other times, proving eligibility for services for the giftedness is the challenge. (Feb 2013). A FREE downloadable PDF is available via this same link.
http://eida.org/gifted-and-dyslexic-identifying-and-instructing-the-twice-exceptional-student-fact-sheet/

Uniquely Gifted
This website provides excellent information and resources. The site was developed by Meredith Warshaw, special needs educational advisor. This site is named after the book Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of the Twice-Exceptional Student, edited by Kiesa Kay.
http://uniquelygifted.org/

Gifted? Special Needs? Both? --- How to Help Your Child
This article provides practical resources and direct links to help parents, teachers and other professional who work with and support 2e students.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2012/02/gifted-special-needs-both-how-to-help.html

BEST Dyslexia Tools, Resources & Support for Parents & Teachers-2016
It is estimated that 1 in 5 school-age children is challenged with some form of dyslexia. This learning disability appears to be more prevalent in the gifted population. Resources via this link will assist parents, teachers and others to help children and teens with dyslexia and other reading challenges.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2016/01/best-dyslexia-tools-resources-support.html

One-Stop APP Lists for Dyslexia & Other Reading/Writing Challenges
This article will provide challenged readers with lists of helpful apps (for desktops, Androids, iPads, etc.). Return again and again to this blog page to more easily access these apps that could make a significant difference for many struggling readers in all age groups.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2014/03/one-stop-app-lists-for-dyslexia-other.html

Twice Exceptional Learners from the 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter
A 23-page paper (downloadable PDF) that explains who are they who are 2e, how are they identified, their challenges and more related information.
http://www.fcps.edu/is/aap/pdfs/presentations/TwiceExceptionalLearners.pdf)

Gifted Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
by Maureen Neihart, LD online
Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) is the most common behavioral disorder of childhood, and is marked by a constellation of symptoms including immature levels of impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. The National Institutes of Health declared ADHD a "severe public health problem" in its consensus conference on ADHD in 1998. This article provides good information about the combination of giftedness AND attention challenges of ADHD.
http://www.ldonline.org/article/5631/

Advocating for Your Gifted Child with Autism---from Duke TIP
Information about how parents (and teachers) can advocate and support chidlren who are gifted and challenged with autism at the same time.
http://tip.duke.edu/node/1512

Gifted Resources---from Duke University
Though not specific to 2e students, this website provides information about states' gifted programs, associations, webinars and more for parents, teachers and other professionals.
http://tip.duke.edu/node/60

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

Images courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com and FREE Clipart from HubSpot.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

15 Resources and Tools to Help Challenged Kids Build Self-Esteem

Most parents and teachers know that a child's self-esteem level plays a significant part in learning and life success---both in and outside the classroom. When a child has reading or learning challenges, it is even more important to ensure the child develops a healthy level of self-esteem to see him through "the tough times" that can present themselves all too often.

For this article, we wanted to provide our readers with tools and resources to help parents and teachers with this sometimes-daunting task of helping a child or student with additional needs to develop a healthy level of confidence and self-esteem. Below, you may discover just the right resource, tool or combination of both to assist you in helping a child who needs just a bit more self-confidence in the classroom or simply in his day-to-day activities outside the classroom. We hope you will find that these resources will enhance the quality of life for a child or student you care about or serve.

Tools and Resources to Help Challenged Kids Build Self-Esteem

How to Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem: ADHD Parenting Advice---by Larry Silver, M.D. & ADDitude
Many kids with ADHD and learning disabilities also struggle with poor self-esteem. Here's how parents can help.
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1465.html

The Importance of Self-Esteem for Kids with Learning and Attention Issues---by Bob Cunningham & Understood
Children develop self-esteem by experiencing repeated successes. Children with learning and attention issues are at risk for low self-esteem. You can help your child develop positive self-esteem with some of the tips included in this article.
https://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/empowering-your-child/self-esteem/the-importance-of-self-esteem-for-kids-with-learning-and-attention-issues

Building Self-Esteem: The Emotional Needs of the Dyslexic Child---by Pauline Croxall & READyslexics
Good information to help both parents and teachers understand the emotional needs of a child/student with dyslexia. Provides a self-esteem inventory or checklist to assess a child’s needs as well.
http://readyslexics.com/web/about-dyslexia/building-self-esteem

Self-identity and self-esteem for teenagers with autism spectrum disorder---by Raising Children Network
During adolescence, your child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is forming an independent identity. This is a normal and important part of becoming an adult, and you can do a lot to support your child and build his self-esteem along the way.
http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/autism_spectrum_disorder_self_esteem_teenagers.html

12 Booster Activities for Kids with Down Syndrome---by Vicki Vila & Parents Magazine
These learning activities will help your child with cognitive and educational development as he grows.
http://www.parents.com/health/down-syndrome/booster-activities-for-kids-with-down-syndrome/

7 Ways to Build Confidence in Kids with Speech Disorders---by Chris O & speech buddies
Speech disorders and delays can not only effect how children are able to communicate, but also their confidence and self-esteem. When this happens, their behavior, learning, and relationships can be affected to various degrees. In fact, some researchers propose that kids with speech delays can be more at risk for things such as bullying because they can seem more reclusive. Here are a few ways, however, that parents, teachers, and caregivers can help build confidence and ease frustrations.
https://www.speechbuddy.com/blog/speech-disorders/7-ways-to-build-confidence-in-kids-with-speech-disorders/

Building Self-Esteem in Children with Special Needs---from the Special Education Guide
Self-esteem is always a concern for students with special needs. In a mainstreamed classroom, it’s not difficult to see students divide into groups. If you as a teacher are aware of this, you can take steps to ensure that the entire class is cohesive. For instance, there may not be a real peer group for the only student in class with visual impairment; therefore, you need to make certain that the entire class is a peer group. This is can be accomplished with help from this article.
http://www.specialeducationguide.com/pre-k-12/behavior-and-classroom-management/building-self-esteem-in-children-with-special-needs/

How to build your child’s self-esteem---by Randi Chapnik Myers & Today’s Parent
Simply praising your child can actually do more harm than good. Here’s a comprehensive guide to building self-esteem in children.
http://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/how-to-build-your-childs-self-esteem/

How to Build Healthy Self-Esteem in Children---by Sasha Emmons & Scholastic’s Parent & Child
In trying to boost kids’ self-esteem, we may be tearing it down. Learn how to build a healthy sense of confidence in children.
http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/praise-discipline/how-to-build-healthy-self-esteem-children

10 Ways to Help Your Child Build Self-Esteem---by Ivan Dimitrijevic & Lifehack
If you want to help your child build self-esteem, try out some of these strategies.
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-ways-help-your-child-build-self-esteem.html

7 Ways to Bring Out the Best in Special-Needs Students---by Thomas Armstrong & Education Week TEACHER
Here are seven ways that you can activate the strengths of your students with special needs, whether you run a full-inclusion classroom, a self-contained special ed classroom, or anything in between.
http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2013/04/08/fp_armstrong.html

Helping Your Child Build Self-Esteem---from family lives
Building self-esteem in children is an ongoing process and starts early. You can help to build your child’s self-esteem by letting them know how well they have done and how proud you are of them. The tips in this article can help.
http://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/primary/health-and-development/helping-your-child-build-self-esteem/

Tools to Help Build Self-Esteem in Kids with Reading & Learning Challenges

Dyslexia Toolkit---by Dr. Linda Silbert
Get your Dyslexia Toolkit here in one simple step (requires online registration). Extensive research has shown that children learn best when they are engaged and having fun. That’s why every activity in this guide is designed for children to have fun while learning to read. This is especially important for the child with dyslexia! In this FREE downloadable book from Dr. Silbert, you’ll find activities to use again and again to help improve reading skills at all levels.
http://drlindasblog.com/dyslexia-toolkit/ and http://drlindasblog.com/ty-dyslexia/

Reading Focus Cards Low-Tech & Digital Desktop Tools (Patents 7,565,759 & 8,360,779)---from Brennan Innovators, LLC
Inexpensive yet innovative tools to help improve focus, tracking, comprehension and retention when reading either physical or digital media (for Macs & PCs). This comprehensive reading tools system can make all the difference in reading success for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, stroke, brain injury and other conditions that often impact reading ability.
Physical Tools: http://www.focusandread.com/products
Digital Desktop App: http://www.focusandread.com/page/488513590

FREE Printable: CHILDREN'S SELF-ESTEEM---by Kristin Zolten, M.A. & Nicholas Long, Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Artwork by Scott Snider)
Self-esteem can be defined as how people feel about themselves. Children's levels of self-esteem are evident in their behavior and attitudes. If children feel good about themselves, these good feelings will be reflected in how they relate to friends, teachers, siblings, parents, and others. This article provides some useful facts and tips to assist adults in helping to build a child’s self-esteem.
http://www.parenting-ed.org/handouts/self%20esteem.pdf

For information on customizable low-tech & digital reading tools for challenged readers with ADHD, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info and support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

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

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ADHD Resources and Aids for Children, Teens and Adults-2016

As you may be aware, more than 6 percent of children in the U.S. are currently being treated for ADHD. However, did you know that approximately 5 percent of adults are also living with this condition?

These statistics served as a call-to-action to the team at the Public Health Corps in Walnut, CA. As a result, this same organization put together a list of valuable resources and aids for people managing ADHD each and every day. We want to thank Ms. Patricia Sarmiento of the group for submitting this excellent list to us so that we could share it with our readers for their benefit.

Resources & Aids to Help ADHD---for Children, Teens & Adults

School Success for ADHD/LD Kids: Accommodations, Homework, Focus
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd-school-success.html

Creating the Optimal Environment for a Kid with ADHD
http://www.homeadvisor.com/r/creating-the-optimal-living-environment-for-a-child-with-adhd/#.VtHLnPkrLIU

ADHD Students Learn Differently: Try these ADD Classroom Strategies
http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/learning/learning_disabilities/teacher/

Attention Deficit Disorder Handbook
http://www.ucc.vt.edu/academic_support_students/attention_deficit_disorder_handbook/index.html

College Assistance Guide for People with ADHD
http://www.usnewsuniversitydirectory.com/articles/college-assistance-for-ADHD-students_15111.aspx#.VtHL2vkrLIU

Beat ADHD Anxiety and Stress
http://www.everydayhealth.com/add-adhd/beat-adhd-anxiety-and-stress.aspx

ADHD and Addiction - What is the Risk?
https://www.discoveryplace.info/adhd-and-addiction-what-is-the-risk

7 Ways to Reduce Stress: Calming Techniques for Adults with ADHD
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/3995.html

The Calming Effects of Swimming for People with ADHD
http://www.intheswim.com/eGuides/swimming-for-people-with-ADHD

ADHD and Technology: Helping Our Children Reclaim Their Focus and Attention
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-larry-rosen/adhd-and-technology-helpi_b_6096168.html

Low-tech & High-tech ADHD Focusing Tools to Help Students & Adults of ALL Ages
http://www.focusandread.com/products

How Dogs Can Help People with ADD & ADHD
https://www.rover.com/blog/dogs-help-people-add-adhd/

Source: Ms. Patricia Sarmiento---http://publichealthcorps.org

For information on customizable low-tech & digital reading tools for challenged readers with ADHD, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info and support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

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

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Increase Reading Rate and Fluency with Engaging Literacy Games!

Many educators know that when focus, tracking and fluency improve for readers, very likely their reading rate increases, too. In addition to good comprehension and retention, these skills are essential for overall reading success.

At the same time, it is often not a good idea to conduct timed reading sessions for challenged readers who struggle with decoding, let alone increasing fluency and reading rate. Such timed reading can be demoralizing for these struggling readers, regardless of their age or grade levels. Self-esteem and any confidence these readers do have decreases significantly as a result. So, why not eliminate the "timed sessions" and substitute a much more approachable option, activities that challenged or reluctant readers might actually embrace and in which they could become truly engaged? We're talking about replacing them with reading games to build fluency and reading rates for your child or students.

In this article, we have collected a basket of links to literacy game resources to help improve these specific reading skills. We hope you will discover at least one or two of them that could provide the catalyst you need to help a challenged reader you know who could use a bit of help with her reading rate and/or fluency. If you know of other literacy games or links that should be added to the list, please let us know by adding a brief not about them in the comment box to follow this article. That way, we will all win---especially the challenged readers out there!

Enjoyable Games & Activities to Build Reading Rate & Fluency

FREE & Fun Reading Games---from Mrs. Bainbridge's Class Website
The online games via this link help practice skills necessary for reading success (phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension). Enjoy and happy gaming!
http://bainbridgeclass.com/readinggames.htm

FREE Fluency Activities---from Readquarium and Diana Dell, Ed.S.
Discover treasure through reading while building fluency and other reading skills!
http://www.gamequarium.com/readquarium/booksonline.html

READING FLUENCY ACTIVITIES---FREE PRINTABLE DOWNLOADS & RESOURCES
The reading fluency activities on this page are essential for children with dyslexia and struggling readers. These activities can be taught in the classroom (small and large group setting) and can also be implemented at home! Keep checking this page for more free printable reading fluency activities and other ways to increase reading fluency!
http://www.readingresource.net/readingfluencyactivities.html

Improving Fluency in Young Readers
Teachers need to select and facilitate the best methods of fluency instruction for their children and their classrooms. The activities listed on this web page promote the 4 components are needed for good fluency instruction: modeling fluent reading, using guided oral reading instruction, providing opportunities to practice and perform, implementing word study activities to build accuracy.
http://www.busyteacherscafe.com/literacy/fluency.html

FREE Online Reading Games---from education.com
These reading games for kids make learning to read even more fun! Play these FREE reading games online to sample the comprehensive learning games program, Brainzy. Get the fun started with these alphabet games, phonics games, sight word games, fluency, reading comprehension games and more!
http://www.education.com/games/reading/

Five Quick Games Build Reading Skills (Pre-K thru Grade 1)---from education world
These 5 small-group or whole-class offline games will engage students as they build a variety of reading skills. games use selections of reading text to build students' skills in syllabication, sentence structure, sequencing, word recognition, skimming, and visual recognition.
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/03/lp301-01.shtml

FLUENCY---from Reading A-Z
Motivate students and help them build oral fluency, accuracy, and expression with engaging passages and scripts to read aloud. Includes FREE, downloadable or projectible practice passages (Reading levels F-Z) and reader's theater scripts (K-5). Fluent readers read more quickly and smoothly, allowing them to focus on comprehension. Fluent readers gain more meaning from the text they read. Because fluency leads to comprehension, fluent readers enjoy reading more than students who devote all their energy to sounding out words.
https://www.readinga-z.com/fluency/index.html

Reading Apps, Games and Websites
You'll discover here some of the best apps, games, and websites for building kids' reading skills. Together, these resources cover reading skills from letter recognition, phonics, and sight words to vocabulary building and comprehension. So whether you're on the go or on the couch, start here, and make learning to read fun and engaging. For All ages---Preschoolers (2-4), Little Kids (5-7), Big Kids (8-9), Tweens (10-12) and Teens (13+)
https://www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/reading-apps-games-and-websites

For information on customizable low-tech & digital reading tools to improve focus, fluency & reading rate, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info and support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Images courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com and
lovetoknow Entertainment at http://boardgames.lovetoknow.com/image/50556~Game_pieces.jpg

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

BEST Dyslexia Tools, Resources & Support for Parents & Teachers-2016

Happy New Year 2016 to ALL our good readers! We're hoping that this coming year will be your BEST one yet in terms of helping the challenged readers you know and serve.

Although we provide dyslexia tools and resources to our many customers and clients throughout each year, we do make it a point to emphasize awareness of and share even more resources for dyslexia with everyone each time we begin a new year. With the incidence of dyslexia currently estimated to be 1 in 5 individuals, it is essential that parents, teachers and other adults become aware of these statistics so that they can better address the needs of the many individuals with this specific learning challenge each day of every year.

You may already know dyslexia to be a brain-based, learning difference that specifically impairs a person's ability to read. Individuals challenged with dyslexia typically read at levels significantly lower than expected even with normal or average intelligence. Although the symptoms and experiences of this learning difference can vary from one person to another, the common characteristics of dyslexia are:

-Difficulty with phonological processing (phonics understanding, phonemic awareness or manipulation of sounds)
-Challenges with spelling and/or
-Difficulty with rapid visual-verbal responding

In persons with adult-onset or acquired dyslexia, it usually occurs as a result of brain injury or in association with dementia. However, dyslexia may have been present in childhood or adolescence but was never identified until adulthood. Children who experience the symptoms listed above here should be considered candidates for dyslexia testing and evaluation by an appropriate medical professional (a behavioral or developmental optometrist, a developmental pediatrician, or other certified dyslexia specialist). Dyslexia can be inherited in some families, and recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to develop dyslexia.

To start off this New Year 2016, we wanted to provide our readers with current and helpful resources to assist parents, teachers and other adults as they work with individuals challenged with dyslexia. We hope you will find these resources of benefit to you or someone you know.

Dyslexia Resources & Support Organizations

The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity serves as a nexus for research on dyslexia, and is as well a leading source of advocacy and information to better the lives of people with dyslexia.
http://dyslexia.yale.edu/

DyslexiaHelp---University of Michigan
This website offers much information about dyslexia together with research, success stories and other related resources for parents, teachers and students.
http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/

The International Dyslexia Association
This well-known organization provides general information and support for persons with dyslexia. The following link presents an online Dyslexia Self-Assessment for Adults
http://www.interdys.org/AreYouDyslexic_AdultTest.htm
FAQ page: http://www.interdys.org/FAQ.htm

Decoding Dyslexia
Decoding Dyslexia is a network of parent-led grassroots movements across the country concerned with the limited access to educational interventions for dyslexia within the public education system. We aim to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children and inform policy-makers on best practices to identify, remediate and support students with dyslexia. For more information and to learn if your state has an affiliate branch of this organization (currently all 50 states do), please visit the link provided here.
http://www.decodingdyslexia.net/

National Center for Learning Disabilities (Section on Dyslexia)
The National Center for Learning Disabilities improves the lives of all people with learning difficulties and disabilities by empowering parents, enabling young adults, transforming schools, and creating policy and advocacy impact. The link to follow here provides general information, dyslexia symptoms/warning signs categorized by grade level and resources to help parents and teachers.
http://ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dyslexia

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy
Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.
http://wrightslaw.com/

Dyslegia: A Legislative Information Site
This website is maintained by Davis Dyslexia Association International to report and track pending legislation in the United States. This blog-based web site is a resource for sharing information about legislative initiatives, as a forum for discussion and exploration of policy issues, and as a communications tool to encourage citizen participation and involvement with their representatives in government.
http://www.dyslegia.com/

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
This website provides basic information about dyslexia as well as supportive resource links.
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dyslexia/dyslexia.htm

College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD)
Organization of developmental (behavioral) optometrists, medical professionals who can test and evaluate as well as diagnose and treat dyslexia and other vision-related reading challenges. A "locator tool" for such diagnosticians in your area is available on the website.
http://www.covd.org

Homeschooling With Dyslexia!
This excellent website and blog written by Marianne Sunderland provides resources for parents and homeschooling families of children who do not learn by traditional methods. Includes a ‘Quick Start’ Guide and FREE digital e-course about teaching children with dyslexia.
http://homeschoolingwithdyslexia.com/start-here/

Dyslexia Resources & Support
Pinterest board with 650+ dyslexia resources---ALL in 1 place!
https://www.pinterest.com/brennajn2000/dyslexia-resources-support/

Helpful Dyslexia Tools & Apps

OpenDyslexic Font (FREE)
Created by Abelardo Gonzalez
OpenDyslexic is a new, open-sourced font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. The typeface includes regular, bold, italic, and bold-italic styles. It is being updated continually and improved based on input from dyslexic users. There are no restrictions on using OpenDyslexic outside of attribution. FREE download via this link.
http://opendyslexic.org/

The Reading Focus Cards---Low-tech Reading Tools for Books & Documents
(Patent 7,565,759)
From Brennan Innovators, LLC
Sensory-appealing and customizable reading tools and solutions for challenged readers of all ages. Made in the U.S.A.
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!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/overlays!/id868499627?mt=12

APP---Reading Focus Cards(Macs & Windows PCs---Price: $5.99)
(Patent 8,360,779)
From Brennan Innovators, LLC
This DESKTOP app is the digital version of the physical Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), solutions for struggling readers. This app for Windows PCs and Macs provides practical READING SUPPORT for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism and other conditions that can affect reading success. It promotes more FOCUSED online reading of almost ALL digital media (webpages, PDF files, Word docs, Excel spreadsheets & more.) In addition, the Reading Focus Card app is compatible with and supports touch-screen technology. The application can be moved on the screen over text by the fingers, mouse or arrow keys as needed.
1. For Macs (desktops & notebooks):
Visit the Mac App Store and search for Reading Focus Cards or go directly to
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12
2. For Windows PCs (desktops & laptops):
Visit Gumroad.com OR the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called Reading Focus Cards.(No URLs are ever provided for apps in the Windows Store.)
https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards

Best Books for Dyslexia

Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level
by Sally Shaywitz, M.D.; Vintage (2005)

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy: The Special Education Survival Guide
by Pam Wright and Pete Wright; Harbor House Law Press (2006)

The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain
by Brock and Fernette Eide M.D.; Plume (2012)

Dyslexic AND UN-Stoppable - How Dyslexia Helps Us Create The Life Of Our Dreams And How YOU Can Do It Too
by Lucie M. Curtiss, R.N. and Douglas C. Curtiss, M.D., FAAP

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

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