Saturday, January 17, 2015

BEST Apps for Autism-2015

It's a new year, and with that new year we want to provide the most up-to-date resources and support possible to assist our readers in search of practical help for challenged readers and learners of all ages. Many of those readers are parents, teachers and counselors of children, teens and adults on the autism spectrum.

As you can imagine, it takes a very special individuals to serve the autism community and its families. Patience and compassion can go a long way to soothe the fatigue of a parent who has experienced just too many meltdowns. Encouragement and gentle motivation are other gifts needed to help teachers make a real difference each day in the lives of the children in their classrooms who are on the spectrum. Determination and fortitude are front and center in the social workers who try repeatedly to place adults with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) in appropriate employment situations and/or housing arrangements.

We tip our hats to ALL of them and would like to provide some assistance from our end of of the community. After all, if one is not part of the solution, then there is a possibility that one is part of the problem. So, this week our part is to provide a new crop of resources for the new year---resources in the form of apps and app lists for persons of all ages on the autism spectrum. Since it was back in 2013 when we created our last list of these autism apps, we thought it was the right time for a new list to be presented to our readers.

This past week, we gathered together a collection of autism apps here that we hope will provide some much-needed support for the individuals and their families in the autism community. We also hope that parents, teachers and counselors, who have very little time, will find this list convenient with many of these specialized apps ALL in one place. From organizational apps to social and educational apps, you'll find them all here---here in 2015!

Happy Reading---AND Happy New Year one more time!

BEST Apps for Autism

Autism Apps---current list provided by Autism Speaks
Apps are listed in alphabetical order. You can sort apps by rating by clicking the "Rating" link above that column. You can rate apps by first clicking on the app name to visit the app detail page. Then, below the description of the app, click on the number of stars for your rating of the app.
http://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-apps?page=2

Look At Me---New App to Boost Social Skills of Autistic Kids (Released by Samsung)
This new app aims to train autistic children to maintain eye contact and convey basic emotions.
VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99TL3hGPw5I
Article & VIDEO: http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/22/samsung-lookatme/

13 Best Autism Apps for the iPad---by Michael A. Prospero, LAPTOP Reviews Editor
(NOTE: To access the 13 app titles, click on the yellow arrow buttons in the article's graphics.)
http://blog.laptopmag.com/best-autism-apps-ipad

Apps For Android For Autism- Best Android Phone 2015
The latest list of Android apps for autism
http://android.phone2015.net/apps/apps-for-android-for-autism.html

Social Skills and Autism Apps List (1/13/15)---original list by Jessica Chase, MA, CCC-SLP
This list contains apps for life skills, conversation starters, conversation maintenance, idioms, non-verbal communication, eye contact, emotions and many more.
http://parentingautismindia.blogspot.com/2015/01/social-skills-and-autism-apps-list.html

9 Great Apps For Kids With Autism---by Patricia-Anne Tom (9/18/14)
Experienced readers with kids on the autism spectrum share nine apps that have helped improve how their kids interact with others.
http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Best-Apps-Autistic-Kids-31793054#photo-31793054

Reading Focus Cards Desktop App (Patent 8,360,779) (for Macs & Windows PCs)
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 FOCUS, FLUENCY and VISUAL COMFORT for 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 at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12 or search for the app called Reading Focus Cards.
2. For Windows PCs (desktops & laptops):
Visit Gumroad at https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards OR visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called Reading Focus Cards. (No URLs are ever provided for apps in the Windows Store.)

Autism Apps---by Special Needs App Review (Some FREE apps)
Autism Apps is simply a comprehensive list of apps that are being used with and by people diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome and other special needs. It also includes links to any available information that can be found for each app. The Apps are also separated into over 30 categories, and the descriptions are all searchable, so any type of app is easy to find and download.
http://www.friendshipcircle.org/apps/browse/autism-apps/

Top 10 Apps and Software for Autism---by Autism Today
These apps and software became widely known throughout the world not only because of their features but also their abilities to manage autism behavior.
http://www.autismtoday.com/top-10-apps-and-software-for-autism/

For more 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 & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Autism Mix at http://www.autismmix.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/fabric.jpg
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Saturday, January 3, 2015

How to Re-Engage Reluctant Readers

The holidays are winding down, and, let's face it, many children are probably not very enthused about the coming week's return to school. Although one Christmas carol's lyrics mention that "...Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again," the parents of children who often struggle in school may be much less excited about classes resuming and the reading that will be required. What can a parent or teacher do to entice, engage and sustain the attention of an unfocused or reluctant reader?

1. Conduct an Interest Inventory.
First of all, it is imperative that you know the interests of the child or students in question. Most parents are very aware of their child's areas of interest. However, if you aren't aware of these, it is possible to do an Interest Inventory to learn which topics truly interest your child, teen or student(s). Please refer to the list of resources to follow here.

2. Why the Interest Inventory Is Valuable.
Once the interest inventory is completed by the child or the individual students, a parent or teacher will then have the needed (and very valuable) information to either direct the students to or gather the books for them on the topics of interest cited in those inventories. Reviewing the information once provided can be very revealing and give an important indication, for example, if non-fiction is preferred over fiction, if history books are of more interest than geography books or the like. The data collected can also serve as invaluable information on which to base future lesson plans, units of study or projects for specific groups of students or individual children, as may be appropriate.

3. The Interest Inventory Is Completed---Now What?
a. If budgets are low (or non-existent, as is sometimes the case), consider downloading FREE e-books for your child(ren) or student(s). For helpful resources of this type without cost, please visit our recent blog article entitled Best FREE e-Books to Engage Young Readers of ALL Ages. Please keep in mind that many e-books can be read on an existing PC or Mac computer, smartphone or tablet without the purchase of an additional device such as a Kindle, Nook or Kobo e-reader. Again, for more information on this, please refer to the resources to follow here.

b. Also, make good use of your school library, local public library or other community library for direct access to physical books on the topics presented in the completed interest inventories.

c. Consider grouping the books according to topic and placing each grouping in a specific area of your home or in a particular classroom location. Provide bean bag chairs and/or soft carpeting in these areas to more readily invite students or children to read---and with more comfort.

d. Teachers will observe that students with similar interests will gather in those areas where "their" books are stored. In so doing, not only will the children be more likely to initiate conversations with their peers about mutually-interesting topics and books, but they just might continue those discussions beyond the reading room or the classroom walls.

e. Finally, ensure that reluctant or struggling readers have the tools they need to read effectively and with success. To learn more about what kinds of low-tech AND digital tools are available for challenged readers in any age group, please visit www.FocusandRead.com.

The result? Improved interest in reading, better communication as well as better developed reading and discussion skills and increased literacy will be only a few of the benefits of such an approach. We can't think of a better way to begin the NEW Year than to encourage and re-engage reluctant readers to pick up a book that interests them and READ. Can you?

FREE Interest Inventory Templates

Student Interest Inventory Questionnaire (from Scholastic Books for Grades: 2-7)
http://printables.scholastic.com/printables/detail/?id=35571

Student Interest Inventory Questionnaire (from Scholastic Books for Grades: 4-9)
http://printables.scholastic.com/printables/detail/?id=35689

Free Interest Inventory Test For High School Students
FREE printable interest inventories with related documents, manuals and e-books for high school students.
https://docs.askives.com/free-interest-inventory-test-for-high-school-students.html

AREA 10 SCHOOL-TO-WORK: Career Interest and Skill Inventories (from Area 10 Schools in Iowa)
http://www.aea10.k12.ia.us/curr/stw/Career-Interest-Inv.html

Collection of Interest Surveys (from Michigan City Area Schools)
We don't always know what we want, let alone need. An interest survey can help a teacher figure out what his or her students are thinking, what they may want or even need, and how they can best be helped. To find out more about yourself, take an interest survey. The surveys listed in this collection are either web-based or printable.
http://www.mcas.k12.in.us/Page/4826

Compiled Documents for Reading---Vocational Interest Inventories
http://www.wpracetech.com/tor/reading-free-vocational-interest-inventory-2-rfvii-2/

Other Resources

FREE Kindle Reading App---by Amazon.com
Follow the easy steps presented here to start reading on your tablet, smartphone, or computer:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page?ie=UTF8&ref_=klp_mn

FREE NOOK Reading App---by Barnes & Noble
Get the most incredible reading experience for your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch®. Access over 3 million books—including 1 million FREE titles—plus magazines, newspapers, comics, and more. Sample NOOK books FREE and try any newspaper or magazine FREE for 14 days.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nook/id373582546?mt%3D8

FREE Kobo Reading App---by Kobo, Inc.
Download the FREE Kobo e-reader app to read whenever and wherever you want, and then choose from a catalog of more than 4 million of the world's best titles.
http://www.kobo.com/apps

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas---by James Pierpont (published, 1857)
Reference for lyrics, "...Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again."
http://www.the-north-pole.com/carols/look.html

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Best FREE e-Books to Engage Young Readers of ALL Ages

Last week's article presented helpful book list links to help our readers find just the right gift for the readers on their holiday shopping lists this year (GREAT Book Lists---for Now & Throughout the Year). We received so much positive input about the article from many readers that we thought it might be a good idea to continue our efforts in a similar way this week.

Let's face it. The holidays annually test our budgets and tempt us to purchase gifts that may often be too pricey. That's why this week, we wanted to help our readers avoid that issue entirely, especially as the holiday shopping time winds down and "funds" may be quite depleted. What about giving your child or teen a FREE e-book---or, better yet, a list of FREE e-books? That way, your gift will "keep on giving" not only during this holiday time but throughout the entire year! Not bad for a gift that will cost you only the time it takes to read this article and browse the e-book lists we've provided. (You'll totally avoid the mall crowds, too!)

We hope you'll find here at least one selection to appeal to a young reader you know. In fact, consider creating your own list of links personally chosen by you for a child or teen you know. Copy and paste the links selected on a Word document, fold and wrap it in a box with pretty paper and ribbon. We think it will be a treasured gift for a special young reader!

Special Notes: You do NOT need an e-book reader to utilize these resources. Just visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page?ie=UTF8&ref_=klp_mn and follow the easy steps there to start reading Kindle apps on your tablet, smartphone, or computer! Many of these resources can be downloaded directly to a laptop, desktop or other device without a special application. In addition, please know that the books in these link lists were FREE at the time of this article's publication but may NOT be free at a later date.

ManyBooks (e-Book Selections for Children)
You can subscribe to ManyBooks.com to gain access to many FREE, downloadable e-Books. Join 120,000+ fellow readers and receive FREE eBooks and book bargains in your inbox. This link will provide many e-book titles (with downloads) for children in various age groups.
http://manybooks.net/categories/CHI

Best Free Kindle e-Books for Children
FREE Kindle downloads for children aged 7-12.
http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/21465.Best_Free_Kindle_Ebooks_for_Children_

29 Sites With Free Teen & Young Adult e-Books
Within the virtual pages of these teen and young adult e-books, you’ll find realistic dilemmas, timeless themes, dating, love and messages of hope. Young adult authors have found a way to capture the minds of young readers, drawing special circumstances of a teen’s world and life through fantastic worlds of unlimited possibilities.
http://www.getfreeebooks.com/?p=10709

Goodreads---FREE e-Books for Teens
An assortment of titles of FREE e-books for teens.
http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/23017.FREE_Ebooks_For_Teens

For more 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 & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
ClipArt.me at http://clipart.me/premium-technology/realistic-vector-laptop-tablet-computer-monitor-and-mobile-phone-template-1565 and
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

GREAT Book Lists---for Now & Throughout the Year

We are quickly approaching mid-December and with it "crunch time" has arrived for getting just the right present for those special someones on your holiday gift list. What if you could achieve that goal within the next couple of hours? Would that help brighten your holiday spirit? Well, we think it's possible, and, as always, we want to be your provider of helpful "tools" to accomplish this.

Most of our readers know us as facilitators and resource providers for parents and teachers of students who are challenged with ADHD, dyslexia and other learning differences that often can affect reading ability and overall academic success. This week, with "holiday crunch time" upon us, we want to give you that same brand of help---book lists to help with gifting each person to whom you plan to give a present. The resources to follow here will help you give the BEST book to each individual child, teen (yes, teen!) and adult on your holiday gift list. Quickly, we think you'll discover that these collections of very special books will be timely for the holiday season as well as throughout the entire year. We also think you'll find MUCH shopping time saved, too!

Happy Holidays AND Happy Reading, everyone!

GREAT Book Lists for Now & Throughout the Year

Holiday kids' books: Reindeer and monsters, oh my!
by Jocelyn McClurg, USA TODAY
These charming holiday picture books – some playful, some traditional – will delight the young reader on your gift list for seasons to come.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2014/12/03/holiday-childrens-books-rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer/70055698/

10 children's books filled with the holiday spirit
by Jody Mitori, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Holiday-themed children’s books this year are mostly filled with anticipation of Santa and gifts under the tree. But one local author uses the season to address the futility of war.
http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/books-and-literature/reviews/children-s-books-filled-with-the-holiday-spirit/article_1e8f497b-fd74-574e-81b0-fe68da3c4793.html

Best Christmas and Holiday Books for Kids
by Sasha Emmons, Parenting Magazine
20 children's holiday books, from timeless reads to newer classics.
http://www.parenting.com/gallery/best-christmas-books-kids

30 Best Christmas Children’s Books
from ChildrensBookGuide.com
Sometimes, just before bed on the one magical Eve of the year, the perfect Christmas book can make for the perfect way to lull excited children off into the land of sugar plums and fairies. But they’re also great leading up to that special day, as well as the rest of December. Grab a cookie and read up!
http://childrensbooksguide.com/featured/30-best-christmas-books

Christmas-Themed Books for Teens
by Jodie Wells-Slowgrove
Christmas novels come in many genres---from romance to fantasy to humor. So whether you want to laugh or sigh, there is a Christmas-themed novel that's just right for the teen on your list.
https://suite.io/jodie-wells-slowgrove/158q2gg

Teen Book Lists
from GoodReads.com
Many lists of the best books for teens and young adults for year 'round reading.
http://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/teen

GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of Books
by Cathé Post
This gift guide is full of books: Historical books, storybooks, reference books, baby books, comic books, and more. There's something for everyone on this list!
http://geekmom.com/2014/12/geekmoms-2014-gift-guide-books/

Tricia Goyer Christmas Reading List
by Jennifer A. Janes
If you’re looking for some great books to add to your Christmas reading or shopping list this year, consider one (or all!) of these books by Tricia Goyer. The stories are heart-warming reads that have already brightened the season for many and can do the same for you!
http://jenniferajanes.com/tricia-goyer-christmas/

The ten best books of 2014
by Charles Matthews of The Washington Post
List of current books for adults.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/the-10-best-books-of-2014/2014/11/20/40784e0a-3dc6-11e4-b03f-de718edeb92f_story.html

The 10 Best Books of 2014
The year’s best fiction and non-fiction books (for adults), selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/books/review/the-10-best-books-of-2014.html?_r=0

For more 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 & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

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

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Practical Resources for Parents of Kids with ADHD---Right Now!

The family Thanksgiving Dinner is only a pleasant memory. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now history, and the media tell us that there are only so many shopping days left until Christmas. Without a doubt, the annual holiday season is in full swing, but your child with ADHD is getting more easily excited and increasingly distracted as December 25th fast approaches. What is a parent to do---and ALL while making your family's preparations for this special time of the year?

A child or teen who does not have ADHD is normally pretty excited about the coming of Hannukah, Christmas or Kwanzaa. However, a child or teenager who struggles with the symptoms of ADHD is so much more affected by the anticipation of the holidays and their related activities that the situation can pose real problems for the child and certainly for his parents, too.

At Brennan Innovators, LLC, we love solving problems for parents, teachers and children, especially issues related to reading, learning, behavior and additional needs (they are all related, of course!) That is why this week we are providing a handful of resources to help parents of children with ADHD during these hectic weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. We hope the resources here will help someone you know to be a bit more relaxed and focused during the coming weeks of celebration. That way, you'll ALL enjoy the holidays this year!

Practical Resources for Parents of Kids with ADHD for the Holiday Season

Resources for Kids with LD and/or ADHD (A Book List for Kids with LD)
by Jill Lauren, Learning Specialist and Author, Succeeding with LD
This is a list of great books for kids in which the main character struggles with some aspect of learning. The characters often appeal to kids with LD and/or ADHD as they can relate to the characters and learn from their development. Note that many kids may benefit from having the books read to them or hearing them on tape.
http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/Resources-for-Kids-with-LD-ADHD/416

Choosing Educational Fun Games & Activities for the Holidays
by Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET
This article with resources will provide information on how to choose educational games and activities to keep your kids engaged and learning over the holidays. http://www.bonnieterry.com/blog/2012/12/choosing-educational-fun-games-for-the-holidays/

The Holidays with ADHD Children
by Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.
Even if you are a parent with ADHD and your children share the disorder, it is possible to reduce stress during holiday time. This article provides some good ideas.
http://www.sevencounties.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=34623&cn=3

Avoid Holiday Havoc: Help for ADHD Children
by Carol Brady, Ph.D. and ADDitude Magazine
Six ways for parents to help their ADHD children enjoy holiday celebrations without behavior problems, family conflict, or ADD symptom flare-ups.
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/900.html

ADD/ADHD Parenting Tips
Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorder
Life with a child with ADD/ADHD can be frustrating and overwhelming, but as a parent there is a lot you can do to help control and reduce the symptoms. You can help your child overcome daily challenges, channel his or her energy into positive arenas, and bring greater calm to your family. The earlier and more consistently you address your child’s problems, the greater chance they have for success in life.
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/attention-deficit-disorder-adhd-parenting-tips.htm

Best ADHD Books for Parents and Kids
Get Expert Advice for Your Child With ADHD
by Lori Newman, Lifescript Staff Writer
If your child has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), where can you find the information you need? Lifescript asked experts to recommend ADHD books for parents and kids that will help you manage the condition. Their suggestions are presented here.
http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/adhd_pediatric/articles/best_adhd_books_for_parents_and_kids.aspx


Parenting Kids with ADHD: 16 Tips to Tackle Common Challenges
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
This link provides excellent tips for parents of children with ADHD.
http://psychcentral.com/lib/parenting-kids-with-adhd-16-tips-to-tackle-common-challenges/0006557


ADHD and Reading Difficulties
by Susie McGee, M.Ed, Teacher
ADHD and reading difficulties often go hand in hand. In fact, reading difficulties are some of the most common problems associated with ADHD in children. Because ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) interferes with the learning process, reading and other academic skills can continue to fall behind if the symptoms aren't recognized and addressed. This article will offer some help with these issues.
http://kids.lovetoknow.com/wiki/ADHD_and_Reading_Difficulties

For more 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 & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NEW Desktop App Now Helps Even More Struggling Readers

It's no secret that in 2008, we began providing our inexpensive and easy-to-use Reading Focus Cards tools for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, low vision and other reading issues. Today, thousands of these physical, low-tech reading aids are in use across the U.S, Canada and in many other countries around the world.

Over the past several years, however, a number of our clients and readers here have asked us if or when there might be a Reading Focus Card APP developed to help even more struggling readers. We always thought it was a great question, and you can be sure that we listened!

Today, it is our great pleasure to announce that we now DO have such an application for use with Mac computers and notebooks as well as Windows PCs and Microsoft Surface tablets. This innovative, overlay-type app can now open new doors and eliminate many hurdles for a great number of challenged readers and struggling learners when they attempt to read web pages, downloaded e-books, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and more. (App download links provided at end of this article.)

A Brief History of the App

The glimmer of this software idea came to us way back in 2003---even before the word app was commonly used for a software program. The idea remained on the drawing board here at Brennan Innovators until 2009 when the first patent was issued for our low-tech reading tools, the Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759). When orders for these physical reading tools began to arrive in increasing numbers, we started saving some of that revenue in preparation for possible app development. At the same time in 2009, a second patent application was submitted---this time, for the Reading Focus Card app idea.

In 2013 when that second patent was issued for this application by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, we felt it was (finally!) the appropriate time to turn our attention to the actual creation of the application. We began working with a clinical psychologist who understood the hurdles faced by challenged readers, a developer of special needs apps and an experienced educator to create a digital version of the physical, low-tech Reading Focus Cards first invented and prototyped in 1998.

The Reading Focus Cards App---Digital Tool to Help Even More Readers

The work of developing this idea born in 2003 has been most exciting, and now we finally have a practical DESKTOP app for Windows PCs, Macs and Microsoft Surface tablets that will provide needed digital READING SUPPORT for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, eye strain/visual stress, convergence insufficiency, low vision, Down Syndrome, stroke recovery/TBI issues (aphasia) and other conditions that can affect reading success.

The Reading Focus Cards app (Patent 8,360,779) provides the following:

1. Allows a user to change nearly all features of the digital reading tool. A reader can
increase or decrease the height and/or width
of the digital Reading Focus Card itself as well as those of the Reading Window Filter. This means that as much or as little text can be covered or uncovered on a webpage or digital document. It also means that the reader can choose what filter color through which he will read text.

2. Enables the user to change the colors of the tool features, allowing a user to view a chosen card color covering text not to be viewed AND to read text through a selected and more comfortable, colored filter. Other options for tool modification or adjustment are also provided via the application's Toolbox (disappears when reader chooses).

3. Is also compatible with and supports touch-screen technology (where applicable). A reader can interact directly with the digital tool to move it over text on a desktop screen with either fingers, a mouse or the arrow keys. If a user's hardware does not have a touch screen, then the mouse and arrow keys will provide the movement of the digital Reading Focus Card over the text needing to be read--at the speed desired by the reader. Regardless of hardware capability, the application stays on top of the text while in use, which eliminates further frustration by an already-challenged reader.

Now, ALL readers can enjoy more reading success with both the low-tech, customizable Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759) for physical books, documents, etc. AND the high-tech Reading Focus Cards app (Patent 8,360,779) for much more FOCUSED online reading of nearly any digital media (webpages, e-books, PDF files, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets & more!)

Parent Testimonial

Recently, the parent of a teen son provided these comments about the NEW Reading Focus Cards desktop app:

"He chose a dark blue (reading) window with a black card. I like the fact the window can be widened or made smaller to fit an individual word on the screen (PDF). He read words individually that way. Then we widened the window to see the whole sentence and reread. It was much easier than pointing at the screen so he wouldn't lose his spot." ---J.B., London, ON

You, our loyal readers, have been most supportive of our efforts to help challenged readers and learners since this blog's inception in 2010. Hopefully, our re-doubled efforts (along with your continued support) will now go toward helping even more struggling readers---regardless of age, ability or the media format presented. Thank you for that great support!

Happy Reading---NOW for EVERYONE!

Direct links to access and purchase the Reading Focus Cards desktop app ($5.99 per download)

1. For Macs:
Visit the Mac App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12

2. For Windows PCs:
Visit Gumroad at https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards OR visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called Reading Focus Cards. (No URLs are provided for apps in the Windows Store.)

To learn more about the Reading Focus Cards app (Patent 8,360,779), please visit http://www.focusandread.com/page/488513590.

For more 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 & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

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

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Raising Awareness & Providing Supportive Resources for Dyslexia

Many of our loyal readers already know that we often present information in this blog on the topic of dyslexia and other reading challenges. As we conclude Dyslexia Awareness Month here in the U.S. and begin Dyslexia Awareness Week 2014 (November 3-9) in the U.K., we thought it timely to present an article here about what dyslexia actually is and some helpful resources to support families challenged with it.

First of all, what IS dyslexia? The International Dyslexia Association provides the following definition:

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations or extra support services.
(Source: International Dyslexia Association---Please see links to follow.)

Dyslexia affects approximately 20% of the population in the U.S. (1 in 5 individuals). For some individuals who have never been diagnosed, dyslexia is a hidden disability which may result in underemployment, difficulty navigating academic environments, difficulty on the job and decreased self-esteem or confidence. Even those who have been diagnosed are likely to struggle with reading or writing in some aspects of their lives. Dyslexia is a specific reading difference and does not reflect low intelligence. In fact, there are many bright and creative individuals with dyslexia who are challenged throughout life with reading, writing and/or spelling. Often, however, with appropriate teaching methods, dyslexics can learn successfully.

This week, we have a large basket of resources to help. In our list, you'll discover some of the best tools, books and support organizations to provide the help needed for individuals of ANY age struggling with dyslexia. We hope you will take advantage of at least a few of these resources. Someone's future could depend on it!

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
(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 (for 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 at https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards OR visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called Reading Focus Cards.(No URLs are ever provided for apps in the Windows Store.)

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 Gift of Dyslexia
by Ronald D. Davis, Eldon M. Braun; Penguin Group-USA (1997)
(first published May 1, 1993)

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

Dyslexia 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/

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 47 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. - See more at: http://wrightslaw.com/#sthash.ajmQK87L.dpuf
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/

For more information on customizable reading tools for all kinds of challenged readers, 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