Saturday, July 30, 2011

Homeschooling a Challenged Learner? FREE Resources for You!---Part 2

It has been great hearing from all of our homeschooling parents and grandparents about the list of resources I began in last week's blog article here.

As promised, I wanted to pass along to my readers a few more great resources for challenged learners. The list was a long one, so I thought it would be best to break it up into 2 parts.

The resources in this post include tools and downloadables for parents of elementary students with AD/HD, a general resource guide for special needs, and a support website for autism, and other learning challenges.

Hope you find these helpful as well as those from last week! (Please see previous blog post.) FREE online tools and downloadables designed for use by parents of elementary school students with AD/HD Homeschool resource guide for special needs Homeschooling with autism, AD/HD, learning disorders, or are you a parent with a special need? Need a hand? You have come to the right place.

To access Part 1 of this blog article, simply visit

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Homeschooling a Challenged Learner? FREE Resources for You!---Part 1

You have made the all-important decision to homeschool your child with special needs. Now what do you do to prepare---to prepare for SUCCESS with homeschooling?

First, you will need support from other family members. It will be important that others in your family affirm you in your decision and offer reinforcement when needed. Secondly, local homeschooling co-ops or groups will provide vital support and networking opportunities. Ask other homeschooling parents in your area about such groups and then look into the activities and programs that each offers. You might be surprised to learn what social as well as academic opportunities they offer local families. All of this support will be particularly important as you plan and work to address your child’s special needs.

Finally, good special needs resources available online can make a significant difference in your homeschooling experience---and your level of SUCCESS. We have provided just a few here to get you started and perhaps even inspired to begin on a good note! Please let us know what you think and feel free to send us YOUR favorite homeschooling support resources. We look forward to hearing from you! Practical support and information for homeschooling parents and grandparents created and maintained by a dedicated and experienced homeschooling parent Site with numerous resources for homeschooling children with special needs Parents can offer their special needs children individualized education, flexibility, encouragement, and support with the resources and information from this site. Legal information and provisions for all 50 states are also included here.

To access Part 2 of this blog article, simply visit

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Could Your Child Have a Vision-Related Learning Disability?

Reading is one of the great cornerstones of success in school and in life. Unfortunately, there are many children not only in the U.S. but throughout the world who cannot read. If this is allowed to continue, many children will be at a significant disadvantage not only in school but throughout their entire lives.

In 2005, mental health experts determined that approximately 3.5 million school-aged children in the U.S. had been diagnosed with some form of attention deficit disorder (AD/HD). It is estimated that this number has grown exponentially each year since that determination was made. Many of these children struggle with reading because of their attention issues.

However, some of these "issues" may not be a form of AD/HD, but rather a vision-related learning problem that “appears” to be an attention deficiency. Vision issues such as dyslexia, convergence insufficiency, stress-induced visual difficulties and other conditions can actually be the cause of or contribute to a child's inability to read with success.

What is a parent to do? Often, parents believe that the annual visit to a child’s eye doctor is all that is needed. However, although an optometrist or ophthalmologist may conduct a valid eye test, they are not the eye care professionals of choice to evaluate and diagnose for vision-related learning problems. A developmental optometrist is the preferred medical professional to conduct the proper evaluation of your child’s vision as it relates to focusing, reading, and learning success. Before the new school year begins, consider visiting the resources below here for additional information. You’ll be glad you did---and so will your child! The official website for the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (developmental optometrists) Locate a doctor in your area.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sensory Issues? Reading Focus Cards to the Rescue!

You are the advocate and mediator for your child when interacting with his healthcare professionals, his teachers and school. At home, you are the one who provides the security of structure and comfort through therapeutic activities or the use of soothing, sensory experiences. You need support. Support that helps with the security and sensory needs of your child can mean the difference between a peaceful day --- and one that is not.

One solution is the Reading Focus Card, a reading tool that provides both visual and tactile appeal for sensory issues. At the same time, the reading aid can help your child remain engaged in reading with more focus, better concentration, and comprehension.

At the 2010 U.S. Asperger’s and Autism World Conference in St. Louis, MO, parents, educators, and leaders of numerous organizations witnessed firsthand the advantages of using the Reading Focus Cards for those on the spectrum. On the first day of the conference, all available Reading Focus Cards were purchased and orders were taken on the two remaining conference days.

If you would like to know more about how the Reading Focus Cards can help your child---and you, please contact the teacher, Joan Brennan, who created the tool for her students who need it. Her email address is

For testimonials on the Reading Focus Cards, please visit

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Autism's Awesome A-List!

Do you have a child challenged with autism? Do you teach a teen on the spectrum? Perhaps you have a young adult or other family member with Asperger’s who is “aging out of the system”. What resources are available to help them---and you?

We certainly know that you need vital support to help your child, student or young adult with ASD. So often, services are either very expensive if paid privately or there is a long, long waiting list for public services. While you are waiting, what help is available in the meantime?

We have gathered together here some resources that we hope will assist you with your “awesome” task of taking care of your family member or student(s). We hope these links below here will support you and give you the encouragement to “keep on keeping on” with the great work that you do!

Resource Links for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) Site with current articles/resources supporting the autism community This Midwest-based, non-profit organization provides excellent support to families affected by autism.
Beginning July 15, 2011, TouchPoint Autism Services will accept medical insurance for autism-related services from the carriers cited below here. The organization is actively working to secure contracts with additional carriers and will announce those options as soon as they are available.

 Healthcare USA
 HealthLink
 Anthem
 Tricare Improving the lives of all affected by autism with support and resources What is Asperger Syndrome? Center for Autism & Related Disabilities Fact Sheet (from CARD) Aims to provide a FREE, user-friendly website that provides high-quality printables and resources for teachers and parents for use with children having special educational needs For focus and reading tools with sensory appeal that help children and adults with reading challenges Site that provides accessories for a growing special needs child. Youth affected by Sensory Processing Disorder -SPD, Autism Spectrum Disorder -ASD, Attention Deficit Disorder ADD/ADHD, etc., can still benefit from developmental tools. However, age appropriate tools can be even harder to find. This resource can help. Site also provides a very supportive blog! Autism fact sheet and additional resource links provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke A plethora of many links for special needs, particularly for those individuals on the autism spectrum A list of excellent tech resources for parents and teachers of children with autism (list created by and courtesy of Michael Leventhal) (Online) Autism Support Group Seattle Children's Autism Blog---Oral Health Tips for Children on the Spectrum

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Classic Book List for Girls

In my last post, I provided my readers with a book list for boys as we approached the mid-summer vacation time. This week, it is time to give our girls equal consideration.

I wanted to present a list of classic books that will transport young readers to other eras, regions, and cultures. Hopefully, the selections in this list from Random House will suit the young girls in your life and entice them to read all summer long! Enjoy!

A Classic Book List for Girls (Courtesy of Random House)

Kevin Henkes
Chester's Way, 1988. Greenwillow. Ages 3-7.
The mouse Lilly is one of the bravest, most flamboyant young females around. She rescues her friends from bullies, teaches them how to do wheelies, and always carries a loaded squirt gun. Everyone should meet her!

Brian Pinkney
JoJo's Flying Side Kick, 1995. Simon & Schuster. Ages 3-7.
In order to earn her yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do, young JoJo must break a board with a flying side-kick. With the help of her family, she masters her fears and succeeds. A real winner.

Ogden Nash
The Adventures of Isabel, Illustrated by James Marshall. 1991. Little, Brown. Ages 3-8.
In this funny poem, Isabel conquers a bear, a witch, a giant, a doctor, and a nightmare. The pictures will make children laugh while they learn to banish their own nightmares. Not to be missed.

Ed Young
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China, 1989. Philomel. Ages 4-8.
Exquisite illustrations accompany this Chinese folktale about a girl who outwits a nasty wolf and saves her sisters. Winner of the Caldecott Medal.

Kay Thompson
Eloise, Illustrated by Hilary Knight. 1955. Simon & Schuster. Ages 4-8.
Eloise is one of a kind. She tears around the Plaza Hotel in New York, driving adults crazy and having a terrific time. It is no surprise that this incorrigible girl has been popular for more than forty years.

Anne Isaacs
Swamp Angel, Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. 1994. Dutton. Ages 4-9.
Tennessee-born Angelica Longrider, known as Swamp Angel, is a wonderfully outlandish addition to American tall tales. Building her first log cabin at age two is just the beginning of her incredible career. Witty folk art captures the larger-than-life heroine. A Caldecott Honor book.

Kathleen Krull
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman, Illustrated by David Diaz. 1996. Harcourt Brace. Ages 7-10
Striking illustrations portray the life of Wilma Rudolph, who overcame childhood polio to become a great runner and win three Olympic gold medals. A powerful, inspiring story.

Charlotte Pomerantz
The Outside Dog, Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas. 1993. HarperCollins.
Ages 5-8.
A charming beginning reader about a Puerto Rican girl who is determined to have a dog, despite her grandfather's objections.

Ursula K. LeGuin
A Ride on the Red Mare's Back, Illustrated by Julie Downing. 1992. Orchard. Ages 5-9.
With the help of a magical horse, a brave girl sets off to rescue her brother who has been stolen by trolls. A beautifully illustrated tale of courage and love.

Karen Hesse
Sable, Illustrated by Marcia Sewall. 1994. Henry Holt. Ages 6-10.
More than anything, Tate wants to keep the stray dog that shows up at her mountain home. With persistence and hard work, the girl succeeds. A heartwarming novel for younger readers.

Patricia MacLachlan
Sarah, Plain and Tall, 1985. Harper & Row. Ages 6-10.
This small gem tells the story of two children and the quiet, strong woman who they hope will marry their father. Perfect for reading aloud. Winner of the Newbery Medal.

Carol Fenner
Yolonda's Genius, 1995. McElderry. Ages 10-13.
A large and confident girl, Yolonda draws on all of her many talents to help her younger brother pursue his musical dream in this outstanding novel. A Newbery Honor book.

Scott O'Dell
Island of the Blue Dolphins, 1960. Houghton Mifflin. Ages 9-12.
In this modern classic, twelve-year-old Karana must survive alone for years on a California island. Winner of the Newbery Medal.

Patricia Lauber
Lost Star: The Story of Amelia Earhart, 1988. Scholastic. Ages 9-13.
Amelia Earhart broke barriers for women while she broke men's flying records. This biography describes her fascinating life from childhood to her mysterious disappearance.

Patricia C. Wrede
Dealing with Dragons, 1990. Harcourt Brace. Ages 10-13.
Cimorene finds being a princess so boring that she takes a job working for a dragon! The first in a popular, funny series.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, 1990. Orchard. Ages 10-14.
"Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty," opens this thrilling tale of a proper young lady who changes when she gets caught up in a mutiny. A top-notch adventure. A Newbery Honor book.

Russell Freedman
Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery, 1993. Clarion. Ages 11-14.
Award-winning biographer Russell Freedman conveys the greatness of Eleanor Roosevelt through his lively writing and an extensive array of photographs. Highly recommended. A Newbery Honor book.

Suzanne Fisher Staples
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind, 1989. Knopf. Ages 12-14.
Set in contemporary Pakistan, this gripping novel follows the fate of Shabanu, an adolescent girl from a nomadic tribe who rebels against her arranged marriage. A Newbery Honor book.

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