Saturday, July 27, 2013

Back-to-School-2013: Helpful ADHD Resources

As many of you may know, we look to our readers to help us determine which topics we should address in the weeks to come. Currently, our readers are beginning to think about the coming school year. So, in response, the article for this week will attempt to provide some new resources to assist parents and teachers of students with ADHD as they get ready for the back-to-school season.

We have provided a list of great books compiled by Jill Lauren, a learning specialist and author, to read with and to challenged readers and learners so that they can more easily develop a positive attitude about school even before the term begins. Also, we have included a new 2013 back-to-school online handbook from ADDitude Magazine, the premier publication for adults, teachers and parents of children with ADHD. Finally, we have added a link to the college survival guide from the same publisher.

As always, we hope you will find these resources helpful in getting your child, teen---or you---ready for the new school year. For more tips, resources and apps to help throughout the entire year, please visit Help for Struggling Readers and consider following our blog (or just see the right sidebar on this page). Our future articles will be delivered right to your email inbox each week, and you won't miss any future resources apps, and other helpful information for challenged readers and learners.

ADHD Resources for Back-to-School-2013

Resources for Kids with LD and/or ADHD---Compiled by Jill Lauren
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. These books will help young, challenged learners better prepare for a new school year.

Make This School Year the Best One Ever for Your ADHD Child---from ADDitude Magazine
ADDitude Magazine’s 2013 Guide to SUCCESS @ SCHOOL includes helpful articles, printables and checklists to help children, teens and college students “get in-gear” for the new school year.

ADHD College Survival Guide: Tips and Resources for ADD/ADHD and LD Students---from ADDitude Magazine
The constant assignments, anonymous lecture halls, and daily independence of college can prove challenging for students with ADD/ADHD. Use this guide to get organized, study smarter, and put in place the school accommodations you need to succeed.

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

BEST Tips to Promote Literacy for Struggling & Reluctant Readers

In several of our most recent articles, we have been discussing some aspects of “summer learning loss” or “the summer slide.” As many of you already know, these terms often refer to the waning of reading skills and a decrease in learning progress for children and teens during the summer vacation months.

This loss of skills and learning progress can be experienced by even the most academic of students. However, when this occurs in challenged or reluctant readers and learners, the results can have a very negative impact on student learning success throughout the coming school year. What strategies can help promote literacy and encourage improvement of reading and learning skills NOW during the summer---or anytime? We have some important tips this week to assist parents and teachers with this issue.

6 Tips for Struggling & Reluctant Readers

1. Set aside a comfortable place in the home or classroom where your challenged reader(s) can return again and again to read at will. This should be a quiet space with soothing colors, soft cushions and non-florescent lighting, especially for readers with sensory needs. Involve the reader(s) in choosing the features, colors and attributes of this space.

2. Place books within easy reach of the readers. Fill spaces with colorful baskets or bright, paper-covered boxes containing a wide variety of books. Set these filled containers on the floor or on short tables throughout the home or classroom.

3. Allow for structured time when reading for pleasure can be done. When chores are finished or after some physical activity, reading a favorite book can be a very welcome and soothing option.

4. Allow your child to “catch you reading”---often! This "visual" example can be PRICELESS, especially when it is frequently witnessed.

5. New vocabulary words or those that are challenging for a reader should actually be “celebrated” rather than associated with extra work or any penalties. This can be accomplished by using the words as often as possible in meaningful sentences on a given day, by posting and decorating a placard for each “challenge” word or by creating “fun” games with a group of new vocabulary words (Vocabulary Bingo, etc.)

6. For additional strategies to help challenged or reluctant readers and learners, please visit:

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC

Saturday, July 13, 2013

ADHD? LD? Kickstart Needed Skills for the New School Year!

Sure enough! As soon as the July 4th weekend was history, the “back-to-school bosses” got busy. In a visit this week to several of our local stores, we witnessed quite a few sales associates stocking shelves with the latest school supplies, backpacks and even some “goodies” for Halloween! Aren’t they rushing things? Phew!

We certainly know that many families (and even teachers!) are still enjoying the summer break and will continue to do so for the next couple of weeks. However, we also know of a few families (and teachers!) who have incorporated some learning opportunities into their summer vacation time. One family told us that a trip to Washington, D.C., is planned so that the kids can see for the first time the Washington Monument, the Senate and House, and other landmarks so important to American History and Government. An experienced teacher mentioned to us that she and her husband had just returned from Charleston, SC, and had gathered Civil War information, materials and literature for her middle school students when the new academic year begins in mid-August. So, you see, the summertime can present an excellent opportunity to gather the right materials and resources to “kickstart” the skills needed for the new school year. At the same time, you and your family can still enjoy the great days of summer.

Consider ways to help your child or student hone and further develop these important skills, especially if reading and learning challenges are involved (ADHD, LD or other learning issue). To help you in this effort, we have collected some special resources here and have divided those resources into specific categories to make it easier for you to locate and access what is needed. We hope the children and teens you care about will benefit from these special resources and be ready to start the new school year better prepared for ALL subjects!

Kickstart Reading Skills for Challenged Readers

17 Ways to Teach Vocabulary Skills to Students with Special Needs
by Thomas Armstrong

Reading Together: Tips for Parents of Children with ADHD
by Reach Out and Read
If your child has ADHD, paying attention for long periods of time can be a challenge. So, meet the challenge head-on — make reading time fun time for you and your child.

Kickstart Math Skills for Challenged Learners

10 Helpful Dyscalculia Resources
by National Center for Learning Disabilities' Editorial Staff (NCLD)
Dyscalculia refers to a wide range of lifelong learning disabilities (LD) involving math. There is no single type of math disability. The resources in this link can help those struggling with significant math challenges.

More resources (on same site): that presents FREE resources for practicing mathematics from basic math to calculus. Takes a student of any ability at his present level and allows him to “level up” as math skills are developed. (A student-driven resource)

Kickstart Organizational & Study Skills for Challenged Learners

A Toolkit for School Success: 15 Study Tips for Students with ADHD
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Apps for Students with LD: Organization and Study
by Darla Hatton and Kaila Hatton (NCLD)

Other Related Resources for Challenged Learners

Back-to-School: Tips for Parents of Children with Special Needs
by Kandace Wernsing (LD Online)

8 Skills That Can Help Your Special Needs Child in School

Teaching kids with special needs interdependence skills through play
by Ellen Metrick
Helping with meals is just one way to help build skills

Back-to-School Tips for Parents of Children with Special Needs
by Reading Rockets
Our Top 8 back-to-school tips for parents emphasize communication, organization, and staying up-to-date on special education news.

Handouts and Resources for LD/ADD (for Secondary and College Levels)
Many FREE printables and links to a wide variety of resources related to academics and student life, including resources on LD/ADD in college. In addition, there are numerous publications on LD/ADD and the college student which you may find helpful.

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC at

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Games & Strategies to Improve Executive Functions

The summer break period can be an excellent time for parents to help children prepare for the next school year. That time can also provide a great opportunity to improve on such things as problem-solving, goal-setting, follow-through and other skills included in what are often called executive functions. Believe it or not, such skills can be developed or improved by using specific activities, strategies and even games---yes, games. We can't think of a better time to do this than during the summer break!

There has been a recent increase in the amount of information available about these executive functions. What are executive functions? Psychologists and neuro-scientists refer to this term as a unique set of mental functions or skills. These functions are related yet distinct abilities that provide for intentional, goal-directed, problem-solving actions.

In our article this week, we wanted to help parents and teachers help better prepare children and teens for the coming school year. As a result, we are including here a list of links that will provide general information, strategies, games and other resources related to the development and improvement of the various executive functions. Working on these skills now could very well enable your child or student(s) to enjoy a much more successful school year!

General Information about Executive Functions

Executive Functions & ADHD– Overview and invention strategies for parents and teachers (Includes operational definitions of terms) by Adam J. Cox, Ph.D.

Executive Function Skills and Disorders – WebMD explains what executive function is and discusses problems of executive function, such as difficulty in planning and organizing.

Executive-Function Deficits in Children - ADDitude Magazine -- Improving executive-function skills can help your ADHD child overcome academic obstacles and frustration and succeed in school. Includes information about ADHD symptoms, diagnosis, etc.

Executive Function..."What is this anyway?" by Chris A. Zeigler Dendy, M.S.
Information provided about the components of executive functions, school success strategies and more. Article contains information helpful to teens with ADHD.

Activities & Strategies to Help Improve Executive Function

Executive Function and ADHD – Improve decision making skills with scientifically designed brain games.

Improve Executive Function Through Games - ADDitude Magazine -- Games that help ADHD children (and others) develop or improve executive function.

How to Promote Executive Function in Children with ADHD, Autism and Learning Disabilities – by Nancy Konigsberg MA OTR/L—Tips and strategies from a mother who is also an occupational therapist.

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Burgeoning School Psychologist: