Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Struggling to Write Those Ideas on Paper?

In today's world, it is more important than ever to be able to organize thoughts and get them down on paper or screen. Offline and online media is everywhere, and if we want to be "heard" by others, we need to be able to express and convey those thoughts WELL.

Being able to express oneself is a unique skill and even a gift for some individuals. When you encourage and cultivate this capability in your child or student, you give her the invaluable power to meaningfully share her thoughts and ideas with the world. To help her get started, you might find the following 5 steps (adapted from teacher-writer Karen Dikson) beneficial in organizing thoughts and beginning to get those ideas down on paper or screen:

5 Basic Steps to Writing Success

1. Practice, practice, practice!
2. Find examples of good writing!
3. Use Pinterest or graphic organizers to organize ideas & resources!
4. Brainstorm and plan what to write.
5. Use a tablet to get ideas down faster and more efficiently.

When Dysgraphia Adds to the Writing Challenge

There can often be an additional component for some children or teens when it is time to express their ideas and get them down on paper or screen. This component makes writing nearly impossible for a significant number of individuals. It is called dysgraphia, a handwriting challenge characterized chiefly by very poor or often illegible writing or writing that takes an unusually long time and great effort to complete. When present in children, dysgraphia is classified as a learning disability. When it occurs as an acquired condition in adults, it can sometimes be the result of damage to the brain (as from stroke or trauma).

When a person of any age or ability struggles with dysgraphia, writing takes far longer (if it can be produced at all) to complete. As a result, dysgraphia all too often negatively impacts learning success and self-esteem. To provide support for an individual with dysgraphia, keep in mind that technology can go a long way to help. A laptop or tablet device will take pressure off the proper formation of hand-written phrases and sentences, allowing the individual to focus on his ideas instead. A digital app, mp3 player or other recording device can be just the thing to free a "great thinker" and finally enable the expression of wonderful, innovative ideas. In addition, consider the following strategies from the Learning Disabilities Association of America to help someone you know challenged with dysgraphia:

Helpful Strategies for Dysgraphia

1. Suggest use of word processor
2. Avoid chastising student for sloppy, careless work
3. Use oral exams
4. Allow use of tape recorder for lectures
5. Allow the use of a note taker
6. Provide notes or outlines to reduce the amount of writing required
7. Reduce copying aspects of work (pre-printed math problems)
8. Allow use of wide rule paper and graph paper
9. Suggest use of pencil grips and /or specially designed writing aids
10. Provide alternatives to written assignments (i.e., video reports, audio reports, etc.)

Implementing one or more of the above strategies and combining them with the 5 steps for writing success will enable your child or students to be well on the road to improved writing---AND without the usual struggles and "pain" so often experienced by reluctant, organization-challenged or dysgraphic individuals. We hope you will see the transformation in the very near future!

Writing Resources to Help Your Child or Students

How To Inspire Your Kids to Write and Why It’s So Important
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Books that Teach About the Writing Process (for Gr. K-5)
from This Reading Mama blog
If you teach writing to young learners, this book list has over 15 books to help you teach young writers all about the writing process.

5 Steps to Help Your Kid Write a Better Essay
by Karen Dikson and Parent Toolkit

Dysgraphia Resources to Help Your Child or Students

The BEST Dictation Software for 2019
Here's the short list of the best dictation apps, with more information following, such as how we chose them, tips for using dictation software and detailed descriptions of the apps.

10 Tips to Help Children with Dysgraphia
Does your child struggle to write on the appropriate lines provided? Do you know or teach a child who is challenged and/or frustrated with simply forming basic letters and words? This article will provide strategies and tips to help children challenged with dysgraphia.

For information about customizable tools for readers of all ages, please visit: FocusandRead.com ---Tools for challenged readers of all ages!

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC and Pixabay

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Ultimate Guide to Games for Kids with ADHD

Finding the best games for children and teens with ADHD can help reduce hyperactivity and unfocused behavior. On the other hand, the wrong games can create chaos and conflict in the family and in the child's peer group.

Children of all ages and backgrounds love to play. There is no end to the many games that they want to experience! However, when it comes to a child with ADHD, it is the choice of games that will make the difference.

Because the child with ADHD is very often hyperactive (those with ADD will not have this hyperactivity component), many board games like Scrabble and Monopoly will not interest him. Instead, these children need to run, to jump and to shout. Actually, they need to burn that excessive energy somehow and in productive (not destructive) ways.

Recommended Outdoor Games for Kids with ADHD

- Soccer
- Hockey (ice or roller)
- Tag
- Scavenger Hunt
- Follow the Leader
- Red Rover
- Hopscotch
- Lawn Twister (Click for directions here & below.)
- Giant Jenga
- Bean Bag Ladder Toss
- Giant Ring Toss and Pool Noodle Target Throwing
- Glow in the Dark Capture the Flag
- Glow in the Dark Bowling
- Giant Lawn Matching Game

Important Facts & Strategies When Seeking Games for Kids with ADHD

• The best games for ADHD children are those that are more outdoor-based, especially those requiring a higher energy level. However, certain outdoor activities might not work well for the ADHD child that seem to be excellent for other children.

• The ADHD child requires outdoor games that keep him active. Many children with ADHD don't enjoy games like baseball because there is too much standing around and waiting involved. They prefer climbing trees, running, jumping, hide and seek, etc.

• Avoid letting your child sit in front of TV or play video games for extended periods. Brain scans have shown that screen time makes ADHD worse. Put a limit of 1 hour on these types of activities.

• Playing games outdoors has a huge positive effect on hyperactive kids. One Illinois study found that ADHD children benefit by having a view of nature outside their windows.

• In another study, children who were able to view a tree or park outside their windows at home actually earned better grades than children whose windows looked out on a parking lot or other similar view. Greenery has a positive effect on all of us, especially children with attention issues.

• Activities and Games for ADHD children that take place in fresh air and healthier environments are good for these children. Plan to have weekends and vacations in wilderness area rather than in amusement parks or in city.

• Games with physical training are often enjoyable to ADHD children. A good workout is an alternative choice. It increases the flow of blood to the brain and decreases nervousness and anxiety. Such a workout with increased blood flow also releases endorphins into the brain, providing a feeling of calmness and a greater sense of well being.

• Many children with ADHD have problems with memory. To determine if your child has memory problems, play memory games with them and compare them to their peers.to check for deficits in this skill area.

• Command-type games make great ADHD games. Give him one command, after completing the job give him two commands simultaneously. Keep on increasing the number of commands until he fails to follow the command. This will actually improve his listening skills.

• Activities with model building, carving, woodworking, mosaics, jigsaw puzzles or that involve mechanical skills and hands-on activity are very beneficial. Children with ADHD often love to figure things out and solve puzzles. These types of games also help promote the following of directions, another very important life skill.

How to Choose the BEST Indoor Games for Children with ADHD---When Needed

As stated above, physically-active games are essential for ADHD children. However, it is critically important to build healthy relationships in the family. As children get older, playing indoor games with parents, siblings and grandparents is a great way to accomplish this. Also, weather will all too often play a significant part in the need for indoor games.

The choice of games is extremely important for these children. Children with ADHD often experience meltdowns while playing board games that move too slowly. Choose games that do not lag but move along and engage the child from the very beginning.

Parents and teachers will want to look for games that move quickly, providing interest and interaction on an ongoing basis. Or better yet, play games where everyone plays at the same time. The card game called Pit is a great example of this.

Another type of game to consider is a strategy game, especially the kind that requires a good deal of critical thinking. Children with ADHD are typically very smart and will thrive when needing to "figure things out."

Recommended Board Games for Kids with ADHD

- Pit by Winning Moves Games
- The Memory Game by Hasbro
- Chutes and Ladders by Hasbro
- Hoot Owl Hoot by Peaceable Kingdom
- Battleship by Hasbro
- Hedbanz by Spin Master
- Jenga by Hasbro

Other Recommended Indoor Games

- Charades
- Balloon games
- Nerf games
- Hide-and-seek
- Foosball


Games for ADHD Children: Activities to Reduce Hyperactivity
from ADHDchildparenting.com
General information for parents and teachers about locating the best types of games for children with ADHD.

5 Best Games for ADHD Kids from PRIDE Reading Program
These non-digital games are the best in their category for help with improving memory, focus, strategizing, communicating, executive functioning, social skills & more!

2 FREE Online Games for Kids with ADHD from Fupa
These 2 games were created to help promote better focus, more patience and decreased impulsivity for children with ADHD.

What Are the Best Activities for Kids With ADHD? from NewLifeOutlook
There is no one activity that every ADHD child will love. Everyone has his own tastes, but activities such as some organized sports, teams and organizations, indoor and outdoor play, and art therapy can be a good place to start.

5 Great Outdoor Activities for Children with ADHD from Brain Balance Centers
Activity for youngsters with ADHD requires a lot of thought and preparation. To help you plan some great quality family time, here are five "fun" outdoor activities to engage children with ADHD.

For information about customizable focusing tools for readers of all ages with ADHD, please visit: FocusandRead.com ---Tools for challenged readers of all ages!

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC and Pixabay

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

6 Great Resources for Sensory Kids

It can be surprising to some parents and teachers that kids need to move in order to focus. Also, when the five senses are incorporated into a lesson plan or learning session, more learning results and retention is greater. If this is new to you, then take heart. We are about to provide you with some great resources to help the kids you know improve focus, reading and learning.

Often, in mid-year, teachers need to brush off their usual go-to learning strategies and create new ones to once again grab student attention and increase their engagement. One of the ways to do this is to appeal to at least one of the five senses while teaching a particular lesson. The more senses involved in the learning session, the more successful the lesson will be for the children. Retention of content learned will also be significantly increased.

Finally, there are a significant number of children and teens who are challenged with sensory issues or what is called sensory processing disorder (SPD). Loud sounds, rough or itchy clothing and/or other negative sensory experiences can cause real roadblocks to learning for these children. Sometimes, these students respond much more positively when soft, tactile manipulatives and tools, kinesthetic movement or soothing music are used when teaching. Shortening a learning session or providing breaks at appropriate times during a lesson can also be of benefit to many. There are a variety of strategies teachers and parents can use to help children with these sensory needs.

So with the above points established, we have a list for you that should help you enrich your teaching methods in the classroom AND provide help to parents at home when homework needs to be completed. We hope you will find that teaching, learning and parenting with these sensory resources will be more productive and enjoyable for ALL!

6 GREAT Resources for Sensory Kids

Resources for Parents & Professionals - STAR Institute for SPD

Helpful Websites for Sensory Kids from SensorySmarts.com

Classroom Accommodations for Sensory Processing Issues from Understood.org

GREAT Collection of Resources for SPD---via Pinterest

The OT Toolbox Resource Center from The OT Toolbox
(Enter "Sensory" in "All Categories" drop-down menu.)
Website: https://www.theottoolbox.com/

SENSORY ACTIVITY IDEAS from Cara Koscinski, MOT, OTR/L of The Pocket OT
Printable PDF document: https://bit.ly/2QOI2im
Website: https://www.pocketot.com/

For information about customizable sensory tools for readers of all ages, please visit: FocusandRead.com ---Tools for challenged readers of all ages!

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

How to Read with More Focus and Retention in the Year Ahead

Let’s face it, today’s world of handheld devices, infinite social media posts and other similar types of distractions, make it more than a little challenging to maintain needed focus while reading.

For the New Year, make a “reading resolution” to take important steps to increase your focus, not only when reading but also in other areas of your life. Keep in mind 3 "focusing" goals for 2019---More focus, better focus and sustained focus.

Set aside the time to implement the following tips. You’ll be so glad you did!

1. Turn off the instant messengers, cell phone and email notifiers.

2. Practice proper posture in a chair with good support.

3. Organize your reading/study environment PRIOR to your reading session.

4. Clear your mind for 1 minute.

5. Read in 30-minute intervals.

6. Read with one specific goal in mind.

Read with mindfulness. Have a specific goal in mind before you read the content. This will not only improve your focus, but will also help you get through the material more efficiently. The more specific your goal is, the better your concentration will be.

Although these are simple strategies, they can make such a difference in positively impacting your ability to focus when reading. Practice these tips to not only improve your reading but to also help you increase focus, even in other areas of your life. Implement these tips on a daily basis to begin forming the habit of improved focus. As a result, you will then be able to comprehend and retain the information you are reading much better---both in the New Year ahead AND well beyond 2019.


5 Tips for Maintaining A Strong Focus While Reading by Joseph Rodrigues, Iris Reading, LLC

7 Tips To Improve Your Attention Span And Focus Instantly by CJ Goulding, Lifehack

For information about customizable focusing tools for readers of all ages, please visit: FocusandRead.com ---Tools for challenged readers of all ages!

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC

Friday, December 28, 2018

Have You Made Your "Reading Resolutions" for the New Year?

It's no secret that on a few days remain of the old year and a new year is fast approaching. With that new year, many will be making their annual resolutions to improve themselves, whether it be improvements in mind, body or soul. We hope you are considering and beginning to formulate your own New Year's resolutions in the coming days, especially those that will help improve your educational or learning progress in the year ahead. One of the best ways to do this might just be increasing your daily reading time, whether it is for learning content or for leisure. Spending time with a book is always a good thing---for adults as well as children and teens. Trade some of those screen-time minutes (or even hours!) for time with a favorite book or magazine related to your field of expertise or profession. Promise yourself to crack open a book of poetry from one of the masters of the 19th Century.

There are a variety of ways to increase your "book time" in the months ahead. Some ways might even positively impact not only your literacy life but also those of your family or your circle of friends. We want to be a literacy catalyst for our readers and help motivate and inspire many to pick up a book or turn on an e-reader rather than the TV. We hope this list of ideas will get you on the road to becoming a bonafide literacy catalyst in your family, school, workplace and community. That way, we will ALL have a great New Year with these new reading resolutions!

Tips to Help Promote Literacy in Your Home

1. Read to Them Daily! It’s never too early to read aloud to your child. In fact, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading to children in infancy! This special time actually promotes healthy brain development and serves to bond parent and child closer together.

2. Read in Front of Them, too! If parents “practice what they preach” about the importance of reading, it sends a loud and clear message to their kids that reading is, in fact, valuable.

3. Create Space for Reading and Writing. One way parents can make literacy appealing to children is by providing an inviting place to read and write. A desk with pens, pencils, markers and paper nearby will encourage your little one to hone his writing skills. A small bookshelf filled with books, with a comfy beanbag close by, will promote reading.

4. Take Advantage of Windows of Opportunity. Parents should look for natural opportunities throughout the day to support literacy development. Have your kiddo write the shopping list for you, read the traffic signs as you drive, and name all the things in the kitchen that start with the letter R.

5. Be Involved with Your Child's Homework. If your little one is school-age, then be available to help with homework. Children often feel overwhelmed and unsure about their assignments. Your presence can help to alleviate their anxiety as well as remind them that you place a high value on their education.

6. Visit the Library Often! Frequent visits to your public library go a long way in nurturing literacy growth in your child. Take advantage of story hours, book borrowing, and other activities offered by your local library branch.

7. Celebrate Successes with Your Child. Everyone likes a pat on the back every now and then. Be sure to celebrate when your kiddo spells a hard word correctly, finishes her book, or writes her name for the first time!

8. Turn Off the Television. Kids often need a little extra encouragement to pick up a book or pencil and paper. Parents can help this process by turning off the television at certain hours of the day. You may be surprised at what your kid finds to do once the TV is off!

9. Play Around with Words Young children learn best when playing. Provide toys that encourage literacy development. These don’t need to be the latest tech toys with all the bells and whistles. Simple toys like ABC blocks and Lincoln Logs will offer plenty of learning stimulation!

Tips to Help Promote Literacy in Your School

1. Set aside time for independent reading. Time for reading independently doesn’t just happen. Plan for it by making it a priority in schedules across K-12 classrooms. You may need to get creative by stealing minutes here and there, but find at least 15 minutes a day (20 recommended) for self-selecting, independent reading.

2. Create Literacy-Rich Environments in every K-12 Classroom. A literacy-rich environment – full of print, word walls, books, and reading materials – not only supports the Common Core standards, but also provides a setting that encourages and supports speaking, listening, reading, and writing in a variety of authentic ways – through print & digital media. Make it a priority for every K-12 classroom to be an inviting, print-rich environment that supports independent reading and student learning.

3. Support High-Quality Classroom Libraries. Students need access to interesting books and materials – both in print and online. When students are provided with well-designed classroom libraries, they interact more with books, spend more time reading, exhibit more positive attitudes toward reading, and exhibit higher levels of reading achievement (NAEP, 2002). Additionally, research-based classroom libraries support balanced literacy instruction. Support teachers in building classroom libraries through budget dollars, grants, and book drives.

4. Encourage Read Alouds. In the Becoming a Nation of Readers report (1985), experts reported that “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” Not only did the experts suggest reading aloud in the home, but they also suggested reading aloud in schools. Read alouds not only allow teachers to model that reading is a great way to spend time, but also exposes students to more complex vocabulary than they typically hear or read. Remember to read to older students, too. Occasionally reading more difficult text aloud provides opportunity for rich discussion and vocabulary development.

5. Create a “Caught Reading” Campaign that features Teachers as Readers. Creating a school-wide reading culture is important to promote reading as a lifestyle. Students need to see their teachers as readers. Create posters of teachers and staff reading their favorite books and display them in hallways throughout the schools. You can also produce bookmarks that feature teacher’s favorite book picks to help guide students as they select books for independent reading.

6. Invite Guest Readers into Classrooms. What better way to promote reading than by having guest readers read aloud to students. Invite parents and community members to select a book or article to read aloud and discuss with students. You can even make it fun by announcing them as “mystery readers” and providing clues during the week to create anticipation for the guest reader.

7. Encourage Students to Read Widely. Sometimes students get in a rut and don’t read beyond their favorite genre or author. Encourage students to read outside of their preferred genres. To build a wide vocabulary and broad background knowledge, students need to read in a wide variety of genres and text types. Through book talks, read alouds, and book displays, open students’ eyes to new authors, genres, and text types.

8. Create a Twitter Hashtag for Sharing Books. Move beyond traditional books reviews by creating a schoolwide Twitter #hashtag such as #GESTitleTalk or #PS41FavBookswhere students and teachers write super short reviews and highlights of recently read books. In addition, the librarian can create interest in books by posting new titles on the school hashtag. Teachers can create a classroom hashtag, too, such as #4thReads.

9. Host Book Clubs for Students and Parents. A community of readers sometimes happens naturally; however, book clubs are a perfect way to foster connectivity around books and reading. Students can even host their own book clubs within a classroom, grade level, or school. Reading is important for parents, too. Host a book club at school or online to help create an adult community of readers and build strong parental support for reading. “Books and Bagels” can be a perfect duo for an early morning book club.

10. Financially Support School Libraries. In an era of tightening budgets, the school library/media center needs to continue receiving financial support. While classroom libraries are vitally important to a balanced literacy program, media centers are as well. Each serves a distinctly different purpose in supporting readers. And, media centers should be staffed by licensed librarians who are experts in both children’s literature and how to build and maintain a high-quality collection that supports independent reading, research, and instruction.

For MORE Literacy Tips for School, click here.

Tips to Help Promote Literacy in Your Workplace

1. Start a Book Basket in Your Office. If you do not have a basket you can use a box or bin instead. Make sure you place it in a high traffic area, such as the mail room, the lunch area, or where everyone signs in and out. The idea is that these books are easily accessible by any colleague in order to promote leisurely reading. Bring a few books that are laying around your house that you have already read and donate them to your workplace. Everyone can take a book as long as they promise to bring at least one back to share. When the book has been read, it should be brought back so someone else can enjoy. This will also hopefully inspire some collaboration and discussion about the books.

2. Write a Weekly Reflection or Newsletter. Writing is a great way to reflect on what has happened and can help you plan out for the days or weeks to come. It also provides a sense of accomplishment once you realize all the things have been completed. This is also a great vehicle for mention of a favorite book or article read by you or a co-worker. It can keep everyone at work in the literacy loop!

3. Practice Reading or Writing Yoga. Read or write silently for at least ten minutes per day. You can easily turn your workplace into a relaxing yoga studio by dimming the lights or adding party or holiday lights. Turn on a wax burner or oil diffuser to stimulate your nostrils (as per office or workplace policies, of course). Play some instrumental music to set the tone and perhaps bring a rug, beanbag, or pillows to allow you to get more comfortable. You can even brew some hot tea or make some hot chocolate to stimulate your taste buds, too! This environment will really help relax all your senses and provide somewhat of a mental break from the stress and workload that you may be faced with each day. Try it out! You and your colleagues will be amazed on how energized and relaxed you will feel afterwards.

4. Write a Thank You Note. Many times we get caught up with work that we forgot to thank those around us. We take for granted those people that mean the most to us and those whose work goes unnoticed. Take a few minuets to write a small thank you note to someone that you work with that has done something for you or that rarely gets noticed for their hard work (the janitors, cafeteria ladies, security guards, and secretaries are a great place to start). I guarantee this small act of kindness will mean the world to whomever you deliver it to. Let them know that you care and you are grateful to work alongside them.

5. Create a Book Club in Your Office. Get a group of colleagues to commit to read a book that everyone agrees upon and set weekly or monthly expectations for what should be read. Try to meet over breakfast, lunch, or happy hour to discuss. If everyone is crunched for time, you can start a slow twitter chat and pose questions to each other regarding the book.

6. Start a Gratitude Jar. Take some time to write down what you are thankful for on some Post-It Notes. Keep them in a plastic or glass jar and place it near your computer or someplace in your office were it is easily noticeable as a daily reminder to constantly write and add to our growing gratitude jar.

Tips to Help Promote Literacy in Your Community

1. Educate Yourself and Others by Researching Literacy Websites. Start by researching some of the online resources available to you and then share them on social media or anywhere else you think they will help. Some are comprehensive directories that can help you identify help in your own community.

2. Volunteer at Your Local Literacy Council. Your local literacy council is there to help adults learn to read, do math, learn a new language, anything literacy and numeracy related. They can also help children keep up with reading in school. Staff members are trained and reliable. Participate by becoming a volunteer or by explaining the services to someone you know who might benefit from them.

3. Find Your Local Adult Education Classes for Someone Who Needs Them. Your literacy council and/or your local community college will have information about adult education classes in your area. If not, simply search online or ask at your local library. If your own county doesn't offer adult education classes, which would be surprising, check the next closest county, or contact your state education department. Every state has one.

4. Ask for Reading Primers at Your Local Library. Your local county library has resources available and can recommend special books to assist you in helping a friend learn to read. Books on beginning readers are sometimes called primers (pronounced primmer). Some are designed especially for adults to avoid the embarrassment of having to learn by reading children's books. Learn about all of the resources available to you. The library is always an excellent place to start.

5. Hire a Private Tutor for a Challenged Reader. Give the gift of reading to someone who needs it. It can be very embarrassing for an adult to admit that he or she cannot read or work simple calculations. If the thought of attending adult education classes freaks someone out, private tutors are always available. Your literacy council or library are probably your best places to find a trained tutor who will respect the student's privacy and anonymity. What a wonderful gift to give someone who won't otherwise seek help.


10 Tips to Promote Literacy at Home by Jennifer Campbell, Red Apple Reading Blog

25 Ways Schools Can Promote Literacy And Independent Reading by TeachThought

Promoting Literacy in the Workplace posted by Alejandra Guzman, High Five Science

5 Ways to Improve Adult Literacy by ThoughtCo.

For more information on literacy tips, strategies and customizable tools for all kinds of readers, please visit: FocusandRead.com ---Tools for challenged readers of all ages!

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC and Seussblog

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Encourage Challenged Readers with These Helpful Combos!

"If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk," writes author Laura Joffe Numeroff in her best-selling children's book (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie). In the same vein, if you give a child a book, there is a very good chance she will ask for another.

Books are priceless gifts that open doors to children that they might not otherwise have opened to them. Stories teach important lessons, provide escape to faraway lands and introduce children to characters that inspire and remain in their hearts for years to come. So, when it is time to think of a great gift for a child you love, think no further than a favorite book to help him remember your special thoughtfulness. Whether it is to commemorate a birthday, the Holiday Season or other important event, give a book, and chances are, you will hear about your gift often and for a long time to come.

You may wonder, "But what about a child who struggles to read or has challenges that make reading more difficult for him?" Please don't stop thinking about books as worthy gifts if this is the case. In fact, giving a book to a child with a reading challenge like dyslexia or other LD such as ADHD, autism, etc., can actually provide you with an opportunity to present an audio-book or a traditional selection accompanied by helpful reading tools. So, don't hesitate to consider the gift of one of these options that will make a child of any age smile.

Consider choosing a title with a main character that struggles with the very same reading challenge the child experiences. There are more children's books than ever before that demonstrate just how to manage and even overcome many reading and learning issues. Some attack dyslexia or ADHD head on while others infer an academic or other struggle. Whatever the case, when a child reads about a character who experiences the same issues and feelings he has, it can be the first step to helping to deal with that issue. Combine the title with helpful tools or reading aids, and you have an ideal gift option for a child who wants to read and learn with more success.

During this Holiday Season, we have gathered together a very special grouping of favorite children's selections for a variety of age groups to help you with gift giving. With books like these that are paired with innovative reading tools, not only will you be encouraging a child to read, but you will also help provide support, enjoyment, inspiration and improved self-esteem for that child. Of course, being a genuine supporter of literacy and life-long learning will be a wonderful benefit, as well. And there is always the very good chance that the child will ask for another book to read just like the mouse with the cookie and the glass of milk. Happy "Reading" Holidays, everyone!

Book & Tool Gift Sets for Challenged Readers/Learners

- Clementine (ages 6-8) by Sara Pennypacker

- My Name is Brain Brian (ages 8-12) by Jeanne Betancourt

- My Mouth Is a Volcano! (ages 5-8) by Julia Cook

- Tom's Special Talent - Dyslexia (ages 5-7) by Kate Gaynor

- Fish in a Tree (ages 10+) by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

- The Alphabet War: A Story about Dyslexia (ages 5-7) by Diane Burton Robb

- The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 1)
(ages 9+) R. Riordan

- It's Called Dyslexia (Live and Series) (ages 6-9) by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

For more information on customizable reading tools for ADHD and/or dyslexia, please visit: FocusandRead.com ---Tools for challenged readers of all ages!

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC and Amazon.com

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Latest Stats and Resources for ADHD and Dyslexia

It is October and the autumn air is a bit chilly here in the Midwest. October is also ADHD Awareness Month and Dyslexia Awareness Month. Because of this, we thought it would be helpful to our readers to provide some important and recently published statistics (from 2016) regarding these two learning disabilities. At the same time, we thought it even more important to offer a collection at the same time of updated resources to assist parents and teachers who help children with these specific challenges.

You may be surprised to learn that ADHD and dyslexia are distinct conditions that frequently overlap, thereby causing some confusion about the nature of these two conditions. ADHD is one of the most common developmental problems, affecting 9-10% of the school-age population in the U.S. It is characterized by inattention, distractability, hyperactivity (sometimes) and impulsivity.

At the same time, it is estimated that 30% of those with dyslexia have co-existing ADHD. Some experts in the fields of ADHD and dyslexia claim that this the number is closer to 40%. Co-existing means the two conditions, ADHD and dyslexia, can occur together, but they do not cause each other. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition, spelling and decoding of words. Persons with dyslexia have problems discriminating sounds within a word or phonemes, a key factor in their reading and spelling difficulties. (See IDA fact sheets Definition of Dyslexia and Dyslexia Basics in Dyslexia Resources to Help below here.)

Current Dyslexia Statistics & Information

1. Current research suggests that about 17% of the population has dyslexia (nearly 1 in 5 children).
2. An equal number of girls and boys are dyslexic. It is thought that boys are more likely to act out as a result of having a reading difficulty and are therefore more likely to be identified early. Girls, on the other hand, are more likely to try to "hide" their difficulty, becoming quiet and reserved.
3. Because the source of dyslexia lies in the brain, children do not outgrow dyslexia. With the proper intervention, children with dyslexia can learn to read well. As adults, people with dyslexia can be successful in many different careers, although many adults with dyslexia continue to have difficulty with spelling and tend to read relatively slowly.
4. The first description of dyslexia appeared in 1896 by Dr. W. Pringle Morgan in Sussex, England
5. The word dyslexia is derived from the Greek word dys (meaning poor or inadequate) plus lexis (words or language), implying only an inadequacy in language tasks.

Current ADHD Data & Statistics (2016)

1. Approximately 9.4% of children 2-17 years of age (6.1 million) had ever been diagnosed with ADHD, according to parent report in 2016.
-Ages 2-5: Approximately 388,000 children
-Ages 6-11: Approximately 2.4 million children
-Ages 12-17: Approximately 3.3 million children

2. Parent report on ADHD diagnosis in previous years:

-The percent of children 4-17 years of age ever diagnosed with ADHD had previously increased, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011-12.
-The number of young children (ages 2-5) who had ADHD at the time of the survey increased by more than 50% from the 2007-2008 survey to the 2011-12 survey.

3. Parent report in 2016, among U.S. children ages 2-17 years:

-Nearly 2 of 3 children with current ADHD had at least one other mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder. [Read article]
-About 1 out of 2 children with ADHD had a behavior or conduct problem.
-About 1 out of 3 children with ADHD had anxiety.
-Other conditions affecting children with ADHD: depression, autism spectrum disorder, and Tourette Syndrome.

Dyslexia Resources to Help

Definition of Dyslexia-from International Dyslexia Association (IDA)

FREE Dyslexia Fact Sheet-from Understood.org
What is dyslexia? This FREE one-page fact sheet (view full size) provides essential information for beginners. You can read the fact sheet online, or print it out and give it to friends, family and teachers.

Dyslexia Basics-from International Dyslexia Association (IDA)

Online Dyslexia Test-from Dyslexia Advantage (Dr. Fernette Eide)

SELF-ADVOCACY: Common Accommodations and Modifications-from Dyslexia Advantage (Dr. Fernette Eide)
One of the first steps in advocacy is knowing which accommodations and/or modifications are necessary. Here’s a nice list from the state of CT.

Accommodations for Students with Dyslexia-from International Dyslexia Association (IDA)

Dyslexia Awareness, Tools, Resources & Support

ADHD Resources to Help

ADHD Symptom Tests
Separate tests provided here for children and adults. Is it ADHD? Or learning disabilities, OCD, or something else? Take these self-tests to learn whether you or your child have symptoms that resemble attention deficit or one of the related conditions commonly diagnosed alongside ADHD. Print the results and take them to a medical professional for an appropriate diagnosis.

FREE ADHD Downloads-from ADDitude Magazine
A sizable collection of FREE printables on a variety of ADHD topics is available here. The resources provided for children and adults include information on treatment options for ADHD, neurofeedback, ADHD's impact on personal relationships and much MORE!

Strategies & Accommodations for Challenged Readers
FREE downloadable list of strategies to help readers of all ages to FOCUS and READ with more success.

FREE ADHD Podcasts-from ADDitude Magazine
Listen to ADDitude’s FREE podcast series about all things ADHD — recognizing symptoms, researching treatment, raising children, living better with attention deficit, and much more — with leading experts in ADD / ADHD. Click here for the full library of ADDitude podcast episodes.

Other Resources

VIDEO: Michelle Carter Wins Olympic Gold With Dyslexia and ADHD-from Understood.org
Michelle Carter grew up with BOTH dyslexia and ADHD. Reading and spelling were a challenge for her (they still are), and she struggled to pay attention in school. Then she found her passion and talent: track and field. It motivated her to do well enough in school to be able to continue competing. And it took her all the way to Rio in 2016, where she won an Olympic gold medal in the shot put. View this inspiring video to learn how she did it!

Tools & Apps for ADHD, Dyslexia & Other Challenges

Sources for This Article

Data & Statistics for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)-from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and Dyslexia-from International Dyslexia Association (IDA)

The Facts About Dyslexia-from PBS.org

50 Interesting Facts About Dyslexia-from Reading Horizons

For more information on customizable reading tools for ADHD and/or dyslexia, please visit: FocusandRead.com ---Tools for challenged readers of all ages!

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC and Pixabay