Saturday, February 25, 2012

Helpful Apps for Dyslexia and Related Reading Issues

Updated March 26, 2015
As always, we focus on addressing the current reading needs of our clients, parents, teachers and others who communicate with us on a daily basis. This week, our emails and phone calls have been about assistance with dyslexia. Parents of new, young readers and grad students have recently described to us their children’s or their own issues with various kinds of reading challenges such as convergence insufficiency, visual stress (sometimes caused by black text on white page backgrounds) and/or an actual diagnoses of dyslexia.

With the popularity of last week’s blog article and app list for autism (it received the most visitors of all our other blog articles combined!), we thought it would be very appropriate this week to provide a list of apps dedicated to those with dyslexia-related symptoms. Here is our current list of BEST apps for this need:

1. Textkraft English: Top Smart Text Processor for iPad---Textkraft English is the perfect iPad writing tool for you, your tweens or teens to write essays, letters or email.

2. American Wordespeller – A Phonetic Dictionary App to Help Dyslexic Kids with Spelling---American Wordspeller© & Phonetic Dictionary app is great phonetic dictionary that can help and support kids with spelling difficulties and dyslexia.

3. Collections of Top Spelling Apps for Kids (Some include promo codes for free or lower prices---Issued 2/21/12 and may be time sensitive)

4. Top Apps for Dyslexia by Richele, parent of a child with dyslexia & author of Under the Golden Apple Tree (blog)---These are the author's top picks that have helped her daughter. The apps will not only benefit a child with dyslexia but any child learning or struggling to read.

5. Apps for Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities---This long list of tools can help level the playing field for you, a student or others to reading, spelling, writing, and organizational/study skills. Use of these tools can also lead to increased self-confidence in the classroom and workplace. This is an excellent list provided by DyslexiaHelp at the University of Michigan.

6. Best 5 iPad Apps for Dyslexia---by Drs.Fernette and Brock Eide

7. openWeb---Dyslexia-friendly web browser by Abbie Gonzalez

8. Reading Focus Cards Desktop App (Patent 8,360,779)
(for Macs & Windows PCs---Price: $5.99)
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 provides practical READING SUPPORT for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism and other conditions that can affect reading success. It promotes more focus, better tracking, improved fluency and greater visual comfort for reading 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 floats on top and stays on top of any underlying application, able to be moved over text on the screen by the fingers, mouse/touchpad or arrow keys, as needed. Downloadable files are available for purchase via the following direct links:

a. For Macs (desktops & notebooks):
Visit the Mac App Store and search for Reading Focus Cards or go directly to

b. For Windows PCs (desktops & laptops):
Visit Gumroad at 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.)

9. Ghotit This software program corrects the spelling of people with dyslexia and dysgraphia.

Special Note: The physical Reading Focus Cards work well to provide even more focus and concentration with iPads, Kindles, Nooks, and other related tech devices. Just remember to use a non-scratch film to protect the tech screens with this application.

Happy Reading, EVERYONE!

For more information: For ADHD focusing tools that work! For ADHD info and support

Image courtesy of & Brennan Innovators, LLC

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Awesome Apps for Autism---& More!

We know that all struggling learners and their families need extra help and support. This is particularly important for those families in the autism community. Recently, resources have become available that are “leveling the playing field” for ALL learners, especially children and adults challenged with autism spectrum disorders. We are referring to the wonderful technology that is not only available now but more accessible than ever.

This technology has taken the form of e-readers such as Kindles, Nooks, e-tablets like iPads and apps of every kind. Parents and teachers have been calling in recent weeks to tell us how our Reading Focus Cards are helping to even further increase focus and concentration when used with these tech devices. (It is commended that a non-scratch film be used to protect the tech screens for this application.)

This blog article, filled to the brim with autism apps, software programs, and other resources, is dedicated to the children and adults on the spectrum as well as to their families who support and care for them---tirelessly. We hope what is provided here will make y our days just a little bit brighter, happier, and filled with more learning success!

Apps and App Lists

Finding Good Apps for Children with Autism (how-to article containing titles of good apps)

A comprehensive list of apps used with and by people challenged with autism.

Here is an excellent list of apps from Autism Speaks, the premier organization for autism info, resources, and support.

Apps Index from A to Z--for Children with Special Needs (+ reviews & demos from Dr. Gary Brown) &

List of Top 10 Apps for Children of ALL Abilities (for iPads, iPhones, and others-from Ms. Meg Wilson)

Apps (and much MORE!) for regular students as well as an apps section entitled “Especially for Special Education” (Scroll down the page and on the right, please.)

Other Helpful Resources (More autism apps provided in the articles to follow)

1. Blog article written by Shannon Des Roches Rosa: mother, writer, & advocate for autism/special needs. Shannon’s 9 year-old son Leo was introduced to the iPad, and she documented the impact it made for Leo and the family.

2. A second blog article, also from Shannon Des Roches Rosa, a former software producer for Electronic Arts and The Learning Company, presents important information about the characteristics of great apps for kids with autism.

Websites for Autism Support

Many FREE downloadables, resources and other support for families and teachers of children with autism:

Autism ABA Materials, Lesson Plans, Data Sheets, Games, Work Tasks, and Other Educational Resources for Students with Autism:

Links to information, organizations, techniques and strategies especially for teaching students in the autism spectrum:

Links for helpful materials and information to help your student or child with autism:

TeachersFirst's resources on autism spectrum disorders and Asperger's:

For more information: For ADHD focusing tools that work! For ADHD info and support

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Comprehensive Eye Exam: Your First Line of Defense for Learning Success


Vision plays such a vital role in a child’s learning success. Many of the symptoms and behaviors often associated with learning disabilities are very similar to those caused by vision problems. In fact, in some cases, students with real vision problems are sometimes mistaken for having learning disabilities (AD/HD, autism, and other issues). For this reason, it is critical that a comprehensive vision examination be part of a complete evaluation of every child who is failing to succeed in school.

The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) has provided an excellent checklist with some signs and symptoms to look for that may indicate a vision problem. This checklist is accessible by visiting

How to Properly Identify a Vision Problem

Children should be referred for a comprehensive eye exam whenever visual symptoms are noticed or if they are not achieving their potential. Important: Many of these vision problems will not be detected during a school vision screening or limited vision assessment as part of a school physical or routine pediatric health evaluation.

Locate a medical professional (i.e. developmental optometrist) in your area who is experienced and knowledgeable in diagnosing and treating learning-related vision problems. An online tool for locating such a medical professional is available at

Resources and Support

COVD Parent Resource Center:

Information about Insurance Coverage for Vision Therapy:

What is Vision Therapy?

Jillian's Story: How Vision Therapy Changed My Daughter's Life by Robin Benoit and Jillian Benoit--- An inspiring story of determination---This book offers "a deeply personal account along with life-changing information on the importance of vision therapy."

For more information: For AD/HD focusing tools that work! For AD/HD info and support

Source of information: Credits to The official site of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gifted? Special Needs? Both? --- How to Help Your Child

(Re-published with active links)

Do you have one child who struggles to learn while your other child learns almost any concept as if it were “a piece of cake”? Perhaps you have a student who is very bright but at the same time is challenged with some aspect(s) of learning. What can a parent or teacher do?

Although my students have always known me as “Mrs. Brennan”, many adults have begun to call me “The Link Lady”. Yes, many parents and teachers email or phone me requesting resources to help their children and students learn with more success. Many of these children/students have special needs and are challenged with physical and/or developmental differences. Others are frustrated and struggle for a different reason--- because learning is not challenging enough for them!

I keep current lists of FREE resource links to share with parents and teachers. Here are just a few of these helpful resources for children at either--- or BOTH--- ends of the educational spectrum. If you need more resources, just email me, and I will be happy to provide more of them for you.

Gifted Resources Various activities for gifted and enrichment purposes Various math problems and instruction (free website)---If this link is not immediately accessible, please copy and paste it into your browser.) Provides interesting links for parents and teachers of gifted

Special Needs Resources Free reading lessons & educational activities for K-5 Learn to Read: Free Phonics games, worksheets and flashcards A collection of resources on various aspects of learning disabilities with comments from community members.

Combined Gifted and Special Needs Resources (For teachers but contains links helpful to parents regarding “gifted with learning disabilities” information) Resources for Gifted Children with Special Needs (ADD/ADHD, Learning Disabilities (LD), Asperger’s Syndrome, etc.)

For more information: For ADHD focusing tools that work! For ADHD info and support

Graphic courtesy of: