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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

88 Assistive Technology Tools for Struggling Learners

Making sense of the complex weave of assistive technology devices and applications for struggling learners can be a confusing and frustrating chore.  This blog talks about 15 different types of assistive technology that can benefit struggling learners with links to my favorite tools.  For a more comprehensive discussion of these technologies CLICK HERE
Comprehensive Technologies:
TextHelp - $
ClaroRead - $
Planning, Time Management, and Organization:
iStudies Pro - Free/$ -
Strict Workflow  - Free -
Wunderlist - Free -
Text to Speech:
IntoWords - $
NaturalReaders - Free/$
Raz-Kids - $
Voice Typing - Free
Speech to Text:
Mac Dictation - Free  
TalkTyper - Free
Audio Recorders:
Smartpen - $ -
NoteTalker - $ -
Timers and Metronomes:
Stopwatch and Timer - Free Reading Guides and Color Overlays:
Kinesthetic Desks, Chairs, and Tools:
White Noise/Noise Cancelling:
Calculators and Step by Step Math Instruction:
Calcbot - Free
ModMath - Free
PhotoMath - Free
Note-taking:
Evernote - $ -
Sonocent - Free/$
Smartpen - $
Super Note - Free/$
Soundnote - $
Graphic Organizers:
Mind Meister - Free/$
XMind - Free/$
Writing Assistance:
Word Prediction, Spell Checks, and Grammar Checks:
ClaroRead - $
Grammarly - Free/$
iWordQ- $
VeritySpell - Free
WordQ - $
OCR/Scanners - for Text-to-Speech:
Google Docs - Free
Office Lens (Mobile/ Free) - Free
Online OCR - Free/$
Prizmo - $
Snap&Read - $
Language Learning:
Duolingo - Free
Memrise - Free
I hope you found this quick summary with links helpful.  For a more comprehensive discussion of these technologies CLICK HERE

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Finding the Best, Online Tutor or Specialist for Your Child

As many of you know, the process of finding the best after school, academic and remedial support for your child is plagued with many challenges. Even if you have a great evaluation that discloses your child’s learning strengths and weaknesses, it is difficult to find a local professional that has the expertise that your child needs.

The Lack of Skilled, Accessible Learning Specialists is a Great Frustration for Many Parents:
This is a huge challenge for many families in rural areas. What’s more, the costs for one-to-one services can be difficult to manage and many professionals are booked solid. Finally, many parents don’t have the time in their schedule to be driving their children round town from appointment to appointment.

But Things are Changing:
Every day, more and more trained tutors, learning specialists, and educational therapists have adopted online tools that allows them to provide high quality, multisensory academic and remedial support to our kids through the Internet.

But Many Important Questions Need to Be Addressed:
  1. How does one find skilled professionals online?
  2. What do all those titles mean, and which option is best for my child?
  3. How do I determine if they have the right skills?
  4. How do I figure out if they are the right person for my child?
My colleague and friend, Dr. Michael Hart and I would like to help you:
We have just launched a 4-part online workshop (and downloadable materials) that addresses all these questions and more!

We cover topics including:
  • The benefits of online instruction and remediation.
  • The types of key professionals that support students through online platforms.
  • How and where to find the best person to work with your child. 
  • The 14 best questions to ask when you interview prospective online candidates.
  • What online instruction and remediation sessions should look like--including a video demonstration.
Most importantly, when you register we’re going to provide you with two PDF documents that summarize the content and will help educate you, organize your search, and provide you the resources so you can find the best support for your child.

Come Watch this Blog Post as a Video:

Come take a look at more details about our workshop here…
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Back to School: Establishing a Routine, Planning, and Managing Time


Having a great school year is largely determined by a student’s ability to plan out their day, manage their time and stick to a routine.  In other words, they need to have well developed executive functioning skills.  Executive functioning, or what I like to call the Grand Central Station of the brain, is the complex cognitive process of managing a crowd of sensory input and output and applying meaning, all while maintaining one’s “train” of thought.  Although many teachers and parents can not fathom how apparently simple tasks such as using an agenda or turning in an assignment can be difficult, the truth of the matter is, the part of the brain that manages executive functioning, is not fully developed until individuals reach their early 20's.


14 Common Signs of Executive Functioning Weaknesses  
1.   Losing materials.
2.   Forgetting to turn in assignments.
3.   Leaving things to the last minute.
4.   Underestimating the amount of time it will take to complete a task.
5.   Failing to record homework assignments.
6.   Leaving needed materials at school or home.
7.   Neglecting to prepare for tests.
8.   Failing to break down long-term assignments into manageable tasks or goals.
9. Losing focus and missing important notes or directions.
10. Losing mental stamina.
11. rushing through work.


Students with Poor Executive Functioning skills are Often Misunderstood.
It is important to realize that weak executive functioning skills are NOT the result of laziness, lack of motivation or carelessness. In fact, criticizing these learners and providing negative feedback and pressure, worsens these difficulties and can trigger feelings of helplessness.  


So What Can be Done to Assist these Students?
1.   Maintain a structured daily routine.
2.   Teach how to set priorities.
3.   Generate a consistent homework plan.
4.   Break large assignments into manageable tasks.
5.   Make do do lists.
6.   Teach study skills.
7.   Illustrate note-taking skills.
8.   Demonstrate time management skills by generating self imposed deadlines.
9.   Teach test taking strategies.
10. Provide incentives and positive reinforcement.  
11. Utilize graphic organizers for writing.
12. Teach metacognitive skills by thinking through the process aloud.


Where Can I Get Ready Made Materials and Exercises that Can Help Develop These Skills?
The Executive Functioning Cognitive Remedial Bundle offers a comprehensive approach to improving a student’s planning, time management and organization abilities.  This bundle offers a discounted suite of downloadable activities, games, and handouts that were designed to help learning specialists, educational therapist and even parents assist students in developing executive functioning skills.  To get a free sampling of activities from one of the publications in the bundle, Click Here  

If you would like to watch a video on this content, click on the image below
I hope you found this helpful! Please be sure to share this blog/video, and share your thoughts!!

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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