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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

List of Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications for Students with Learning Disabilities

Accommodations vs. Modifications?
The United States clumps accommodations and modifications under the term reasonable accommodations, but other countries, such as Canada make a distinction between the two. An accommodation describes an alteration of the environment, curriculum format, or equipment that allows an individual with a disability to gain access to content and/or complete assigned tasks. Since accommodations do not alter what is being taught, instructors should be able to implement the same grading scale.  Some examples of accommodations include: preferential seating, audiobooks, and speech to text technology. A modification describes a change in the curriculum. Modifications are made for students with disabilities who are unable to comprehend the content. For example, assignments might be simplified, or a student might receive a foreign language exemption. Some reasonable accommodations are difficult to discriminate and teeter between an accommodation and modification. For example, small group or individualized instruction could be an accommodation or a modification. It all depends on whether the expectations or curriculum is modified.

Who can Initiate Reasonable Accommodations?
Any student with a qualified disability or their legal guardian/parent can request a meeting that can result in reasonable accommodations. Please note that the disability must be documented by the school or an outside source and the results must be presented at the meeting.

What are Some Common Reasonable Accommodations?
Here is a list of general options. However, it will be your school's special education committee that decides which options will provide the necessary accommodations.


Difficulty
Accommodations/Modifications
Overall Teaching Techniques
  • Provide a consistent daily routine.
  • Make sure documents are well organized and are not too visually dense.
  • Preview new topics and review the vocabulary.
  • Review old topics to assure the retention of knowledge.
  • Use small group or one-to-one instruction.
  • Break projects into organized, activities with clear expectations and deadlines.
  • Offer reminders to write down and turn in assignments.
  • Offer modified in-class and homework assignments.
  • Provide extended time for homework assignments.
  • Provide a list of homework assignments that is accessible to the student as well as the parents.
  • Provide a foreign language substitution, waiver or exemption.
Reading/
Listening
  • Provide audiobooks through organizations such as RaziKids, Learning Alley or Bookshare.
  • Provide a picture of directions and schedules.
  • Provide extra time when reading.
  • Shorten reading assignments.
  • Simplify directions and highlight keywords.
  • Provide oral directions, check for understanding, and repeat directions - if needed.
  • Offer a larger font with less content on each page.
  • Provide text to speech and technology.
Spelling
  • Supply the use of a computer with a spell check or a hand-held spell check.
  • Offer no penalty for incorrect spelling on classroom writing and tests.
Writing
  • Supply a copy of the teacher’s or another student’s notes or provide notes with a few blanks for students to fill in.
  • Shorten writing assignments.
  • Offer a scribe for classroom writing assignments and testing situations.
  • Allow the use a tape recorder or a Smart Pen.
  • Provide a computer for written assignments and tests.
  • Provide assistive technology such as speech to text, word prediction, spell checkers and grammar checkers.
Math
  • Allow the use of graph paper for lining up math problems.
  • Read word problems aloud and assist with tricky wording.
Test-taking
  • Grant time and a half or double testing time.
  • Offer testing in a distraction-free location.
  • Avoid scantrons and allow the student to write directly on the test.
  • Allow the student to write directly on the test and avoid scantrons.
  • Simplify and reword questions on language loaded tests.
  • Provide short breaks when needed.
  • Permit the use of a calculator during testing.

I also offer a monthly newsletter that features my current projects and publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more, CLICK HERE. What's more, I will be creating an online support platform and course for creating successful learning specialist and educational therapist practices. If you want to be kept abreast of this project, be sure to sign up for my project newsletter that will be offering freebies and unique opportunities: http://eepurl.com/bZG5In
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, June 22, 2016

Cognitive Remedial Therapy for Student with Learning Disabilities: What is it?


The brain is much like the body.  If we exercise areas that are weak or underdeveloped, we can overcome significant difficulties.  In fact, we may even be able to turn a weakness into a strength. Just like a personal trainer or physical therapist can strengthen an underdeveloped bicep or repair a sprained ankle, a learning specialist or educational therapist can remediate troublesome cognitive processing areas like visual processing or auditory memory.  In fact, I often tell my students that I'm a personal trainer for the brain.

What is Cognitive Remedial Therapy?
Cognitive remedial therapy involves activities that improve mental abilities such as attention, working memory, reasoning, visual and auditory processing, cognitive flexibility, processing speed, stamina, organizational skills, time management and more.  In addition, educational therapists and learning specialists can use activities to strengthen other areas of weak cognition such as language, as well as visual and auditory processing.  This form of remediation offers a wide range of intensive interventions designed to address and eliminate learning problems.  This intervention is individualized for each learner.

How Can Cognitive Remedial Therapy Help Students with Learning Disabilities?  
Cognitive remedial therapy helps to strengthen weak areas of cognition through focused activities that target areas of weakness or deficit.  Activities begin at the individual student's level and increase in difficulty as the individual experiences success.  The key is keeping the individual in their zone of proximal development, which is an instructional area between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through solving problems with guidance. When remediation focuses intensely on one area of cognition, measurable gains can be significant.

What are the Common Key Areas that Students with Learning Disabilities Need to Strengthen?
Every student with learning disabilities has their own unique profile, but the following offers a list of some common areas of deficit:
  • Working memory
  • Executive functioning
  • Processing speed
  • Visual processing
  • Auditory processing
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Sequential processing
  • Reasoning
  • Linguistic skills
  • Higher order thinking
  • Critical thinking

How Can I Help?
As no two people with learning disabilities are alike, be sure to use a tailored approach that can meet the unique needs of each individual student. If you are looking for cognitive remedial tools, there is a great selection of options at Good Sensory Learning.

I also offer a monthly newsletter that features my current projects and publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more. Sign up below! What's more, I will be creating an online support platform and course for creating successful learning specialist and educational therapist practices. If you want to be kept abreast of this project, be sure to sign up for my project newsletter that will be offering freebies and unique opportunities. See below.
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, June 15, 2016

Dyslexia and Voice Dream Reader: A Demonstration and Discussion


This post shares my most recent video blog. Stan Gloss joins me again for a demonstration of Voice Dream Reader as well as a discussion about the many benefits of this text to voice technology for individuals with dyslexia.

Resources mentioned in the video podcast:
URL: https://youtu.be/5cdVCQoiTqU



A Breakdown of the Video:
01:29 Downloading Voice Dream Reader from iTunes
02:26 A document that reviews what’s new on Voice Dream Reader
03:17 How to adjust the speech rate
04:30 Managing and downloading voices
05:45 Learning Ally audiobook option
06:48 Adjust text size, spacing, and margins
09:07 Syncing iCloud with Audiobooks in Voice Dream Reader
11:05 Text sources for Voice Dream Reader
11:48 Using Bookshare with Voice Dream Reader
14:32 Using Bookshare and Voice Dream Reader as a reasonable accommodation for students with dyslexia
16:16 Adjusting the text color, highlight color and line color
17:14 Highlighting and exporting text
18:00 Defining words, Annotating, and pronunciation correction
20:19 Reading mode: Using a timer, finger reading and more
22:25 Pac-Man Reading Mode - helps increase reading speed
24:25 Benefits of Voice Dream Reader for individuals with dyslexia

Please note that this past May 19th, I posted a blog entitled Text to Voice - A Bookshare Demonstration and Discussion that shared the many benefits of Bookshare and touched on Voice Dream Reader. This too featured Stan Gloss, and in many ways, these posts work well together. In fact, we recorded them on the same day.

Want to see my Podcast on Voice Dream Reader with the author Winston Chen?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFfzRPFSBrQ

**Click Below to SUBSCRIBE for More Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCClFDLZtuJD99TBMGxb-ekw?sub_confirmation=1

I also offer a monthly newsletter that features my current projects and publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more. Click Here! What's more, I will be creating an online support platform and course for creating successful learning specialist and educational therapist practices. If you want to be kept abreast of this project, be sure to sign up for my project newsletter that will be offering freebies and unique opportunities. 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, June 8, 2016

504 Plan or IEP: What's the difference?

As much as we would like to think that the public school system will accommodate the individual needs of our kids, many administrators don’t like to dip from the general education fund for a single student. As a result, parents often have to fight to obtain reasonable accommodations for their children that have learning disabilities as well as other disabilities that impact learning. The key to navigating this rocky river is to understand the laws and lingo that offers mandated accommodations so that you can be the best possible advocate for your situation. This blog will compare and contrast the mandates required for both 504 and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) designations.

What are the Laws that Mandate 504 Accommodations?
1) Rehabilitation Act 1973, 1993, 1998
This 1973 Act bans discrimination against students with learning disabilities by any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance, including schools.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act


"No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States... shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance"

2) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1990, 2008 Extended Protections to State and Local Organizations:
Under ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who: 1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or 2) has a record of such an impairment; or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

What is the Law that Mandates IEP Accommodations?
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 1997, 2004
IDEA makes an attempt to ensure that every student with disabilities receives special education services and due process. More importantly, a bar was set in terms of what students with disabilities could expect: a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Under IDEA any student found to have a disability and requiring classroom accommodations must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Prepared by a team that includes school officials, teachers and parents, the IEP should contain:
  • Current level of academic achievement. 
  • Annual, measurable goals. 
  • Calendar plan for periodic progress reports. 
  • A statement of the special services and aids to be provided to the child. 
For more information and exact wording, see the U.S. Department of Education website.
A Quick Comparison of IEP and 504 Plans

Just remember, the more informed you are about your child's needs and the legal rights that they deserve, the more the schools will accommodate your situation.

I offer a monthly newsletter that features my current video podcasts, projects, publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more.  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, June 1, 2016

Dyslexia Strengths and the Creative Side with Artist and Advocate Mike Juggins: Go Dyslexia Episode 3:

This blog shares my most recent video podcast featuring artist, videographer and dyslexia advocate Mike Juggins. This is third of many free video podcasts and vlogs for Go Dyslexia!

Mike is passionate about raising a greater understanding and appreciation of dyslexia and other learning differences. Joining me from Devon, England, for a video podcast, Mike takes us on a tour of his free website, Dyslexic DaDa, that celebrates the strengthens of dyslexia. In addition, he offers stories, strategies, technology tips and more.

Resources mentioned:

1 Dyslexia: What it is all About: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDUfVCo6ito
2 The Gift Dyslexia – Mike Juggins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDDP9Oeag3g
3 Dyslexic Dada: http://www.dyslexicdada.com/
4 Inspiration: http://www.inspiration.com/
5 Zoom Video Conferencing: http://www.zoom.us/
6 Irlen Colored Glasses: http://irlen.com/
7 Mike Juggins Art: http://www.mikejuggins.co.uk/

URL https://youtu.be/_XozsnO9kbs


A Breakdown of the Video:
01:18 What makes you a dyslexia expert?
01:53 You have this incredible website, Dyslexic DaDa. Can you tell us more about that?
04:04 What does the site offer for individuals with dyslexia?
07:05 Tour of Mike’s site - Dyslexic DaDa
13:12 You have said that being dyslexic makes you a better artist. What do you mean by that?
23:01 Accepting the label of disabled gets you the academic support.
24:18 What are some of the key assistive technology devices that you have used that have helped you succeed?
29:59 What can dyslexics do to be successful in this world?

**Click Below to SUBSCRIBE for More Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCClFDLZtuJD99TBMGxb-ekw?sub_confirmation=1

I also offer a monthly newsletter that features my current projects and publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more. Click Here! What's more, I will be creating an online support platform and course for creating successful learning specialist and educational therapist practices. If you want to be kept abreast of this project, be sure to sign up for my project newsletter that will be offering freebies and unique opportunities. 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, May 25, 2016

26 Best Homework and Learning Sites

As a learning specialist and educational therapist, it is imperative to keep up with the best online sites for homework and learning.  This blog offers a list of my favorite internet resources that can be used to assist all students - but particularly "out of the box learners" or those that have learning challenges. What's more, many of these sites offer multisensory options and tools that bring the fun factor into learning.

I have sorted the sites under a number of headings to help you sift through the online resources.
  • Instruction: reteaches academic content 
  • Assistive Technology: adaptive devices that make learning easier 
  • Test Preparation: sites that help students prepare for tests 
  • Tools for Learning: a tool that assists with learning 
  • Strategies: ideas that help learners encode information 
  • Resources: texts and videos that help with the learning process

Resource

Description  

(IN = Instruction, AT = Assistive Tech, TP = Test Prep, TL = Tools, ST = Strategies, RE= Resources)

AAA Math

IN, TP, LT, RE
This website features a comprehensive set of interactive arithmetic lessons for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.   

Bookshare

AT, LT
This nonprofit organization offers recorded books for students with documented disabilities.  With authorization, you can get this service at no cost if you are a US citizen and you are a student with a print-based learning disability.  There is a small fee for others with proof of disability.  All the books are read by a computerized voice.

Boozeman Science

IN, RE
This science teacher, Paul Anderson, offers wonderful multisensory videos in the areas of biology, chemistry, earth science, anatomy, physiology, statistics, physics and more.  His free videos that have also been translated into many languages.

Brain Pop

IN, RE
This website offers animated, curriculum-based content that supports educators and engages students. Their resources include movies, quizzes, experiments, timelines, activity pages, and much more covering hundreds of topics. All content is searchable by state standards.

Bright Storm

IN
This website is a cool website that offers video-based classes that are engaging and offer real world examples.  They have classes for the SATs, AP courses, and basic math, English, history and science.  

Examville

TP, RE
This website offers study guides, notes, online video classes and strategies for difficult high school and college courses.  You can use the materials yourself, share your own study guides and create study groups with your friends or other students.  

EZ Bib

TL
This website provides citations, note taking, and research tools that are easy-to-use.  Google docs also provides a free add-on to EZ Bib.

Fact Monster

TL, RE
This website offers a large selection of kid-friendly resources to help students with their homework. It also provides several other learning materials like an almanac, thesaurus, dictionary, games and more.

Google Calendar

TL
Google Calendar offers a free calendar that can be used on your computer, Ipad or even your cell phone.  You can color code your classes and even get it to send you reminders.

Google Docs

TL, AT
Google Docs is a free Web-based application in which documents, presentations, and spreadsheets can be created, edited and stored online.  Files can be accessed from any online computer, and documents can be shared with and worked on by others.  They now offer a number of Apps that provide services such as a thesaurus and bibliography maker.

Kahoot

TP
Kahoot is a free, game-based online system that allows teachers and students to create group discussions, tests or test preparation activities (assessments) and surveys.  Questions are displayed on one screen and students can answer them through a web browser, smartphone or tablet.  It’s really fun and students love it!  You can create an account on getkahoot.com and access play at www.kahoot.it/ Click here to watch a great tutorial:

Khan Academy

TP, RE, IN, TL, ST
This not-for-profit organization provides a free, high-quality education to students around the world. They offer a growing collection videos covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to physics, chemistry, history, SAT prep and more.  To top it off, they offer a practice/lesson component that allows students to test their knowledge, and if they get stuck, the site will offer a video tutorial!  They have built into this feature motivational tools such as avatars as well as feedback and progress summaries for parents and teachers.

Learning Ally

AT, LT
Learning Ally is another nonprofit organization that offers recorded books for students with learning disabilities. For a small membership price, students with documented disabilities can get access to a large selection of audiobooks.  All of the e-books are read by real people.

NASA Space Place  IN

Prezi

TL
Bring presentations to life with Prezi. Present your ideas on a large canvas, and show their relationship with scale and placement. You can try Prezi now for free on Prezi.com

Project Gutenberg

AT, TL
This website offers over 30,000 free, public domain, electronic books to read on a computer or portable device in a number of formats.  You can search by title and author and many of their titles are also available as audio editions.

Quizlet

TP, TL

Students can browse through and use millions of flashcards created by other students and teachers, or they can make their own.  There are numerous study options: review flashcards electronically or in print form, play games that are created from the information entered, generate a multiple choice, true and false, or fill-in test, or type the answers to your questions.  They also offer visuals and a new feature that reads the information aloud.  Students can save their flashcards, share them, and even merge them for midterms or finals.

Rewordify

AT, TL
This is a free site that was created by a public school English Teacher. Rewordify.com simplifies difficult English. Enter hard sentences (or whole chapters) into the yellow box at the top of the page. You can also enter a website URL. Click Rewordify text and you'll instantly see an easier version, for fast comprehension.

Scrible

AT, TL
This site, supported by the National Science Foundation, allows students to highlight online text, annotate pages, create citations, and organize color-coded text when doing online research.  This online information can be saved in a student’s Scrible account where they can drag text into a text editor and send it to their favorite writing software.

Shakespeare Online

TP, RE
This website offers all of Shakespeare's work with simplified translations.  It also offers famous quotes.

Shmoop

TP, RE
This website features over 10,000 courses, test preparation resources, and learning guides that assist with learning.

Sheppard Software

TP, RE
This website offers some great interactive activities and games to help students learn maps, as well as math and language arts skills.

Smithsonian Ed. Students

IN, RE

This site helps kids learn about topics in history, science, and social studies, and it provides learning materials in multiple formats: games, articles, experiments, and a searchable resource library.

Sweet Search

TL, RE
Sweet Search searches only the 35,000 websites that the Sweet Search staff of research experts, librarians and teachers have evaluated and approved when creating the content. They use sites such as the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, PBS and university websites.

TedEd

IN
Within the TED-Ed video library, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed platform. This platform also allows users to take any useful educational video, not just TED's, and easily create a customized lesson around the video.

Wolfram Alpha

RE, TL
Instead of searching the internet for answers, this service has its own engine that computes answers in many subject areas.  The resources on this website are growing rapidly and it already has a massive collection of knowledge.  It’s useful for calculating difficult math problems and is a great way to check homework.
If you know of any other amazing sites, please let us know so we can add them to the list.

I also offer a monthly newsletter that features my current projects and publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more. Click Here! What's more, I will be creating an online support platform and course for creating successful learning specialist and educational therapist practices. If you want to be kept abreast of this project, be sure to sign up for my project newsletter that will be offering freebies and unique opportunities. 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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