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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The American Dyslexia Association Offers Free Worksheets for Children With Dyslexia


This week, I would like to feature a guest blog by the American Dyslexia Association (ADA), a wonderful resource for teachers, parents and individuals with dyslexia.  

What is ADA and What Resources Do They Offer?
ADA is a not for profit organization that provides help for individuals with dyslexia and dyscalculia by offering free online printable worksheets to help children improve their reading, writing, spelling and calculating difficulties.  The worksheets, that are based on the Attention Function Symptom (AFS) Method, help children improve academic challenges.  This scientifically proven method has been helping children with dyslexia worldwide for over 20 years.

Tell Me More About the AFS Method:
Livia Pailer-Duller, Executive Director of American Dyslexia Association, emphasizes that children with dyslexia see (perceive) things differently than non-dyslexic children because of genetically inherited difference in brain functions. This causes children with dyslexia to have difficulty recognizing and processing letters, numbers and symbols.  Based on this scientific fact, the AFS-Method goes beyond working on the symptoms of dyslexia (mistakes in reading, writing or arithmetic) by focusing on the development of the children’s attention and sensory perceptions as well.
  
How Does the AFS Method Work?
The AFS worksheets help children with dyslexia by training the different sensory perceptions in the areas of visual word recognition, memorizing the sequence of words and acoustic perception, or the sound of singular or groups of letters.  The worksheets also address spatial perception, the ability to perceive size, or distance between objects. The ADA offers over 1500 free worksheets designated to train each of these specific areas.  
  • “The AFS-Method is unique firstly because it focuses on all areas that cause the dyslexic child to make mistakes in reading, writing and doing arithmetic and secondly because it is designed to be used in a home setting. However, teachers can certainly implement this training as well,” Pailer-Duller said.
How Do I Use This Program? 
Before beginning the training and selecting a worksheet category, it is important to determine the problematic areas for each individual with dyslexia. The ADA also offers directions on how to detect challenges in the different sensory perceptions.  
  • “To achieve success, continuous training of the deficit area is important.  It is recommended working with the child 10-20 minutes a day up to five times a week,” Pailer-Duller said. 
Within a few months there should be noticeable improvement characterized by the lack of mistakes in the writing and reading of words or basic arithmetic.  For more information on these free learning aids and helping children with dyslexia visit: http://www.American-Dyslexia-Association.com
 
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.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Affording Academic Support For Students with Dyslexia


Will Insurance Companies Pay for Academic Support Outside of School?
Many families hope that their insurance coverage can help lessen the financial burden of academic assistance for children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, as study skills, development of cognitive abilities and homework help is often necessary for this population.  Although this appears to be a reasonable service, particularly for children that have a diagnosis, upon investigation, you will find that this is not the case.  Insurance companies will often accommodate medical and mental health services, but because tutors, learning specialists and educational therapists, are trained primarily in education, they don’t have the licensing credentials and codes needed for insurance companies to cover the costs. 

Are There Any Tax Benefits for Tutoring for Students with Dyslexia and other Learning Disabilities?
Before disregarding this option all together, there is good news.  According to the IRS publication 502, under the heading Special Education, with a doctor’s note, parents can include in medical expense fees the costs for tutoring by a teacher who is trained and qualified to work with learning disabilities.  Moreover, check with your employer to see if they have any other options.  Some large companies, such as IBM, offer financial support for these types of services.   

Are There Any Tax Benefits for Special Schooling for Students with Learning Disabilities?
According to the IRS publication 502, again with a doctor's note, families can be compensated for a child attending a school where the primary reason is overcoming a learning disability.  

So How Do I Decide on the Right Type of Services?
First off, make sure that you pursue a comprehensive psycho-educational assessment. This can be done through your local school district.  However, please note that many school districts often do inadequate testing, so finding a professional in your community that can do a comprehensive evaluation is best.  Make sure that they provide a thorough report that discloses the underlying cognitive weaknesses associated with the learning disability.  Then, find a highly-trained tutor, learning specialist or educational therapist in your area that can offer the remedial help needed.   Click here to read an article on finding the right professional.  Be sure to speak with each potential provider, so that you can find the best fit for your child.  

Early intervention and support is key for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.  If young learners get the right help, some areas of deficits can be remediated and children can also develop compensatory and self advocacy strategies that will help them to attain their highest potential.
 
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.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Friday, December 12, 2014

10 Great Games for Students with Dyslexia


With the holiday season almost upon us, finding fun and beneficial educational materials can be key for keeping students with dyslexia busy over the break.  What's more, you can continue to use these activities throughout the year to help remediate areas of difficulty. Games can be one of the best ways to help these kids, especially because struggling learners won't even know that their brains are hard at work!

Holiday Gift:
One of my favorite games, Puppy Party, helps students to master the short vowels sounds and is great for any Orton-Gillingham or phonics based reading program.   CLICK HERE to get your free downloadable copy!

Ten Great Games to Buy for Kids with Dyslexia:
  1. Hey What's the Big Idea: This is a fun, family game that teaches children how to generate and discriminate between main ideas and details.
  2. Word Shuffle: Word Shuffle is a fabulous word game that strengthens processing speed and language skills.  With three levels - elementary, middle school and high school, students will master concepts like rhyming words, grammar, parts of speech, figurative language and literary terms. 
  3. 5 Ws Detective:  This delightful sentence game develops language skills, sequencing, word retrieval and helps beginning writers solve silly cases by answering who did it, what they did, when it was done, and why it happened.  Players work against the clock to fill in the data and summarize their findings.     
  4. Reading Games:  Great for any Orton-Gillingham or Phonics based reading program, Reading Games offers 11 games, 17 printable decks and two printable board games that work on the different types of syllables, syllabication, affixes and compound words.
  5. Reading Games 2: Like Reading Games, these games work seamlessly with any Orton-Gillingham or Phonics based reading program.  These games focus on blending and spelling.  
  6. Reading Board Games:  Orton-Gillingham or Phonics friendly, Reading Board Games offers 7 reproducible board games that cover the 6 syllable types as well as syllabication. 
  7. Piggy Banking: This engaging board game helps players learn how to use a debit card, bank register and to write checks.  They will also learn about bank loans, bounced checks, discounts, tips, rebased, interest and more.  
  8. Place Value Panic: With 4 games ranging in difficulty level, Place Value Panic is loads of fun. The simplest game works on the ones, tens, hundreds and thousands place, whereas the most difficult level uses 13 place values. 
  9. Show Don't Tell:   Show Don't Tell is a fun, multisensory writing game that helps players to "show readers" with descriptive verbs, adjectives, adverbs, similes, metaphors and personification.  Instead of telling stories, learners will quickly master descriptive writing.
  10. Grammar Games Galore: Grammar Games Galore offers 5 new and engaging card games that help players master the parts of speech.   
I wish you and your family a wonderful, fun-filled holiday season.
 
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.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Thursday, December 4, 2014

The CodPast Celebrates the Cool and Creative side of Dyslexia

I’m so please to feature and share an interview with Sean Douglas and his Codpast!  Sean is an internet broadcaster with experience in broadcast TV news, public relations, corporate communications and podcasting.  After Sean was diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult and met other successful dyslexics, he created the Codpast, to share those stories and more with the public.

My Interview with Sean:

1) Can you please give us a brief description of The Codpast?

The Codpast is a media portal which consists of three online radio shows (podcasts), a blog, news articles and videos.  The main purpose of The Codpast is to celebrate the cool and creative side of dyslexia.  We hope it will be a place where people can come to hear positive stories that they can identify with and pick up tips and advice.  Ultimately though, we hope it will be a place where people can come to find compelling and interesting content.

2) I understand that you were diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult.  What impact did this have on you as a person and a professional?

At the time it didn’t have a huge impact, as I already knew I was dyslexic.  The diagnosis just meant I had confirmation and a certificate to prove it.  At that point, I was a news cameraman which utilized a lot of my dyslexic strengths, so once I got the diagnosis I kind of just forgot about it.

3) Many individuals with dyslexia have genius qualities.  What do you believe are your most amazing talents?

I’m extremely organized.  I wouldn’t say this is a talent, as it is something I have to work at incredibly hard. However having everything organized is what allows me to function in the kind of work I do now.  For instance I have about 12 email addresses.  Most people would see this as a huge pain but for me this is great.  I see each inbox as a folder, so for me this is actually a system where emails automatically sort themselves into the correct folders.  This is a bit time consuming to set up but once it’s up and running is saves me hours.

4) What are the ways that dyslexia creates challenges for you?

Reading and writing are challenging.  Writing emails takes forever and takes a huge amount of energy, especially when trying to convey a complicated concept.  As the world now relies more and more on text-based communication, this is a bit of an issue.  Whenever possible, I will give someone a call.  Even if it takes me a few days to get hold of someone on the phone, I know that in a 5 minute conversation I can achieve what would have taken me hours of email writing.

5) What can people learn from your website and podcasts?

I really hope people are inspired and entertained when they come to my site or listen to the podcast.  I try and keep the guests as varied as possible, so hopefully there will be many guests that people can personally identify with.  I also want to make the site quite fun and contemporary, so we do things like our Top 10 videos.

6) Who were the two most interesting people you interviewed and why?

Every story we have featured so far is different, but two that standout for me are Episode 5 with Aakash Odedra and Episode 6 with Peter Stringfellow.  I think Aakash’s story shows how important it is to accept your dyslexia. He had achieved so much in his life, but it wasn’t until the age of 21, he had an incident with his passport which forced him to accept that dyslexia was a part of him.  This allowed him to take his career to the next level.

Peter’s story was a pretty epic rock and roll tale, incorporating the Beatles, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.  But at its core, it reinforces the fact that in life things don’t always plan out the way you thought they would.  Although it may be difficult at the time, in hindsight these mishaps are generally the things that push you in a new direction you may never have thought of.

7) What have you learned from creating the Codpast?

Producing the Codpast I have learnt a hell of a lot about myself and how dyslexia has shaped the person I am.  It’s great connecting with other dyslexics and realizing there are other people that do some of the weird and quirky things that I do.  When you realize there are a whole group of people doing the same things as you, they suddenly become less strange.

The self-awareness that I have gained from producing The Codpast has also given me the confidence to be less apologetic about being dyslexic.  It’s also made me more pro-active in doing things and obtaining information in the ways that best suit me and yield the best results.

8) What can people do to support your effort?

The best thing that people can do to help the show keep going is to spread the word.  I would love people to tell their friends, retweet and share our posts on Facebook and Twitter.  Another thing that really boosts the show's visibility is when people subscribe to the show on iTunes and leave 5 star reviews; this helps the show get on the featured list on iTunes.  There is also a donations page and any donations large or small really supports this cause as, at the moment, I fund the show myself.

I also had the great opportunity to Skype with Sean.  We had fun sharing our passions and experiences.  One area that Sean discussed was the different types of assistive technology that he utilizes.  Here is a list of his four favorites:
  1. ClaroRead:  ClaroRead is text to speech software for the internet as well as scanned books and documents.  It includes visual tools such as colored text, highlighting, and it offers an enhanced spell check, homophone check and thesaurus.  ClaroRead can even read the words as you type.
  2. AudioNotetaker: Audio Notetaker offers a visual and interactive form of note-taking where audio, text and images are used to create comprehensive notes.  
  3. Global AutoCorrect:  Global AutoCorrect allows you to focus on your writing as it automatically corrects your spelling as you type. 
  4. Encrypted dictaphone:  This device records audio and is converted to another form that can not be easily understood by anyone but the authorized parties.  
Sean also shared a video of a recent speech that he gave at the Moat School in London on how Dyslexia has impacted his work life.  Thanks Sean!
So, please check out the wonderful free podcasts and other goodies at Sean's site, and share this gem with your friends and loved ones.  To learn more go to: http://thecodpast.wordpress.com/

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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

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