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Showing posts from 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 …

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,…

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:

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.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…

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 h…

10 Free Ways to Improving Visual Tracking for Weak Readers

While reading, tracking across the page from one line to the next can be tricky when the text is small, but for students with dyslexia or weak reading skills, it can be a problem regardless of the font size.  So why is this the case?  Perhaps one of the problems is poor tracking skills.
What Exactly is Tracking? Tracking is the ability for one's eyes to move smoothly across the page from one line of text to another. Tracking difficulties happen when eyes jump backward and forward and struggle to stay on a single line of text.  This results in problems such as word omissions, reversals, eye fatigue, losing your place while reading and most importantly it can impact normal reading development.  
Can Tracking be Improved? Tracking can be improved by strengthening eye muscles as well as getting your eyes and brain to work cooperatively.  There are three eye movements that need to be developed:   Fixations: The ability to hold one's eyes steady without moving off a target.Saccades: Th…

Holiday Activities that Strengthen Following Directions Skills and Freebie Offering

Do some of your students struggle with subtle linguistic cues, tricky wording and following both oral and written directions?  Difficulties in these areas can make it challenging to complete all aspects of an assignment, interpret multistep directions and comprehend multiple choice tests.  This is a common problem for students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities, however, most students benefit from the development of this skill.  So what can we do to help foster these skills while bringing in the fun factor?

With the holiday season around the corner, many students love to get into the spirit and providing festive activities can be entertaining and motivating.  My Thanksgiving and Christmas Following Directions Activities could be just what you are looking for! In fact, I offer a holiday bundle too that celebrates, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, St Patrick's Day and Valentines Day.  Come download some free sample following directions activities…

Developing Writing Skills for Students with Dyslexia

Like reading, writing is a complex process that requires students to multitask.  In fact, all students must master a number of fundamental skills before they can be expected to become competent writers. However, for students with dyslexia, the process can be even more challenging as their learning disability may impact cognitive tasks such as spelling, word finding, as well as the formulation and organization of ideas.

What are the Fundamental Skills Required to Write?
The fundamental skills include:
Transferring the inner voice into words on the page - spellingFormulation of letters or typing skillsAccess to a rich vocabulary and creative ideasAwareness of grammar, sentence structure, and literary elementsCognizance of transitions, and paragraph structure  What are the Key Features to Consider When Teaching Students with Dyslexia?
Help Students Learn to Automaticity: The fundamental skills required for writing must be done simultaneously, therefore, to become efficient and effective writ…

Improving Spelling for Students with Dyslexia

Not all students require the same remedial process even though they struggle with the same academic difficulties.  Diverse combinations of cognitive processing weaknesses and deficits can unite to create the "perfect storm" that can cause challenges with reading, math, writing, spelling and more.  In fact, no two students have the same cognitive profile, so to provide the optimal solution, one needs to consider both a student's strengths and weaknesses when designing a remedial approach.
Occasionally, I like to present the questions emailed to me from parents and teachers.  This week, I will share an email that I received from a parent in England as well as my response.

Email received: 

Hi there:
Love the website!
Our son (age 8) is dyslexic and we have been told that he has a good visual memory (so he can easily spot a correctly spelled word and can even easily distinguish the correct meanings of similar sounding words e.g. sea and see). However, he has poor memory retrieva…

OSMO Develops Verbal Reasoning, Sequential, Spatial, and Critical Thinking Skills

Being a personal trainer for the brain, I am always looking for multisensory tools that can develop the different cognitive processing areas.  A few months back, a saw a video promotion for OSMO and I was hooked.  I preordered OSMO and recently received my materials.  I'm happy to say that it has exceeded my expectations!


What Exactly is OSMO?
OSMO is a wonderful tool that brings iPad activities into the real world.  This new technology utilizes the space in front of the iPad to take games off the screen.  The use of a base and a reflective camera, allows players to interact with three game-like apps.  Drawings and physical objects are captured by the device and transported back onto the screen.  The product also provides actual tangram shapes as well as letter tiles that can be used in the activities.  Once the apps are downloaded, there is no need for the internet to play the activities.

What Do I Get When I Purchase OSMO?
OSMO comes with three, neat and well-designed boxes that mag…

Problems Using Academic Assignments or Homework as a Punishment

In the heat of the moment, it is not uncommon for both teachers and parents to assign academic work as a consequence to inappropriate behaviors.  In addition, pleasurable breaks such as recess are often withheld when students are being unruly or they don't complete classwork.  A punishment might involve a writing assignment, extra math problems or additional homework.

Why is This a Problem?
The issue with this method is that children associate negative consequences and punishments with academics.  So, for example, if Patty was told to write an essay because she exhibited inappropriate behaviors, the next time she has to write for a school assignment, she will likely associate the negativity she was feeling to writing in general.  In another instance, if Nick had to stay in from recess because he didn't get his assignment done, he will learn to dread future assignments.

What are Some Better Ways to Handle Unruly Behaviors?
Ignore bad behaviors and reward positive behaviors.  Sur…