Skip to main content

100 Powerful Learning Specialist and Educational Therapy Materials

This week I wanted to tell you about my online store, Good Sensory Learning. I’m Dr. Erica Warren, and I established this site so I could share all the materials that I have created over the last 20+ years as a learning specialist and educational therapist. When I first began my private practice, Learning to Learn, I had great difficulty finding fun and multisensory materials for my students that were effective and engaging. So back in 2005, I made it my mission to design and distribute high-end, remedial products as well as memorable, motivating lessons that bring delight to learning. If you would like to try a free sampling of my activities , CLICK HERE . How Are the Products Organized at Good Sensory Learning? You can download my Free Printable Catalog or you can browse the site using the grey “search all products” bar in the top right of any page with keywords such as dyslexia, working memory, and executive functioning. What’s more, drop down menus in the red banner allow you t

What are the Signs of Dysgraphia and Solutions for Success?

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects written language: spelling, capturing ideas on paper, visual-spatial skills, and fine motor skills such as handwriting. Different terms are used to describe these difficulties. In fact, the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 (DSM-5) doesn’t use the term dysgraphia but uses the phrase “an impairment in written expression” which is under the category of “specific learning disorder.”
dysgraphia symptoms

What are the Signs of Dysgraphia or Impairment in Written Expression?

Handwriting is

  • Messy or illegible 
  • Covered in cross-outs and erased text
  • Burdened with improper spacing between letters and words
  • Hindered with oversized and crooked letters and words
  • Disrupted with a combination of lower and uppercase letters as well as a mixture of print and script
  • Misaligned when doing math problems

Labored written language includes

  • Pencil grip is cramped and strained
  • Word repetition
  • Word and punctuation omissions
  • Sentences are unfinished
  • Avoidant behavior and frustration when needing to complete writing assignments
  • Word finding problems and trouble coming up with ideas for writing assignments
  • Student tiring quickly when writing

Poor spelling and syntax includes

  • Trouble recalling how to spell words
  • Spelling the same word differently, even on the same page
  • Letter omissions
  • Poor grammar and sentence structure

Other issues

  • Some kids with dysgraphia struggle with critical thinking and putting in ideas into their own words.  Their verbal abilities far exceed their written output.
  • Some children with dysgraphia also struggle with other diagnoses such as ADHD, dyspraxia, and dyslexia.
  • Some students with dysgraphia experience clinical levels of stress when asked to write.
  • Many learners with dysgraphia have a poor academic self-concept.
  • Many students with dysgraphia are embarrassed for others to see their handwriting and written language.
  • Many have trouble slowing their thought processes to accommodate their slow and labored writing.
  • Many have difficulty maintaining their posture when writing.  They may slump in the chair and pull away from their work.

What are the Steps you can Take to Help a Child with Dysgraphia?

  • Understand the signs and symptoms.
  • Take notes on the specific symptoms that you see at home.
  • Ask the teachers if they're seeing any signs of dysgraphia.
  • Pursue an educational evaluation and investigate if there are other difficulties such as dyslexia, ADHD or dyspraxia.
  • Work with a learning specialist/educational therapist and/or occupational therapist and develop fine motor and visual processing skills. Three of my favorite products/Apps are Color Coded Writing and Touch and Write, and Cursive Touch and Write.
  • Determine reasonable accommodations in the classroom.
  • Uncover the appropriate technology tools that can help each student work around their areas of deficits (see suggestions below).
  • Make writing highly structured and organize by taking Dr. Warren’s course - Teaching Writing Skills. This will provide the multisensory tools, instruction, handouts, and technology training for teaching written language to students of all ages.

Skills Impacted by Dysgraphia

  • Fine motor dexterity - is the coordination of small muscle movements with the hands and other parts of the body. They may have difficulties with activities such as puzzles, using scissors, tying their shoes, holding a pencil, writing legibly.
  • Visual processing - is making sense of the visual information in the environment. These students may have problems with activities such as letter and number spacing, writing on a line, forming letters numbers and shapes, making sense of maps and other visually dense information, and/or copying images.
  • Visual spatial skills is the ability to understand, reason and remember the relations among characters or objects in space. This often manifests with difficulties completing puzzles, copying images, keeping writing on the lines and problems with spacing between words.
  • Planning and organization of ideas - involves taking all the needed information and coordinating a coherent written response. This may include recalling information, recognizing important main ideas and details, finding the right words, and using proper grammar, punctuation, and syntax.

Strategies for Accommodating and Overcoming Problems Associated with Dysgraphia

  • Use voice to text technology such as Voice typing on Google Docs. 
  • Use apps such as notability for taking class notes. This will enable students to take pictures of the smart board or Blackboard, another student's notes, graphs and more. It will also enable them to write bigger and shrink their handwriting down. If they're writing is crooked they can even select the text and straighten the orientation. Furthermore, notability allows the students to record their teacher's words when needed. 
  • Write out math notes and pull information into Google docs or Notability.
  • Use TextHelp's EquatIO to type or speak out math!
  • Use a scribe or a “secretary” to capture ideas in written form.
  • Reduce the length of assignments and oral assignments when possible. 
  • Get a copy of the teacher’s notes or another student’s class notes. 
  • Make writing highly structured and organize by taking Dr. Warren’s course - Teaching Writing Skills. This provides multisensory tools, step by step videos instruction, a color-coded approach, printable handouts, and technology training for teaching written language to students of all ages. 
  • Provide large graph paper for completing math problems so that each digit or variable can fit into their own box and problems can be lined up.
  • Offer extended time on tests and assignments that require handwritten or typed responses.
  • Provide highly structured activities/assignments and break assignments down into manageable chunks with clear expectations and deadlines.
  • Offer assistance with proofreading. Help the student to create their own editing checklist. 
  • Provide paper with raised or different colored lines to help with the formation of letters, words, and sentences. 
  • Find a comfortable pencil grip that fits over the pencil. This can help position the thumb, index and middle finger correctly.
  • Try writing on a slant board or a 3-inch binder.  Writing on a slanted surface allows the wrist to extend, the fingers flex and for the hand to naturally fall into a better writing position. 
  • Use graphic organizers to help break writing projects into manageable steps.
  • Scan worksheets so they can be completed on a computer.  There is a free iPad apps that let kids complete photographed worksheets on a tablet: SnapType.
  • Consider pursuing an evaluation to see if vision therapy may help.
I hope you found this helpful.  Reach out any time!

Cheers, Erica

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 Learning Specialist Courses.

· Blog: https://learningspecialistmaterials.blogspot.com/
· YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/warrenerica1
· Podcast: https://godyslexia.com/
· Store: http://www.Goodsensorylearning.com/ & www.dyslexiamaterials.com
· Courses: http://www.learningspecialistcourses.com/
· Newsletter Sign-up: https://app.convertkit.com/landing_pages/69400

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Do I have dyslexia - Explaining Symptoms and Myths for Kids

What do you do when you learn that your child has dyslexia? Should you hide this diagnosis to protect them from labels and misunderstandings, or should you tell them? If you do decide to tell them, how do you do this? Can you help them to overcome any potential fears or misunderstandings? These are the questions that I will answer in this blog that includes kid-friendly graphics. What are the Benefits of Telling Your Child That He or She Has Dyslexia? Educating your child with dyslexia about the common signs and misconceptions can help them to: understand that they learn in a different way than other kids that don’t have dyslexia.  shed negative labels such as stupid, careless, unmotivated and lazy. correct any misunderstandings. identify with other successful people that have or had dyslexia. acquire the needed intervention and instruction in school. learn that many people with dyslexia have strengths that others do not have. Individuals with dyslexia are often: great

How Can I Improve my Executive Functioning?

What is Executive Functioning? Executive functioning, or what I like to call the conductor of the brain, is the process of the mind gathering together and making sense of all the information we receive from our instruments or senses. Helping us to create meaning from what we see, hear, touch, taste and experience, executive functioning also allows us to focus our attention, think about new information, and make connections to what we already know. Many teachers and parents have trouble understanding how simple tasks such as remembering appointments, using an agenda or turning in assignments can be difficult, but unfortunately these and other similar tasks can be extremely challenging for some individuals. However, the good news is the part of the brain that manages executive functioning, which is called the frontal lobe, continues to develop through high school and college. Therefore, many kids that struggle with executive functioning can significantly improve their abilities.

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