Listing all posts with label struggling readers. Show all posts.
  1. 10 Tips to Help Children with Dysgraphia

    Does your child struggle to write on the appropriate lines provided? Do you know or teach a child who is challenged and/or frustrated with simply forming basic letters and words? A child or student with these issues just might be challenged with dysgraphia.

    Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder characterized by writing disabilities. Specifically, the disorder causes a person's writing to be distorted or incorrect. In children, the disorder generally emerges when they are first introduced to writing. They make inappropriately sized and spaced letters, or write wrong or misspelled words, despite thorough and apporpriate instruction.

    Children with the disorder may have other learning disabilities; however, they usually have no social or other academic problems. Dysgraphia in adults generally occurs after some trauma. In addition to poor handwriting, dysgraphia is characterized by wrong or odd spelling, and production of words that are not correct (i.e., using "boy" for "child"). The cause of the disorder is unknown, but in adults, it is usually associated with damage to the parietal lobe of the brain.

    1. First, CHANGE the paper used for writing.
    A person with dysgraphia experiences significant challenges in the writing process. These challenges involve the inability to organize information that is stored in memory AND getting words on to paper by handwriting or typing them.

    These 2 challenges prevent dysgraphic persons from understanding the spacing between letters, words, and sentences. In order to help your child visualize the space and to minimize frustration, first consider replacing your child’s lined paper with graph paper or turn the lined paper sideways, with each letter getting its own block/space and leaving an empty block/space between words.

    You might also try using various kinds of highlighted printing papers. There are a few online sources for such supplies. (Please see FREE downloadable templates available via the link provided below here, too.)

    Also, consider changing the color of the writing paper. A particular pastel color for paper may help alleviate some of the visual stress caused by white papers. Just the "right" colored paper for your child could make a positive difference, if only in the way he approaches the writing task.

    2. CHANGE the writing tool or instrument your child uses.
    Dysgraphia affects fine motor control. Because of this, gripping a pencil or pen lightly isn’t natural. Encourage your child to write as if she were holding a feather, or take it a bit further and give her an actual quill and ink. Feathers are delicate and children tend to handle them much more gently than they do a solid object like a pencil. If a quill is not readily available,consider using chalk, as it will crumble when pressed too hard.

    As for writing surfaces, the bigger, the better! Use an easel or a large sheet of white poster board. Another option is to use sliding glass doors on which to write (with washable markers or transparency pens) as they are huge and the glass surface naturally encourages my children to write much more softly than they would on other surfaces. An added benefit is that these large glass doors can easily and quickly be washed.

    In addition, adding a soft and comfortable pencil grip or holder to the writing tool currently used can provide much support for a struggling writer. These types of pencil grips can be found online from various special needs sources.

    3. TEACH your child to type and effectively use a computer keyboard.
    To help eliminate much of the stress of repeated writing difficulties, allow your child to express his ideas and thoughts with a word processor or computer keyboard. Providing this option can relax and enable your child to make more progress in learning in all content areas. Another option for this purpose is a portable keyboard/word processor called AlphaSmart. Although an older type of assistive technology, the AlphaSmart keyboards can provide the needed typing tool for a challenged writer and is available online either new or used.

    4. INTRODUCE your child to gross motor skill exercises.
    Show your child a few gross motor skill exercises to strengthen the arm and hand. Then incorporate these exercises into your child's daily routine. Make them fun, combining them with rhymes or your child's favorite kind of music. A good resource for these types of exercises is OT Mom Learning Activities (please see "gross motor" link below here).

    5. INTRODUCE fine motor control exercises.
    Introduce fine motor control exercises to strengthen the fingers and wrist. Add these to your child's daily activities as well. By combining these exercises with some relaxing instrumental music selections, your child may relax a bit more and be able to concentrate on the exercises more successfully. A variety of fine motor exercises can also be accessed via many special needs or OT websites such as OT Mom Learning Activities, too (please see "fine motor" link below here).

    6. CONSIDER by-passing printing & proceed directly to cursive writing.
    The move to cursive, too, can significantly reduce the levels of frustration experienced by many with dysgraphia, allowing them to relax and become better able to write. This might be a temporary by-pass of printing, or it could become more permanent, depending upon the results observed with the cursive writing.

    7. DEVELOP & UTILIZE narration or speaking skills whenever possible.
    Dysgraphia causes some individuals to experience a block between thinking something and writing it. Narration is an excellent tool for helping your child record her thoughts. Saying letters and words aloud as they are recorded on a small tech device (mp3 player or the like) or with a text-to-speech program will also be a benefit when it is time to write down those words. A handy list will have already been created.

    8. WORK TOGETHER to evaluate & change your writing goals as needed.
    Discuss at least once per week about how the accommodations are working to help your child. Even if your child is young, he can provide valuable input as to what is working and what is not. He may even have additional ideas to add or request, especially after you have begun to show him just a few helpful strategies or accommodations.

    9. DEMONSTRATE and USE large "air writing" techniques.
    Demonstrate and use large "air writing" of letters to develop a more efficient motor memory for the sequence of steps necessary in making each letter. You might also introduce "sand writing" which involves using the finder to write out letters in a sided tray of sand. These multi-sensory approaches often yield very positive results.

    10.MAKE USE of a other multi-sensory techniques.
    Make use of a variety of multi-sensory techniques to further develop handwriting skills. Visit Dysgraphia Resources to access more than 200 multi-sensory activities, tools and other resources to help your child with the challenges of dysgraphia (many of the resources there are FREE, too!)

    Sources & Resources:

    8 Strategies to Beat Dysgraphia from Homeschool Gameschool blog
    http://homeschoolgameschool.com/8-strategies-to-beat-dysgraphia/

    Strategies for Dealing with Dysgraphia by Regina G. Richards, LD Online
    http://www.ldonline.org/article/5890

    BEST Websites for Dyslexia & Dysgraphia from Help for Struggling Readers blog
    http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2013/10/best-websites-for-dyslexia-dysgraphia.html

    Pencil Grips and Holders from Fun and Function
    https://funandfunction.com/more/write-and-more/grips.html

    AlphaSmart Keyboards
    Portable assistive technology for keyboarding and word processing.
    https://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aalphasmart%20keyboards

    Fine Motor Activities from OT Mom Learning Activities
    www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/hand-exercises-for-kids.html

    Gross Motor Skill Activities-from OT Mom Learning Activities
    http://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/gross-motor-activities.html

    Able Apps for Dysgraphia from Help for Struggling Readers blog
    http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2012/08/able-apps-for-dysgraphia.html

    200+ Dysgraphia Resources---ALL in 1 Place from Brennan Innovators, LLC
    More than 200 multi-sensory resources to help someone you know with dysgraphia.
    https://www.pinterest.com/brennajn2000/dysgraphia-resources/?etslf=6371&eq=Dysgraphia
  2. These 2 Literacy Apps Work TOGETHER to Help ADHD & Dyslexic Readers Succeed!  

    With these 2 desktop apps in your tech toolbox, you'll be ready to support even more challenged readers!

    Children and adults who struggle to read, especially individuals with ADHD and dyslexia, have many more options available to them today than they did only a few years ago. Now, there are many assistive technologies possible that were not even dreamed about a decade ago. Today, both higher-level tech resources and low-tech tools can offer much help for unfocused or otherwise challenged readers.

    Some of these technologies can even be combined in order to better help the estimated 1 in 5 persons in the U.S. challenged with dyslexia or the 8 to 13% (depending on the state) of school-aged children in our country who have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorders (ADHD). These individuals can find it particularly difficult to focus, track, concentrate, comprehend and retain information when reading, especially for extended periods or when many pages of digital text must be read at a time.

    One of the most popular and easily recognizable technologies to help these challenged readers is Amazon's Kindle, the well-known e-reader launched in late 2007 that has been most disruptive to the publishing world. The Kindle technology enables readers to eliminate glare with a unique screen, diminish the starkness of white page backgrounds behind dark, virtual text, manipulate font or text sizes and more to assist persons with various reading issues.

    Turn Your Computer into a Kindle with This App from Amazon!

    If this upfront cost is prohibitive, readers should seriously consider downloading the FREE Kindle app to your desktop or laptop, whether it is a Mac or Windows PC (the app is also available for other tech devices as well via the same web page).  It costs nothing to turn one's computer into a virtual Kindle and then immediately allows the individual to purchase e-books from Amazon.com for download directly to your computer. Kindle app download link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page/
     
    Add The Reading Focus Cards Desktop App to the Kindle App & Watch What Happens on Your Desktop!

    For challenged readers who often struggle with focus and attention, tracking, comprehension and retention, it would be hard to beat the combination of the Kindle app AND an innovative application called the Reading Focus Cards desktop app (Patent 8,360,779) for Macs and Windows PC's.  If you know a challenged student or other struggling reader with ADHD or dyslexia, this 2-app combination can enable that individual to experience more comfortably focused, sustained and successful reading of e-books or other digital media.

    When in use, the virtual Reading Focus Card actually floats on top AND stays on top of e-book pages or any underlying application to more easily read a web page, Word or PDF document, Excel spreadsheet, e-book or other digital media. 

    If readers become overwhelmed with too much text on a digital page of an e-book, the Reading Focus Cards app directs the eye to what needs to be read WHILE covering as much or as little of the surrounding text as selected by the reader. Nearly an entire digital e-book page can be covered to improve focus on the text line needing attention. Reading Focus Cards desktop app download links: 
    Mac versionhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12 
    Windows PC versionhttps://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards

    The Reading Focus Cards desktop app will allow you to:

    Infinitely configure the virtual Reading Focus Card’s features to improve your focus & attention, decoding skills, reading rate, comprehension & retention!

    Easily move the virtual Reading Focus Card over an underlying e-book or other application on the screen with a touchpad, mouse, arrow keys or even with your fingers, where touch technology is applicable.

    – With this app's pop-up Toolbox, independently customize the color, level of transparency, height, width and orientation of both the virtual Reading Window and Reading Card, respectively, to provide more reading comfort to focus and block out distractions, keeping you focused on the text you need to read.

    Adjust the virtual Reading Focus Card to accommodate very large fonts or extensive paragraphs, if you choose!

    – Never worry about the virtual Reading Focus Card disappearing from the screen unexpectedly, even when using it with the Kindle app or other underlying programs! It floats on top AND stays on top of your computer screen, so you can scroll through e-book pages as well as read documents without interruption. You decide when to close the application.

    Special Note: Currently, mobile devices are unable to successfully support this unique, overlay-type Reading Focus Cards app that stays on top of and moves independently of the underlying media applications.

    Now, readers of any age and ability can improve their focus to read e-books as well as other digital media in greater comfort and with much more reading success. It is now possible with the combination of these 2 great apps, the Kindle app for Macs and Windows PC's AND the Reading Focus Cards desktop app.

    Happy Reading---now for everyone!
     
    Sources
    By the Numbers: 120+ Amazing Amazon Statistics (2016)
    by Craig Smith, of DMR
    http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/amazon-statistics/
     
    e-Book Statistics Update
    from Writing for Life
    http://www.livewritethrive.com/2012/06/18/ebook-statistics-update/
     
    Research-Based Literacy Tool – Helpful App for Struggling Readers
    by Jayne Clare, of Teachers With Apps
    http://www.teacherswithapps.com/research-based-literacy-tool-evolves-helpful-app-struggling-readers/
     
    Reading Focus Cards Desktop App---Patent 8,360,779 (for Macs & PC's)
    Macs: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12 OR visit the Mac App Store and search for the Reading Focus Cards.
    Windows PC's: https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards OR visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the Reading Focus Cards. (No URLs provided for apps in the Windows Store.)
     
    Kindle App for Macs, Windows PC's & Other Tech Devices
    from Amazon.com
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page/
     
    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
    Dickens, Charles.  Great Expectations [1867 Edition]. A Public Domain Book. N.p. N.d. e-Book.
    This is the e-book available via Amazon.com used for the screenshots in this article.
    https://www.amazon.com/Great-Expectations-Charles-Dickens-ebook/dp/B0082SWC30/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1472929542&sr=1-1&keywords=great+expectations


  3. Back-to-School Reading Resources for ADHD

    Two weeks ago, we were very privileged to once again participate as educators in an excellent gifted education program called College for Kids. This program at the St. Louis Community College-Meramec was established over 30 years ago with the inspiration and support of dedicated and committed parents of gifted children in the Greater St. Louis Area. 

    The courses in the College for Kids program are offered each summer for gifted and talented elementary and middle school youth who have completed kindergarten through eighth grade. These courses are designed to further challenge and advance gifted students' skills

    The students we worked with in the program this week were outstanding and most enjoyable to teach! We provided 2 classes each of ¡Bienvenidos, Mis Amigos!, an exploratory Spanish class and a STEM course called Mechanical Robotic Arm Build.  We certainly appreciated the enthusiasm and motivation demonstrated by these talented students. It was a GREAT week for ALL of us!

    At the same time, we could not help but notice that even in this gifted population, there were more than a few students who also had additional needs.  In our work, we have found that many parents and even teachers are not always aware that giftedness AND additional needs can sometimes co-exist for some students (called twice-exceptional).  Very often, these needs involve attention and concentration issues for gifted children and teens.  Many of their young minds require almost constant stimulation, which can in itself feed the ADHD they already may have.

    For this reason and because of our experiences with students of all abilities, we thought it would be beneficial to our readers to provide a resource list for ADHD reading tips, especially during this back-to-school season.  One of our previous articles entitled Let's Deal with Distractions---ADHD Strategies for Home & School included a rather extensive list of general home and school resources for ADHD.  

    This week, we continue to help parents and teachers in the preparation for a new school year with our ADHD resource list for reading.  We hope this list will assist our readers in helping students experience improved focus, more sustained attention and better concentration when reading (whether online or offline).  It is important to note that these resources can be helpful not only to gifted children but to ALL children with focusing and attention issues.  We hope the list and its "goodies" will provide you with the needed resources to help a child you know with the reading challenges of ADHD.

    Helpful Reading Resources for ADHD

    How to Improve Reading Skills in Children with ADHD or Learning Disabilities 
    by Matthew Cruger, Ph.D. and ADDitude Magazine
    Guaranteed tips for improving reading comprehension in children with ADHD or learning disabilities like dyslexia.

    Many ADHD Kids Also Have Reading Problems
    by Denise Mann, WebMD Health News
    About half of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may experience problems with reading, according to a new study in Pediatrics. It was found that 51% of boys with ADHD had reading problems, as did 46.7% of girls with ADHD. More information about this study and many reading resources for ADHD are offered here.

    Print & Use Tools: Study Skills from School Family
    FREE worksheets, lists and activities to help children (especially those with ADHD) become better organized, more motivated and more on top of school work.

    Desktop APP: Reading Focus Cards (Patent 8,360,779) (Price: $5.99)
    from Brennan Innovators, LLC
    This desktop app is the digital version of the physical Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), solutions for struggling readers. This app for Windows PCs and Macs provides practical READING SUPPORT for children and adults with dyslexia, ADHD, autism and other conditions that can affect reading success. It promotes more FOCUSED online reading of almost ALL digital media (webpages, PDF files, Word docs, Excel spreadsheets & more.)  In addition, the Reading Focus Cards app is compatible with and supports touch-screen technology.  The application can be moved on the screen over text by the fingers, mouse or arrow keys as needed. 

    1. For Macs (desktops & notebooks): 
    Visit the Mac App Store and search for Reading Focus Cards or go directly to 
    2. For Windows PCs (desktops & laptops):
    Visit Gumroad at https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards OR visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called Reading Focus Cards. (No URLs are ever provided for apps in the Windows Store.)


    5 Back To School Tips for Your ADD or ADHD Child 
    by Dr. Robert Myers, Child Psychologist 
    Here are some back-to-school tips to make things seem a lot easier and smoother for parents and kids.

    ADD/ADHD Resources for Teachers from TeacherVision
    Articles and many FREE resources to help educators manage the special nature of students with ADD/ADHD.

    For more information on customizable reading tools for better focus & attention, please visit:
    www.FocusandRead.com ---Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
  4. 50+ Patriotic Activities & Resources for Kids---All in 1 Place!

    We are fast approaching the 4th of July Weekend and with it the unofficial milestone of mid-summer, too. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were enjoying the season's first barbecue over the Memorial Day Weekend? Time marches on, as they say! Before we know it, Labor Day will be looming, and children will be returning to school. For now, though, let's enjoy the summer, right?

    While we are enjoying time with our families, it is also a very good idea to help prevent what is often called the summer slide or summer slowdown, terms used to describe the loss of reading and math skills that children have learned. This loss can occur when there is a decrease or lack in stimulation of young brains during extended school vacations or other academic break times.

    Though it may seem challenging to do so, it is very possible to avoid this loss of skills by working with children, using stimulating activities during those long vacation times. The Fourth of July Weekend is a perfect time to introduce these kinds of activities to help your child or grandchild avoid this learning loss, especially when we have reached the mid-point of the summer, and children just might be looking for a variety of new things to do.

    Should you choose to utilize some or all of the many resources in the link provided below here, your child or grandchild will be ahead when the new school year begins. So, keep the link handy for your use during the coming holiday weekend. You might also want to refer to it again over the Labor Day break, too.  At any rate, you will help your child enjoy our Independence Day holiday as well as help keep his mind sharp over the summer vacation period.

    Yes, we can still have fun in the sun this 4th of July, but at the same time, avoid the summer slide with an array of enjoyable reading activities, games and other related resources having a patriotic flare. That way, long after the holiday weekend is history, your children (or grandchildren) will be skipping around the summer slide and well on their way to gearing up for the coming school year while still having fun this July 4th.

    Remember to KEEP them reading and learning ALL summer long! Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July with your family!

    Link to 50+ Patriotic Reading Activities & Resources (Most are FREE!)
    https://www.pinterest.com/brennajn2000/patriotic-games-activities-resources-for-kids/?etslf=5719&eq=Patriotic
  5. Empowering Resources for Persons of ALL Ages with Autism
     
    We believe that the right tools, strategies and resources can significantly improve one’s reading and learning success, especially when reading and learning can be difficult for someone with ADHD, dyslexia and other issues.
     
    If you or someone you know is challenged with autism, however, the importance of those tools, strategies and resources may be even more important in efforts to improve the quality of life.  You may already know about the low-tech and digital Reading Focus Cards, effective tools that help challenged, unfocused readers with autism and sensory issues.  We also provide a free list of reading and learning strategies and accommodations to help persons of any age with autism.  The list can be found on this website.
     
    For this article, we wanted to address the third component---resources that can actually help to EMPOWER persons with autism to become more confident, more socially interactive and better able to overcome their obstacles.  In our efforts to write this article, we have received the assistance of Ms. Kathleen Carter, a high-school student with Asperger's (autism) and volunteer-intern-extraordinaire at EducatorLabs.  She assists the organization with its research and outreach activities. 
     
    Ms. Carter has kindly provided the first six empowering resources in our list included here.  We want to thank her for these good resources for autism.  We have added a few more links to the list and hope that because of our combined efforts, these resources may help you or others you know in the autism community to feel empowered to become more confident, more comfortable in social situations and more independent in overcoming the challenges of autism---each and every day!

    Empowering Resources for Persons with Autism

    1.   Autism Speaks Resource Guide
    http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-guide

    2.   Career Assistance for People with Autism
    http://www.hloom.com/career-assistance-for-people-with-autism/

    3.   National Center for Autism Resources & Education
    https://www.disability.gov/resource/national-center-for-autism-resources-education-ncare/

    4.   AutismNOW Transition Planning
    http://autismnow.org/in-the-classroom/transition-planning-for-students/

    5.   Aquatic Therapy for Children with Autism
    http://www.saveonpoolsupplies.com/landing/aquatic-therapy-for-children-with-autism.aspx

    6.   Autism
    http://healthfinder.gov/FindServices/SearchContext.aspx?topic=81

    7.   Equine Therapy Programs for Children with Asperger's and Autism
    http://www.equine-therapy-programs.com/aspergers.html

    8.   Autism Resources from Easter Seals
    http://www.easterseals.com/explore-resources/living-with-autism/autism-resources.html

    9.   Family Grant Opportunities (for Therapy, Assistive Technology, etc.)
    https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-library/family-grant-opportunities

    10. Resources - Solutions to Problems in the Autism Community---US Autism & Asperger Association
    http://www.usautism.org/resources.html

    11. BEST Apps for Sensory Processing Issues (iPad, Android and Desktop Apps)
    http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2015/04/best-apps-for-sensory-processing-issues.html

    12. BEST Apps for Autism-2015 (iPad, Android and Desktop Apps)
    http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2015/01/best-apps-for-autism-2015.html

  6. Better Reading & Writing with the World’s BEST Grammar Checker

    We all know that the ability to read well is an all-important keystone for success in the classroom and in life.  The right strategies and tools can significantly improve one’s reading skills, particularly when learning to read is a challenge (i.e., ADHD, dyslexia and other issues).

    Writing skills, on the other hand, have traditionally relied more on one’s ability to apply what has been learned through reading.  This includes a host of important skills, especially in the area of proofreading: knowledge of mechanics, proper spelling, appropriate grammar usage and more.  Yes, there are strategies for learning the rules and methods of proofreading a body of text, but having a reliable tool at-the-ready for a writer can provide needed support and reinforcement of such rules and methods.  Unfortunately, it has been more than a little challenging to find a worthy tool that provides both accurate and comprehensive proofreading assistance for writers---until very recently.

    Although we have very competent writers on our staff here at Brennan Innovators, we have been less than impressed with the traditional spell checkers and poor grammar checking tools found online.  However, just a few months ago, we discovered Grammarly.com, a great site that we believe offers reliable tools for proofreading letters, papers and other documents with a surprising amount of accuracy.  Although its resources may not be a direct replacement for a professional proofreader, Grammarly.com does offer writers a second set of eyes for their proofreading needs. 

    The Grammarly software actually scans text for more than 250 types of grammar mistakes in six distinct writing genres. Grammarly also provides informative flash cards to help a writer transform weak areas into strengths.  In fact, Top Ten Reviews, an independent provider of reliable information for consumers, says, “Everything about Grammarly centers on not only improving written texts, but also developing the writers themselves.” This is one of the reasons it has earned the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for 2015.  

    We think using the award-winning Grammarly tools now gives individuals the proofreading support they have been needing and wanting for a long time in order to help them significantly improve their writing.  They only need to visit Grammarly.com to make it happen!

    Resources

    Grammarly.com
    Grammarly improves your emails, social media posts, and documents by checking for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. FREE and various paid account options are available.
    https://www.grammarly.com/grammar-check

    Top Ten Reviews
    Here is the link to the online review of Grammarly.com provided by Top Ten Reviews.
    http://online-grammar-check-review.toptenreviews.com  
  7. The Reading Focus Cards: Helpful Focusing Tools for Books, Technology & More! 

    As we come to the end of the month of October, LD Awareness Month is also drawing to a close.  We all know, however, that the awareness raised for special needs and learning challenges this past month cannot remain static.  We need to continue to be advocates for those who are unable to advocate for themselves and help teach those who are able the strategies that can enable their voices and needs to be heard---and addressed effectively.

    At the same time, we want to ensure that the helpful resources, techniques and tools already available can be utilized in the most effective ways.  That is the reason for this article.  We want to demonstrate that the Reading Focus Cards you may already have can be used in variety of other ways as well.  Since diagrams and photos are important means of teaching visual learners, we have decided to present most of this information in that format.  We hope you will find a few more options here for using BOTH sizes of your Reading Focus Cards.

    Other Options for Using the Reading Focus Cards
    (Patent 7,565,759)


      Use with e-Readers (i.e., Kindles, Nooks, etc.)

    Use the SHORTER size of the Reading Focus Card (Model #001),
    moving it straight down the the screen of the device.  

    Special Note:  Please use a protective film for all tech device screens with this application.     

    Use with e-Tablets (i.e., iPads, Androids, etc.)

    Use the LONGER size of the Reading Focus Card (Model #002),
    moving it straight down the the screen of the device.  

    Special Note:  Please use a protective film for all tech device screens with this application.      

    Choose the BEST Option for YOUR Focus & Reading Success!


    For larger font sizes, one line of text can be read through the Reading Window.








    When font sizes are smaller, it can be possible to view more than one
    line of text in the Readng Window.





    If a reader prefers NO colored Reading Filter, the area of the
    Reading Focus Card that precedes the Reading Notch can be
    another option for reading text lines from left to right.

    This application is also quite helpful for breaking down words into phonemes or syllables.  Just uncover (from left to right) the letters, phonemes or syllables needed at a time.  This application can be especially helpful for readers with dyslexiaELL/ESL students or new, young readers in word-attack skill building activities.

    Another Option for More Focus & Reading Comfort

    For readers who prefer NO colored Reading Filter but desire text already read to be visible and text not yet read to be covered, simply turn the Reading Focus Card 180 degrees from its horizontal position to access a LONG, unframed section of text.

    Use the Reading Focus Cards with Math Applications, too!

    For long addition, multiplication and division, the SHORTER Reading Focus Card can help increase focus on the needed place holder column and improve accuracy with problem solving.

    Some readers may choose to use both sizes of the Reading Focus Card when working with math and science equations (tool size determined by equation length).

    The Reading Focus Cards Are IDEAL Tools for Tests & Exams

    For bubble-type test answer sheets (such as Scantron, etc. and where permitted), the Reading Focus Cards allow the reader to locate AND retain the appropriate line of bubbles for a specific test question.  Using the tools in this application can actually help increase the participant's focus, rate and test accuracy

    Special Note:  Many states in the U.S. currently allow the use of tools such as these on annual state achievement tests (usually for students with IEPs or 504 Plans only).  However, there may be conditions required for this permission.  Please check with DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) in your particular state.

    Craft & Household Uses for the Reading Focus Cards

    Special Note:
     For the following use options, simply turn the Reading Focus Card over or upside-down so that the gripping side of the tool faces the page of text.  This will keep the reading tool in place until the reader is ready to move it to other text.

    It's easy to lose one's place when working with a crochet, knitting and other craft or hobby patterns.  However, with the Reading Focus Cards, your favorite activities become so much easier AND more enjoyable, too!



    The Reading Focus Cards can also help in the kitchen.  When reading recipes, you won't add an ingredient more than once if you retain your place in the ingredient list with this tool (usually the SHORTER tool).
  8. Reading with COLOR---What a Difference It Can Make!

    It is an unfortunate statistic that as many as 80% of U.S. students with learning disabilities (LD) have problems with reading.  A number of these children experience such reading problems because of dyslexia, convergence insufficiency, or other vision-related reading issues.  Others are challenged with attention deficits (AD/HD), autism, low vision, stroke recovery issues or TBI issues that many times will negatively impact reading success.
     
    If you notice your child or your student is struggling to read, there are a few strategies that can be implemented to help to improve reading success.  Interestingly enough, the strategies to follow here involve the use of COLOR, which can improve the connections made in the brain when one is attempting to read.  Consider one or more of these tips:

    COLOR Strategies for More Reading Success
     

        1.  Colored Paper:  When reading printed media such as worksheets, etc., consider copying the documents on colored paper instead of on traditional white copy paper.  A ream of several different colors can be purchased at your local office supply store.  Each week, try a different color of paper until the “optimum” color is discovered; that is, the color that provides the most eye comfort and focus, allowing the reader to better attend to the text and more successfully comprehend the printed material.
             REASON:   White page backgrounds can cause “visual stress” for some readers.  As a result, these readers often struggle with focusing which affects attention and comprehension.  These visually- stressed readers can also experience fatigue much sooner, and their retention of what is read is often significantly impacted.
     
        2.  Colored Overlays:  Place a colored yet transparent plastic sheet over a page of text to be read.  These can be purchased at some office or art supply stores.  Consider trying a variety of different colored sheets, one color at a time with a resting interval between each color trial.  There is a good possibility that one particular color may promote more focus and comfort for the reader than other colors. Try pastels as well as dark and brighter colors.  Introducing the best or “right” color can positively affect the appearance of printed text for a reader with symptoms of dyslexia or other reading challenge.  The reader may report that the letters stopped “moving out”, “waving out” or “shadowing” on the page. (Please see REASON above here.)
     
        3.  Reading Focus Cards: These sensory-appealing tools combine the features of the 2 options above AND also focus the eye in one directed area.  The Reading Focus Cards are able to isolate 1 or 2 lines of text on a page and block more surrounding text than any other tool available.  In addition, these tools allow the reader to change white page backgrounds with a selected colored filter (included with each tool). 

    If you try the strategies described above here, and the reading problems persist, consider visiting a developmental optometrist.  This medical professional can evaluate, diagnose and treat children and adults with vision-related reading challenges.  To locate this specialized optometrist, please visit the website for the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (Please see Resources to follow here).  There you will find a “Locate a Doctor” tool in the upper right hand corner of each of the web pages on the site.  This will enable you to locate a developmental optometrist in your area.

    Resources:     
     
    Facts and Statistics on Learning Disabilities and Literacy---Publication with statistics and other information related to LD and literacy issues.
    http://www.floridatechnet.org/bridges/factsandstats.pdf
     
    College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) Website---Information about vision-related reading challenges from the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.  Site includes an online 
    tool to “Locate a Doctor” in a specific geographical area.
    http://covd.org/

  9. ADHD Tips, Tricks & Strategies for Adults

    ADHD is not just a challenge that affects children and teens.  Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder can affect adults as well.  In fact, current statistics indicate that approximately 8.1% of the U.S. adult population is challenged with some form of ADHD (Source: National Institute of Mental Health).  However, this is certainly a condition whose symptoms can be managed with success. It just might take the right strategies and resources to help make it happen.  It might also mean learning to “channel” that ever-present energy in the right direction.
     
    We have gathered together here a short list of just the right resources to help adults who are truly MOTIVATED to manage these symptoms so that they can have more control over their daily lives.  Not only will these offerings help improve daily life at home and at work, but they will also improve the self-esteem and level of confidence for an adult challenged with ADHD.  We hope you find them helpful!

     
    Tips, Strategies & Resources for Adults with ADHD
     
    Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Among Adults---Statistics for U.S. adults with ADHD from National Institute of Mental Health--- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and into adulthood.  Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).
    http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ADHD_ADULT.shtml

     
    12 Tips for Getting Organized for Adults with ADHD---article by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
    There are small steps you can take to organize your space and your life.  Attention and ADHD coach Laura Rolands and clinical psychologist and ADHD expert Ari Tuckman share their strategies for getting a handle on clutter and creating a clean space.
    http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/12-tips-for-getting-organized-for-adults-with-adhd/

     
    How I Got My Groove Back ---by Gina Pera
    Top 10 tips for putting the brakes on the ADD/ADHD roller coaster

    http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/7218.html

    VIDEO: Tools for Managing Adult ADHD---by Dr. Abigail Levrini (Length: approx. 24 minutes)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE2nakvjNes

    Adult ADHD: 50 Tips of Management---by Edward M Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D.
    Excellent article with practical strategies and written by the physician team, Hallowell and Ratey, renowned ADHD specialists
    http://www.addresources.org/?q=node/253

     
    Have a GREAT week with these new ADHD strategies and tips!
  10. ADHD Tips, Tricks, & Strategies for Parents & Teachers

    Whether you or someone you know is challenged with ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), it is understood that struggles with organization and follow-through occur all too often and can disrupt daily life.  It’s so easy to focus on the struggles and spend much less time, if any, thinking about solutions or strategies to manage those issues. 
     
    So, we thought we would provide you with some strategies to help with just this---management of ADHD symptoms and challenges.  We organized the tips into separate lists, depending on who would be using the information.   The post today is the first of three articles on this topic, each prepared for a specific group of individuals: 
     
    Week 1:  ADHD Tips, Tricks & Strategies for Parents & Teachers
     
    Week 2:  ADHD Tips, Tricks & Strategies for Teens & College Students
     
    Week 3:  ADHD Tips, Tricks 
    & Strategies for Adults
     
    If you are a parent or teacher of one or more children with ADHD, then this week’s article is for you.  We hope you’ll find the following list of ideas and strategies to be helpful for your child(ren) or students who struggle daily with ADHD:
     
    List of ADHD Tips & Tricks for Parents & Teachers
     
    1.       One of the most important things to keep in mind with your child or student who struggles with ADHD is to think in “small bytes”---small bytes when imparting information, making requests, and doing tasks.  Isolate, focus on or mention just ONE thing---one fact, one step, one question or one chore at a time until it is accomplished or completed.


              Dialogue Suggestions:
              a.  Parent:  “Molly, let’s first pick up the clothes on the floor.”
              b.  Teacher:  “Let’s just focus on the first question at the end of the chapter.”
     
    2.       Good communication between parents and teachers is always important for every student’s success in school.  However, when ADHD is part of a child or teen’s life, excellent communication between home and school is essential and can determine a student’s achievement level for an entire year (or more.)  Decide early in each school year to establish good communication channels to best benefit your child or each student.  Inform all concerned in the method and approach for best communication results (school email system, protocol for phone messages, etc.)
     
    3.       Think about using pastel-colored paper for printing worksheets for the classroom, if you are a teacher.   For parents, think of ways to change the white background of book pages to a more soothing, less visually-stressing color (pastels or the child’s favorite color).  Colored overlays can also be very good for this as can be the Reading Focus Cards (with a choice of 3 colored reading filters included with each focus card).
     
    4.       Consider the use of a sound therapy machine or a simple CD player with nature sounds can relax some students and help block out other distractions in a classroom (headphones may be needed for these or other students in the classroom.)  These same tools can also soothe a child at the end of a long, hectic day so that sleep is more easily possible.  Also, for parents, it may be good to know that the use of a few drops of lavender oil (from a pharmacist, online resource for vitamins or natural remedies, etc.) on a child’s pillow can provide the natural aromatherapy needed to induce sleep without the side effects of medication.
     
    5.       Plan to introduce just one of these strategies above (from 1 to 4) each week.  To try more than one may make any other attempted strategies less effective or not effective at all.  Keep in mind, “This one thing I do,” for you, your child or your student.
     
    These are only a small sampling of tips and tricks for children and students with ADHD.  You may have already discovered others that work well, too.  Please tell us about them in the comments section of this page.  We will certainly appreciate your good input on this topic.  We wish you much success with these strategies and hope that they will in some way help improve the quality of life for your child, your family, your students and your classroom.

    All the BEST of learning SUCCESS!

  11. ADHD?  Success Begins with Good Support         
                                                                          
    Happy New Year to you!  We want to wish all our readers here much success in the new year, especially in the area of reading success.
     
    If you are a challenged adult reader, a teacher or the parent of a struggling reader, you have just discovered a blog that should offer both help and support.  The articles in this blog will provide you with effective strategies, tools and resources for readers of all ages who are challenged.  These challenges may be ADHD, dyslexia, autism, low vision issues or other conditions that can affect one's reading ability.
     
    Our first article in this blog is dedicated to the many children and adults who struggle daily with ADHD (attention deficit disorder---both hyperactive and/or inattentive types).  The American Psychiatric Association states in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) that 3%-7% of school-aged children have ADHD.  However, studies have estimated higher rates in community samples

    It is important to note that the most recent data (for the U.S.) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that:


    1. The percentage of children with a parent-reported ADHD diagnosis increased by 22% between 2003 and 2007
    2. The rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 and an average of 5.5% per year from 2003 to 2007
    3. Boys (13.2%) were more likely than girls (5.6%) to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.

    Source:  Article---Increasing Prevalence of Parent-Reported Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Among Children --- United States, 2003 and 2007 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5944a3.htm?s_cid=mm5944a3_w 
     
    Because of the focus and concentration challenges associated with attention deficit disorder, we wanted to provide you with some resources that might benefit readers with ADHD whom you know and wish to help.
     
    ADHD Resources

    Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder---Current data and statistics for ADHD in the U.S.
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html
     
    Diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Learning Disability---Article from Vital and Health Statistics published July 2008---Series 10, Number 237 (from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-CDC-National Center for Health Statistics)
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/Sr10_237.pdf
     
    CHADD--- CHADD (Children & Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is the nation’s leading non-profit organization serving individuals with ADHD and their families. CHADD has over 16,000 members in 200 local chapters throughout the U.S. Chapters offer support for individuals, parents, teachers, professionals, and others.  The website offers many resources to help individuals and families challenged with ADHD.
    http://www.chadd.org/


    Help for Struggling Readers---Excellent blog for challenged readers, their parents and teachers!  Contains 85+ articles to help children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, convergence insufficiency and other issues who struggle with reading.
    http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/
     
    FREE Printables from ADDitude Magazine---Complimentary, downloadable resources from the premier publication for individuals and families challenged with ADHD (includes such printables as 40 School Accommodations That Work, Strengthen Your IEP, 6 Steps to Success at School and more!)
    http://www.additudemag.com/resources/free-downloads/9206.html/accommodations-for-adhd-children 
     
    Here’s to MORE reading SUCCESS in the New Year!

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