15+ Helpful Strategies & Tools for Challenged Readers & Learners
Reading and learning do not come easily for every
child. Parents and teachers often look for specific strategies, tools and other resources to assist struggling readers and learners, especially the 6.4 million children with ADHD
and the nearly 1 in 5 children with dyslexia
in addition to other issues. Here are just a few ways you might consider when helping the challenged reader(s) or learner(s) in your life:
Request or allow for course and book content to be available via audiotape, CD, or DVD
2. Use a portable, hand-held spell checker
(such as the Franklin Spelling Ace) for unknown words.
3. Use graph paper, a ruler or the Reading Focus Cards for more focus with math work
(i.e., to help promote more accurate number placement in column addition, long division, equations, etc.)
4. Use interactive computer reading programs
that support challenged readers or learners and require only a limited number of tasks at a time.
5. Underline or highlight important key words in a set of directions
BEFORE beginning an assignment.
6. Fold a worksheet so that only a small amount of text, information, or problems is visible at one time
. Using individualized tools can help with this as well.
7. Allow for moving to optional work areas
with less distraction.
8. Allow for the experience of a variety of sensory learning techniques
such as those derived from the use of a computer, tape recorder, projector, and/or manipulatives. The more senses you appeal to in the learning process, the more success and retention the student will experience.
9. Use word processors or computers to complete written work
, especially when writing is a struggle.
10. Allow for kneeling or standing at a desk
(if needed), as long as it does not cause problems or distractions for other children or students.
11. Allow for access to a copy of prepared notes
, especially after a teaching session or discussion.
12. Arrange for a second set of textbooks at home
so that materials are always at hand when needed.
13. Use very low-volume music
(instrumental) or environmental sounds (seashore or other nature sounds) while doing independent work.
14. Allow for a child or student to work cooperatively
at times with others as part of a "buddy" system of support.
15. Use colored paper
for all printed materials including worksheets, outlines, notes, etc. Experiment with pastels as well as bright shades. One particular color may produce the best results for an individual.
16. Consider the use of colored overlays or the Reading Focus Cards for focus and reading challenges
because the white background of a page of text can be visually “offensive” to some readers/learners. In addition to being used with physical
books and worksheets, these types of reading tools are also very good for use with e-readers
(i.e., Kindles, Nooks, etc.) as well as with e-tablets
(i.e., iPads, etc.)
A non-scratch film should be used to protect tech device screens with this application.
Utilize the many online educational resources available like math.com
or Khan Academy
as well as other similar free websites for help with specific math and science challenges
Consider using the webste live ink
for readers at all levels of ability to re-format text
in order to deliver instant benefits like improved comprehension, retention, fluency and efficiency (speed & accuracy) as well as reduced eye strain and other advantages.
19. For reading online and/or offline digital media
, use the Reading Focus Cards desktop app
with Macs and Windows PC's to provide more focus and fluency, better tracking, increased comprehension and improved retention for unfocused or overwhelmed readers.
2 Literacy Apps That 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 version: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12
Windows XP, 7, 8 & 10 versions: https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards
Windows 10 version only: https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9WZDNCRDF33D
The Reading Focus Cards desktop app
will allow you to:
– Infinitely configure
Reading Focus Card’s features to improve your focus & attention
, decoding skills
, reading rate
– 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
of both the virtual
Reading Window and Reading Card, respectively, to provide more reading comfort
and block out distractions
, keeping you focused on the text you need to read.
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.
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!
By the Numbers: 120+ Amazing Amazon Statistics (2016)
by Craig Smith, of DMR
e-Book Statistics Update
from Writing for Life
Research-Based Literacy Tool – Helpful App for Struggling Readers
by Jayne Clare, of Teachers With Apps
Reading Focus Cards Desktop App
---Patent 8,360,779 (for Macs & PC's)
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.)
for Macs, Windows PC's & Other Tech Devices
by Charles Dickens
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations
. 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.
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
The Ultimate Reading Guide for Your Child
Are you hoping your child will love reading as much as you do? Or are you interested in ensuring your child enjoys reading because it was never one of your favorite things to do. Either way, here are some practical tips to help you turn your child into a book lover.
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:
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
||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 dyslexia, ELL/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).
BEST Websites for LD
It is October and LD Awareness Month
! We're commemorating the month by honoring parents and teachers of children with special learning needs as well as challenged adults. In this blog article, we have decided to provide what many of these individuals often request of us---information and resources for learning disabilities and differences (LD). We believe that the best way to do that is by presenting a GOOD list of online resources and websites in various LD categories
. In this way, parents, teachers and adults challenged with specific reading or learning issues will have a go-to page
to help give them direction and a place to start for the assistance they need.
We hope you will find the following categorized list of LD websites
helpful for you or for someone you care about each day!
Categorized List for LD Websites
AD/HD (ADHD or ADD)
AD/HD is the notation for ADD (no hyperactivity) or ADHD (with the hyperactivity component). Both children and adults can be affected by the condition, and it can occur in varying degrees of severity from one individual to another. There really is no cure for ADHD, but it is very possible to effectively manage the symptoms of the disorder, which may include assistive tools, strategies, coaching and other helpful resources.
(Children and Adults
with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a national non-profit organization working to improve the lives of affected people through education, advocacy and support. From lobbying to local support groups, CHADD is a leader in the field of ADHD.
2. National Resource Center on AD/HD (Sponsored by CHADD)
is the center funded by the CDC. It has much science-based information about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
3. ADD Resources
is another non-profit serving the ADHD community. It has an extensive directory of workshops, conferences, publications, and articles for parents, teachers, adults, and medical professionals.
The organization supports itself through memberships. (A fee may be charged to access some
1. Understanding Dyslexia---from Understood
2. International Dyslexia Association
3. The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
4. DyslexiaHelp at the University of Michigan
1. National Center for Learning Disabilities---Dysgraphia
2. LD Online--- Dysgraphia
3. LDA---Learning Disabilities Association of America--- Dysgraphia
4. Handwriting Problem Solutions, LLC
1. Understanding Dyscalculia-from Understood
2. Dyscalculia.org-Math Tools
1. Dyspraxia Foundation USA
2. Understand Dyspraxia in Kids with Dyspraxia Simulator---from Understood
3. Blog: occupationaltherapyforchildren.over-blog.com
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition that exists when sensory signals do not get organized into appropriate responses. The condition prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving information needed to interpret sensory input correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively (from STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder).
1. The STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder
2. Sensory Processing Disorder Resource Center
3. Physician Fact Sheet Sensory Processing Disorder Signs and Symptoms
Executive Function Disorder (EFD)
Many individuals struggle with executive function
, which governs a person’s ability to plan, organize and manage details in everyday life
1. Executive Function Disorder - Practical Advice for Parents---from Understood
2. Executive Function 101
---FREE e-Book from the National Center for Learning Disabilities
3. Is It Executive Function Disorder (EFD) or ADD/ADHD?---from ADDitude Magazine
4. What Is Executive Function?---from WebMD
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)
The most recent data from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control, 2012) indicates that in the U.S., about 1 in 88 children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Autism spectrum disorders are almost five times more common among boys than girls – with 1 in 54 boys identified.
1. Autism vs. Learning and Attention Issues: What You Need to Know---from Understood
2. Websites for Families---from Autism Speaks
3. National Autism Association
4. TeachersFirst Resources on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger’s
5. Statistics for the Prevalence of Autism and Other Related Data---from the Centers for Disease Control
From the CDC's Autism and Devlopmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, 2012
BEST Organizational Apps for ADHD
It is Back-to-School Season! As the new school year approaches, many parents of children with ADHD can become more than a little anxious. The relaxed days of summer offered a welcome respite from the prodding to complete homework assignments, the scheduling of school activities and the daily challenges of ADHD
. Now with the pending return to school, it is easy to see that these parents and their children are reluctant to leave behind those lazy, hazy days if summer.
We can help you, your child or teen manage some of these challenges, however. Because our Reading Focus Cards
work well with e-readers
(shorter size) and e-tablets
(longer size), we continue to receive quite a number of requests for lists of apps to help students of all ages with many of these ADHD challenges. In fact, there are currently a significant number of apps available that can help "tame the ADHD tiger" or at least manage some of the issues and symptoms often experienced with this disorder.
Organizational skills are usually at the top of the list of issues, as these skills can frequently impact many of the other ADHD issues. For example, if a student's study area is always in a state of chaos, it is often very difficult to find homework assignments, class notes and even text books or other learning materials.
For this reason, we have gathered together here a few apps to assist you (or someone you care about) with these organizational challenges. We hope you will find that these app resources will help start your new school year on the right foot. Have a GREAT
school year, everyone!
Links to BEST Organizational Apps for ADHD
Save your ideas, things you like, things you hear and things you see. This application works with nearly every computer, phone and mobile device available today. Evernote makes remembering easy!
Google Calendar (
for Android & iOS) (FREE)
The Calendar app displays events from each of your Google Accounts that synchronizes with your Android device. You can also:
-Create, edit and delete events
-View all your calendars at the same time, including non-Google calendars
-Quickly email all event guests from a notification with a customizable message.
For Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.calendar&hl=en
For Apple iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-calendar/id909319292?mt=8
(for Mac, iPhone & iPad) ($9.99)
This is a task-management tool that's easy to use, yet has all the power when you need it. Projects, tags, repeat tasks – will all be at your fingertips. No matter what device you're on, Things Cloud
keeps your to-dos updated across them all - automatically.
14 BEST iPhone/iPad & Android Apps for People w/ ADHD
ADHD is challenging, especially in this age of instant gratification, constant distraction and the need for everything at our finger tips. Even persons without ADHD find the world a distracting place. This collection of organizational apps for various tech devices can help make life easier for everyone, especially individuals with ADHD.
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 8.7% of the U.S. adult population is challenged with some form of ADHD (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, 2011). 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).
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.
How I Got My Groove Back ---by Gina Pera
Top 10 tips for putting the brakes on the ADD/ADHD roller coaster
VIDEO: Tools for Managing Adult ADHD---by Dr. Abigail Levrini (Length: approx. 24 minutes)
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
Have a GREAT week with these new ADHD strategies and tips!
ADHD Tips, Tricks & Strategies for Teens & College Students
As promised this week, we are providing our readers with a good list of helpful tips for teens and college students with ADHD. Some students in this age group often develope their own strategies to overcome or manage many of the symptoms of ADHD by the time they reach late high school or college. However, there are many who are not able to do this or who have tried to adapt but in vain.
There are specific learning strategies and study techniques that can make a measurable difference for teens and college students who really want to enjoy more academic success. We have compiled a short list of these for you to try as you begin this new semester. Just attempt to do one at a time to see how it fits in with your own personal learning style. You may find that 1 or 2 of them are good strategies for you where others are not as helpful.
Please let us know which ones work best for you and why. We’re interested in your learning success. We also would like to know if there are successful strategies you use that are not listed here. Please feel free to share these in the comment box to follow. Your good ideas could help others who are working hard to manage the many symptoms of ADHD---just like you!
List of ADHD Tips & Tricks for Teens & College Students
1. First , Learn to Be a Good Advocate for Yourself
a. Requesting time to talk with teachers, instructors and tutors can be a good first step on the road to more academic success. Always be respectful and courteous when describing your learning needs. This approach will result in having many more of those needs met. Also, remember that as a new student, you are establishing a “reputation” in the school or on the campus. Keep in mind that first impressions can last a lifetime.
b. Always ask for additional assistance BEFORE getting behind in your work. It is so much easier to take care of a problem early before it becomes a BIG issue. The bigger the problem, the more time and effort it will take you (and perhaps others) to resolve.
2. Plan the Term or Semester
a. Purchase or create a large desk calendar and plan for the study of each subject AND the specific chapters or units for each of your classes---BEFORE the semester or term begins.
b. “Map out” how much time and on which days you will study or work on projects, assignments or test prep. Be as specific as possible in this “mapping”. Describe what and how much you will do at a specific time. Allow plenty of time for quality research if that is expected for any assignments.
c. For long-term assignments, commit to starting such projects immediately instead of waiting until much later or when it’s almost due.
d. After a test, assess if enough time was allotted for each task, making adjustments for future units and assignments.
3. Use Graphic Organizers
a. Graphic organizers can help when trying to sort out information AND remember it. They help to visually categorize facts, dates, events, etc. so the facts are easier to understand AND remember.
b. Several resources offering a variety of FREE graphic organizers are:
1.) UDL Tech Tool Kit: Offers both low-tech and high-tech graphic organizers
2.) Creately Templates: Web-based software for creating interactive and colorful graphic organizers - Venn Diagram, Storyboard, Mind Map, Cycle Diagram, Fishbone Diagram, KWL Chart, T Chart, Y Chart and more.
3.) 38 Examples of Graphic Organizers from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: A FREE service for college students
4. Flash Cards Keep Content Organized, Retained & Remembered!
a. When studying history or science facts and working memory is an “issue”, consider creating informational flash cards from ruled or unruled 3” X 5” index cards.
b. Write or type (on a computer), print, cut out and paste definitions or dates on 1 side of a card and the terms or events on the reverse side of the cards.
c. Punch holes in the upper, left-hand corner for a loose leaf ring to keep the cards “together” and flip them as you master each one’s information.
d. Although, they usually are available in white card stock, think about using colored index cards with a particular color for each chapter, content or other category of information.
e. Recycle shoeboxes as “file cabinets” for storing each chapter’s set of flash cards (use rubber bands to separate and keep organized). That way, when a semester test or exam is looming, pull out the needed flash cards and begin your review ahead of time.
5. “Change” White Page Backgrounds for More Reading Comfort
a. Try using colored but transparent acetate of polycarbonate overlays placed on white book page backgrounds, as the “whiteness” can be visually stressing and cut short your study time. Choose a different color of transparency each week, stopping when you discover which color provides the most comfort for your reading and study.
b. Consider using customizable Reading Focus Cards to also change white page backgrounds to a more comfortable and less visually-stressing color. However, these sensory-appealing tools will also help your eyes focus on 1 or 2 lines of text and block out more surrounding text to diminish distractions caused by too many words/graphics on a page. If you have ADHD or dyslexia, these tools can be particularly helpful.
All the BEST of learning SUCCESS to our teens and college students!
ADHD Tips, Tricks & Strategies
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.
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!
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