October is Dyslexia Awareness Month … why is it so important to identify early?
the following is a concise 1 1/2 hour seminar and it’s free!!!
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month … why is it so important to identify early?
the following is a concise 1 1/2 hour seminar and it’s free!!!
From Dr. Richard Selznick’s (www.drselz.com) most recent blog….
“So with the start of the school year, here are a five guidelines to get you through:
1. Breathe deep a lot – meditate – calm it down. Look, homework is going to make you crazy. Try not to bite on the hook. For the child who has boring homework, seeing you go off is entertaining. Don’t give it to him.
2. Ask yourself, is the work in the kid’s zone of competence? If it is not, if it is simply too hard for the child even with some parental support, then send it back to the teacher with a polite note saying that the work is above the child’s head.
3. If the answer to #2 is yes, then it’s the child’s problem. Repeat after me the following mantra to say to your child, “You’re a big boy (or girl). You can manage your homework. If you choose not to, that’s your choice, but I will have to write a note to your teacher telling her what you chose.”
4. Pecking doesn’t work. Pecking, badgering, cajoling, nagging, yelling generally do not work. Focus on the mantra in #3. If the child chooses not to do the work, don’t get caught up in it. Put the problem where it belongs – on the child.
5. Link “give and you get” messages. Do you think like I do that modern kids are living pretty comfy lives? It strikes me that the arrangement we have with our kids is pretty one-directional (in the kid’s benefit). Start changing the direction by stating, “This year I am tracking you each night on the calendar. It’s either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in terms of effort and taking care of yourself. Good things come to people who have a lot of “yes” showing up on the calendar – we do fun things. When there is a lot of ‘no,’ it’s going to be very boring around here. Which do you prefer?”
So, pour yourself a glass of wine, put your feet up and remember…summer’s not all that far off”
Many students struggle with handwriting – you can see the labor in each
letter they write or the illegibility of letters. Non-fluent readers
often struggle with comprehensions. Non-fluent hand-writers often
struggle with the writing process. If handwriting is difficult it will
impact the writing process. Just like reading has fluency benchmarks so
does writing. Below is a chart from a 2008 article – What to Improve
Children’s Writing? – Don’t Neglect Their Handwriting, by Steve Graham.
From the University of Washington: “Structural brain differences between children with dyslexia and dysgraphia and children who are typical language learners have been observed…Researchers say the findings prove that using a single category of learning disability to qualify for special education services is not scientifically supported.”
In a recent misplaced effort by the American Psychiatric Association, the latest update of the DSMV proposed lumping dyslexia under the general category of SLD or Specific Learning Disability. The problems are multiple, but the practical dilemma faced by students and teachers is that if differences aren’t named or recognized, chances are the solutions aren’t either.
What Berninger and her colleagues have found are different neural signatures for dyslexia and dysgraphia: “contrasting patterns of white matter integrity between dyslexia and dysgraphia was the greater perpendicular radial diffusivity in seven brain regions on the right in dyslexia but left in the dysgraphic group.” Discussing this research, Berninger added: “the two specific learning disabilities are not the same because the white matter connections and patterns and number of gray matter functional connections were not the same in the children with dyslexia and dysgraphia — on either the writing or cognitive thinking tasks.
Federal law guarantees a free and appropriate public education to children with learning disabilities, but does not require that specific types of learning disabilities are diagnosed, or that schools provide evidence-based instruction for dyslexia or dysgraphia. Consequently, the two conditions are lumped together under a general category for learning disabilities, Berninger said, and many schools do not recognize them or offer specialized instruction for either one.
“There’s just this umbrella category of learning disability,” said Berninger. “That’s like saying if you’re sick you qualify to see a doctor, but without specifying what kind of illness you have, can the doctor prescribe appropriate treatment?”
“Many children struggle in school because their specific learning disabilities are not identified and they are not provided appropriate instruction.”
Read the Berninger group’s original research paper HERE.
There are other interesting tidbits in the paper, for example the observation of “the dyslexia group’s strong functional connectivity than the control group during resting state (default network)”. The authors interpreted this observation only in a negative or deficit-focused framework, but of course, the default network has a strong role in creative problem solving and mental simulation.”
Kyle Redford is now a teacher. He is also a young man with dyslexia that
was one of the individuals featured in The Big Picture: Rethinking
Dyslexia. I’m all about balance so his thoughts really hit home for me.
As school draws to a close and summer launches, the cries for unfettered playtime are proliferating everywhere, from the mouths of children to the postings of adults.
It’s hard today to ignore the profusion of articles, blog posts, and tweets calling on parents to forget school and let children “just play” over the summer months. Impassioned articles, written by leading educators and parenting experts, argue that play is the best teacher. Infused with moral undertones, they warn against the overscheduled child, making a determined case for giving children downtime and a chance to grapple with unscheduled hours.
There is a lot to be said about the value of this advice. And let’s face it, total-play summers sound so appealing, attractive, and humane — but …
“One-size-fits-all” approaches are just as problematic for children in the summertime as they are in the school year. For many families, charging every parent with simply abandoning all structure in order to give children unlimited time to just relax and play is naïve.
Let’s face it, parents of struggling students dream of taking a break from the frustrations and duties that accompany a child with learning disabilities and differences. Play? Yes! A break? Please! But as much as parents want to give their depleted and stressed child a breather from the negatives associated with school, they intuitively know that ignoring the opportunity to strengthen and consolidate skills over the summer will only reinforce the cycle of frustration and stress in the fall.
Many types of intensive, immersive, and individualized support feel impossible to arrange during the school year. Most children are exhausted at the end of a school day, particularly if they have been struggling to keep up. Children need to rest and recharge during the school week, and often there is no time to put supports in place that would allow them to catch up or strengthen weak skills. Summer can offer the space to pursue support for a struggling child at her own pace.
If your dyslexic child has not learned to read yet, or if her skills are so fragile that they make attending school miserable, summer offers an ideal opportunity to pursue evidence-based remediation that will help her achieve success and enjoy school more when it resumes in the fall. Likewise, if your child is failing math and starting to hate it, some math work to memorize facts and algorithms or to spend time with a mentor who can explain difficult concepts will do wonders to help her confidence, interest, and engagement with numbers in the fall.
Many students who struggle academically benefit from previewing certain classes before school resumes (for instance, reading assigned books in advance so that they can keep up with their class, or practicing math concepts in a one-on-one setting so they can hit the ground running). This kind of work is rarely fun. Later, though, children usually appreciate the preparation that makes the school year move along more easily.
The truth is that it benefits every child, regardless of her individual learning profile, to read over the summer. And remember that audiobooks count! Done at the right pace, this activity can — and should — be an enjoyable pursuit rather than a corrective chore.
Clearly, kids need to get outside to play — whether that’s out in nature or in an urban playground. Exploring, observing, pretending, making … summer offers powerful learning opportunities and potential healing for kids who feel beaten up by expectations at school. And, in truth, children who struggle in school crave a brain break more than anyone. They dream of free play and relaxation. And, of course, they look forward to spending time pursuing their own interests, which may come more easily than traditional academic skills.
But we need to recognize that, in addition to the formal learning that struggling children benefit from in the summer months, many of the opportunities to pursue their individual interests occur in structured settings, as well (think of sports teams, themed camps, or drama and music groups).
To avoid anything structured in the summer would mean that a child could potentially miss out on important opportunities to develop a sense of competence and confidence beyond the classroom. Time spent exploring interests outside of school can help children discover areas of expertise and passion that offset academic struggles during the school year.
Every child has a different learning profile — and that is why every child needs a different summer plan. Don’t let the experts make you feel bad if your child is working at something in a structured way this summer. You can be sure that the person advising you to ditch all summer work has never had to help shepherd a struggling child through school — but you know what it takes, and forgoing structure isn’t the solution for everyone.”
Settlement in Dyslexia Discrimination Case Shows the System at Work
ByAndrew M.I. Lee
Jun 26, 2015
By law, employers can’t discriminate against workers with disabilities. That includes learning disabilities. This May, two companies in Connecticut got the message—in the form of a lawsuit.
Kevin Lebowitz has worked as a carpenter for 15 years. He has a clean safety record. And he has many safety certifications.
Lebowitz also has dyslexia, which makes it very difficult for him to read printed text.
In 2012, Lebowitz reported for a new construction job, he says. McPhee Electric, Ltd. was the general contractor for the job. Bond Bros., Inc. was the subcontractor. When Lebowitz arrived, he was given a packet of safety information.
A safety officer from McPhee asked Lebowitz to review and sign the packet. Lebowitz told the officer he had dyslexia. He said he would need help reviewing the packet. And he offered to take it home to review.
That’s when a Bond Bros. superintendent told Lebowitz that he couldn’t be hired. Why? He was told he’d be a safety hazard since he couldn’t read the safety packet. (Neither company offered him any reading accommodations.)
Soon after, Lebowitz filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination. That includes the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The EEOC looked into Lebowitz’s claim. And it decided he had been discriminated against. So the agency filed a lawsuit against the companies in federal court.
“By all accounts, Mr. Leibowitz is a skilled carpenter,” says Catherine Wan, the EEOC attorney on the case. “Dyslexia had no impact on his ability to work safely. So this was really a misconception about people with disabilities.”
Lebowitz is not alone in his experience. “Complaints of workplace discrimination based on learning disabilities like dyslexia are not uncommon,” adds Justine S. Lisser, an EEOC spokesperson.
In Lebowitz’s case, the result was a settlement. This May, the two companies agreed to pay him $120,000 in damages. They also promised to make changes at the companies.
One major change: Providing training about discrimination and reasonable accommodations for new and current employees. The companies also agreed to post related information at worksites. And they’ll change their employee handbooks.
The two companies declined to comment to Understood about the settlement.
“We are pleased that McPhee and Bond worked with us to resolve this lawsuit,” says Wan. “Trainings, notices and other measures—we think these will be effective in raising awareness. Disability discrimination violates the law.”
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Last night I received a very special recognition from the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper University Medical Center where our program, the Cooper Learning Center is within the Department of Pediatrics.
One thing that was particularly special was that some of the people in attendance were former parents and kids (now grown up) who were there to offer their acknowledgements for what our program and my involvement meant to them. I then thought about the current state of affairs in the field of education.
These days in education and psychology it’s all about the measurable goals, the quantifiable objectives. The work that you do as a teacher or as a therapist needs to be “evidenced based.” Your outcomes need to hit a certain percentile of growth to document and justify your work.
I get all of that. It’s probably good to ground your practice in approaches that are supported by research. It’s also good (I think) to measure outcomes.
I can tell you this, though. The kids in the room last night and the parents who came to offer their own tribute were not there because they hit “outcome measures.” They were there for something unmeasurable, something intangible.
With all that we know about education and psychology, with all of the research and studies that have done, we can’t get past the intangibles.
It’s still the intangible that impacts kids most.
Think back. Who is a teacher or mentor that inspired you? Did they inspire you because you hit your “student growth objectives?”
I doubt it very much.
It’s the intangibles that matter, that make all of the difference in a kid’s life. I hope in this world of quantifying and measuring we don’t lose sight of that fact.
The summer schedule begins on Monday, June 9th. About a third of my students will be new which is always exciting for me. It’s a great time to work on skills that are lagging behind their peers, without the fatigue created by spending a day in the classroom. We have a marvelous opportunity to make strong gains.
Whether you’ve planned some “academics” for your children or not, below are some ideas for summer activities. In addition, you could consider rewarding your child with an end of the week treat if they read at least 30 minutes for at least five days in the previous week (an old fashioned chore chart works for this). Some ideas for treats are: a DQ, a new book, a special dessert, and a favorite at our house – have a picnic dinner.
1. Find a movie based on a book. Watch the movie, then read/listen to the book. Talk about the differences and similarities.
2. Go to the library and borrow some books and games.
3. Pre-read some of the books that will be part of next year’s reading. (Get that list from the teacher before school ends.)
4. Do a read-out-loud book.
5. Make dinner together—read the recipe, measure the ingredients, learn about the chemistry of cooking.
6. Play board games and card games.
7. Encourage your child to read to a pet or younger sibling/neighbor.
8. On a rainy day, have your children curl up with comic books or magazines.
9. Have your child plan a dream day somewhere. Be creative: they could write about it, make a collage, research with a travel book, or just talk about their ideal day. Make sure you share your ideas, too.
10. Have a TV/technology free day.
11. Once a week, “drop everything and read” for 15 minutes … everyone in the house has to participate.
12. CREATE A READING HABIT!!!
From Jill M. Ham, Ed.S. Educational Consultant and Dyslexia Expert from Children’s Dyslexia Center of Georgia
Jill list many of the symptoms that might indicate you want to learn more about dyslexia (reading), dysgraphia (writing), and/or dyscalculia (math).
#1 Issue: CAN read fluently due to memorizing SIGHT WORDS, but cannot decode unfamiliar words, spell correctly, or write complete sentences with punctuation.
• Reading is slow and choppy, not fluent, but reader can re-tell story
• Reading is fast and fluent, but can not recall the information read
• Struggles with attaching the correct sound to the correct letter
• Will say the individual sounds r-a-t but can not tell you the word at the end of sounding it out
• Will say the letter name instead of the sound when trying to sound out a word
• Can not remember the same words on the next page when reading a book that repeats
• Cannot decode unfamiliar words that they have not memorized
• Skips words when reading
• Omits words when reading
• Inserts words that look visually similar, for example instead of reading HOSE it would be HORSE or HOUSE
• Avoids reading and will always check to see how many pages are in the book first
• Eye Sight is Fine, but Vision Therapy May Be Recommended
• Handwriting is tiny, small, large, and changes size
• Writing takes a very long time to due and very laborious
• Always struggled with writing letters in a fluid motion, many children draw their letters with circles and sticks
• Has a hard time copying notes from the classroom teacher or white board
• Phonetically Spells words (missing vowels or silent letters)
• Struggled or still struggles writing the alphabet without hesitations (hesitations occur when the writer pauses or has to stop and think which letter or how to form the letter)
• Will inverse letters when writing (writing letters from the bottom to top, instead of top down)
• Will reverse letters: d, b, p, q, z and many times write a j for g and a g for j
• Struggled or still struggles with remembering the difference between: b, d, p and sometimes m and w or n and u and we typically see the j and z reversed
• Will capitalize the B and D when writing so they do not reverse the lowercase b and d
• Will write uppercase letters mixed in with lower case letters
• Will write above and below the line without using the correct pencil grip
Working & Long Term Memory
• Executive Functioning Deficits
• Struggles with Working & Long Term Memory
• Hard time breaking task or multiple steps into parts
• Takes a long time to learn new concepts
• Learning vocabulary words and commutative information is extremely challenging
• Learns better with visual (concrete information) and hands on
• Struggles with memorizing addition and subtraction facts
• Struggles with word problems in math
• Struggles with memorizing and recalling multiplication facts
• Struggles with multiple step math problems
• Very creative in arts, music, dance, drama, but has a hard time staying focused
• Does not understand the concept of time and struggles telling time
• Struggles with money and counting money
• Struggles with going backwards and forwards on the number line
Homework & Sensory
• May Exhibit Signs of ADD or ADHD
• Low Self-Esteem and Very Self Conscious
• Fidgets, rocks, moves or tries to avoid when given a reading, spelling or writing task
• Homework and studying takes HOURS and MELT DOWNS occur
• Parent is re-teaching information daily/nightly
• May teach new information and 30 minutes later the child does not remember the information presented
Great opportunity for kids to read, so if we get the rain that’s predicted here is a great indoor activity. Something fun for your Saturday.
Duluth Library Foundation
Studies show that children feel more comfortable reading out loud to dogs than to people. Your child can read to a therapy dog this Saturday at Miller Hill Mall between 11 am and 1 pm!