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

Minnesota Conference for parents, students and teachers

Fall Symposium

LDA’s 6th Annual Fall Symposium is scheduled for Saturday, November 8, 2014, at Groves Academy in St. Louis Park. The theme this year is: Empowered to Learn & Grow: ADHD, Learning Disabilities and Other Learning-Based Life Barriers


Symposium Details

Title: Empowered to Learn & Grow: ADHD, Learning Disabilities and Other Learning-Based Life Barriers

Date: Saturday, November 8, 2014

Time: 8:30 am – 3:00 pm

Location: Groves Academy, 3200 Highway 100 South, St. Louis Park, MN

Registration: $50 for individuals; $40 for students (student ID required)

Symposium Schedule

8:00-8:30  Registration/Check-in

8:30-9:00  Continental breakfast

9:00-10:30  Keynote Presentation: Information Processing Differences: A Fresh Perspecitve on Learning Disabilities,Dr. Gary Johnson and Dr. Chris Bedford, Clinic for Attention, Learning and Memory 

10:30-10:45  Break

10:45-11:45  Breakout Session I: Student Panel: Learning Disabilities and ADHD From a Student Perspective; Implementing a Literacy Framework that Works; and Study Skills & School Support at Home

11:45-12:30  Lunch

12:30-1:30  Breakout Session II: Practicing Mindfulness; Developing Successful Programs for 18-21 Year Old Students with a Variety of Disabilities; and Love Without Boundaries: Children and Adolescents with Disabilities and Grief

1:30-1:40  Break

1:40-2:40  Breakout Session III: Self Advocacy and Self Determination: Know Your Rights; Individualizing Instruction and Curriculum Based Assessment; and The Good, the Challenging and the Useful: Raising a Child with ADHD

2:40-3:00  Closing Remarks

Mission Organization

From ‘the parent connection’ Feb. 2013 workshop with Sarah Ward.

Top Ten Takeaways

1. Executive Functioning (EF) refers to the way the brain manages plans, organizes, and sets goals to execute and complete tasks in a timely fashion.  Executive Functions are controlled by the prefrontal cortex of the brain.  This area matures over time and is not fully developed until early adulthood.

2. Children with Executive Functioning challenges have trouble with “situational intelligence” or reading the physical components of a situation.  Use the pneumonic STOP (Space, Time, Objects, People) to encourage children to read the room: for cues to gain the situational intelligence they need.  To use STOP, have kids ask themselves:

     Space – Where am I?
     Time – What is happening now? Later?
     Objects – How is the room organized?
     People – What are the facial expressions / body language of the people?
3. Often times children with EF difficulties are labeled as defiant or uncooperative. This is because these children have not developed the ability to visualize the future.  Use ‘future glasses’: literally with younger students (have fun sunglasses or interesting frames)  and metaphorically for older students (asking them to envision or predict the future).  Have the student put on the glasses and picture what the finished assignment will “look like.”  This skill will help the student plan and organize materials and time to complete the task.
4. Designate areas by color to reinforce the three steps necessary to complete tasks or school assignments.  Encourage your child to physically move the items in progress from one stage to the next. 
     a) “Get Ready”  – yellow
     b) “Do” –  green
     c) “Done” –  red
5. Begin by asking your child to imagine the work “DONE” rather than starting with the “GET READY” phase.  Prompt your child by asking “what would a finished math sheet, finished poster, or completed research project look like?”  Visualizing the completed task or assignment will empower your child to formulate ideas and gather the material to GET READY in order to DO the work and get the work DONE.
6. Visuals and photographs are much more helpful than words lists.  Use them whenever possible to communicate with your kids.
7. To help with routine tasks such as getting ready for school or sports activities, take photos of kids fully dressed with all their equipment or gear.  Tor school that might include fully dressed, coat shoes, backpack, lunchbox, etc.  Tell kids to “Match the Picture.”  For sports, take a photo of kids ready for the sport with equipment, uniform, cleats, etc.  This technique works well for cleaning a room, organizing a desk or setting a table.  Apps such as Doodle Buddy or Skitch for handheld devices can also be used to help match the picture.
8. Break long-term projects into steps.  Sketch or outline what each finished step looks like and cut out each step.  Paste each step to a calendar to map out the timeline and get a visual of the time involved for each piece.  Use sticky notes so that if a step is not completed on the day scheduled it can be moved to the next day and the student can see the work piling up if too many deadlines are missed.
9. Create a special homework space.  Use a tri-fold board or transform a closet into a student carrel to avoid distractions and set up a flow for the work.  Sarah suggests that children pull out and open all notebooks needed for the night’s homework.  Stack them up on top of one another to illustrate the mound of work.  As each assignment is complete, all materials get placed right back into the backpack, ready to go to school for the next day.
10. Be aware of “time blindness.”  Students with EF issue are not tuned into the passage of time or pace of work. To help children develop a sense of time increments, invest in an analog clock and ask children to predict how long a particular task or assignment might take.  Use time markers such as magnets or sketch pies of time on the clock (a glass face works best with a dry erase markers) to visually show the passage of time.  It is also helpful to mark a halfway point to check that the task is being attended to.  Help identify “time robbers” such as being hungry, scattered papers/notebooks, and too much phone/screen time.