I’m thrilled to see Boy Scouts of America participating in dyslexia awareness through their Boys Life Magazine (scroll down to “In the News” section):
There are several teaching methods designed for students with dyslexia. Which one is best for you? Keep in mind that each person is unique; there is no one-size-fits-all teaching method that is effective for every student with dyslexia. Here are a few to consider:
Orton-Gillingham - http://www.jwor.com/orton.htm?gclid=CJD954DyuroCFe1aMgodHXYA8g
Barton - http://www.bartonreading.com/
Wilson - http://www.wilsonlanguage.com/fs_program_wrs.htm
Take Flight - http://www.tsrhc.org/dyslexia-take-flight.htm
DuBard Association - http://www.usm.edu/dubard/what-dubard-association-method
Slingerland - http://www.slingerland.org/
Spalding - http://www.spalding.org/
Project Read - http://www.projectread.com/
Lexia Core5 - http://www.lexialearning.com/product/core5
"If Apple had a 10% failure rate, consumers would be outraged. At least 10% of students have dyslexia and are not receiving an adequate education. We, as consumers, should be holding schools up to at least the same standard as we hold the manufacturer of a gadget. However, even when schools want to change, they cannot make these changes alone. They need your help. What can you do as a consumer?” Read the rest of the Dyslexic Kids blog here:
Today we’ll be talking about assistive technology that you can use on your computer or access from your computer. There are online games designed for students with dyslexia, several text-to-speech programs from which to choose, and more.
Ghotit Real Writer & Reader software is a writing and reading assistant designed for people with dyslexia. It contains a phonetic and context spell checker, grammar checker, punctuation checker and text-to-speech. http://www.ghotit.com/
Read&Write Gold helps students with dyslexia read and write with a powerful grammar and spell checker and screenshot reader, and it has a speak-while-typing feature. http://www.texthelp.com/UK
Dragon speech recognition software is very popular, but some complain about the computer software’s learning curve. The app, on the other hand, is very fast and easy to use. http://www.nuance.com/dragon/accessibility/dragon-dyslexia-learning-challenges/index.htm
Claro text-to-speech programs include screen rulers, magnifiers and color overlays, and can be carried on a USB for portability. http://www.clarosoftware.com/latest_news.php?id=29
Wynn scanning and reading software uses optical character recognition to read scanned documents, websites, and .pdf files to you while highlighting the words. http://www.freedomscientific.com/lsg/products/wynn.asp
Links to free software: http://www.dyslexia.com/helpread.htm
Games that help teach students with dyslexia: http://www.dyslexiclikeme.org/products/%E2%80%A2-software/
More games for students with dyslexia: http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/tools/fun-games-for-dyslexics
Resources to support dyslexic pupils: http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/about-dyslexia/schools-colleges-and-universities/resources-to-support-dyslexic-pupils.html
British Dyslexia Association Technologies (links on right side of page): http://bdatech.org/
Language Tune-Up Kit uses a pre-recorded human voice to develop reading skills using Orton-Gillingham’s phonics method. http://www.jwor.com/
ReadOn text-to-speech software: http://www.readonsoftware.com/
TextAloud 3 text-to-speech software that converts your text from Word Documents, emails, web pages and .pdf files into natural-sounding speech: http://nextup.com/
Crick reading and writing software for young learners with dyslexia: http://www.cricksoft.com/us/special-needs/Dyslexia.aspx
Lexia Reading Core 5: http://www.lexialearning.com/product/core5
BeeLine Reader - uses a color gradient that is intended to help guide your eyes from the end of one line to the beginning of the next: http://www.beelinereader.com/
There are so many apps that are useful to students with dyslexia! There are text-to-speech apps like Dragon that will read text to you, in addition to built-in text-to-speech functionality on Windows, Android and Apple devices. Voxdox, for example, will allow you to snap a photo of any document in almost any language, and that document will be read to you.
There are productivity apps like Evernote and Soundnote that help you take notes, especially when connected to your Livescribe pen or iPad. Several apps help you stay organized and on schedule.
There are specially formatted dictionary apps like American Wordspeller, a phonetic dictionary that allows you to type in the word the way it sounds. Type in “fone” and it will pull up the word “phone” for you.
There are study aids like flashcard generators that allow you to created your own flashcards, and there are countless interactive books.
Below are links that discuss the multitude of apps that are helpful to students who have dyslexia. No matter what the need, there’s an app for that!
Apps for Kids with Special Needs and Learning Differences -http://www.commonsensemedia.org/guide/special-needs
Best Dyslexia Apps – Middle School, High School and Beyond -http://www.mariannesunderland.com/2013/01/best-dyslexia-apps-middle-school-high-school-and-beyond/
Back to School: Best Apps for Students -http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2422483,00.asp
The 70 Best Apps For Teachers And Students -http://www.edudemic.com/70-best-apps-teachers-students/
21 best apps for college students -http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/08/bet-apps-college-students/index.htm
50 Best iPad Apps for Users with Reading Disabilities -http://www.teleread.com/education/50-best-ipad-apps-for-users-with-reading-disabilities/
40 Amazing iPad Apps for the Learning Disabled -http://disabilitynetwork.org/technology/40-amazing-ipad-apps-for-the-learning-disabled/#.UmerEvlthtA
Apps to Help Students With Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties -http://www.ncld.org/students-disabilities/assistive-technology-education/apps-students-ld-dyslexia-reading-difficulties
Top 200 (Free) in Education for iPad -http://appshopper.com/bestsellers/education/free/?device=ipad
Oyster: Offering Unlimited Books for $9.95 a Month -http://www.wired.com/design/2013/09/is-this-netflix-of-books-the-next-big-thing-in-publishing/?mbid=social11571274
Me Books Brings Children’s Favorite Books To iPad, Lets You Be The Narrator - http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/14/me-books-brings-childrens-favorite-books-to-ipad-lets-you-be-the-narrator/
Evernote and 3M Digitize the Post-It Note -http://mashable.com/2013/09/26/evernote-post-it/
The Beginner’s Guide to Evernote -http://mashable.com/2013/07/03/evernote-beginners/
It’s tools and tech week! We’ll be talking about the ways in which tools and tech can make our lives easier, from specially formatted books to reading rulers to apps to futuristic gadgets. Each day will have a different focus. I’ll try to cover as many of these wonderful products as I can without overloading your inbox.
Today’s topic is stress. Here are some quotes from the articles below that I want to highlight:
Stress “can create deficits in a child’s intellectual abilities, crippling the capacity to learn.”
"Research has found that neurons in the brain of a chronically stressed individual may have fewer and shorter dendrites (pathways for sending information). This deficiency impairs communication with other dendrites, reducing the brain’s ability to process information effectively.”
"Frequent symptoms of stress such as low impulse control, difficulty concentrating and irritating behaviors often match the definition of A.D.D./A.D.H.D."
Most children with dyslexia are under a constant state of stress in school. We are struggling with almost every subject because almost every subject requires us to read. After dealing with that stress for so many hours each day, we want to go home to a place that makes us feel at ease.
Unfortunately, those who care the most about us and our futures are sometimes the ones who cause us to feel the most stress: family, friends and tutors. They worry about us, and they want the best for us. However, especially as young children, we can feel the weight in the room every time the topic of dyslexia comes up. We know the people who care about us are stressed and we know that we are the cause of their anxiety. That leads us to feel more stressed (and guilty), we have more trouble concentrating on learning, and we all end up in a vicious cycle.
It may seem impossible, but loved ones need to find ways to lower their stress levels if they want to help students lower their stress levels. If your child sees that you are not at all concerned, the extreme pressure to perform will be lessened, providing the child with the ability to remain calm and allow their brain focus on learning.
By the way, the attitude that everything will be fine should not be an act; you should believe that everything will, in fact, be fine because it will be. Your child has tremendous advantages over his or her peers that may not be immediately apparent due to the limitations of the traditional systems.
Never view dyslexia as a learning disability. Instead, view it as a learning advantage that the schools are not capable of handling at the moment. Make sure your child sees you adopt that approach in all of your dealings and communications with others. Let your child know that there’s no doubt he or she will be able to overcome the difficult aspects of dyslexia - it’s just a matter of when and how, and whether he or she will get to use some fun gadgets (assistive technology) along the way.
Everything will be fine. No worries.
We’re continuing on the topic of self-esteem today. As many of you pointed out yesterday, it is imperative that a child be given adequate time and opportunities to discover his or her talents and passions. As students who are struggling to read, we need something that makes us feel successful and special. We need something that makes us feel proud.
When I was young, my passion was Legos. I could spend hours building elaborate designs. My parents kept me well-supplied in those building blocks, and they even took me to Brickworld and other Lego conventions. Today, my passion is computers and other tech devices. I even built my own computer from scratch, and I design games for the XBox.
For my sister, also dyslexic, the passion was birds. It still is. At just 14 years old, she is an incredibly talented ornithologist who is well-known in the field and in high demand. She travels across the state teaching classes and giving presentations on behalf of several organizations, including the Audubon Society, Department of Natural Resources, Raptor Rehabilitation Centers and other organizations. She writes books, helps design apps, and so much more.
While we were pursuing our passions, we discovered that in order to learn more about them, we would have to learn to read, no matter how difficult that would be. Magazine articles, books and websites about our passions required us to go through the excruciating effort of reading, which gave us the necessary motivation to try to read better.
Yes, we could have spent more time on the reading assignments rather than spending time on what some would consider trivial pursuits. However, if your self-esteem is low, it is difficult to concentrate on your work, especially something as painful as reading. I would argue that pursuing a passion, developing talents, and building self-esteem are as important to a child with dyslexia as the reading exercises.
I would like to hear your thoughts. Have you, as a child or teen with dyslexia, discovered your talents and found your passions? Has it made a difference? Do you have enough time to pursue them? Or are the homework and tutoring assignments taking up all of your time?
The Symposium was a huge success! The crowd was even larger than expected, and the speakers (Ms. Baxter, Ms. Gray and Ms. Lill) are without question the best in their fields. They are knowledgeable and engaging, and I left the symposium feeling empowered.
Ms. Kristin Baxter from Dyslexia Institute of Indiana gave a wonderful overview about dyslexia, its symptoms and its gifts, and she shared the numerous services DII provides (http://www.diin.org/).
Ms. Laurie Gray, well-known attorney and author, delivered a powerful presentation about bullying and the laws in Indiana (http://www.socraticparenting.com/).
Ms. Kris Lill shared all of the remarkable resources the Allen County Public Library is providing to assist children who have dyslexia (http://www.acpl.lib.in.us/).
I spoke about my experiences, why I created the Dyslexic Kids support organization for children and teens with dyslexia, and the resources I provide (http://dyslexickids.net/Welcome.html).
Ms. Tina Bailey, a local tutor who specializes in helping children with dyslexia, was on hand to answer questions (ABetterChance2Learn@yahoo.com), as was Specialty Tutoring (http://specialtytutoring.com/) and Mr. Kenny Baxter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It was a fantastic symposium and I am so grateful to each of these wonderful people for donating their time! I videotaped a portion of the symposium and will share that with you later today.
Scott Forsythe, Dyslexic Kids
My students really enjoy using whiteboards and sandboxes. When they make mistakes, they want something that is quick and easy to erase; none of us want a lasting reminder of our mistakes!
Learning to read from left to right can be very difficult for students with dyslexia. This sometimes helps.
This TED talk about the ability to teach without words is thought-provoking, particularly the pie chart in the beginning which identifies the tiny percentage of students who can excel under the traditional methods of teaching. Why not adopt a teaching method that will allow all students to excel? The computer program in the video is one idea, but there are so many simple changes that can be made!