Learn How You Can Help Your Child with Dyslexia
October is Dyslexia Awareness month, a topic near and dear to our hearts since we work with many students who have dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Students with this hereditary language processing disorder may have difficulties isolating sounds, sounding out words (decoding), and accurately reading. Spelling can even be more of a challenge, making writing a frustrating process. Also, many children with dyslexia have difficulty with handwriting, left/right discrimination, telling time, and organizing and translating their thoughts into verbal or written language.
Children with dyslexia may have low self-esteem, become overwhelmed with school, and may withdraw. As parents, supporting your dyslexic child can lead to a plethora of emotions. You may be frustrated because you don’t know how to help or are incredibly saddened to see your child struggling and falling behind in school.
Unfortunately, many school districts don’t have the necessary funding or resources to provide support for children with dyslexia. In speaking to clients and friends whose children have been diagnosed, it occurred to us that most parents need resources and support above anything else.
Here are a few quick tips for parents who have children with dyslexia: (more…)
Time management is a challenge for everyone; especially for middle and high school students. Between homework, school, after-school activities, family, friends, jobs and more, their time is truly NOT their own. And in this fast-paced culture, effective time-management skills are essential.
How can you help your student master basic time management strategies? Here are some helpful tools and tips.
1. Use an academic planner to help your student plan and stay on track. Whether they use a paper planner (I recommend Order Out of Chaos’ “Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management” ) or electronic calendar, make sure their planner is set up as a grid system so they can see their week at a glance. Record all their class assignments, after-school activities, work commitments, even plans with friends. This will allow them to know what they need to do AND when they have time to PLAN to get things done. (more…)
Kids generally don’t enjoy being told what to do, especially when it comes to doing tasks. According to executive function experts, Sarah Ward, M.S., CCC/SLP and Kristen Jacobsen, M.S., CCC/SLP, the key to increasing job performance is to change tasks from a simple behavior to a personal identity label. Doing this transfers the ownership of a task, thereby increasing a child’s sense of self. When we “own” a task, we are much more likely to both complete the task and do it well.
Empower your child with task ownership by making the task into a specific job and assigning it a “job title.” To do this, simply add “er” to the end of the word that describes the desired action, like “Toothbrusher,” “Window Washer,” “Writer,” “Packer,” “Listener,” etc. (more…)
Does your student struggle to stay focused when completing online homework assignments? Nowadays, most middle school and high school students use the internet to complete homework assignments, which can lead to a good deal of distraction and procrastination- especially with the proliferation of social networking sites.
Help your student minimize online distractions and maximize efficiency using these tools:
I was recently asked by a parent of a “fiery” 5-year-old whose emotional intensity levels frequently overshadow her burgeoning self-regulatory skills, for some effective self-soothing techniques to teach her. Here’s my response:
Emotional regulation is a learned skill and there are many things you can do to teach your child effective self-soothing techniques. Emotional responses can occur on three different levels- neurophysiological, behavioral, and cognitive. Here are some tools to help with each:
It is no secret that electronic devices such as iPads, computers, smartphones, and other tablets are soaring in popularity. As adults and children alike increase their daily use of these devices, it is crucial to develop proper body mechanics in order to interact with the technology in the healthiest way possible.
Ergonomics is the science of designing work to prevent injury and promote worker health, safety, productivity, and comfort.
Using ergonomics, you can help your child establish healthy habits to reduce stress (more…)
Use an Academic Planner
If you’re like most of my students, you are probably thinking that you don’t need to use an academic planner because you can just remember your homework, projects, and upcoming tests. Guess what? That will work until it doesn’t! Some things are bound to slip through the cracks, and then you will end up with missing assignments or grades that don’t reflect your capabilities.
Trust us on this one, academic planners are extremely useful tools to help us manage our daily activities and achieve our goals. It’s like having an external brain to help you remember things. (more…)
“Getting organized” is more than eliminating clutter and creating neat storage systems. One of the most important areas of organizing is task management. It’s never too early (or too late) to teach kids how to get and stay organized with schoolwork. The skills they learn now will carry over into high school, college, and ultimately, their careers and home management as adults. (more…)
Teaching laterality, or the internal awareness of the left and right sides of the body, is an important first step before teaching children to distinguish left and right on objects such as shoes. Make sure to sit or stand next to your child rather than across from them when teaching and use your own body to demonstrate. Left/right discrimination is a difficult concept to learn and can require many repetitions; it is generally mastered by the age of five or six (although some adults I know still struggle with it). Here are some ideas to help your child learn left and right:
It is common for preschoolers and kindergartners to reverse letters, but by age seven, children should only be making occasional reversals. If letter reversals persist after handwriting remediation, they can be a sign of dyslexia or other learning disability, in which case further testing might be indicated.
Regardless of whether or not a child has a learning disability, he or she should be instructed in how to form letters & numbers correctly to prevent reversals. If your child is learning to write by simply copying letters, it is unlikely that he or she will learn proper letter formation. Since repeated errors only reinforce reversals, it’s important to work toward error-free learning. It’s much easier to develop good habits than to change bad ones; so early intervention is critical! Here are 9 tips to help correct letter reversals with your child: (more…)