A Nag-Free Tool to Help Your ADHD Child

A parent’s worst nightmare is getting in a time crunch and asking their child to do something and then being ignored or argued with.

Here is a simple technique that helps your child understand, remember, and actually DO what they need to do without reminders.

Sounds like magic right?

It’s actually a simple tool from ADDitude Magazine, called a think-through. A think-through maximizes the likelihood of your child cooperating by fixing the expectation or rule firmly in their long term memory. When you use a think-through, it is not you but your child who is saying what they have to do. That shift has a powerful, positive impact on their memory and on their willingness to do it.

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Here are the basic steps of doing a think-through:

  1.  Choose a Neutral Time- Never try to do a think-through right after something has gone wrong. You will be annoyed instead of calm and your child will be resentful. A neutral time is when neither of you are in a hurry nor annoyed.
  2. Ask, Don´t Tell- Ask your child several leading questions about the behavior you want to see more of. Phrase your questions so they cannot be answered with a yes or no.
  3. Your Child Answers In Detail- Your child tells you what they should do in as many details as possible. The more details the better, it will stick in their memory so ask several follow up questions to get them to expand their answers. The only time you switch form asking to telling is when your child´s answer is incomplete or inaccurate. In that case, clarify what you mean, and ask some more questions, until you are sure your child understands the rule or routine.

For more tips like this visit ADDitudemag.com/resource-centers/index.html

 At our learning center we have a program specifically designed to help students with attention problems, if you feel your child isn´t reaching their potential because of their learning disability give us a call today at (210)495-2626 or

JOIN US and other parents at our Parent Information Meetings on Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm. This is an opportunity to ask questions and explore possibilities about how to best help your bright but struggling child.

Study Finds Cognitive Training to Still Be Effective 10 Years After Completion

According to a study supported by the National Institute of Health training to improve cognitive abilities in older people lasted in some degree 10 years after the program was completed.

Commit-yourself-to-lifelong-learningThe results were particularly strong in correlation with those who receive training in reasoning and processing speed. The study suggests we should continue to pursue cognitive training as an intervention that might help maintain the mental abilities of older people so they can remain independent and active in their communities. This study proves it´s never too late to improve your cognitive abilities.

Click here to read the entire article about this study http://www.nia.nih.gov/newsroom/2014/01/cognitive-training-shows-staying-power

If you or your child is struggling in these area gives us a call today at (210) 495-2626, or

JOIN US and other parents at our Parent Information Meetings on Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm. This is an opportunity to ask questions and explore possibilities about how to best help your bright but struggling child.

Fine Motor Skills Provide a Surprising Pathway to School Readiness

fine motor handsWhen it comes to achievement, many people are surprised to learn that a major predictor is the quality of a student´s fine motor skills. There are several reasons for this correlation.

  • The first is there are some areas in the brain (the prefrontal cortex to be exact) that are involved in both the processing of motor information and cognitive tasks. Therefore children who have greater motor abilities also tend to have better achievement because stronger motor skills early in life strengthen the neural connections that also assist children in many academic tasks. This link is particularly strong when it comes to math.
  • Also children who have well developed motor abilities at a young age are better able to navigate and manipulate their environments allowing them to gain a greater range of experiences early in life which set the stage for stronger academic skills.
  • An additional benefit of strong, early fine motor skills is the direct benefit in the classroom. Children use fine motor skills in schools when they write and draw and most of their early learning is derived from these processes. Children who are more comfortable doing these things will have more processes free to focus on classroom lessons rather than devoting most of their effort to the process of writing.

Based on these findings the most successful interventions for students who don´t possess strong fine motor skills early on or have a developmental disability, is a program that incorporates a number of tasks that require repetitive fine motor movements.

10+ToddlerEvidence suggests that these types of interventions should focus on developing and improving the child´s visual spatial integration skills to have the greatest impact.

Click this link to read the entire article http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/psyched/201402/fine-motor-skills-and-academic-achievement

If your child is struggling in this area our learning center has program specifically design to improve visual spatial integration skills. Give us a call today at (210) 495-2626, or

JOIN US and other parents at our Parent Information Meetings on Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm. This is an opportunity to ask questions and explore possibilities about how to best help your bright but struggling child.

New Research Finds Reading Changes Brain Connectivity

Stories shape our lives and in some cases help define a person, but what actually happens inside your brain when you read a great novel?

 A new study in which students read a thrilling novel and then had their brains scanned reveals heightened connectivity within the student´s brains following the nightly reading assignment and then again five days after they finished the book. The areas with enhanced connectivity, were the area of the brain associated with language comprehension and the area associated with sensations and movement. It´s not clear how long these changes persist but the author states,

“At a minimum, we can say that reading stories –- especially those with strong narrative arcs -– reconfigure brain networks for at least a few days. It shows how stories can stay with us. This may have profound implications for children and the role of reading in shaping their brains.”

Click this link to read the entire article from The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/30/reading-change-brain-connectivity_n_4504566.html?utm_hp_ref=brain

If your child is struggling with reading, Give us a call today at (210) 495-2626, or

JOIN US and other parents at our Parent Information Meetings on Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm. This is an opportunity to ask questions and explore possibilities about how to best help your bright but struggling child.

New Research Sheds Light on the Link between Dsylexia and Visuospatial Processing Strengths

A student with visuospatial processing strengths is a student who learns holistically rather than in a step by step fashion. Visual imagery plays an essential part in these students’ learning process. Meaning the student processes primarily in pictures rather than words. These students have many talents in non-language visuospatial domains, such as art, architecture, and various arenas related to three dimensional thinking. Unfortunately the American Education system if based on linear sequential thinking, which is particularly difficult for these types of students and requires them to translate their usual thought processes to take in new information, which can be a daunting and time consuming task.

Click here to learn more about visual spatial learners http://www.dyslexia.com.html

According to a new study by Haskins researchers in which they examined the cognitive and neural bases of visuospatial processing abilities for different kinds of material in adolescents with dyslexia compared to typically developing peers, students with Dyslexia show a visuospatial processing advantage. It’s well known that children with Dsylexia, although they have specific problems with language impacting their ability to read, their brains are different not defective. This study suggests their difference could be the source of their many strengths. Research found that subjects with Dyslexia showed more expert-like brain activation patterns than non dyslexic subjects when processing figures, while the opposite was true for print processing.

Click here to read the entire article  http://interdys.org/DyslexiaAndVisuospatialProcessing.html

If this sounds like your child, at Learning Foundations we offer programs that utilize your child’s strengths while retraining their brains to process language and print more effectively. Give us a call today at (210)495-2626 or

JOIN US and other parents at our Parent Information Meetings on Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm. This is an opportunity to ask questions and explore possibilities about how to best help your bright but struggling child.

Teaching Time Management to Students with Learning Disabilities

A New Year brings all the normal day to day tasks and responsibilities. For those of you who have added new tasks or activities based on your goals for the New Year, time is often in short supply. Time management is a challenge for everyone but for those with learning disabilities it is even more challenging. I came across an excellent article on the site Learning Disabilities Online or LD Online entitled, Teaching Time Management to Students with Learning Disabilities” that tackles this topic.

The article explains that even the concept of time can be difficult for a student with learning disabilities to grasp and developing a sense of time and how long it takes to perform a particular task is essential for students to learn time management and achieve academic success. 

Students with learning disabilities need high structure, explicit teaching, and extended opportunities to practice strategies until they develop independent skills. Here is how to best break down this concept allowing your student to understand and practice these valuable skills:

  1. First your student needs to understand Task Analysis-This is the process of identifying what needs to get done to finish a given undertaking. To estimate time with accuracy, students need to know the steps required to complete a task. For instance, an assignment to read a chapter and define vocabulary for a quiz the next day requires a student to: (1) read, (2) look up the words in a dictionary, and (3) identify and remember information for a quiz.
  2. Then they must be able to use Time Estimation Effectively-Accurately estimating how much time it takes to complete tasks is essential for long term planning. At the end of the article is a great activity you can have your student practice to develop both these necessary skills for successful time management.

Click this link to read this article and activity http://www.ldonline.org/article/23676/

At Learning Foundations we have an Executive Functions program designed specifically to help students develop time management and organizational skills. If this is a constant struggle for your child, give us a call today at (210) 495-2626, or

JOIN US and other parents at our Parent Information Meetings on Tuesday nights at 7:30 pm. This is an opportunity to ask questions and explore possibilities about how to best help your bright but struggling child.

The Story Behind “Embracing Dyslexia”

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When our son, Alejandro, was in 1st grade, we transferred him from one school to another.  Prior to entering he was evaluated for reading and math to see if he was at grade level.  My wife and I were informed that Ale was behind in reading, which was a surprise because his previous school never said anything.  We just assumed that this new school was more advanced because that was their reputation.  It was recommended that Ale meet with the resource teacher for reading and that we hire a tutor for additional support.  It was expected that by doing this he would catch up and everything would be fine.

Everything was far from fine, however.  Ale would come home exhausted.  He’d complain that his head or his brain hurt.  We’d give him a break before diving into homework, but it didn’t help.  Doing math was okay but when it came to reading, we’d have mini-meltdowns. Ale would start reading but quickly become very defiant and give up.  We’d scold him for giving up and not really trying.  We’d tell him that he was being lazy because clearly he was smart enough.  He’d cry and cry but we wouldn’t give in to what we believed to be crocodile tears.  Then there were the many, many times he would say that he was stupid or dumb.  We told him to stop using those words because they weren’t true.  All he needed to do was try harder and focus.

At the end of 1st grade we met with the principal and his teacher and they informed us that Ale hadn’t progressed in his reading as they had hoped.  They felt that if we held him back a year, then he would surely catch up.  We thought about it very carefully.  We weighed the consequences of holding him back a year.  We believed that maybe Ale started school too early (he was born in July and was the youngest in his class) and that’s why he was struggling.  Dyslexia was never mentioned to us and, honestly, the concept never popped into our heads.  So we held him back.

1st grade, the second time around, was a better experience for Ale and for us — at least for the first two quarters.  Eventually we started falling back into the same difficulties as before.  But at the end of the year everyone felt he had progressed enough to move on.

The first half of 2nd grade was really bad.  There was more homework, more reading, more spelling and writing and this led to more anxiety and frustration.  Ale’s anxiety had even begun to express itself physically.  He’d complain of being sick in the mornings before getting ready for school.  At school, he’d complain of headaches, fevers, stomach aches and nausea to the point of actually throwing up.  On more than a few occasions the school would call me to tell me that there was something wrong and I would have to go pick him up.

Meanwhile, I had begun doing some research online trying to figure out why he was getting sick at school, but then he’d be perfectly fine at home.  I remember reading a post in some forum where someone shared that they had a similar issue and that it was happening because their child was dyslexic and that the stress and anxiety from having to read in class or take tests where reading was required was the cause.  At the same time, my mother had been spending some time with Ale and she had approached us regarding Ale’s reading difficulties.  She believed that he may have dyslexia and that we should have him tested.

In March 2011, two months after starting the testing process, we were given the diagnosis.  Ale had dyslexia as well as ADHD.  At first we were worried because we didn’t know what that meant for his future.  Would he be able to go to school like everyone else?  Would he be able to go to college?  Would he ever learn to read like his peers?  I went back to the internet for the answers and I found them.  Things were going to be okay.  Being diagnosed with dyslexia was not going to be the end.  It was just the beginning.  We met with the principal and Ale’s teachers to let them know of the diagnosis and to figure out the next steps.  We were told that we needed to get a 504 plan which required us to make an appointment with the school.  This also meant that from March until the end of the school year nothing would change and his struggles would continue.  But there was a huge difference at home.  We now knew why he struggled and Ale knew why he struggled.  Accusations were a thing of the past and our frustration levels were greatly reduced.

There was one more thing that happened at our meeting with the principal and teachers.  I remember bringing up the issue of how do we help explain to Ale what dyslexia is and what it means for him.  The principal quickly stepped in and said that she doesn’t like to use the “D” word because it labels the child and labels are not helpful.  Eventually I found out that she doesn’t even allow the teachers to use the word with parents or children!  I was shocked by this because I saw what a difference acknowledging the “D” word made in our lives.  Why would other affected families be denied this opportunity for a breakthrough?

At the beginning of 3rd grade, Ale’s resource teacher informed my wife and I that Susan Barton, an expert in the field of dyslexia was going to be giving a free seminar at a nearby facility and that we should consider going.  She also said that she had informed the entire school personnel hoping that they would make it.  We ended up going and despite repeated reminders, only four teachers went.  This included the resource teacher and the kindergarten teacher.  None of the 1st through 8th grade teachers made it.  I had already known that Ale’s teacher wouldn’t be there because when I asked her a week before the event, she was quite quick to inform me that it was her birthday and she had plans.  Here was an extremely important opportunity to learn about something that affects at least 15% of our school’s students and the moment was squandered.

It was after the seminar that I realized that I needed to do something to help educate others about dyslexia — especially the teachers and administrators.  And that was the moment that Embracing Dyslexia” was born.  This film is my chance to make things right.  I can’t take back the decision to hold Ale back a year, something that will always be a terrible memory for him.  I can’t take back the many times I accused Ale of being lazy and not trying hard enough.  This film is my way of trying to prevent other children and their families from having to go through what we did.  Schools need to acknowledge that dyslexia is real; they need to understand what it is and not be afraid of the word; and they need to know what can be done to help these children. With this information they can work with parents and together make a tremendous impact on a dyslexic child’s life.

Please join us this October 28th at the Alamo Drafthouse Stone Oak  for the San Antonio premiere of  “Embracing Dyslexia”. I will be there, as well as other dyslexia experts, parents, teachers and adults with dyslexia to answer questions and share their stories of what has worked.  I guarantee that being part of this event will help you change the lives of those smart but struggling children that, like my son, thought they were stupid.

Fill out the Comment Form on the bottom of the post or call (210) 495-2626 for tickets.  Tickets are by donation and all proceeds will go towards Marin’s Mission 4 Dyslexia and Standing Strong for Dyslexia, two local non-profits whose goal it is to raise awareness and provide resources for families of kids and teens with dyslexia.

If you suspect your child may have dyslexia and would like to talk about testing, please call us at (210) 495-2626 or email info@learningfoundations.com.  Don’t wait until the pain and frustration is unbearable.