The ADHD Food Fix

Did you know studies suggest that dietary changes may improve the symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity in ADHD kids? Find out how to make your family´s diet ADHD-Friendly with these meal suggestions from ADDitude Magazine.

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The Best BreakfastA breakfast rich in protein jump-starts better learning and behavior, say experts. Why? Protein is used by the brain to make neurotransmitters—chemicals that help brain cells talk with each other. For your morning menu, try scrambled eggs with whole-grain toast; or natural peanut butter on whole-grain bread. Make sure to skip sugary cereals, which can cause spikes in blood sugar and increase hyperactivity in ADHD kids.

Smart SnacksSince ADHD medications tend to blunt the appetite, it’s important to make every calorie count. You’ll also want to load up on protein (to sustain alertness) and complex carbohydrates (to avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes). Quick, calorie-filled snacks combos for ADHD kids include: creamy or cheesy soups with croutons; string cheese, crackers, and an apple; a banana and peanut butter.

Balanced Lunch and DinnerWhen preparing an ADHD-friendly meal, half of the plate should be filled with fruits and veggies, one-fourth with protein, and one-fourth with complex carbs. This combination of food may control swings in behavior caused by hunger, surges in blood sugar, or a shortfall of a particular nutrient. In addition, whole grains help prevent blood sugar levels from spiking and then plummeting, which can increase inattention.

Healthy DessertsIf your child pushes away the main course or has appetite loss due to ADHD medication, use dessert to get some extra calories and nutrition into her diet. Studies show that high-sugar diets may increase inattention in ADHD kids, so opt for less sugary treats. Here are healthy dessert options: homemade applesauce; yogurt parfait — alternate layers of yogurt and fruit; or chocolate pudding made with skim milk.

Foods to stay away fromSeveral studies suggest that artificial additives and sugar may increase hyperactivity in ADHD children. Fresh, unprocessed foods are best for ADHDers, as they contain few additives. To be safe, check labels and cut back on foods containing artificial colors, flavors, dyes, preservatives, and excess sugar.

 

If you are interestedreverse-diet-autism in founding out more about the correlation between Diet and Behavior join us  Monday, April 28th at 6:30 for session two of our
Dietary Habits classes.

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 Meetingson 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.

 

FREE Report Shows Parents How to Get Accommodations for STAAR Test

STAAR Cover

Learning Foundations, a San Antonio based learning and diagnostic center produced a Special Report showing parents how to get accommodations for their child’s STAAR Test.  You can claim it by visiting www.FreeParentInformation.com/STAAR

Parents, kids and teachers in San Antonio schools reported large amounts of stress last year due to the new STAAR test.

For the 30% of children who are struggling in school, the outcome of the test could be the difference between passing the year or having their self-esteem crushed by being held back.

If you are dreading this year’s STAAR Test as much as your child, this Free Report will be a breath of fresh air.

This Free Report will teach you:

  1. How to navigate through the complicated process of getting accommodations for your child.
  2. What is the “Accommodations Triangle” and how you can use it to your child’s advantage.
  3. Who you need to talk to at school to get these accommodations.
  4. When is the best time to ask for accommodations.
  5. Which accommodations will be helpful for your child.
  6. Why classroom and testing accommodations by themselves will NEVER fix a learning problem.

To claim your Free Copy of this Special Report: “The Inside Scoop on the STAAR Test” and get started on the road to fix your child’s test taking and learning challenges, simply visit www.FreeParentInformation.com and fill out the Contact Form on the top.  You should receive an email with the Report along with the attached forms to print out and take to the school.

Accommodations and classroom modifications are good temporary measures, but they are never a substitute to individualized intervention.  Find out the REAL reason why your smart child or teen is struggling in school.  Attend a FREE Parent Information Seminar on Tuesday night.  Click here to RSVP.

San Antonio Parent Reveals Shocking Conversation with School District

San Antonio Parent Reveals Shocking Conversation with School District

This was in an email that I received from a concerned parent whose child has dyslexia. She has tried to go through all of hoops that the school has given her in order to get the proper help for her child. She is almost in Middle School and have not taken any steps yet to identify a problem that has been going on since 1st Grade:

My, has it been overwhelming dealing with a broken school system. We were scheduled to have an RTI meeting to close out on Tier 3 on Wednsday but to no surprise i was not contacted til late afternoon on Tuesday that it had been cancelled. The counselor apologized stating that it was an oversight. We still did have a 504 meeting to discuss accomodations based on her ADD. Boy am I frustrated!!! i contacted the dyslexia coordinator myself and talked with her im expecting to hear back from her soon as to what she thinks about the school results and the report from Leslie. : ) I have decided that my next step is to contact the superintendent and media if needed. Its no holds barred for me at this point especially after the counselor told me that they would just test her for special ed. after our next RTI meeting. He also said that when they do that testing they have 90 days to do it so that puts us in the month of April. (almost end up school year) The ending of the counselors talk was “hopefully we should be able to figure something out by the time she is leaving us for middle school” Who says this! I was floored and composed myself long enough to get to my car and cry my eyes out. I am just dumbfounded at the schools inablility to understand that my baby girl needs help. They just don’t care is how i feel.

What parents have to go through to get help from the school system is just not fair! I understand that schools need to have procedures, and that they have a limited budget. I also know that there are hundreds of frustrated teachers out there who want to help, but can’t. It’s about time that administrators are honest and frank with parents so that they can get the help they need elsewhere, if the school cannot provide it. Have you had a similar experience with your child’s school?

If this has been your experience, you are NOT alone.

Visit www.learningfoundations.com/parents  or call (210) 495-2626 to see how you can get help for your struggling child.

Having an Advocate for your ADHD Child

Having an Advocate for your ADHD Child

This is an article taken from ADDitude Magazine:

My Son’s Strongest Advocate

The mentoring of one special teacher who really understood my ADHD child made all the difference.

Kimberly Flyr found a special school teacher to mentor and counsel her ADD / ADHD child, David.      I don’t have attention deficit disorder, but it affects me every day. My 8-year-old son, David, was diagnosed with ADHD last year.

Loving a child with ADHD is demanding, rewarding, frustrating, and often fun. I do everything I can to help him in school and get him the   right accommodations. But as I found out, sometimes a little luck can help, too.

It’s not as though I’d never heard of ADHD before David was born. As a public school teacher for 10 years, I taught my share of ADHD students. I remember many of them — their intelligence as well as their quirks.

One little boy who had trouble keeping his hands still during story time twirled a quarter to entertain himself. One day he decided to see what the coin would feel like in his mouth. The next thing I knew he was standing up and screaming, “I swallowed the quarter! Am I going to die?” He ran down the hall to find the school nurse.

I remember his mother’s concern over his impulsiveness, restlessness, and quirkiness. Being only 24 and childless at the time, I saw the boy as sweet and amusing. And while I offered sympathy to the worried mother and modified my teaching methods to try to meet her son’s needs, I wonder now if I did enough — or understood enough?

Older and wiser

Twelve years and three children later, I am older and considerably wiser. I now empathize with that mother because, in some ways, I have become her. David is also impulsive and quirky, intelligent, and prone to worrying. He’s caring and sensitive, funny, and athletic. But he needs assistance in focusing on an assignment. He needs tasks broken down into small pieces, and he needs someone to smooth out life’s rough edges.

I pay attention to the teachers who work with him. He needs one with patience, who can nurture his creative thinking, and, I hope, who can appreciate his latest addiction, Calvin and Hobbes.

I support his teachers because I know that their extra effort helps David, and I also try to support my son, answering his many questions about school: Why doesn’t the story he wrote make sense to the teacher when it makes perfect sense to him? Why doesn’t he remember assignments? Why is it wrong for him to correct the teacher if she makes a mistake?

The call that changed things

I grew accustomed to answering phone calls from frustrated teachers, counselors, and friends. So when one of David’s teachers called me at home last spring, I steeled myself for what she was about to say. Just the day before, I had attended a conference with several of David’s teachers. We were all disappointed that our best efforts hadn’t helped my son as much as we had hoped. As I picked up the phone to talk to yet another teacher, I thought that changing my phone number was looking better every day.

But this call turned out to be different. “Your son is very bright,” said an upbeat Nancy Kapp, his enrichment teacher. “But he needs to work with teachers who understand his way of thinking. I ‘get’ your son, and I’d like to mentor him, if it’s OK with you.”

“It’s more than OK with me,” I remember muttering as relief washed over me.

And so began a relationship between David, Mrs. Kapp, and me. Mrs. Kapp agreed to work with David, pulling him from class once a week to work on a special writing project that appealed to his interests (comics and creative writing). The project began in second grade and will continue for as long as David and Mrs. Kapp are willing to be a team.

Advocate and advisor

It’s reassuring to know that Mrs. Kapp understands David. If the classroom teacher is unsure of how to help my son, Mrs. Kapp steps in with a solution. When David struggled to write a story for a project, she offered to type his story as he dictated it, organizing the sentences and paragraphs as she went along. David was proud of the finished product.

Mrs. Kapp also serves as an advisor to David’s father and me. If we have concerns about David’s progress, she offers insights and solutions. When we decided to use a behavior chart to help David complete his work in class, for example, she helped develop the chart and offered to “test it” in her own classroom.

Are we lucky to have found Mrs. Kapp? Of course. But chances are, you can also find a teacher who will make a difference in your child’s life. As I found out, developing partnerships with teachers can make school an easier experience for everyone.

Before befriending Mrs. Kapp, David had felt anxious about school. When I would visit him during lunch or recess, his body and face seemed tense. Now he looks forward to the one-on-one time with Mrs. Kapp and has relaxed a little. Are our problems solved? Not completely. But as David’s favorite comic-strip characters point out, it’s more fun to get through your day with a trusted friend by your side.

14 Learning Apps for Your Tablet or Smartphone

14 Learning Apps for Your Tablet or Smartphone

One thing that my wife Sofia and I always notice at Learning Foundations is that in the few minutes that our kids are waiting in the reception area, they almost ALWAYS ask mom for her phone or Ipad. And there they go, playing away at Angry Birds, Tetris or some other video game.  But what if you could use that time to get your child engaged in games that actually help their brain?

    So we have been playing around with our own Ipad, downloading Apps and testing them to put together a list of helpful learning apps. So after about a month of “research” (it was actually quite fun!) we want to show you which ones will be most helpful for your child. Of course we also want to hear some of your suggestions as well. We know that as responsible parents, you have also done your research and have found apps that have worked for your children. So please share them with us!

Here’s our list of 16 Learning Apps (in no particular order) that can help your child improve his or her learning skills while still having fun!

NOTE – These apps are good tools to reinforce learning, but should are not a substitute for professional learning skills training.  They will neither diagnose nor fix a learning problem.  If your child has been struggling in school, and tutoring hasn’t helped, don’t wait for the school to diagnose a learning disability.  Consult a professional to help find the underlying cause of your child’s learning difficulties.  Most learning challenges can be corrected using targeted and consistent 1-on-1 cognitive training.  

1) Dragon Dictation –  This app is a very good “speech to text” program and works well with students who struggle with handwriting, taking notes or remembering their ideas.  By clicking a button, you speak into the microphone and then turns your speech into text.  Its vocabulary is quite limited at first, but it quickly learns to recognize your voice and is able to correct itself.  Once you stop the recording, you can make any corrections to the text and then export it to your email, Facebook, Twitter or cut and paste it into a word document.

2) Blio Reader – Visually impaired and dyslexic children often miss out on the benefits of the written word because they are unable to read efficiently.  Blio is a great audiobook app that highlights each word as it is being spoken.  The reader can then follow the text word by word while he is getting the auditory reinforcement.  Research shows that children with dyslexia can learn to read using an Orton-Gillingham based program.  This can take up to 3 years.  In the meantime, they can use this program as a tool to keep up with the rest of their class.  Story books and textbooks are purchased individually.

3) Lexico Cognition – I especially liked this app because of how it works to improve spatial relations and logic and reasoning.  A series of pictures with different shapes, objects or people are laid out in a grid pattern.  A voice with text reads a sentences describing a picture.  With your finger, you drag the sentences to the group of shapes it is describing.  As you start matching sentences with pictures, you start uncovering a picture that is laying hidden in the background.  I highly recommend this one for children with Autism or other cognitive difficulties.

4) iWrite Words – Toddlers that are learning their letter and number shapes as well as children with dysgraphia can benefit from this interactive app.  A series of dots outline the shape of each letter and you have to connect the dots by sliding your finger from one point to the other.  The dots are numbered in a sequence to reinforce consistent starting and ending points when forming letters.  If you go the wrong way, or step out of the path, you simply start again.  This program works with both capital and lowercase letters as well as words.

5) Find the Letters – This app helps develop fine motor and visual tracking skills for reading.  A series of 3 or 4 letters are laid out in a grid pattern with a corresponding color assigned to each letter.  You first tap on a color and slide your finger across the grid, finding all of the letters that correspond to that color.    Once letters are colored in, you can see the picture that has been formed.

6) Sight Words by Photo Touch – Sight words are difficult to learn for many kids, especially those with dyslexia.  This app provides a nice, visual way for them to memorize their sight words by using their visual memory.  The voice in the program will say a word and then present “cards” with different options for how to spell that word.  When you choose the correct word card, the voice will give positive reinforcement before saying the next word.  When you get three consecutive correct words, the number of possible word choices increases.

7) Idea Sketch – Most of my dyslexic students have great ideas and a great imagination, but struggle getting them on paper in an organized manner.  This app allows you to create bubbles with individual ideas and group them by different shapes and colors.  Each idea can be linked with another by dragging your finger from one shape to the other.  The entire drawboard can be later turned into an outline to turn your series of scattered ideas into an organized story, essay or presentation.

8) myHomework – This app is really designed for older kids as a way to keep track of their homework assignments, tests and projects.  This interactive agenda lets you create classes and add new assignments to along with their due dates.  The assignments are grouped into “Upcoming Homework”, “Complete Homework” and “Late Homework”.  Whenever your child completes an assignment, she can just slide it from the Upcoming category to completed.  And it will never let you forget about your Late Homework, as it will stay in that category until it is completed.  If your child is younger, you could use it as a visual incentive for them to move things from upcoming to the completed category.

9) Khan Academy – This series of interactive videos is great for anyone who needs a review of Math and Science concepts.  If you were not very good at math to begin with, and your child needs help, simply search for the concept that he is having trouble with.  There are video tutorials for everything from addition and subtraction to algebra, statistics and calculus.  Look for the Singapore Math section under Test Prep as an easier way to understand Math.

10) Times Warp – Learning your Times tables can be a daunting task, especially when your child is being timed on her tests.  This little app styled as a video game is a fun way to improve your child’s speed in solving multiplication problems.  A space character of your choice flies through outer space and is presented with a multiplication problem on the screen, along with blocks with 6 possible answers. By moving the tablet from side to side, the character must move towards the correct answer in order to get points.  Even my students that hate math have enjoyed playing this game.

11) Elevated Math – This is a fun series of videos that your child can watch in the car on the way to school.  Animated characters explain a variety of math concepts through real-life scenarios in which the concept can be used.  Students that struggle with concepts like percentages, ratios, measurements, geometry, etc. can benefit from these concrete examples.  You can buy each lesson individually and replay them as much as you like.

12) OhNo!Fractions –  For children that struggle with the concept of fractions (we see plenty of them) this is a helpful tool for understanding relative quantity.  There are two fractions opposite each other on the screen and they have to determine if one is greater or less than the other.  For each answer, they have to prove each answer by filling up a series of blocks that represent each fraction.

13) Ruby Repeat –  A nice and simple app for memory and sequencing, Ruby Repeat shows a large octagon with shapes around it.  Shapes light up in a particular sequence and you have to repeat that sequence by touching those shapes.  Each level adds an extra shape that is lit up in the sequence.  For the more difficult option, you can chose a multicolored shape which adds an extra distraction.

14) Wordventure! – If you played Mad Libs as a kid and had as much fun as I did, then you will have a blast with this one.  The basic concept is the same.  First you ask for nouns, adjective, adverbs, verbs, etc. and then those fill in the blanks of a pre-written story.  Without knowing it, your kids will learn about grammar and sentence formation.  You get the added bonus of improving your child’s vocabulary (with the occasional reference to boogers, aliens and other gooey stuff).

Although these apps are a great tool to reinforce your child’s learning process, like most technology, these are still only tools.  They will not fix a learning problem.  If your child has been struggling in school, and tutoring hasn’t helped, don’t wait for the school to diagnose a learning disability.  Most learning challenges can be corrected using targeted and consistent 1-on-1 cognitive training.

To learn more about why your smart child is struggling in school, you can attend one of our FREE Parent Information Seminars.  These are held every Tuesday Night at 7:30 PM at Learning Foundations.  Seating is limited, so please call (210) 495-2626 to RSVP.

How to Get Started on Homework

How to Get Started on Homework

PROBLEM – How do I get started with EACH assignment???

Some students struggle to get started because they are unsure about what to do. They often fail to read or understand instructions. Some really need to be shown as well as reading or hearing the instructions.

We want students to be as independent as possible on homework, but getting them started and reassuring them that they are on the right track can alleviate a lot of wasted time. 

SOLUTION – Use The “Getting Started Questions” 

Here are 5 questions to ask your child to answer at the beginning of each assignment:
  1. What should I do first? (Put my name on the paper)
  2. What do the directions say?
  3. Is there an example I can look at?
  4. In this assignment, are there questions I will need to answer after reading something? If so, where are those questions? Read the questions before reading the section (paragraph, chapter, etc.).
  5. Do I need to ask for help?
Are there other questions that should be asked at the beginning of every assignment?

  • Write all the questions on a card that your child will use every time he does homework.
  • Now “walk your child through” each question. Direct your child through using the questions on several assignments.
  • Finally, have him try to use them independently.
Once you have gotten your child in the habit of using the card at the start of each and every assignment, homework becomes much faster to get into and to finish…which means more time for fun! 
For more helpful tips and articles written by educational experts, visit www.LearningFoundations.us/Resources

The Damaging Myth of Normalcy

Normalcy Myth – Smart Kids with LD « Smart Kids With LD.

By Jonathan Mooney

By the time I was in second grade I thought I was stupid and crazy. Why? Because that’s what I was taught. Those are not thoughts I would have come to on my own. Think about it. We all know some awesome little nutty red-headed kid who was completely happy until he went off to school. Two years into it he’s lost 10 pounds, has developed some strange phobias, a tic or two, and is even talking about suicide!

“Bad” Seeds

How does that happen? It’s the result of a fundamental paradigm shift. In preschool and kindergarten the approach is self-directed, project-based learning. Children move from here to there, and for the most part they decide what they want to do.

In first grade, they’re introduced to their desk and that’s when the problems start. Suddenly, it’s “Jon, you sit there. I’ll tell you what you can do with your body. I’ll tell you when you can get up. I’ll tell you what you’re going to learn.”

Experts call it socializing kids. But does anyone honestly believe it benefits society to make a seven-year-old beg to use the bathroom?

For me, this is where crazy began. The classroom became one giant hierarchy with gold stars and behavior charts to show everyone who were the “good” kids and who were the “bad” ones.  The bad kids, of course, were the ones that didn’t follow the rules.

A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

I was a bad kid because I tapped my foot. And then I started tapping both feet; next I began drumming my fingers.

In reality, a handful of kids in every classroom in America do the same thing. Eventually the teacher says, “What is your problem?” That happens to be one of the most damaging statements you can make to a child. The child naturally concludes he has a problem or is broken in some way. That’s the beginning of the self-fulfilling prophecy where kids with ADHD come to believe they’re sick or diseased.

Ironically, science tells us otherwise. We now know that kids who tap their feet are not doing so because they’re bad, or trying to be irritating, or because they’re on their way to a life of crime. They’re doing it because it accesses a physical motor memory that facilitates focusing. It’s what that child needs to do in order to learn.

No-Win Situation

When the teacher yells, “Focus!” it stops the tapping—but it also stops the learning. The child starts staring out the window and misses the lesson. Now he gets yelled at for that too. The teacher angrily repeats the “f” word: “focus, focus, focus!” And now the child is in a no-win situation: he gets yelled at for shaking his leg, which he needs to do to focus, and he gets yelled at for being inattentive when his way of learning is thwarted.

The cycle continues: “Focus!” When he focuses by shaking his leg, he becomes the “bad” kid or the problem child and is sent someplace different with all the other deviant kids.

The lesson that child has learned has nothing to do with math or science. Instead, he’s learned that he has no place in the classroom when he is being himself. He can either stop being who he is or he can get the hell out of the room.

That’s how crazy and stupid starts. It has nothing to do with learning disabilities or brain pathology. It has everything to do with the myth of normalcy.

Do your children a favor and let them in on the real craziness. Let them know they’re not crazy, stupid, broken, or bad. Make sure they understand the institution is at fault, not them.

Jonathan Mooney finally learned to read at the age of 12. His first book, the award-winning Learning Outside the Lines, was published in 2000, the year he graduated from Brown University. He is the co-founder and Director Emeritus of Project Eye-to-Eye, a mentoring program for students with LD, continues to write and speak widely on the subject of learning disabilities, and accepted the 2009 Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Community Service Award.