5 Ways Dyslexia Can Affect Your Child´s Social Life

Dyslexia and social skillsMost people with Dyslexia in their family know how much of a struggle reading and writing can be, but did you know Dyslexia can also affect social skills?

Here are some common social skill challenges and things you can do to aid in development of these important skills.

  1. Your child doesn´t understand jokes or sarcasmChildren with Dyslexia have trouble understanding humor. Tell jokes or funny stories at the dinner table to help your child practice responding.
  2. Your child have trouble finding the right words-Children with Dyslexia have trouble finding words  especially if they feel strongly about a subject or need to respond quickly. Give your child time to think before responding and slow down the overall pace of the conversation.
  3. Your child misses social cues-Children with Dyslexia may not pick up on body language and other social cues. Watch your child´s favorite shows with the volume turned off. Ask your child to guess how a character is feeling based on their body language and facial expressions.
  4. Your child hesitates to message their friends-Your child may shy away from texting because they have difficulty understanding abbreviations, to help show them how abbreviations work. Some are based on spelling (“I don´t know”= idk) and others on how letters and numbers sounds (“later”=l8tr).
  5. Your child remembers things inaccurately-Children with Dyslexia usually have trouble with their short term memory. Help improve memory skills by playing games like having your child name the different cars on the street and having them repeat it back to you a few minutes later.

If you feel like your child´s Dyslexia is limiting their potential at Learning Foundations, we use a scientifically proven multi-sensory Orton-Gillingham based program to help students with Dyslexia. 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.

Learning Foundations Featured in NOWCast San Antonio

“Learning Foundations Helps Dyslexic Students Attain Success”Image is the title of the feature article on NOWCast San Antonio a community website with articles about local events, health & environment, politics, culture and education.

Laura Carter, the article’s author visited Learning Foundations for our annual End of Year Lego Contest and was impressed to see the kind of detail and creativity our dyslexic students can show.

“A passion for helping others and programs that make a difference in people’s lives–phrases usually associated with nonprofit organizations. To be fair, these qualities can also be found in for-profit businesses. At Learning Foundations, programs specifically created to help children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities teach students how to succeed in school and, consequently, their lives. The Learning Foundations’ staff is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the children whose lives they work passionately to improve.”

To read the entire article, visit NOWCast San Antonio’s website at http://nowcastsa.com/blogs/learning-foundations-helps-dyslexic-students-attain-success.s

Thanks again to Laura and NOWCast for visiting with us and helping us spread the word that smart kids with learning challenges can become successful and confident individuals.

For more information about the different programs at Learning Foundations, please call (210) 495-2626 or attend a Free Parent Information Seminar.

Groundbreaking Documentary “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia” Premieres on HBO

Groundbreaking Documentary “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia” Premiere on HBO

“Had I seen this movie when Dylan was functionally illiterate in 4th grade, I would have been spared an extraordinary amount of anxiety about the future.”
– James Redford, Director

On Monday, October 29th at 7:00 P.M. (CST), HBO will debut the groundbreaking documentary “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia”.  

The film features renowned dyslexia expert Dr. Sally Shaywitz from the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. It also includes interviews with successful dyslexics such as Virgin’s Richard Branson, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and financial guru Charles Schwab.

Director James Redford (son of actor Robert Redford) came up with the idea for this film after seeing his son Dylan, a dyslexic, struggle in school despite being a bright child. By conservative estimates, between 15-20% of the population is dyslexic, and like Dylan are often misunderstood as lazy, dumb or slow.  At the age of 10, Dylan was barely able to read and write.  School was incredibly frustrating for him, as it is with most kids and teens with dyslexia.  He is also a creative, innovative, big picture thinker with exceptional people skills.

The film does a great job at shedding light on the source of dyslexia, the brain. More than 70 years of brain research show that dyslexia is a neurological issue, not a character flaw, and definitely NOT a euphemism for slow, dumb or lazy. While dyslexia poses a struggle with the written word, it is by no means something they just have to “deal with”.

Thanks to years of research, and the advocacy of Drs. Sally and Bennet Shaywitz, this film also provides a beacon of light for parents and children with dyslexia. In her groundbreaking book “Overcoming Dyslexia”,  Dr. Shaywitz not only explains the origin of dyslexia, but also gives practical ways to teach a student with dyslexia how to read and write.

If you watch this movie, and you feel like it is describing either you, your children or someone you know, here’s how to take action.  The first step to finding out whether you or your child has dyslexia is to visit www.learningfoundations.com/dyslexia download our Dyslexia Checklist and watch our web video “Could it Be Dyslexia?”.

The next step is to consult a dyslexia expert on how to get tested for dyslexia to find out what steps need to be taken to fix the problem.  

Call (210) 495-2626 for a Free Consultation.

Visit www.sanantoniolearningskills.com to receive Free Weekly Homework Tips for struggling students.  

Dyslexia is a lifelong issue, and improving reading and writing skills is not a quick and easy fix, but it is one that can change your child’s life.

What’s More Expensive Than College? Not Going to College

What’s More Expensive Than College? Not Going to College – Derek Thompson – Business – The Atlantic.

This excellent article from The Atlantic highlights the true costs and benefits of attending College.  Here are some highlights from the article:

  • Even with College tuition rising at historic rates.  The return on investment for a College education over a lifetime still makes a College degree an essential tool.
  • College graduates earn 80% more income than High School drop-outs.  This income gap is higher than ever before.
  • $100,000 spent on College at age 18 would yield a higher lifetime return on investment than if that money was spent in the stock market, gold, real estate, Government bonds or even AAA Corporate bonds.
  • The average rate of unemployment in 2009 for College graduates was 5.2%; compared to 9.7% for High School graduates.
  • Median weekly earnings in 2009 for College graduates were  $1,025; compared to $626 for High School graduates.

For many that struggle with learning and reading challenges, going to College is a faint possibility.  This is because most of them are so frustrated by the time they get to High School that the thought of 4 or 5 more years of school is just terrifying.  Most would rather start working full time and try to find a skill that they can market to other employers.

The sad fact is that students that are struggling in school, lack the cognitive skills necessary to survive and thrive in an independent academic environment such as a University.  So they are faced with two choices:

1) Forget college altogether, play the odds and hope to become the next Mark Zuckerberg.  Or…

2) Invest early on to strengthen those underlying cognitive skills  to become successful in College and have a higher-paying career.

If you suspect your child might have a learning disability, or if he/she is not living up to his potential.  Investing in cognitive training might be the best single thing you can do to secure his future.

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.

Why your smart 3rd grader still can’t read

Do you ask yourself why your child is so smart, yet still can’t read?

A new school year is underway, and I’m already hearing horror stories from parents.  They hoped this year would be a fresh start for their child, but it’s only September and they are ready to pull their hair out in desperation.

 Does the rest of the year have to be this way?

I have heard this story many times, but parents feel so alone when it’s happening in their family.  It is the story of the dyslexic child, and it is more common than you think.

A parent recently shared her concerns about her 7 year old boy:

She noticed the problem since kindergarten, but nobody believed her.  His teacher said he would “grow out of it”.  Her husband said she worried too much; he was just being lazy.  In 1st grade he could guess at some words and understand the big picture, but would skip the small words like ‘to’, ‘at’, ‘a’, and ‘the’. He was a master Lego builder, but couldn’t tie his shoes.

It takes him hours to memorize his spelling words, only to misspell them in sentences the next day.  He is creative, has a wonderful personality and is incredibly curious (“He could watch the Discovery Channel for hours!”), but his younger sister helps him with homework sometimes.  All this makes him a very confused, frustrated and embarrassed little boy.

I may be describing your child, AND his father, AND his grandmother!  Dyslexia is a hereditary trait and is often present in the family tree.  It is common to hear parents describe how grandma would put words in the wrong order and laugh it off by saying “Oh, you know what I mean!”  Of course, it was never diagnosed back then…so nobody suspected it was dyslexia.

It breaks my heart to hear these stories.  For 20% of students, the first 6 weeks of school are progressively difficult.  That’s because they have a learning problem (often un-diagnosed) that makes reading, spelling and writing much harder than it should be.

For these students, school is an endless nightmare of “playing a game they can’t win.”  For parents it is a frustrating, guilt ridden, seemingly never ending search for answers.

The great myth about dyslexia is that dyslexics can never learn to read or write, and are destined to fail.  The truth is dyslexic children are usually of average to above average intelligence.  They are gifted visual-spatial thinkers, creative, empathetic and artistic.

They simply can’t learn to read, spell or write the same way that other children do.  But they CAN learn. They just have to be taught differently.

THE GOOD NEWS IS that ANYONE CAN LEARN TO READ AND SPELL.  If you suspect your child may be dyslexic, get him evaluated as soon as possible.  With an Orton-Gillingham based program, your child can learn how to read, spell and write as well as his peers. It is not a quick fix, but giving your child his smile back is well worth the wait.

Read about common warning signs for dyslexia at www.learningfoundations.us/dyslexia

Dyslexia Myth Debunked: does NOT make you “See Things Backwards”

Dyslexia Myth Debunked: does NOT make you “See Things Backwards”

“Everybody is interested in understanding the root cause of dyslexia, so we can intervene early and do something about it,”   – John Gabrieli; Neuroscientist at Massachussets Institute of Technology.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that adults with dyslexia not only have a hard time reading, but also recognizing voices.

  • Dyslexia is thought to affect between 15-20% of Americans, who can have difficulty reading and writing.  It is a language based condition and is NOT associated with low IQ or vision problems.  In fact, dyslexics tend to have superior visualization skills, and average to above average intelligence.
  • People with dyslexia struggle with “phonological processing” which is the ability to distinguish and manipulate sounds such as /b//a//t/ and blend them to form a word “bat”.
  • Research has shown that children who have good “phonological processing” will be better readers.  This can be identified at a very early age, and can be a predictor of dyslexia.

Children with dyslexia can be identified as early as 6 years old.  Because it is a hereditary condition, if a family member has dyslexia, it is possible that your struggling child may also be dyslexic.  Take our “Dyslexia Warning Signs” checklist and watch our free web video “Could it Be Dyslexia?” to find out if your child may have dyslexia.  Dyslexic students CAN learn to read and write when detected early.  Give us a call at (210) 495-2626 or email info@learningfoundations.com to find out how to get help for your child or loved one.