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.

How-Help-Your-Child-Listen-Cooperate

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

  1.  Choose a Neutral TimeNever 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 TellAsk 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.

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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 AnalysisThis 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.

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

3 Cheap and Easy Ways to Start a Successful School Year

Girl drawing back to schoolNo doubt you will make at least one trip to HEB or Target this month to buy school supplies and clothes for your child.  A new school year is always exciting and full of hopeful anticipation.  But it is also a burden on the family budget.  You will find Back to School specials for all of the things these stores promise that your child absolutely NEEDS to survive this school year.

The secret is… the most effective thing you can do as a parent does involve plenty of planning, but little to no shopping!

Here are 3 cheap and easy strategies to make this school year run more smoothly

1. Set up to Support Homework

Organize a work space or portable tote with enough office supplies and resource books.  Be sure there is a quiet, well lit area for studying that your child finds comfortable and appealing.

Put up large white board (2′ x 3′) where your child can MAP OUT and VISUALLY SEE homework, personal schedules, upcoming tests, critical due dates and special events.

Help your child create a routine or system for getting homework completed while participating in their extra-curricular activities and other personal commitments.

 2. Prepare for Supportive Send offs

Help your child jump-start his school day by making him a good breakfast that includes protein and fruits.  Make a habit of getting backpacks, lunch money, permission slips, extra gear ready the night before.  Leave your childrens’ backpacks next to the door so they are ready to go in the morning.

Tack up a simple checklist with visual cues as to routine steps that need to be followed before leaving for school.
– Pack homework
– Brush teeth
– Pack lunch
– Kiss mom goodbye

 3. Strategize and Organize Against Pitfalls

Determine a way to effectively control and monitor T.V., computer and video game time so that it does not eat away your child’s energy and time needed to complete homework.

Decide where to say “no” to good things in order to insure that the best things actually happen – both in your schedule as well as your child’s schedule.

Get yourself organized for the day the night before so that your personal stress level is down and you’re free to offer your child emotional encouragement and send them off with a loving hug!

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Summer Brain Drain

It’s that time of year again.  Your child struggled to barely get by this school year, and he finally gets a chance to relax and recharge his batteries.  Summer is a great time for ‘kids to be kids’, but you must be careful to avoid Summer Brain Drain.

According to research by Johns Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning, students lose an average of 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in reading and math when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer.  When August comes around, teachers spend 4 to 6 weeks re-teaching material that students have forgotten during the summer.

Keeping your child’s brain active during the summer is critical to prevent the loss of learning skills.  There are 3 simple things you can do with your children to give them the edge to be successful next school year.

 1.    Plan day trips to your local library or bookstore.

Believe it or not, it is easy to see which students have lost much of their learning skills over the summer by finding out how much and how often they read.  Spending time in your local library or bookstore can pay golden dividends when school starts in August.

Ask your local librarian to suggest fun and exciting books that are appropriate to your child’s interests and reading level.  They will be able to explore new worlds, expand their vocabulary and stimulate their creativity without the burden of having to write a book report.

If you prefer a more relaxed environment; most bookstores have a café and reading areas where you can hang out with your children while they read.  Enjoy a sip of coffee and check your email, get work done or even read something yourself!  After all, how many unread books are just sitting there waiting for you to open them?

2.    Practice writing skills by journaling

The next best thing to reading during the summer is writing.  Encourage your children to keep a journal of their summer activities.  Journaling is an excellent way to express their feelings, and use their newly learned vocabulary.  Let them choose a journal book that is attractive to them and have them decorate it however they want to.

If you are traveling somewhere, have your children research the places you plan to go and provide options for activities that they want to enjoy.  Once on the trip, have your children keep a “Captain’s Log” of the day’s events and activities, along with comments about how they felt that day.  This will help them become more observant and practice their visual and auditory memory.

Giving them some responsibility and ownership of their educational activities will go a long way to improve your children’s learning skills.

 3.    Have THEM do the cooking…and practice math while they do it

Having your children help with cooking is a great way for them to practice math and science skills.  Students often have trouble understanding weights and measures because they are more abstract and difficult to convert.  Using common kitchen utensils, they will be able to gain a real-life understanding of the relationship between cups and quarts, ounces and pounds, and other complicated measurements.

As any chef knows, following recipe instructions properly are just as important as having all the right ingredients.  Your child will learn the importance of sequencing and following step by step instructions in a non-threatening way.  After all, the worst thing that could go wrong is having flat cupcakes!

From Brain Drain to Brain Train in 3 Months

Dr. Ruth Peters, who regularly appeared on the Today Show says, “For many students, summer means that much of what students have learned in the past nine months goes out their heads like summer heat rising from the blacktop.”  The good news is that for most students, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Following these simple steps and enhancing your child’s learning skills, the brain can grow and become sharper.  This means that for children who work harder than the average student, years of frustration and embarrassment can be traded for success and self-confidence.

For more tips on how to help your child become a comfortable, independent learner, visit www.learningfoundations.com or email us at info@learningfoundations.com.

How Brain Based Learning Can Change Your Child’s Life

A mom recently asked,

“My son is frustrated with math, and our daughter complains that she has to re-read everything to understand it. I’m trying to figure out what they need and where to take them for help.”

The road to academic success is often paved with more than tutoring. For example, extra help on a specific math concept your son has a hard time getting  might be all he needs. However, when tutoring is not enough, maybe the real problem is working memory, focused attention, auditory processing, logic and reasoning or thinking speed. With a ‘brain-based learning’ approach, you can correct these issues and improve your child’s ability to learn math.

An evaluation determines the underlying deficient issue (cognitive, developmental or academic). The brain is trained in one on one sessions. Then, the student is ready to 1) pay attention to the learning experience, 2) keep information and concepts in working memory long enough to retain them in long-term memory, 3) quickly get and process that concept, and 4) apply what was learned to reading, writing, or math. So, brain-based learning is training the brain to develop new and efficient skills.

If you are thinking, I need to re-read that last paragraph to better understand it, does that mean you need tutoring in reading? Maybe not, though that is often the assumption when students say they have to re-read information to understand. If the real issue is memory, then improving memory will help much more than tutoring in reading. If the real issue is attention, then developing her brain’s ability to lock on to the material all the way to the end of the paragraph will be the key. Your daughter may need brain-based learning to BE READY to develop actual reading and comprehension skills.

So, it is vital to use a program designed to address YOUR child’s specific issues.  Discovering your children’s real learning needs and developing weak skills will help them prepare today for success in school, college and career tomorrow.

Email questions or concerns about your child’s learning struggles at info@learningfoundations.us or visit www.learningfoundations.us to learn more about brain-based learning.