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.

4 Ways to Build Learning Confidence

Learning new material is often overwhelming and can lead children to get defensive or shut down if they feel like the material is too difficult. Here are some simple strategies to help build their confidence. 

words-of-confidence

1. Say It Out Loud– When students encounter material for the first time, it is helpful if they can talk it out with a peer, parent, or teacher. This verbal processing that takes place settles the learner, provides an opportunity to try out the language associated with the new topic, and arms them with confidence.

2. Brain Dump After learning new material for a set period of time, do a brain dump on a blank piece of paper. This serves the purpose of helping the student realize that learning and knowledge acquisition have been happening.Taking a deep breath, dumping the information on a blank page, and seeing what it looks like prepares the student for success on the assessment. This brain dump then serves as a study guide.

3. Not All In A Straight Line For many students, learning is not linear. On an assessment, one of the keys to remember is that the first question might not be the best place to start. Sometimes, a student will look at the first question on an assessment and panic, thinking he or she knows nothing. Instead, students should take a holistic approach, spend some time scanning the entire assessment, and look for a positive entry point where they feel most confident. 

4. Be Visual or MusicalThe artist and the musician live inside each student, and tapping into that creative side can allow the student to learn and acquire knowledge more effectively. When the  information seems overwhelming and the student doesn’t know where to begin putting the information in the form of a song can help them master the material and remember it more easily.

For more tips like these check out http://www.edutopia.org/

At Learning Foundations we have an Executive Functions program designed specifically to help students develop more effective study 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 7:00 pm. This is an opportunity to ask questions and explore possibilities about how to best help your bright but struggling child.

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.

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.

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 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.

What is a parent to do in the summer?

What is a parent to do in the summer?

“By the end of summer, my kids lose so much of what they learned in school!”

Parents are frustrated to see their children struggle during the school year, and lose the few gains they made during the summer.  They are heartbroken when academic problems affect their children socially as well.  Other kids make fun of them when they can’t keep up in school, miss recess or refuse to read out loud.
 
Their child works hard throughout the year and barely gets passing grades. Parents fear their child will burn out if he doesn’t get a summer break.  Others sign up for summer school hoping that these classes will bring him up to speed.  However, often they end up going back to a tutor or to content mastery in the fall.

What CAN you do this summer to help your child strengthen his learning skills?

More of the same is NOT an option.  Neither is playing for two months.
           The GOOD NEWS is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
 
Brain research shows that through cognitive brain training, the brain can grow and change throughout a lifetime.  This means for children that work harder than the average student, but still get lower grades, years of frustration and embarrassment can be replaced by success and self-confidence.
 
Comfortable, independent learning occurs when students have a strong foundation of underlying processing skills like memory, attention, processing speed, logic and reasoning, language and phonemic awareness.  Unlike academic tutoring, cognitive training results in permanent, measurable changes in a child’s ability to learn.
 
Training is designed to be low stress, multi-sensory and most of all FUN activities and exercises for children and youth that dread going to school.
 
Take advantage of the gift of 1,752 summer hours. A program of 3 to 4 hours a day for six weeks can make an incredible difference for your child next school year.  This summer give your child confidence and the ability to be successful.

Learning Foundations is a diagnostic and learning center in San Antonio, Texas.  For over 40 years we have helped students of all ages overcome their learning difficulties and become successful learners.
  
Learn more about brain-based learning, visit www.LearningFoundations.us