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.

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Don´t Let Your Child Lose What They´ve Worked So Hard to Achieve Over the Summer

As the end of the school year looms near most kids are overjoyed with the thought of a Summer without books and homework, but taking the summer off can lead to a loss of those hard earned skills and is what educators call “the summer slide”.  Studies have found this is especially detrimental to student with learning difficulties.

Not to fear here are some fun educational activities you can do with your children to keep  their brains in shape over the summer:

  1. MakeSummerReading summer learning part of the fun by encouraging struggling readers to use audiobooks to build their knowledge and vocabulary while exposing them to age-appropriate content beyond their reading level.
  1. Help kids “frontload” for the next school year by exposing them to information they will be able to apply to next year´s curriculum. For example, students who will be learning about American history next year might prompt a family trip to the Freedom  Trail in Boston or to a local area of historical interest.
  2. Sign up for a library summer reading program these usually offer awesome prizes and incentives to inspire students to read and improve their school performance
  3. Limit screen time to activities that build competencies-games that build math skills, word games, and films that will inspire students to the read the book on which they were based. Even education screen time in no substitute for unstructured play or quite reading under a favorite tree.
  4. Read books together as a family and make a treat or visit a place that goes along with the theme book when you finish it.
  5. Make one day a week science day and build a project, collect specimens on a nature hike, or try out some interesting experiments.Summer-Learning
  6. Taking a family trip or vacation? Help your children create a travel journal and document events of the day and gather pictures and mementos.
  7. Do your children love to help you in the kitchen? Have them practice measuring and following recipes directions while trying out some new recipes.
  8. Visit local museums, galleries, city gardens etc.
  9. Sign your child up for an academic based day camp or class in a subject they enjoy.                                                                            At our learning center we offer fun and challenging summer programs to help keep improve your child´s abilities and keep their brains in tip top shape. 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.

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. 

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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.

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.

 

A Nag-Free Tool to Help Your ADHD Child

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

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

Sounds like magic right?

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

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

  1.  Choose a Neutral 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.

Fine Motor Skills Provide a Surprising Pathway to School Readiness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Story Behind “Embracing Dyslexia”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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