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.

Jack Muir Laws, Naturalist and Artist, Shares How His Dyslexia is a Gift

Jack Muir Laws calls himself an “Exquisite Dyslexic” and explains how his Dyslexia has allowed him to be more present and observant.  Take a look at his lecture he gave for the nonprofit Dyslexic Advantage´s conference on Dyslexia and Talent. 

 

Click here to see more videos from the conference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyab_VSBCAk

At Learning Foundations, we use a scientifically proven multi-sensory Orton-Gillingham based program to help students with Dyslexia use their gifts and achieve their potential. 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. 

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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.

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.

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.

Embracing Dyslexia to Debut in San Antonio for Dyslexia Awareness Month

Groundbreaking documentary takes a hard look at dyslexia and its impact on children and parents.

As part of National Dyslexia Awareness Month, Learning Foundations will present a screening of “Embracing Dyslexia” on October 28th at 6:00 P.M. at the Alamo Drafthouse Stone Oak. Director Luis Macias will introduce the film, and answer questions along with a panel of dyslexia experts following the documentary.

“We were frightened for him because he was shutting down on every level.  He felt so frustrated, so stupid, so unworthy and incapable.  And that word ‘dyslexia’ changed everything for him.” Says LeAnn Harbaugh, a parent featured in the film.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated 15-20% of the U.S. population has some degree of dyslexia, which affects reading, writing and spelling.  Millions go undiagnosed and do not receive the appropriate intervention through their school.

The film is a moving exploration of dyslexia from the perspective of parents, adult dyslexics and experts on dyslexia.  “Embracing Dyslexia” explains the difficulties faced by dyslexics, the shortcomings of our current educational system and the available options for parents of dyslexic children.

The screening will serve as a fundraiser for Marin’s Mission for Dyslexia and Standing Strong for Dyslexia; two local non-profits whose mission is to raise awareness and provide resources to families of dyslexic children and teens.

Learning Foundations is a learning and diagnostic center in San Antonio and Executive Producer of the film.  We provide testing and specialized tutoring for children and teens with ADHD and Dyslexia.

If you would like more information about how to get tickets, please contact Rafael Scarnati at (210) 495-2626 or email rafael@learningfoundations.com.

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.