By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 07/19/2017
What is dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is a type of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) that affects fine and gross motor skills, impacting an individual’s ability to perform, plan and coordinate movements. According to the UK Dyspraxia Foundation, an estimated 10% of the population struggles with some form of dyspraxia and 2-4% of people experience severe symptoms. Yet as it is less well known than other disorders, it may not always be recognized and/or diagnosed in children and adults.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 07/12/2017
Signs of a gifted child
Giftedness is often defined as an intellectual ability linked to an IQ score of 130 or over. However, not all gifted children excel in an academic area. Some may display high creative, artistic, musical and/or leadership abilities relative to their peers. Giftedness can be focused in one skill, or it may be more general. It's also important for parents and educators to understand that it can sometimes come with specific learning differences that impact on performance at school. In these situations it's important to help a child develop their talents while also overcoming any challenges posed by the SpLDs. In some cases, it may be appropriate for the child to attend a special program or a school specifically for gifted children, so they have ample opportunities for advancement in a classroom environment that is sensitive to their needs and provides adequate stimulation. With access to the right resources and emotional and academic support, every gifted child can achieve their full potential at school. 
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 07/04/2017
Is dyslexia a disability?
In the UK, the definition of disability is covered under the Equality Act of 2010 and hinges on how “substantial” the effect of the disability is deemed to be. It includes provisions for people with dyslexia who implement coping strategies but also considers workplace contexts and situations in which said strategies cannot be used. In the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) discusses how a disability affects the individual, specifically if it interferes with their “life activities.” Dyslexia is currently evaluated on a case-by-case basis and most dyslexic individuals are considered to have some impairment in learning, reading and/or writing.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 06/27/2017
Dysarthria vs. Aphasia
While both dysarthria and aphasia can affect an individual’s ability to produce fluent and intelligible speech, they have very different causes. Dysarthria is an umbrella term used for disorders that impact the muscles used in speaking, including the lips, tongue, throat, vocal chords and diaphragm. It causes a wide range of symptoms including breathy and nasal speech, drooling, uneven starts and stops, irregular volume, intonation and emphasis, and unclear articulation of words. Unlike brain-based conditions, language comprehension skills are typically not affected. On the other hand, aphasia is the result of injury to the brain. It has to do with understanding and producing language and symptoms will depend on the location and severity of the brain damage.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 06/20/2017
Dyslexia and dysgraphia – what’s the difference?
Many parents and teachers struggle to distinguish between specific learning difficulties that impact on literacy skills. This confusion is made even worse when they have such similar names. While dyslexia is traditionally associated with reading, dysgraphia is typically linked to writing difficulties. Nonetheless, both can cause a child to struggle in the classroom. Children with dysgraphia may have trouble with the formation of letters and the spacing of words in handwriting. They can experience difficulty using capital letters and punctuation correctly, translating ideas into language, and organizing thoughts into grammatically sound sentences. For students with dyslexia, it is often English spelling and sounding out words in reading that poses the greatest challenge.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 06/13/2017
Stroke therapy at home
According to the Stroke Association in the United Kingdom and the American Stroke Association, there are over 8.2 million stroke survivors in the UK and the US. Many of these individuals undertake daily rehab activities in their own homes, either independently, or with the help of a friend, family carer or a trained specialist. Stroke rehabilitation is many things including physical treatments that aim to improve gross and fine motor skills, language drills to restore communicative abilities, cognitive training to strengthen memory, occupational therapy to help with the performance of everyday tasks, and even emotional therapy to deal with any issues of depression or isolation that arise in the aftermath of a stroke.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 05/24/2017
How to help with spelling
Being able to spell correctly depends partially on phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear the sounds that make up words. But as a lot of English vocabulary is pronounced differently from how it is spelled, there is also a bit of memorization involved. When spelling becomes a source of difficulty or stress at school, it’s important to remind students that it is just one aspect of knowing a word. Computers and mobile devices can help them increase their accuracy in writing and they may want to try a phonics-based program of strategy instruction to improve their skills. Additionally, learning how to touch-type is a useful intervention, particularly when specific learning difficulties like dyslexia are present. This is because typing harnesses muscle memory in the hands to encode spelling as a pattern of keystrokes. 
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 05/16/2017
Best font for dyslexia
Not all fonts are created equal and some typefaces may be more or less accessible for readers with visual impairments, visual processing disorders and dyslexia. That’s because letters differ in their design, including their height, weight and shape. Additional factors such as the spacing between letters, words and lines on a page, text size, text colour and background can all impact on readability.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 05/08/2017
Visual processing disorders
Visual processing disorders occur when the brain has trouble making sense of the visual input it receives. They are distinct from visual impairment in that there is no blindness or issue with the functioning of the eyes. A child may have 20/20 vision and pass a sight test with flying colours but still be unable to distinguish between two objects or make sense of the symbols on a page. Difficulties can manifest in a number of ways and no two children will face the same challenges. Some may have trouble judging distances, whereas others will struggle with the ability to assess colour, size and orientation. Spatial processing and coordination can be problematic and a child might easily become lost and disorientated or struggle with fine and gross motor skills. While not classed as learning difficulties, visual processing disorders can be mistaken for dyspraxia, dysgraphia, ADHD and dyslexia. They can also co-present with a specific learning difficulty and have a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem, confidence and performance at school. 
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 05/02/2017
8 Email management tips for busy parents
Managing your email when you’re a parent can be a challenge, whether you’re dealing with personal emails, a work inbox, school communication or all three. Fortunately there are a number of ways to make email management more efficient so you spend less time staring into a screen and more time with your kids. First off, you can limit the points in the day at which you check email. Second, try reducing the time you spend at each sitting by sorting and prioritizing messages. Lastly, make the process of answering emails more efficient and effective by employing a few simple communication strategies and picking up some new skills, like keyboarding. You’ll not only be making your life easier and more enjoyable but you’ll be setting a good example for your children who will be email users themselves one day.