By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 11/20/2017
When kids experience difficulty writing
Writing is a complex and cognitively demanding task that requires a child to bring together both lower and higher order skills, including manipulating abstract ideas while paying close attention to the spelling and punctuation conventions of written English. If the physical act of putting letters on a page is problematic or a learning difficulty gets in the way of fluent language production, students may struggle to come up with legible and coherent compositions. This can lead to poor marks on quizzes and exams but can also affect learning when note-taking skills are compromised. Because writing is central to most subjects across the school curriculum, over time poor performance on written assignments can result in negative associations with classroom learning, low self-esteem and a general lack of confidence at school. A child may believe he or she is a bad writer and begin to avoid writing activities, which in turn results in a less developed skill set. The tragedy is that with the right strategy training and appropriate accommodations, every child can achieve his or her full potential.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 11/16/2017
3 Methods for teaching reading
Learning how to read is one of the most important things a child will do before the age of 10. That’s because everything from vocabulary growth to performance across all major subjects at school is linked to reading ability. The Phonics Method teaches children to pair sounds with letters and blend them together to master the skill of decoding. The Whole-word Approach teaches kids to read by sight and relies upon memorization via repeat exposure to the written form of a word paired with an image and an audio. The goal of the Language Experience Method is to teach children to read words that are meaningful to them. Vocabulary can then be combined to create stories that the child relates to. Yet while there are various approaches to reading instruction, some work better than others for children who struggle with learning difficulties. 
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 11/07/2017
Dysgraphia symptoms in children
Dysgraphia is a language based learning difference that primarily affects writing. It can be difficult to spot in young learners, as not every child develops literacy skills at the same rate. Nonetheless, there are some hallmark signs of trouble, such as when children have problems holding a pen or pencil and forming letters and numbers. These kids generally struggle to express themselves in writing, from organizing ideas, to spelling and using punctuation correctly. The spacing between words may be uneven, letter size can vary and there will be issues staying inside margins. Dysgraphic children also tend to find copying exercises challenging and may avoid coloring and drawing too. As writing by hand is necessary for everything from putting your name at the top of a page, to making notes, completing worksheets and taking tests, learning can be affected when a child doesn’t get access to the accommodations and strategy training he or she needs.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 10/31/2017
Dyspraxia and autism
Dyspraxia, which in the past was referred to as “Clumsy Child Syndrome,” is a motor learning difficulty that can cause issues with fine and gross motor skills, social interaction, planning skills and coordination. While it is distinct from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) many parents notice similar symptoms, including sensory processing issues. In some cases the two conditions can co-occur. Research studies have found that dyspraxia is more likely to be reported amongst people with autism than in control groups; however, that does not necessarily imply a causal relationship. For parents struggling to understand their child’s diagnosis, it can help to take a closer look at the similarities and differences between the two.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 10/24/2017
ADD vs ADHD in the classroom
Today ADHD is used as an umbrella term that includes Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) without the hyperactivity, despite the fact that these two conditions can look quite different in the classroom. Many educators have worked with children who struggle with attention difficulties, but teachers tend to be more familiar with ADHD. That’s because hyperactivity is easier to spot in class. Children with ADHD often struggle to sit still, are fidgety, and prone to impulsive outbursts. These kids may have difficulty with social interactions with their peers, and behavioural problems can result in disciplinary action, which in turn leads to more attention seeking behaviour.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 10/16/2017
How to teach typing
Many teachers are interested in having their students acquire keyboarding skills. That’s because typing is a useful ability for completing homework and essays, doing online research, sitting standardized exams and even taking notes in class. It’s a skill that will serve students in higher education as well as in their future careers and following a typing course can lead to improvements in reading, writing and spelling abilities – depending on the approach taken. Certain programs can even be used to boost confidence and motivation for learners who have developed a negative attitude toward school! But while some institutions offer touch-typing as part of a computer science curriculum, it’s not always available and often parents and educators who advocate for its inclusion must take on the challenge of teaching typing themselves -- with the help of a self-study program of course.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 10/09/2017
hen b and d letter reversal becomes an issue …
Writing by hand requires a child to correctly identify the sticks, curves and/or circles that make up a letter, then reproduce those shapes in a particular orientation, using a set sequence of pen strokes. Before the skill is automatized, the handwriting process can be quite mentally taxing. New writers are also struggling to develop the fine motor skills needed to grip a pen or pencil and the language encoding skills required for reading and spelling. Add to this the challenge of writing in a straight line and creating letters of the same height and width and you’ll find that reversing letters is a common mistake for beginners to make. This is particularly the case for symbols built from the same set of shapes, including b/d, p/q, f/t, i/j, m/w and n/u. Nonetheless, most children grow out of letter reversal by age 7 and it only becomes a cause for concern when errors occur beyond first and second grade. 
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 10/05/2017
Wrist pain from typing
As more and more people type on a computer for work or school, wrist injury due to keyboard misuse is becoming increasingly common. It begins with tingling and numbness in the hand and can become so painful that some people even require surgery. This pain goes by several names including Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CSI). Both conditions are considered occupational hazards that employers and educators take seriously. Following instruction in safe typing practice is the first step in avoiding wrist pain, but it can also help to employ some computer workspace accommodations, such as getting an ergonomic keyboard, fitted desks and chair, and/or gel wrist pad.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 09/25/2017
3 Causes of spelling difficulties
English spelling can be a source of great frustration for a child who is learning how to read and write. But when difficulties persist beyond the first few years of school, a language-based specific learning difference could be the cause of the trouble. Estimates suggest 1 in ten people struggles with some form of dyslexia, which also impacts on reading ability. Dyslexic children may be able to spell a word one day and not the next and can find high frequency service words, such as prepositions, articles and conjunctions, particularly difficult to learn.
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 09/19/2017
My child has dyslexia
A guest post from the authors of ‘The Illustrated Guide to Dyslexia and Its Amazing People'