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.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 04/25/2017
What's the difference between aphasia, dysphasia and dysarthria

It can be difficult to distinguish between conditions with similar sounding names, particularly when they are co-occurring or have closely related symptoms. This is often the case for aphasia, dysphasia and dysarthria, disorders which affect speech and language use.

What makes them different is the nature and amount of disruption to communicative abilities. In aphasia and dysphasia the brain may have experienced some kind of trauma, due to a head injury or stroke, and as a result there are problems with language use. Disruptions may be on the productive side (speech/writing) or primarily affect receptive abilities (comprehension).

On the other hand, dysarthria is a disruption to the muscles that are used to produce speech. It does not affect a person’s understanding of the meaning behind words or an individual’s ability to manipulate syntax (grammar).

By Anonymous 0 comments 04/18/2017
Accommodations for students with dyslexia

A guest post by Cigdem Knebel.

Dyslexia is “difficulty” in learning to read or interpret letters, words, and other symbols. Many dyslexic students experience challenges when it comes to language skills development, including reading, writing and spelling. The condition is often referred to as a “learning difficulty” because dyslexia makes it harder for them to reach their full potential in a traditional school environment.

Nonetheless, phonics-based, multi-sensory and evidence-based reading instruction has been shown to improve the language skills of dyslexic children. So while dyslexia may still be classed as a learning difficulty, the terminology “learning difference” may be more appropriate. And fortunately, with the right classroom accommodations, most students can achieve academic success alongside their peers.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 04/11/2017
9 Quotes about dyslexia to encourage students

A good quote can work in the same way as a supportive teacher or coach, providing us with the encouragement we need to strengthen our self-resolve. Quotes can make us feel better about what’s going in our lives.

They often teach important life-lessons and are a great way for an individual to share his or her wisdom about an experience. When it comes to quotes about dyslexia, you’ll find a mix of anecdotes, advice and words of wisdom.

You will also encounter dyslexic individuals discussing their experience at school pre-diagnosis or in cases where they didn’t receive the help they needed. That’s why one of the most important steps in addressing dyslexia is ensuring that everyone in the child’s life, from family to educators, is informed so the right accommodations can be put in place.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 04/05/2017
How to touch type

People have been learning how to type since the late 1800s when typing classes were first developed for court stenographers and other professionals using typewriters. The practice has certainly come a long way since then and there are more than a few new keys that have been added (delete for example!).

However, mastering the basics of correct hand and finger positioning has generally remained the same. That’s because touch-typing is about automatizing a set of muscles and training your fingers to type the letters you need to spell English words on the QWERTY keyboard. The more you practice with common key and letter sequences, the easier it will become.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 03/29/2017
A how does a multi-sensory approach to reading work

Traditional approaches to teaching reading rely heavily on visual and auditory stimuli, including workbooks and phonics activities. However, individuals who experience difficulties learning how to read may benefit from a multi-sensory approach that involves physical movements and lets them use their senses to engage on a deeper level.

In particular, dyslexic students who struggle to split words into their component sounds may respond positively to the Orton-Gillingham style of learning. It uses multi-sensory techniques to facilitate acquisition of phonics knowledge, decoding, and sight-reading skills.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 03/22/2017
Writing in all caps

Capital and lower-case letters can look similar, like 'O' and ‘o,’ or they can look very different, like ‘A’ and ‘a.’ Nonetheless we still recognize that they are the same letter. This is because when children first start reading and writing they learn to associate two forms with the same sound. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that upper and lower-case letters are processed by the brain in the same manner.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 03/13/2017
Dyslexia strengths

While decoding and spelling may be a weakness, dyslexics possess many strengths thanks to the unique way in which their brains process stimuli, including language. They can be highly skilled at spotting patterns and taking a more global view of a situation.

They are holistic rather than linear thinkers. They often have very good reasoning skills and an ability to integrate personal experiences with acquired knowledge to form new connections. They can make great team players. They can also be extremely creative people who are artistically gifted and have a keen sense of spatial organization.

Keep in mind that while no two individuals with dyslexia will experience the same set or degree of symptoms, this is also true of their strengths which can vary significantly from person to person.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 03/08/2017
10 Fluency strategies for struggling readers

Literacy skills are one of the most important areas of ability children develop in their first few years at school. They begin by sounding out words and learning to recognize common vocabulary from books and classroom materials. With sight reading and spelling practice comes greater fluency.

Reading speeds up and comprehension of more complex texts becomes possible as vocabulary knowledge grows exponentially. However, not all students find learning to read such an easy process. Struggling readers can quickly fall behind their peers and may develop low self-esteem and a lack of confidence as a result.

Because reading ability impacts performance across all areas of the curriculum, including writing skills, it’s important to provide adequate strategy training as early as possible. Ideally remediation is tailored to the individual student’s needs, particularly when a learning difficulty is involved.

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