Read and Spell Blog

Autism and memory
Read and Spell blog
Autism and memory

Autism and memory

A guest post by Ethan Miller, online ESL tutor and parent to a 7-year-old child with autism.
In our busy lives, seldom do we sit down and really appreciate the power of the human brain. For most of us, learning and recall work on autopilot. But, no two brains function the same way, and there are people who suffer from conditions like autism that affect their learning and recall capabilities.
Which modifications can most help students with Down syndrome
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Modifications for students with Down syndrome

Modifications for students with Down syndrome

Some learners with Down syndrome attend special schools where they are taught a specific curriculum and have lesson content and delivery adapted for their needs. Others may learn at home or as part of a co-op.

However, it’s increasingly common for children to enrol in their local education system where they can study alongside non-Down syndrome peers. There are a number of benefits to this, including the ability to enhance a student’s sense of independence, foster stronger ties within the community, and assist a learner in developing social skills. It may also prepare young-adults and teens for volunteer/work opportunities later on, and can generally be more convenient and financially practical for families.

But when a learner with Down syndrome joins a regular class, this also means that certain teaching approaches and exercises may need to be modified in order to ensure the student gets the maximum benefit from his or her studies.

This program is working great. We are using it for our 6 year old and he is enjoying it. He wants to "do my typing" each day. Our 4 year old daughter watches with keen interest. The way it is designed really does include reading and spelling and not just typing.

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Autism and typing as a form of augmentative communication
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Autism and typing

Autism and typing

Many children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) struggle to express themselves in speaking and writing. Communication challenges can range from mild to severe: one child with autism may speak fluently with an impressive vocabulary and another might be completely nonverbal. Some learners say the same word over and over, and others repeat a series of sounds, or the speech of others, a condition known as echolalia.

But experiencing difficulties with speaking does not necessarily mean an autistic child cannot understand, process and use language to represent his or her thoughts, it may just be he or she doesn’t have the ability to express what’s inside. That’s why it can be useful to explore alternative forms of communication, such as typing. Typing can help verbal and nonverbal autistic learners as well as those who struggle to write by hand.

helping students in special education
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3 Ways to help students in special education

3 Ways to help students in special education

There a number of reasons why a child may need to attend a special education program at school. Special education can help learners who struggle with developmental delays, such as dyspraxia or apraxia of speech, and/or children who experience challenges with literacy and numeracy because of a specific learning difference.

It may also be that a physical impairment is affecting a student’s ability to learn in the same way as his or her peers and specific accommodations and materials are necessary. The basic requirement for a program to be considered special education is that it must address the individual learner’s needs in a way that wouldn’t be possible in a mainstream classroom. But just because a child receives extra support, it doesn't mean they are less intelligent or talented than their peers.

The best Down syndrome blogs to follow
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6 Down syndrome blogs to follow

6 Down syndrome blogs to follow

For families who are just embarking on their journey, blogs are a good place to start. That’s because they give you a way to move beyond the medical facts and statistics your doctors might discuss with you and discover the practical and emotional sides of raising a child with Down syndrome. You can engage with the blogs' authors, join in on-going discussions with other readers, and learn more about families who are on a similar path to yours.

Down syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs when a child is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. In the past, it was assumed that children with Down syndrome would not benefit from early access to education. Thankfully today we understand that with the right support, these very special children can go on to lead rich and fulfilling lives.

Exchanging ideas and sharing tips and anecdotes can help you gain much needed perspective and provide support when you need it most. Blogs also serve as a platform for circulating the latest resources and research, and getting behind local and national causes. That’s why we’re sharing our list of the top Down syndrome blogs in 2018. We hope you’ll give them a read! With the right guidance, care and accommodations, every child with Down syndrome can go on to achieve great things.

A how does a multi-sensory approach to reading work
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A multi-sensory approach to reading

A multi-sensory approach to reading

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.

Did you know learning to touch-type can make you a better speller? Be the best you can be with TTRS!

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Jobs for people with Down syndrome
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Jobs for people with Down syndrome

Jobs for people with Down syndrome

A growing number of adults with Down syndrome enjoy greater independence and enhanced skills development today thanks in part to employment opportunities. Having a job builds confidence for people with Down syndrome, whether it is a paid or volunteer position.

It’s also a good way to increase awareness of learning difficulties among the general public, especially when it comes to showing the many talents these very capable and special individuals possess.

From working as baristas in community coffee shops to taking positions in national chains, handling the front desk at offices, or working with their hands in the great outdoors, people with Down syndrome can thrive in a wide range of positions when they have the support, drive and skills they need to perform the job.

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Touch-typing can support spelling skills and help students build confidence in and outside of the classroom

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What is child-led learning?
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What is child-led learning?

What is child-led learning?

Child-led learning is a term used to describe education programmes in which children are responsible for deciding what to learn. In some cases, it extends to kids being in control of how long they spend on a particular lesson and the methods and materials used for study. Quite often it is undertaken in a home-school environment or in a private tutoring context.

While this movement typically stands in opposition to a fixed curriculum, some schools offer individual classes or after-hours programmes that take a more child-led approach. There are also situations in which giving a child a greater role in deciding how much and what to learn is more appropriate, such as sessions for kids who struggle with learning difficulties.

Encouraging children with learning difficulties to succeed at school
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Encouraging children with learning difficulties

Encouraging children with learning difficulties

Specific learning difficulties like dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia can make it difficult and sometimes impossible for a child to achieve the same results as his or her peers in a traditional classroom setting. Some children face a constant struggle with reading and writing and many are at risk for developing low self-esteem, particularly when their condition goes undiagnosed and/or untreated.

The thing to remember is that there are alternative learning approaches, strategies, and tools that can help students with learning difficulties achieve their full potential at school. Moreover, a positive attitude and plenty of encouragement from parents and teachers can do wonders when it comes to inspiring these children to stay motivated and persevere.

teaching phonemic awareness
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Teaching phonemic awareness

Teaching phonemic awareness

One of the key skills children must develop before they learn how to read is phonemic awareness— being able to hear and manipulate the sounds that make up words.

Phonemes are the smallest units of sounds that can change meaning -- if you switch the middle vowel sound in hat, everything shifts from definition to part of speech and usage.

A child with phonemic awareness knows that sat is made up of three distinct sounds. They may also realize that sat and bat end in a similar sound and that hat and heart start with the same sound.

It is the recognition that language is made up of these sounds that is so important in reading.

Typing for the blind and for visually impaired students
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Typing for the blind

Typing for the blind

Because it eliminates the need to look at the keyboard, touch typing is one of the most important and useful skills blind and visually impaired children can learn. But touch typing for the blind is by no means a new phenomenon.

When the typewriter and touch typing method were first introduced in the late 1800s, it was clear that the technology would be of great service in enabling visually impaired children to write. Schools provided instruction so individuals could learn to type and eventually the commercial typewriter became more widely used than the Braille Writer.

It even opened up new career opportunities as blind people began working as typists and transcribers.