By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 11/09/2018
What are the best reading aids for kids?

Reading is a crucial skill for children to master. Not only does it ensure success at school when classroom learning moves from learning to read to reading to learn, but it’s also critical for career success later on in life.

It is through reading that children acquire most of their vocabulary. It’s also an opportunity for parents and teachers to expand a child’s view of the world. Non-fiction introduces them to new subjects and fiction develops social-reasoning skills and empathy.

How a child develops literacy skills depends on a number of factors, including the individual, their early exposure to written text, the frequency with which they read, their vocabulary size, and the presence or lack of certain learning difficulties which can affect language processing – for example dyslexia is one of the main causes of reading difficulties.

What we know is that some kids struggle with reading long after their peers have mastered the skill. In fact, a 2015 Report from the UK Department of Education suggests that 1 in 5 children in England are reading at below grade-level (1). So what can parents do to help?

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 10/10/2018
What are the signs your child is dyslexic

A guest post by John Hicks

As a parent of a daughter with dyslexia looking back over six years since her diagnosis, I can remember my daughter’s difficulty with reading words and spelling and how that got in the way of her being able to enjoy learning at school. Let me tell you about the signs that indicated that our child was dyslexic, how I was able to get her through the school system, and how she learned to thrive.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 09/25/2018
How to make use of augmentative and alternative communication

Augmentative and alternative communication is a general term used to refer to approaches, strategies, and tools, that enable children and adults with autism and speech and language disorders to communicate their wants, needs, thoughts, and emotions.

Augmentative and alternative communication is not appropriate for everyone with a speech or language disorder, but may be useful for people with apraxia of speech, stroke-related dysphasia and dysarthria, and other conditions that affect written expression and/or control of the muscles of the face, throat and mouth, such as cerebral palsy.

Sign language, pen and paper, and hand gestures are basic forms of augmentative and alternative communication, as is using a chart and pointing to pictures, letters, words or symbols.

Alternatives to speech can be as high-tech as specially fitted devices which allow people to communicate using custom buttons and pressure sensors, or as everyday as children and adults making use of a laptop computer and smartphone to meet their communication needs. On a computer or mobile device, written language can either be typed and displayed on screen or typed and read aloud by an automatized voice facilitated by text-to-speech technology.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 09/19/2018
dyscalculia in adults

Dyscalculia is a learning difficulty that affects an individual’s ability to do basic arithmetic such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Adults with dyscalculia often take longer when working with numbers and may be more prone to making mistakes in calculations. They can also experience higher levels of anxiety and frustration. It may be harder for adults with dyscalculia to learn and recall math facts, such as times tables.

Estimation skills can also be affected. Dyscalculia is not a reflection of low intelligence, nor does it mean an adult will not be successful working through higher order mathematical reasoning.

However, many people with dyscalculia believe they are simply bad at math. Because math is involved in various areas of the school curriculum, from chemistry to physics, as children these individuals may have felt they were less capable of achieving success in the classroom.

Over time these feelings can develop into low self-confidence and low self-esteem. Adults with poor math skills are more likely to suffer in terms of career opportunities and management of personal finances. There’s additionally a greater chance they are struggling with more than one learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or ADHD.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 09/12/2018
Visual processing disorder and dyslexia

Visual processing disorders can interrupt an individual’s ability to understand and navigate written symbols, which may cause problems with math/maths and learning to read at school. They’re not due to vision problems or any issues with the eyes, but rather with how the brain interprets visual information.

On the other hand, dyslexia is a separate condition that often makes it challenging to break spoken language down into its component parts. This in turn complicates reading and spelling. While the two conditions can look similar, they have different causes and thus children and adults who have one and not the other will require a different set of strategies and accommodations.

You may also encounter the term visual dyslexia, which refers to individuals who have a type of dyslexia that is not related to phonological processing – learn more about the different kinds of dyslexia. In visual dyslexia, a child experiences a type of visual processing disorder. He or she may be prone to reversing or transposing letters, have difficulty locating words on the page, and have a tendency to skip over them. In comparison to phonological dyslexia, rhyming ability and language recall are less likely to be affected.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 09/05/2018
Are autism and memory problems common
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.
 
By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 08/29/2018
Strategies for teaching EAL pupils

EAL pupils can come from any first language background – and may even speak more than one first language – which is what gives them their English as an Additional Language status. What they have in common is that they are all receiving their education in a predominantly English-speaking country. Some children are absolute beginners and others are highly advanced in English and may even sound like native speakers.

Depending on their age and background, EAL learners might be literate in their mother tongue – which can give them an edge in developing English literacy skills - or they may not yet have learned to read and write.

Many educators enjoy teaching EAL learners as they often bring new perspectives and approaches to problem solving into the classroom. They can also be challenging, for example if you’re teaching a large class and they require a lot of individual attention, or if they are having trouble adjusting to the new school system.

Experienced educators know though that even with no knowledge of a student’s mother tongue and little experience teaching non-native learners, it’s still possible to give children and young adults access to the resources, strategies, and tools they need to be successful at school.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 08/23/2018
TTRS typing – how is it different from other typing programs?

TTRS stands for Touch-type Read and Spell and is different from traditional typing programs in a few ways. For one, the words in TTRS lessons are whole words instead of nonsense key combinations. In this way, you can learn to spell as you learn to type.

More importantly, the words on screen are accompanied by audio which teaches you to connect letters to sounds. This is important for learning to read, as well as to spell. TTRS also follows a carefully structured curriculum of English phonics, so typing drills build automaticity in reading, as you progress through the course.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 08/16/2018
Does dyslexia affect speech?

Dyslexia is a language-based specific learning difficulty that can impact on reading and spelling skills in children and adults. While the effects of dyslexia are more visible where the processing of written language is concerned, it’s not uncommon for kids with dyslexia to be late-talkers. This is because a child with dyslexia may have poor phonological awareness – or an inability to break words down into their component sounds.

If the dyslexia is co-occurring with a motor skills difficulty like dyspraxia, then production of speech sounds may be further delayed. Individuals with dyslexia can also have trouble with sound sequencing, substitutions, and rhyming. Word recall may be problematic. This ‘tip-of-the-tongue’ phenomenon can lead to misspeaking and halted speech. It can also generally cause embarrassment and anxiety, which disrupt speech fluency and overtime may result in low confidence, and low self-esteem.

What’s important to remember is that speaking difficulties caused by dyslexia are not an indication of low-intelligence. There are also plenty of strategies and accommodations children and adults can use to overcome fluency issues at home, at school and in the workplace.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 07/26/2018
Famous people with dyslexia

Salma Hayek, Keira Knightley and Tom Cruise are some of Hollywood’s brightest stars – and they have dyslexia. Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Leonardo da Vinci, and Pablo Picasso possessed some of the greatest minds and talents in history and they were dyslexic.

Successful entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Steve Jobs made use of their dyslexic brains to build billion-dollar companies, and George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and JFK left an indelible mark on history as presidents of the United States of America, regardless of their spelling ability.

No matter where you go in the world, you will find dyslexic individuals who have achieved success, despite experiencing early difficulties with reading and writing.

Pages