By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 08/18/2017
When learning disabilities in adults go undiagnosed

Learning disabilities are neurological differences in the way the human brain processes, stores and communicates information. Some estimates suggest that over 10% of the world’s population is affected by a learning disability such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and/or attention deficit disorder (ADHD). In extreme cases, they can cause individuals to miss out on literacy skills development, particularly when schools do not recognize the symptoms early on.

For adults, having an undiagnosed learning disability can affect career choice, limit job advancement and lead to a number of psychological and emotional issues, including depression and feelings of low self-worth. This is particularly true when the person interprets his or her past educational failures as personal faults and experiences feelings of embarrassment and shame because of a perceived intellectual deficiency.

The tragedy is that with the right diagnosis, coping strategies and accommodations can be put in place to help every individual with a learning disability achieve their full potential.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 08/07/2017
What to expect for aphasia recovery time following a stroke

One of the most common symptoms following a stroke is a disruption to language and communicative ability. This is a condition referred to as aphasia or dysphasia. The name aphasia implies a total loss of language, as compared to dysphasia, which is partial loss.

Nonetheless, the two terms are used somewhat interchangeably with dysphasia more common in Europe and the UK. Aphasia is a result of trauma to the brain, including when brain cells are deprived of oxygen or sustain damage due to internal bleeding. It can result in difficulty finding and retrieving words, producing intelligible speech, negotiating syntax (grammar), and sometimes even understanding what other people are saying.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 08/01/2017
How to learn typing without looking

There are two common ways to use a keyboard: you can use your pointers to hit one key at a time and spell out words and punctuation. This has also been called the “Hunt and Peck” method. Alternatively, it’s possible to place your whole hands down on the keyboard with fingers resting lightly on the A, S, D, F and ;, J, K, L keys, and thumbs hovering over the space bar.

You then lift one finger at a time to type a string of keys and spell out words through a series of coordinated and automatized movements. What’s different in the “touch typing” approach is that it requires a certain amount of beginner knowledge so you type the right keys with the right fingers. It also involves some fairly intricate movements that need to be rehearsed until they feel comfortable and you can execute them at top speed.

Lastly, you do it without looking down at the keyboard!

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 07/24/2017
7 ADHD blogs you'll want to read

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, commonly referred to as ADHD, is a learning difficulty experienced by children and adults. In younger individuals it may be characterized by an inability to sit still at school, difficulty staying focussed, impulsive outbursts in the classroom, tantrums at home, and trouble staying organized.

A child with ADHD can have messy handwriting and a hard time paying attention during lessons, which may result in poor academic performance. He or she might also struggle with social skills and develop a negative self-image that can lead to acting out. Adults with ADHD find their hyperactivity lessons with age but many still experience difficulties staying focused, prioritizing, planning, and completing projects.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 07/12/2017
Signs of a gifted child in the classroom

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
Learn if dyslexia is a disability in the US or UK

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 disabilities 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 affects writing. Both are language disorders that can cause a child to struggle in the classroom, but they are separate conditions with unique neuroglical and behavioral profiles (1).

Children with dysgraphia may have trouble with letter formation and word spacing in handwriting. They can experience difficulty with written expression, from translating ideas into language, and organizing their thoughts, to using grammar, capital letters, and punctuation correctly. For students with dyslexia, it is often English spelling and sounding out words in reading that are problematic.

By Meredith Cicerchia 0 comments 06/13/2017
Some kinds of stroke therapy can be done 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
For parents and teachers ideas on 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.