Monday, December 27, 2010

Getting Ready for a New Semester in College

The one piece of advice that I give to the students who are new to college is to sit down with a parent (or another support person) and review the syllabus together.  Every professor gives a syllabus the first day of class, and it contains all the rules, regulaltions, and assignments for the semester.  One of the most common adjustments that students with a disability need to realize is that if something is in writing, they have been told.  These students are very used to parents running interference for them by reminding them what to do and where to go, along with checking their work, verifying their needs, and talking to their teachers.  If that kind of enabling  is still happening at the college level, these students might not make it.  They need to take control of their responsibilities without being reminded by someone else.  It's a delicate balance.  Reviewing the syllabus together helps with that transition and makes the semester less problematic.  At 18, they are considered the legal adult and need to be self-advocating on their own.  Parents will call my office with a question and then put their child on the phone.  Why didn't that young adult call me directly?  It's a baby step, but growing up starts with baby steps.  If students are working with the Disabilites Office, they need to keep their advisor informed when they have a problem in class so that the advisor can help as needed.  Most importantly, keeping the Disability Office "in the loop" is the only way we will know there is a problem because college advisors do not usually "check-up" on things without a good reason.  If your young adult has a disability that requires a personal attendant, then that individual will assist as needed alongside the student.  As parents you can stay involved in your young adults lives, but you also need to teach them independence one step at a time. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Some Last Minute Technology for the Holidays

• Speech-to-Text

Someone who has low vision or hand movement restrictions can use a speech-to-text product like Dragon Naturally Speaking, one of Nuance voice control products. Nuance voice Controls will allow users to use voice commands to dictate emails to Blackberry, to add appointments, and to search the web. Sony ICD-SX46 Digital Voice Recorder can be used with Dragon NaturallySpeaking Software. Tablet PCs have a sensitive screen designed to interact with a complementary pen. You can use the pen directly on the screen like a mouse to select, drag, and open files and can be used in place of a keyboard to handwrite notes. Tablet PCs should also have speech-to-text technology. Nexus 1 Smartphone has a Speech-to-Text feature as well.

• Text-to-Speech

Screen readers are also available for free or purchase, depending upon the product. ReadPlease is a free screen reader for home use that reads text that has been cut and pasted to the screen reader on a computer., but you can also by a more sophisticated version.  Students who are blind can use JAWS to listen to everything on their computer. Zoom Text and Magic also have text readers built into their software. Electronic pens are available also that can read notes aloud, scan and store text, transfer information to PDAs, Smartphones, and Personal Computers. Some of these pens can also translate English in other languages. The Pulse, Smartpen by Live Scribe lets the user record notes and then replay the written words by tapping on the notes. Notes can be saved to the computer and shared as Flash videos, PDF files, or audio files.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thoughts About Preparing for Exams

Before the Test

When do you work best? Are you a morning person, midday person, or a night person?  Don’t save studying for morning if you do not do well at that part of the day.

Don’t plan to stay up late if you are easily pulled away by others and know that you won’t stay committed.

If you have any questions regarding content of the test, ask the professor beforehand. 

Study with friends, but also plan some alone time as well.

Organize your materials and plot out a studying time line.

Study with a pen in your hand so you can make notations and reminders as needed.

TEACH yourself aloud.

At the Test

Get to the test on time with all necessary supplies.

Do not chat with the door people.  These are the ones who are failing or have taken the class before.  They will undermine all the hard work you did getting ready for the test.

Have a brief study guide to review casually.  DO NOT decide to memorize something new at this time


Write out a data dump on the test itself or a scrap paper (write down pertinent information that you do not want to forget) before you begin to answer questions. (explain to the instructor that you plan to do a data dump after the tests are passed out, and seek permission so that you do not get accused of cheating)

Preview the whole test before you begin to work.

Do a second data dump of info triggered by your test preview.
Begin with the easiest questions first.

After the Test

Analyze your mistakes to see where you went wrong.

Meet with teacher when you cannot understand why the answer was wrong.

Figure out what type of error you made.*

1.  Misreading directions errors

2.  Careless errors

3.  Concept errors

4. Application errors

5. Test-taking errors

6. Study errors

*SOURCE: Academic Success Press,Inc. Light Years Ahead in Learning, P.O. Box 2567 Dept. N., Pompano Beach, FL 33072 (305) 785-2034

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What is Metacognition and Why Does it Matter?

 Metacognition is "thinking about thinking."  As parents or educators, one of our responsibilities is to teach our children how to think.  So many times I meet college students for the first time, and when I ask them a question, they immediately turn to the parents for the answer.  Many times they do not even know why they are in my office.  These are the students who have not learned to think things through for themselves.  They follow blindly and wait to be told.  Unfortunately, when these kids get to college, there is a very good chance they are going to be lost and confused in their classes.  This transition time, when they are going to be treated as an adult and on their own, is a perfect time for a little "what if..." conversation.  When you are helping your children transition to college, let them know that they are there to lead the discussion with the Disability Advisor.  Ask your children what they can tell you about how they learn.  Help them develop a plan that includes becoming a self advocate.  Talk to them about the kinds of accommodations that they feel are important.  Some kids do not want to take a test away from the rest of the class, but if they are to have extended time on tests, then they need to discuss that issue with the advisor.  These young adults need to realize that testing arrangements will be a conversation they will have with the teacher, not you.  How will they handle it?  Perhaps testing accommodations would be a good question to take to the meeting.  Help your children come into the meetings with a plan and list of questions.  This is the first step in beginning to "think about thinking." 

I once had a student who did extremely well on a very difficult test, and when I asked him how he managed to do so well, he responded that he just pretended that he had a "little Mickie" in his pocket who was whispering information into his ear.  He was using his inner voice to talk himself through some very difficult details of the test.  He gave me the perfect definition of metacognition, and I knew he was going to be fine for the rest of his classes.  He figured out how to "think about thinking!"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Study Strategies Blog

I started a blog called SMART STUDY STRATEGIES
just dedicated to study strategies.  Below is a sample from today's entry:

Choosing different colored paper for notes on different chapters or concepts will help separate your notes in your mind when you try and recall information during a test. For example, it your notes on chapter 3 are on yellow paper, and your notes for chapter 4 are on pink paper, and your notes for chapter 5 are on blue paper, when you are in the middle of the test and need to recall a concept, you can first navigate your thoughts to a color.

"I remember that! It was on the yellow pages. Now, think, What did I write down?"

You are actually narrowing your field of information...

Great Pronunciation Website

One of my students recently shared this sight with me, and it is one of the best things I"ve seen in a long time!  You can type in any word, and your word, along with several similar words, will appear in a list.  Just scroll your cursor over your chosen word, and hear the pronunciation!  The speaker has an English accent, but the words that I've looked at seem to be spoken correctly. 

For someone who struggles with vocabulary recognition, this website can be a big help!! Go to and try it out!

Let me know what you think!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Special Education Week

Children with special needs only want what we all want, to be accepted. It is Special Education week, and this is in honor of all children made in a unique way & who learn a little differently.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Free ADA Materials


You can get free ADA publications from the Department of Justice.  Just click on the link provided:
Call the ADA Information Line (1-800-514-0301 (Voice) or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD)) for details and to order ADA publications. They are available in standard print as well as large print, audiotape, Braille, and computer disk for people with disabilities.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Many services are available for e-books. Some are free and easily downloaded. Others have a charge. You must read the copyright regulations prior to your decisions.

Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic was completely switched from tape to CD by June 2007, and now itis free to students. College students simply need to register for services. They will need a contact person at the school to verify your qualifications.

University of Virginia has thousands of e-books available. from Kent State University has a non-commercial repository for eBook research.

Project Gutenburg has many eBooks that are free of charge that will download to Palm Pilot or a computer.

Most publishers also provide e-texts usually with “proof-of-purchase” of text book.

Kindle is now completely accessible

What is Universal Design?

Accommodations for someone with a disability are designed to provide equal access to the material being taught. The more universal the design of our world, the less the need for specialized accommodations. For example, someone in a wheelchair can independently enter a room, locate the seat of choice, and work without additional assistance when doors automatically open and aisles are large enough to pass through. Instead of the old fashioned classroom desks, tables are available for everyone, including the person using a wheelchair. Another example is Closed Captioning which not only helps someone who is deaf but is beneficial to anyone who has a moderate hearing problem or just prefers visual learning to auditory lecture.

In a 21st Century Classroom, you should find the following Universal Design services:

Teacher's Computer Station
Internet Access
DVD Player
Video Tape Player
Elmo Overhead Projector
Large Screen
Amplifier/Microphone System
Closed Captioning

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Do I Need to Tell My Professor What My Disability Is?

In college, you do not usually need to tell the professor what your disability is. How much you reveal about your challenges is up to you. If your issues are health related and may affect your attendance, you need to go over those problems with the Disability Office and follow their recommendations for discussing matters with the professor.

Sometimes the disability issues appear obvious, but not always. I have had students who had obvious physical disabilities, but also had Learning Disabilities that were not so evident. How much you reveal about your disability is something you need to come to terms with. I have known students who don't care what anyone knows, and I have had others who do not want anyone to even know they have a disability.

My recommendation is to speak to the professionals at the Disability Office and discuss your concerns with them. Many times they can talk to a professor about your needs without revealing anything about your disability. If you feel that a professor is asking questions that you do not want to discuss, kindly respond that you are a private person who really does not want to discuss personal things, and then let the people at the Disability Office know about the professor's questions. The Disabilities Office professionals should know how to handle those kinds of situations. If you are still not pleased with things, follow up again. You may need to speak to the Student Services dean about your concerns.

A Common Complaint: "I Didn't Know!"

In high school everybody tells you what you need to do. Parents and teachers remind you constantly about your responsibilities. Did you do your homework? Do you have your papers? You need to go here and do this and that!!

In college, every professor will give you a syllabus. That is your guideline for your classes. It provides class rules, policies and procedures, calendar of assignments and due dates, and grading policy. In essence, a syllabus tells you exactly what the expectations are of the professor.

EVEN IF THE PROFESSOR DID NOT GO OVER EVERY DETAIL ON THE SYLLABUS, YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD! If you didn't read it and follow up with questions, then you did not do your part. If you take a problem to the dean, in most cases, the first question is going to be "What is on the syllabus?" because the dean needs to know what you were told.

As the student, you will be expected to know all due dates and will be expected to keep track of your grades, tests, and assignments. If you have accommodations, you need to discuss those with the professor. You need to make sure that you are on the same page as the professor when it comes to testing accommodations especially when using a separate testing facility. You will quickly learn which professors need to be reminded about the accommodations, and which ones will always be aware of your needs. Remember, most professors have well over 100 students to deal with, and sometimes they forget something that you might need.

What Kind of Documentation Do I Need at College?

Documentation is the paperwork that you provide to the Disabilities Office to show that you have been diagnosed with a disabilty. The form of documenation that your college expects may be different from the required documentation of another college. You need to talk to the people at the Disability Office to get their documentation guidelines. Those guidelines will likely vary from school to school. Some colleges will not take an IEP (Individual Education Plan) from high school; some colleges will use an IEP for basic accommodations. Some colleges expect a current updated Psychological Evaluation with adult norms. For a diagnosis of ADHD, some colleges will take a 504 plan; some colleges will not. Some colleges will request a doctor's letter.

Colleges also provide accommodations for many other types of disabilities including physical and mental health disabilities as well as visual and hearing disabilities. If your diagnosis affects your ability to do the tasks you are given, you may be someone who needs an accommodation. Sometimes pain gets in the way, and you find it hard to concentrate or sit too long. Sometimes your vision makes it hard to read the text. Sometimes your depression makes it hard to focus. You should go talk to someone in the Disabilities Office to see if you qualify for help.

The bottom line is every college sets its own documentation standards, so you need to do your homework and find out the current quidelines at your college!! Colleges want you to be successful in class, but the real question is "Do you have equal access?"

Self-Advocacy at College

I was a high school SLD teacher for 13 years, and I have worked as a college LD Specialist for 14 years. I know both sides of the fence. In high school everyone is telling you what to do...your teachers, your parents, your friends. In college, because you are now the legal adult and the college is governed by FERPA laws, you must handle your concerns and issues yourself. The only way someone at the college can assist you is if you meet them and explain your needs. Disability Services are there for you, but they need you to be your own advocate and talk to them about your situation; otherwise, they will probably not be aware of it!

The first job of the Disability Office is to determine if your problem is disability-related or classroom-related because that makes a difference as to how we proceed and whom you need to talk to about your issues. For example, if an instructor did not provide you with an accommodation that you should have been given (for example, extra time on a test), my first step is to find out if you gave the professor your accommodation paperwork from our department. Again, the college Disability Services personnel will give you the papers with your accommodations, but you will take the accommodations paperwork to the professor to explain your needs - not Disability Services and not your parents!! You must be your own self-advocate in college!! If the office gave you your accommodation paperwork, and you did not follow up with the professor, we probably cannot correct the problem.

If the problem turns out to be a disability-related issue, then the Office of Disability Services will act accordingly, but if the issue is classroom-related (for example, one of your grades was incorrect), then you would follow up with the professor and the academic dean.

The key to all of this is YOU! Talk to the people who can help, but seek your help in a courteous, logical way and follow up as quickly as possible. Don't wait until the end of the semester to bring attention to a problem that has happened earlier in the year! It may be too late!! Understand what help is out there for you and keep in touch with the professionals who can help. Be a self-advocate, and know how the college rules work!

High School to College: What Happens Next?

Every college must provide disability related services; however, each institution establishes its own specific accommodations, and those accommodations are determined from the documentation provided by students who self-identify.

Sometimes students who come to college assume that the high schools have sent the information ahead of time. THAT WILL NOT BE THE CASE!! Students who need services must come in and speak to the Disabilities Office. Your college may use a different department name, but someone is there to help you. If you cannot find the disability department, check with the Student Services department, or go to the dean's office to find out whom you need to meet. You need to follow up. Most of the time, your professors can also suggest a person to talk to. In addition, you can also check the college website for available contacts.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pronounciation and Word Recognition Help

Another website helpful to someone with Dyslexia is This sight is a dictionary, but each word has a speaker next to it so you can hear the correct pronounciation of any word over and over until you learn it!!

This website is extremely helpful for someone with word recognition and vocabulary problems.

Clicking on the posting title will take you to the website.

Free Text-to-Speech Download

I recommend that my students who have Dyslexia go to two free websites. The first is ReadPlease.

ReadPlease allows you to copy and paste text and have the computer read it to you! They have a more sophisticated program to buy, but the basic program is a free download and is pretty effective!!

This is very helpful for people with Dyslexia or for those of you who prefer to "hear" your text rather than read the text directly from the computer!

Clicking on the posting title will take you to the website.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What is the Difference Between ADHD and Dyslexia?

The child or adult with Dyslexia struggles to make sense of the words on the page. Letters flip or overlap, words disappear, shrink, stretch,or flip, and reading becomes erratic and time consuming. Memory and comprehension may be compromised.

The child or adult with ADHD struggles with concentrating and focusing on the words on the page. Someone with ADHD is easily distracted by external noises, people, or activities. Sometimes the individual is wiggly or constantly getting up and down.

The child or adult with both disabilities has trouble making sense of the words while struggling to concentrate and stay focused on the text. Those individuals are constanly fighting the urge to do something else!

Current literature shows that between 10% and 25 % of students with ADHD also have a Learning Disability.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a Neurological Disorder, and it is often inherited
*Symptoms begin in childhood, usually showing up by the age of 7
*Symptoms will last into adulthood
*Symptoms can include inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity
*Academic problems usually occur across all subject areas
*May often have difficulty with any of the following concerns:
----organizing materials
----following directions
----staying focused and on task
----excessive movement
----anticipating consequences
*Can be diagnosed alongside Learning Disabilities and/or other psychological disorders
*Is usually diagnosed by a doctor or psychologist, and it is often treated with medication.

*Somtimes referred to as ADD or ADHD with or without hyperactivity

Sensory Challenges For Those on the Autism Spectrum

Individuals on the Autism Spectrum tend to have sensory challenges in some of the following areas:
*overloaded visual input (sensitive to light)
*auditory input (ultrasensitive hearing)
*tactile input when touching certain fabrics or surfaces
*problems with food texture or taste, odors
*problems with proprioceptive input (movement of one’s body in space)
*vestibular input (balance)

Those who are sensitive to light can help the interference by wearing sunglasses or a cap with a brim to cut out some of the incoming light.

Unplugged headphones or earplugs might help concentration during a test.

General Characteristics of a Person with Asperger’s Syndrome

Children and aduls diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome often struggle socially, but those individuals can become sucessful adults, too!

*Often struggle with social skills. Tend to want to be social but unsure of how to establish friendships. May “misread” socialization cues, protocols, and motivations.

*Language develops normally, but individuals may struggle with conversation and typical communication. May have difficulty with nuance and abstract meanings

*May fixate on certain topics or areas of interest, with difficulty shifting topics. Can tend to dominate the conversation with their own topics of interest. Often has a superior intellect with a penchant for the smallest, most obscure details

*May show inflexibility or repetitive patterns, with difficulty shifting tasks or attention.

*Sometimes has a higher rate of associated issues including ADHD, Seizure Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Bi-Polar, OCD, LD, Tourette’s

*Sometimes medicated for associated illnesses like those mentioned above

Communication and socialization skills that often come naturally to some people will likely need to be taught to someone diagnosed with Asperger's.

General Characteristics of a Person with High Functioning Autism (HFA)

*Poor social skills, generally not interested in socializing. May have poor eye contact, pervasive ignoring
*Language development is often delayed and speech may be limited or generally non-verbal
*Can show inflexible adherence to routine or rituals which can sometimes lead to behavior “meltdowns”
*Sometimes has repetitive mannerisms such as hand or finger flapping, rocking, etc.
*Full scale IQ of 70 or higher in order to qualify as HFA
*May have coexisting disabilities such as anxiety, seizures, and other behavior issues
*Often perceived as more involved and more severe than Asperger’s Syndrome

High Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s Syndrome (AS)

Both HFA and AS are Identified through the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) or ICD-10, World Health Organization

Diagnostician looks at three groups of symptoms to make DSM diagnosis:
*Social interaction

Some traits are common to both HFA, PDD-NOS, and AS

Degree of severity may also vary between HFA, PDD-NOS, and AS

The DSM-IV is in the process of being updated. The term Asperger's may not be included on the new Autism Spectrum, but Asperger-like references might still be used in reports. The changes are not posted as of this writing, but are anticipated for May 2013.

Pervasive Developmental Disorders (Autism Spectrum)

Autistic Disorder
Wide range of cognitive skills
Performance IQ >Verbal IQ
Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS)
Cognitive skills varied
May not meet all of the criteria for other disorders on the spectrum (i.e. later onset, atypical symptoms)
Asperger’s Disorder
Usually average or above average/superior cognitive skills
Verbal IQ >Performance IQ
Rhett’s Disorder
Typically severe or profound intellectual development
Affects only girls, head size stops growing, severe regression
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
Typically severe or profound intellectual development
Abnormal regression after age or 2 or 3, seizures develop

The DSM Manual with these catagories is in the process of being updated with new catagories, definitions, and subsections. Completion scheduled for May 2013.

Tips For Studying With Your Child

*make eye contact when working with your child
*ask questions to check recall and accuracy
*watch for signs of confusion
*give your child enough time to process what you just said
*have your child repeat the information back to you
*provide frequent breaks as needed to avoid frustration and exhaustion
*have your child write the information on a board standing up
*tape record the lesson on a digital recorder for your child to listen to or download to a computer or MP3 player
*breakdown the information into manageable steps
*connect the information to a toy, object, or picture that your child can see or touch
*do not let your child manipulate you into doing the work for him or her. Let your child write the work out or type it on the computer whenever possible.
*if your child is capable of reading or writing, then your child should be doing the reading/writing ...but use a tape recorder of you reading the material as a back up.
*if reading is labor intensive for your child, then you should read so he or she can listen.
*you may need to act as a “secretary” to jump start your child, but then turn the work over to him or her as soon as possible.

***The final step is to see if your child can verbalize the information without stumbling, especially after a significant time delay***

Strategies for Learning Correct Spelling and Definitions

*Try chunking the word into syllables
*Use different colors to mark the syllables
*Box in each syllable
*Capitalize B and D to avoid reversals
*Highlight every other syllable with a second color

*Use silly diagrams to remember the meaning
*Tape record the word. Let the tape run blank about 15 seconds, and then tape record the definition. This will provide immediate feedback.
*Create word lists of terms only (no definitions...have the correct information
*Change paper color or ink color for different words, vocabulary lists

Short Term Memory, Long Term Memory, and Effective Strategies

Some students have short term memory problems, and they lose the information shortly after they learn it. That is the "Here today, gone tomorrow" memory problem often seen in someone with a Learning Disability.

Those students usually need study techniques for inputting information into their brain, such as the following memory strategies:
*creating word lists
*having a set of back-up notes
*having copy of PowerPoints
*tape recorded lessons, especially on digital recorders that can be downloaded onto computers or MP3 players .

Some students have long-term memory problems. They can understand the information but have difficulty retrieving the information for tests. Those students need retrieval strategies such as the following techniques:

*hilighting small pieces of text
*different colored paper for certain topics and notes
*writing text on their own board by themselves
*studying ALOUD
*studying from word lists

Mixing and matching any of these strategies can be very effective

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sample Learning Disability Profile

Notice that the skill levels vary from subject to subject. Some skills fall below IQ score, and some skills are above IQ scores. A typical LD profile shows as varied. Someone who doesn't have a Learning Disability will usually score at or very near the IQ level.


More About Dyslexia

*Is often inherited.
*Does not come from a lack of trying
*Individual usually has average to gifted intelligence.
*Cannot be spotted by the way a person looks.
*Individual may be very strong verbally, but that same person may have problems putting the words to paper.
*MRI tests have shown a lack of activity in parts of the brain of students identified as dyslexic.
*Some brain scans have shown difficulty with auditory processing and distinguishing between particular sounds, such as ga and ka.
*Studies also show a chromosome connection in some children with language disabilities

What Is a Learning Disability? Is That Dyslexia?

Our nation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) defines a specific learning disability as…

“…a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia”

Dyslexia is one type of learning disability


*Is a neurological disorder
*Affects visual and/or auditory processing
*Usually affects reading, writing, and spelling.
*Words and letters can trade places, disappear, overlap, stretch, shrink, and generally move around.
*Students may have trouble with word recognition and/or reading comprehension.


circle is attached to a stick = b d p q g
m n u h w y
l 1
j t r
5 2
d 2
S 8
9 6
7 1

Dyslexia is a disability with reading, spelling, and language skills.
Dyscalculia is a disability with math and calculations.
Dysgraphia is a disability that makes the physical act of writing difficult, but Dysgraphia can also be impacted by Dyslexia.

Can You Read This?

Here is a sample of what someone with dyslexia might read in a textbook. The difficulty of typical reading depends upon the severity of the dyslexia.

Assti uptue stupeut mitu puslexia caupe cualleupiup oddortuuitu. I sau opportuuitu, pecause if I cau successfullu teacu muo strupples mitu reapiup, tueu tue rest of tue class mill follom. Oue of tue critical proplems mitu teacuiup tuose mitu puslexia is truiup to fipure out muere tue uole are iu tueir learuiup packprouup. Stupeut mitu puslexia teup to uave it topau aup loseittomorrom. Tuis teupeucu create larpe uoles or paps iu tueir acapemic packprouup. As a teacuer, mu respousipilitu is to preseut mu messape aup eusure tuat tue iuformatiou is impressep iuto tue stupeut’s memoru so tuat tue stupeut cau retreve tue correct kuomleppe for tests.


Assisting the student with dyslexia can be a challenging opportunity. I say opportunity, because if I can successfully teach someone who struggles with reading, then the rest of the class will follow. One of the critical problems with teaching those with dyslexia is trying to figure out where the holes are in their learning background. Students with dyslexia tend to have it today and lose it tomorrow. This tendency creates large holes or gaps in their academic background. As a teacher, my responsibility is to present my message and ensure that the information is impressed into the student’s memory so that the student can retrieve the correct knowledge for tests.

Assisting the student with dyslexia can be a
Assti uptue stupeut mitu puslexia caupe

Cualleupiup oddortuuitu.
challenging opportunity.

Words and letters can trade places, disappear, overlap, stretch, shrink, and generally move around.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners

*Love to exercise
*Prefer short study segments with lots of breaks
*Can be easily distracted
*Like trial and error when working out a solution
*Tend to take things apart to figure out a mechanical problem
*Tend to “feel” where they are going
*Like to learn using manipulatives
*Write lots of notes
*Remember best through “hands on” lessons

If you are a tactile/kinesthetic learner, you love to get your hands into the lesson. You should find an active way to learn the material. Have you ever considered studying aloud while you are kneading bread or whipping cream? How about repeating your topic of choice while running on a treadmill? Try learning with a game like basketball or ping pong. Answering questions as you toss a ball or swing a bat will connect the information to an active memory, and that specific detail and memory is what you will bring back during the test! The idea is to find an activity you enjoy and have fun while you learn!!

Auditory Learners

*Are generally not as neat as visual learners
*Like verbal explanations and lectures
*Enjoy role playing, acting, and listening to a good story
*Remember what they said for a long time
*Might move their lips or whisper when studying for a test
*Talk under their breath when reading
*Prefer oral directions, not a map
*Are easily distracted by noise
*Out of sight…out of mind
*Love their Ipods!!

If you are an auditory learner, you should study aloud. You should share your expertise with others. The more you verbalize the details, the better you will know the information. Tape record you lessons and your notes, and play them back on your computer or MP3 player. The world is your stage!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Visual Learners

*Make up most of the population
*Prefer neat, organized work areas with clearly marked storage areas
*Like pictures, diagrams, charts, handouts
*Write things down as much as possible
*Look for notes on the board
*Use a board to write out problems
*Create lists of things to do
*Remember faces, but may forget names
*Close eyes and stare at the ceiling when trying to recall things
*Are detail people who tend to notice changes
*Prefer to be shown how to do something or prefer to read own directions
*Develop concept maps
*Use color coding
*Create own study guides

Visual learners like a clean room with everything in its place! If you are a visual learner, then an organized environment will help you learn. You like to read and reread your notes and materials. You should use colors, flashcards, or some sort of binder system. You likely know where everything belongs, and once things are in place, you are ready to study!

VAT/K - What is Your Learning Style?

Have you ever heard of VAT/K? You will be a better student if you understand your learning style and VAT/K - Visual, Auditory, Tactile/Kinesthetic - is the foundation for understanding your best way to learn!

Imagine that someone just gave you a brand new “state of the art” computer system filled with dozens of apps you never heard of! What is the first thing you do?

Do you prefer to read directions for yourself?
Do you prefer to listen to someone tell you what to do?
Do you prefer to just get your hands into something and work it out on your own?

We all use visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic strategies (VAT/K), but which is best for you?

With a little self-analysis, you can figure out your learning style and the best way for you to approach your schoolwork or job. VAT/K is just the ticket for figuring yourself out! Use your strength to study, but aim for the most blended approach of all the VAT/K strategies for the most effective results!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Understanding the Learning Process

The Learning Process can be broken down into 5 steps:
1. Input
2. Short term memory,
3. Processing (with short term/working memory)
4. Long term memory storage and retrieval
5. Output

A Learning Disability can occur at any stage of this process.

1. Input is the student’s ability to receive your message. Letters and words might get mixed up, reading might be slow, and spelling and math calculation can be very difficult. Dyslexia interferes during input. Likewise, with an auditory processing problem, sometimes what you say is not what the student's brain hears although the hearing works fine!

2. Short term memory lasts only for few minutes. Students with a short term memory problem will get the message but will lose it soon afterwards and will need to hear it again.

3. Processing occurs as a student is analyzing and digesting the information, trying to understand what the teacher is saying, and trying to make sense of the information.

4. With long term memory students are able to retain the information until they needs to retrieve it. Memory storage occurs where the student files the information. It's very much like a filing system where information in the brain is organized and put away. Retrieval is the method the student uses to retrieve the memory during the test. STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL ARE THE POINTS WHEN STRATEGIES BECOME VERY IMPORTANT TO THE STUDENTS and enable the students to pull up information studied for a test.

5. Output is the act of showing what students know! Output occurs when they remember and retrieve the information learned when taking a test, writing a paper, having a discussion, or answering questions in class.
My Resume as Learning Disabilities Specialist, college professor, and K-12 teacher.

My Biography

I want to take a minute to share with you a little bit about myself. I am currently a college Learning Disability Specialist as well as an adjunct professor in Developmental Writing. I have also taught Developmental Reading, College Study Skills, and College Success classes. Before moving to Florida, I was an SLD high school teacher in Ohio, but I have taught all grade levels at one time or another. I even taught students with learning disabilities at a Montessori school. I have a Master’s Degree in Education in Curriculum and Instruction and a teaching certificate in Learning Disabilities and Severe Behavior Disorders.

My experiences in both the K-12 system and post-secondary system will bring a unique perspective to those who struggle with disabilities yet plan to attend college. I do many individualized sessions on learning strategies with my students, and I also train faculty and tutors concerning the needs of our students with disabilities.

If you click on the About Me link, you will find a more detailed resume of my skills and experiences.

As you read through my blog, I hope you will find the information beneficial. Feel free to take a minute and send me an email with your questions and comments! I look forward to hearing from you!!