ADHD/ADD – Is Medicine the Only Solution?

 

ADHD students may talk when it’s not their turn and move around the classroom. Following instructions is not their forte, and they may have trouble turning in their homework. Their fine motor skills may be lacking, as well, which makes handwriting hard to read. If no one directly supervises long-term projects, they are likely to have difficulty completing them. If this sounds like a student in your class, here are some solutions to help you more successfully teach them from HelpGuide.org.

First, keeping a positive attitude about finding and implementing strategies that work is necessary. Give the student honest praise immediately when they accomplish good work and behave well. A reward or point/token system may also be effective.

Additionally, develop some warning signals with your ADHD student. For example, you might have a certain hand signal or sticky note on the student’s desk to indicate behavior is heading south. Talk to the student in private about their behavior, not in front of the class. Focus on correcting behavior that is unintentional and that is distracting to the other students or the lesson.

You can also use visuals, like charts, color coding, and pictures to help when you deliver lessons. Try to do more difficult work earlier in the day, and make outlines for note-taking to organize lesson information.

For student work, make worksheets and tests that have fewer questions, and give regular short quizzes instead of long tests. Cut down on timed tests as well. When you give assessments, let ADHD students test the way that works best for them, which may be orally or by filling in the blanks. Break up long projects into pieces with a defined goal for each part. Give partial credit for late work instead of just handing out zeros.

Help a student develop their organization skills by having a master binder with separate sections for each subject. Color-code each subject. Give students a notebook with a section for homework to do, completed homework, and parent paperwork. Ensure students have a way to write down assignments.

When you start a lesson, use a clue the student can hear, like a timer. Make eye contact with students with ADHD. Put the activities of the lesson on the board, and tell students what they will learn and what materials they’ll need. Make instructions short and organized with visuals.

Add in some various activities, particularly fast games or intense activities. Give the ADHD student breaks and let them squeeze a rubber ball or tap something that isn’t noisy to have a physical release.

Summarize key points at the end of the lesson, and have a few students repeat what the assignment is if you give one, and then put it on the board. Tell students exactly what they need to take home to do their homework.

 

Super Hero Teacher On Staff

Dyslexia – Solutions?

 

There isn’t a precise definition of what dyslexia actually is, according to Dianne Craft, an experienced special educator, on her website diannecraft.org. Some say it is a “language processing problem that involves the distinguishing of sounds of letters—this is why the struggling reader cannot remember phonics sounds to decode a word. Others believe that it is a visual/perceptual problem since these children reverse words laterally (b/d) and vertically (m/w) as well as scrambling letters (“the” = “het”) when they read and write.” She also thinks it’s a visual/motor (eye/hand) problem.

Since the brain is divided into the left and right hemispheres, a person with dyslexia has to deal with processes that the right side is supposed to handle, like writing, and letter identification, still being in the left side of the brain. The degree of the problem that a person has with these types of processing determines whether there is an actual diagnosis of dyslexia.

There are several forms of therapy and different types of tools available to help dyslexic individuals. If you are a dyslexic educator, a teacher with a dyslexic student in class, or a parent with a dyslexic child, you can utilize technology to help dyslexic individuals. For example, Yale University’s Center for Dyslexia and Creativity has a list of technology tools, like the LiveScribe Smartpen that uses a camera to take pictures of your notes and also records whatever the teacher is saying.

Here are some other tips for teachers of dyslexic students from Dyslexia Victoria’s website:

1.) Put two lines and a dotted line under each question so dyslexic students can practice learning how to use space on the page.

2.) When teaching someone with dyslexia how to spell a word, use a drawn or printed image of the whole word, not separate parts of it or its phonetic sounds.

3.) Teach a lesson in one session with a big-picture view of it and why it’s important. Follow with more detailed lessons.

4.) Use a “dyslexia-friendly” spelling and reading program to develop a vocabulary on level with material being read in class to avoid decoding words all the time.

5.) Teach students to write by teaching them about the structure of what they’re writing. Use mind maps or similar techniques to help them see the details.

6.) Give dyslexic students a step-by-step guide to how they are to complete an assignment if it requires completion of multiple parts.

7.) Use drawings of the items in a math word problem to help them solve the more abstract ones.

Super Hero Teacher On Staff

A Teacher’s Job Is Easy?

Teachers today have it pretty easy. Their students are typically all in the same grade level, and they get to teach with more support and tools than ever before. They even get to teach in the air conditioning and in buildings with decent heating (in most schools), which is something teachers a few decades ago could only dream about. The technical and logistical aspects of a teacher’s day seem better than they were years ago, but there are still some significant challenges that you might not see from the outside looking in.

First, teachers’ can’t go to the restroom whenever they want. You can’t just leave your classroom of twenty or more kids unattended when you need to make use of the facilities. You have to get on the walkie-talkie, or intercom, cell phone, or whatever device you have to use to call administration or a nice teacher’s aide to watch your class for you for a few minutes. Then you have to wait for someone to actually be available and come to your classroom. . .

Additionally, classrooms can be crowded, and then they can be overcrowded. You don’t always have the right number of textbooks, desks, or the proper number of personal square feet for each one. Having that many students just highlights the fact that they are on levels for each subject. There are also different learning styles, preferences, reading levels, English language learner support,  intervention support schedules and tools, individualized education plan meetings and paperwork. . .

Teaching isn’t all about reading, writing, and arithmetic. It’s about juggling before- and after-school meetings, planning times, time to scarf down lunch, grading that follows you home, coaching after-school clubs, and dealing with a whole host of problems that parents and the wider community may not see.

So the next time you see a teacher you know, you might ask how you could help. Could you come in and read with a struggling reader one day, cut out lamination at home for the teacher, make some phone calls to other parents to organize a field trip? Some help would probably be really appreciated and help the whole class of students succeed.

My Child Is Being Tested? Labeled?

When your child is failing in school, it is a stressful time for both student and parent. If you get a message from the school that they want to test your child, it just adds to the fear that there is something wrong. Take a deep breath, though, because the school just wants to help your child learn, and testing is a good way to identify the best way to do that. According to Pamela Wright and Pete Wright, Esq. of WrightsLaw.com, “If school employees know or have reason to suspect that a child has a disability, these school employees have an affirmative duty to act on the child’s behalf” (emphasis in the original).

Laws

Let’s start with two laws you need to be familiar with. They govern how the school handles children with learning differences and their testing. The first is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of1973 (also called “504”). This law makes public schools provide a “free appropriate public education” to every student with a disability within the school district’s boundaries. That is true, no matter the type or severity of the disability.

The other law is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which necessitates that schools have a process in place for assessing disability. This can be early intervention services for children under the age of 2 or special education services for those between the ages of 3 and 21. According to a New York Times blog by Jessica Lahey, “The definitions of what is or is not a disability, and whether those disabilities qualify vary wildly. ‘Qualified’ simply means that your child has been determined to have a disability that is covered under the law.”

Next Steps

Communicate with the school to find out what, specifically, they are concerned about. This can help you figure out what kind of testing will be done. They may be more intelligence or academic ability-related or behaviorally-related. There is no way to tell initially whether the testing will determine if your child will have a permanent label or whether there are some regular classroom-based interventions that will probably suffice to help your child succeed outside of more in-depth special education services.

If testing has identified that your child has a disability, the school will create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The IEP process is one in which you, as the parent, should participate, so that you have a clear understanding of what the interventions are that your child will receive and know what goals your child is trying to reach based on the IEP. The end goal is to help your child learn in the way that is most meaningful to them. Advocating for your child and participating in discussions along the way with the school is vital to your child’s success.

Parent Rights

You may choose to have your child evaluated privately by a professional you choose, which is called an Independent Educational Evaluation. You can also refuse testing. Even if your child is in private school, the state still has some responsibilities toward your child. They are different in each state, however, so understand your state’s laws by contacting your state’s Parent Center. When you know your rights as a parent, you’ll be better prepared to advocate and assist your child in getting the right support to help them succeed. You can also visit the Center for Parent Information and Resources page for more information about how you can help your child through the special education identification process.

 

When your child is failing in school, it is a stressful time for both student and parent. If you get a message from the school that they want to test your child, it just adds to the fear that there is something wrong. Take a deep breath, though, because the school just wants to help your child learn, and testing is a good way to identify the best way to do that. According to Pamela Wright and Pete Wright, Esq. of WrightsLaw.com, “If school employees know or have reason to suspect that a child has a disability, these school employees have an affirmative duty to act on the child’s behalf” (emphasis in the original).

Laws

Let’s start with two laws you need to be familiar with. They govern how the school handles children with learning differences and their testing. The first is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of1973 (also called “504”). This law makes public schools provide a “free appropriate public education” to every student with a disability within the school district’s boundaries. That is true, no matter the type or severity of the disability.

The other law is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which necessitates that schools have a process in place for assessing disability. This can be early intervention services for children under the age of 2 or special education services for those between the ages of 3 and 21. According to a New York Times blog by Jessica Lahey, “The definitions of what is or is not a disability, and whether those disabilities qualify vary wildly. ‘Qualified’ simply means that your child has been determined to have a disability that is covered under the law.”

Next Steps

Communicate with the school to find out what, specifically, they are concerned about. This can help you figure out what kind of testing will be done. They may be more intelligence or academic ability-related or behaviorally-related. There is no way to tell initially whether the testing will determine if your child will have a permanent label or whether there are some regular classroom-based interventions that will probably suffice to help your child succeed outside of more in-depth special education services.

If testing has identified that your child has a disability, the school will create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The IEP process is one in which you, as the parent, should participate, so that you have a clear understanding of what the interventions are that your child will receive and know what goals your child is trying to reach based on the IEP. The end goal is to help your child learn in the way that is most meaningful to them. Advocating for your child and participating in discussions along the way with the school is vital to your child’s success.

Parent Rights

You may choose to have your child evaluated privately by a professional you choose, which is called an Independent Educational Evaluation. You can also refuse testing. Even if your child is in private school, the state still has some responsibilities toward your child. They are different in each state, however, so understand your state’s laws by contacting your state’s Parent Center. When you know your rights as a parent, you’ll be better prepared to advocate and assist your child in getting the right support to help them succeed. You can also visit the Center for Parent Information and Resources page for more information about how you can help your child through the special education identification process.

M.L. Page, M.Ed.

IEP- Function and Purpose

 

When your child is identified as having a disability, the school will bring together several people, including you, to help write an IEP. An IEP is a tool to help your child succeed in school and to ensure that appropriate interventions and academic and social goals are set.

Definition

An IEP is an Individualized Education Program. It is a document that lays out the educational program that is tailored to your child. The purposes of an IEP are to identify academic and social goals and to state which supports and services the school will provide your child to help them succeed, according to the Parent Center Hub website.

Law

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, necessitates that schools have a process in place for assessing disability, which can be early intervention services for children under the age of 2 or special education services for those between the ages of 3 and 21.

Components of an IEP

This law also states that the IEP has to have statements about “present levels of academic achievement and functional performance,” “annual goals,” “special education and related services to be provided,” and “participation with children without disabilities,” according to the Parent Center Hub website.

The present levels of academic achievement and functional performance says how your child is doing now in school and how the disability affects that. The goals describe what the school team thinks your child can accomplish in a year as far as needs that relate to the disability, and they map out how your child can take part in the general education curriculum. The services to be provided discuss tools and arrangements, like a communication device or different seating arrangements, as well as special education services from personnel at the school, that can help your child succeed. The IEP also spells out how much of the day your child will spend educated away from the general population.

IEPs also include a variety of other components, such as dates and location of services, participation in assessments, transition services, and how progress will be measured. Read the Parent Center Hub site for more information about all IEP components.

Who Creates an IEP?

IEPs are created by one regular education teacher, a special education provider or teacher, a representative of the school system, someone who can interpret evaluation results, others the school or you invite, parents, and your child, when appropriate.

If at all possible, attend IEP meetings at your child’s school so that you understand the plan to help your child succeed and to advocate for them, if necessary. The meetings can be done without parents participating, so try to attend, if you can. You can still get records of the meeting if you don’t attend.

In the end, an IEP is designed to help your child succeed. They are updated annually, and they reflect the desire of the school to see your child do well in all aspects of life. Don’t be afraid of them. Embrace them as a tool to support your child.

 

M.L.Page, M.Ed.

My Child Reads! Why Is He Failing?

 

When it comes to reading, you may find that there is some kind of disconnect between what your child can read aloud and what they can actually understand of what they just read. This is the difference between fluency and comprehension.

Fluency                 

Fluency refers to your child’s ability to decode words quickly and accurately, to recognize words on sight and to be able to say them. Think of your child reading a book aloud. How quickly they read and how accurate they are with what they read is the essence of fluency.

At school, teachers test fluency by having students read a short passage at their reading level, or maybe slightly above or below it, and they time how far they can read in a certain amount of time. They also mark how many mistakes they make, such as if they skip a word, mispronounce a word, etc. This helps them determine an overall fluency rate. They will use passages that are slightly above or below their reading level to help them determine the right reading level for your child to be reading at in class.

Comprehension

Comprehension is another vital component of determining how well a child reads. This is how much of what your child read was understood. The teacher will ask your child questions about the passage, and the questions are on the general idea and the details. They may also ask your child to be able to think abstractly about the story and connect what they read to other ideas.

When teachers combine fluency and comprehension rates, they have a good idea of the reading level of your child. This helps them tailor their reading instruction to your child’s current level of ability and to challenge them to the next level appropriately. It also keeps your child’s frustration level down if they are reading at a level that suits them. Additionally, they are more likely to enjoy reading if they can read about subjects they’re interested in at a level that they can read fluently at and at which they can comprehend what they read.

M.L. Page , M.ED.

An Advantage To Preschool?

If you have been fortunate enough to be a parent who has not had to put their child in any sort of formal child care, you may be very reluctant to have your child attend preschool. Preschool can be a frightening idea to many parents, but it is very beneficial for your child as well.

1.) Preschool allows your child to engage with other children on a regular basis. It is the perfect place to learn vital social skills like taking turns and engaging in conversations. Your child will learn how to successfully interact with other children.

2.) Preschool helps your child learn important motor skills. For example, your child will learn how to use scissors, and will develop fine motor skills using the toys and learning materials available in the preschool.

3.) Preschool helps your child learn independence and trust. This does not mean that your parent-child bond is broken. It means that your child’s anxiety about being away from you slowly begins to decrease, and he is able to engage in tasks and play on his own more confidently. He also learns how to trust another adult as his caregiver.

4.) Preschool sets the stage for academic learning in elementary school. This does not mean that the preschool you choose to have your child go to should be hard-core academically focused, but it does mean that being exposed to the alphabet, learning to write her name, and developing basic pre-math skills will help your child succeed when she enters Kindergarten.

5.) Preschool teaches children about routine, structure, and schedules. Even if your lifestyle is more laid back, it is important that your child know how to function in the wider world where the clock and authority figures play an important role in daily life.

6.) Preschool shows your child more about the wider world and her place in it. She begins to develop a sense of understanding about home, school, the neighborhood, the city, the state, the country, and how she fits in with each. She is also exposed to new ideas about the world around her, such as new animals and plants she’s never heard of or seen.

Preschool is a great experience for children. Even a few hours a week can give your child the leg up and the confidence he needs to move self-assured into the next phase of his life.

 

M.L. Page , M.ED. 

Autistic Child – Difficult Teacher – What Should A Parent Do?

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder generally referred to as ASD is a developmental disability which is usually caused by an abnormality in the brain of the child. An autistic child, i.e. a child with ASD, usually find it difficult to communicate or associate with the rest of his peers.

The fact that a child is suffering from autism doesn’t mean such a child should be deprived of their childhood. Medical experts usually advise against keeping them locked indoor. Nothing stops you from enrolling them into a school. However, this is where the actual problem lies.

You know your child well. You are also aware of his brain abnormality, but the child’s teacher may not be. This makes the relationship between an autistic child and their teacher a difficult one. In this article, we will be offering parents tips on how to handle a difficult relationship between an autistic child and their teacher.

 

Make the Teacher Aware

The main reason both the teacher and the autistic child are finding it hard to get along is probably because the teacher is not aware of the child’s condition. As the parent, try as much as possible to make the teacher aware of your child’s condition. Explain to the teacher that things will not work out well if the child is treated like the rest of the kids.

 

Reward good behavior

For a better relationship, tell the teacher to reward your child for doing something good, no matter how small. Encourage the teacher to praise your child when he or she learns a new skill or act appropriately. The teacher can reward the child by allowing him or her play with a favorite toy. Even when the child does something not so good, the teacher should not scold.

 

Make use of nonverbal cues

Nonverbal cues offer the teacher an incredible way to relate with the autistic child. As the parent, you can teach the teacher some nonverbal cues you use in communicating with your child at home. Make the teacher know how your child’s facial expressions, and gestures when he or she is hungry, tired, or in need of something. Once the teacher is able to understand it, you can always expect a smooth relationship.

 

There you have it! The above are a couple of tips for parents on how to handle a difficult relationship between an autistic child and their teacher. As a teacher, do not see an autistic child as a problem of disappointment, consider it as your duty to show them love, care, and affection.

 

M.L. Page,  M.Ed.

 

Is Your Child Really Getting Anything Out Of What They Read ?

One of the stressful duties of parenting is offering reading help to your children. As children begin to read longer texts, it is vital that they develop their reading comprehension skills along with their ability to decode.

Reading help doesn’t have to be offered at school alone. At home, you can help your child improve their reading skills. The following are a couple reading comprehension strategies that can come in handy anytime you offer reading help to your children.

 

Marking Up Text with Post-It Notes

When your child has a question about something that they are reading, encourage them to write the question down on a Post-It note and then put it next to the text that was confusing. At the end of a section of reading, they can go back and re-read, think about their question some more, or ask you for more information.

If your child doesn’t write much yet, you can also have them draw pictures of their questions. If your child doesn’t have questions about the text, they can mark the parts that they found interesting or surprising.  All this encourages them to connect to the text and to think about it more critically.

 

Personal Connections

Education is more than learning to read or write. The personal connection between subject matters is also an important aspect. Before, during, and after reading a text, have your child think about any personal connections they can make with its subject matter.

For example, if your child is about to read about a kid who is made fun of in school, ask them if they have ever been laughed at, how it made them feel, what the circumstances are, etc. This can help your child make a personal connection with what they read. In the long run, their comprehension will gradually improve.

 

Background Knowledge

Sometimes children have background knowledge on the subject of a text, and sometimes they do not. If they do, it might be incomplete. Before your child starts reading something new, spend some time talking about the subject matter. Watch a short video on the Internet about the subject, or look at some pictures of it. Not only will this help improve your child’s reading comprehension ability, it also helps you bond while parenting.

 

Ask Questions

As your child reads through a text, encourage them to ask questions. Sometimes stopping every few sentences to ask a question can impede comprehension, so it might be a good idea to make a list of questions to ask at the end of each section of the book. Encourage your child to do some research to find answers to some of their own questions. This will help in their education, reading comprehension, and learning ability. It will also help them perform better in school.

 

Visualizations

Utilizing your parenting skills, you should be able to help your child visualize. Talk about what a particular scene or action in the book might look, feel, smell, taste, and sound like with your child. Even though your aim is to offer reading help, however, it shouldn’t be about reading only.

Have them draw pictures of different parts of the book. These visualization exercises help them to better understand what they are reading. You could also have them draw pictures of different parts and then put the pictures in order. This will reinforce understanding of sequential events in the story.

There you have it! All the above are various ways you can help your children improve their reading comprehension ability. If you haven’t been offering reading help, guess it’s high time you fire up your parenting tools. Start offering reading help to your child from now on. Within a short period, you will definitely notice drastic improvement in his or her education, and performance at school.

M.L.Page, M.Ed.