by Theresa Lynch, owner of Learning in the Living Room


Documenting your child’s progress throughout your home education journey is like collecting treasures along the beach. However, it can and should serve as much more than an academic record of progress. It offers a recollection of how your child has grown in a variety of ways. Most importantly, it provides one with a glimpse into who your child is, who he is becoming, and who he might become. I like to look at it as a way to honor your child–so cherish the process! 

Many years ago, while home educating my sons, I asked them to create puppets of their favorite mammals. (This was part of a culminating activity, as later I would ask them to use their puppets to “act out” their answers to questions.) Their final products were so incredibly different. My husband and I laughed and laughed about the stark differences, as these products were mere reflections of the differences in my sons’ personalities, learning styles, and preferences. My oldest son’s puppet was meticulously colored and cut, with the animal’s color “perfectly” depicted. My youngest son’s puppet, on the other hand, was vibrant and colorful–the colors clearly not within the “norm,” but truly entertaining! 

According to Carol Tomlinson, “Intelligence is multifaceted. Children think, learn, and create in different ways.” Therefore, assessment must also be multifaceted. The end products must and should look different. Thus, the better question is: “What evidence do you have that your student has mastered the objective?” And ‌“What skill, strategy, or process must he know, and does he?” It is that simple!


Once that is determined, how you gather your information is the fun part. The sky’s the limit! (I am sure you are already incorporating many of these.) Here are some of my personal favorites!


  1. Anecdotal Records & Observations–Keep notes in an old-fashioned spiral notebook. Put the date on the top page and record what you have done that day, how the student responded, and any glaring challenges. Be an astute observer of your child(ren). Which concepts/skills did they master easily? What did they find difficult about that lesson? Are they bored with the content? What poignant or purposeful statement did they make? Review these records later and note what needs to be done the next day or week. 
  1. Portfolios–Keep a three-ringed binder of your child’s work. This could include art projects, book lists, worksheets, writing samples, poetry, as well as photographs of field trips, activities, and projects. Make sure each item is dated. Include as much as you can and need. At the end of the year, you can review and decipher what stays and goes. Make sure you keep some samples from various times throughout the school year so you can show growth.
  1. Learning Logs for Content Area Subjects–Encourage your student to keep a notebook for Science or History. Upon studying a particular concept or topic, I ask the student to write (or dictate) a paragraph about the topic. (You can be as specific as necessary.) After reviewing the paragraph, you will know whether the child has a firm grasp of the content. 
  1. Reading Response Notebooks can be used for literature. The teacher can pose questions and the student may answer. Or the student may simply write (dictate) a retelling/summary of the story. Again, this informs you how much the child remembers about the story and specific comprehension strategies. Does the child understand cause/effect relationships? Is he/she inferring the hidden meaning? Is he/she able to sequence the key events properly? If challenges are present, then you can reteach those concepts. These are great teaching opportunities!
  1. Checklists/Lists–Keep a checklist or make a list of books read, words mastered, vocabulary completed, math facts reviewed, etc. Checklists can be your best friend and a quick glance can provide you with an idea of what has been achieved and what still needs to be done. 
  1. Calendar–Use a monthly calendar to note which skills or strategies were taught/learned on specific days. Use different colors to notate whether a skill was taught, reviewed, mastered, etc.
  1. Assessment Grids/Rubrics–Follow a grid or rubric to ensure that specific skills have been completed and/or mastered. For example, using a Scope & Sequence rubric for phonemic awareness, phonetic analysis, or math skills is an efficient way of keeping track of these skills. 
  1. Formats – What evidence do you have that your student has mastered the objective? A video, photograph, experiment, illustration, essay, or test may assess the understanding of a concept or the ability to apply a skill. 
  1. Be creative and offer your child choices. For example, after studying lightning, provide a list of products the student may create to “show” their understanding. Your child may conduct an experiment and explain the process, illustrate the process by labeling with keywords, or perhaps they can even “act out” a lightning storm while describing the phases. 
  1. Storage – Keep all such documentation in one place. I enjoyed keeping all of my kids’ artifacts in a large plastic bin. What you store them in does not matter. Keeping the documentation is important. Keep copies of any type of informal tests, formal evaluations, or standardized testing. These can be placed in a notebook, binder, or box. 


Remember that assessment and documentation of such should only occur when and if it serves to inform your instruction. It is then that the teacher should craft his/her instruction to ensure proper skill application and concept understanding. Otherwise, it is meaningless. 

How many tests or assignments have been given to students and the results carefully documented, without a mere mention of what went wrong, why it went wrong, or how it can be corrected? It is when such questions are examined and used to promote more effective instruction that assessment and documentation become valuable. 

And only then can you truly honor your child, as well as your journey. 


Theresa has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Beaver College (now called Arcadia University) outside of Philadelphia, and a Master’s and Sixth Year Certification in Reading/Language Arts from Central Connecticut State University. She is a Connecticut certified Elementary Educator (Pre-K-8) and Reading/Language Arts Consultant (K-12). She is also trained in the Orton-Gillingham method. Theresa has taught preschool through post graduate adults as she has been a classroom teacher, reading specialist/consultant, adjunct college instructor, and staff development trainer. She spent 15 years home educating her two sons, one of whom has deep dyslexia and dysgraphia. In 2007, she co-founded “Homeschooling Our Special Kids in Connecticut,” which she led for 12 years. Throughout those years, Theresa thoroughly enjoyed facilitating learning cooperatives while developing and teaching a wide variety of courses for students, as well as offering educational workshops for parents. Her greatest passion however, lies in teaching those deemed unteachable, and creating a student’s best learning life. Therefore, in January 2020, she founded “Learning in the Living Room, PLLC,” where she embarks on expanding her impact, and makes this beautiful space and philosophy available to all parents, teachers, and students. She can be contacted via telephone at (203) 525-1205, email at, or visit her website at




by Ashley Gillespie, Founder and President of Children’s Oasis Foundation


When a child is labeled as non-verbal it can be limiting and automatically assumes that the individual has no intent or meaning in the ways they are communicating. I have learned though that instead of looking at non-verbal communication as something that is limited, it is better to see each individual as neurodiverse and take extra steps to understand strengths and differences and the fact that communication can look like eye gazes, gestures, or vocalizations as well as typical speech.


Communication Through Relational Connections

How can we know what the child is communicating when they don’t use words? There is power in relationships. Humans are social beings. We were created to rely on relationships to develop. Using developmental models such as DIR Floortime® harnesses the key affective or emotional aspect of these relationships to promote the child’s development. 


Joyful interactions through attuned connections foster more communication. Asking ourselves reflective questions can help with greater interpretation. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when looking for ways to cultivate better communication with your child:

  1. What is the child’s communicative intent? 
  2. Am I noticing any musical vocalizations? 
  3. In what ways can I have a better understanding of this child to support their communication? 

We must always presume competence and respond to a child’s intent with emotional connection and shared joy.


Focusing on developmental capacities such as regulation, engagement, and two-way communication are appropriate milestones for non speaking children. Following a child’s interest also allows better support of their development through interactions that support their strengths

Love and connection need no words, only respect and compassion. 


Additional Communication Pathways

Autistic self advocates speak about ways that we can be respectful to children’s differences and value them as unique individuals, not just their diagnosis. By giving extra wait time and being in a shared experience, we allow children more processing time and opportunities to see their ideas. This gives us the lens to see the child’s intent and have a shared experience. Traditional therapy approaches lack this understanding. Thankfully, more Speech-Language Pathologists are being trained to better support neurodiverse children that look for these differences, like joint attention, imitation, gestures, and vocalizations in addition to traditional speech-only communication. 


Many therapists are also familiar with the differences in analytical vs gestalt language development. Research shows that a high percentage (around 82%) of autistic children are gestalt language developers. Gestalt language development is a model of language development where a child acquires gestalts (scripts) as units of language. Gestalt language developers who are non speaking may communicate using a mix of unintelligible strings of language or song melodies. These all have meaning to the individual and therefore these language uses need to receive acknowledgment. 


Ashley Gillespie is a former speech therapist that is now a trained mental health practitioner. She is the Founder and President of Children’s Oasis Foundation, a charitable organization for neurodiverse individuals. Ashley holds an advanced certificate in DIR Floortime® and is passionate about spreading the model with more parents and professionals around the world. Her passions for her work are a gift from Jesus that brings so much joy to her life.




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child pointing to speech bubble


 by Dawn Spence, SPED Homeschool Teaching Manager 


Homeschooling through to graduation is an extremely helpful way to help a student prepare for a trade or a certain career. For some learners, this post high school opportunities may include college, but for others not. Below we have compiled videos and articles for parents of students who may take may take more alternative paths post high school and are wondering how to prepare their uniquely gifted student at home for whatever they plan to do after high school. 


Where to Start

Some high school students do not know what path or career they are interested in.As parents who know our children best, we can guide and assess our students. Here are some of our articles and videos that might help:


Thinking Outside the Box 

Everyone’s path is as different as our learners. Here are some sources that can help guide you in the right direction.


Sound Advice From The Trenches 

Your child’s future is unique, as no two paths are the same. Some are bumpy and some are hard. Don’t compare your child to anyone else. In the end, other families that have gone before can provide encouragement, perspective and advice. 



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 by Shari Nelson


We all have learning challenges to some degree. Each challenge has a purpose and a plan behind it.  Our mission is to discover the purpose and how it propels us towards our calling in life.

The specific calling on all our lives is born out of these challenges, our strengths, our giftings, and our life experiences. Sometimes it takes years to discover, but each step in the process is purposeful and meaningful. 

The first step in college and career planning is to know yourself.  What are you passionate about?  Who are the people in your life that you are empathetic towards and love to serve? What activities that engage with others, intentional or not, fill your heart and give you joy? What are your strengths and aptitudes? Having this self-awareness can then lead you to discover possible career paths.

The next step is career research. One of my favorite resources is the Occupational Outlook Handbook. You can search for almost any career path and find its description, median pay, education requirements, growth rate, and on-the-job training. Some profiles even have videos. As you discover your main career interest clusters, then you can begin researching the education and on-the-job training necessary for entry-level positions. 

This next step is critical; educational choices. Most students with learning challenges want to jump ship at this point because of past struggles and current hurdles in education. Do not lose hope! There are many paths and opportunities to assist you in following after that calling on your life. Depending on your specific challenges and the assistance you need to overcome them, I suggest the following considerations:

  • Research services from your state’s Workforce Solutions or Commission’s website. Here in Texas, they offer amazing opportunities for job training, resume building, work apprenticeships, on-the-job mentoring, and post-secondary planning for our youth. Once our students become 18 years of age, the services and opportunities grow.
  • Research the numerous certification programs offered at your local community or junior college. These are excellent stepping stones towards your ultimate goal. Usually one certification is sufficient for gaining excellent employment, and then you can continue to add the next level if you desire. Certifications are usually one to two semesters. You can search for Certifications or Work Force Training on a college’s website to find amazing opportunities.
  • If testing causes you anxiety, many of these certifications only require the taking of the entrance tests (TSIA2/Accuplacer), not a specific score to take classes. There are even accommodations written into the TSIA2, as well as additional accommodations that can be obtained through the college.
  • Every school: technical, 2-year, and 4-year has a department that offers a variety of programs, tutoring and assistance for almost any learning challenge. The level of assistance and requirements of documentation will vary from school to school. It is worthy of your time to research, ask questions, and advocate for yourself.
  • Research the amazing 4-year universities across our nation that were established specifically for students who are learning and socially challenged and who desire continuing their education in a college setting. They have many programs in place to assist you in every area of college life. You can search sites like, US News and World Report, and College Board to research schools that meet your needs.

For every life, there is a plan, a purpose, and a calling. Again, our mission is to discover them through our life’s experiences. Each challenge, hurdle, failure, and, especially, our success makes us stronger and propels us towards our calling. My prayer for you is that you embrace who you are, go after your calling, and serve and bless others along the way.



Shari Nelson had the privilege of home educating her 4 children for over 20 years using a variety of curriculums and homeschooling opportunities. 

Shari and her sister, Liz Hach, opened the Christian Educators Resource Center (CERC) in 2006, serving as Director of Education until 2010. During this time, she taught co-operative classes to homeschoolers, including Bible, math, language arts and science. Shari also served on the Board of Directors at CERC in various positions and was able to fulfill her calling by encouraging home educators. 

Through seminars and one-on-one assistance, Shari Nelson, CCC Toolbox, advises families how to fulfill academic high school and graduation requirements, to find resources that help students succeed regardless of learning challenge, and to explore students’ college, career, and calling in preparation for their post-secondary plans.





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By Sarah Walkey Mcubin


If you have a twice-exceptional (2e) child who wants to make friends, you may have noticed that they have to work extra hard socially. Skills that are easy for others may be very difficult for 2e kids. Thankfully there are many ways to help them make great friends. 

After spending my childhood and teen years as a gifted child who never fit in, something clicked in college when I realized that I was not destined to struggle socially. Talking to people became like math. A subject that could be learned and was not a mystery. I started to watch and listen in conversations with a new interest. Instead of feeling completely stressed that I would again say the wrong thing, I became curious about the reactions I was seeing and started making note of the way people behaved and talked. 


The Problem With Making Friends

The problem with making friends for anyone that struggles socially is that making friends is actually a pretty active process. It is unreasonable to expect that if someone doesn’t actively talk to people that they will build relationships. 

However, if someone is introverted, shy or reserved, they may struggle to simply start the process of making friends and choose to avoid being around people. An extrovert will have so many interactions with people that they are bound to meet people that have similar interests and form a deeper connection. Though someone who struggles socially will have less social interactions. This results in less opportunities to find someone who has similar interests. It is a self-perpetuating cycle, but it doesn’t have to be! 


5 Ways to Make Friends

1 – Participate in Regular Activities Based on A Child’s Interests. 

It is much easier to make friends when you are around people who have similar interests. Instead of trying to find friends, accidentally, by hanging out at parks or in general homeschool groups,  choose to sign up for classes or activities that are based on your child’s interests. They will automatically be spending time with people who like the same things as them which is one key to friendship.


2 – Practice Basic Conversation Skills & Asking Good Questions 

Social settings are so much easier if a parent takes the time to role-play social situations. This can be done EVERY TIME they are headed into a social situation that stresses them out. You can practice questions to ask, how to answer questions they don’t know and the general process of conversation, where people ask questions back and forth. 

Here are 100+ Funny Questions to Ask Kids 


3 – Practice Reading Social Situations

Oftentimes, 2e kids are more sensitive and may struggle to interpret the intentions of others. This can result in getting their feelings hurt more easily. In order to help kids understand their world, I love to practice reading social situations. 

One of my favorite ways to learn social skills with my kids is to let them talk about interactions they observe. If someone gets into a fight or someone gets emotional, or is super happy, those are all great opportunities to observe and discuss.

Questions you can use to discuss a social interaction can include:

-What did you see happen?

-Why do you think they reacted like that? Could there have been another reason? 

-Do you think they could have been unhappy because of something else in their day? 

-If you were talking to that person what could you say? 

-What if they said something unkind to you, how could you react? 

Practicing understanding social situations from different angles can help kids understand the nuances of social interactions and be less sensitive if something does come up. 


4 – Look Out for the Underdog

One of the things I learned being the kid that stood in the back alone was that I LOVED the people who would come find me to say hello. You see, I didn’t use any of these tips when I was growing up. I just waited for people to talk to me. 

In college, I realized that I didn’t have to do that. In the dining hall at school, I would get my tray and then look for someone sitting alone and ask if I could eat with them, and everything changed. I realized that if I did that all the time, I would never have to be alone. 

Teach kids to look around and SEE who else is alone. They can practice their social skills by going up, introducing themselves and asking some basic questions. Not only will they feel better, the other person likely will too because none of us want to be an outsider in a group. 


5 – Don’t Try to Be Friends With Everyone

The reality is, most people don’t need a whole bunch of friends but one or two good ones would be wonderful. In helping kids to make friends, it can be beneficial if they focus on talking to different people, but only building friendships with those who share their interests and are kind. 

In helping our kids to make friends, it can be equally important to help them identify the kinds of people that DO NOT make good friends. 

When twice exceptional kids are homeschooled, parents have the unique opportunity to structure their days in a way that has just the right amount of social interactions. As your kids grow up, they will likely give input on the kinds of interactions that they enjoy or don’t. It can be tempting to only do things that our kids want to do, but encourage your kids to gradually challenge themselves socially so they can get better at things that are hard. 


Sarah and her husband have 9 children and have homeschooled for 15 years. In her journey to find the right education in each season for each child, she has also used public and private schools as well as hybrid homeschool options. During Sarah’s homeschool journey, she was the President of a homeschool co-op for 6 years and is currently the Treasurer of another. Her passion is to help homeschool leaders confidently offer quality programming without burning out! How? She helps homeschool leaders create realistic policies, stay legal with the government, set program boundaries and learn to communicate clearly so that the community you create is one that you love. Connect with Sarah and her resources on her blog, 10 Minute Momentum




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by Betsy Sproger from BJ’s Homeschool


Finding out our daughter was gifted and twice exceptional, well, that was more than a few years ago. Our 2e daughter is already a homeschool and college graduate and is working in her field of study, Communications.

We knew she was gifted from the first days we adopted her, on a bus ride in China.

While most of the other babies were crying, for new parents to deal with on a very long and bumpy bus ride, guess what ours was doing! She was standing at the window watching everything go past, for hours. 


Early Sensory Issues

We did notice sensory issues early on.  

She was soon a very active toddler, always jumping off the couch, spinning in her dad’s desk chair, and seeking out sensory stimulation all day long. 

We knew that our school district did have a gifted program, but not one that would also meet her needs related to her Sensory Processing Disorder. As a 2e, or twice exceptional kid, we took the plunge and tried our hand at homeschooling. 

Homeschooling became a great way for our daughter to learn. It allowed us to teach to her strengths and accommodate for her learning difficulties, including ADHD. 

Plus, we could give her the challenge that she as a gifted/2e kid so craved.

Are you considering homeschool for your 2e child or teen? Here are 8 tips for homeschooling yours:


1 – Build Breaks into your Routine

Our very active child did well with lots of breaks, both active ones and then also some quiet ones. Often she did cartwheels across the living room, then later quiet breaks to de-stress. We set up a low stimulation space, where she could relax and read quietly.

We found ways to eliminate distractions and work to meet her sensory needs.


2 – Teach to their Strengths

When our daughter was young, processing verbal directions was a big challenge for her. However, she did very well with visual learning.  

Since she was a visual learner, we chose homeschool curriculum that focused on that. She also did very well with hands-on approaches, and loved the project based learning that Oak Meadow Homeschool provides.

When it came to our annual homeschool testing, we chose a test that used written instructions instead of verbal ones. And that made all the difference.

Also, as a very active child, we decided to focus on that as a strength and signed her up for a beginning gymnastics class. That led to years of fun doing tumbling, etcetera with the new friends she found there.


3 – Follow their Interests 

We followed our daughter’s interests in her studies and in her outside activities. If our chosen curriculum didn’t fit her current interests, we adapted it so that it did.

One year, all her essays and reports were about airplanes. Early on, her first written work was a study of rats. We also took time to delve deeply into her interests, changing things up to meet her needs. Interest led learning provides intrinsic motivation for our kids!

Many 2e homeschool families even choose to use the unschooling method, where their child’s interests led in all of their homeschool studies.


4 – Use Creative Activities to Teach Executive Functioning

Learning tasks skills like direction following and organizational skills can be learned through creative activities as well as academics.

One year, it was all about stamp collecting. Through that she built a stamp collecting notebook. My daughter learned task skills like direction following, building her attention span through crafts and hand arts, like simple weaving. Or sewing projects. Then later these executive skills transferred to her other work.


5 – Adjust for Emotional Needs

My 2e kid thought she should already know things, before she had a chance to learn them.  

Can you relate? 

We gave her independence early on whenever we could. For example, for reading, we used audio books along with her phonics work with Explode the Code. It gave her that wonderful feeling of independence that she needed right away.

Making mistakes is often a challenge for gifted or 2e kids. Mine thought that she should never make a mistake.  

We practiced making mistakes and made it a game. 


6 – Make Accommodations for Learning Struggles

When there was a learning issue, we strove to adapt or accommodate. For example, spelling was an hard for our daughter in the early years. She did well with her spelling tests, but that did not generalize to her written work.  

We separated out her spelling work from her written assignments. That way we focused on building up her writing skills separately, with the spelling tests weekly. We did not correct her spelling in her written work in her journal, or in essays until much later.  

That way she could focus on building her writing skills without being held back by her spelling.


7 – Take Care of Your Child’s Mom

With the intensities often found in our 2e kids, we parents can get worn out easily. I did. We both did.

Whenever we could find a babysitter, we used them. I was a better mom when I carved out time for reading or taking a walk by myself.

What builds you up when you are tired or exhausted? For me it was going on walks outside, so during our homeschool day I built in time for walking with my child. 

Homeschooling our 2e kid was hard and yet so rewarding, if I remembered to do my self-care. I learned that baths were also so important, for me!

I also did better when I had community. Since our homeschool community was small, we participated in some community activities, like gymnastic classes. 


8 – Teach Self-Management Skills to your 2e Teen

Homeschooling helped my daughter to gradually learn to organize her studies and plan her day, just by watching me make up her assignment lists, etc. As she got older, I gave that task to her.

By the time she got to high school, she was independent in that and took those skills to college with her. Homeschool Organization Methods that she learned were key to her success in college.

After graduating her from our homeschool, we helped her get into college, which I share about in my book, discussed here – Homeschooling High School – How To’s and More.


Betsy is a retired O.T, homeschool blogger at BJ’s Homeschool, and most importantly is mom to her 2e college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school. She blogs at BJ’s Homeschool, about high schoolcollege and 2e.  




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By Jan Bedell, PhD, Master Neurodevelopmentalist


A common question from homeschool families is, “What curriculum do you have for ______?” Fill in the blank with one of the myriad of labels that are prevalent today – dyslexia, ASD, ADD, ADHD, dysgraphia, all types of syndromes. The answer is that there really isn’t one. WAIT! Before you panic or throw up your hands, let me reassure you that there are solutions to your dilemma, but it is not found in a specific curriculum. To find the answer, you definitely have to think outside the box. 

As a neurodevelopmentalist for 30 years, I can tell you that each situation is unique. Every child brings their own set of challenges to the situation and no two are exactly the same. 

Let me give you a few examples of possible root causes of specific symptoms that need to be considered for the best way forward for the child.  


If a child has trouble reading or is labeled dyslexic, a few of the root issues may be:

  • Eyes not able to track well horizontally and/or vertically
  • Eyes don’t place the image from one eye on top of the other to get a clear image to the brain- poor eye convergence.
  • Auditory processing, auditory short-term memory, is low so holding all the phonics pieces together to get a word out is a challenge.
  • Central vision is not developed well, causing skipping of words or lines
  • The brain is not storing learned information correctly which causes inconsistent recall, one day they know the word and the next they don’t.


If a child has ADD/ADHD symptoms or labels, a few of the root issues may be:

  • Hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation from visual, auditory, and or touch resulting in many of the symptoms on the checklists you find online or in a clinical setting, like distractibility to name one.
  • Metabolic issues, chemistry of the body is causing poor behavior.
  • Low auditory processing is a huge factor in these labels. Poor development in this area results in:
    • Inability to stay on task
    • Trouble following directions
    • Difficulty seeing cause and effect
    • Remembering to do chores
    • Immature behavior
    • Struggles with math word problems
    • Slow, low or no use of phonics
    • Challenges with following conversations
    • Low reading comprehension
    • More comfortable playing with younger children
    • and many more

If a child has dysgraphia symptoms or labels, a few of the root issues may be:

  • Poor proprioception, knowledge of where you are in space.
  • Immature pathways from the brain to the fingers. 
  • Underdeveloped muscle tone causing inefficient hand strength.
  • Weak central vision development causing: 
    • Inability to write on a line
    • Large letters combined with small letters
    • Inconsistent spacing of words
    • Hands tire easily with writing
    • Struggles to stay in the lines when coloring 

These situations are frustrating for parents, teachers, and children.  The good news is that the brain possesses an amazing, God given, ability to grow and change if there is the right kind of stimulation. 

Each label or symptom within a label has a reason in the wiring of the brain that allows it to exist. More and more often, I see children with multiple labels. This just means that the brain inefficiencies are overlapping causing many symptoms in multiple categories. As stated previously, each child has a unique set of symptoms. There are, however, many combinations of symptoms that we see with different labels. When the root cause is addressed it brings relief in academic pursuits without the change of a curriculum. 

Our job as educators, at any level from the home educator to the professional that is advising the family, is to look past the current functional ability- HELP MY CHILD CAN’T READ OR DO MATH!- to what may be causing academics to be less than desirable. Your first advice in this search is, “The full answer will not be found in any one curriculum.”

My challenge to you is to start the WHY search! 

Why is the child distracted? 

  • Is it too much sensory stimulation? To find out and discover some solutions go to our YouTube Channel – Brain Coach Tips. Look for: It’s Not That Loud!; Hyper Vision; It’s Just a Sock!.  
  • Is it low auditory processing? To start your search watch- The New Label on the Block CAPD

There is much more to explore here on our channel, when looking for root causes. We are also here to help you if you want personal direction. Just set up a free consultation at Brain 

May God richly bless you in your search for how to best help your child!


About Jan:

In 1992, a journey started that transitioned Jan from desperate home school mom of a struggling learner into a master neurodevelopmentalist.

With her new knowledge of brain optimization, coupled with experience as a public, private and home school teacher, she developed curriculum and training programs for parent and professionals.

The NeuroDevelopmental Approach gave her hope for her daughter and now Dr. Jan aka Brain Coach™ dedicates her time to helping children, teens and adults reach their fullest God-given potential whether they are gifted, typical or challenged.



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You’ve probably seen the scene from “The Office” where Michael, Dwight, and Andy run around the office jumping on things. That’s exactly what a lot of people think of when they see or hear the word parkour. But the truth is parkour is actually the discipline of learning to overcome challenges and become better every day and it is an incredible form of alternative therapy. I have seen a student come in with little to no control of impulses and within weeks of learning to balance and jump with control show improvement with impulse control as much as 70%. I love seeing children come in with special challenges, including dyspraxia and other circumstances which make their balance worse than other children. Because parkour is about overcoming challenges, their special needs become a part of the training instead of a hindrance. This is why parkour is such a valuable addition as an alternative therapy to a child’s development. Furthermore, as a child learns to move over, under, and through obstacles like a ninja they also begin to develop awareness, self-control, creativity and more character qualities.



Parkour, when taught in a systematic way that promotes safety, helps children learn to think before they move and to move on purpose, not haphazardly. For students with lack of awareness beyond their immediate bubble this is an incredible way to develop the ability to think about others and how their actions will affect others. It helps children develop critical thinking skills as they pick challenges they want to overcome and then break it down into bite sized steps and skills that can be progressively worked towards and achieved until one day the bigger challenge can be successfully completed. This is especially helpful for children who get frustrated easily and default to giving up instead of choosing to demonstrate grit and push through hard things. Another benefit of parkour is the opportunity it gives for autonomy. In parkour, students are encouraged to create their own path. There are no rules of performance like in gymnastics, instead what is good movement is based on each individual participant. Questions such as “How much impact did you feel when you landed?”, “How quiet was your landing?”, “How could you make that movement smoother?”, “What path would be faster?” help a child individually assess how they are doing with their movement and how they would like to make it a little better next time. Approaching a movement like this promotes critical thinking while allowing a child to have autonomy in their movement and what they believe would make their movement smoother, faster, and or more creative. Because parkour is a discipline and not a sport, it allows individuals to advance at their own pace and enjoy the learning process. This is especially beneficial for children who view the world differently and want an opportunity to explore and express how they see things.


Impulse Control

Another benefit of parkour for students who struggle with impulse control is the opportunity it provides for immediate feedback about movement. For example, when a child is balancing on a curb, if they stop focusing, they will have an immediate feedback of the results from their lack of focusing by falling off the curb. If while on the curb a child begins to swing their hands wildly, they will have an immediate feedback of how that movement affects their balance because the momentum from the hands will throw off their balance and cause them to fall off the curb. For a child to become better at balance, they will have to learn first with guidance from a mentor and eventually, through self-assessment, what they can adjust to keep from falling off the curb. In this situation, choosing to focus or hold their hands still will help. Once a child learns how to control themself on a curb, they can then take those principles, self-assessment tips, and awareness into other parkour challenges and even life.


While parkour presents a wonderful opportunity for children to develop creativity, impulse control, and critical thinking skills, it is very important that you, as the parent, help guide your child’s parkour journey in a path that promotes safety. Unfortunately, many YouTube videos have made quite popular the idea of kids jumping around on things randomly with little regard for the consequences of their behavior, to themself and or the property they are jumping on. As a parent, you can guide your child to in person or online classes that help your child build a foundation in parkour that promotes safety and character development. A program that emphasizes the parkour mindset over random movements here and there is a great way to guide your kid’s parkour journey. Once your child builds a strong foundation with parkour, then the sky’s the limit as they continue practicing, becoming stronger, and honing their skills every time they practice.


Hannah Waddle is the Founder of the Online Parkour School and began parkour in 2015. She immediately fell in love with the opportunity for creativity and overcoming challenges. She has spent numerous hours training locally, nationally, and internationally. She is one of the four females in the United States of America to pass the grueling assessments (physical, written, and coaching elements) and complete her ADAPT Level 2 parkour coaching certificate!

After teaching in the public school system for 6 years, she left and now focuses on helping kids learn parkour with an emphasis on safety and character development.


Online Parkour School – Facebook

@onlineparkourschool – Instagram

YouTube Channel




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By Faith Berens, M.ED., Reading Specialist, SPED Homeschool Board Members and Homeschool mom of two


Do you have children who have sensory processing issues, sound sensitivity, or are dealing with attention or anxiety problems? When our son was very little, he had many sensory issues. He particularly struggled with sound sensitivity, had meltdowns, and complained about buzzing in his ears, tinnitus.  He had difficulty understanding what we were saying. He also had trouble following directions, and was dysregulated. Then, at age 7, he was diagnosed with auditory processing disorder.  Our older daughter was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, anxiety, and a scholastic learning disability, dyslexia.  We were blessed to find the Equipping Minds Cognitive Development Program by Dr. Carol Brown. As part of that therapy, she shared with me about Sound Therapy Synergy, which she incorporates as part of the Equipping Minds therapy program.  

I am excited to share with you about Sound Therapy Synergy! The Sound Therapy Synergy method and program, developed by Patricia and Rafaele Joudry, is a unique listening system. It uses new knowledge about brain plasticity, and is based on the discoveries of the French ear specialist, Dr Alfred Tomatis. Dr. Tomatis said, “Listening is the road to learning”, and he discovered how to light up new brain pathways by stimulating the ear. He taught the primary importance of the hearing sense for healthy neurological functioning.  


Wondering what it is and how it works? 

The program uses highly filtered classical music that is specially recorded and is used to rehabilitate the ear and stimulate the brain. Sound Therapy stimulates the ear by playing constantly, alternating sounds of high and low tone while within the complex structure of classical musicStimulation via the sensory pathways remaps the brain, improving the way one understands and processes sound. 

The brain, in turn, sends signals back to the ear to improve its function. Research done on the sound suggests that this feedback loop results in better performance of the middle ear muscles and of the tiny, hair-like receptor cells in the inner ear.

As the ear “opens up” and becomes receptive to high-frequency sounds these are then passed on to the brain. Research has shown that brain function is improved through high frequency sound. There is an increase in blood flow to certain centers, along with increased electrical activity. 

According to Rafaele Joudry’s website, she reports that, “Sound Therapy listeners include increased energy, reduced fatigue with improved focus and creativity, a reduction in the need for sleep, and an almost permanent state of peace and relaxation.”  This was certainly the case for our family.  Our daughter reported that she found the program relaxing and calming. It helped her to sleep better and she wore the sound therapy listening unit, MP3 player, while studying or working on homework which helped her to focus. Initially my son could only wear it and listen for a few minutes at a time, but gradually, day by day, he could wear it for longer periods and then began listening at bedtime for about 30 minutes. We saw decreased meltdowns, less complaining of the buzzing, and less sensitivity to the loud noise sounds he would frequently cry about.  


Why we chose to utilize this program over a clinic-based listening therapy: 

I discovered the developer, Rafaele Joudry, was educated at home, so I figured she gets us homeschoolers!

The program is portable, affordable and easy to use. Our busy, homeschooling family needed something that we could afford and that we could do while on the go. Sound Therapy is played at very low volume on portable equipment, a little MP3 player, so it does not interfere with other activities throughout the day. The kids could wear and listen while in the car, when reading, working on homework, doing chores, exercising, talking, researching on the computer and even resting or sleeping. Typically, kids should listen for 30 to 60 minutes daily.  

The Sound Therapy Synergy program is designed to work with or complement other treatments such as speech and language or occupational therapy, meaning that both methods or treatment programs enhance each other. As the ear houses the organs of hearing and balance, it is the most fundamental and intrinsic to sensory integration.  Therefore, the Sound Therapy Synergy program, in my opinion, is foundational and complements any other sensory integration therapy program.  

I have always appreciated music and understand the power of music. As a reading specialist I have studied how music assists in language development.  Sound Therapy is a powerful tool and goes beyond what typical or traditional music therapy can accomplish because Sound Therapy actually restores brain and listening pathway function. The auditory and language processing “loop” is housed in the left side of the brain. As a dyslexia and reading specialist this is why I recommend pairing the Sound Therapy with an Orton-Gillingham based explicit and systematic reading instruction program because the Sound Therapy Synergy will stimulate and restore that pathway.  

I was impressed with the efficacy of the program. Sound Therapy Synergy program has been found to be effective for treating:

  • Tinnitus, sound sensitivity, ear related dizziness and some types of hearing loss
  • Stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, mental focus and wellbeing
  • Auditory processing, auditory memory, sensory integration and learning difficulties


You can access a white paper on the science of Sound Therapy for Auditory Processing here.

Because the auditory system influences so many other areas of functioning, it is an ideal focal point for intervention. The Sound Therapy Synergy program has truly been music to our ears, as it soothes anxiety, helps with focus, and has been an instrumental piece of healing my son’s auditory processing difficulties. Pairing the Sound Therapy Synergy with the other therapies we have utilized over the years in our homeschool has been so helpful in remediating our children’s learning challenges.  I actually enjoy wearing it and listening as well, as I find it soothing and calming particularly on days when homeschooling hasn’t gone quite the way I wanted it to go! 

Be sure to check out the book Why Aren’t I Learning? (Listening is the key to overcome learning difficulties) by Rafaele Joudry. 

I would also encourage you to watch this short video on YouTube to learn more.




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by Karyn Scott from Care2Rock


The healing power of music is truly transformational. When I started providing music lessons to youth in foster care over a decade ago with the non-profit that I started, Kids in a New Groove, I had no idea what would happen. I questioned if music lessons were important enough to devote significant time and resources to get my non-profit off the ground. It only took a few weeks to see that these lessons were nothing short of life-changing. Music provides an incredible opportunity for kids to learn to set and reach goals, connect with others, and connect with their inner, emotional, selves. As one child after another performed in recitals and opened for well-known Austin bands, their pride was inescapable. Many kids felt valued and seen for the first time. Others became serious musicians, still working in Austin today after learning their skills at Kids in a New Groove. 


After the success of Kids in a New Groove, I came up with an idea to host private online music lessons by connecting the best teachers in the world with students from all over. became the online incarnation of my prior work, but lessons were for everyone,however, our teachers still volunteer for youth in foster care. After witnessing kids in music lessons for well over a decade, the evidence became clear to me: Music can change the direction of a child’s life.  


Building a working knowledge of music is an incredible core skill, but the therapeutic aspect of music is often overlooked. Kids these days face stressors that are unique to the modern age: social media, a pandemic, climate issues, and mental health crises, to name a few. Music is a healing balm for many of these issues and can help heal a child’s brain by rewiring damaged neural connections. In fact, even kids who have faced serious abuse can benefit from this effect, as music can help regulate behavior and calm the nervous system.


Music can also create a safe space for kids to process emotions that are often raw and hard to communicate with parents and peers. Parents often struggle to get their kids into music lessons with so many competing activities; including sports and academics. Some parents wonder, “Is it really worth it to pile music on top of everything else?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Kids flourish while learning music; whether it is online, in person, or a combination of both. Kids still build relationships with their online teachers, learn the basic building blocks of music theory and skill, and learn to set and reach goals. If you are too busy to add another activity, online lessons are a great choice and parents don’t have to get in the car and drive to yet another activity. If your child is feeling overwhelmed or having trouble communicating his or her fears, give music lessons a try. Before you know it there might be the joyful sounds of music, and a happy kid, floating through your house. 



Karyn Scott received her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas in Austin, and received her law degree from Pepperdine School of Law in California. After college Karyn became an Assistant District Attorney in Austin. After rotating to a juvenile court assignment, Karyn noticed how many children in foster care were falling through the cracks and ending up in jail due to a lack of community resources. In 2004 Karyn founded Kids in a New Groove; a non-profit organization that provided Texas youth in foster care with a committed one-on-one mentoring relationship through weekly private music instruction. Karyn founded Care2Rock in 2017 as a social enterprise, solving the problem of growth by recruiting teachers to teach music to paying customers online from all over the country. Since teachers also agree to volunteer for children in need, the company’s growth is self-funded and sustainable. Through Care2Rock, Karyn hopes to help foster children and children in hospitals, not just in Texas or the USA, but all over the world.


Find Care2Rock on social media FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram




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