by Lindsay Kronmiller, SPED Homeschool Community Member

 

As a mom of kids who learn differently, there have been moments I can look back on and pinpoint them as “Aha! moments”. Moments where I figured out what I was doing wrong and what my kids needed. Moments where all the struggle and wrestles finally made sense. Moments that now connect me with my kids on a deeper level. Moments where I look back and wish I trusted my instincts just a little sooner as the difficult days/weeks/months that led to these revelations were just plain hard.

 

Raising kids is a challenge. Raising kids who think and act outside the norm can be daunting. There are so many opinions, both professional and not. Many ways of doing things and most people are more than willing and ready to let you know what they would do and how you should do it. What I learned in all my Aha! moments were that they didn’t know my specific kids or my specific situation. While they had plenty of knowledge and even personal experience, only I knew my kids on the deepest level and that my instincts were right most of the time. Plenty of people have helped along the way, and I am so grateful for them, but trusting that I was made for and given these kids to care for was much harder for me.

 

My top three Aha! moments:

 

Aha! Moment #1—Beginning our 4th reading curriculum

After going through several reading programs, my daughter who was speaking full sentences by 2, just wasn’t understanding reading. She was frustrated and not happy, and I was just as frustrated and unhappy. This is the point where I decided to look for answers that didn’t involve finding the “magic curriculum”. I knew nothing about dyslexia or dysgraphia, but I started my research and dug around the rabbit hole. I knew she was smart, and that what we were doing wasn’t working. I knew there was a better way for her and for us, so we began the evaluation process. I very much debated going through this process: It’s expensive. What will the “Label” do to her self-esteem? How will this help me teach her or will they just tell me an expert needs to be her teacher?

 

First, my daughter loved the testing. She had so much fun with the educational psychologist answering all the questions on the intelligence portion of the testing. Second, it gave me concrete answers to what her strengths were and the specific things she needed to learn in order to read. I had papers to go back to and remind myself of everything she excels at. I can also work specifically on things she struggles with. It has been so much easier to teach her and learn with her now that I know all the details. And she is much happier knowing that her brain is unique, and she has so many strengths because of this. I wish I had trusted the instinct to find out why before we got to curriculum number four. 

 

Aha Moment #2—Taking a break from our phonics program when everyone said not to

All the dyslexia experts and researchers tell you not to take a break, and to just keep going. Those kids who have dyslexia need systematic and repetitive learning in order to ‌read. So when we started our Orton Gillingham curriculum, we just kept going. 4 days a week. We just did our lessons. I was afraid to take a break because “they” said it was bad. However, we were tired and my daughter was definitely tired, so we took a break. And the next week was so much better. 

 

We now build breaks in for my daughter. We don’t just keep going; we stop and let her brain soak it all in. These breaks have worked wonders, in her reading ability, but also in how much she loves to learn and read and that it’s no longer something she dreads trying.

 

Aha! Moment #3—Getting a brain scan AND an official ASD diagnosis

My daughter’s neurodiversity was a given. We had already done the dyslexia and dysgraphia evaluations and were learning all we could about how her brain works. There were still many frustrations on both of our parts. I had suspected ASD for a while, but info on girls is so scarce and getting someone who was willing to evaluate felt like climbing a mountain. Then one week as I was contemplating how and why and if I should, several articles or posts by friends were sent to me. Every single one of them explained why they got diagnosed and the benefits of knowing why their brains worked the way they did. 

 

In my gut, I knew ‌she was on the spectrum and a diagnosis would help her understand herself more. I just needed to trust that and pursue the diagnosis. No one wanted to help. They all said she couldn’t possibly be as she didn’t fit the stereotypical profile. But I had to do something so she would understand there was nothing wrong with her and I would better be able to understand her and help her thrive. 

 

It was so helpful to get the diagnosis. The brain scan also confirmed everything I had felt was real, but either couldn’t articulate or communicate to her or everyone else. It took years for this to happen, but it has been life giving for my relationship with her and her own self-confidence. 

 

These moments and trials have brought us closer together, have made learning together more joyful, and given us a chance to relax into doing the things that work best for us. There is still plenty to learn and there are plenty of hard days, but each of these past moments reminds me ‌we are learning and growing. That God is showing me the way, one step at a time, and I can trust the instincts and revelations He is giving me. 

__

Lindsay Kronmiller is a homeschool mama of two elementary aged, neurodiverse kids from El Paso Texas. On top of homeschooling her kids, she works as a graphic designer, and volunteers with the local homeschool association to help others as they begin their home education journeys.

 

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by Ashley Lindsey, SPED Homeschool Community Member

 

A new homeschool year was about to begin and my youngest, Landon, was about to start his kindergarten year. I enthusiastically prepared for this upcoming milestone by gathering all necessary components for a successful year: file folder games, arts and crafts projects, literature selections, the cutest most colorful math workbook, and the cornerstone of it all- the reading program that helped my oldest son blossom into a brilliant reader. We were set for our family’s learning adventure.

 

The year started out as expected. We colored our ABCs, snuggled and read, did more art projects than our refrigerator doors could hold, made erupting volcanoes, and explored forests. After learning to count to 100, Landon wanted to move on to count higher. He even started fractions and beginning multiplication sequences, thanks Odd Squad! The year was taking off better than I had ever hoped, and Landon was excelling at school. It was time to take out that magical reading curriculum- the one everyone on social media raved about- the one that turned my oldest son into a super-reader.  

 

“Mommy, the words are moving,” Landon informed me.

“Ashley, this is completely normal, especially for boys. Just put the reading program down for a few months and let him play,” a well-respected veteran homeschool mom of eight children told me. 

 

We continued our joy-filled school year. The boys had a solid four months of learning and playing before I broke out the trusty reading program again. Surely, Landon will have had enough time to just “be a boy,” so reading will come to him now. Our break was not as successful as I had hoped. He could not even string CVC words together. It was like watching gymnasts do somersaults. I consulted the curriculum company, who advised me to put the material down until next year.

 

Once second grade hit, words were still flipping upside down for my son. My husband and I had him evaluated at the local school district. Finally, I will get a name for this mysterious condition and they can help him, or teach me how to help him. Landon went through the long hours of testing, exhausted and sad when he got home. A few weeks later the school district called me and explained that Landon has classic symptoms of dyslexia, however, since we have not worked on spelling yet, they could not give him a diagnosis and treat him. I explained to the diagnostician that our Orton-Gillingham reading curriculum specifically tells parents not to start the first level of spelling without completing the first level of reading first. She looked at me like I had two heads. 

 

I was a mom on a mission to find help for my son. Since the school district wasn’t an option, I reached out to several people who claimed to help dyslexics. 

 

“Oh yes, we are the best, and yes, Mrs. Lindsey, your son sounds like he has dyslexia. However, we are full and have no room for him. Please try back next year.”

When Landon started seeing black holes in the road while riding in the car, I got his vision checked. For sure, the optometrist will be able to tell me something. This is our pediatrician’s wife- she must be the best. 

“Mrs. Lindsey, your son has 20/20 vision. I checked his retinas and they look perfectly healthy. I am sorry I can’t help you. “

 

Completely deflated, I consulted social media groups. After all, I couldn’t have been the only desperate homeschool parent out there. My inquiry received many suggestions from empathetic parents. I took some of their advice: switched reading curriculum, tried colored overlays, used all the gadgets and books suggested, and most ridiculously, turned subtitles on his TV shows. Most of these efforts were unsuccessful, however Landon told me how much the TV subtitles were helping his reading. I noticed an improvement in his reading accuracy and fluency, but there was still more work to do. 

 

It was time to reevaluate my approach in homeschooling Landon.  My husband and I contemplated public school, but my husband quickly reminded me of the IEP meetings I sat through begging for services for my autistic students only to be refused. Landon would just fall through the cracks like most of my students did. That summer I took inventory of Landon’s strengths and created an individualized educational program where he could blossom and thrive. I had to unlearn most of my formal teacher training, I had to break down the walls of my educational platform built on checklists, essays, straight A’s, completing every workbook page, and every other facet of my perfectionistic self. I had to let go and let Landon lead the way. Not only did he soar in life and his education, but I also was able to relax and shed some of that tight skin held by false expectations. 

 

Over the years, other specialists who were happy to slap as many labels on him as we could afford has seen Landon.

 

We are a single income family so that well dried up quickly. When I was studying the Book of Proverbs and came upon Proverbs 16, the Lord gave me the gift of confidence and steadfast. Verse 16:9 says,

 

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps”.

I was trying to do God’s work all along but He already did the work, and perfectly so. I still have concerns about my son, but as time passes, my fears are replaced with awe. This child has flourished into an empathetic, fun child adorned with the love of God and a glowing confidence. His smile is contagious, and his humble confidence is admirable. He is a pro at basketball, has built his own gaming PC, is a walking encyclopedia of fun facts, and enjoys good books. I encourage weary parents to peel off those labels and take a holistic inventory of your child, including personality, talents, and gifts. We cannot ignore learning weaknesses, but we can learn how to teach our children to adapt with the plethora of resources available today. Home education can still be fun, exciting, and adventurous, no matter what the needs of your students are. Form an alliance with your child and, with patience, creativity, and insight, you will both be amazed.

 

Ashley Lindsey lives in Missouri with her husband and two teenage boys. When they lived in Texas, Ashley was a Special Education teacher. Once her oldest son started kindergarten, the family pulled him out and began their homeschool journey. Ashley has developed an educational approach for both of her children, meeting their individual needs and interests. The extra-abilities she specializes in are autism, Type 1 diabetes, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, processing disorders, visual impairment, gifted, and twice-exceptional. She believes everyone possesses unique abilities, and her goal is to build an educational platform based on those gifts while still challenging any weaknesses. 

If you would like to correspond with Ashley, her email is Ashley5707@gmail.com.

 

 

 


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By Jan Bedell, Ph.D., Master NeuroDevelopmentalist,SPED Homeschool Board MemberCurriculum Partner,  Consultant Partner, and Therapy Partner 

This is a following-up to my previous blog on dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. The basic information shared in that blog will help you understand the suggestions below as they relate to the neurodevelopmental (ND) approach. 

Now that we are on the same page with the understanding that the symptoms need to be addressed so the brain works efficiently, we can move forward with tips to help a child that has any or a combination of the “dys” labels. Also note that a 15% off coupon is located at the end of this article for being a SPED Homeschool member and can be applied to any of our products you think may might be helpful in teaching your student.

 

Dyslexia

My previous blog listed  dyslexic symptoms. Almost all children who come to us with this label were mixed dominant in their eyes and ears. Fortunately, this is something that can change and when it does, the individual experiences increased long-term memory and less emotionality and school stress. 

Another key factor in academic success for a dyslexic is processing both visual and auditory information.   Free Test Kit. Processing is your short-term memory and affects a person’s ability to hold sounds together to read phonetically. For more information about auditory processing and how to improve it, watch this video or order this

After you have looked into those factors, you need to be sure the eyes are tracking together and converging correctly so the correct information is going to the brain regarding the print in front of the person. All of these developmental factors and more that might affect someone with dyslexia can be checked by a trained NeuroDevelopmentalist through an inexpensive, in-person or zoom NeuroDevelopmental Screening. Information about each of these factors is also available on our YouTube or Rumble Channels called Brain Coach Tips

 

When one of my children was struggling, I wanted to know what I could do TODAY to help. Of course, learning about dominance and processing is a good first step but easing the stress of  reading practice is paramount as well. If the child’s processing score is less than 6, we recommend echo reading. I know, the first thing you are going to say is, “Isn’t reading with phonics the only “real” way to read?” Phonics is great!  Let me repeat, phonics is a great way to teach reading if the individual has high enough auditory processing to handle it.  If that is not the case, it is a frustrating experience for both student and teacher. 

 

 

Read this text and then I will explain.

See, we are really sight readers. Once we know the word, we don’t ever sound it out again. Because of this sight word skill, having a large sight word vocabulary is an asset! Echo reading is where you read a couple of sentences and then the child reads the same two sentences after you. With this method, you work on word recognition, comprehension and reading expression all at the same time. I like to use this really sweet series of a family on a farm when recommending echo reading; Books for First Grade and Second Grade.

 In addition to echo reading, you would work on auditory processing twice a day. When the child can do a solid 5 and work close to 6 numbers on the auditory processing  Free Test , you add phonics back into your routine. In the meantime, the echo reading takes the pressure off the child and also the negative mindset that “I can’t read.” When you add the phonics back in, the child has the best of both worlds – a good sight word vocabulary and a way to sound out unknown words. Watch this for more details. 

Check out this additional resource for the  Best Way to Teach Reading

 

Dysgraphia

Symptoms for this label can come from several different sources of brain inefficiency. If the eyes are not giving the correct information about where the line is, how can the child write on the line? If the pathways from the fingers to the brain are not working well, he will not be able to control the pencil. If the pencil grasp is not good, this also retards progress. 

Interventions:

  • Do deep pressure on the hand and arm to help build pathways. 
  • Check the eyes for convergence and tracking
  • Consider a ND program so you can be equipped to help with central detail vision that makes it hard to see exactly where the line is. Central vision also affects the spacing between words and the inconsistent size of letters.  
  • CursiveLogic can also be used to teach cursive handwriting. This helps to keep letters more uniform because of proprioception (tactile awareness of where you are in space) that can compensate for visual inefficiencies. 

 

Dyscalculia

Again, we need to look for how to address symptoms instead of focusing on a disability or difficulty. 

  1. If the brain is not organized well at the lower levels, it is difficult to have organized thinking. So many times, we expect organized behavior from a disorganized brain (a brain that didn’t receive enough of the right kind of stimulation during developmental stages) and it becomes a frustrating experience for parents and teachers. 
  2. Auditory processing (as mentioned above). When this is low:
  • there is a struggle with logical thinking needed for mathematics concepts
  • word problems are a struggle because the information is not held well in short term memory
  • instruction of math concepts is hampered
  • remembering all the steps to a more complicated operation like long division is a challenge

3. Long-term memory – if information is not being stored correctly for easy retrieval, it will be difficult to learn math facts and remember how to do certain operations

 

An ND’s view of math is divided into 3 distinct areas of abilities that are worked on independently:

Math Issue #1: Learning the meaning of a particular operation. What is addition? What does multiplication really mean?… 

Intervention

Some parents are mistaken that a child shouldn’t move on to subtraction until they have mastered the addition math facts or on to multiplication until the addition and subtraction facts are solid. If you work on each math ability independently through AND methods, the mastery of math facts doesn’t hinder a child’s ability to progress in math concepts. We use Visual Circle Math  (VCM) with 50% instruction. Children that are behind in math really don’t need to do full grade level math curriculums to get caught up to grade level. When you use VCM, students are presented with ways to see what each operation is and do the problems that are more grade level appropriate even before they know the math facts. This way they can catch up quickly and then join a grade appropriate curriculum for other aspects of math like time, temperature, and geometry. Be sure to include Visual Circle Math Additional Mastery Pages so you have enough practice for your child to master the current math concept while getting daily practice on all the previously mastered concepts. This is designed to be hands-on with the parent as the parent does every other problem for the child (50% instruction). This adds intensity to help the information stick and stops all potential mistakes the child might be inclined to make. 

See the SPED Homeschool Review Crew unboxing and review videos of VCM to learn more.

 

Math Issues #2:  Mastering the math facts. This is knowing the answer instantly of a particular random one digit problem. Ex. You see or hear 4 + 5 and 9 comes to mind immediately without thinking of a math family or a trick to subtract 1 from a double like 5 + 5. 

Intervention

Mastery of math facts is the cornerstone of math. When a child knows their facts, math lessons go much more smoothly, and takes less time. We use The Rapid Recall System  where the child sees, hears, says, and writes 5 math facts 14 times a day. This dynamic system only takes 6-7 minutes of “input” (putting information into the brain) and 1-3 minutes of “output” (checking to see if the information is coming out on paper quickly). Children report that after using this system that they really like math after all. 

 

Math Issue #3: The ability to do word problems. This involves reading the problem, holding the information in short-term memory long enough to decide what is important as well as what operation is needed to solve for the answer. 

Intervention

Work twice a day on auditory processing so the student can hold the information more easily.

 

Your children with “dys” labels don’t have to struggle the rest of their lives with these challenging symptoms. If the root cause is addressed with the right kind of stimulation, the child will make progress and build confidence along the way. For more help in where to start, contact: office@BrainSprints.com 

Use coupon code: SPEDFriend for any products that might be helpful for your child.

 

 


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By Dr Rebecka Spencer SPED Homeschool Consulting Partner Cherish Children Ministries

 

Am I the only one who has thought this with one of my children? So many times I have thought, “Can that kid hear me?” Or, “Why doesn’t he just follow instructions?”

As an educator for over 18 years with experience in all grade levels from early childhood through college levels, you can imagine my dismay when I found myself homeschooling, not one, but two struggling learners. Two of my children have auditory processing disorders and one is hearing impaired. In addition to homeschooling, my latest endeavor is to help moms and educators across the globe get their little dyslexics and struggling learners thriving with easy tools and exercises that can be done at home for free. 

When I would ask my then 4-year-old to put his shoes on, grab his coat, and come to me to help him tie and zip, he would get his coat, ball cap, and no shoes. I wondered if he was even hearing me. Then, I began to wonder if it was an obedience issue that needed to be addressed. After taking classes in dyslexia, brain balance, and spectrum disorders such as ADD, ADHD, Autism, and Auditory Processing, the dots began to connect. It was then that I realized my child had an auditory processing weakness.

 

Checking the boxes – Auditory Processing

I don’t know about you, but when I found a checklist, I had an ah-ha moment. Even though I had taken classes and had a dyslexic child, I did not know about the signs and symptoms to look for in that of an auditory processing weakness.

This is so important in academic, social, and behavior skills. Understanding and decoding language, verbal instructions, and commands as well as social cues are all related to auditory processing. I did not know what to look for or how to stimulate growth in this area, but now I do!

Listening skills and auditory processing are not about the ears’ ability to hear. Rather, they are about the brain’s ability to decode language, make sense of it, and then produce an appropriate response. That’s complex stuff!

 

What does auditory processing have to do with reading?

Well, auditory processing disorder is different from dyslexia, but reading is language-based and so is auditory processing.

Reading is language-based, dyslexia is a language-based learning disability, and auditory processing delays are weaknesses in the ability of the brain to filter and process sounds and words, especially in language. 

This is why many children with dyslexia also have auditory processing issues and auditory processing delays can contribute to dyslexia at a young age. 

You may be wondering what the difference is between hearing and actual auditory processing, so here are some facts. Several kids with dyslexia have had a hearing test because it was thought the child could not hear well. 

Auditory processing is more than just hearing what is being said. Even though kids may have perfect hearing, there could still be an issue with auditory processing. Some research indicates dyslexic children struggle with both written and spoken language (sight and sound).

Many kids have some kind of auditory issue. Sometimes kids have hearing tests that come out normal but they do not seem to react to sound and a normal way. Then we have some kids who are under-sensitive to sound.

Many parents sometimes think their child cannot hear as an infant. Most are unaware that auditory processing is a difference in the right and left hemispheres, like most sensory detection and processing. It does need to be determined if it is a deficit in the right or the left.  

It is simply not enough to say that the child has a hearing or auditory processing issue. The reason this is important is that the issues related to this disorder show up differently, and they need different approaches. 

There is no sensory function that works by itself. Every single one of the senses is dependent on the other sensory functions, which depend on a baseline level of brain activity. Most will assume that if a child does not respond very well to sound that there must be something wrong with the ears, and usually this is not the case. The hearing pathway in the ears can be perfectly normal, and the brain could not respond to the sound because brain activity is weak. Now, if brain activity is not igniting at the right speed it just cannot keep up with the input of sound. 

Auditory processing can inhibit reading. Some kids have even been diagnosed with dyslexia when it is an auditory processing disorder. This information is going to help you either way. You might want to add an audiologist to your child’s team to make sure they hear properly.

Parents and teachers often ask me what should be expected at certain ages just as a baseline of guidance.

Milestones based on age: (It is important to note this is just for a baseline.)

  • 2-4 years old should be able to do 2-3 step commands
  • 5-6 years old should be able to do 3-4 step commands
  • 7 years-adult should be able to do 7 step commands

You can do a few simple tests to see if your child has decreased hearing, but before you do these tests, check to make sure the child does not have an ear infection or fluid in the ears at the time you conduct the test. Be sure to go to your physician to have the ears checked before testing. 

Auditory processing disorder could be to blame for affecting your child’s inability to hear all of the sounds in words and in our language not to mention being able to connect meaning to words.

Sound or auditory discrimination is the ability to distinguish between similar sounds. Weakness in sound or auditory discrimination might be caused by physical hearing issues or by a weakness in sound perception or any combination of these variables. Sound or auditory discrimination difficulties could affect phonological awareness as well as the processing of verbal or auditory information. All of this was news to me even as a doctor of education and being active in the field for over eighteen years. You see, language strength is crucial for children to develop proper auditory processing skills. I like to go over the various milestones with parents to help determine the possible underlying issues such as the unintegrated ATNR (primitive reflex).

So, let’s discuss the difference between actually “hearing” and that of “auditory processing” for just a moment. Typically kids with dyslexia are encouraged to have a hearing test because parents and educators believed there was a hearing issue.

At birth, typical auditory development signals the baby is familiar with parents’ sounds, and become startled at strange sounds, but cannot yet distinguish where sounds are coming from due to the fact the brain has not formed a visual memory to the sound yet. You may have noticed your child preferring the sound of a humidifier or a fan, but do not know where the sound is coming from. However at about 4-6 months, the baby becomes more aware as to where sound is. Children this age know a rattle makes one sound while a big brother or sister makes a different sound. You may notice the child looking at you differently and trying intently to understand what you are saying. 

Remember the ATNR reflex? Well, between 6-12 months of age, the baby will begin to crawl, and this is very important. The baby will crawl towards a sound and even the call of his or her name, and make connections with sounds and movement. Peek-a-boo is a favorite and it is understood objects have names like mamma and daddy, meow, baba, do-do, and will try to imitate those sounds.

This reflex was active at birth. It connected shoulder movement to neck movement and helped the child descend in the birth canal. The ATNR reflex should be integrated by 6-12 months of age. If it is not, it will affect free crawling. This can become an issue because of its impact on auditory processing. Some kiddos will army crawl, or use one side more than the other if they still have the ATNR reflex present. I advise parents to be sure to ask your pediatrician if this reflex is integrated at your well-baby visit. 

If the ATNR is not integrated, it can interfere with proper development. Why? As the baby crawls, he will move his head back and forth trying to take in sounds from places in the room, and this will assist in auditory development in each ear. The baby will learn to understand sounds, away, above, around, to, from, near, and far. The baby will crawl toward the sound and understand the noise becomes more intense while crawling away from, the sound fades.

Pronouns are learned around the age of two, and kids will begin to combine two-word phrases, such as “mama go” andbaba drink.”

By the time a child is about three years of age, the child will be able to find hidden objects, comprehend simple commands, recognize questions, love songs, and rhymes, and develop comprehension of two-step commands.

By 4-5 years old, 200-400 words will be in the child’s vocabulary bank. Understanding special concepts such as, it’s behind the door, or in the bottom of the drawer or it is on top of the shelf. This is the age where children should be able to understand a three-part command, like, go get your coat, put it on, and come to me and I will zip it for you. If the child can only do one part of the command, you might think the child is not obeying, but these kids really may forget because of the processing delay. These kids have a hard time storing and recalling the steps properly and also might stare off into space. They sometimes get diagnosed with an attention deficit disorder when it is just an auditory processing issue. 

I often wondered why our son would mix up parts of a word, and I thought he needed some speech therapy, but I soon realized he struggled with auditory ordering and sequencing like many children who are misdiagnosed with a speech articulation issue. Children with a weakened sequencing ability will recall and store information out of order, like syllables, and might say (bullfallow instead of buffalo, or aminal instead of animal) and they get their numbers out of order so they might say 36 instead of 63. Steps of instructions might be remembered but done out of sequence. These kids may struggle with speech, reading, and math.

He was not able to integrate auditory input and had difficulty understanding words as a whole. At this point, I knew he had dyslexia, but this was when I realized the WHY. The right side of his brain was not communicating with the left to understand the language. Continuing to struggle to understand the meaning of words when sounded aloud was a daily battle until we started auditory brain exercises. Our son always needed to see an example of what he was supposed to do and never wanted to try anything first because he did not understand the instructions. He would just wait and see what others were doing before giving it a try. These sweet kids are good at catching on quickly.

You may find your child struggles with social situations, has poor spelling, poor grammar, and poor reading skills. Most likely this is due to decoding issues which, again is related to auditory processing delays. Differences in similar sounds are not heard like pig vs. big

Perhaps your child is withdrawn from school or social gatherings because of noises. Most likely this is due to auditory figure-ground discrimination. This is because there is a deficit in the ability to separate sounds. 

Speech articulation may be a struggle for your child, and if this is so the case, the most likely contributor is that of an auditory output or organization deficit. Children will say words out of order and confuse similar sounds where they are often mistaken to have a speech delay when articulation is the skill required for speech, but the organization output could be contributing to the speech issue.

Maybe your child can hear sounds and order just fine but struggles to connect it to meaning. If so, this could be due to an auditory associative deficit. Parents can oftentimes become frustrated with these kids because they were able to repeat instructions verbatim, however, not be able to carry out the task at hand because meaning was not made.

Does your child speak in a monotone voice or have difficulty with rhythm and tones in voices? Chances are the child has an auditory prosodic deficit which prevents kids from being able to hear modulation and tones so they are not able to cipher differences in sound and inflection in speech. These kids will struggle in social situations due to the fact they cannot cipher the differences in sounds of voices and can mistake when someone is teasing or being funny versus being mad or frustrated. It’s important to steer clear of sarcasm with these little ones.

You may be surprised to learn short-term memory can also contribute to our auditory delayed learners. Since short-term memory is used to store and recall information, sounds and words, a weakness in this area can cause the language processing part of the brain and memory not to communicate effectively, which will then contribute to reading struggles and difficulty remembering steps. Remember a word learned today will have to be retaught again tomorrow. 

Emotions run high in our auditory delayed learners. Since sound triggers different emotional responses, hearing different stimuli can be a strong trigger. 

You will want to get an audiologist on your child’s team if you suspect auditory delays. 

These are listening and response exercises to help stimulate growth in these areas we’ve just discussed. Together, with my colleague, we created these beautiful effective cards for our struggling learners. Kids enjoy these games.

The auditory processing cards are meant to be a fun way to help your child stimulate and increase brain processing. These cards and activities will aid the child in:

  • Associative Deficit
  • Prosodic Deficit
  • Sequencing (you may use along with the Brain Balance cards SEQUENCING portion for this activity). When giving more than one clue at a time and asking the child to mark off the images in the same order as they have been called out orally will assist with sequencing.

Processing disorders, like auditory processing disorder, visual processing disorder, and sensory processing disorder are caused by a deficiency in a person’s ability to effectively use the information gathered by the senses. 

If you have a child or a student who you believe has auditory processing issues, you need to consider the issue may not be the result of impaired hearing, impaired vision, attention disorders, intellectual disability, or learning deficit. It is simply this; if the brain cannot properly process the auditory, visual, and sensory information it receives, a child’s ability to learn and thrive in an academic setting is affected, often leading to low self-esteem and social withdrawal. While processing disorders are not featured in the DSM-IV as stand-alone disorders, they are widely recognized as co-morbid issues for children with developmental delays.

So, what does all of this matter? Well, auditory processing disorder could be affecting a child’s ability to hear all of the sounds in words, in our language, and be able to connect meaning to words.

The best part is you can do so many strengthening exercises right in your own home without spending hundreds of dollars on fancy centers and special equipment. It just takes a little know-how, time, and consistency. You can do it! 

After I began to do all of these really fun and as my sons would say, “kinda crazy” exercises, it was like a flip of a switch in that the light turned on. Just the other day, our 10-year-old had three step instructions for a language lesson. He was supposed to draw a line between the subject and predicate, underline the simple subject once and the verb twice. He was thrilled when he said, “Look, Mom, I numbered the steps of what I was supposed to do without you helping me.” Here’s to YOUR Success!

 

Be Blessed,

Dr. Rebecka

Cherish Children Ministries

 

 

 


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By Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP,

SPED Homeschool Board Member, Curriculum Partner & Therapy Partner

Sometimes a subject comes up that is so wide-reaching in its impact, that it cannot be ignored. As a special educator for over thirty years, and a nutritionist, I am always on the lookout for ways to relieve suffering in kids who are struggling with learning or behavior. It has come to the point that evidence of the impact of fish oil on the brain and nervous system of these struggling children is so large that I think it deserves its own article.

 

Recent Trends

The incidence of children diagnosed with food allergies (notice all of the gluten-free and dairy-free items in grocery stores as of late?), asthma, autism, Asperger’s, sensory processing dysfunction, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, and dysgraphia has increased greatly in the past five years. There is a disproportionate number of boys in this increase. Why is this occurring? UCLA School of Medicine has found that boys have a three times higher need for DHA, a type of Omega-3 fat from fish oil, than girls. Let’s explore this more…

 

Depression

The incidence of depression has skyrocketed in children and adults since World War II. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 take anti-depressants. What is going on? Researchers report that blood levels of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein are frequently elevated in those diagnosed with depression. Could inflammatory changes in the brain be one of the main drivers behind our epidemic of depression? This may also explain why anti-depressant medications often do not work for people with depression. Emory University in Atlanta confirmed the depression/inflammation connection. Fortunately, there are natural ways to reduce inflammation. The most effective way includes a diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA in fish oil. Dr. Michael Norden, a practicing psychiatrist in New York, uses essential fatty acids, and particularly fish oils, for his patients who are suffering from depression. Using fish oil in addition to medication, and sometimes without medication, Dr. Norden reports impressive relief from depression among his patients. Likewise, Dr. Andrew Stall, a physician from Harvard has found that the DHA in fish oil has proven to be extremely helpful in patients suffering from postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, ADD, and ADHD.

 

Autism

Many studies implicate inflammation of the white matter of the brain as a common thread in children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. However, one very unique aspect of fish oil is its effect on the gaze aversion that afflicts so many children with autism. The rods in the retina of the eye are very responsive to the supplementation of DHA. Dr. Mary Megson, a developmental pediatrician in Richmond, Virginia, has found that the reason that children with gaze aversion will seem to look away from a parent’s face is that, when looking directly at the face, all they see is a white block. Thus, they use their peripheral vision to at least get a glimpse of what they are looking at. With proper amounts of naturally occurring vitamins A and D in cod liver oil, this gaze aversion disappears or is greatly reduced. Dr. Megson states strongly that it is important that synthetic vitamin A in the form of retinyl palmitate not be used. Interestingly enough, I have found this also to be the case in the children in my consultation practice who come to me with gaze aversion. I have always found that with the proper amounts of DHA, for which I use a specific cod liver oil, the gaze aversion is eliminated or reduced by 85 percent. In fact, in the autism conferences at which I speak, I have “before and after” pictures of children with autism, showing the lack of gaze aversion after giving this vital nutrient. Besides affecting gaze aversion, parents report increased socialization, speech, bladder control, and sensory processing after even a short while of this supplementation. It has also helped many children struggling with ADHD, dyslexia, and bipolar disorder.

It has also helped many children struggling with ADHD, dyslexia, and bipolar disorder.

 

Traumatic Brain Injury

Probably the most dramatic healings reported after the introduction of high amounts of fish oil, have come from the healing of traumatic brain injuries that were not responding to other treatments. When Peter Ghassemi’s son was lying in a coma after a severe car accident, the doctors reported that while his son had survived the accident, he would likely be a vegetable for the rest of his life. This dad reached out to Dr. Michael Lewis, an Army colonel, for help. Dr. Lewis, the founder of the Brain Health Education and Research Institute, urged him to talk with his son’s doctors about using the same protocol that was used for a young man who had experienced this same type of traumatic brain injury. In that case, the young man, Randal McCloy, was the sole survivor of a mine disaster in West Virginia. McCloy, 26, had been trapped in the mine for 41 hours while the air around him was filled with noxious methane and carbon monoxide. His brain was riddled with damage from these potent toxins. McCloy’s doctors were looking for ways to stem the tide of inflammation and cell death occurring in his brain. His doctors embarked upon an unorthodox treatment regimen that included high doses of fish oil. Dr. Julian Bailes, one of McCloy’s doctors said “The concept was to attempt to rebuild his brain with what it was made from when he was an embryo in his mother’s womb. High doses of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), since they mirror what is already in the brain, would facilitate the brain’s own natural healing process. These fats are literally the bricks of the cell wall in the brain.” Dr. Bailes referred to the National Institutes of Health research that suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may inhibit cell death and could help in reconnecting damaged neurons. Worthy of note is that, in addition to massive cell death, the protective sheath around McCloy’s nerve cells had been stripped. The sheath, called myelin, allows brain cells to communicate with one another. Amazingly, three months after saturating his brain with high doses of fish oil, McCloy was walking and speaking. Armed with this success story, Peter Ghassemi urged his doctors to try this same, safe protocol with his son. The result? Three months after his accident, Bobby Ghassemi was well enough to attend his high school graduation. Bobby said, “The whole place was cheering for me…I took my graduation cap off and waved it around.” Peter Ghassemi said, “His brain was damaged, and this was food for the brain.” Dr. Lewis concluded, “The message that I’m trying to get across is, there’s more you can do. If you add the fish oil, we can then begin to let the brain heal itself a little more efficiently.”

 

Dyslexia

In 2000, Dr. Jacqueline Stordy began to research the connection between DHA and dyslexia. She performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which she studied children with ADD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia. She found that when a protocol amount of DHA (from fish oil), was given over three months, that statistically significant improvements were made in these children’s focusing ability, reading ability, and coordination and balance.

 

Teeth, too?

If you have a child who suffers from multiple cavities, no matter what you do, you will be interested in Dr. Weston Price’s research. A dentist, Dr. Price found that one way to prevent cavities from forming in the mouths of his young patients was to make sure that they had adequate levels of Vitamin D and the all-important Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 helps to form the dentin, the porous tooth material underneath the enamel of the teeth. This vitamin can be found in fermented foods, butter, meat from grass-fed cows, hard cheeses, like Gouda, and a fermented food from soybeans called natto, or in supplements. As we know, good ol’ cod liver oil is a great source of both vitamins A and D.

 

What can moms do to help their child get these brain-healthy fats?

Begin to reduce the bad fats that block healing by including more good fats into a child’s daily diet with simple measures like adding some avocado in sandwiches, using real butter instead of margarine (especially if the butter is from grass-fed cows), and using real mayonnaise. Eat more whole grains and legumes versus white flour several days a week. Lastly, make raw vegetables and a salad an everyday part of your children’s diet. If you choose to give a supplement such as cod liver oil, fish oil, or Vitamins D3 or K2, it is best to check with the child’s doctor before beginning any supplement program. For a list of the amounts of fish oil, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 that was used in these and other studies, just type “Fish Oil Article” in the subject line, and send to craft@ecentral.com

 

This article was originally published in The Struggling Homeschooler Magazine, February 2013.

The information in this article should not be construed as a diagnosis or medical advice. Please consult your physician for any medical condition and before adding supplements or changing a child’s diet.

Dianne Craft has a Master’s Degree in special education and is a Certified Natural Health Professional. She has a private consultation practice, Child Diagnostics, Inc., in Littleton, Colorado. Read more at her website www.diannecraft.org .

 

References

Andrew Stoll, MD, The Omega-3 Connection

  1. Jacqueline Stordy, Ph.D., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 71, Jan 2000 Dianne

Craft, MA, CNHP, “Essential Fatty Acids and the Brain”, www.diannecraft.org Drs. Kay Judge and

Maxine Barish-Wreden, “Healthy diet shown to cut risk of depression”,

www.denverpost.com, October23, 1012

Kate Rheaume-Blue, ND, The Calcium Paradox

Mary Megson, MD, “ The Biological Basis for Perceptual Deficits in Autism”, www.megson.com

Melvyn Werbach, MD. Nutritional Influences on Illness

Michael Norden, MD, Beyond Prozac

Stephanie Smith, “Fish Oils for Brain Injury”, http://www.cnn.com

 

 

 

 

 


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Kathy Kuhl

 

What if you didn’t know your child was dyslexic until they hit high school? This happened to a family I learned about yesterday.  They just discovered that their bilingual high schooler is dyslexic. For years, the experts kept saying, “She’s only struggling with reading because she’s bilingual.”

It’s an easy mistake to make, but it wasted valuable time. Now, while taking high school classes online, the girl’s frustration has soared. She is very discouraged. My heart aches for this student and her parents, who have been trying to get her help while living abroad.

This can happen with an online curriculum, in a school, or a homeschool. This frustration and discovery often happens when the pace of education picks up. The transitions to harder level work are times when we notice disabilities. Sometimes students can overcome their learning challenges for years on their own, often by being intelligent and working harder than everyone else. But at some stage–when they start middle school, high school, or college-level work–they can no longer overcome their disability without someone customizing their education.

 

#1 – Understand

  • Educate yourself and your teen about dyslexia. Visit the Dyslexic Advantage website (see the link below) and watch some of the videos. This will help you see how dyslexia is the flip side of intelligence in one of several distinct areas. This site offers practical help and an online forum. It will help you and your teen to take heart and begin to build on their strengths. 
  • Read the book, Dyslexic Advantage by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide. These medical doctors (and former homeschoolers) work with the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, speak around the country, and run the Eide Neurolearning Clinic outside Seattle. The last third of the book is a very practical look at accommodations—ways to work around dyslexia in school. But the first two-thirds are just as important and interesting. They will transform how you see dyslexia. See below for a link to my review of the book.
  • Understand and be sympathetic to your teen’s struggles. It is hard for non-dyslexics to understand how painful reading can be. I know two adults with dyslexia (one with an M.Ed, the other an MD) who both say reading hurts.

 

#2 – Curriculum

  • Reading instruction for dyslexics comes in varying types and strengths. The main thing to keep always before you and your teen is that there is hope, so don’t give up. Here are a few options that can work long-distance (these are only a few suggestions—I’ve listed others at the end of this post):
    • Barton Reading trains parents to teach dyslexic students. Granted, no expert visits your home to see if the parents are teaching correctly. But Sue Barton is very knowledgeable and has helped many families. Her company, Bright Solutions, provides many videos on its website. (See below.)
    • Alphabetic Phonics by Aylette Royall Cox is another Orton-Gillingham-based program that can be offered at home by a parent. (Please note: this is not Alpha Phonics, nor is it Alphabet Phonics.) This publisher also offers webinars (see below).
    • All About Reading by Marie Rippel is another program to consider.
    • Lexercise is a more intensive and pricier option that comes with online tutoring. With Lexercise, a trained therapist tutors your dyslexic student online through a secure link.

 

#3 – Experts

  • Trained Academic Therapist. Working with someone trained in teaching dyslexics  your student may find that reading can get easier. My son made progress at age 20 with the help of an academic therapist, that is, a Certified Academic Language therapist. Other experts include Orton-Gillingham practitioners or Wilson tutors with Level II certification. This sort of tutoring is expensive. But I wish I’d understood this sooner. Then we could have used the money we were saving for college to work with an academic therapist all through high school.
  • Online Learning. Because of living abroad, the family I mentioned above has been using an online academy, but it has become very frustrating for this teen. One possibility is Time4Learning. I don’t know anyone who used it at the high school level, so it may not be a good fit for a struggling teen. Time4Learning does offer free trials, though, and may be worth investigating. 

 

#4 – Tools

  • Use audiobooks. I list several below. Additionally, did you know that any PDF can be read aloud by a computer using Adobe Acrobat reader? (The read-aloud option is under the “view” tab, oddly enough.)
  • Use assistive technology.  Find someone to walk you through all the tools you already have on your PC or Mac to help—all under the accessibility tabs, but not always easy to figure out. Your state agency for helping folks with disabilities probably offers free webinars or seminars on this. In Virginia, there are eight regional Training and Technology Assistance Centers (T/TAC). These centers lend equipment out. Check out what your state provides. Your local chapter of the ARC may also help you. Additionally, Joan Green knows a lot about assistive technology—her website, listed below, has webinars and resources.

 

#5 – Strategies

  • Strategize your teen’s time. I would devote the majority of each day to the  strengths of your struggling learner. In the case of a teen who is already frustrated, morale is a primary concern. Also, I would spend a chunk of each day working on reading, but with one of the therapies listed above–not with traditional methods.
  • Rethink your current learning approaches. For instance, if your situation requires you to use an online curriculum, can you use something more hands-on for at least some subjects? What is your student good at? What does he or she like to do? Try to find or adapt your curriculum to your student’s interests. For example, I have a friend whose teen shut down at age 15 during a family crisis. All this teen wanted to do was read and watch Japanese manga and anime (cartoons). My friend built a year’s homeschool around anime: Japanese history, an online class for the language, drawing, etc. Later, the teen caught up in her academics, and graduated from The Pratt Institute, a prestigious art school in New York City. Now this graduate is supporting herself as an artist. You may not have the time or resources to do that, but realize that an out-of-the-box curriculum won’t be a good fit for many students with learning challenges. At least a good part of your teen’s education may need to be more customized. I’m not only talking about remediating the area of weakness or accommodating it by working around it. Provide something that builds on the student’s strengths or interests.

 

#6 – Resources

 

This article was originally written on Learn Differently at http://www.learndifferently.com/2017/09/07/help-teen-dyslexic/ and as shared by the author to republish on this site.

 

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.

 

 

 

 

 


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