What About Audiobooks? Interview with Dyslexia Kit’s Yvonna Graham

What About Audiobooks? Interview with Dyslexia Kit’s Yvonna Graham

  “Audio books, turned out to be the most powerful tool I had in my toolkit.” – Yvonna Graham, MEd., author Dyslexia Toolkit Despite the widespread availability of text-to-speech and audiobooks, it’s only a small percentage of people who discover and use these tools. Parents and teachers may feel ambivalent about the use of audiobooks, especially if they believe that students need to practice reading, but the downside of withholding audiobooks or assistive technology in general is that they may deny individuals a tool that could really accelerate their reading progress. Recently, I sat down with author and dyslexia tutor Yvonna Graham to learn how she uses audiobooks and how they can accelerate reading progress rather than hamper it. Audiobooks are not a replacement for […]

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AI for College Admissions [Premium]

AI for College Admissions [Premium]

With more colleges and universities waiving standardized tests for admissions, many college advisors are recognizing the importance of college application essays in the process. Rightly or wrongly, AI is also having considerable impact on college applications. For students who struggle with writing and writing about themselves, having a way to start the essay can greatly ease the stress on the application process.     It is possible to use ChatGPT to help you build a professional sounding resume, but also use it to personalize an essay, tailor it to particular schools, and give different versions that help students choose the best fit to what they want to say. In one video, a tutor explains how she would chat to ChatGPT to generate different possible answers […]

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Dyslexia: The Changing Landscape of College Entrance Exams

Dyslexia: The Changing Landscape of College Entrance Exams

  FEWER COLLEGES REQUIRING STANDARDIZED TESTS If you or your students struggled with standardized tests, there is good news on college admissions as increasing numbers of schools no longer require tests for admission. This fall, over 80% of four-year colleges won’t require students to submit ACT or SAT scores. There are over 1800 institutions that are test-optional. See an updated list from Fair Test HERE. Standardized tests can be especially difficult for dyslexic students because the questions aren’t being presented in the context of classroom discussions and homework. Many students lack appropriate accommodations for extended time or writing in a test booklet, so high-stakes test may especially underestimate a student’s ability. NCAA DROPPED MANDATORY COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMS Always check with the schools that you are […]

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Math Problems: Does It Matter If It’s Identified As A Math Disability? [Premium]

Math Problems: Does It Matter If It’s Identified As A Math Disability? [Premium]

There are millions of school children struggling with math at school. Does it matter if a student’s math struggles are identified formally as a math disability or dyscalculia? 40% of dyslexic people are likely to also have dyscalculia, but because dyscalculia is rarely assessed in schools, few individuals ever receive that designation. Does it matter? In the short term, some school professionals might say it does not matter much – because students who need help in math will get it if their scores qualify. What do we believe? Having a math LD formally identified can be helpful – although we realize that testing may not always be easily available. If you are a testing professional, consider adding the WIAT Math subtests to routine comprehensive battery […]

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Public Education is General, Make Your Education Specialized [Premium]

Public Education is General, Make Your Education Specialized [Premium]

I had been re-reading Taylor and Vestergaard’s Developmental Dyslexia: Disorder or Specialization in Exploration? and reading more of the background studies that led the authors to suggest that dyslexia was a cognitive specialization with evolutionary advantages. If that is the case, it seems more important than ever to specialize education to nurture abilities that build on how dyslexic minds are optimized. Successful human problem solving groups often exhibit different types of “intelligence” and the importance of explorers can be seen in many different types of problem solving groups. For instance, studies of groups addressing crises have shown that groups that insist on consensus may develop decision inertia or persist in using solutions that worked in the past although current crises involve new problems. The presence […]

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Great Reading and Audiobook Apps for Summer

Great Reading and Audiobook Apps for Summer

  If you or your student haven’t tried audiobooks or e-books, summer is a great time. You can get a public library card for free, and have access to thousands of e-books, audiobooks, comics and graphic novels, and movies and magazines from the convenience of your desktop or digital device. Many libraries may even have free 1:1 tutoring and language lab for foreign or English Language Learners. Some schools also have institutional subscriptions for online book services that families can use for free. Contact your teacher or tech support at school to see what additional goodies you may qualify for before school dismisses for the summer. Remember, too, that students with dyslexia or other print disability qualify for free e-books from Bookshare. First, I want […]

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What to Do This Summer?

What to Do This Summer?

Summertime tends to be a great time for dyslexic students. The grinding schoolwork routine is gone – and school, if at all, has fewer time commitments and less time in a seat. TAKE A BREAK First, especially if your student has had a difficult school year with heavy workloads, make sure there’s sufficient time to rest, recover, and do different things. Many students need a chance to remember that life is not school and they are not their report cards. EXPLORE AND CONNECT Summer can be a great time to explore the world, pursue new interests, and spend time on hobbies. So many people have told us over the years that what matters the most to them in their career success had little to do […]

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Question: Can the Strengths of Dyslexia Be Affected or Minimized by ADHD?

Question: Can the Strengths of Dyslexia Be Affected or Minimized by ADHD?

  This question came through our webinar last month and I thought we could respond to it in more detail in our newsletter. There can be a high degree of overlap between individuals diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. Both dyslexia and ADHD can run in families and both can be associated with creativity, giftedness, and lower working memory. Dyslexia is usually identified through a “clinical diagnosis” with a professional looking at gaps between certain measures of IQ – like verbal reasoning and comprehension, and lower than expected single word or pseudoword reading (fake words that need to be sounded out and so reflect phonological awareness), naming speed, oral reading accuracy and speed, spelling, and impaired automaticity with writing by hand. An entire book can be […]

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The Mind Map in Your Brain [Premium]

The Mind Map in Your Brain [Premium]

Among professionals who work with dyslexic students, there have long been recommendations to mind map ideas. In recent basic neuroscience research, there’s been a growing understanding why. Neuroscientists have long studied how knowledge seems to work in the brain with schemas -or patterns that can form a flexible reference base that helps us understand new or existing knowledge or make decisions for how to act. But these schemas have largely been studied in a context of verbal memory – with only more recent insights into “the other schemas.” As it turns out there are a lot of other schemas and processes involving schema-making. They are non-verbal and spatial – and that is where the implications for dyslexic people may come into play. If you are […]

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Question: Third Grader with Severe Dysgraphia and Moderate Dyslexia [Premium]

Question: Third Grader with Severe Dysgraphia and Moderate Dyslexia [Premium]

Recently we received a question about severe dysgraphia and moderate dyslexia. The dilemma was how to prioritize limited resources for therapy (if any). There is a high overlap between dyslexia and dysgraphia, but severe handwriting  difficulties in the early grades often suggest dyspraxia (a disorder of fine and gross motor coordination) as well. The practical dilemma many parents and students face is that the amount of support that students receive for dyspraxia or dyslexia may be far below what they need; also intervention may take years – and health insurance may not cover any outside therapy whether it’s pediatric occupational therapy, speech therapy, or specialist dyslexia intervention. There is no simple answer. Decisions about priorities depend on the severity of each, but also on the […]

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Managing Test Anxiety

Managing Test Anxiety

  It’s that time of year again – either time for standardized tests or end of year exams. Test anxiety includes a variety of physical and emotional symptoms that include feelings of nervousness and hopelessness, fear, self-doubt, irritability, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, stomach pains, and headaches. Among elementary school children, standardized tests cause greater feelings of anxiety than routine classroom tests, and students with dyslexia may experience the stress and anxiety more acutely.   Reference   THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD OF TESTING FOR DYSLEXIC STUDENTS Testing can be a double-edge sword for dyslexic students – because a test result may determine whether a student needs additional support, tutoring, accommodations, or even access to assistive technology. But testing may also inform decisions about holding back students, […]

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