Breaking the Cycle of Shame

Breaking the Cycle of Shame

“How do you not to feel stupid when everyone else is learning something that you can’t grasp at the same pace? The shame of not being able to read out loud without stuttering or misspelling something on the blackboard in front of the class was almost unbearable. The fear of being called on by the teacher was paralyzing and made me act out and have panic attacks. My math teacher berated me because she thought I was being careless when I accidentally reversed numbers. I spent countless hours with frustrated but well-meaning adults who wanted to help me but just thought I wasn’t trying hard enough. All of these experiences sent me the message that I was not good enough.” – Leana Greene   Shame […]

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The Visual Poetry of Rebecca Kamen

The Visual Poetry of Rebecca Kamen

“It wasn’t until I became a college professor myself that a friend and fellow teacher figured out that I had dyslexia… I go out in the world and learn through experience, such as talking to astrophysicists and neuroscientists in their laboratories.” – Rebecca Kamen   Rebecca Kamen is a connector. As an artist using physical materials, she enjoys learning from and interacting with scientists, philosophers, and others with diverse perspectives on scientific phenomena. The art she creates is also very personal and in the past COVID years it took on an even greater personal dimension when she was diagnosed with a optic nerve tumor that created visual hallucinations.
In 2019, Rebecca began experiencing bouts of vertigo which she said created a […]

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Auditory Processing and Remote and Hybrid Learning

Auditory Processing and Remote and Hybrid Learning

“Children with dyslexia often exhibit increased variability in sensory and cognitive aspects of hearing relative to typically developing peers.” – Hornickel et al., 2012 PNAS   There is a long research history establishing auditory processing difficulties among children and adults who are dyslexic. What may be confusing to non-scientific people is that auditory processing is not simply “hearing”. It relates to the complex networks in the brain that interpret what sounds are heard.

Auditory processing difficulties in dyslexic people don’t present with abnormalities on simple screening hearing tests; instead, the difficulties present in tests that examine the effect of listening over background noise, for instance, or processing of rapid sounds. The reason it’s important to be aware of this is that auditory processing […]

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My Pandemic Hack for Classes

My Pandemic Hack for Classes

Shelley Wear, a long-time volunteer on our Dyslexic Advantage editorial team shared these pandemic hacks for her classroom. Thanks Shelley! “The struggle is real to make sure students understand what you are saying with a mask on. I purchased a personal amplifier (small box with microphone headset) and it has been a game changer for my classroom. Students are much more attentive and I believe it has really helped. I am also using a multisensory approach to decoding, teaching Visual Phonics. The paras have overheard students talking about how fun it is when kids are in the hallways and think no one is listening. I am relieved, because I have limited access to middle school materials to teach decoding and a large percentage of my […]

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Dyslexia Advocacy: Say Dyslexia 2.0

Dyslexia Advocacy: Say Dyslexia 2.0

From Chalkbeat’s story, “NYC plans to screen nearly 200,000 students in the early grades to uncover struggling readers. Then what?”   “In a massive bid to gauge reading skills following COVID-related learning disruptions, New York City’s education department is introducing literacy screening for its nearly 200,000 children in kindergarten through second grade… While the education department’s screeners aren’t designed to identify students at risk of having dyslexia, which is the most common learning disability, they are able to identify learning gaps in skills that are often associated with dyslexia, literacy experts say. But many also note that screening alone will not address systemic issues that contribute to widespread literacy deficits across the city, such as uneven curriculum and inadequate teacher training. The success of the […]

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Understanding Conceptual vs. Procedural Knowledge in Math [Premium]

Understanding Conceptual vs. Procedural Knowledge in Math [Premium]

With math scores lagging tremendously due to pandemic-related school, many of us may suddenly find ourselves responsible for supervising (if not tutoring) math.   If that’s the case, it’s important to keep in mind the big picture of math learning. Of course the issue of conceptual and procedural learning apply to all subjects, not just math, but it especially becomes relevant when problem solving can become complex; symbols and abstractions must be used, and multiple steps for problem solving are necessary. There’s an especially nice description of the differences between conceptual and procedural knowledge in math from Ruthie Sloan’s Teach Math Literacy blog. Many of us learned math only through procedural learning. We didn’t learn “why” we did certain steps like “flip upside-down and multiply,” […]

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I Never Thought I’d Be Homeschooling… [Premium]

I Never Thought I’d Be Homeschooling… [Premium]

We never thought we would be homeschooling when we started almost 2 decades ago.     What our family can say today, is that looking back, we’re so grateful for our entire homeschooling journey – even though initially homeschooling chose us rather than the other way around. Today there are so many reasons to homeschool and ways that homeschooling can also be a good fit for dyslexic students, so take heart in the adventure ahead of you and may the coming year be one good surprise after another.   WHY HOMESCHOOLING CAN BE A GOOD MATCH FOR MANY STUDENTS   Schooling at an Individual Pace The first reason why homeschooling can be a good match for many students is that traditional schooling can be a […]

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Math: Multiple Representations [Premium]

Math: Multiple Representations [Premium]

If you have a lot of ground to cover for the coming school year, consider the use of multiple representations to improve the efficiency of learning.     First, as a person who is math-challenged herself and was tasked at one time with tutoring one of our kids with similar math difficulties, I am sympathetic to people who are tasked with teaching math. The truth is, I wasn’t good at it myself, so I found myself getting frustrated when my student didn’t understand. I had little flexibility between math representations – and as a result tended to teach math the way I was taught it…rote memory of sequenced steps – which I was to find was the last thing my student should have been trying […]

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The Dyslexia Crisis in Schools

The Dyslexia Crisis in Schools

The house is on fire. There is a conflagration of factors coming together that are affecting dyslexic students in public school beyond COVID.   COVID certainly has its share of blame and breaking the camel’s back when it comes to providing essential services to dyslexic students. If you have a student in public schools now, get informed and be prepared to advocate and supplement your student’s education if necessary. The San Francisco Examiner recently discussed the devastating consequences for dyslexic students in the midst of the pandemic.

COVID CLASSROOMS – HARD FOR STUDENTS TO HEAR AND SEE With the requirement to distance and wear a mask, it is harder than ever for dyslexic students (who often have auditory, visual and motor imitation difficulties) […]

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How to Keep Writing During the Pandemic [Premium]

How to Keep Writing During the Pandemic [Premium]

Despite all of the mechanical and logistical challenges of writing for dyslexics, there are many for whom writing is a strength. What makes good writing?     So many things, but keen powers of observation, a good sense of humor, insight, feeling, these are all things that make good stories and storytelling. For some kids and adults, keeping a pandemic journal is therapeutic. It’s not limited to text. COVID comics anyone? Historians or watchers of Antiques Roadshow may recall how interesting pandemic or war time journals of the past were to transporting them into all the places and times of crises. Smithsonian has a post about the 1918 influenza diaries for those who might want to get some historical context on our present. Some people […]

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Helping With Homework If You’re Not A Wiz Yourself [Premium]

Helping With Homework If You’re Not A Wiz Yourself [Premium]

These are strange times and even if you’re not accustomed to helping with homework (including different types of homework), it may help a lot if you can help. Even pre-pandemic, when parents were surveyed about their helping with homework and trouble lending help, about 50% said they had difficulty… so you’re not alone. There are healthy debates about whether you as a parent should help with homework…and that doesn’t even consider whether a child might be dyslexic, dysgraphic, or dyscalculic, or all three. Helping with homework is not a good idea if the student doesn’t learn how to do the work. Now if a student is drowning, and no one is around to help, then a little help might not seem to be a terrible […]

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Creating An Environment That Works [Premium]

Creating An Environment That Works [Premium]

Sunlight, air, water, nutrients…we know these are the things that allow plants to grow and flourish, but what are the same essential factors for dyslexic students or employees?     FLEXIBILITY AND SOME CREATIVITY Good environments for dyslexics tend to be those that have some flexibility. Flexibility might take the form of how you may choose to do something vs. the standard way. In college, it might mean a reduced course load when taking difficult subjects, or at work, it might be focusing on project quality and program execution more than hours logged. The classic “bad job” for a dyslexic is work that is assembly-line, repetitive, and lock-step. Sometimes the dilemma is how to get to the good flexible jobs when you’re just starting out […]

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