Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Periodic Table of Elements

A dyslexic student who has had problems learning their alphabet and times tables could also experience difficulties later on in chemistry with learning and memorizing the periodic table of the elements.

Hints on how to learn the periodic table :

Use Visual aides
:

The Periodic Table of the Elements in Pictures :



http://elements.wlonk.com/



This is a great downloadable pdf file of the Periodic Table with clear illustrations. Suitable for all ages . The pictures make it more memorable to learn.

Mnemonics

A mnemonic is a useful way to remember a list of facts.

The mnemonic listed below is a phrase, consisting of words made using the symbols of the first nine elements in the periodic table.

Happy Henry Likes Beer But Could Not Obtain Food
for:
1. H - hydrogen
2. He - helium
3. Li - lithium
4. Be - beryllium
5. B - boron
6. C - carbon
7. N - nitrogen
8. O - oxygen
9. F - fluorine


Make up silly sentences to learn the symbols and indivıdual elements: eg

NAUGHTY ALEX is Sodium

Naughty Alex threw the sodium into the bath and it exploded

See You Tube for one good example :

“How to learn first 20 elements in periodic table (from Ming) “

Please see my other previous articles on mnemonics for more examples ...

Use music to learn the elements for example :

Boing Boing Video "Meet The Elements," an animated music video from They Might Be Giants. Available on You Tube .

This animated song is about the periodic table of elements

Use Games

FunBrain Periodic Table Game

A fun way for young students to learn the periodic table . Includes learning by symbol or by name.

www.funbrain.com/periodic/index.html



HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL THOSE THAT READ MY BLOG !!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Study Skills for FE and HE students






Study skills for dyslexic students is a useful site that has been developed by the University of Sheffield.


It was designed by a former dyslexia tutor. The website provides information on writing,reading and referencing. As well as being easy to get around,the tutorials are supported with audio speech. This free resource is suitable for both further and higher education students.


http://dyslexstudyskills.group.shef.ac.uk/



Transition to Secondary School




The transition from primary school to secondary school can prove a difficult time for dyslexia students .

Very often their achievement and attainment can drop while they adjust to new teachers and different course requirements.

The difficulties they face in secondary schools include:



• teachers who do not know about how dyslexia affects the individual.
• lots of subject teachers and a need to remember more names.
• timetable – trying to remember which subject, which teacher and on what day.
• more books and equipment – what is needed each day.
• lots of homework – what to do for each day and has it been copied correctly.
• new terminology in new subjects – information overload.
• fewer opportunities for reinforcement.
• an increase in written recording across the curriculum – concerns about spelling etc.


Helpful Hints

Make sure that every night your child checks their timetable and packs their bag for the next day.

Make plenty of copies of the timetable.One should be kept in the childs school bag , some kept at home . Put up the timetable in a prominent place.

You could make a Visual Timetable as this can be easier to read :
Colour the weekly timetable with a different colour for each subject.
Also you could have pictures to help your child remember the subjects.

Get your child to use different coloured folders to put their books or worksheets in for each subject. This will help them organise and find their work quickly. You can colour the weekly timetable to match the folders.

Set up five box files, labelled for each day of the week. The coloured folder is put in the box file for the day when it is next require (e.g. Monday).

Encourage your child to start the homework as soon as it is given.

Teach your child memory skills inc mnemonics and mind-mapping.

Make sure your child has a notebook to write important messages in .

Don’t forget to praise your child when he completes homework on time and remembers messages sent from school. !!


www.dyslexiatransition.org/

http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/other/other.htm

Primary Resources have some visual timetable pictures you can copy - see under classroom display resources .

Dyslexia Scotland has developed some good information about secondary school subjects eg Dyslexia and science subjects.

Friday, December 17, 2010

International Dyslexia Contacts Database



GeoDysCo - Geodata Dyslexia Contacts Website

The GeoDysCo website is a worldwide contacts database with Geomaps which lists individuals and organisations which work in the field of dyslexia.

This has been established by Ian Smythe who runs the World Dyslexia National Foundation ( UK) website.

NB :This site includes information on dyslexia in several foreign languages : Polish, Greek, Brasilian etc.

If you, or your organisation want to be listed then go to to the wdnf website for full details about how to add your name .

www.wdnf.info/






Tuesday, December 7, 2010

FROM SMALL ACORNS, BIG TREES GROW


Small Changes CAN make a big difference !!

The Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand recently asked their members to give three quick ideas on small and effective changes that could be easily implemented in schools; but which can that make a big difference to dyslexic children.

Here are some of the suggestions made:

"Three things that make the biggest difference:
1. recognition that there is something different - and open discussion (no longer hiding it)
2. acceptance and tolerance of dyslexia and developing pride in talents and skills
3. Understanding dyslexia is the cause of our difficulty (and our abilities) but not an excuse.

Teachers acknowledging that many strategies to help students with dyslexia can be used for all students.

Trialing different ideas in classrooms and feeding back on results to benefit all staff.

A video showing teachers what it is like to walk in the shoes of a dyslexic student.

Talking about famous people who are dyslexic.

All school tests printed in comic sans, larger font and on light blue paper.

Spread a test over a number of pages rather than crammed onto one page. Allow room for sketching rather than just the written word or even better, take the test orally.

Ensure font, size and spacing is not only good for dyslexics but is used consistently- also probably good for all students

Using a highlighter on every second line of text on printouts to keep the lines straighter for dyspraxia as well as dyslexia.

One instruction at a time.

Rhyming games (to help the child make the connections between words, helps with spelling too.

Children work with buddies for topic work so only one has to write ideas, recordings, answers etc. Dyslexic children can participate fully without their writing holding them back.

A support group for dyslexic boys year 7 to year 13, with the older boys mentoring the younger ones – empowering them, improving their self-esteem and providing an outlet for their creativity.

Working with clay to help children understand words and their spelling.

Organizing lots of experiences outside the classroom, remembering that every activity helps associate vocabulary with a real life experience. "


We all have good intentions, but often in our busy lives, it seems difficult to make changes to what we do .... however, if only we could stop and try to make 1 or 2 initial alterations to our approach to teaching, then this would be an excellent starting point .... from small acorns big trees grow !!


Anyone else got some practical , common-sense ideas for teachers or parents ?? Like to share some of them with us ?

http://www.dyslexiafoundation.org.nz/3things.html


Thursday, December 2, 2010

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December was first started in 1981.

The Day aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Dyslexia is a hidden disability which unfortunately often goes unnoticed by teachers and parents alike.

When we think of disabilities we usually think of those people who are in a wheel chair or who are blind or deaf. We tend to forget about those people who have learning disabilities ,such as dyslexia.

DYSLEXIA INTERNATIONAL e-campus



The e-campus is due to open in Februay 2011.

All information about dyslexia will be offered FREE for two main user groups: Teacher trainers/teachers, and Education policy advisers‏.

DYSLEXIA INTERNATIONAL is a non-governmental organization which has operational relations with UNESCO.

What are the free resources that the Dyslexia International e-Campus will provide?


• an academy of online learning courses for teachers
• a film library
• a directory to sites offering quality resources
• a book room, recommended reading
• a press room, latest research and other news
• a map room showing Dyslexia Associations Work World Wide
• an arena for global video conferencing

What will be the main focus of the e-Campus?

Initially the main feature of the e-Campus will be the Dyslexia International first, free, quality online learning course for teachers, designed for ministries of education and education authorities to try out within their national education systems. The first versions, supported by the Belgian French community ministry of education are in French and English .

What languages will be used?

Initially, the e-Campus will be conducted in English and French. The e-Campus Library will carry reports in good teaching practice in Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish-speaking parts of the world, as well as in English and French.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Song about Dyslexia





In 2009, some musicans in New Zealand came together on a project to raise awareness and understanding of dyslexia. They produced a song which was released to celebrate Dyslexia Action Week .

The song was written by Don McGlashan, who is a parent of two dyslexic children .The single ‘The Closer You Get, The Bigger I Look’ is available for free download from the following site :


http://www.dyslexiafoundation.org.nz/biggerilook/

Here are the words of the song :

I might stand out
I might be someone you’d like to meet
I might fit in
I could be anyone on the street

You better watch me
You better watch me

Chorus:
If you’re gonna judge the cover
You better read the book
Cause the closer you get
The bigger I look

And if I hit the wall
I’m gonna find my own way round
And if I fall
I’m gonna get right back off the ground

You better watch me
You better watch me

Chorus x2

Oh yeah, the bigger I look
The bigger I look
The bigger I look



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dyslexia Awareness Week 2010





Dyslexia awareness week 2010 is running from the 1st to the 7th November in the UK.

This year the theme is hidden dyslexia.The aim is to try to raise awareness of the challenges faced by students with a disability that presents no visible physical signs to the outside world.

People who are dyslexic often spend their lives hiding their problems from others. Due to this, dyslexia can often go undiagnosed and unnoticed by teachers and parents.

Despite having problems in some areas , such as literacy and writing they also often have hidden talents.

Hidden talents such as :

- Innovative and big picture thinking

- Excellent trouble shooting and problem solving

- Strong visual skills

- Determination

The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) is organising several events during this week ,including a play festival of the work of dyslexic playwrights.

In Turkey the situation is much worse than in the UK as still dyslexia is unknown by many people.There are no reliable statistics about the number of students who have dyslexia in Turkey.As yet, there is no standardised reading test to assess reading levels. All we can see is the the tip of the iceberg... and it is certain there are many more dyslexic students who need to be identified and helped here in Turkey. !!


Tell someone TODAY about dyslexia ... a neighbour , a friend , a work colleague ..spread the word.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Forgetting Curve

As we have discussed previously in this dyslexia blog students with dyslexia often have problems regarding memory.

Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German pyschologist is famous for his research into memory which he carried out in the 1880’s. His experiments give an insight into learning and forgetting and his findings are still valid today. He tested his own memory using a large number of nonsense syllables which he created.

His findings were as follows :

It is harder to memorize material that does not have significance or relevance to the learner.

His data revealed that increasing the amount of material to be learned usually dramatically increases the amount of time it takes to learn it. This is the learning curve.

He established that relearning is easier than initial learning, and that it takes longer to forget material after each subsequent re-learning.

Ebbinghaus’s work also suggested that learning is more effective when it is spaced out over time rather than crammed into a single marathon study session.

Ebbinghaus also discovered that forgetting happens most rapidly right after learning occurs and slows down over time. This is the forgetting curve. It shows that about 80% of what students learn today will be forgotten within 24 hours ,if the material is not gone over.

So what can we learn from this ?

It is important that students regularly review the knowledge that they are learning; this is how things move from short-term to long term memory and become easier to recall at speed.

Effective revision should an ongoing process, not a cramming session just before the exams.

It is important for students to revise at particular points in time in order that they don’t forget the information they have learnt :

They should go over the information they are learning in the same day (in the evening for 10 minutes ) also 24 hours later, one week later and one month later ( or sooner ).

Remember that students with dyslexia will also need to revise even more frequently. The more over learning they do the easier it will become to recall information. It is a good idea if students can make up questions to test themselves on the information they are learning, as this is a good aid to learning.

It would be a useful if parents and teachers explain the importance and implications of the forgetting curve to children in order to encourage them to review material learnt more regularly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Long Multiplication





In this dyslexia blog article there are some tips and advice on long multiplication.

Being able to recall basic multiplication facts is essential for success with long multiplication, therefore it is crucial you make sure your child practices their times tables on a regular basis. Games are a good way to motivate them to learn them !!


Students who have dyslexia will often have a weakness in their working memory. As a result it may be difficult for them to rely solely on mental calculations when solving math problems.The dyslexic student may often forget what they are doing and lose their place . In long multiplication ,of course,there is more of a risk that there will get muddled up since the numbers that they are dealing with are bigger.

When they are are doing long multiplication problems teachers and parents should encourage children to write down every step, including carrying numbers.They should also preferably use scrap paper to help them in their calculations.

Common errors made :

Students make mistakes because they haven’t kept their columns straight. Make sure they line up their numbers correctly and also encourage correct spacing. It is advisable to use squared paper at all times for maths calculations to prevent this problem.
Unfortunately sometimes teachers don’t leave enough space for workings out on worksheets and test papers and this creates problems !!

Forgetting to ‘carry’ numbers A good way to remember the carry number is to write it in a circle.

Forgetting to write down a zero eg :

110
x69
990
660 should be 6600
=1650 ( answer should be 7590 )

You could consider teaching your child alternative methods to solve long multiplication problems. One such method is long multiplication using key facts. This method is recommended by Steve Chinn who is one of the leading experts in the area of dyscalculia. With this method your child only needs to know how to double and half numbers and multiple by 10 to get the correct answer.

Long Multiplication using key facts

E.g 78 x 17

1) First set up an easy multiplication table with the key facts :


1 x 17 = 17
2 x 17 = 34
5 x 17 = 85
10 x 17 = 170
20 x 17 = 340
50 x 17 = 850
100x 17 = 1700

1x 17 is easy to find = 17.
To get 2 x 17 just double 17.
After workout 10 x 17 = 170 .Now you can easily find 5 x 17 – just half 170. ( 85 )
For the answer to 20 x 17 double 170 .
100 x 17 is easy just add a zero to 170 ( 10 x 17=170).
For 50 x 17 half the answer to 100 x17 = 1700 ie 850.

2)After find the easy numbers ( or partial products ) in 78 .

78 = 50 + 20 + 5 + 2 + 1

3) After add up these partial products :
50 x 17 = 850
20 x 17 = 340
5 x 17 = 85
2 x 17 = 34
1 x 17 = 17

Answer 78 x 17 = 1326

In Turkey however unfortunately some teachers are reluctant to teach alternative methods of doing maths calculations. Also this method does require more space on the paper for the workings out. In many cases worksheets and test papers provide little space for students to use .It is assumed a lot of workings out will be done mentally. Teachers here in Turkey need to try to be more flexible in their approaches in order to accommodate all children. I would recommend everyone to look at Steve Chinn’s books for more ideas regarding maths.







Tuesday, September 28, 2010

World Dyslexia Forum Update





In this dyslexia blog article I would like to give an update on the Dyslexia World Forum:


The World Dyslexia Forum took place this year in Paris.If you go to the Dyslexia International website you can access the notes from the speeches made by people like : Prof. John Stein ( Oxford University).

http://www.worlddyslexiaforum.org/


As part of the World Dyslexia Forum activities a free online training course about dyslexia is being launched :

Basics for teachers – Dyslexia: Identification and What to do

This online learning course for teacher trainees is designed for use in national and local education authorities’ teacher-training programmes.

Ministries of Education, Local Education Services, and units for Special Education Needs can apply to access the free course by contacting Dyslexia International for details.

They will be asked first to sign conditions for use.

The course consists of three sections:

The first section definition of dyslexia and looks at the causes

The second part provides informal tests for teachers to use to detect whether or not a child may have dyslexia.

The third section focuses on how to include children with dyslexia in mainstream classrooms wherever possible, and on the tools and techniques that meet the learning needs of these children, in particular for the acquisition of literacy skills.


The course in available in French and English.


In Turkey it is complusory for trainee teachers to cover special needs as part of their course.However the quality and amount of training may vary from university to university. In addition, in Turkey we badly need in-service training for teachers already working in schools ;as most teachers are oblivious of dyslexia !! Since dyslexia is one of the most common problems a teacher will come across at the chalkface ;it is imperative that teachers are trained and given practical strategies to help them to assist dyslexic children.

http://www.dyslexia-international.org/

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to help your kids concentration levels




Very shortly all children in Turkey will be back at school in their classrooms.For all children,but especially for those who are dyslexic or have a learning disability, concentration can have a key impact on their success or failure to achieve.

Often childrens' concentration can be affected by seemingly simple things such as uncomfortable seating, poor nourishment and dehydration.


*The World Health Organisation found that if a person is 2% dehydrated their ability to concentrate will fall by 20% .
You need to drink about 2 litres of water a day, depending on the weather conditions and your level of activity. As a result we need to encourage our children to drink sufficient water while at school.


*In addition school pupils need to eat healthy foods and snacks. Unfortunately in most Turkish schools the canteens where children can buy snacks at break and lunch-times only offer unhealthy fast foods and sugary drinks such as cola. Instead of giving money for the canteen you could give your child some fruit or nuts etc to take with them.

*In addition, parents should encourage children to take regular exercise and to reduce tv/ computer time. Watching too much tv can drastically affect concentration.

*Children also need a good nights sleep if they are going to be able to concentrate fully .So make sure your kid goes to bed early !!

Mark Champkins ,a clever inventor, runs a UK company which develops and make products to help children concentrate at school.His products include a chairpadbag - a bag that doubles as a padded seat. Also a bottlecoolerpenholder - which
has an insultating jacket for water bottles that store pens/pencils and reminds the children to drink during lessons.


Mark Champkins has won some awards for his product designs.

Have a look at his company site and also his blog which has some interesting information about concentration.

http://www.concentrate.org.uk/


From Dyslexia Blog we wish all returning dyslexic students success in their studies !

I believe in me. Do you believe in me ??




Dalton Sherman is an American fifth-grader who gave a wonderful motivating and inspiring key-note speech at a teachers conference in the USA sometime ago ..

Dalton is not dyslexic however I think his words are still very relevant and thought provoking and also truely inspiring..

It is crucial for a dyslexic child to believe in themselves,despite their apparent short-comings in certain areas.Unfortunately, however self-confidence is often lacking in many kids.Also teachers need to believe in the dyslexic child and make it clear to them that they have faith that they can succeed.


Here is the text of Dalton's speech- with a few alterations.
To get the full impact of his speech watch the video on the internet :

http://www.schooltube.com/
( keyword : Dalton Sherman )

"I believe in me. Do you believe in me?

Do you believe I can stand up here, fearless, and talk to all 20,000 of you?

Hey, my school – do you believe in me?

That's right – they do.

Because here's the deal: I can do anything, be anything, create anything, dream anything, become anything – because you believe in me.

And it rubs off on me.

Let me ask you a question..

Do you believe in my classmates?

Do you believe that every single one of us can graduate ready for college or the workplace? You better. Because next week, we're all showing up in your schools –
and what we need from you is to believe that we can reach our highest potential.

No matter where we come from, you better not give up on us. No, you better not.

Because, as you know, in some cases, you're all we've got. You're the ones who feed us, who wipe our tears, who hold our hands or hug us when we need it. You're the ones who love us when sometimes it feels like no else does – and when we need it the most.

Don't give up on my classmates.

Do you believe in your colleagues?

I hope so. They came to your school because they wanted to make a difference, too. Believe in them, trust them and lean on them when times get tough – and we all know, we kids can sometimes make it tough.

Am I right?

Can I get an Amen?

So, whether you're a counselor or a librarian, a teacher assistant or work in the front office, whether you serve up meals in the cafeteria or keep the halls clean, or whether you're a teacher or a principal, we need you!

Please, believe in your colleagues, and they'll believe in you.

Do you believe in yourself? Do you believe that what you're doing is shaping not just my generation, but that of my children – and my children's children?

There's probably easier ways to make a living, but I want to tell you, on behalf of all of the students in , we need you. We need you now more than ever.

Believe in yourself.

Finally, do you believe that every child in Turkey needs to be ready for college or the workplace? Do you believe that Turkish students can achieve?

We need you, ladies and gentlemen. We need you to know that what you are doing is the most important job in the city today. We need you to believe in us, in your colleagues, in yourselves and in our goals.
"

Saturday, August 28, 2010

EDA : European Dyslexia Association



"The European Dyslexia Association (Avrupa Disleksi Birliği) is a European non-governmental umbrella organisation for national and regional associations of people with dyslexia and other specific learning differences, children’s parents, professionals and scientists. It was founded and legally established under Belgium law in 1987 in Brussels as an international non-profit association by representatives of ten national dyslexia associations. It is the platform and the Voice of the people with dyslexia and so called ‘Specific Learning Difficulties’ in Europe.


The EDA currently has 23 regional and national Effective Members in 21 EU countries plus Switzerland and Norway and 11 Adherent member organisations; in all 34 member organisations in 24 European countries.


"EITHER the Austrian Dyslexia Research Center (Avusturya Disleksi Araştırma Merkezi), the Dyslexia Research Center AG (a swiss public limited company plc), the Erster Österreichischer Dachverband ( EÖDL - wrongly translated into Turkish : Avusturya Disleksi Birliği), Silverlife International NOR Ms. Ursula Günster Schöning are members of the European Dyslexia Association ( Avrupa Disleksi Birliği).


There are three Austrian Effective Members of the European Dyslexia Association:

Österreichischer Bundesverband Legasthenie (ÖBVL-Austrian Federal Dyslexia Association).

Steirischer Landesverband Legasthenie ( Styrian Dyslexia Association),

Initiative LEGA Vorarlberg ( Vorarlberg Dyslexia Association).

As a board member of the ÖBVL, I state that the ÖBVL has no contact to the associations and companies listed above."

Michael Kalmar ( President) : EDA

www.dyslexia.eu.com


Friday, July 2, 2010

Make Your Own Comics


In the long school holiday, as well as reading dyslexic children also need to practice their writing .Writing is usually the weakest skill of all in someone with dyslexia because it requires them to integrate many different skills – spelling, punctuation, handwriting, sequencing and organisation etc. Children with dyslexia usually hate to write, and it often takes significant encouragement to get them to write anything.!!As a result I am always on the look out for something which might motivate my child to want to write.

I recently found this great site called “Make beliefs comix” – where children can make on-line comics free.

You can create a comic strip fairly quickly.You can choose from a range of characters and their emotions, add thought or speech balloons and also add objects and prompts.It is very easy to use.

Comics are not saved on the site.As a result when your child finishes their story they need to print out or email their comic.

The site has some teacher ideas and also activities for families. For those struggling with writing ideas , the "Writer prompts" page is useful.

The comic strips can be written in different languages :English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German and Latin.

Bill Zimmerman the designer of the site is a prize-winning newspaper editor and author of 18 books.

Google and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed Make Beliefs Comix among "the world's most innovative web sites in fostering literacy and reading."

http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Basic Maths Skills



Especially during the long summer holiday it is vital that children with dyslexia / dyscalulia etc practice basic maths skills .

Learning maths is like building a wall with building bricks. If some of these bricks are left out of the wall or if bricks are not securely cemented in then the wall will eventually fall down.

A solid math foundation is vital for children to succeed. Students with weak basic math skills will find maths a struggle as they progress with school. As a result it is crucial for children with dyslexia and dyscalculia to practice and improve their basic skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Here are some good online educational games your child can play.They are fun to play and your child will not feel like he is doing school work !! :

Arcademic Skill Builders

http://www.arcademicskillbuilders.com/


This is a website that features fun, arcade-type games to practice the four basic operations .Game titles include "Grand Prix Multiplication" and “Alien Addition”. Games can be played with one or more players at a time. There are also some literacy games available.

Crickweb site :

The Digit Workout :


This is a progressive range of mental maths activities in 6 levels, which can help to improve the recall of key number facts . Keep a record of your child’s scores and see if they can improve them.


http://www.crickweb.co.uk/assets/resources/flash.php?&file=digitmenu

World Cup Math from Mr Nussbaum

Your child must win the world cup by scoring as many goals as possible against world teams by answering math facts.

http://www.mrnussbaum.com/football/index.html

For other ideas of games see the great website set up by the Woodlands Junior School in the UK .



http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/maths/

Practice basic maths using a pack of cards – Shuffle the cards then turn them face down.Get your child to turn over two cards and write those values down on a piece of paper. Afterwards your child chooses whether to use multiplication, division, addition, or subtraction to find an answer. In the end get them to write down the answer.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tar Heel Reader


With the long summer school holiday upon us I am trying to get my son to improve his English.I recently came across a useful site that could be used for dyslexic children to do some online reading and writing.

The Tar Heel Reader site is a collection of free,easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. The books can be read online or downloaded. They are all speech enabled.

The books are intended for teenagers who are just learning to read ,however many are also suitable for younger children who are beginner or struggling readers and also for English language learners. The books have very simple wording so they are suitable for dyslexic children.Books are also available in a number of different languages such as Spanish and German, as well as English.

Some of the books may be inappropriate for your child so it is best to create your own favourites page of the books suitable for your child.To do this you need to be a registered user.

Besides reading a book, students also have the option of creating their own books. They can make their own books using pictures from the Flickr collection or using their own photos. To create a book you will need to register for free.

This site is a result of collaboration between the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies and the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.



NB Tar Heel is a nickname for the state and people of North Carolina.

Get your child to make their own books and put them online as this may help to encourage your child to want to write more !!

Please see the article I wrote about talking / audio books for dyslexics.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mnemonic Lists


In a previous dyslexia blog article I talked about how mnemonics can help dyslexic pupils in their studies. A mnemonic device is a memory aide that helps you to remember sets of information more easily.

I recently found some websites which list ready-made mnemonics for a number of different topics:

Here are their addresses :

You could also search for specific topics in Google :
eg "science mnemonics " "maths mnemonics" etc...


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Educational Games to Play Outdoors

Here in this dyslexia blog are some ideas about educational games to play outdoors in the summer :

Schools in Turkey will soon start the long 3 month summer holiday .In the summer kids will naturally spend more of their time outdoors playing. Dyslexic kids certainly benefit from a break from school; however in order not too forget skills learnt ;it is important that children undertake some learning activities on a regular basis.


One interesting approach, is to practice maths and literacy skills outside, through physical games . This approach encourages both sides of the brain to work, as the one side focuses on the physical movements and the other side has to come up with the answers. Also adding movement makes learning seem like more fun.

Running games
Carol Goodrow, who was trained as an Orton Gillingham Tutor, specializing in learning disabilities ,has an interesting site called Kids Running.com. It includes outlines of a number of different educational running games children can play such as :

Get even
Fractions
Sight word scramble
Run to Spell

Also she suggests cutting up maths worksheets and clipping them onto clipboards.Kids then run to the clipboard and do the problem after finally running back with their finished work to have it checked. You could test grammar,spellings etc using the same approach.

The games are designed for whole classes to do but you could adapt them .

http://www.kidsrunning.com/krschoolgames.html


Ball Games
You can shout out an adjective to your child while throwing a ball to them .Your child will then give the correct synonym or antonym and throw back the ball .
You could adapt this game to practice all sorts of grammar points eg different tenses, It could also be used to test maths skills eg multiplication , addition etc.The options are endless.


Pavement Chalk Maths
Get your child to solve problems on the pavement instead of on paper to make it more fun.

Maths hopscotch.
Put numbers into hopscotch squares. Call out a problem in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division etc and have your child hop to the two numbers in the problem and then the answer. ( NB :make sure numbers are accessible to each other).

Times Table Aerobics
Choose a times table you want to practice with your son or daughter .Decide with your child on some aerobics movements to do eg jogging on the spot , touching toes , twisting from side to side etc.
After your child can chant their tables while completing the aerobics moves.

Maths Twister
Adapt your twister game by putting numbers on your Twister board. After you can make up problems for your child to solve eg 5x 8, 5+ 8 etc
Make it harder or easier depending on the age or level of your child .

If you don’t have Twister you could make your own from 20 A4 pages joined together with the numbers 1-20 clearly written on them (place them in 4 rows of 5).The children are then told instructions such as " Put your left foot on the answer of 3 add 5" and so on Repeat until the child has 2 feet and hands on the numbers.

Flash card games -Make up two different sets of coloured flash cards to make a matching card game eg opposites, fractions and decimals etc etc.
Tie some string strategically around your garden. After use clothes pegs to attach the flash cards to the string. Have your child find the matching cards.

Make up a treasure hunt – write some problems on cards for your child to solve and also explain where the next clue can be find – If you child gets the right answers give a small reward or treat in the end.

On the Wirral Learning Grid there is a very useful booklet giving suggestions of maths games “Some Activities for the Kinaesthetic Learner in Primary Education
It is geared for classroom use but some of the games could be adapted.

www.wirral-mbc.gov.uk/maths/index.asp

Here are some other sites which give practical ideas for teachers to integrate physical activity into lessons:

www.activeacademics.org

This site is from the North Carolina Physical Education Dept - It contains Primary and Middle School Energizers.

www.ncpe4me.com

For some Kinesthetic Language Learning ideas from
Susan Kramer : Learning Disabilities Site : Bella Online go to :

www.bellaonline.com/articles/art14894.asp

In Turkey lessons are generally conducted in a traditional manner.Children are required to sit still in their seats for long hours. It would be good however if teachers could in-corporate some physical activity into their lessons in order to re-vitalize students and aid learning. Many of the approaches good for kids with learning disabilities are also beneficial to ALL kids.... We drastically need a change in attitude towards learning in Turkish schools ............

Parents and teachers be creative and make up your own ideas !!





Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sentence Expansion





Here in this dyslexia blog article are some tips on how to help your child improve their sentence writing.

Usually dyslexic children have problems with writing.They often find it hard and can’t write much.

Here is a way to help your child improve their sentence writing so that the sentences they write are more complexed and interesting.

First of all make up a number of simple or 'kernel' sentences which have a subject,verb and object

Eg The cat sat on the mat.

After, you can get your child to practise expanding these sentences systematically, by adding adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases and, clauses etc . ( not forgetting punctuation). Children in the end can build extremely long, yet well-formed sentences.

Kernel sentence:

The woman ran into the building.


Ask some prompt questions such as :

What kind of woman was she ?

What kind of building was it ?

How did she run into the building ?

Can you give some more information about the woman?

Why was she running into the building?

Expanded sentence:

The tall, well- dressed woman ran into the modern office building.

The tall, well-dressed woman ran hurriedly into the modern Office building.

The tall,well-dressed woman from the fourth floor,ran hurriedly into the modern office building.

The tall,well-dressed woman from the fourth floor,ran hurriedly into the modern office building, because she was late for a meeting.

Monday, May 24, 2010

DYSLEXIA AND SIBLINGS



Dyslexia can affect the whole of the family, including siblings.

As we have mentioned in an earlier dyslexia blog article dyslexia can often run in families. Research indicates that where one child in the family has been diagnosed with dyslexia, there is also a strong possibility that their sibling will also have difficulties – about 40%. As a result parents need to watch closely for any indicators of dyslexia in their other children and act accordingly to get them help if required.

In some families dyslexia can produce sibling rivalry.The child (or children) who isn’t dyslexic may often feel jealous of the dyslexic child, who gets the majority of the parents’ attention, time and money.They can feel angry and resentful. They may think incorrectly that the parents favour or love best the sibling with a learning disability.

Additionally, siblings are often asked by parents to undertake extra chores while parents are helping their dyslexic child with reading or homework. Some siblings may accept these extra duties willingly, but many may resent them and feel anger towards their parents and siblings.

Of course each child's personality and temperament play an important role in their response toward a sibling, including one with a learning disability. As a family, it is important to openly discuss dyslexia and its effects on individual family members and also try to resolve problems which it may produce.

The age of a sibling will be a factor which can affect their perception and reaction to their siblings’ dyslexia. An older sibling (especially girls) will often be more protective over a younger child with dyslexia. Siblings may feel the need to compensate for the child with the learning disability and to make up for that child's limitations. Siblings in many cases can assist their dyslexic brother/sister with school work and can be a useful source of help.

On the other hand younger kids will lack the intellectual understanding to understand everything about dyslexia. With younger children it might be useful to read a book about dyslexia to them .Their are many books available in English about dyslexia geared for children .One such book in Turkish is “Bende Disleksi Var”. ( Tubitak )

On the positive side siblings may gain from having a brother and sister with dyslexia .It may make them a more empathetic person with an increased tolerance for differences as well as a greater sense of maturity and responsibility,

Please remember a dyslexic child may resent their sibling(s) who do not have to struggle at school like themselves. It may affect their self- esteem when their brothers and sisters always come home with the high marks. As a result it is important for parents to help to try to develop interests and hobbies where their dyslexic child can feel proud of his or her achievements. Parents should also avoid comparing children and ensure they accept them for what they are. Parents should remember that each child is a unique person with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Emotional Strain on Parents with Dyslexic Children


Happy Mothers Day to everyone ,especially those with dyslexic children !!

Parents , especially mothers can often be affected quite profoundly and emotionally by the fact that their child has dyslexia.

Parents may face many difficulties due to their child’s dyslexia, which can result in producing very strong emotions….

Initially mothers and fathers may feel confusion about the nature of dyslexia and find it difficult to comprehend. Especially in Turkey, good information about dyslexia is limited.

Parents may suffer guilt as they can feel that they must have done something wrong which “made” their child have dyslexia.. Especially, if they are dyslexic themselves they could feel guilty that they have passed on dyslexia to their child.

Mothers and fathers will feel great concern about what the future will hold for their son or daughter .They may worry about whether their child will be be successful in crucial exams and achieve their full potential.. They may be frightened that if their child is unsuccessful at school their child may be drawn to other undesirable directions ie crime , drugs etc..

They may feel anger at the child’s school because they are unable to get teachers to understand and appreciate their child’s problems. They may also show anger towards other family members ,if they feel they are not helping enough or do not appreciate the problem fully.Very often the bulk of the work to support the child falls on the shoulders of the mother...

They may suffer frustration due to feelings of helplessness because they are unable to get their voice heard at school.They may also suffer frustration if they feel that they are inadequate to help their child
satisfactorily.

They may feel anxiety when they see they child’s distress ,anger and frustration over events that have happened to them.

They may exhibit over- protectiveness towards their child due to a result of watching their child’s daily struggle with dyslexia.

They may suffer stress on a daily basis even during activities such as helping their child with homework tasks..etc. They could also suffer from stress due to the economical factors of paying for professional help for their child.

They can suffer exasperation because it is sometimes hard to convince professionals that they know their child well and often understand how dyslexia affects their child better than anyone else.

They may feel despair if they can’t obtain the appropriate help for their child and get their voice heard and also if they do not see any improvement in regards to their child's situation.

Dyslexia can also lead to arguments between family members which can produce great tension and upset.

Teachers and professionals need to be aware of these factors and act sympathically when dealing with parents.


Friday, April 30, 2010

Some Pre-school Indicators of Dyslexia


Speech problems:

Later than most children at learning to speak .

Difficulty to express themselves clearly.

Trouble with pronouncing some words , especially long words.

Using spoonerisms eg par cark instead of car park . Noseman
instead of snowman.
(Spoonerisms are words or phrases in which letters or syllables get swapped )

Please note :If children show problems with speech production they should be seen by a speech therapist for assessment .

Word Retrieval and Vocabulary problems

Slow to learn new vocabulary.

May have difficulty in recalling the right word when they need to use it. They may tend to use a word with a similar meaning.

Memory problems :

Difficulty in remembering information or instructions (especially multi-step instructions).

Difficulty in remembering things in a sequential order eg the alphabet, re-telling a story in the correct order.

Often have trouble learning numbers , days of the week , colours and shapes.

Phonological and phonemic awareness problems

Phonological awareness is a broad term referring to an understanding that oral language can be divided into smaller components such as words, syllables and phonemes which can be manipulated.

Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify the individual sounds in spoken words.

Difficulty in rhyming. ( what rhymes with cat ? hat , mat .. )

Difficulty in counting syllables in words
( how many syllables in window ? – win / dow )

Difficulty with identifying the beginning and ending sound of a word.
( r e d , r e d )

Problems separating speech sounds in words.
( Say the little parts in bat b/ a/t )

Problems blending speech sounds in words
( what word is this ? pen – cil - pencil )

Difficulty with learning letters and their sounds ( phonics)

Other problems :

Difficulty with colouring and copying.

May experience difficulty getting dressed – what goes on first , trouble with buttons and laces.

May appear clumsy and have poor co-ordination.

Lack of concentration.

If your child has a number of these problems then it is important to seek professional help from a psychologist to assess your child properly . Especially, if dyslexia runs in your family.

In addition parents should immediately start to carry out educational activities to help their child to improve their performance in the areas they find difficulties with. Particular emphasis should be put on improving phonological and phonemic awareness.



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Lightning Thief : Dyslexic and ADHD Hero



Rick Riordan a former teacher in America has written a number of adventure books about a character called Percy Jackson who has dyslexia and ADHD. The books have become bestsellers.

The character Percy Jackson started out as a ­bed-time story for his son Haley when he was young.. At the time Haley refused to read and hated school. But he loved Greek myths, and so his father would tell him stories. In the end his son suggested he write his own stories and so as a result Rick Riordan started to write books about Percy Jackson and his adventures. (The books have some similarity to Harry Potter books …)

Percy is not a typical hero: he has never scored above a grade C in his life, and he thinks he's a failure until he finds out he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon !! Percy has ­dyslexia and attention deficit ­hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), just like Rick Riordan’s son , on whom the character was based.

At the start of his adventures, Percy discovers that his difficulties are not a weakness after all, but a sure sign of greatness: when he sees words jumbled on the page, it's because his mind is hard-wired for ancient Greek, and when the ADHD makes it hard to sit still in the classroom, it's just ­hyper-awareness that will keep him alive on the battlefield.

Rick’s son Haley said "You read a lot of books and none of them have a hero who is ­dyslexic or has ADHD – it's always perfect people in a perfect world ­doing perfect things. Percy is, in fact, very flawed and he has to fight against that and at the same time fight monsters."

Rick Riordan "Making Percy ADHD/dyslexic was my way of honouring the potential of all the kids I’ve known who have those conditions. It’s not a bad thing to be different. Sometimes, it’s the mark of being very, very talented. That’s what Percy discovers about himself in The Lightning Thief."

Recently the book The Lightning Thief has been made into a film which stars Pierce Brosnan and Uma Thurman.

The Lightning Thief is available in Turkish , plus the other books written by Rick Riordan. Its for 12 + year olds.

( Source : The Guardian )

http://www.percyjackson.co.uk
http://www.rickriordan.com/


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Motivating Dyslexic Children



Often dyslexic students are affected by what is termed "learned helplessness." This is when a child who faces failure over and over again begins to feel their not going to succeed and don't see any sense in trying. In fact, as they get older this idea can become permanently fixed in their mind and leads to a loss of motivation , especially if they have already suffered failure previously. Students can become withdrawn and become unwilling to tackle new tasks.

So how can parents and educators help to prevent this from happening ?

Richard Lavoie, who is a popular author and speaker about learning disabilities ,states that although every teacher can’t approach every child differently – they could however come up with a wide variety of motivational techniques so that they catch all of the different kids in the classroom.

Praise should be not solely be given for academic achievements but also for non-academic achievements.These non-academic achievements should be recognised and rewarded by teachers.

Examples include:-
Helping in class ,being organised with own equipment for lessons; showing kindness to others; willingness to take part in discussions; sitting quietly and attentive, showing good effort (regardless of outcome).

In Turkey, very often classes are very large and crowded .In most cases the teacher plans the lesson with about the “best” top 10 pupils of the class in mind. Very little thought is given to the different levels and types of students in the class.

Generally the only feedback students receive is from grades on tests / exams and report cards. Schools however need to give praise for other achievements. Reward for individual effort versus achievement is virtually non-existent in the Turkish education system.

Turkish schools generally foster competition—where the focus is always on who is the “best”. Competition in fact certainly doesn’t work for all children. It can be discouraging to children, especially those who may never be “the best” in school.

Students can sometimes be punished for not being able to complete a task properly . For example, a student who is not able to read or write sufficiently well maybe put in the back row of the classroom as a form of punishment. As Lavoie states , punishment is totally an ineffective way to motivate kids , in fact in most cases it has the opposite effect, it demotivates kids.

Middle and high school teachers tend to come in the classroom ; deliver their lesson and leave; giving little consideration on how to motivate students in their classroom . Older students are expected to motivate themselves In fact ,teachers really need to make it their priority to develop motivating techniques, especially for those students who may well have formed fixed ideas about their abilities .

Lessons taught in Turkey are usually very traditional and text- book based. Teachers need to endeavour to make lessons more interesting for students in order to encourage students to learn. Students especially with learning disabilities will benefit from lessons which are both stimulating and which involve a a multi- sensory approach to learning.

Parents, of course, also have a role in motivating their children .If parents work with children at home they should try to make lessons fun and interesting. The use of games are a good way to stimulate interest . Rewards could also be given for achievable targets.

Parents and teachers can help to motivate their children by looking for "islands of excellence".

Islands of excellence are activities which children enjoy and are good at.Parents and teachers need to praise children for these activities.

Parents should consider What are their child's "island of excellence"?
What are they interested in Art? Model making ? table tennis ? music? Computers? Gardening? .

Parents should give children opportunities out of school to pursue their interests and hobbies. They should provide opportunities where the child can feel good about themselves and feel proud of there achievements.

Parents could record their child’s achievements by taking photos,making a blog , keeping a scrapbook , displaying school work or art work etc at home …

On the Dyslexia Teacher site it suggests that parents could carry out a confidence building exercise with their child in order to help to boost their self confidence.

This exercise involves discussing with the child what things they are good at and not good at .After they make a list of these things. Usuallly the list of things they can do outweighs the list of things they can't do. For more details about this exercise see :

http://www.dyslexia-teacher.com/t66.html

Here are the ways Richard Lavoie lists in his book ,”The Motivational Breakthrough”; of how teachers and parents can motivate young people (The 6 P’s)

Praise – Praise should be sincere and focused on effort and improvement.

Power – Empowering children to make choices gives them a sense of autonomy.

Projects – Projects are wonderful tools for connecting disciplines and is a great way to motivate inquisitive children.

People – Establishing a positive relationship with children is the basis for building an effective motivational process.

Prizes – Prizes can appeal to children motivated by status, recognition, affiliation or power.

Prestige - Consistent encouragement and opportunities to showcase their talents are important.

http://www.ricklavoie.com/

Phil Beadle , the inspirational teacher from the TV programme The Unteachables has written a book called “Could do better” .It is a a guide for parents whose children are underachieving at school.

The Unteachables invited a number of kids with serious attendance and behavioural problems in school to take part in a project which endeavoured to try to get them to get more out of school.

Here are some suggestions from his book “Could do Better” on how parents can help their child :

Find out the unique way in which he/she is clever.
Have books in the house, and be seen reading them.
Ration television and computer time.
Never criticise their teacher.
Protect them from pressure. “Your best is good enough.” – (very important I think.. ).
Sit down to meals together and use the time to play mind-stretching games.

www.philbeadle.com/

In summary, both teachers and parents have a role in motivating students. We need more and better co-operation from both parties in Turkey to help students with learning disabilities reach their true potential.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spelling Tips for Dyslexic Students



In this dyslexia blog article here are some tips about learning spellings :

My son this year has started to study English at school. He does find English much harder to learn in comparison to Turkish . Especially,he has difficulty in learning spellings in English.

I am trying to support my son with his learning at home. Here below is some of the activities I have done with him to help him learn spellings.

First of all I ask him to read the words out that need to be learnt.
Later I put the word in a simple sentence for my son to read .
Eg : I went to the market on Tuesday .
(Students need to familiar with the words before they can spell them).

In order to practice spellings you can carry out some of the following activities:

Try to make it as fun as possible and vary tasks from time to time.

Get your child to complete wordsearches and crosswords containing the target words. You can make your own or find some on the internet.

Make up anagrams of the target words – ie reorder the letters and then get your child to to link these to the correct words .

eg mandoy – Monday / udatyes – Tuesday

You could also use scrabble letters or plastic letters to unscramble spellings.

Tracking exercise : Write the words in the letter sequence twice , but between the letters of the word write other letters...
Ask your child to underline the correct letters in the word .After get them to write the word at the end of the line.

Eg : ( Tuesday )

t a h e g y u d e w u s d e a i y d g t i e i u t y p e j s f d w a u y ……

Missing letters :write targeted words but miss out one or two letters. Ask your child to fill in the missing letters.

Eg : mon_ _ _ , _ _ _ day , m _ _ _ _ _

Matching word shapes : Draw a box around each letter and look for patterns ie which letters are tall or hang below the line.

Get you child to close their eyes and imagine the letters of the spelling in their head. Can they say the letters of the word out loud?

Trace the word :
Write the word down in very big writing.Get your child to trace over the word with their finger several times.
Cover the word and after ask your child to write the word.

Look, say, cover, write and check
First ask your child to look at the word carefully. Discuss what stands out in the word / how many syllables etc.
After say the word.
Cover the word . Ask the child to then write the word. After uncover the word and ask your child to check their spelling.
If they make an error – examine where it went wrong, emphasising the letters they have placed in the right place and try again.Do this every day for a few minutes until they are familiar with spellings.

Teach your child to make up spelling mnemonics .Mnenmonics is a memory aid .

Eg T U Eat Sweets DAY / WE Do Not Eat Sweets day

You could adapt a basic board game to practice spellings - so that when they land on certain places they have to spell a word and can move forward or backwards depending if they got the spelling correct.

Play hangman using the spellings you are trying to learn.

Write spellings in cursive handwriting as this helps automatic recall of spellings.

Don’t just use pan and paper -
Use magnetic, plastic or wooden letters ,scrabble tiles ,chalk,coloured felt tip pens,playdough ,sand ,shaving foam etc to learn spellings.

Scrabble letter tiles or plastic letters are good to teach spelling skills as children can easily see how words are built.

Make sure you praise your child for their effort –You could give them stickers or some small reward.



Wednesday, March 31, 2010

LIBRARY WEEK IN TURKEY 2010


Turkey celebrates Library Week this week – an event that will go by unnoticed by most people .

First let me relate a conversation I recently overheard when I was in a stationary shop buying something .A parent and her son came and asked a shop assistant for some help to choose a book. The parent said that her son needed a novel for school. She said they wanted an adventure book about 300 pages long .The shop assistant offered the parent an Agatha Christie book . (The parent mentioned that the child’s teacher had recommended Agatha Christie ) .The parent flicked through the book for a second and then asked if there was any other alternatives.The shop assistant said there wasn’t anything, after which the parent went off to pay for the Agatha Christie book….

The child himself didn’t get the opportunity to browse through the other books, or at least the chance to read the back cover or the first page of the Agatha Christie book.
No thought was given whether the book would interest the student .
No mention of whether Agatha Christie would appeal to a young boy.( I have my doubts).
Of whether the book was suitable for his reading level ??..
I just wonder if that child will exactly read the book from cover to cover … ???

The majority of parents and teachers in Turkey unfortunately don’t usually know how to select an appropriate book for a child .The teachers generally suggest pupils should read book titles from the Ministry of Education's recommended "100 Classic booklist" . This list takes no account that children may have different reading levels. Most of the books on the list are long and quite hard books . The majority are completely unsuitable for a child with dyslexia or learning disabilities.

It must be remembered that the majority of parents do not know about the importance of reading to their child at an early age since most have had no experience of it themselves.As a result children sometimes have very little if no contact with books at an early age.

In addition for many people buying a book is a luxury item , especially for those more concerned with how they will feed their family !!!! If they do purchase a book generally it will be a cheap reprint of a classic book. Dyslexic children of course, if they are given an unappealing and boring book will be even more de-motivated to try to read it !!

This is why the Turkish Government needs to invest money into funding proper libraries with well- trained librarians so that they can :

encourage children to love and enjoy reading.
To help students and parents alike to guide them how to select the right book.
To assist pupils with learning proper research skills - which they are sadly lacking.
To give all people rich or poor the opportunity to read good literature.

My son recently went with his class from school to visit the neighbourhood library . My son who has seen libraries in the UK said that the library he visited was crying "Please paint me !!! Please fill my shelves with some modern books !!
Please blow my cobwebs away “

Happy Library week to all in Turkey !!!
NB Agatha Christie - Is reputed to have been dyslexic....


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Willard Wigan : World Famous Dyslexic Micro-sculptor


Willard Wigan is the creator of the world's smallest sculptures. Most of the pieces he makes can't even be seen with the naked eye but must be seen through a microscope.The pieces he makes are framed in the eye of a needle, or on the head of a pin.

Wigan the artist decided to go small when he was a little boy growing up in Birmingham, England in the 1960’s. As a schoolboy struggling with dyslexia, he said he was continually belittled by one particular teacher.

To help escape his problems at school he started making minatures

It began when I was five years old, I started making houses for ants because I thought they needed somewhere to live. Then I made them shoes and hats. It was a fantasy world I escaped to where my dyslexia didn’t hold me back and my teachers couldn’t criticise me. That’s how my career as a micro-sculptor began.”

When his mother saw the ant houses, she told him to make small things and encouraged him to continue because she totally believed that one day the world would know his name. She told Willard that "If you keep making smaller things, your name will get bigger !”

Willard is now one of the world's most well known micro-miniaturists, with some of his pieces selling for upwards of £15,000. He has exhibitions all over the world. He received an MBE in 2007 .Prince Charles said that his art work and talents “defy description”. Willard when talking about receiving the MBE said “When you grow up with everyone telling you you’re a failure, a moment like that means everything”.

I’m very open about my Dyslexia because, now, I hope to be an inspiration to others who have similar learning problems. My spelling is still terrible and you could say something and I might forget it quite quickly, but its like God has thrown me a ball and I’ve caught it, held onto it and run with it. Anybody can do anything if they are prepared to try hard enough. I’m proof of that.”






Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dyslexia and science learning

Last week in Turkey was Science and Technology Week – so I thought I would write about dyslexia and science learning in this dyslexia blog article.

First of all it must be remembered that many famous scientists and inventors are reputed to have been
dyslexic, such as Alexander Graham Bell, Faraday, Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci… to name but a few .In a previous article I talked about Carol Greider who was awarded a Nobel Prize for medicine.


Are People with Dyslexia Good at Science?

"Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have been funded by the National Science Foundation to investigate the impact of dyslexia on scientists working in astronomy and astrophysics. A recently proposed neurological theory predicts that dyslexia may be associated with enhanced capacity for certain types of visual processing.This study investigates this hypothesis in the context of astronomy and astrophysics. This NSF study marks the first time the effects of dyslexia on science professionals will be systematically investigated.It is hoped that the work will uncover and document the challenges faced by scientists with dyslexia, but perhaps more importantly, lead to an understanding of the strengths these scientists bring to research. "

http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/dyslexia/LVL/LVL.html

Dyslexic children often do well in science and technology as they tend to be very curious and are interested to find out out why and how things work .Science is a practical subject with concrete examples. Dyslexic children will generally enjoy the opportunity of being “hands on” and carrying out scientific experiments. Literacy skills are not as important in science subjects. Students are usually required to give single word answers and calculations rather than write long essays.

Strengths of dyslexic pupils in the Sciences may include:

• Lateral thinking
• Ability to design interesting experiments
• Contribution of creative, innovative ideas
• Asking insightful questions

In Turkish primary schools science and technology is taught from the 4th grade.Unfortunately the quality of science education Turkey is well behind other countries. In most cases , science is taught solely from text-books. Most students do not have the opportunity to undertake any experiments or use computers in school.

Common problems children who have dyslexia etc may have with science:

Those children who are dyslexic and find maths difficult and those who have dyscalculia may have problems with the mathematical formula required for science subjects.

Dyslexic students may have difficulty with the specialised vocabulary used in science subjects.

They may have problem remembering facts and formula.

They may encounter problems with sequencing information or actions in the right order.

Strategies to help students in Science

Teach dyslexic students mnemonics to help them learn facts and formula.
I talked about mnemonics in a previous dyslexia blog article.

Make flash cards with key words plus definitions to help students when revising for tests and exams.

Quizlet contains online flash cards. You can make your own flash cards on a topic of your choice or you use the sets already created and available from the site .İt is free to sign up to the Quizlet site.
http://quizlet.com

Make up puzzles and games to learn scientific terms.A useful site for ready made crosswords puzzles ,word search and other games etc is :
http://www.ntscience.co.uk/

Make word mats for specific topics. Word mats are designed to help pupils remember key words.In addition they help students with writing and also encourage correct spelling. Word mats contain a selection of key words plus illustrations organised in categories.

Sheffield and Staffordshire Education Departments have some helpful word mats in science subjects.

http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/education/information-for-schools/good-practice/curriculum/science/primary/vocabulary
(Key stage 1 and 2 )

http://education.staffordshire.gov.uk/Curriculum/Subjectareas/Science/Teachers/learn/Secondary/ks3/str/Literacy/
Staffordshire Learning Net : Literacy in Science

Powerpoint presentations are useful to to use to help pupils go over topics learnt in class or as a revision exercise for a test or exam.Powerpoint presentations usually contain short clear sentences and also often have illustrations and pictures to help clarify information.Dyslexic children may be more willing to read powerpoints as they are generally short and too the point.
Here are some useful sites for ppts :

Jefferson County Schools : science ppt presentations:
http://jc-schools.net/PPTs-science.html

Pete’s Power Point station :
http://www.pppst.com/index.html

Sadly in Turkey as I pointed out very often children don’t get the chance carry out scientific experiments at school. If your child likes experiments you could try to get them to do some at home .The Turkish science magazine for children called Bilim Çocuk ( Science Child ) every month includes some simple science experiments children can carry out .There are also some books for children on this subject which you could buy. If your children is curious about science this is a good way to encourage them to read.In order to carry out the experiment they want to do they will have to initially read the instructions given .

Make use of visual materials such as diagrams , illustrations ,flow charts to re- inforce learning.

Take children to science museums to help bring the subject alive.

For a useful dictionary of Turkish – English science terms see :

http://www.learninglive.co.uk/teachers/primary/science/teaching/index.asp

(Turkish Science Dictionary)