Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Free Webinar on Dyslexia and Music

Dr Anna Pitt is a member of the British Dyslexia Association's Music Committee. Her Colleagues Dr Paula Bishop Liebler and Sally Daunt presented their talk 'Music & Dyslexia - Definitions, difficulties, strengths and strategies' to the ISM in March of 2016. The webinar is now available online.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Internet Links

Today I received an interesting email from Sarah Brian who works with Caring4OurKids.

x_caring4ourkids02logo Their website describes them as " a  group of parents who have children on the Autism Spectrum or who suffer from inflammatory diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. Recent studies suggest a link between these conditions.  We each know how overwhelming it can be when your child is first diagnosed.  As well, we understand the daily struggle as well as the joys of raising these very special children.  We have come together to curate and create resources that have been helpful to us in the hopes that these will help other parents struggling to care for and to help their children thrive."

They had found our list of resources here  but thought that there were other links that might be useful. The links they suggested are targetted towards children with ASD, and their families, but they include some very good recourses which would be useful to children with a range of different difficulties.  

Image result for sesame street logo

This site is a See Amazing in All Children, a nationwide initiative aimed at communities with children ages 2 to 5. Developed with input from parents, people who serve the autism community, and people with autism, See Amazing in All Children offers families ways to overcome common challenges and simplify everyday activities. At the same time, the project fosters an affirming narrative around autism for all families and kids.

About 5 percent of the population is estimated to suffer from some form of sensory processing disorder. Considering that everyone needs to shop at some point, there are tremendous numbers of people out and about on a daily basis who are struggling to cope with sensory overload. Their site includes good illustrations of what it can feel like for a child suffering from sensory overload and provides innovative suggestions to support them. 
The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities through technology and education. It promotes awareness and accessibility—in both the classroom and the workplace—to maximize the potential of individuals with disabilities and make our communities more vibrant, diverse, and inclusive.

This is an American based site created by lawyers who provide information and support about the legal support available to families of children with SEN. However, this may have limited information for those in the UK

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Summer Slip

Summer Holidays are a great time to get ahead if you 've been falling behind in school. But equally it's been a tough year and everyone deserves a break.

Parents and students should attempt to find engaging ways to keep using your reading and writing skills over the holidays. Keeping a blog / diary or writing lots of postcards to friends and family can help stop that summer slip.

READ things they find INTERESTING ! - it doesn't have to be 'War and Peace' to count - if they express an interest then help facilitate them in reading. Even i it is too hard for them - help them with the bits they can't do but then get them to read the bits they can. Then discuss it and what they found interesting about it.

Comic Strip Template for Kids PrintableCartoon templates : writing diaries or letters may feel a lot of 'unfun' work, but a new set of colouring pencils and a printed cartoon template (they can also cut pictures out of magazines if they don't feel their drawing skills are up to the task)  - http://www.printablee.com/post_cartoon-template-printable_290348/ 

Colouring books - some of the beautiful new colouring books inspire both mindfullness and increase fine motor control. While it might not be as good as writing it does increase penmanship and control which will improve handwriting. 

Jigsaw Puzzels - this is a good way of practicing both visual memory, and mental rotation. It can be quite difficult to sit and focus on a puzzel for a long time but if you start with a smaller number of pieces with an interesting graphic they can build up their 'staying power'. This may have a postive impact on their ability to maintain their concentration in the classroom when they go back in September.

Equally holidays often mean long car journies - or times without electronics.
This can be a time to engage with games that can help mold our thinking. 

20 questions  - asking a family member to guess an item in 20 questions helps develop top down processing skills and encourages using logic - as well as supporting their memory.

I Spy with my little eye...........
             something beginning with ..... 
             something ending in.......
             something with 'ai' in the middle 
Aways give the phonic sound of the letter to young children rather than the name of the letter ( - i.e.  'ah' rather than 'AYYY' ). This can help fill time over a long car journey while also helping with spelling.

I went to the shops and I bought ........
this is a memory game which can be made easier or harder though limitations. It is easier to add restrictions such as 'in alphabetical order' or 'only foods' it can be made harder by removing those limitations.

Give them a go - they are a fun way to help extend your kids abilities without feeling like you are imposing work during their holidays. 

Summer Revision - its never too early to start .......

It's true !

As much as you hate me and your parents saying it - starting early really does make the biggest difference. 

No matter how much extra time or how good you think you are at cramming nothing will have more impact on your grades than how well you understand your subjects. If you KNOW something you write a much better argument or exam answer than if you have to waste time trying to REMEMBER it. 

The good news is that there are now lots of fun ways to go about this.

Youtube and the rest of the internet are FULL of really quite informative and engaging videos that help provide information in a way that helps your memory. 

That doesn't mean you don't have to practice pulling all that information back out of your head - or make a few lists of names and dates that you will have to really go over to be able to remember them. But a few different videos can help make a boring text more interesting or help give another opinion  on a book that you hadn't thought about.

Here are some of my favorites 

Lord of the Flies

or Macbeth (a bit rude so not for sensitive ears )

The summer holiday is a great time to relax but also to get ahead  - you'd be surprised how many great books are on the reading lists and how many have been turned into brilliant films (Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet will always be one of my favorite films)

Just remember that for every little bit you do now - its a bit that you will feel slightly ahead on next year. You will go to them remembering things better and understanding them more. When we understand things we are able to look for the hidden meanings or the implications - all this makes it MUCH LESS BORING 

its a win win

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Government Responce

Dear Dr Anna Pitt,
The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “Reinstate allowances regarding spelling for pupils with dyslexia.”.
Government responded:
We are committed to supporting pupils with dyslexia. The teacher assessment of writing will help to ensure that all pupils have a secure grounding in this subject and identify where support is needed.
We are committed to improving support for pupils with dyslexia. Our reforms to the special educational needs and disabilities system emphasise providing tailored support to meet pupils’ specific needs. The reforms encourage close working with parents and pupils to make sure the support that pupils need is identified early. We work with, and provide funding to, dyslexia organisations to help to ensure that these pupils get the necessary support.
It is essential that all pupils leave primary school with the skills to succeed in secondary school. Pupils who can spell quickly and precisely are able to write down their ideas fluently and accurately, freeing them to concentrate on the meaning of what they want to say. Spelling is therefore a vital element of the National Curriculum at both key stages and is included as part of the teacher assessments of writing in Year 2 and Year 6.
The new interim teacher assessment framework for Key Stage 2 (KS2) is designed to assess the extent to which pupils have gained a secure grounding in the National Curriculum before they move on to the next stage of their education. This will be assessed by the pupils’ teachers. In writing, to meet the ‘expected standard’ pupils must be able to spell most words accurately, using the detailed spelling rules and guidance in the KS2 programme of study. The statutory KS2 wordlists are made up of words that we know pupils frequently misspell.
These assessments form part of the information used to help teachers and parents understand how pupils are performing against national expectations. They also allow us to hold schools to account for how well they have supported all their pupils to reach the expected standard.
Assessment by pupils’ teachers at the end of Year 6 provides the secondary schools with accurate information on their new Year 7 pupils. The secondary schools can then effectively support all the pupils who did not meet the expected standard to achieve their full potential. They cannot respond quickly to these pupils’ needs if the assessment information they receive does not reflect accurately what pupils know and can do.
Our approach applies to all pupils, including those with dyslexia, because it is in these pupils’ best interests that teachers assess accurately what they can or cannot do.
Statutory assessments, however, form only part of the broader assessments that teachers continually make. Schools should report statutory assessment outcomes in the context of wider information about pupils’ overall achievements and progress across the whole curriculum.
Department for Education
Click this link to view the response online:
The Petitions Committee will take a look at this petition and its response. They can press the government for action and gather evidence. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the Committee will consider it for a debate.
The Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government. Find out more about the Committee: https://petition.parliament.uk/help#petitions-committee
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament
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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Lego Club

I meet lots of children who enjoy Lego.  It's a great way to develop non-verbal spatial skills and instruction following, and inspires children to be creative. 

I also always try to inspire children to read - no matter what it is they are reading.  

I've just found out that Lego.com run a Lego club.  When you are logged in you can see videos and games but you can also subscribe to their FREE magazine ! 

They send you it in the mail.  We all know how much we love getting old fashioned post and children enjoy the magazine too.  

All Free ! 
I don't often push products but this is one I feel is worth the effort :)