Learning Disabilities and/or Dyslexia– the Future and a Child’s Potential

The term “disability” is sometimes a hard word to hear for a parent at an ARD meeting at school.  The feeling of a significant loss for the potential of a child’s future can overtake a parent at such a time.  It is important to share stories such as the one below that illustrates that the future is not always bleak.  There is always hope if the focus is on the child’ strengths as well as areas of need.

Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum is best known for his acting and his work as a model. But he’s also talked openly about how ADHD and dyslexia made his school years hard and helped shape his life.

During a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session, Tatum talked about how he handles both his ADHD and his reading issues.

On his ADHD: “Everyone’s on a spectrum. Some people really need [medications] to help them, and others could maybe go on a different route. So it’s really tough. Whatever you do, hopefully you can use it to your benefit.”

On his reading issues: “Doing SNL was by far the most terrifying thing that I’ve ever done, because there is a lot of reading involved, and I don’t read that well out loud.”

Tatum also told T: The New York Times Style Magazine that he did poorly in school because of his learning and attention issues. He was prescribed stimulants for his ADHD. But, according to Tatum, the school didn’t know how to address his learning needs properly.

“I have never considered myself a very smart person, for a lot of reasons,” he told T in an interview. “Not having early success on that one path messes with you. You get lumped in classes with kids with autism and Down syndrome, and you look around and say, ‘OK, so this is where I’m at.’ Or you get put in the typical classes and you say, ‘All right, I’m obviously not like these kids either.’ So you’re kind of nowhere. You’re just different. The system is broken … we should be able to help kids who struggle the way I did.”

As a young adult, Tatum was drawn to the arts. They turned out to be his calling and his refuge. His acting career has spanned blockbuster films like 22 Jump Street, The Lego Movie, GI Joe, Magic Mike and White House Down.

Several years ago, Tatum added sculpting to his resume. He now works on clay sculptures from a small studio at his house in the Hollywood Hills.

More and more celebrities are talking about how their learning and attention issues helped fuel their success. Take a look at what they’re saying.

Any opinions, views, information and other content contained in blogs on Understood.org are the sole responsibility of the writer of the blog, and do not necessarily reflect the views, values, opinions or beliefs of, and are not endorsed by, Understood.

About the Blogger

Geri Tucker

Geri Coleman Tucker More Posts by the Blogger

Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for USA Today

Rosemary Manges

Rosemary Manges, Program Coordinator for Inclusive Services, has over 39 years of educational experience ranging from the public school classroom, administration, preparing pre-service teachers at the college level to development of policy at TEA. She is in her 10th year at Region 10.

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May is Foster Care Month

 

ed-news-colorNational Foster Care Month is an important time to reflect on students impacted by foster care. Continuing to work in new ways to promote school success, school stability and encourage students in foster care is of the utmost importance. Preparing students to be career and college ready and taking steps to encourage successful transitions to post secondary for students in DFPS managing conservatorship is not only encouraged, but is required by state law (TEC § 25.007(7)).

Rosemary Manges

Rosemary Manges, Program Coordinator for Inclusive Services, has over 39 years of educational experience ranging from the public school classroom, administration, preparing pre-service teachers at the college level to development of policy at TEA. She is in her 10th year at Region 10.

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Child’s Perspective

ed-news-colorIf you haven’t subscribed to the web-based newsletter, Understood, I recommend it for any parent or teacher.  It provides valuable information and research-based strategies for helping students who struggle with learning.  Today’s email alert brought to my mailbox some very powerful information and resources that I thought was imperative to share with you all today.  Of particular importance are the simulations that allow teachers and parents to experience what it is like to have various learning issues through a child’s eye.  It  reminded me of the video FAT City: Frustration, Anxiety and Tension “ workshop video.  It is so important that adults in the child’s life do not assume what it is like or diminish the frustration and emotional tension that a child experiences in school; we need to understand the causes and the behavioral results of that emotional tension of not being able to accomplish what seems to be so easy for others.  Watch and learn and then understand: https://www.understood.org/en/tools/through-your-childs-eyes.

discover

 

 

Rosemary Manges

Rosemary Manges, Program Coordinator for Inclusive Services, has over 39 years of educational experience ranging from the public school classroom, administration, preparing pre-service teachers at the college level to development of policy at TEA. She is in her 10th year at Region 10.

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What Have WE Learned About the 30 Million Word GAP?

thought_1678c  I think it is very important for parents and educators to stay informed regarding learning research.  So, in my quiet time this morning, I came across an interview with one of the premier researchers regarding the correlation between language development and reading success.  What Dr. Miller has to report is critical information especially for parents and teachers of children in the early childhood grades.  As our state, like many others, debate the importance and incurring costs of pre-kindergarten or early childhood programs, this article  sheds light on why the result of  this debate is important to all of our futures.

The points raised in this scripted interview led me to ask myself: Is it worth the costs and hard work?  My answer was: Certainly, we cannot afford not to invest in the development of language skills and vocabulary for children in these early years.  The research reveals the consequences if we do not.  However, that is strictly my answer.   You need to answer that question for yourself.  Read this scripted interview and decide whether this should be a priority for all of us…

http://www.scilearn.com//blog/nearly-20-years-later-what-have-we-learned-from-hart-and-risley-steve-miller?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_content=921406&utm_campaign=0

 

Rosemary Manges

Rosemary Manges, Program Coordinator for Inclusive Services, has over 39 years of educational experience ranging from the public school classroom, administration, preparing pre-service teachers at the college level to development of policy at TEA. She is in her 10th year at Region 10.

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Avoiding the Fog

ed-news-colorToday I was reading a paper written by Bill Dagget, ED.D entitled, Finding Clarity Amid the Fog of External Demands; How Rapidly Improving Schools and Districts are Taking Control and Putting Students First.  In this article he profiles several issues that all schools and school staff face as more mandates and external pressures are placed upon the public school system.  Some succumb to the pressures and burn out like a match while others face this pressure with success after success.  What is the  difference?  He writes the following:

“The following four critical components of student-centered learning, which include but are not directed by external demands and, importantly, are addressed in this order:

Component 1: Academic Tenacity or Grit

Rapidly improving schools realize that for students to be successful at content, they must motivate students. These schools identify how students feel motivated and create systemic strategies around them. Key areas of student motivation are:

A sense of academic and social belonging Seeing school as relevant to their future

A willingness to work hard and postpone immediate gratification

An ability not to get derailed by academic or social difficulties

A willingness to seek out challenges

The desire to remain engaged for the long haul (Dweck, Walton & Cohen, 2014)

Does your school or district merely pay lip service to these important factors? As an example, how many of us have been willing to have the difficult conversations around race, poverty, English language learners, mental health issues, sexual orientation, and similar areas of social impact? Is your school or district silent on the topic, while students are more engaged in the discussion through social media than we are?

The most rapidly improving schools develop thoughtful implementation plans to create an environment where students feel comfortable, safe and encouraged in their pursuit of tenacity. And those of you who have used the Rigor/Relevance Framework know that each area of motivation is naturally addressed when teaching to the B and D quadrants. (Daggett, 2014)

Component 2: Proactive Parent and Community Engagement

Through regular outreach, rapidly improving schools engage parents and community in dialogues around the aforementioned topics to gain their support in fostering student motivation. These schools do this at times and in environments where the families and communities are most comfortable, not the other way around. They reach out to parents and community on their turf at times that are most convenient to them, not vice versa.

Component 3: Methodology

Rapidly improving districts support their schools in adjusting instructional practices as needed to be more engaging for students. For those familiar with the Rigor/Relevance Framework, they shift instruction from the A and C quadrants to the B and D quadrants. (Daggett, 2014)

Component 4: Content

Rapidly improving districts focus on what needs to be taught and to what level of proficiency.

A focus on content first is a recipe for program fatigue. What rapidly improving schools understand is that when you focus first on academic tenacity/grit and parent/ community engagement, methodology and content naturally take care of themselves. We have seen this time and time again in our study of the nation’s most rapidly improving schools: Those teachers who keep students at the center of motivated learning, with parent/community support, naturally find methodology and content solutions that move the needle.

The most long-term rapidly improving schools gain support from an actively involved central administration. Rapidly improving schools have learned that it takes a system-wide approach to gain control of the four components of student-centered learning. Central administration is key to providing schools with the tools and leadership they need as they adopt a systemic approach to successful instruction over the long-term. In an effort to support sustainable improvement, the most rapidly improving districts have made the following changes:

The most improving districts and schools leverage technology to do things differently. The most improving districts and schools leverage technology to do things differently. Rapidly improving schools embrace the new technologies and data systems/analytics that are transforming our world. Their administrators and teachers avoid the common trap of trying to improve methods of the past; instead their focus is on the future. They find application-based tactics to incorporate the technologies that will shape tomorrow into their instruction. Their districts empower administrators and teachers to innovate instruction to help students develop the skills they will need in the real world.

Rapidly improving districts are rethinking and rebuilding school leadership teams. Many districts see their schools’ instructional leadership teams as the principal and some form of department chairperson. Rapidly improving districts have identified two problems with this view: 1) In the next 2½ years, 40% of principals will leave their posts. At this rate and when the principal is the instructional leader, will a school be at the whim of a new strategy every few years? 2) The department chair model silos instructional programs and fails to connect disciplines in a way that prepares students for life beyond school. It also puts the focus on the content, when it needs to be on students’ instruction.

Rapidly improving schools know that instructional leadership has to be more than just one person; it must be systemic to the building and broader than a group of isolated disciplines. They also know that the collective skill set of the leadership team must allow for an equal focus on academic tenacity, parent/community support, methodology and content. With the encouragement of their district, schools making significant strides are innovating how they form leadership teams and building them to be resilient to team member departures.”

Perhaps the most important statement in this article for all of us in education and all of us who care about the quality of our schools is the following:

“Take control of your schools and districts by adopting and adapting these best practices to put your studentsnot external demandsfirst.”

Putting students and their needs first, establishing trusting and respectful relationships, and providing quality learning environments are the tenets of public schools in America since the one-room schools were established.  This is not an easy task and it takes all of us– not just the principal or the classroom teacher but all of  us who care about the  future.

Are you ready to put kids first?

Rosemary Manges

Rosemary Manges, Program Coordinator for Inclusive Services, has over 39 years of educational experience ranging from the public school classroom, administration, preparing pre-service teachers at the college level to development of policy at TEA. She is in her 10th year at Region 10.

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Results-driven Accountabilty

ed-news-colorThe U.S. Office of Special Education Programs recently announced a major shift in the way it oversees the effectiveness of states’ special education programs. Under this new framework, known as Results-Driven Accountability, the federal office has tilted the balance from a system focused primarily on procedural compliance to one that emphasizes improved educational results for students with disabilities.

The following are nine strategies that schools can employ to shift to this new accountability and improve outcomes for students. These were strategies that appeared in an article by Will J. Gordillo who is an educational consultant and the founder/president of WJG & Associates.

  1. Remember the individual

Most students with disabilities receive instruction in the standard curriculum and follow a standard diploma pathway toward graduation. Yet it’s important to remember that the I in IEP stands for Individualized. So we should stop expecting students to deliver the same results at the same pace and in the same ways that their non-disabled peers do. Special education students may have a way and rate of learning that’s different, but “different” doesn’t mean “less.” They may simply need more time and multiple means and opportunities for learning to demonstrate growth and master concepts.

  1. Schedule SWDs first

Students need to be provided equal instructional time in core content areas and additional time to minimize the effect of their disability and maximize their opportunities for learning. To find time to provide additional opportunities for learning and mastering concepts, schedule SWDs first. Design the master schedule to accommodate tiered intervention and foster ongoing team collaboration. This will ensure specially designed instruction can be provided in accordance with their IEPs, regardless of the educational environment.

  1. Efficiently allocate personnel

One way to find more time in the schedule for tiered intervention and collaboration is to allocate personnel based on student needs. Group students with similar needs in clusters to provide specially designed instruction and evidenced-based interventions in both general and special education classroom settings.

  1. Align to the State Standards

Since the majority of SWDs are served in general education classrooms, their IEPs should be aligned to the state standards. Give students full and meaningful access to the curriculum, including a high-rigor Tier 1 level of reading instruction.

  1. Provide early intervention in language and literacy

Focus on early intervention to ensure all students are competent readers by third grade to reduce referrals to special education and reduce future learning gaps.

  1. Match evidence-based practices and interventions to individualized needs

Use evidence-based interventions that are proven to deliver educational outcomes for SWDs. If an evidence-based practice or intervention isn’t working, try another one that’s more individualized and addresses the presenting needs of the student while considering the context of his or her disability.

  1. Build foundational cognitive skills

When students struggle in general or special education classroom settings, they don’t need more good content and instruction; they need improved cognitive skills to process the curriculum, and then a way to repeatedly practice those skills with feedback and support. One intervention that has been proven to deliver results for SWDs is the Fast ForWord language and reading intervention. Unlike traditional reading interventions, it uses the principles of neuroplasticity—the ability of the brain to rewire and reorganize itself—to treat the underlying cause of language and reading difficulties.

  1. Measure progress individually

The I in IEP should apply not only to the individualized ways in which students are instructed but also to how their progress is measured. Further, we should not only be concerned about performance on standardized tests but about measuring a student’s progress against his or her own baseline and individual history.

  1. Build a data-driven culture

Give educators and service providers access to the data, data analysis, and support they need to engage in effective planning and problem solving. Use this data to ensure that instructional teams understand student needs and can monitor their progress with confidence.

SWDs often need more time to master concepts and specialized approaches that are proven to be effective based on their instructional needs, measured performance, and recognized disability.

Rosemary Manges

Rosemary Manges, Program Coordinator for Inclusive Services, has over 39 years of educational experience ranging from the public school classroom, administration, preparing pre-service teachers at the college level to development of policy at TEA. She is in her 10th year at Region 10.

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10 Holiday Stressors for Kids with Learning and Attention Issues

clip_january001_LI was reading a blog by Amanda Morin in the latest issue of UNDERSTOOD and thought that this blog could provide timely information for teachers and parents/families and could also provide some insights to what we all can do to help kids with disabilities cope during this holiday season.  I share her information with you to help make all of our holiday activities as stress-free as possible.

  • Dressing Up

The problem: Some kids are sensitive to the texture of certain fabrics. Others just don’t like wearing things like tights, ties or dressy shoes. The feel of dress clothes can be so annoying, in fact, it can cause kids to have meltdowns.

How you can help: Consider whether it’s better to have casual and calm or fancy and fussy. If dressy clothes are unavoidable, try to make your child as comfortable as possible. Buy soft, cotton clothing. Remove itchy tags. And bring everyday clothes for your child to change into as soon as he can.

  • Santa

The problem: Kids who have spoken language issues may struggle to tell Santa what they want. Those jolly whiskers can be scratchy and uncomfortable for kids with sensory processing issues. And kids prone to impulsivity may blurt out that Santa isn’t real.

How you can help: Before your visit, practice with your child what to say to (and about) Santa. Consider, too, asking one of Santa’s elves to hand Santa a note explaining your child’s needs.

  • Gift Getting

The problem: It can be disappointing for a child when he doesn’t get a gift he wants or likes. Kids who struggle with self-control or social skills may not always have the skills to hide their disappointment and express thanks to the giver.

How you can help: Talk about the importance of acknowledging the thought behind a gift. Rehearse appreciative responses like “Thank you, that was nice” or “Thank you for thinking of me.” Keep in mind that this will take ongoing practice.

  • Holiday Foods

The problem: Holiday foods can be stressors for a number of reasons. Kids with picky palates or sensory processing issues can find the flavors, smells and textures of traditional foods hard to deal with.

How you can help: Try using “thank you” bites. After a small taste of a new food, your child can say, “no, thank you” or “yes, thank you, I’d like some.” But also bring along food he likes to make sure there’s something he’ll eat. Forcing the issue isn’t worth compromising everybody’s holiday cheer.

  • Party Crowds

The problem: Noise and chaos make many kids anxious, but it can be especially hard for kids with sensory processing issues. Physical contact can be another stressor. Hugs, kisses and even a light hand on the back as someone passes by can set them off.

How you can help: Take your child out of the fray. Find an out-of-the-way spot from which he can watch, smile and wave. If noise is a problem, ask the host if there’s another room your child can hang out in.

  • Small Talk

The problem: Chitchat about “how much you’ve grown!” or “how’s school going?” is common at holiday gatherings. Some kids with learning and attention issues are uncomfortable talking about school. Others struggle with conversation skills.

How you can help: Role-play social interactions and help your child come up with answers to common questions. Teach polite ways to redirect conversation, such as asking questions of the other person. Before you go, agree on a signal your child can use when he needs you to jump in and help.

  • Holiday Projects

The problem: Making an egg-carton menorah or a gingerbread house can be frustrating—especially to kids who have trouble with motor skills or following directions. And attention issues can get in the way of finishing a project.

How you can help: Put your child in charge of some of the project planning. When he’s the one choosing, he’s more likely to be motivated to see it through to the end. Try also to focus on the process, not the product. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be fun.

  • Performances or Recitals

The problem: Many things about school holiday performances can be stressful for kids. They have to learn lines, master dance moves and adjust to changes in school routine. Kids who struggle with reading, spoken language, memory or motor skills can have an extra tough time.

How you can help: Talk with your child’s school about expectations for the performance. How often will he be rehearsing? How you can help him prepare at home? Create a game plan for your child to leave the stage if he gets overwhelmed or needs a break.

  • Holiday Decorations

The problem: Bright blinking lights and loud holiday music can be overwhelming for kids who are sensitive to sights and sounds. Piles of presents displayed at home may be too tempting for kids with impulse-control issues.

How you can help: Set up a “holiday-free” zone at home—somewhere your child can go that’s free of those sights and sounds. Let him bring an activity to other people’s homes and ask if there’s a quiet place he can hang out. And you might consider hiding the presents until you’re ready for your child to open them.

  • Perhaps the biggest stressor of them all: “Naughty or Nice”

The problem: Kids hear a lot about who knows if they’re “naughty or nice.” Add Elf on the Shelf or the Mensch on a Bench to the mix, and kids who think very literally may not understand they aren’t really being watched.

How you can help: Consider letting your child in on the secret and having him help with your Elf on the Shelf’s antics. Reading fables and fairy tales together lets you talk about how they use exaggerated circumstances to convey a message. Just like stories about being “naughty or nice!” Santa_with_list

Rosemary Manges

Rosemary Manges, Program Coordinator for Inclusive Services, has over 39 years of educational experience ranging from the public school classroom, administration, preparing pre-service teachers at the college level to development of policy at TEA. She is in her 10th year at Region 10.

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Servant Leadership

thought_1678c

Servant leadership is for everyone of us— not just those with the title that implies leadership.  Do you want to make a difference?  Do you want to work with others to make positive improvement on the job?  Do you want to help students get ready to be independent?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are ready to be a servant leader…   Watch this video to inspire that servant leader within yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVMBJ9kvl2g

 

Have a great Monday!

Rosemary Manges

Rosemary Manges, Program Coordinator for Inclusive Services, has over 39 years of educational experience ranging from the public school classroom, administration, preparing pre-service teachers at the college level to development of policy at TEA. She is in her 10th year at Region 10.

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Proposed New Regulations for Military Families

departmetn of defenseThe Department of Defense has issued proposed revisions to their special education regulations that impact schools operated by DoDEA. The present regs do not provide for a child with a disability who moves from a public school with an IEP to a DoDEA school to be entitled to a “comparable” IEP. However, the civilian child who moves to another school district is entitled to a “comparable IEP.”

In a public school, if the parent has a complaint, such as IEP not being properly implemented, the parent can file a complaint with their State Department of Education; here is Texas that would be the Texas Education Agency. However, other than requesting a due process hearing, there is no such provision for the military parent to file a complaint against the school operated by DoDEA. Both inequities have been corrected in the proposed rules. The entitlement to a “comparable IEP” is included as is the right to file an “administrative complaint” against the DoDEA school.

Rosemary Manges

Rosemary Manges, Program Coordinator for Inclusive Services, has over 39 years of educational experience ranging from the public school classroom, administration, preparing pre-service teachers at the college level to development of policy at TEA. She is in her 10th year at Region 10.

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National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

ed-news-colorPress Release from the U.S. Department of Education.

Bullying of Students with Disabilities Addressed in Guidance to America’s Schools

10/21/2014 10:17 AM EDT

 

As part of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today issued guidance to schools reminding them that bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated – including against America’s 6.5 million students with disabilities.

“While there is broad consensus that bullying cannot be tolerated, the sad reality is that bullying persists in our schools today, especially for students with disabilities.  Basic decency and respect demand that our schools ensure that all their students learn in a safe environment. I look forward to continuing our work with schools to address and reduce incidents of bullying so that no student is limited in his or her ability to participate in and benefit from all that our educational programs have to offer.”

Catherine E. Lhamon Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

Please read the guidance to all public schools at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-bullying-201410.pdf

 

Rosemary Manges

Rosemary Manges, Program Coordinator for Inclusive Services, has over 39 years of educational experience ranging from the public school classroom, administration, preparing pre-service teachers at the college level to development of policy at TEA. She is in her 10th year at Region 10.

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