Reading Fluency (Speed) chart for children (1st-8th grades):

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This chart is a “must have” for all parents of children in 1st-8th grades, as you can watch your child progression and how do they compare to what is expected for their age. to test their current reading speed, get a book at their grade level (maybe one of their text books if you’re not sure what books are at their grade level). Get out a timer, and have him/her read for a minute and see how many words he/she read. You can also do this a few times in a row with a new paragraph each time to get a gauge of their reading speed on a “cold start” (first try) and a few subsequent attempts (typically the reading speed increases on the second and third reading). It might be fun to measure your child’s reading each month to watch the progression, are they keeping up or not. If your child is not keeping up, make sure to talk with his or her teacher and begin the dialogue to work on implementing or creating interventions to build the skills that are needed for success. Remember that early intervention is the key, so don’t hesitate to begin getting professional help (starting with his/her teacher). The recommended chart is found at (http://www.jhasbrouck.com/ORF2005_dataBRT.pdf).

Preparing for Upcoming Classes when Attention gets in the way

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Becoming familiar with a subject also helps a person focus.  It is much more challenging to focus on a subject that we are not at all familiar with, than one in which we are knowledgeable.  So before taking a tough class, familiarize yourself with the subject, be curious about the subject, and even implement some strategies/interventions that may prove useful.  It has been said that there is no book in the library that is not interesting to somebody (the author, at least may have found the topic interesting).  Approaching a new subject with a desire to find out what is interesting about it and the main points to be learned may also prove useful.

Attention Challenges and Learning to Summarize

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A common challenge for individuals with attention difficulties is to summarize main points (from what was read, or heard).  When trying to learn a new subject, book, or any material it may be helpful to provide the individual with a summary of the main points before going into the details.  For example, reading a Wikipedia summary of a book before reading it may help the individual focus and make connections in the story.  Also, becoming familiar with a subject before taking a class can be helpful, for example, one may check out “Cliff’s Notes” at the library during the summer prior to taking an Algebra class.  For an individual with attention challenges, this may help to learn how to focus on the main points and learn the skill of summarizing what is read/learned.  The goal should be that the individual improves over time in his/her ability to learn to focus on the most important information and learn to summarize the main points.

Apps for learning (for Young Adults and Adults).  Highly recommended!

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Free Apps:

Coursera; a Free App for higher learning on Sciences, Math, Arts, Computers, etc.  Free videos of classes from many of the top Universities across the nation.  If you want to get a certificate, showing you successfully completed a course there’s a way for that too.  This app is a definite “must have” for anyone interested in continued learning, at no cost!  Or it can be accessed through their website (https://www.coursera.org/).

iTunesU: a Free App through iTunes.  You can pick a subject and learn amazing content, for free.  If you have iTunes (i.e. an apple product like iPhone, iPad, iMac, etc), check it out!

Khan Academy: another Free App for continued learning.  Science, Math, Arts, etc.  It can also be accessed through their website (https://www.khanacademy.org/).

 

(Paid App) Speech recognition Software:

“Dragon Speech” allows you to speak and it converts to writing.  This also may be useful for some individuals with Autism or writing difficulties.

Resources for Learning for Kids and youth

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spellingcity.com  K-12 materials for vocabulary, spelling, and writing.

softschools.com  Pre-K through High School learning in all subjects; math, language arts, science, social studies, literature, languages.

letterland.com  “Child-friendly phonics” (for 3-8 year olds) This website has materials that might be used as interventions, for a fee.

If you know any additional excellent resources or interventions that have helped you, feel free to leave them posted below!

Reading Daily

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It’s recommended that we all read a for 20-minutes a day.  We can read a book, magazine, or newspaper of a topic of choice.  This should be done for pleasure; find a topic that interests you and read about it (fiction, nonfiction, either works fine).  With continued practice, poor readers can typically become good readers (especially true if the right interventions are put in place); Good readers tend to become better readers as one reads for 20-minutes a day.  It is beneficial to do this, for your mind and helps foster a balanced/healthy lifestyle.  As it is with many good things, that which we make a priority and we continue doing, tend to become increasingly enjoyable to us.  You’ve probably heard it said “a thought can lead to an action, an action can lead to a habit, a habit can lead to character”; so lets begin the journey of filling our minds with good thoughts that lead to the good character we seek to develop.  To me, it is motivating to study from the best of books (variety of topics that interest me), they lead me to greener pastures.  If you’ve found a book/topic that motivates you, please feel free to leave a comment (below) as it may also inspire the rest of us!

A few pointers to try when Attention Affects Learning

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Highlight or circle key information when reading.  Then after finishing the material, review the highlighted points to review the material.

Use of a daily planner, schedule (if the individual forgets assignments, duties, etc).

Reducing distractions may be necessary.  For obvious reasons, a person who easily distracted probably should not have the television going while doing homework or reading a book.

Try breaking up the person’s time with homework.  If it is not easy to sit for an hour while working on an assignment, set a timer for a shorter amount of time and work on the task for that amount of time; get up and take a break, then return to finish the task.

It’s important for individuals with attention challenges to get enough sleep; having a consistent sleeping time is the goal.

Regular exercise is needed.  For a school child, for example, I would encourage parents and educators not take away an ADHD child’s recess/lunch/break time for punishment.  He/She needs exercise, find alternate consequences; may include “positive behavioral interventions” and implementing other interventions that work for children with attention difficulties.

Resources on Autism

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What is autism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism

National Autism Center http://www.nationalautismcenter.org/).  Lots of information, and resources to assist with interventions.

For becoming educated as parents and professionals about Autism: (http://firstsigns.org/).

To help children with Autism communicate feelings: (http://www.watchknowlearn.org/Category.aspx?CategoryID=6125).

“Evidence Based Practices” and interventions from the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder (http://autismpdc.fpg.unc.edu/evidence-based-practices).

Keep returning for more ideas.  Also feel free to post your questions and comments below so we can continue to improve the Interventions page on resources for Autism.

What is a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP)?

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According to the California Department of Behavioral Sciences, the practice of educational psychology is the performance of any of the following professional functions pertaining to academic learning processes or the education system or both:

(a) Educational evaluation.
(b) Diagnosis of psychological disorders related to academic learning processes.
(c) Administration of diagnostic tests related to academic learning processes including tests of academic ability, learning patterns, achievement, motivation, and personality factors.
(d) Interpretation of diagnostic tests related to academic learning processes including tests of academic ability, learning patterns, achievement, motivation, and personality factors.
(e) Providing psychological counseling for individuals, groups, and families.
(f) Consultation with other educators and parents on issues of social development and behavioral and academic difficulties.
(g) Conducting psychoeducational assessments for the purposes of identifying special needs.
(h) Developing treatment programs and strategies to address problems of adjustment.
(i) Coordinating intervention strategies for management of individual crises.