Sep 032013

Programs for overcoming learning disabilities can help your child can learn.

If your child is struggling with schooling, whether in public school or homeschooled, you can help him with a carefully selected, properly implemented program. You can pull information together to create an educational that will help your child learn better and faster.

I am here to help you pull an educational plan together for your child.  If you homeschool, you can implement the plan easily.  If your child is in traditional school, you’ll have to convince your school’s administrators to implement and follow the plan.

My main goal HERE at Learning Abled Kids is to help you figure how to help your child educationally. I’ll help you figure out which curriculum you should use and help you create a learning program that will enable your child to learn successfully. 

If your child is ever going to succeed educationally, you need a solid plan for properly meeting your child’s educational needs.  SO, let’s get started:

You can design a solid educational plan for your child in five steps:

  • Analyze -Your child’s special education needs by assessing learning strengths, learning weaknesses, and learning style.
  • Design – Figure out what type(s) of programs your child will need to be educationally successful in all academic subjects, including subjects where your child’s disability is a primary or secondary educational factor.
  • Develop – Acquire the needed programs and make a plan for implementing them, which involves a decision about whether to provide the programs yourself or whether you will pursue provisioning by your school through your child’s IEP (easier said than done).
  • Implement – Begin using your selected programs.
  • Evaluate – Determine if the program is working and make needed adjustments.

By applying this process to your individual child’s special education needs, you can provide precisely the right kind of program for your child. Using great Programs for Overcoming Learning Disabilities will enable your child to overcome disabilities.

Your child’s progress can be at the pace of your child’s learning. The intensity of the program you provide will affect your child’s rate of progress too. 

Providing Programs for Overcoming Learning Disabilities

If your child is in school, you can work towards having your school provide as much of your child’s program as you can get them to agree to. Convincing your school to provide programs for overcoming learning disabilities may be easy or difficult depending upon your school district. The level of willingness to work outside of their standard provisioning varies greatly from one school to the next.

I am creating this step-by-step guide for figuring out how to select the right curriculum to homeschool and help your child overcome learning disabilities. Thus, the site is not yet fully ready to provide you with the upcoming step-by-step guide.  However, updates are under way.

If you want to get started, the initial page for the Step-by-Step guide for Overcoming Learning Disabilities through Individualized Instructional Design is available along with Step 1: Learner Analysis.  Step 2 is also available, and steps 3-6 are being written.  The website will be updated and restructured as I complete each page.  In the end, I will provide you with a step-by-step template for designing effective instruction specifically for your individual child.

Thank you in advance for your understanding as I make this guide the best I know to make it! If you want the information as it is available in newsletter form, you can subscribe to the Learning Abled Kids’  Tips Newsletter by entering your name and email address in the form in the left hand column.

Aug 022013

One of the most commonly asked questions is:

“What kind of teaching strategies should I use with my child? He has dyslexia.”

Teaching a child with dyslexia to read is complicated issue requiring more explanation. After you read this page, you can find more information on dyslexia and programs in the Learning Abled Kids’ READING section.

As far as Teaching Strategies go, a child who has dyslexia requires instruction aside from typical books and papers.

Multi-Sensory instruction is one of the best teaching strategies for almost anyone.

There are several good reasons to avoid focusing on one “style” when teaching persons with dyslexia, and any person for that matter. The number one factor for people with dyslexia is that they are often intelligent. They’re quite capable of learning all kinds of content when taught using audio-visuals, hands-on activities, demonstrations, etc. Therefore, good teaching strategies often make the difference between a child’s progress in school, or lack of progress.

Considerations outside of teaching strategies:

If your child is receiving good instruction using the best teaching strategies, then you may need to consider other problems that cause problems with learning to read.

There is also the Irlen Syndrome, which is a sensitivity to certain portions of the light spectrum making it difficult to read the written word on certain color papers and-or under certain lighting conditions. These problems are treated with color-spectrum altering lenses or overlays. This condition is also “medical” in nature, not a neurological processing issue, but sometimes labeled as “dyslexia”.

Another issue with reading is ocular motor deficiencies (difficulty with smooth eye tracking), which is sometimes inaccurately labeled as “dyslexia.”

Both scotopic sensitivity and ocular motor deficiencies are visual problems.

In other cases, a child MAY be a strong auditory learner, rather than a visual learner. These kids may be auditory learners, so teaching them strictly through a “visual” style would be detrimental their ability to learn. By mixing up teaching strategies to include visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile activities, your instruction should help your child.

“True” dyslexia as defined by the International Dyslexia Association, shows most persons with true dyslexia are “visual” learners. This is because problems with phonemic awareness are language-based, which makes it harder to learn through words.

Kids with true dyslexia are not strong in processing language/phonemes, so they are seldom auditory learners. Their primary and secondary learning styles are generally, but not necessarily always, visual and kinesthetic.  This alone makes teaching a child with dyslexia through multiple learning channels one of the best teaching strategies.

A multisensory teaching study by M. Martini revealed that “all students had significantly better achievements with multisensory approaches than with either auditory or visual approaches,” (“Effects of Traditional Versus Learning-Styles Instructional Methods in Middle School Students”, Rhonda Dawn Farkus, 2003, The Journal of Educational Research, Vol 97, No. 1). In her learning styles, multisensory study, Rhonda Farkus states, “The power of evidence supporting the benefits of learning-style methodology is compelling,” (Farkus, 2003).

“Achievement scores of students who were taught with instructional resources that matched their preferred modalities were statistically higher than were the scores attained by students who were not taught with learning-styles methods. Moreover, when students were taught with multisensory instructional resources, although initially through their most preferred modality, and then received reinforcement through their secondary or tertiary modality, scores further increased,” (Farkus, 2003).

The TOP Teaching Strategies for Kids with Dyslexia:

So, Multi-Sensory instruction is best.. Reinforcement of learning through multiple channels is well proved through study data. The most compelling study I’ve read to date on simultaneous multisensory teaching is “Sensory Mode and ‘Information Load”; Examining the Effects of Timing on Multisensory Processing” by Drew Tiene, Kent State University, International Journal of Instructional Media, Vol 27(2), 2000. This study shows clearly that hearing information, presented simultaneously with iconic visual input, is the most effective means of instructing. Using two channels of processing simultaneously allows the brain to process all at once and improves recall pathways through one channel or the other.

As far as teaching a person with dyslexia goes, the most effective teaching strategies are based upon Orton-Gillingham multisensory instruction. It must provide simultaneous presentation to the auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile modes of learning. You might find the study “Teaching Reading in an Inner City School through a Multisensory Teaching Approach” (2002, Bouware-Gooden, Dahlgren, & Joshi, Annals of Dyslexia, Vol 52), interesting to read. Or perhaps, “Reflections. Teaching the secondary language functions of writing, spelling, and reading” (2003, Post, Y.V., Annals of Dyslexia, Vol 53).

One of my favorite studies is “Effects of Traditional Versus Learning-Styles Instructional Methods on Middle School Students” (2003, Farkus, R.D., The Journal of Educational Research, Vol.97 No 1). Farkus conveys, “Achievement scores of students who were taught with instructional resources that matched their preferred modalities were statistically higher than were the scores attained by students who were not taught with learning-styles methods. Moreover, when students were taught with multisensory instructional resources, although initially through their most preferred modality, and then received reinforcement through their secondary or tertiary modality, scores further increased,” (Farkus, 2003).

You can go through the Learning Abled Kids’ Multi-Sensory Training module to learn more about teaching your child with Multi-Sensory methods.  Specifically for teaching persons with dyslexia, you might also want to look for the Orton-Gillingham Manual teaching strategies and other Orton-Gillingham related resources will help you find information on teaching reading via learning styles based instruction.

So, I hope this information helps you further reach your focus in determining the best teaching strategies for kids with any variety of learning disability. By using multiple means of teaching and input, most learners will be better able to retain the instruction they receive.

One of the GREAT things about homeschooling is that you have the freedom and ability to use teaching DVDs, manipulatives, science kits, reenactments, hands-on projects, etc. for teaching your child. You don’t have to rely solely on traditional, classroom-style teaching strategies.  You can serve your child’s needs well by using multisensory instruction on a daily basis!

Best Wishes! Sandy

Aug 012013

Learning About Learning Styles and Strategies for Teaching is Important for Your Child’s Success

There are four main learning styles and strategies according to the most popular learning styles model. The learning styles are auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic. Your child will learn best through one or more of these learning channels. You can help your child become a successful learner by teaching him through his primary learning style(s).

When you see programs say they are “Multi-sensory”, that means the instruction utilizes all of the learning styles and strategies for teaching in each lesson. Also, Multisensory teaching is of benefit to all children.

Auditory learning activities include reading, listening, hearing, etc. These are the learning styles and strategies used for teaching used in a typical school classroom.

At first you may confused because you may think, as I initially did, that reading is solely a visual activity. Reading is an auditory activity because it involves the language center of the brain and language processing skills. They are both auditory in nature. When you read, you “hear” the words.

If you suspect your child might have dyslexia, you should know our neuropsychologist told us “Not all visual learners have dyslexia, but children with dyslexia are visual learners.” Thus, a child with dyslexia will do better with visual teaching tools rather than learning through lecture, reading, and writing. SO, if your child has dyslexia, considering his learning styles and strategies for teaching him will be important for learning.

Children with dyslexia take in information through watching – videos, movies, plays, demonstrations, etc. They pick up TONS of information from their daily environment. Because of their visual learning style, children with dyslexia often enter school as BRIGHT, gifted kids, eager learners, but soon get labeled otherwise because they are now being taught through their weakest learning path. If you have a child who has “true dyslexia”, then you will want to seek out instruction that primarily teaches towards the visual learning style. Most children have a primary learning style, and a secondary style. Instruction will be most effective if it includes all learning channels, but must include the child’s primary learning style if it is going to be effective instruction.

Manipulatives are excellent for kids with a kinesthetic learning style, tactile learning style, and visual learners. The manipulatives are visual, hands-on and moving. They would not be as effective for a child with visual processing difficulties though. If your child has any of these learning styles and strategies for teaching with manipulatives is something you can do, go for it! They will probably help your child learn more easily.

A child with visual processing problems would learn more effectively from the auditory and kinesthetic learning channels. For children with auditory processing problems, the visual and kinesthetic channels are most critical for content learning. A child with significantly impaired movement might find kinesthetic learning activitiess the most difficult to use.

The key is to know what learning styles and strategies for teaching are most useful to your child. Then teach towards your child’s preferred learning styles.

Most children can learn to some degree through each of the channels.  If your child is taught through all channels, he will have maximized learning because what your child doesn’t get from his main learning style, he may get from another.

Thus, the most effective instructional method for teaching *ALL* children is multi-sensory instruction.  If you’d like to know more about developing multi-sensory lessons for your child, please visit our Free Multisensory Instruction Training.

Whatever your child’s learning styles and strategies for teaching you use, computer software can serve most children well. Using computers for educational practice drills is proven by research to be an effective reinforcement to learning.

Many companies are making learning fun, interactive, both visual and auditory, and providing robust computer solutions for learning. Using computer software can be an excellent way for children with an auditory or visual learning style to learn any topic. My main source for Educational Software is Amazon. They have a huge variety of programs available, including educational apps, so you’re likely to be able to find some program that meets your needs in Amazon’s Educational Software section.

Additionally, you might want to consider learning posters as a way to provide good visuals for your child. Good colorful posters of processes, cycles, categories, etc. can be worth a thousand words to a visual learner. The Learning Abled Kids Educational Posters for Learning store has a huge collection of educational posters. You can check out the variety at our educational poster store.

The easiest online tools to use in determining learning styles are Abiator’s Online Learning Styles Test 1 and Test 2. I LOVE these tests because the questions are relatively easy to answer, the scoring is automatic, and the results also give tips for the specific learning style. The tips are great for helping you teach your child.

Another tool I like is the Memletics Learning Style Inventory which asks a series of questions, then scores the results, and indicates your dominant and secondary styles. This inventory uses seven learning styles: Visual, Aural, Verbal, Physical, Logical, Social, and a Solitary learning style. While the styles vary from the widely accepted four styles, this inventory’s additional segmentation provides a more in depth profile.

A simple online version is the Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic tool developed specifically for assessing learning styles in high school students. You can utilize the questionaire, including the scoring guide, at this link for the VARK Questionaire for Younger People. VARK also has other tools for assessing learning styles that you may find helpful.

Determine your child’s learning style, then teach towards your child’s specific learning style strengths. The table below provides you with ideas for teaching to each of the primary learning styles. Many times a child will have overlapping styles and many of the activities apply to more than one learning style.

Read Aloud Books
Panel Discussions
Informal Discussions
Lectures & Speeches
Books on Tape
Radio Broadcasts
Music & Songs
Movies & Videos
Maps, Charts, Graphs
Field Trips
Computer Software
Models & Dioramas
Math Manipulatives
Letter Tiles, Scrabble
Computer Software
Arts & Crafts
Hands-On practice
Field Trips
Arts & Crafts
Clay modeling
Math Manipulatives
Computer Software

Aug 012013

To create multisensory reading instruction for your child, you must first think of your learning goals. Also consider whether your child has an auditory learning style, visual learning style, kinesthetic learning style, or tactile learning style.

When you have determined what you want your child to learn, you can list each of the learning styles. Then think of a way to teach your child the topic using an auditory activity, visual imagery, kinesthetic learning activities, and activities geared towards the tactile learning style.

Research shows using all of the learning styles simultaneously is the most effective means of teaching. That is why multisensory reading instruction is at the heart of Orton-Gillingham reading programs for overcoming dyslexia. 

Your child should be able to see, hear, touch, and do something related to the multisensory reading instruction. That will help the instruction “stick” in your child’s mind.

Example of Multisensory Reading Instruction

As an example, let’s look at a combination of auditory and visual input. It is more effective to do the activities simultaneously rather than using one input followed by the other input.

Let’s look at an example of the syllable “eat.” If you read the text to your child THEN show him an image of the syllable, it is less effective than showing him the syllable as you read the text. 

By associating the imagery immediately with what your child is hearing, he will better remember the information. Even better, You can have your child trace the letters in the syllable with his finger on the page of the book.

Most effective would be to have your child write the letters with his finger in the sand while saying the sound of the syllable aloud. This is multisensory reading instruction at its best.

This type of multisensory reading instruction is multisensory learning.

Multisensory Instruction for All Subjects and All Learning Styles

For different subjects, there are different multisensory teaching methods you can use for teaching each subject. The sections of this tutorial that follow this one will cover multisensory reading instruction, multisensory math, science and social studies using multisensory teaching methods. From there, it should be easier for you to teach using multisensory reading instruction activities for reading or any unit about any topic.

The biggest key in multisensory reading instruction is to incorporate auditory means of input, visual imagery suitable for a visual learning style, kinesthetic learning activities, and activities geared towards the tactile learning style for each concept your child needs to remember.  This is particularly true when using an Orton-Gillingham reading program to teach a child with dyslexia to read.  Multisensory reading instruction of this nature is THE key to success in using an Orton-Gillingham reading program.

 multisensory reading instruction

Aug 012013

WHAT does the RESEARCH say about multisensory instruction?

A multisensory instruction study by M. Martini revealed that “all students had significantly better achievements with multisensory approaches than with either auditory or visual approaches,” (Farkus, 2003).

In her learning styles, multisensory study, Rhonda Farkus states, “The power of evidence supporting the benefits of learning-style methodology is compelling,” (Farkas, 2003).”Even the most cursory study of education demonstrates a profound understanding and appreciation of the world derives from a full sensory experience–smell, movement-touch, aural-musical, visual.

Relatively recent research in the field of multiple intelligence / emotional intelligence into how we learn, suggests that diversity of sensory and intellectual stimuli is key to increasing our capacity for learning,” (Westley, 2003).

All research shows multisensory instruction, in more than one learning style at a time, helps enhance learning. Kathleen Farmer says, “There are enormous differences in how people acquire, process, and represent knowledge, and education is more effective when differences are taken into account,” (Dalton & Farmer, 2002). It is also noted that “everyone has a dominant learning style,” (Maal, 2004).

Homeschooling parents have the luxury of being able to assess their child’s unique learning preferences, and to teach using multisensory instruction that meets their child’s needs. By teaching using multisensory instruction, a parent can create an optimal learning environment for any child.

So, what exactly is “multisensory instruction”? Move Forward to the next page throughout this tutorial to learn more about how to use multisensory instruction.

multisensory instruction

Spelling Can Be Easy When It's Multisensory