Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Help Your Gifted Child Having Math Learning Disability Triumph His Curriculums

Have you noticed your child saying that he hates math, he can't get math or he don't want to do math? Compared to other facets of learning like reading, parents are tolerant towards their child not taking interest in the subject. Not to forget, math is the most essential subject of your child's curriculum and is highly significant in your child's life and his future prospects. But, a question that might pop up in the minds of many would be that why does your special child show so much of disinterest in learning math?

The answer lies in the fact that your child is having math learning disorder or in other words Discalculia. It is scientifically known as math learning disability. It is a state where people puzzle to identify math symbols and concepts. The fundamental sign incorporates reading and language skills. The sufferers often have obscurity in basic calculation. There are many parents who might think that sending their children to elementary school teachers is the best solution for their dilemma. But they are not aware of the fact that the teachers themselves have proved to be uncomfortable with the subject. In fact, many elementary teachers suffer from math unease themselves. Therefore, most elementary teachers are not good authorities on the mathematical learning and approach of their students.

A blend of a teacher's poor understanding of mathematical conception, insufficient knowledge of teaching techniques in mathematics, and incomplete knowledge about altering teaching approaches to reach learners with a usual learning profile, can create depressing results for special needs children. Other than creating curiosity of the students in the subject, the incompetence of the teachers will further demoralize them.

There are two categories of dyscalculia, problem in remembering basic math facts and arithmetic weak point. The basic fact problem is happening to students who still persist to count with their hand. Meanwhile, arithmetic weakness is the inability in performing computation appropriately. Students who are familiar this problem didn't have any difficulty in basic math. To trim down the problem, they should use paper and pencil in finishing the test. Another math learning disability is written symbols. The students have complexity in writing official and easy math symbols. It's intricate for them to use pencil, paper, or abstract concepts to eradicate the problem.

Students who are facing difficulty in writing symbol normally could give an answer verbally. So, the deception for them is exercising concrete examples. Initiate new math theory total with the illustration. When you tutor student with math learning disability, just carry out a verbal instruction for every step of written training. Another step to assist them is by using graph paper. Illustrate that their problem can be resolved in many ways.

Parents can themselves help in treating their child's learning disabilities. All you have to do is to lay pressure on the significance of the subject for their future prospects. Further if you think that you cannot comprehend the nature of the topic your child brings home for practice, it would be advised that you should move out of the straight teaching role and hire a professional who has an experience in teaching math to children with a similar disability.

The author of this article owns special education schools NYC offering seminars, workshops, special needs schools NYC & summer learning disability programs for children using Ortan Gillingham method.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Is Modern Technology Bad for Learning? Tips for the User of Modern Technology

Recently I went to my beauty salon to get my hair cut. They were running a special - "Hair Cuts for $7.00 after 7:00 pm on Tuesday evenings." There were more people than usual in the waiting area because of the special as many of us are looking for ways to save money. Most of us who were waiting were visually occupying ourselves while we waited. There were five to six people using hand-held electronic devices - phones, iPads etc. Two people were reading magazines and two of us were reading books. I do not know specifically what the owners of the electronic devices were doing - there are many ways to use these devices including talking, texting, listening to music, playing games, surfing the web and reading. It appeared that most of the users were visually occupied.

Since we see such great technological advancement in our day, we may think that we have increased in our intelligence. Sadly, our education system seems to be floundering. Some would have us think that our forefathers were widely illiterate. To discover the literacy of our forefathers we could calculate the "readability" of their documents. Educators determine the readability or grade level of a text by using a graph counting the number of sentences and syllables in a 100-word passage. Our forefathers used long words and long sentences placing the readability far above the majority of students and adults today. For example, I looked up The Federalist Papers online and chose a 100-word passage from each of the three authors (Alexander Hamilton # 1, James Madison #38 and John Jay #64). Each were at least college level using Fry's Readability Graph. Keep in mind that these papers were intended to be read and understood by everyone throughout the Colonies, not just intellectuals.

Due to the relative lack of close visual stimuli, these individuals allowed their eyes to develop normally. They were outside much of the time, allowing their visual system to mature. Also, they had well-developed auditory systems. This can also be understood by reading the documents. Listening to each other speak in this way helped as well.

Our lives are so much different now. However, we do not have to return to an agrarian society to restore much of what has been lost. Here are some tips for the user of modern technology:

1. Take breaks often - at least looking up and outside.

2. When possible take longer breaks, taking walks outside.

3. Get sunshine and breathe deeply.

4. Use appropriate sized reading material for young eyes.

5. Limit screen time (TV, Computer, and hand-held electronic devices) for young children whose auditory and visual systems are still maturing.

6. Use meal times to discuss current events or other issues as a family.

7. Read together as a family.

8. Encourage and model reading for your children.

Maggie operates the Center for Neuro Development in Lakewood, Washington, along with her husband Ronnie. Maggie earned a M.A.in Special Education from Adams State College in 1989. She has been in an internship / independent study leading to certification with the International Christian Association of Neurodevelopmentalists. They offer local, on site services as well as some long distance consultation. They work with homeschoolers as well as those who attend school. While many of their clients are challenged with learning they offer products and services for a broad range of individuals.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sensory Stages One and Two in Concept Development

In order to learn about the world and the things in it, we must explore our surroundings and gather information through our senses. Regardless of whether we are talking about a child or adult, or a developmentally delayed or gifted individual, and regardless of the skill or concept we are considering, the brain must begin its search for information by using the senses.

If we do not recognize something as having been encountered in the past or if we encountered it but did not understand it, we will rely on our sensory organs to gather information. Both children and adults who are presented with something completely novel to them will begin their investigation by looking, touching, tasting or listening to it. It is only after we have gained information about the physical properties of the thing we are exploring that we can move on to investigating it at a more sophisticated level.

Because sensory exploration is the foundation of all learning, individuals who have visual or hearing impairments and those who have inadequate sensory integration or sensory processing abilities are at a great disadvantage and are therefore at higher risk for experiencing delayed development and learning disabilities.

All skills and concepts follow the same sequence of developmental stages: acquiring information about something's physical properties by exploring it with the sensory organs, discovering how these properties change when an action is taken (cause and effect relationships), and the ability to manipulate this information symbolically in the mind in the absence of the thing itself.

Children with atypical development progress through the same stages of concept development and in the same order as children with typical development. Due to the sensory processing problems that the atypical population experiences, however, they often cannot progress as fast through these stages and can become stuck in a stage for years, perhaps even indefinitely, if they are unable to gain access to the information and experiences they need in order to progress to the next higher level.

The fist two stages of skill or concept development (we call this "cognitive" development) are the sensory stages. In the first stage the learner uses only one sense at a time to explore something. Stage One is marked by behaviors like watching but not touching or looking away from something that is being manipulated by the hands.

Stage Two is marked by exploration behaviors that show the coordination of two or more senses: an object an be manipulated at the same time it is being watched or it can be mouthed at the same time it is being manipulated with the fingers.

The sensory stages illustrate the progression from "simple to complex" and from "single to multiple" that will mark all of the stages of cognitive development. In language development, for example, infants vocalize and produce individual sounds, grunts, or squeals before they produce more complex constructions like combining consonants and vowels ("canonical babbling"). In the same way, children first explore individual physical properties of things before they can coordinate their senses well enough to explore two or more dimensions of an object at once.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Is Your Special Education Child Actually Being Served?

First of all, I would like to let you know that there are many special education teachers who, day in and day out advocate for special education children, and teach your child to the best of their abilities. The fact is that these teachers are not being supported, and are being made to put their license on the line, and first and foremost serve the local high-profile students first. What do I mean by high-profile students? I mean students whose parents are school administrators, lawyers, local politicians, or work for some other local high-profile organization. That's right, if you are not one of these parents, then you need to investigate whether or not your child is being served properly, according to his IEP. The excuse that the administration give the teachers for this behavior, is that they do not have enough money to hire enough special education teachers.

Let me take a moment here and educate you as to what that statement actually means. Not having enough money does not mean that the state or the city does not have enough money to hire teachers. What it means is that they did not budget enough money to hire the teachers necessary to accomplish the balanced service of special education students. They have budgeted many thousands of dollars in states such as South Carolina, for roads, highways, and research to stop flooding on city streets, and at the same time laid off teachers. Oh, of course they don't call it a layoff, they cover that by calling teachers positions slots, and just tell you the parents that there are no slots left. The parents tend to buy into what the school system says, because the school system is very good at covering their tracks.

At this point you may be asking how I know these things, and where I was able to acquire my information. I have been a special education teacher in two states and in at least three major counties. I have relatives who are teachers in other states, so my information is about as inside as it gets. In fact you can hang your hat on it. As I am writing this I am in contact with state officials and am trying to create a task force for this very purpose. I don't know if I will be able to pull this off without the backing of many parents with children having special needs, and attending public schools. Now that you understand that I am in contact with many special education teachers, I want you to know the unbelievable truth, and that is that when these teachers complain that they are serving high-profile cases, and they are not able to find the time to serve others, that do not have parents in high places, they are threatened, they are told that they will lose their jobs if they say the wrong thing, they are given extra work to do, sometimes in an attempt to have teachers quit if they rock the boat.

The teacher knows that the administration will not back them and that their license is on the line. Yet they also know that they will be fired if they say or do the wrong thing. Many teachers have contacted me in tears, and believe me it is not just one or two, nor is it just one school system, but many. The sole purpose of this article is to let you know the truth, so that if you have a child who is in special education and you are not one of those high-profile cases, the first thing you should do after reading this article is get on the telephone with your school system and find out exactly what services your child is getting, and when they are getting them. some of you will be shocked to find that your child may not have been served properly for many months. The heart of the law that protects our special education students is based on equality.

If the state does not have enough teachers to be in compliance with the law, shame on them. I would call your governor's office, your senator's office, your state education office, and let your legislators know how you feel about the situation. Don't stand silent, silence does not change things. Although the school system itself is completely upside down and a mess, overall throughout the country, it is in the area of special education that we fail I students the most. Don't believe for a moment that is the teachers fault when children don't learn, and that we have to create programs to keep good teachers and classrooms, and get rid of the bad ones. The truth is good teachers are being taken out of classrooms by mandated education, and in services that they have to perform or they will not be able to keep their certification. When good teachers are not in classrooms, children don't learn. we all have heard it said that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, well, I am telling you it does.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tips For Parents of Specials Needs Children

You can get a very good, quality education for your special needs child within the school system. You do need to take heed of some important aspects when dealing with disabilities and the school district.

Educate yourself before you go into a meeting with the professionals in the school district:

* Learn all you can about your child's specific disability (classification)
* Learn your rights & responsibilities (for you & your child)
* Learn the rights & responsibilities of the school district
* Find an advocate through the state dept. of education
* Find a support group or start one of your own
* Find online support groups- they have a wealth of information that you may need.

You will never learn all the laws of special education as there are several notebooks (about 4 inches thick) filled with these laws. You can, however, learn the laws that pertain to your child and their specific needs.

Your child is entitled to a FREE & Appropriate Public Education!!!

Always keep a record of any and all meetings (IEP or private) dealing with your child. Document every call you have with the school, teacher or district official, with the date, time, name(s) of those involved & the specifics of the conversation. Do this with all meetings as well (general or IEP specific). Any notes sent home should also be kept in this file for reference at a later date, if necessary.

The school &/or district does not usually freely offer the information to all that you feel your child needs. Before attending any meetings with the school personnel, write a list of questions to ask about the things you feel your child needs to achieve his/her maximum potential in his/her school career.