Archives for Special Needs Learners

Education

ADHD Types I and II?

One of my students included this very interesting 9-minute TED talk in a psychology class project.

The speaker proposes that, as with diabetes, there are now arguably two forms of ADHD. We could call the inborn variety ADHD Type I; Type II would be what one doctor calls "Acquired Attention Deficit Disorder", developed through excessive Internet use.
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Emotions and Feelings

Day Two: Emotions affect reasoning. (Twelve Days of Wisdom)

People use words as weapons, to defend themselves. It is common for people to attack with anger when they are afraid and to become insulting when they are hurt or jealous.  -Dr. Shirley Glass

When we are anxious or angry we can’t think straight. This means we ought to avoid taking action or having heavy conversations while immersed in these mood states.

The emotions of fear and anger trigger our internal fight-or-flight mechanism, which sends epinephrine (adrenalin) gushing through our bloodstream. Our heart races, our blood pressure shoots up, our platelets ready themselves to clot in case we are injured...and our higher-level thinking skills shut down. After all, it doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to run from a saber-toothed tiger.
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Education

5 Tips to Minimize Final Exam Anxiety

Final exams can be stressful, but here are some tips that can help make exam season go smoothly:

Get started now! Anxiety builds as you worry and do nothing. It may feel very difficult to get started, but you will feel immediate relief.
Begin reviewing now. You need not wait until teachers hand out review guides. Get out your old tests and quizzes and begin reworking them. (Don't merely reread the questions and answers; you need to cover up your old answers and actually rework /rewrite each question on paper).
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General

The Connection Between Attention, Memory and Learning

My son, Matt, uses this simple trick to keep track of his cell phone: Whenever he puts it down, he taps it three times; the tapping focuses his attention just long enough for the location of his phone to register in his memory.

Meanwhile, I spend way too many frantic minutes searching for my phone, my calculator, my car keys, my gym bag...and bemoaning my "terrible memory."
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General

In Defense of Your “Lazy” Child

I've been a tutor for 40 years, and I've never encountered a lazy student.

Scratch the surface of laziness and underneath you'll find fear, confusion, frustration, lack of knowledge, lack of skills, anger, sadness...

And, often, just plain exhaustion.

Willpower is a limited resource, and the demands of the school day can drain a student of her ability to attend and persevere.
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General

Better Math Instruction, Fewer Learning Issues?

I'm hoping that as math instruction improves and becomes more "brain-friendly," we'll see fewer kids struggling in math.
When I was in my doctoral program, I was amazed at some of the research coming out on kids’ understanding of math concepts. We assume that children all learn pretty much the same math at roughly the same ages, and that they learn these concepts in math class.
In fact, there’s a wide natural variation, and not necessarily a lot of correlation between the math kids are taught in school and the math they actually know.
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General

Learning to See Both Sides

[I'm devoting my Monday blog posts to the topic of Learners with Special Needs, which, I find, describes us all in some way or another.] 

I work part-time at a school for students with all kinds of special needs. In addition to the usual academic subjects, kids also take classes in such topics as executive function, sensory integration and behavior therapy.

So much of the instruction is simple and useful and applicable to all of us!

When kids at the school have some conflict, they are required to fill out a Conflict Resolution Sheet:
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Education

Anger Management Made Super-Simple

[I'm devoting my Monday blog posts to the topic of Learners with Special Needs, which, I find, describes us all in some way or another.] 

I work part time at a school for students with all kinds of special needs. In addition to the usual academic subjects, kids also take classes in such topics as executive function, sensory integration and behavior therapy.

I've been fascinated by how simple and useful a lot of the instruction is, and how applicable it is to all of us!
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General

The Worst Room of the House for Studying

[I'm devoting my Monday blog posts to the topic of Learners with Special Needs, which, I find, describes us all in some way or another.] 

Here's a thought for students with executive function issues, and for anybody trying to get some studying done:

I'm a nerdy person and I study all the time, and pretty much everywhere. My favorite study locations are my dining room table, my coffee table, and any public library.

I also do just fine in coffee shops, on the train, in waiting rooms, in the car (reading while parked, or lectures-on-CD while driving), on the beach (I have been known to bring a textbook to the beach, yes), and while watching a less-than-enthralling movie on TV (I'll browse a book during the dull parts).

I even watch Khan Academy videos in the kitchen while doing dishes; I set up my laptop on the counter and try not to splash.

The ONE place I don't study?  My bedroom. Why? Because I go in there and open a book and fall asleep!
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