Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Apology for hiatus -- I am back!

Sincere apologies for hiatus in postings. I am back! I will endeavor to update on technology and new approaches and research.

ADHD Classroom Strategies

This Grade 5 teacher has some good suggestions in this video. I also like his approach to discussing what works and what doesn't work. What do you think?

Friday, October 8, 2010

NPR Book Story: 'Paying Attention' With An ADHD Mother And Son

Investigative reporter Katherine Ellison's son, Buzz, was charming and bright. But he was also driving her crazy. Both mother and son were constantly at odds, and Buzz was anxious, angry and lonely.

When Buzz was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Ellison was already familiar with its symptoms — she soon learned that she had ADHD as well.

Struggling with her own diagnosis while trying to be an effective parent was proving an uphill battle. As Ellison's and Buzz's mutual frustration mounted, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist decided to spend a year doing what came most naturally to her: investigating.

Ellison's memoir, Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention, chronicles the year she spent studying the disorder, its causes, and what worked and what didn't when it came to treating her son.

Listen to NPR story here

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer reflections

Summer is here and it's a great time for parents to have some space to think about the school year that just passed and the one that's ahead. Unfortunately it's also the time when all the school work comes home and she find yourself incidentally leaving through reams of it and taken out of context it can sometimes create alarm.

Summer is a good time to try to tackle things at a gentle pace therefore:

* schedule some daily typing practice.
* if necessary try to find games that insist on words being entered as commands.
* obtain a never ending stream of books that interest your child, so they lounge about reading rather than over doing it on the Wii.
* Try to revise areas of maths from last year and look at next years curriculum to prep for what will be coming.
* Have fun and play chase!
*Talk to other parents who have children with written output problems and get some inspiration.

Major discovery: Twist n write pencil

This is the twist n write pencil that an OT gave my child to help avoid what she termed the "death grip" when he's writing. It's a real boon and will help your child. They are widely available in the US at stationary shops it appears, in Canada I am less clear how they are obtained, but will post any links I find. Ditto UK.

Please post your experiences using it in the comments section and other shops you've found to buy it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Former Google Executive On Getting Organized

In this era of information overload, the experience of being stressed, forgetful and overwhelmed means your mind is perfectly normal. Douglas Merrill, author of the new book Getting Organized in the Google Era, writes about his own struggle with dyslexia, and how that forced him to develop techniques for remembering information.

Listen to NPR interview here

Monday, February 22, 2010

Former Olympian used ADHD to his advantage

With the spotlight on Canadian Olympians on the podium, one former gold medallist is using the attention to highlight the upside of a stigmatized disorder — ADHD.

“I found that the disorder isn’t negative infliction but it gives positive energy as well,” said Adam Kreek, who reached his pinnacle in men's eight rowing at the Beijing Games in 2008.

Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when he was six — he is only now speaking out about the condition for the first time.

Kreek said he learned to channel his energy through the rowing when he was teenager.

“Anyone with ADHD can train their mind to control the incredible energy people with ADHD have,” said Kreek, who describes himself as a high energy child who had trouble concentrating. “I found rowing to be an outlet to control my ADHD."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Breaking things down

As the demands of the school curriculum increase with age, so does the homework. For children with written output problems this is enormously stressful. It is enormously stressful for parents also. Trying to keep the child focused and in the chair is the first challenge.

I am continually working on finding strategies to make homework less onerous. One thing is to break everything down into clear stages. Thus:

Type the first question on the computer screen. Allow the child to answer that single question.

Then move to the next one.

Don't try to copy out worksheets onto the screen and have the child fill them up. The sight of words overwhelms these children. Think of it like covering information with an A4 sheet in the book.

Another thing which exasperates these children is the concept of the length of time homework will take because of writing impediments. Therefore explain they need only consider the question they are on.

Continually find ways to break down large tasks. The work or task must feel manageable of the child's interest will fail and they will absolutely downtool.

Another challenge is their tendency to do the reverse and zoom through everything, half doing it, just to be finished. They produce inferior work that does not reflect their capabilities.

Negotiate with the teacher around the work. See if you can get agreement on quality over volume.

When they really begin to openly despair. Scribe for them. Or offer to scribe some questions (scribe can also be typing).

The critical thing is to ensure your child has understood the concept especially if it's maths. They do not necessarily need to do 20 questions to prove they've understood it.

With social science seek audio and audio visual materials to enhance learning such as documentaries or recorded books or photography.

I am going to try to find some mind map templates to upload here.

I heartily recommend inspiration software for brainstorming. It's very child friendly. There are also some new open source options.

Another school year

As the stress of the school year is now is full swing it's time to share some reflections on the latest modifications.

We are now using a computer inclass for as much writing as possible. This relieves some stress and aides output. It is not a panacea because it doesn't overcome the issue of things like worksheets and sometimes my child can become frustrated with the computer.

It has allievated much stress though and I'd heartily recommend parents to embrace technology at their earliest opportunity.

The computer we are currently using is a Dell Inspiron 12 inch. The battery power is good, but the keyboard is irritating for larger, or normal sized adult hands. It works fine for a child, it works fine for us at the moment.

Personally I prefer Mac and think that some of the software on mac is excellent. I also think if children are going to work in an interface the best aesthetic experience enhances it and mac is superior in this way.

Battery life is something mac needs to improve.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Computers -- your feedback?

Please share your experiences with computers that you've purchased for children with writing problems. I'd like to compile some reviews of the kind of laptops that are particularly practical and useful for children.

There are increasing choices and possibilities with netbooks and lightweight laptops however parents need to chose sensibly because the small keyboards can produce drawbacks etc.

I will shortly be updating our experiences.

Computers are the main bridge to overcoming output problems as far as I can tell. The laptop has aided output considerably. There are still challenges... but it's hopeful.