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My life experience proves that all things are possible with faith, persistence and a desire to be more than anyone thought possible. I want to give back to students what I've found in working with and overcoming obstacles. Learning isn't always easy, but it is well worth the effort. Some of us, including myself, need more time and patience to learn for information to be understood and applied. Because I've been there, I can transfer and apply my knowledge and expertise to others. Over the course of my life, I've worked with people from young to old at every spectrum of disability and personality.
My experience includes childcare where I implemented learning strategies and experiences into my care. I've worked with children with learning and behavioral disabilities along with my own 2 children. Over many years, I've helped my friends' children with their homework. I also taught missions education for school age children for 3.5 years and now teach Adult Sunday School for about 2 years now. For 3 years I helped care for a child who needed assistance with physical and occupational therapy. Even my youth years were spent in volunteer recreational activities with the elderly since my mom worked at a nursing home. Since both my boys have behavioral and learning disabilities, I'm experienced in understanding I.E.P.'s. I've done a lot of research into learning techniques so that I can teach my children and myself as well. I've had college classes in Child Development, Infant and Toddler Development, and just completed Supporting Students with Disabilities class.
I also like to add I have 15 years of clerical and secretarial experience. Positions include: hotel sales-marketing; non-profit-field staff support; medical-administrative, publishing and media; tax preparation-assistant; grocery-cashier, customer service; government-receptionist, census enumerator. All this expertise in office skills and abilities I can share with others who need help in those areas.
Every person is created different, which enables them to learn differently; also because of that every individual needs to be considered when learning. It is my experience that educators don't always take that into consideration. As a tutor, I consider each person's ability and work with them where they are at. I also set expectations. I believe that people need to be empowered. They need to know they can do what they set out to do; although that may not always be in the same way that others do it, the destination or goals will be reached. I refuse to allow anyone to think they can't do it, because many times growing up, I was told I wouldn't amount to much or not to expect much. God taught me better. He showed His vision and purpose. With Him all things are possible. He's taught me to never give up and keep pressing on toward the goal. I will in turn help students gain a vision for their learning and help them press toward that goal.
When I assist in learning. I will get to know the student and or the family, the curriculum, their needs and abilities, and their environment. This all plays crucial roles in learning. I want students and families to be honest and open to express their concerns. I'll set up a tutoring plan right away that includes goals, expectations, and incentives. I expect accountability for myself as well as the student and family. Feedback is important to me as the reason I'm tutoring is to help the student learn.
This summer, I'd love the opportunity to work with as many students as possible. In the fall, I start at Stout University in Menomonie where I will major in Vocational Rehabilitation.
My knowledge of ADH/D is extensive. ADH/D is classified under three parts of the IDEA Act (Learning Disabilities, Behavioral Disabilities, and Other Health Impairments). The DSM-IV classifies Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder into three types: Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined. To be diagnosed, there must be 6 or more symptoms for at least 6 months straight that deters from the appropriate developmental level.
The inattentive type symptoms (characteristics) are:
* Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in study/work/activities
* Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks/activities
* Seems not to listen when spoken to directly
* Lack of follow-through on instructions/school work/chores, or workplace duties (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
* Difficulty organizing tasks/activities
* Avoids, dislikes or reluctant to engage in tasks requiring sustained mental effort
* Loses necessary things for tasks/activities
* Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
* Forgetful in daily activities
The Hyperactivity type symptoms (characteristics) are:
* Fidgets or squirms with hands or feet or squirms in seat when sitting still is expected
* Leaves classroom seating or other situations with “sitting still” expectations
* Runs about or climbs excessively at inappropriate times (adults may feel very restless)
* Difficulty quietly playing or engaging in leisure activities
* "On the go" or as if "driven by a motor"
* Talks excessively
The Impulsivity type symptoms (characteristics) are:
* Blurts out answers before questions completed
* Difficulty awaiting turn
* Interrupts or intrudes on others
I personally understand ADH/D because I have Inattentive type as well as my children who have Combined type. Since the moment I received my diagnosis, I’ve spent 14 years researching. I’ve learned about the possible causes of ADH/D such as biological, psychological, and environmental. I’ve learned trigger factors (i.e. repetitive high pitch noise, stress, foods, chemicals, illness, etc) and about over-stimulation when to much environmental stimulation might trigger a “shut-down”. New research explores cognitive affects, developmental patterns in ADH/D, and the correlation with other learning and cognitive disabilities. I’m always constantly learning. I use this knowledge and apply it personally to myself in my education and work life as well as my children in assisting in their education. I realized how ADH/D affects learning not just in attention but in visual and auditory processing, sensory motor skills, and cognitive abilities.
Over the last 14 years, I’ve used learning strategies to teach myself and my children how to live, work, and study with ADH/D. I have many strategies and techniques for different characteristics of ADH/D.
Below are just few:
Many people with ADH/D struggle with organization which may lead to a feeling of overload or to quit. Sari Solden, M.S. puts it, “giftedly unorganized.” I developed a “Stop, Drop, and Roll” approach by which I “stop” what I’m doing then “drop” it into the appropriate place, and “roll” it up in a job completed. It allows me the time to say enough to the mess, the chance to find a place where it belongs, and then the opportunity to complete a task. It’s amazingly simple but really effective.
Often distraction meets disorganization. When this occurs, I break down directions in simple, short, concrete terms. I like to keep a general outline so as to view the bigger goal, but have student complete one task at a time before moving to the next (single, goal-oriented tasking).
From experience, teaching self-monitoring techniques are the most important factor for a student’s lifelong learning. Give a person a fish, they eat for the day; but teach them to fish, they’ll eat for a lifetime. I see self-monitoring more than identifying behaviors the students manage and rate. I see it as helping them understand themselves and how to deal with issues as they encounter them. I give them the tools to help them manage their own behavior and performance.
How do I get the student’s attention? First, I keep it interesting. What ever I discover gets the student’s mind engaged. I especially like to bring the lessons “to life” and make it relevant to their life. I know first hand that the best way to learn is to employ all the senses (multi-sensory approach) when giving lessons.
I could easily write a book on ADH/D; however for reference, I keep a Special Education portfolio from my Supporting Instruction in Special Education class. My instructor said I went “above and beyond”, but my experience is above and beyond.
Dyslexia is a language processing disorder that causes difficulty in reading, writing and spelling. It occurs when areas of the brain do not interpret language correctly, but doesn’t interfere with the ability to think or understand complex ideas. Dyslexia might appear by itself or in combination with other learning disabilities and often is hereditary. Research shows that children with Dyslexia usually excel at problem solving, reasoning, seeing the “big picture”, and creative thinking.
Dyslexia is the difficulty with rhyming and separating sounds that make up spoken words which are critical in the process of learning to read (separating sounds and matching letters). This difficulty in connecting sounds to the letters of words and recognizing the written words results in difficulty understanding sentences.
I found two important factors play a key role in learning in general: time and interest. Reading in particular can be a difficult task for students with Dyslexia, so they need time to learn and learning needs to be interesting. Higher education only reiterated the importance of what I grew up knowing about Dyslexia from my brother. Taking turns reading aloud allows for increased enjoyment of lessons and helps students learn better by providing practice and feedback on vocabulary and comprehension skills. I find from working with preschool children with learning disabilities that reading aloud allows for greater opportunity for them to self-monitor their own ability through participation. As they get older, they learn fluency and expression which helps them make associations from the sound to the written word. I like to set the stage for reading or activities. This builds anticipation and excitement as well as helps students mentally prepare for what they are about to learn. It’s important to me to make what the students learns relevant to them which in turns helps them more eagerly internalize what they learn and retain it.
Students with Dyslexia may experience difficulty in working memory (remembering directions and learning sequences which affect their ability to hold auditory information long enough to process operations). This applies to language and math skills. In math particularly, the student may not be able to hold numbers in his/her head long enough to remember and/or complete the whole word problem. Using graphic organizers helps students formulate and compare facts and processes. This also allows for “chunking” information into organized, accessible packages for them to resource when needed. This builds on their “big picture” intelligence. Other working memory strategies include writing down information, repetitive (but interesting) practice, association of facts and processes, and memory games.
This is only a synopsis of Dyslexia. I keep more information in my Supporting Students with Special Education portfolio.
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