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Hello Everyone,   Many parents that come to me treat their child's disability as a disease. They feel that the right thing to do, is find a cure. They are unaware that their child's disability is a sign of great gifts and talents. It is my job as a tutor and teacher, to guide parents and students as they unlock their child's hidden gifts and talents, while helping that child discover that they also can learn. 

Recently, I did a radio show on this very subject and I felt like I needed to share what I shared on the show. You see, I, too, know the struggles and intricacies of homeschooling a special needs child…I actually have two. The list I’m going to give is in no way exhaustive. It’s just a hodgepodge, if you will, of things I have figured out in my journey. *Denial is your enemy—recognize that there is a special need. This is the first step and usually the hardest. Finding out that your child has a special need changes your whole world. Adaptions have to be made. Diets have to be tweaked. Triggers have to be removed. Help may need to be sought out. Not wanting to realize the possibility can be more hurtful than anything. *You CAN teach your child! This was one thing that took me a while to grab a hold to. I had people coming at me from every direction recommending doctors, the school system, special schools…everything. Not that it wasn’t useful information, but I felt... read more

It is “common sense” to believe that we share the same sense of commonality amongst all others within society. However, we should never assume what is common to one’s self is necessarily applicable to the entirety of humanity. Each and every individual is independently designed to learn, grow and facilitate thought at his or her own pace to which cannot be labeled as common, but rather should be seen as unique. As unique individuals we must help one another to learn our own common knowledge in order for him or her to flourish. What is not necessarily “common sense” is the understanding that we, as members of society, are responsible for the facilitation of all other’s level of common sense. A powerful way to prevent others from engaging in those behaviors that may irritate ourselves we must educate rather than discriminate and judge. So maybe next time, rather than judging an individual’s faults as a defect of “common sense,” pursue the opportunity as an educator, friend, or simply... read more

Tutoring appears to be one of the best ways to increase the academic performance for a child that has been identified to be "on the spectrum". With an increasing number of spectrum-identified school-age children that are entering public and private institutions in lieu of homeschooling, working with students that learn differently is probably one of the best ways to help traditional teachers to boost their I.Q. I have found that multiple strategies work but they also have to be simplistic in nature. Parents and children can benefit from a tutor that does not sound or look like the classroom teacher, especially, if they are experienced and creative. The "spectrum" ranges from mild to severe so please don't seek a "one user plan" but rather create a "playbook" of learning manipulatives, charts, color coded folders, and a "bottle of enthusiasm". I prefer to use simple analogies, magazines, online research databases, diagrams and pictures... read more

Hello!   This summer (after several years at a University tutoring center), I decided to take on two high school students with ADHD. I had previously worked with a small handful of ADHD students and thought I knew what to expect. I did not think it would be so challenging! But with a few sessions of adaptation, a lot of home research, and a barrel full of patience, I am ready to share both my experience and advice with fellow tutors looking to work with this group of learners.   Of my two learners, one was severely hyperactive and highly distractible while the other had little self motivation or ability to concentrate. These two boys were quite opposite and would have undoubtedly never been good companions. I will begin by discussing my hyperactive student as he forced me to make the most adjustments to my tutoring techniques.   First, I would suggest that any highly distractible learner using technology to PUT IT AWAY. If the student needs a... read more

In 2013, I did this talk with teachers & parents, to explain very simply the many myths and misconceptions we have about learning difficulties. Come, watch me take you into the world of the child who struggles:

Everyone knows education is vital to learning. You learn facts. You become familiar with a process. You discover tricks and tips and mnemonics. You notice details. You explore possibilities. The flow of information from source to student can be like a river or like a trickle. Either way, this is all contained in the education part of learning. But this is only one-third of learning.   Where are the other two-thirds? Hidden inside the other two 'e's.   First was education. The second is edification. If your spirits are not uplifted, if you are sad or frustrated, if you are tired or bored, learning can't happen. No matter how many times you rinse and repeat, your brain does not absorb the information. The simplest form of edification is entertainment. When at a loss, I have been goofy for students, (yes, on purpose!) to get a laugh and to break the tension. Two of the highest forms of edification are positive reinforcement and affirmation. Hearing and seeing... read more

I love teaching Algebra and Pre-Algebra.  This Spring I had a student who was having a difficult time with the concept, and I finally came up with a plan.   5X+3=28   OK, here you go.  In this box (on the plate, whatever) are 28 M&M's.  Some are loose, some are in baggies.  There are 5 baggies, and the same amount of M&M's is in each bag.  How many are in each bag?     Then we go through the process of removing the loose M&M's.  Do we still have 28 M&M's in the box?  NO! we took out 3, so we subtract 3 from both sides, the visual image and hands on experience makes processing the formula a no-brainer, now we have 5 baggies and 25 M&M's.  The student can easily solve the remaining portion of the equation.     We did about half a dozen problems with different candy (with pre-session parent approval) and the conditions are, if you get the answer correct, you can... read more

         After 30 years of tutoring special education children, I have decided that all academic problems are mine, not the students. Thus, I analyzed what has already been provided in detail to determine what does and does not work. For example, children have different learning styles that are not rigid, but flexible. Each of us may be good at a tactile sport but not efficient at a sport requiring gross motor skills. Or a student may read silently better than aloud, yet prefer to read aloud to younger siblings. Another child may draw a concept better than listening to a teacher's lecture. Learning by both visual and auditory processing may be best for others, who do not prefer writing. Tactile learners can use both visual and auditory means for success.          I was talking with a student about his needs who listened attentively, yet was not making progress. I switched to a visual approach, placing my directions on 3 x 5 cards... read more

I have a wonderful student and the parents are fantastic.   They are very patient with me and understanding, which I appreciate. However the progress of the student is evolving. Certain disabilities have been uncovered that the parents didn't really know she had. This causing me to re-evaluate my teaching on a weekly basis.    This poses an interesting question. What do you do when you hit a block in the road?   I think the most important thing you can do is to communicate with the parents of said child. Often times, we think of tutors and parents as different entities. We don't do that at school though. That's why there are conferences. Parents and teachers work together to give the child the best educational support possible. So why would tutoring be any different?   I constantly work with the parents of my student. When the student is tested, they have a meeting with me. When there are things going on with the school, they... read more

*Tutors of students with Special Needs can best tutor their students by being aware of legal issues that can impact the education of children with Special Needs. Many of these children have documented disabilities, and/or are students entitled to services under Section 504 and various portions of the ADA (American with Disabilities Act). The students' rights under these statutes often result in a decrease in the amount of homework, and the type of homework that they must complete.   These students may be granted special accommodations to help them complete their homework and take tests. For example, a student with Special Needs may be allowed to use calculators, even when others students aren't, they may get to take tests designed just for them, be entitled to consider different school placements, have the type and number of homework problems adjusted down, and/or receive... read more

I am new to Wyzant and want to introduce myself to the community here.  I lived in Mexico for the past 18 months and am returning to San Diego at the end of September.  I have a TESOL certification and have been Teaching English a Second Language while living here.  I am also a Speech and Language Pathologist and so I have many skills to help with tutoring especially for English/Language and study skills.  I am also a Yoga Instructor and this may also be helpful when preparing and reinforcing lessons.     I want you to feel free to contact me for tutoring but you need to know I will not be around until the end of September.  I will not respond to tutor posts until I am closer to the date of my return to San Diego but certainly if you want to work with me you can contact me and we can plan for an after September date following the procedures set up by WyzAnt.  I look forward to helping out.  Anita

A great number of parents have asked me how to best help their child. My answer is to be your child's biggest advocate and cheerleader.  If your child is struggling your child needs you to speak for them and help them get the tools they need. You can do this by researching the problem whether it be dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, OCD, test taking anxiety or other problem. Make sure to get a second opinion and have them evaluated by a specialist. As a parent who had a problem with a child with health issues that were unable to be diagnosed I had to be persistent in getting the answers I believed completely fit what was going on with my child.  Trust in your instinct no one knows your child better than you do.  Once you have a diagnosis and methods for helping your child follow through with the treatment plan consistently and give it a chance to work.  Remember change does not happen over night.  If it doesn't work then go back to researching and... read more

As the school year ramps up again, I wanted to put out a modified version of a Memo of Understanding for parents and students. It seems each year in the rush to get through the first weeks of school parents and students forget the basic first good steps and then the spiral downwards occurs and then the need for obtaining a tutor and then the ‘wish for promises’ from a tutor. Pay attention to your child’s folder or agenda book. A student is generally not able to self regulate until well into high school. Some people never quite figure it out. Be the best person you can be by helping your child check for due dates, completeness, work turned in on time. Not only will this help your child learn to create and regulate a schedule, it prevents the following types of conversations I always disliked as a teacher ("Can you just give my child one big assignment to make up for the D/F so they can pass"; "I am going to talk to... read more

Although learning is awesome, it can be a difficult and frustrating journey for many students. This difficulty, however, is often times quite normal although most feel it means that a child may not be able to learn or that he/she is so frustrated that learning is no longer taking place. This is where the experienced tutor steps in; for frustration in learning is a part of the learning itself. I have taught and tutored many students and have seen first hand how this frustration can leave some students, and their parents, feeling helpless and hopeless. But there is ALWAYS Hope!!! What they have failed to realize is that as the brain learns difficult concepts, it can only take in parts at a time, little parts at a time. So although it may seem no learning is taking place, it actually is, just in smaller segments. In fact, the most frustration comes right before a new concept is achieved. This is when most children become the 'most' frustrated. The may not want to go to school, complain... read more

When working with children (especially 7 and below) it can be vital to their memory retention to take a break every thirty minutes. I have had great success with my younger students who become stir crazy after half an hour of reading by leaving the study are and going outside or in a space where we wont bother others and doing some physical activities. Since time is a concern it is important to only do this for ten minutes or so. Sometimes we run and play tag, or we will do some jumping jacks, or just do some silly dancing. When the student returns they are feeling a little more refreshed, lighthearted, and ready to continue. That being said, it is very important to make it clear that the activity is is only supposed to be for a few minutes then it's right back to studying. I hope this helps! Miss Jessica

May is a busy month for schools. Standardized tests, field trips, and graduation planning takes center stage. Teachers meet with parents of struggling students as well as those who would benefit from summer enrichment classes to discuss summer school enrollment. This article will help parents/ guardians decide whether or not to enroll their child(ren) in summer school. A "Bad Rap" The words “summer school” tend to stir negative thoughts. Many parents and students falsely believe that going to summer school is a bad thing. Some cite teasing as a reason for not sending their child to summer school. Others think that their child will become overwhelmed without a summer break. In truth, research has shown that students who do not participate in any school – related activities during a two – month summer break can lose up to three months of the previous year’s learning! Teachers always include nearly a month’s worth of “re-teaching” (reviewing the previous year’s content)... read more

Over the past two years, I have discovered some very effective methods for helping ADD/ADHD students improve their concentration levels and ultimately their, academic performance. When my ADD/ADHD students struggle to concentrate, my job as a tutor is to find a solution. Tutoring one-on-one gives me the opportunity to make what a student believes is difficult extremely easy. Many times, students do not understand because they are not processing the information correctly. As a special needs educator, I make learning much easier. While many classroom teachers advocate ADD/ADHD medication, I believe that medication should be used: (1) as a last resort and (2) as a temporary fix while a long term solution is being sought and (3) in conjunction with other therapy and teaching that fosters good academic skills, reduces anxiety and tension at home and at school. As an experienced teacher, I have proven methods for treating ADD/ADHD students and improving their ability to concentrate. To... read more

I learned in my human development class that babies learn through repetition = Rote memory You may have also witnessed the ease with which the ABC's were learned. Mary Had a Little Lamb? Twinkle Twinkle? It is easier to commit something to memory through a song. Why is it so easy to remember that annoying tune on the radio? To better memorize - Words - Phrases - Rules (Grammatical, mathematical etc) Try putting it to a simple song tune. Ex My 2 year old learned how to spell his name BINGO style. L-O-G-A-N.

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