How Research Leads to Solutions for Struggling Learners

Have you or a loved one received a diagnosis of “developmental dyslexia” or “dyslexia”? Have you or a loved one struggled with learning to read – no matter what methods and curricula have been used? Research leads us to more answers to our questions and more solutions for those who struggle.

Image result for images of books and reading

How would you feel knowing your student would have more tools to succeed in life? What would it be like for him to learn fascinating information on his own? What would it be like to be carried off to a faraway time and place by reading a great story?

While many have considered dyslexia to be a combination of two deficits, the more current view, based on new research, providers believe that multiple deficits contribute to a diagnosis of “developmental dyslexia” will prove more helpful in helping those who struggle with reading.  Belief that “weaknesses in either the visual (rapid automatized naming -RAN) or the auditory (phonological awareness-PA) can cause dyslexia has led teachers to address these two areas.  Those with both deficits experienced severe difficulties in reading. (Wolf in Journal of Educational Psychology, 1999)

Now, more and more look to these areas and some additional areas: genetics, environmental, and perceptive/cognitive differences.  With the use of fMRIs we can see what is going on inside the human brain.  In a recent webinar, neuroscientist, Dr. Martha Burns, reported new research that confirms how these factors interact to present different kinds and degrees of learning challenges.

Image result for images - brain scans

Not surprisingly the research shows that reading and language share specific parts of the brain that includes both the visual and auditory areas. While searching for the cause and effect relationship within genetic factors, researchers learned that the brain of an infant show signs of genetic causes of learning challenges discovered later. In 2017, Gaab published findings that 50% of children with a sibling or parent with dyslexia were likely to also receive a diagnosis. This number rose to 68% in identical twins.

Finding the underlying cause leads us to specific strategies for the individual since all of these factors combine in different ways.  At Unlocking Learning Potential / Family Academy Online we address reading challenges using the neurodevelopmental approach ( www.unlockinglearningpotential.net) as well as with Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant. Dr. Martha Burns, of Scientific Learning, says that Scientific Learning programs paired with an effective curriculum provide the best outcome for our children.

My name is Z.C. I began working with the learning specialist at Unlocking Learning Potential in 2009. By 2011 I could see how I had grown tremendously with my education and learning.  With the neurodevelopmental evaluation, I found out that I was far below my grade level academically. At first, I thought the activities were silly, futile and would not work, but as I kept doing them I started noticing the big differences in every area of my learning. I could read faster, comprehend more, my vocabulary increased, and my memory improved.” Z.C. graduated from high school in 2011.

Watch this video to learn more about these scientifically based solutions to learning challenges:

https://youtu.be/5BmNPJ9KdSo

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3 Ways to Help Students Achieve Success in Reading and Language

reading

Do you wonder why your student struggles with reading? I have spent much of my forty years of teach searching for ways to help student learn. Teaching reading has consumed most of those efforts. As you probably realize, many of our students today are missing developmental pieces and cognitive skills.

I have found that children are so very different and learning challenges do not always respond to the same interventions. However, educators across the country help students achieve success in reading and language using two Scientific Learning programs: Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant

These programs provide us with 3 ways to help our students:

  1. Build students’ cognitive skills. Cognitive (learning) skills addressed by Fast ForWord products:  memory, attention, processing rate and sequencing  Reading Skills addressed: phonological & phonemic (sound) awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, decoding (sound out words), working memory (remembering long enough to do something with), syntax and grammar (structure of our language)

2. Prepare students’ brains to hear English. Once we fill in the missing pieces of development in the brain, a child can read and use the English language.

3.      Have students practice reading aloud, with support. Finally, we can provide opportunity for the children to read aloud – to other people and with Reading Assistant to the computer which provides timely correction.

You can read a blogger / inservice provider’s experience:  3 Ways to Help Struggling Readers and English Language Learners http://inservice.ascd.org/3-ways-to-help-struggling-readers-and-english-language-learners/

Over 250 studies show that Fast ForWord and Reading Assistance provides all of this for children across the country. www.scientificlearning.com/results

To learn how more about Fast ForWord  / Reading Assistant and how we use it with our students watch this video:  https://youtu.be/5BmNPJ9KdSo   Be sure and watch to the end for the special offers.

Personal Reflections – 2017 # 20 – What have our graduates done beyond high school?

Many of our graduates have gone to college or have gone into a trade. We will feature Jered today. While in high school we attended his Eagle Scout celebration. During high school he wrote a novel (Learn to Write the Novel Way) for class: Guns at Aparri. At one point, he stated that he had received an “atta boy” for his writing skills in a report for work.

After high school, he earned a degree in criminal justice and served in the U.S. Army Reserves.  Since then he has worked for the Department of Homeland Security.  Thank you, Jered for your service to our country.

Personal Reflections 2017 – # 19 – How did the online part of Family Academy Online and Unlocking Learning Potential begin?

Online Student

Prior to 2004, the Jiles family lived in Olympia, Washington. They drove to Lakewood, Washington to attend Academy Northwest classes at our learning center. Then the dad’s work took them to Georgia. There they met the Robinson family.  I worked with the Jiles family and Tim Robinson. Later the Jiles moved to Spokane and the Robinson family moved to Texas. I continued to work with them via long distance and these students graduated.  Also around that time, Ariel from New Jersey worked with me and graduated early from ANW.  She has gone on for graduate work. I never met Tim and Ariel in person. Our use of the internet and the phone was problematic, but we were able to get the job done. Further, my learning center students in Lakewood posted assignments and responded in a closed Yahoo group.

Much has happened since that time. For one thing, we access virtually (no pun intended) all of our students online. Thankfully, our access to the internet is exceptional by comparison.  Video conferencing provides a great video and audio experience with minimal problems most of the time.  We can access many of these services for free or at least a minimal charge.  Some do cost more. For that reason, our students can access one or more of the following as appropriate: http://www.SpellingCity.com, Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant, www.hearbuilder.com, Structure of Intellect assessments, and G-Suite for Education.  I would rate simultaneous correction of writing assignments on Google Drive as my newest favorite tool.

Personal Reflections – 2017 # 18 – How did we get to know homeschooling parents?

 

WHO Convention 2000 and 2013

Through the years we had booths at the different homeschool conventions, most often the Washington Homeschool Organization’s convention which basically happened in our back yard. We went to others in the Puget Sound Area, as well as one time in Portland and one time in Spokane.  As our work developed to what it is now, we have operated as: Master Enterprises Learning Center and Amazing Grace Christian Literature, Center for Neuro Development and finally Unlocking Learning Potential.  During this time we have been affiliated with Family Academy along with its affiliate school, Academy Northwest.  We also have helped in the development of Family Academy Online. Further, we are affiliated with the International Christian Association of Neurodevelopmentalists. While living in Western Washington, we sold Christian books, homeschooling curriculum and neurodevelopmental supplies as well as providing services to homeschooling families. Now, in Oklahoma, we work with students online and only sell a few physical products. We are building our digital product line – e-books:

https://www.unlockinglearningpotential.net/maggie-s-e-books

Personal Reflections 2017 – 13 – How did we learn about the Oregon Trail and Lewis and Clark?

lewis-and-clark-trip

 

Over the years we did a number of field trips that helped us understand the Oregon Trail, Lewis and Clark’s Journey of Discovery and other Pacific Northwest History highlights.  On one occasion we went to Oregon to see The Oregon Trail museum and Fort Clatsop. Further, on another occasion we stayed overnight at the Pioneer Farm closer to home. Each of these occasions provided time to bond with our families and, of course, to learn about our past. We can learn much by understanding how our home developed.

Personal Reflections 2017 – 12 – What about annual testing?

annual-testing-catMany state home school laws require some sort of assessment either annually or during specific grades. Even if it is not required, it can provide you with additional helpful information. Most Teacher Consultants of Family Academy / Academy Northwest’s provide standardized assessments and / or non-test assessments because Washington State’s home school law requires home school students to have either a standardized test or a non-test assessment each year.

Standardized testing usually requires the student to fill in circles on an answer sheet. Scoring is according to norms (sample group of students) and produce grade equivalents, percentiles and stanines relative to that sample group of students. This requires that the test be given under specific guidelines prescribed by the test makers. Examples of these standardized tests include: California Achievement Test (CAT), Stanford Achievement Tests (SAT – not to be confused with the college entrance SAT of College Board) and Iowa Test of Basic Skills.  These tests take 2-3 days of testing.

In the Washington homeschool, a non-test assessment must be administered by a certified teacher currently working in the field of education. However, the law does not define that assessment. Therefore, when looking for a test provider, be sure and ask what the process entails and what kind of information the parent will receive. These assessments usually are only one session.

Our learning center administered group testing of California Achievement Tests for many years. We also provided one-on-one settings for SAT and ITBS. Further, we offered non-test assessments in person for years and continue to provide non-test assessments via Skype.

Personal Reflections 2017 – How did Academy Northwest look after 10 years of having its own graduation ceremony?

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Graduation, 2006 – Academy Northwest’s graduation program tells the story. All over Western Washington we have “learning centers” operated by Teacher Consultants. Our title, Teacher Consultants includes two of our functions. We teach classes to our students and we consult with their parents. Our model forms a triangle; each part has responsibilities and benefits.  Visit our website to see the “Family Academy Way” which illustrates how our affiliate school, Academy Northwest, operates.

The Family Academy Way

Here is an excerpt from that page:

The Family Academy Way includes, but is not limited to:

  • Learning within meaningful relationships
  • Accountability
  • Individualized learning plans
  • Professional guidance
  • Documentation of completed work (transcripts)
  • High standards (raising the bar)
  • Personalized help
  • Academic and personal excellence
  • Reinforcement of family values

 

Personal Reflections -2017 – 10 – What part do field trips and libraries play in homeschooling?

library-conservatory

If you ask the students, I would venture to say that field trips played a big part in their learning. Over the years we often visited the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum and then we would go across the street to see the Botanical Conservatory. The Karpeles had rotating exhibits on many topics – always interesting and sometimes they fit right in with what we were studying. Then a stop to see exotic plants at the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Wright’s Park in Tacoma topped off the day.

While our students needed to visit the public library for much of their research we did provide them with a lending library that grew over the years. When we moved to Oklahoma, much of our library found a new home in Arrow Academic Center, another Academy Northwest learning center in Bothell.

Some of our activities included a group of students and other included one-on-one studies.

Using Assessments to Unlock Learning Potential

Working hard to assess individuals….now scheduling from August and beyond, 2017!

Gender and exploration (2)

At this time of the year home educators begin to think about annual assessments. Some state laws (including Washington’s) set that as a requirement to access a “second opinion” regarding your children’s academic progress. Keep in mind that this annual assessment does not look at other factors that you believe to be important.  (See www.AllAboutLearningPress.com for their graphic: Important things that tests can’t measure…)

Unlocking Learning Potential offers a number of options for getting

that “second opinion” via video conferencing:

1. Non-Test Assessment (one of the options given in the Washington State law, but helpful for any parent).  Read about this assessment.
2. Brain Training Assessment – some parents choose this assessment if a child has learning challenges. Using the neurodevelopmenal approach our learning specialist assesses the child and then designs an Individualized Neurodevelopmental Plan which the parent may do at home. Additionally, they may choose to add ongoing support with our Brain Trainer.  If a parent is not sure, they can choose the non-test assessment and then within a month may do an upgrade at a discount.
3. NEW – online assessments available as of February 1, 2017 – Structure of Intellect Assessment. Following the Assessment a Training Module(paper) with CD is compiled for the student. This would be an excellent follow on to the Brain Training Assessment.  

Schedule a Free 30 Minute Consultation via Video Conferencing
to help you decide which option is best for you.
maggie@centerforneurodevelopment.com
Use code: MC1-2017

Introducing: Structure of Intellect

Background and History of Structure of Intellect

  • Dr. J. P. Guilford – During WWII given the task of determining why 35% of Air Corp pilot training candidates who were healthy and had an IQ of 120 or more were washing out.
  • Guilford used a set of job descriptions for pilots, navigators and bombardiers to construct a test.
  • Then he compared the scores of successful trainees with unsuccessful trainees. He kept those test items that were consistent with the outcome and threw out the rest. This new test was a better predictor of success.
  • The attrition rate dropped below 10%.
  • Dr. Mary Meeker and Dr. Robert Meeker have taken this “work place” model and developed an educational SOI.
Structure of Intellect Model –a different way to look at and measure intelligence.

Combination of Three Main Areas = 24 Learning Abilities
I.  Three Hemispheric (Dimensions) Learning Styles – Right, Left and Mid- sides of the brain.
A. Figural – concrete; can touch, see, and hear directly. (right)
B.  Symbolic – abstract; shorthand for concrete. (mid hemisphere)
C.   SeMantic —  concepts and ideas. (left)
II. 5 Ways of Thinking – (ReCognition, Memory, Evaluation, Convergent and Divergent Production)
III. 6 Units of Information (Units, Classes, Relations, Systems, Transformations, Implications)

Each ability takes one of each of the three main areas – using  a letter from each – get a subtest and an ability – MFU.

How does this differ from achievement tests?
  • Achievement tests – lack of success without a cause.
  • In medicine: Taking a temperature fever, but without a cause.
  • “A diagnostic-type test (blood panel) leads to a treatment plan (in medicine).”The SOI test is like a blood panel. Measures:
  • 24 abilities that relate to basic learning.
  • Analyzed and interpreted in light of the learning problems … leads to a treatment plan.”
  • SOI uses Training Modules (paper & / or CD).
  • p. 37 Inservice Manual
  • www.soisystems.com