One of my students (we'll call him "Cory"), is beginning eighth grade this week. Cory has been on a sound therapy program since late June, and we've worked weekly on reading and critical thinking skills. I sent home a checklist last week to get an update on his academic and behavioral progress.
The completed checklist came back today and shows wonderful changes - just what we usually see about this time in a sound therapy program, but it always amazes and blesses me. Cory himself has noticed and described some of his improvements:
- "My reading is way better than when I first got here!
- I have better rhythm,
- better ability to listen to others,
- I'm using my planner,
- and my attention span is better."
Cory has been listening in the high frequency range for the past four weeks. His trained inner ear is sending a better message to the brain, and the brain is responding by making new neural pathways. Executive function skills are kicking in, and we see mental effort sustained longer, better organization, less procrastination, etc. (so many skills come into play here).
His mother checked 28 improvements that she has noticed (such as, "expressing ideas better" and "seems more mature"). This young man is READY for eighth grade, and his confidence shows it. I’m so pleased and proud of him. I love my job!
In my Austin practice, I help students with various learning disabilities or deficiencies. Some are gifted and truly dyslexic learners. I have smart kids on the autism spectrum, and others who have sensory integration needs or auditory processing needs which create myriad problems in their lives. Some just don't understand the reading process, how our language works! Individualized training with the appropriate advanced methods can bring real progress for these learners.
Every several weeks, I give parents of my students a behavioral checklist to note areas of improvement they have noticed. The progress is subtle, and the checklist helps us realize the growth that is taking place.
Caden* is a 3rd grade boy, diagnosed with ADHD. After sixteen weeks, Caden's mother completed the checklist, noting these positive changes in her son:
- Initiates reading
- More eye contact
- Less distracted
- Shows more initiative
- Follows directions
- Using better clearer sentence structure
- Improved reading comprehension and spelling
- More outgoing
- Improved handwriting
- More independent
- Increased self-confidence
- Better attitude toward school
Caden's parents were very happy with their son's progress. Whatever the child's learning difficulties, it really pays off to get the necessary intervention. Tutoring is reteaching what hasn't been learned. Therapeutic training is better; it changes the brain, so that the learner can succeed without endless tutoring. Summer is a great time to get that effective training your child needs.
If your child is a struggling learner or just doesn’t like to read, call Austin Learning Solutions. Mention this blog, and I'll give you $50 off your initial assessment fee.
*Name has been changed to protect the anonymity of my clients.
The other day, I observed a toddler in the child seat of the cart watching a video on her mother’s smartphone while Mom shopped. I remember chatting with my toddler while we shopped, explaining things about the store and the groceries we were putting in the cart. Not to be self-righteous, but our culture is changing in so many ways, some of them not good for our brain development!
Today’s kids are being reared in a technology culture, and many are spending too many hours a week with hands on an iPad or a video game of some sort. Some children don’t know what to do when turned loose in the backyard. Creative play building forts, hunting lizards or bugs, digging in the dirt, making things out of leaves, sticks and mud, watching the antics of birds… are great for the developing brain. These are wonderful ways for children to explore their worlds learning about nature hands-on.
Texas Parks and Wildlife gives ten reasons to get your children playing outside this spring and summer:
- Be healthier physically and mentally
- Do better in school.
- Have higher self-esteem
- Have good self-discipline
- Feel more capable and confident.
- Be good problem-solvers.
- Be more cooperative with others.
- Be more creative.
- Feel connected to nature.
- Be tomorrow’s conservation leaders.
So, let’s play…OUTSIDE. Become a hiking family. Discover birding together. Texas has a plethora of great parks, and many trails to explore, for fun at little expense. Visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife site to look at the possibilities!
Regarding reading tutors and phonics programs, I have found nothing else that makes so much sense, clears the fog faster (for parents as well as students), or gets better results than the phonics method I use. The mom (or the dad) sits at the table with us so she can understand the techniques and learn how to reinforce this at home. Daily supervised practice and reading aloud to a parent can make a huge difference for reading and spelling in a short amount of time. Read these comments from parents:
“After much extra help at school, I found out that my son was still reading below first grade level. Then we found Austin Learning Solutions. The decoding concepts Ann taught empowered Andrew. At the end of six weeks, he was decoding 4th grade words, was no longer frustrated with reading, and was actually reading above his grade level.”
“Steven has improved from a mere 53% to 93%. He is now above his grade level in reading! One of our goals for Steven was to give him the tools that he could actually use independently. (Ann’s program) definitely did that. Early on you had mentioned that what you liked about the method was that it simplified reading. It certainly gave me the tools along with him to help him decode.”
Recently Madeline got 103 on her spelling test after one week of the PG practice method for spelling. Max's second grade teacher had recommended that he be held back, because his reading was so far behind. He had phonics sessions with me during the summer, then went back to school reading at grade level and loving it!
If your child is a struggling learner or just doesn’t like to read, call Austin Learning Solutions for a summer reading program. Mention this blog article for a $50 program fee discount.
Today my early morning PACE student and his mother told me that his reading speed has radically increased. Visagraph testing showed his reading speed changed from 186 words per minute in July to 260-280 wpm as measured in late October.
It is not unusual for us to get such concrete results with PACE, a powerful cognitive training program. Because this intensive program trains the brain to focus and make decisions at a fast rate, my students get big changes in attention focus and processing speed. Auditory processing also improves, which means spelling and reading are more accurate. All these improved skills add up to better thinking and more confident learners. We have six more weeks to go in this young man's PACE training and look forward to seeing more improvement in his processing skills.