Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Book Every Parent of a Dyslexic Child Should Read!

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan
A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child's Confidence
and Love of Learning
by Ben Foss

This book is going to revolutionize how we talk about, and deal with, dyslexia.

There have only been a few books that excited Susan Barton, dyslexia expert, so much that she stayed up all night to read them. This is one of those very rare books.

Ben Foss, a successful adult with severe dyslexia, shares facts, advice, and strategies along with stories from his own life - and those of more than 400 other adults with dyslexia he has interviewed in the past few years - to create a blueprint for parents.

His theme is a child with dyslexia is not broken.

Parents must take a very active role in helping their child accept, understand, and embrace their dyslexia - so their child does not end up suffering from severe shame caused by feeling defective.

How? He starts by forcing parents to face and deal with their own fears and myths.

Then he shows them how to empower their child to dream big, deal with the school system, balance tutoring with accommodations and technology tools, become part of the dyslexia community - and so much more.

Released on August 27, this ground-breaking book is available in print, as a Kindle ebook, and on audio. To order it on Amazon, click here.

To learn more about Ben Foss, click here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

What is Rhythmic Movement Training?


Rhythmic Movement Training (RMT) is a motor training program developed by psychiatrist Harald Blomberg MD, based on the spontaneous rhythmic movements that are common to babies. Dr. Blomberg discovered that these spontaneous rhythmic movements are of fundamental importance to brain maturation, and lay down the foundations for neural pathway growth. Many people are familiar with the idea that crawling in infancy is important for future learning, but there are many other movement patterns, beginning in the womb, that are also important for future learning, as well as emotional, physical and social skills. RMT teaches the brain and body movements that it had not naturally acquired during development.

Rhythmic Movement Training is particularly useful for children and adults with challenges including ADD/ADHD, attention issues, dyslexia, coordination difficulties, developmental speech and learning delays, sensory processing disorders, and many other challenges.

Reflex integration consists of Neurodevelopmental Movement and other tools that develop and mature the body’s reflexes for optimal functioning. According to Dr. Blomberg, this improvement can be explained by the stimulation and linking up of different parts of the brain caused by the rhythmic exercises. Most of the movements are done on the floor, either with a partner or solo. Some movements involve light touch, and for younger children, many of the movements can be done playfully.

To be effective, the rhythmic movements need to be done consistently and often. Doing rhythmic movements regularly provides profound benefits and helps to increase functioning in the following areas:



Impulse Control

Muscle Tone

Sensory Processing

Motor Abilities


Learning Ability


Visual Skills

Speech and Language Development

Brain Connectivity

Physical Strength and Stamina

Muscle Control


The neurological effects of the rhythmic exercises are sometimes noticed after a short period of time, but the changes may not be lasting until the different areas of the brain have been sufficiently stimulated and linked up. This often takes a minimum of three to six months, and in children with severe challenges it could take a year or more of consistent movement. In addition, some children, especially those with ASD, need to be on a gluten and/or casein free diet to receive optimal effect of Rhythmic Movement Training.


Harald Blomberg M.D., is a specialist in psychiatry, with more than twenty years of experience helping children and adults with problems that include motor problems, attention deficit problems, learning disability and autism. Harald Blomberg teaches Rhythmic Movement Training and Reflex Integration in Sweden and all over the world.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Online Support Group for Parent of Children with Special Needs

                     Friday Night Whine Party


Where: Your webcam in the comfort of your own home.

Attire: PJs and slippers, etc…

BYOB: Grab your favorite beverage – no designated drivers needed!

Being a parent of a child with special needs can be tough. The highs are really high and the lows are really low. We all need a little time to connect, laugh, vent, get ideas for our kids, and make new friends. Join the Whine party!

Upcoming Parties:

Friday, Sept. 27 @ 9pm

Friday, Oct. 18 @ 9 pm

Friday, Nov. 29 @ 9 pm
RSVP with Dani @        autismx3mommie@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Brain Test to Diagnose A.D.H.D. Is Approved

 The Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday that it had approved the first brain wave test to help diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.

The test uses an electroencephalogram, or EEG, with sensors attached to a child’s head and hooked by wires to a computer to measure brain waves. It traces different types of electrical impulses given off by nerve cells in the brain and records how many times those impulses are given off each second.
The test takes 15 to 20 minutes, and measures two kinds of brain waves — theta and beta. Certain combinations of those waves tend to be more prevalent in children with A.D.H.D., the Food and Drug Administration said in a news release.
The disorder is one of the most common behavioral disorders in children. About 9 percent of adolescents have A.D.H.D. and the average age of diagnosis is 7, the drug agency said, citing the American Psychiatric Association. Children who have it tend to be hyperactive, impulsive and exhibit behavioral problems.
The maker of the testing device, NEBA Health of Augusta, Ga., gave the F.D.A. data from a study of 275 children and adolescents, ages 6 to 17, with attention or hyperactivity problems. Clinicians used the device, called a Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid, in combination with traditional testing methods, like listing the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, behavioral questionnaires and I.Q. testing.
An outside group of researchers then reviewed the data and decided whether the child had the disorder. The results showed that the device helped doctors make a more accurate diagnosis than using traditional methods alone, the F.D.A. said. An agency spokeswoman said it did not release the study’s data.
William E. Pelham, the director of the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University, which conducts research on the disorder and treats children who have it, was skeptical about the test. Traditional methods of diagnosing the disorder are relatively accurate, he said, and years of research on brain function have not added much to those methods. The NEBA device, he said, only supplements other types of tests and would serve only to increase the cost of diagnosis.
“What’s the point?” he said. “We’re not going to run out and buy one of these machines to do diagnoses, because it is totally unnecessary.”
Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the F.D.A.’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement that the device would help health care providers more accurately determine whether A.D.H.D. was the cause of a particular behavioral problem.

By Sabrina Tavernise


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Senseez - Colorful Pillows that Vibrate for Kids with Sensory Issues


When our son was first diagnosed with sensory issues there wasn't much information out there or products to help improve our lives. Since then there have been some wonderful books and products designed to make life better.

We wanted to about a product we've learned about called Senseez pillows.
Senseez pillows were developed by a mom whose son always had trouble sitting in one place. After he was diagnosed with a special need, she spoke to an occupational therapist who recommended a vibrating mat. While he loved the vibrations, the mat was large and heavy, needed to be plugged in, and made her son stick out when he used it.

Senseez pillows help with relaxation and calming down. Children who are easily distracted, have tactile sensitivities, trouble concentrating, and difficulty with getting to sleep can especially benefit.
Senseez pillows are lightweight, portable, easy to clean, are colorful, and offered in five different shapes.

Children with sensory processing disorders or sensory integration dysfunction enjoy, and often need or crave, the input these pillows provide. Under sensitive children benefit because the pillows can provide the input needed to help calm and regulate their system. You could even place the pillow next to your child to help them drift into a peaceful sleep. The Oversensitive child can benefit from using a Senseez pillow because it can help to increase their tolerance to tactile input. Either way, its uses within the scope of a sensory processing disorder are invaluable.

 Kids can use them anywhere:
- Home
- School
- Library
- Restaurants
- Car or plane rides
- The dentist
- Haircut

Senseez pillows are made with a vibrating unit that is self contained with a secure door to the batteries which means no cords or electrical wires.  The vibrating unit can be removed and is replaceable. The pillows are made from vinyl, which makes them easy to clean and water resistant, and stuffed with thin layers of poly foam. The Senseez pillow comes with a tactile vinyl or furry cover.

To learn more or to order to go: http://senseez.com/


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Binghamton University Study Aims to Improve Dyslexia Treatment

Neuroscientist Sarah Laszlo wants to understand what’s going on in children’s brains when they’re reading. Her research may untangle some of the mysteries surrounding dyslexia and lead to new methods of treating America’s most common learning disorder.

How to Participate
Participants in Sarah Laszlo’s Reading Brain Project play a computerized reading game while researchers measure their brain activity. Children in kindergarten through fourth grade are eligible for the Binghamton University study and will receive $50 or an equivalent gift for their time. To sign up your child, call 607-269-7271 or e-mail readingbrain@binghamton.edu. For more details, visit www.binghamton.edu/reading-brain.

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Gluten Free Group for Kids in Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor Gluten Free is launching a new kids group called Gig Harbor Gluten Free 4 Kids.

July 16 th is the formal launch.  It is for kids 5 and up.  They will
meet the same night as the adult group but in a different room.  The lst night will be super special with goodie bags and all.  Their meeting will feature talks that help them deal with their struggles living with food allergies. 

Please RSVP
by email if your child plans to attend (

Gig Harbor Gluten Free Meets the third Tuesday of every month at Harbor Place in Gig Harbor. 

Thanks,Gay McCrayGig Harbor Gluten FreeConnect with us on Facebook

Friday, May 31, 2013

Chronic Illness on the Rise in Children - LA Times

Chronic Illness on the Rise in Children: LA Times

This article from the LA Times explains that children today are chronically sicker than their counterparts 50 years ago. Despite "well" visits at 2 weeks, 2,4,6,9,12,15,18,24 months and then yearly, our kids appear to be headed downhill as far as their health goes. How will they fare as adults? And how can you say that children with asthma, ADHD, obesity, diabetes, food allergies, autism, learning disabilities aren't "less healthy?" The article points out that there are fewer congential defects (perhaps the result of prenatal testing leading to abortion and the addition of Folic Acid to stave off spina bifida) infectious disease, (yes, there is less chicken pox and measles and mumps, the traditional childhood diseases from which most children recovered) and accidents. Is it a necessary tradeoff? What has happened to childhood in America? Sounds to us that Ms. Roans is saying we are making our children sick. Wow.

By Sahri Roans
More than a quarter of all U.S. children have a chronic health condition, new research suggests, a significant increase from the rate seen in earlier decades and a statistic that looms large for the nation's efforts to subdue rising healthcare costs.

But the report doesn't suggest that children are less healthy. The comprehensive look at children from 1988 through 2006 also revealed that health conditions themselves have changed.

Fewer children today are affected by congenital defects, infectious diseases and accidents than they were 50 years ago; instead, cultural, lifestyle and environmental conditions appear to be the root cause of many pediatric illnesses.

"The study speaks to the fact that children need continuous access to healthcare," said Dr. Jeanne Van Cleave, a pediatrician at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston and the lead investigator of the study. "But with good treatment, a lot of these conditions will go away."

The paper was released online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., ahead of print publication Wednesday.

Researchers analyzed the prevalence of illnesses by surveying the mothers of approximately 5,000 children. Data from three time periods were analyzed: 1988 to 1994, 1994 to 2000, and 2000 to 2006. In each time frame, the children, ages 2 through 8 at the start of each period, were followed for six years.

The rate of chronic conditions increased from 12.8% in 1994 to 26.6% in 2006. Latino and black youths and males were more likely to have health problems.

The findings mean that children today suffer from different illnesses than those seen in previous generations, said Dr. Neal Halfon, director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities. And many behavioral and mental health conditions, such as attention deficit disorder, weren't diagnosed decades ago.

"We have a whole different set of conditions we're looking at today and a broader set of definitions for illnesses," said Halfon, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. "We're seeing bigger increases in obesity, attention deficit disorder and other mental and behavioral conditions. Part of that has to do with the kinds of environments in which children are growing up."

Obesity and related conditions accounted for a large percentage of child illnesses, although the study reflected previous research showing obesity rates are stabilizing among U.S. children.
But that is little comfort when a quarter of children have some type of chronic health problem, said William Gardner, a principal investigator of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, who was not involved in the study.

"Asthma, attention deficit disorder, obesity -- there aren't robotic surgeries to fix these things," he said. "It's a situation where we need to have a really strong primary care system where kids have what we call a medical home and they have regular contact with a primary care doctor or nurse practitioner."

Unlike adults, chronic health conditions in children appear more capricious, with symptoms waxing, waning or even disappearing. Only 7.4% of the children had a chronic health condition at both the start and end of the six-year observation period, Van Cleave said.
Addressing health problems early on is likely to yield large dividends financially for the nation, Halfon said.

"Not that the die is completely cast in childhood," he said, "but it is showing a certain kind of epidemiological trajectory that we should not be ignoring."

Source: http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/02/chronic-illness-on-the-rise-in-children-la-times.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ageofautism+%28AGE+OF+AUTISM%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

Monday, May 13, 2013

IGNITE! Summer Enrichment Classes in Gig Harbor, WA

IGNITE! Your Child's Love of Learning!

Summer Enrichment Classes are innovative summer enrichment
programs brought to you by Hands On Learning Solutions in Gig Harbor.
Courses are taught by incredible, certified teachers and content experts who
have a passion for fun and engaging programming.
Classes include:
Science Magic for students 4th - 7th grades
Math Madness for students 4th - 7th grades
Study Smart (study skills) for students entering 9th - 11th grade
Learning on Purpose (study skills) for students entering 6th - 8th grade
For more information go to www.hol-solutions.com/ignite

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The 7 Pieces of an Effective Assessment

Individual: An effective assessment must be administered individually and identify both the strengths and weaknesses of a student.

Relevant: A Functional Assessment should be relevant to the individual student. It must be designed to collect information and scores that are specific to the concerns of the parents and teacher. It should not be a standard comprehensive test battery that is used for every student that is tested regardless of the presenting problems.

Direct: A student’s academic skills should be directly assessed with the use of curriculum or skills related to learning. The level at which the student is able to perform as well as trends over skill areas should be recorded.

Observational: Behavior of the student as well as the environment should be evaluated by direct observation. 

Norm-referenced: Assessments that use norm-referenced comparisons of peers of the same age or grade should be part of the Functional Academic Assessment in order to determine where a student falls within their developmental group or grade. This method alone does not produce information that will lead to intervention or remediation planning because the information does not identify the specific weak underlying processing skills.

Multi-dimensional: A Functional Academic Assessment should look at variables that can affect the student’s  achievement and learning. Examination of the use of multiple tasks such as distractibility, speed of completion of work, need for reward or motivation, balance, and memory.

Interventional: The assessment should allow the examiner to create a plan of remediation after identifying the specific processing skills deficits and academic skill deficiencies. The results should also identify potential modification or accommodations that may be necessary in order for a student to experience success.

Monday, May 6, 2013

What is a Functional Academic Assessment?

A Functional Academic Assessment is not designed to predict the learning potential of a student like a traditional I.Q. test. In the past a great deal of emphasis has been placed on determining a student’s cognitive ability in order to predict how well they can learn. I.Q. tests do not foretell a child’s potential, instead they give a measurement of the child’s current level of mental skills which can allow us to predict how well they will do in school at this moment. In order to figure out what kind of help is needed you have to look for the cause of the learning problem, not the symptom and you won’t find the cause by looking at an IQ score.


The challenge is that measuring a student’s potential for learning does not give us information we can use to know how to teach the student best or how to design remediation activities in order to improve a student’s performance. In some cases knowing a student’s I.Q. can be detrimental because some parents or teachers may develop lower expectations for the student’s achievement.

Another reason a Functional Academic Assessment may be the most beneficial for a student who is struggling is because all of the areas of functioning are examined. Areas that should be covered are visual processing, visualization skills, auditory processing, listening skills, attention/focus, distractibility, large and small motor skills, balance, rhythm, processing speed, reading, word attack skills, memory, and logic, and reasoning skills. If a student has a strong visual memory teaching them to read through sight word or whole word instruction may seem like the logical choice but may not necessarily bring success. Other areas of functioning must be taken into consideration such as which visual memory is strong for a student – letters, words, sentences, numbers, symbols, or pictures. A student may be strong in one memory subcategory and yet very weak in another because different areas of the brain are accessed according the type of memory being used. In order to determine the best teaching method and potential remediation all areas of functioning must be looked at.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Does Your Child Have a Lazy Eye?

Lazy eye is also known as Amblyopia. Lazy eye is an early childhood condition where a child's eyesight in one eye does not develop as it should. When an individual has Amblyopia the brain focuses on one eye more than the other, virtually ignoring the lazy eye. If that eye is not stimulated properly the visual brain cells do not mature normally.
The term lazy eye is inaccurate, because the eye is not lazy. In fact, it would probably be more accurate to say lazy brain, because it is a developmental problem in the brain, not an organic problem in the eye. lazy eye can also be hereditary.
A child with lazy eye will not be able to focus properly with one of their eyes. The other eye will make up for the problem, so much that the affected eye will suffer as a result. The eye with impaired vision (Amblyopia) may not receive clear images; the brain won't receive clear data, double vision can occur, and eventually the brain will start to ignore input from the lazy eye. (source: Medical News Today Sept. 19, 2009) As time goes on the lazy eye may not be used by the brain to see with resulting loss of vision as an adult.
Some children can have an intermittent lazy eye that only appears some of the time. It can be difficult to get diagnosed or get help if each time a parent takes their child to the professionals the lazy eye disappears. If the lazy eye seems to come and go you should look at stressors in the child's life. Stress will cause a lazy eye to either appear or get worse. Integrating Primitive Childhood Reflexes decreasing emotional stress, and removal of food that a child is intolerant to can decrease the overall stress on the child's brain and nervous system which can in turn decrease the occurrence of a lazy eye in some cases.

Welcome to the Missing Piece

If you are the parent of a child with special needs or a learning disability then you know how difficult it can be to get answers to your questions. For many of us we have been disappointed when we were unable to find others who could help identify causes and solutions that help. This can be a lonely journey and that is why we are here. Our desire is that this would be a source of information, hope and humor for those of you who are struggling on the same path.
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