Epilepsy and Learning

Did you know that approximately 50% of persons with epilepsy also have ADD, ADHD or another learning disorder? Neurologists have determined that when a person with epilepsy they have electrical discharges which cause the seizure activity disrupts the connections between nerve cells. This disruption causes abnormal brain activity. Even when a person’s seizures are well controlled the disorder can cause learning and developmental issues. The severities of the impairments vary depending on how much of the brain is affected by the abnormal brain activity. Abnormal brain activity can cause cognitive impairments, executive function impairments and motor skill impairments. When a … Continue reading

Past Olympians Continue to be Role Models with Adoption Stories

As Olympic fever dies down, we can continue to help our children to realize the normalcy and frequency of adoption by looking at past Olympians. Learning about their lives before and since their Olympic moment reinforces to our children that these are real people. Earlier this month, I blogged about Lopez Lomong and Reese Hoffa, Olympic athletes who represented the U.S.A. in Beijing this year. They both have interesting adoption stories. More than a dozen past Olympic athletes were also adopted. You may remember the) story of Toby Dawson, a U.S. skier who was adopted from Korea at the age … Continue reading

“Tropic Thunder” Rocks Groups Representing the Mentally Disabled

But not in a good way. The summer movie starring Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. premiered in Los Angeles a couple of days ago, but the flick which is supposed to elicit laughs from its high profile comedic actors is instead drawing ire from the American Association of People with Disabilities. Dozens of representatives from the American Association of People with Disabilities and the Special Olympics joined forces Monday night to protest the movie for what they consider is its blatant degradation of intellectually challenged individuals. The protesters held up signs with slogans such as “Call me by my … Continue reading

Resisting Early Labels

As single parents, we are often all that stands between our children and the outside world—this goes for doctors, teachers, institutions, etc. While we are normally, or ideally all on the same side when it comes to doing what is best for our children, ultimately we parents have to be the strongest and most informed advocates. I am of the opinion that we live in such a label-happy world; it seems everyone is eager to assign labels to children (and adults) regarding whether they are ADHD, have learning disabilities, are gifted, or whatever. And all of this labeling is getting … Continue reading

Concerns of Public Education: D = Disabilities

One major concern of public education for me is the rising of student disabilities. In this article, I will discuss D for disabilities. Many students are now coming to school with some type of disability. This disability may be in fine motor skills, speech, language, behavior, emotional, or learning. In our present kindergarten we have at least one child in each of the listed categories. Speech and language fill the largest space. Disabilities should be a major concern for the public school system. Our school has many resources for students with disabilities. Although their needs are being met, I hate … Continue reading

Is Your First Grader a Poor Reader? You’d Better Act Fast

New studies show that if your child is a poor reader by the end of first grade, he will continue to struggle with reading difficulties by fifth grade, falling well behind his peers. If your child shows signs of reading struggles, you’ve got to act quickly and aggressively. Early intervention will give your child a much better chance at success than waiting to help your child catch up in later years. The “late bloomer” theory has now been officially thrown out, at least with respect to reading. No longer can we suggest that you adopt a “wait and see” approach, … Continue reading

Strengthening Fine Motor Skills

This year, the kindergarten classes at my school have many students with weak fine motor skills. It seems as though each year the number of children who lack the ability to control a pencil is increasing. We now have occupational therapists working with several children. Many children with fine motor deficiencies are reluctant to practice. Fine motor activities are hard for them and their muscles are weak. Because practice is exactly what these children need, teachers and parents must create activities that are both fun and beneficial. Below, I have listed some activities that my children enjoy. Strengthen hand and … Continue reading

Can Your Child Use a Word Processor?

If your child is in third grade or older, knows letters and words, and has reasonable functioning of the hands and fingers, he or she can benefit from learning to use a word processor. Children with all kinds of learning disabilities and especially those with ADHD or dysgraphia should have a word processor available for them to use at home, if at all possible. I remember when my oldest son was in his first years of elementary school. Every time I went to parent-teacher conferences I was told, “He does good work and scores very high on tests, but his … Continue reading

Syndrome Soup: When Your Kid Has a Mixed Diagnosis

Although some special needs children have a very specific diagnosis of ADHD, autism, or Tourette syndrome, etc., many children have symptoms from a variety of disorders. For example, a child might have Tourette-like tics, with ADHD-like inattention, OCD-like anxiety, and bipolar-like mood swings. Add a dash of learning disabilities, and you’ve got syndrome soup. Many neurological disorders have cross-over symptoms, and many are commonly seen together, such as ADHD and Tourette syndrome. Sometimes these mixed-diagnosis kids have a long list of disorders which seem to utilize every letter of the alphabet, or they might be in limbo with no specific … Continue reading

“Why is My Child Clumsy?” The Symptoms of Dyspraxia

I’ve gotten rather used to driving my huge 12-passenger van around town. The size of my family requires it. However, I remember a while back when my sister loaned me her average-sized car. As I drove it down the highway, I felt like my rear end was scraping on the ground. It definitely required some getting used to. Everything was in a different location and I felt strange sitting in it. A child with dyspraxia feels this way in his own body. Although eventually I became acclimated to the smaller car, the child with dyspraxia continues to do things as … Continue reading