Memory is a very intriguing part of daily living. It is vital. However, memorizing something can turn out to be difficult. On the other hand, memory can also decline with aging. This is known as Dementia. Nevertheless, there are simple tricks to improve memory as memorizing can be difficult. Using these memory-enhancing techniques can help improve your ability to learn new information and retain the information over time.
1. Repeat to Retain
One of the golden rules of learning and memory is a repeat, repeat, repeat. The brain also responds to novelty, so repeating something differently or at a different time will make the most of the novelty effect and allow you to build stronger memories and learn to retain new information. Examples of using repetition include:
Repeating a name after you hear it for the first time
Repeating or paraphrasing what someone says to you
2. Organize New Information
A day planner or smart phone calendar can help you keep track of appointments and activities and serve as a journal to write anything you would like to remember. Writing down and organizing information reinforces learning. Also, try jotting down conversations, thoughts, experiences. Review current and previous day’s entries at breakfast and dinner. If you use a planner and not a smartphone, keep it in the same spot at home and take it with you whenever you leave.
3. Visualize to Retain Information
Learning faces and names is a tough task for most people. In addition to repeating a person’s name, you can also associate the name with an image to learn and retain new information. Visualization strengthens the association you are making between the face and the name. For example: Link the name Sandy with the image of a beach, and imagine sandy on the beach.
4. Use Cues to Learn New
When you have difficulty recalling a particular word or fact, you can cue yourself by giving related details or ‘talking around’ the word, name, or fact. Other practical ways to cue include: Using alarms or a kitchen timer to remind you of tasks or appointments. Placing an object associated with the task you must do in a prominent place at home. For example, if you want to order tickets to a play, leave a newspaper ad for the play near your telephone or computer.
5. Group Items to Retain Information
When you’re trying to remember a long list of items, it can help to group the items in sets of three to five, just as you would remember a phone number. This strategy capitalizes on organization and building associations. In addition, it helps to extend the capacity of our short-term memory by chunking information together instead of trying to remember each piece of information independently. For example: If you have a list of 15 things on your grocery list, you can group the items by category, such as dairy, produce, canned goods, and frozen foods.
These are some simple tricks to improve memory.
Dementia can knock on the doorstep of even the middle-aged. And it can certainly be a difficult task to put something into memory at that age.
The exam season has arrived. And so has Exam Anxiety and Phobia.
Students can be seen immersed in their books and notes.
Excitement is in the air and so is anxiety.
While the former is a good thing to see, the latter raises concerns in the minds of parents and teachers. However, the fact is that anxiety before exams is a normal thing.
The pressure to perform will make students experience nervousness. Indeed, this is alright, but only if it is up to a limit. If it reaches an unhealthy level, it needs to be managed.
If a student experiences the following symptoms before exams, then the anxiety is unhealthy. And it is time for a session with a psychiatrist.
Difficulty in breathing
These symptoms are an indication of the student being in the grip of panic and fear.
Nevertheless, it can be managed and controlled with the following tips.
Make a study plan for preparation:
In some cases, students get anxious because they are not ready with the preparation. However, just days before the exam, they feel at a loss. They become anxious as to how they will answer the questions in the exam. To avoid this, students should make a plan for preparation. Indeed, devoting adequate time to each topic so that the entire syllabus is covered and their preparation is complete.
Meditate and try breathing techniques:
Meditation is a great relaxation technique that soothes the mind and body. Also, taking deep breaths (inhaling and exhaling). For example, 15 to 20 minutes can go a long way in controlling the symptoms of anxiety. In addition, meditation gives you confidence, removes negative thoughts, and improves your concentration and memory.
Getting involved in physical activity before an exam seems like a waste of time to many. However, it is necessary to avoid tension and stay healthy. So, if sports cannot be indulged in, one should do exercises such as stretching and aerobics. Indeed, they relax the tensed muscles and keep fatigued at bay.
Eat green vegetables and light food:
Eating healthy is also important during exam preparation. If one skips meals or takes recourse to fast foods, it makes anxiety worse. In fact, junk food makes one drowsy. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are light and easy to digest. They also provide complete nutrition and ensure the sustained release of energy during the study sessions.
Many students compromise on sleep. They think that it would help in studies. However, lack of sleep leads to poor focus and concentration, which further affects the studies. It also makes one irritable and drowsy. So, one should make sure that one is getting 6 hours of sleep every day.
Exams and Concentration difficulties are all too common. ADHD, CDD, short-term memory loss, forgetfulness, insomnia, and many more terminologies we would have come across very often.
They all seem to have evolved from a common origin, and that is concentration issues. Have you pondered on these questions!! Why can’t it be easy to concentrate? Why can’t it be easy to remember everything? If yes, then read on to know more.
Concentrate! Focus! Pay attention! These are not just words but one huge and complicated process in itself. Many children and adults often develop this issue wherein they find it extremely difficult to concentrate.
Science behind exams and concentration difficulties:
When an individual performs a single task, for example, reading a book, the image of what he sees hits the retina. The nerve fibers carry the image to the brain from the retina, which stimulates the brain cells to fire an action potential. The signal from here moves to the thalamus and proceeds to the visual cortex. This signal activates locus coeruleus, which is a brain stimulant. It targets the particular area of the brain, becoming the deciding factor as to how one responds to a stimulus, which is an image. When there is deregulation of the locus coeruleus, it is then that a person develops disorders like
ADHD, anxiety, depression, insomnia and others.
Factors influencing concentration:
Concentration is a skill that requires you to prioritize your senses while doing any work. It is an ability to block out distractions.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and concentration deficit disorder (CDD) are the two predominant concentration issues. The first one is more common among the children while the latter is observed in mostly the adults. Any individual with ADHD or CDD can show abnormalities in their behavior and social life.
Individuals with ADHD tend to forget and face problems sticking to one task and may even display excessive fidgeting. CDD individuals tend to be lethargic, move slowly, and have trouble staying alert. Adults may become socially withdrawn and exhibit slow information processing.
Solutions for concentration issues:
Moreover, concentration issues require a lot of time to be overcome. You can try to figure out what causes the distractions and avoid them as much as possible by refocusing your mind only on what you are doing. Also, you can give yourself timers that comprise “distraction time” and “focus time.” This strategy helps if one’s mind is actively processing other things.
You may also create subtasks by listing the things you need to do and then ruling out one by one once you accomplish them.
Always breathe better and try for long inhalation and exhalation. This helps to bring down your anxiety levels which hinder concentration.
However, although the above-mentioned strategies help you improve your concentration, they are not the ultimate cure for any issues.
Thus, every individual is unique, and sometimes accepting oneself can solve many complications as it reduces the need for unnecessary thinking. Finally, always bear positive thoughts in your mind as they will act as a driving source.
As a parent, you feel a special deep panic when you realize that your child—your beautiful, clever, funny child, who regularly surprises you with precocious bons mots, who built an ingenious bow out of tubing and rubber bands that can shoot a chopstick across the living room with remarkable accuracy—is having trouble learning to read.
Meanwhile, all the other kids appear to be breezing along, polishing off Harry Potter books while your child stumbles over the difference between “how” and “now.” You don’t want to be one of those hysterical parents who gets all crazy about every little developmental bump in the road, but, hey, your kid can’t really read yet, and the others can. In your darker moments you feel the desolate urge to ratchet down your ambitions for your child from valedictorian to graduating at all. So, How to Help Your Child with reading disorders Learn to Read…
Such fears may be exaggerated, but they’re not irrational. Reading ability does predict school achievement and success (which is, of course, related to income, health, and other factors), and reading gains ever greater importance beyond school, as more jobs are now based on information and technology. Failure to read places significant limits on how one fares in other parts of life. And a lot of people never do learn to read well: Approximately 40 percent of fourth grade children in the United States lack basic reading skills; 20 percent of all graduating high school seniors are classified as functionally illiterate (meaning that their reading and writing skills are insufficient for ordinary practical needs) ; and about 42 million adults in the United States cannot read. So, you’re not nuts to take a reading problem seriously.
Now for some perspective. First, let’s take a moment to recognize that compared with the development of oral language, the acquisition of reading is unnatural. Speech and the ability to understand speech can be considered the result of a natural process in the sense that the requisite skills emerge without formal training. Several species of animal employ sounds such as clicking, whistles, song, or foot tapping in a fashion that constitutes focused and targeted communication (and dolphins actually seem to have names for one another). Before children can speak fluently, they move from sounds to words, words to phrases, and so on, acquiring their growing expertise from exposure to the speech around them. They then make efforts to speak, with little formal guidance. By contrast, children must be taught to read.
The good news for kids who have trouble reading is that while a deficiency in reading may look like an across-the-board failure, it is often a local problem in just one or two of the components that add up to the ability to read. Reading, like golfing or playing the guitar, is not one big global skill but a constellation of many smaller ones. When we read fluently, the little skills weave together so seamlessly that they look like a single expertise.
There are components to – How to Help Your Child Learn to Read – It is important to look at the components because a holdup in the development of any single one may be at fault in a child’s poor performance in reading. If we can identify the component that’s not doing its share, we can do a great deal to improve reading.
The components that make up reading are interrelated and overlapping, but distinguishable:
Vocabulary: knowing the meanings of words. A child’s comprehension of what is read depends on this. Better vocabulary better prepares a child for reading.
Comprehension: understanding and being able to interpret what is read, connecting the printed words and sentences with human experience.
Phonological awareness: identifying and manipulating units of oral language, such as words, syllables, onsets, and rimes. Children who have phonological awareness can recognize that sentences are made up of words, words can be broken down into sounds and syllables, sounds can be deleted from words to make new words, and different words can begin or end with the same sound or have the same middle sound(s).
Decoding: breaking down words into their constituent sounds and building words from those sounds. This begins with blending sounds (“puh” plus “al” equals “pal”) and extends into sounding out words the child has never seen before by recognizing the sounds of letters and syllables that form them.
Fluency: reading smoothly with accuracy, speed, and expression that conveys the sense of what’s being read.
As a parent with no particular professional expertise in teaching literacy, there’s a lot you can do on the level of normal play and routine home life to promote reading—and without turning it into a chore or a high-pressure struggle.
To start with:
Parents can begin working on the components of reading when their child is still an infant and extend the process throughout childhood. To begin with, the more the child knows about oral language, the better. When she begins to read, she will draw upon a reserve of expertise that she first built up as a speaker and listener: vocabulary, comprehension, phonological awareness, connecting words to things.
With infants, talk to the child and encourage him to make a range of talk like sounds. Begin reading to the child, and keep books around, including some within the child’s reach. Do what you can to make reading fun, enjoyable, peaceful, and engaging, setting the stage for what comes next at the toddler level. You are building command of sounds, love of reading, and an appreciation of the value and importance of books.
With toddlers and pre-schoolers, it helps to connect reading to some routine such as bed time, nap time, or a pre or after meal lull. Select topics she likes; let the child select books for you to read. Get in the habit of activities or games that rhyme and otherwise play with sounds: songs, jingles, made-up phrases (e.g., “Billy is silly” to catch the rhyming sounds, “Sally sounds silly” to catch the sound of the initial S). Nursery rhymes are especially rich in words, rhyming, and other fundamentals. Talk about a greater range of subjects, even very mundane ones—like pointing to the parts of a car or animal in an illustration and labelling them.
As you read, stop and ask a gentle question: “What do you think Babar is thinking here?” or “What do you think will happen next?” These are great for comprehension. If the question is too difficult, offer a little more guidance by attaching a statement: “I’ll bet Babar is a little lonely. What do you think would make him feel better?” Also, you can encourage your child to experiment with writing, which helps reading because she uses sounds to try to write the word. You might see the child write “sn” for “sun,” a great start that shows awareness of sounds and the breakdown of words into sounds.
How to Help Your Child Learn to Read:
As your child continues in elementary school and begins to work hard during the school day on reading, it’s a good idea to continue reading with and to him, mixing in casual writing practice (some kids will go for the idea of alternating entries in a journal with a parent) and talking over dinner and in other family settings about what the child has read.
If there’s a series of books that speaks to one of your child’s enthusiasms, helping him get into that series will allow him to become familiar with continuing characters and engage with a larger story, which makes even new books seem familiar.
Keep a dictionary around and easily accessible, and use it once in a while. Thus, inviting your child to do this with you. The dictionary not only reinforces vocabulary and comprehension, it helps your child decode words. Hence, by showing that they are composed of syllables that can be sounded out.
Make up word games to play while driving or in a store. “Think of words that sound like snow” is good for a first or second grader. However, you can work up to more complicated games for older children. If you make the play competitive (if your family is into that), please resist the temptation. The temptation to rattle off 50 words in a row and then do your special taunting wiggly victory dance.
And, of course, continue to show by your actions. Not just your pronouncements – that reading is engaging, relevant, and a path to fresh experiences. Keep books around where your child can pick them up in the natural course of things. And don’t forget to pick up a book yourself. Model the desired intimacy with books; don’t just preach it.
You can’t add becoming a fulltime reading tutor to the already fulltime demands of parenting. Nonetheless, children will vary in interest, ability, and attention. So, you’ll inevitably have to select just a few of the many possible activities to promote reading skills. In general, go for regularity—a little almost every day. And, as part of a routine that links reading to the more relaxed moments in the day. Rather than a Shakespeare marathon one Saturday a month. That is How to Help Your Child Learn to Read.
And when setting priorities, bear in mind that two activities are clearly the most critical:
Firstly, read aloud to the child. So, it shows that reading is important, part of everyday life, and fun. Also, it allows you to model the basic component skills. However, it’s fine to read the same books over and over, as many children like to do. Research indicates that repeated readings help a child to integrate words better; comprehend meaning; and connect sounds, words, and meaning. Even on the 50th time through the same story, interact during the reading to bring the child into the activity. “What is Pooh doing? What do you think is in the jar?”
Secondly, help the child understand that letters are related to sounds and that words can break down into sounds. Finally, the child’s reading will advance by being able to sound out words, not by memorizing individual words. There are alphabet books to help you work with your child to connect letters to sounds. In the middle of reading, stop and sound out a word. “Let’s sound this out together: Err … un. Run! He’s getting ready to run.”
Reading may be important and complex and very scary when your child has trouble with it. However, parents should take heart. And remember that mundane low-pressure practice during games and other activities with you can make an enormous difference. Even a slightly increased sensitivity to breaking down sounds or rhyming may help. Also, a slightly heightened familiarity with books and motivation to engage with them, can provide a significant boost at school. Reading preparation is at the top of the list of factors that make a difference in school achievement. Such preparation need not – and should not – feature threats, severity, and drudgery. Instead, help your child to read by doing what you do anyway. This includes, playing with him, talking with her – in a slightly more purposeful manner. How to Help Your Child Learn to Read may be difficult. Indeed, you may need a school counselor or a child psychiatrist.
Inattention means a person wanders off task, lacks persistence, has difficulty sustaining focus, and is disorganized, and these problems are not due to defiance or lack of comprehension.
Hyperactivity means a person seems to move about constantly, including in situations in which it is not appropriate or excessively fidgets, taps, or talks. In adults, it may be extreme restlessness or wearing others out with constant activity.
Impulsivity means a person makes hasty actions that occur at the moment without first thinking about them and that may have a high potential for harm, or a desire for immediate rewards, or an inability to delay gratification. An impulsive person may be socially intrusive and excessively interrupt others or make important decisions without considering the long-term consequences.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are the key behaviors of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There are many types of ADHD. Some people with ADHD only have problems with one of the behaviors, while others have inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Most children have the combined type of ADHD.
In preschool, the most common Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptom is hyperactivity.
It is normal to have some inattention, unfocused motor activity, and impulsivity, but for people with ADHD, these behaviors:
are more severe
occur more often
interfere with or reduce the quality of how they function socially, at school, or in a job
Inattention in ADHD
People with symptoms of inattention may often:
Overlook or miss details, make careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or during other activities
Have problems sustaining attention in tasks or play, including conversations, lectures, or lengthy reading
Not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
Not follow through on instructions and fail to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace or start tasks but quickly lose focus and get easily side-tracked
Have problems organizing tasks and activities, such as what to do in sequence, keeping materials and belongings in order, having messy work and poor time management, and failing to meet deadlines
Avoid or dislike tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork or homework, or for teens and older adults, preparing reports, completing forms, or reviewing lengthy papers.
Lose things necessary for tasks or activities, such as school supplies, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and cell phones
Be easily distracted by unrelated thoughts or stimuli
Be forgetful in daily activities, such as chores, errands, returning calls, and keeping appointments
Hyperactivity-Impulsivity in ADHD
People with symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity may often:
Fidget and squirm in their seats
Leave their seats in situations when staying seated is expected, such as in the classroom or the office.
Run or dash around or climb in situations where it is inappropriate or, in teens and adults, often feel restless
Be unable to play or engage in hobbies quietly.
Be constantly in motion or “on the go,” or act as if “driven by a motor.”
Blurt out an answer before a question has been completed, finish other people’s sentences, or speak without waiting for a turn in the conversation
Have trouble waiting for his or her turn
Interrupt or intrude on others, for example, in conversations, games, or activities
Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
This requires a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed clinician, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or child psychiatrist with expertise in ADHD. For a person to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity must be chronic or long-lasting, impair the person’s functioning, and cause the person to fall behind normal development for his or her age. The doctor will also ensure that any ADHD symptoms are not due to another medical or psychiatric condition. Most children with ADHD receive a diagnosis during the elementary school years. For an adolescent or adult to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms need to have been present before age 12.
Difficulties for Parents:
ADHD symptoms can appear as early as between the ages of 3 and 6 and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD can be mistaken for emotional or disciplinary problems or missed entirely in quiet, well-behaved children, leading to a delay in diagnosis. Adults with undiagnosed ADHD may have a history of poor academic performance, problems at work, or difficult or failed relationships.
ADHD symptoms can change over time as the personages. In young children with ADHD, hyperactivity-impulsivity is the most predominant symptom. As a child reaches elementary school, inattention symptoms may become more prominent and cause the child to struggle academically. In adolescence, hyperactivity seems to lessen and may show more often as feelings of restlessness or fidgeting, but inattention and impulsivity may remain. Many adolescents with ADHD also struggle with relationships and antisocial behaviors. Inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity tend to persist into adulthood.
Risk Factors for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
Scientists are not sure what causes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Like many other illnesses, several factors can contribute to ADHD, such as:
Use of habit-forming substances or beverages during pregnancy
Exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy
Exposure to environmental toxins, such as high levels of lead, at a young age
Low birth weight
ADHD is more common in males than females, and females with ADHD are more likely to have problems primarily with inattention. Other conditions, such as learning disabilities, anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, depression, and substance abuse, are common in ADHD.
Treatment and Therapies
While there is no cure for ADHD, currently available treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning. Treatments include medication, psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments.
ADHD medications reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity for many people and improve their ability to focus, work, and learn. The medication also may improve physical coordination. Sometimes psychiatrists or developmental pediatricians must try several different medications or dosages before finding the right one that works for a particular person. Anyone taking medications must be monitored closely and carefully by their prescribing doctor.
The most common type of medication used for treating ADHD is called a “stimulant.” Although it may seem unusual to treat ADHD with a medication that is considered a stimulant, it works because it increases the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, which play essential roles in thinking and attention.
Under medical supervision, stimulant medications are considered safe. However, there are risks and side effects, especially when misused or taken more than the prescribed dose. For example, stimulants can raise blood pressure and heart rate and increase anxiety. Therefore, a person with other health problems, including high blood pressure, seizures, heart disease, glaucoma, liver or kidney disease, or an anxiety disorder, should tell their doctor before taking a stimulant.
Talk with a doctor if you see any of these side effects while taking stimulants: decreased appetite, sleep problems, tics (sudden, repetitive movements or sounds); personality changes, increased anxiety and irritability, stomach-aches headaches
A few other ADHD medications are non-stimulants. These medications take longer to start working than stimulants and improve focus, attention, and impulsivity in a person with ADHD. Doctors may prescribe a non-stimulant:
when a person has bothersome side effects from stimulants;
when a stimulant was not effective;
or in combination with a stimulant to increase effectiveness.
Although not approved specifically for treating ADHD, some antidepressants are sometimes used alone or combined with a stimulant to treat ADHD.
Antidepressants may help all of the symptoms of ADHD and can be prescribed if a patient has bothersome side effects from stimulants.
Antidepressants can be helpful in combination with stimulants if a patient also has another condition, such as an anxiety disorder, depression, or another mood disorder.
Doctors and patients can work together to find the best medication, dose, or medication combination.
Adding psychotherapy to treat ADHD can help patients and their families to better cope with everyday problems.
Behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that aims to help a person change his or her behavior. It might involve practical assistance, such as help organizing tasks or completing schoolwork, or working through emotionally difficult events.
Behavioural therapy also teaches a person how to monitor his or her own behaviour give oneself praise or rewards for acting in a desired way, such as controlling anger or thinking before acting
Parents, teachers, and family members also can give positive or negative feedback for certain behaviors and help establish clear rules, chore lists, and other structured routines to help a person control his or her behavior.
Therapists may also teach children social skills, such as waiting their turn, sharing toys, asking for help, or responding to teasing. Learning to read facial expressions and the tone of voice in others and how to respond appropriately can also be part of social skills training.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can also teach a person mindfulness techniques or meditation. So, a person learns how to be aware and accept one’s own thoughts and feelings to improve focus and concentration. The therapist also encourages the person with ADHD to adjust to the life changes that come with treatment, such as thinking before acting or resisting the urge to take unnecessary risks.
Family and marital therapy can help family members and spouses find better ways to handle disruptive behaviors, encourage behavior changes, and improve interactions with the patient.
Education and Training
Firstly, children and adults with ADHD need guidance and understanding from their parents, families, and teachers to reach their full potential and succeed. So, frustration, blame, and anger may have built up within a family before a child is diagnosed. However, parents and children may need special help to overcome negative feelings. Thus, mental health professionals can educate parents about ADHD and how it affects a family. In addition, they also will help the child and his or her parents develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other.
Secondly, parenting skills training (behavioral parent management training) teaches parents the skills they need to encourage and reward positive behaviors in their children. Thus, it helps parents learn how to use a system of rewards and consequences to change a child’s behavior. So, parents are taught to give immediate and positive feedback for behaviors they want to encourage and ignore or redirect behaviors they want to discourage. Finally, they may also learn to structure situations in ways that support desired behavior.
In addition, stress management techniques can benefit parents of children with ADHD by increasing their ability to deal with frustration to respond calmly to their child’s behavior.
Support groups can help parents and families connect with others who have similar problems and concerns. Groups often meet regularly to share frustrations and successes, exchange information about recommended specialists and strategies, and talk with experts.
Tips to Help Kids and Adults with ADHD Stay Organized
Parents and teachers can help kids with ADHD stay organized and follow directions with tools such as:
Firstly, keeping a routine and a schedule. Keep the same routine every day, from wake-up time to bedtime.
In addition, include times for homework, outdoor play, and indoor activities. Also, keep the schedule on the refrigerator or a bulletin board in the kitchen.
Then, write changes on the schedule as far in advance as possible.
Organizing everyday items. As such, have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks, and toys.
Accordingly, using homework and notebook organizers. Therefore, use organizers for school material and supplies. So, emphasize to your child the importance of writing down assignments and bringing home the necessary books.
Also, being clear and consistent. Children with ADHD need consistent rules they can understand and follow.
In addition, praising and rewarding children is helpful. Children with ADHD often receive and expect criticism. Look for good behavior, and praise it.
Indeed, a professional counselor or therapist can help an adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder learn how to organize his or her life with tools such as:
Making lists for different tasks and activities
Using a calendar for scheduling events
Using reminder notes
Assigning a special place for keys, bills, and paperwork
Breaking down large tasks into more manageable, smaller steps to complete each part of the task provides a sense of accomplishment.
Reading disorders occur when a person has trouble with any part of the reading process. Reading and language-based learning disabilities are commonly called dyslexia. These disorders are present from a young age. Thus, usually result from specific differences in the way the brain processes language.
There are many different symptoms and types of reading disorders, and not everyone with a reading disorder has every symptom. People with reading disorders may have problems recognizing words that they already know and may also be poor spellers. Other symptoms may include the following:
Trouble with handwriting
Difficulty reading quickly
Problems reading with correct expression
Problems understanding the written word
Reading disorders are not a type of intellectual and development disorder. Also, they are not a sign of lower intelligence or unwillingness to learn. People with reading disorders may have other learning disabilities, too, including problems with writing or numbers. Visit learning disabilities for more information about these problems.
Types of Reading Disorders
Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. Individuals with dyslexia typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, there are some common characteristics among people with dyslexia. They are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. Dyslexia can be inherited in some families. Moreover, recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia. Examples of specific types of reading disorders include:
Word decoding. People who have difficulty sounding out written words; matching the letters to sounds to be able to read a word.
Lack of fluency. People who lack fluency have difficulty reading quickly, accurately, and with proper expression (if reading aloud).
Poor reading comprehension. People with poor reading comprehension have trouble understanding what they read.
A related problem is alexia (pronounced uh-LEK-see-uh), or an acquired inability to read. Unlike most reading disabilities, which are present from when a child starts to learn to read, people with alexia were once able to read. However, they lost the ability after a stroke or an injury to the area of the brain involved with reading.
How will I know if my child has a reading problem?
The news usually comes in one or more of three ways.
School feedback. If your child’s teacher alerts you to a problem, resist falling into the blame games. If the teacher asks, “Do you ever read to him at home?” don’t come back with, “Aren’t you teaching him to read at school? Whatever you’re doing isn’t working.”
Your child’s statements. The child may well make general or specific comments. Like “I don’t want to read.” or “I can’t do this”. “I don’t get what’s happening in this story.” More likely, your child will just express frustration. Strong resistance against practicing reading, including blanket statements like “Reading is dumb” is an obvious sign.
Behavior’s you can observe. Reluctance to be read to, getting stuck on most words in a sentence. And slow or no reaction when you ask a simple question. For example, “What is the sound of that letter?” Another warning sign would be if the child’s reading is very slow. Accuracy in early reading is much more important than speed. However, if you can wash and dry the dishes before the sentence is completed, fluency is a problem. Or you may notice that the child gets the beginning of the word but guesses at the rest of it. Like, reading “smoke” as “smile,” for instance—which suggests she is trying to memorize whole words. Instead of breaking them down to sound them out.
Can’t I just wait until the child gets to school, where they have teachers trained to teach reading?
You could, but it would be better if you did not. Practicing the components of reading in the home doesn’t mean you force reading before your child is ready to. However, you can help develop important skills without rushing the process. Also, the child who does practice those skills will do better when he does get to school and is ready to read in earnest. Studies show that having more of the component skills in place at age 5 predicts better school achievement at ages 7 and 15.
What do I do if I think my child has a reading problem?
Indeed, a reading evaluation can be very important. A trained specialist can identify weakness in any of the component skills and will know how to work on it. Bear in mind that the child’s negative reaction to reading alone will not necessarily show you where the problem is. Your best bet is to ask your child’s teacher, school psychologist, or principal to bring in a reading specialist. Or if you prefer to seek out help on your own, you can do your own search. Search for a reading specialist online or in the phone book.
Moreover, a little respectful tact in dealing with your child’s teacher may well be necessary. However, you’re not questioning the teacher’s competence or going over her head by consulting a specialist. Thus, reading is a well-developed area of educational specialization, with masters and doctoral level professionals. Hence, they can offer very focused assistance that goes beyond what can happen in the classroom. So, plan to work with the teacher as will any reading specialist your child ends up seeing.
However, there are more serious problems—auditory disorders, dyslexia, pervasive developmental disorder—that can lead to reading impairment. Thus, one reason to go to a specialist is that there are different strategies. Hence, these are associated with addressing each of the many causes of a reading problem.
What if my child can read, but just won’t? What if my child just has an attitude problem?
You can be certain of motivational problems only if all of the component skills are well established. So, as a parent, you probably cannot determine this on your own. However, if you’ve taken your child for a reading evaluation and problem is just motivational then you might try these. So, establish more reading routines and engage in more talking about reading at the dinner table and have the child select a book to read together at the bookstore; switch to engaging magazines or something else other than a book that has words to read; read stories connected to movies, and see the movies with the child.
My child is pulled out of class for an intensive reading program. If I enroll her in an outside program for a few weeks, will that bring her up to speed?
Nevertheless, a few weeks in an intensive reading program, all by itself, probably will not be enough. A program that is sustained and supported in the home is more likely to have staying power. Also, research suggests that much can be done to help the child and build the skills needed. In addition, that steady progress takes precedence over a quick fix. Therefore, notably the mundane game like activities I’ve discussed above will go far to improve reading and complement school activities. Thus, if you can start early, all the better. Then, you have the option, select day care, preschool, and kindergarten that emphasize sounding out, rhyming, and other pre-reading skills.